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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  December 26, 2016 2:00pm-3:01pm PST

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i turn you over to jim scuitto, who is in for wolf blitzer in "the situation room." thanks for watching ♪ to have faith happening now, deep anger, israeli prime minister netanyahu lashing out at president obama after the u.s. refuses to veto a u.n. resolution condemning settlements. tonight the fallout is going global. air war, the battle against isis over the skies over syria is expected to heat up as coalition forces look to retake raqqa, the city that isis calls its capital. how long will it take? president obama tells cnn he could have won a third therm if he could have won for a third term. just now donald trump responded on twitter.
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wolf blitzer is off, i'm jim scuitto, and this is "the situation room." tonight we're following as unusual and bitter split. netanyahu defending his scathing criticism, saying the world respects strong leaders. netanyahu says there is deep anger and dissatisfaction, because the u.s. allowed the united states security council to condemn israel's continued building of settlements in the west bank, instead of vetoing the resolution, the u.s. abstained. he also announced they are suspending working ties with nations that supported that vote. in politics president obama tells cnn's david axelrod he could have beaten donald trump. donald trump just fired back on twitter, quote -- no way. tonight palestinian
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mannerakat is here, and our analysts and guests have full coverage of the day's top stories. let's begin with israel's continuing anger. elise labott has the latest. elise, tell us more about this israeli reaction. angry? >> well, jim, you saw after the vote that israel recalled its ambassador from new zealand and senegal, the countries that put the resolution forward, now officials say they are limiting working ties with the 12 nations that also voted for the resolution. other foreign ministers will not be able to meet with prime minister netanyahu, and am bass endorse from those countries will not be welcomed at the foreign ministry as the normal type of business will be curtail curtailed. it's a temporary move.
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it's not cutting of diplomatic ties, but it is a show of force, if you will, to demonstrate israel's displeasure with the country that is voted against them in the u.n. security council, but, you know, interestingly, jim, israel did not take any action against the united states, which abstained from the resolution and let it pass, but certainly neddenia hue has not been quiet about his fury for the united states for what he called a shameful am burg against israel. >> he know we'll have a new president soon enough with perhaps a new view orrin lieberman is in jerusalem. benjamin netanyahu certainly isn't backing down. is this largely for domestic consimpco consumpti consumption?
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>> we saw the first statements come out and they have continued. netanyahu backing up what he's done so far, calling it responsible and a vigorous response to what he calls a shame everly -- >> israeli governments have disagreed about settlements, about you we agreed that the security council was not the place to resolve this issue. we knew that going there would make negotiations harder and drive peace further away, and as i told john kerry on thursday -- friends don't take friends to the security council. i'm encouraged by the statements of our friends in the united states, republicans and democrats alike. they understand how reckless and destructive this u.n. resolution was. they understand that the western
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wall isn't upd territooccupied . i look working with the new administration when it takes office next month. >> there were the words, new administration, blazantly obvious he's looking forward to working with president-elect donald trump and effectively is done working with president obama over the next few weeks. >> explosive charge that the u.s. -- they say that the u.s. behind the scenes orchestrated the whole thing. >> reporter: at first this was whispered quietly, at first off the record, and now it's an accusation coming from netanyahu, both here and in the united states. here is the israeli ambassador to the u.s., ron dermer making the accusation. >> the reason he only met with is the american ambassador, that's the only country where we have any expectation to stand with us at the united nations. it's an old story that the
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united states gangs up against israel. what is new is that the united states did not stand up and oppose that gang up, and what's outrageous is the u.s. was behind it. we have clear evidence and will present that to the new administration. if they want to share it with the american people, they're welcome to. >> we have pushed israeli people here, so as far as we've gotten no response on what the information is. the u.s. and palestinians have denied there was in collusion behind israel's pack getting the resolution passed at the u.n. security council. president obama is vacationing in hawaii, but one of his top aides says it isn't backing down on the opposition to new settlements. this has been a longtime view of former administrations.
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athena, what are you hearing today? >> reporter: this has been a position of multiple administrations. the white house is not responding to this move by israel to cut ties with the country that is voted against it in this u.n. vote, but the message the white house was sending in abstaining in that vote last week is that the obama administration agrees with much of the international community, that the continued construction is not helpful to the peace process, not helpful to any eventual two-state solution. the white house is stressing this is not a new position, not something that should have been a surprise to the israeli government. here is who are of what ben rhodes had to say about this in an interview on israeli tv. it's not an ambush when president obama and secretary kerry have been saying in hundreds of conversations and public comments that israeli settlement activity was pushing into the west bank in a way that was making the two-state
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solution unachievable over time when we see laws that aim to legalize outposts, receipt ricks that suggests these the most pro settlements, and deep into the west bank berth yond the separation barrier, we feel compelled to speak out against those actions. >> compelled to speak, rhodes depending on the white house's moves on this. meanwhile, president-elect trump is weighing in with a tweet not long ago saying the united nations has such great potential, but right now it's just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time. so sad. you'll remember that tweet after the u.n. vote last week where trump said when he's president, things will be different with the u.n. these are among the reasons that you're hearing prime minister netanyahu saying he's looking forward to working with the next administration, not this one. jim? >> that word "sad" a favorite
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jab from him. i want to be a per spect frif on the controversy as well as this israel/u.s. split. we have the chief palestinian representative to the u.s. thank you very much for taking your team. >> thank you very much. >> first of all, the reaction to israel's move today. you had a lot of receipt ricks against various folks who voted, particularly aimed at the u.s., now this diplomatic step. what's your reaction? >> i think the israelis are trying to ignore the fact that they have been warned many times by the palestinians, by the u.s., by the international committee they cannot have both land and peace. the settlement policies of the current israeli government clearly indicate that this government does not have any interest in ending the conflict with the palestinians. they want to continue to grab palestinian land, want to continue to build -- and they don't have any plants in the
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near future. >> well, we have been hearing a lot of encouraging statements, urging them to translate those statements into action. the united states did what conforms with its long-standing policy, since the days of lyndon johnson, ronald reagan, the republican president used abstention seven times during his two terms as president to allow resolutions, and to condemn settlement activities. so the u.s. is doing what they have done all the time. >> i want to ask you, because of course you have a new administration coming in in about three weeks, with what appears to be a very different view. you look at donald trump's selection. he is someone who has said that the idea of a two-state solution is over in effect. are you concerned at all that this hard push from the obama administration on the way out will put new a weaker position as the new administration comes
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in. >> no, i think what the administration is doing is prepare the grount for the next administration that there are certainly issues that they need to be given the right attention. we are not going to anticipate what the new administration policies would be. however, we will be more than willing to work with them. we hope the next administration will understand that in order to end this conflict between the palestinian nance and at israel these policies must end, vault must end up occupation, which is approaches the 50th anniversary, and there's only one way on the. provide peace add security for both. >> well ron dermer on air air a short time ago, and he accused the palestinians of having missed opportunities in the past. he claims, for instance, that israel did a ten-month moratorium, but that didn't get israel any closer. what's your response?
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>> ron dermer wasn't there when i was there in september of 2010 when that so-called moratorium ended. the moratorium because done in the west banks, but did not include settlements. i remember when secretary clinton i asked to the moratorium to be extended, and the israeli prime minister refused. so i was in those meetings. i don't believe ron dermer was in those meetings. >> let me ask you this. there's been a lot made that there's been a campaign promise of donald trump to move the u.s. embassy to jerusalem. i don't think a lot of folks in the audience know exactly why that's important from your side. can you explain that? >> jerusalem is important to arabs, muslims, christians around the world. it is a city that is important to all these religions and all these peoples. any more to give one party,
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monopoly over such an important city is going to escalate tension in the region. i strongly believe the next administration will be wise enough to understand that jerusalem is going to be a sensitive issue, must be negotiated between the two parties, and no u.n. later-- unilateral action should be taken. >> you need to share jet stream among the sides because of its ties to multiple religions, but the knesset is there, it's effectively based there, what practical difference would it make if trump follows through? >> the partition plan of 1947, provided that jerusalem should be a corpus separateum.
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and neither side should claim -- after the 1967 war, jerusalem fell under arab control, israel today has its offices in west jerusalem, but no country, including the united states, does not recognize jerusalem as the capital of the state of israel. have you or your team reached out to the trump transition team to express your views? have they accepted an offer to express your views? >> well, we are -- we are reaching out, trying to reach out. we understand the president-elect and his team are busy with a lot of appointments and lot of domestic issues, and again we are very much receptive to starting a dialogue, a communication with the new administration. i hope they will give us the opportunity to express our views, the same way they are giving -- >> just so i'm clear, you have reached out, but that invitation has not been accepted? >> it's in the process, in the process. we are trying to work some kind of arrangement, but we are
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hopeful telephone happen in the near future. >> i they open to that you are views? >> i would say so. president-elect trump said he would like to see a deal done with the palestinians and the israelis. how can you make a deal if you don't talk to an important partner? >> you've been involved in negotiations for a number of yird. jared kushner, donald trump's son-in-law, the husband of ivanka, he -- donald trump has said he's going to have a potential lead role. very young man, not a particular amount of experience. how would you react to that? >> we would be willing to sit across the table that the new administration chooses. we are once again receptive as long as the new administration is willing to listen to our views, our views, and our positions. >> thank you for your time today, and we wish you the best
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as the year wringds down, there are signs that the war on isis is ramming up. barbara, what is the status? >> how much can they accomplish in those days and weeks he has left? now president obama had just authorized 200 additional special operations forces to go to syria. authorized. will they all go in the coming weeks? if you look at the public statements by the pentagon, they're now connectling dozens of air strikes. trying to get them out of iraqi forces, still struggling to move deeper into mosul and iraq. the question for donald trump is what does he want to do with the
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plate in front of him? for some type of force for log forces. donald trump will have to face -- on how he wants to proceed, if he wants to -- of the iraqi government. it is a sovereign country. if he wants to raump up you press on the ground, there is that russian friends there. >> the kurdish forces have been the front line for this battle, is there concern they may pull back support? >> i think that's exactly the question.
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. we don't know what he thinking what the incoming defense there's no doubt they have been reliable, they are pushing towards raqqa while the u.s. bombs overhead try to locate those high-value targets. like the leaders of isis. so what does donald trump do? does he continue with the military policy, or does he make some radical changes? does he pull u.s. support back or ramp up u.s. support? which would be complicated. >> a lot of questions to that effect around the world, really. a final question. he's eager to take out before
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moving -- is that -- >> i think it's very fair to say that the president and the entire apparatus, would like to get baghdadi. there's no question about that. they have always wondered exactly where he is. there's a lot of intelligence being focused on both raqqa and mosul and points in between in case he's hit the road somehow. but clearly i think it's very fair to say, that's where over time the leadership of isis has been found, many of them killed by u.s. drone strikes in and around raqqa. so it seems like they are staying pretty close to home, and if they can find baghdadi, they say they will get him. >> and the campaign has had
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success lately. donald trump responds to president obama's claim he could have won a third term. you're in "the situation room." we live in a pick and choose world. choose. choose. choose. but at bedtime... ...why settle for this? enter sleep number and the lowest prices of the season. sleepiq technology tells you how well you slept and what adjustments you can make. she likes the bed soft. he's more hardcore. so your sleep goes from good to great to wow! only at a sleep number store, right now, save $600 on our best selling i8 mattress, plus 24 month special financing. learn more at sleepnumber.com know better sleep with sleep number.
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while democrats continue to argue what went wrong in this year's election president obama said he could have won a third term if alloyed to run. what else did he have to a? athena, this was interesting, a far-reaching interview. >> reporter: absolute lid. these are clearly two people who have known each other for a long time, more than two decades, old friends, so you hear a relaxed president obama, contemplative, and one of the most interesting sections for the nearly hour sit-down is where the president talks about he stills believes in that vision he laid out back in 2004 in the speech that put him on the map, where he suppose about not red states, balad states, but a united states of
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america, and he believes that not only he believes in that vision, but americans largely believe in that vision and if he could have won again, he could have won. >> in the wake of the election and trump winning, a lot of people has suggested that it really was a fantasy. i am confident in this -- if i had run again and articulated, i could have mobilized a majority of the american people to rally behind it. >> reporter: very interesting to suggest he could have won a third term. he also talked about what he believes democrats need to do to be successful electorally on the presidential level as well as
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the state and local level. take a listen to that. if we can't find a way to break through what is a complicated history in the south and start winning races there and winning back southern white voters without betraying our commitment to civil rights and diversity, if we can't do those things, then we can win elections, but we will see the same kinds of patterns we saw during my presidency, a progressive president but a gridlocked congress that you could move an agenda forward. >> reporter: he didn't just talk about voters in the south, but the need to appeal to rural voters everywhere, farmers, factory workers. not surprisingly we've also heard president-elect trump responding tweeting not long ago -- president obama says hi
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thinking he should have won against mer. i say no way. jobs leaving, isis, obamacare, et cetera. so it's an indirect conversation that the president and the president-elect are having over the air waves and social media. back to you. >> we didn't think trump would be able to resist for long. i should note that david axelrod will join me live in the next hour. i want to start with you, dana. athena referenced this conference saying, listen, had i run, i could have run a third term. implicit criticism? >> no question. >> you didn't have to read deep and long in the lines, and he said i think i could have articulated a message that would have been different. but who knows? it you look at the data, the
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numbers, he is quite popular. he's in the mid 50s when it comes to his approval rating, which is pretty good for somebody who's been in the white house for two terms, but at the same time some of the overall numbers were not -- they were not right during the election, so who knows if that's true. look should would coulda. if somebody is no longer a candidate, the american public views them differently. when hillary clinton was secretary of state, she had sky-high ratings. i think that's one of the reasons why he's doing well. >> a realistic argument? >> i think so. he's got a 50-something approval ratings. he won both election pop ullr vote and electoral college. the stock market is at 19,000, yeah, i think that's a reasonable statement.
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>> let's look where the democratic party went in the house, in the senate over the last of almost eight years, losing tremendous ground in the senate, in the house, in state houses, losing tremendous ground in state legislatures. shouldn't president obama responsibility for that loss of ground? clearly voters aren't giving him credit, at least in the ballot box. >> to button up the previous conversation, given the approval rati rating, you would have to say he was the favorite, but as dana correctly noted was how much of his approval rating is in contrast to the other two candidates, would it have been more marginal if he was actually on the ballot himself? there's no question that he's accelerated trends and leaving the democratic party a collision much better suited to compete for the white house than for the
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congress. the democrats have won the popular vote in six of the last seven elections, which no party in american history has ever done, but did it behind a coalition on three gripes -- noirts, millennial and college will have educated white voters. there's two strurls problems with that. the two groups don't show up in the midterm as the presidential, and the second is they are geographically concentrated in a way that makes -- they cannot compete effectively for large numbers of smaller rural, so you have held by cultural liberalism. that works better for the white house than the congress, and we saw in this election, even if it works with the pop ullr vote, does it with the electoral college? >> jeffrey toobin, there was a
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very interesting moment when president obama not even begrudgingly, he outright praised the tactics of mitch mcconnell for effectively obstructing his agenda throughout his administration. my team wondered was he sending a message for the democrats to use the same strategy? >> i wonder mitch mcconnell did didn't care neath things were going to be said about being an obstructionist. he understood about the way to success was to prevent the president from doing anything and say the president isn't doing anything. that may be intellectually inconsistent, but it was political effective. the results are very obvious even today most dramatically with the widely criticized
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failure to hold a vote on meric garland's nomination to the supreme court, now president-elect trump gets to fill that seats for the years to come. >> is that a new normal? going forward, this was, you know, the president by the constitution has the right to make these appointments. obviously with senate approval, but, you know, why would this change i suppose is almost the question. when the democrats get the same opportunity might they do the same? >> one thing is jeffrey is, of course, 100% right is that the best politics is for chuck schumer and the democratic leader in the senate and nancy pelosi in the house to follow the exact same game plan as mitch mcconnell, because it otherwise. there's politics, and then -- this is my pollyanna part -- what is good for the country. maybe somebody can say uncle.
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if it's the democrats, it's okay, and say there are places where we can work together, and we're not going to say no, and we're going to give you wins the i know i sound corny, but i've seen this year in and year out, as under the circumstances, get so much more bitterly partisan. >> interestingly on that point, i want to be a pollyanna. i want the country to be a happy place, but let's be practical here. that division is not just confined to the has of congress. you see it, folks at home see it in their facebook fields. over the christmas table. the sense is the other side doesn't have the country's best interest at heart. those are the districts that these men and women are running in. >> what i was going to say, and this is to the second point, which is donald trump is not a
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traditional republican. everything he believes does not fall along traditional lines, whether it's trade or even the way he wants to handle entitlements. that's going to scramble things a bit, so that it might make it harder for democrats to obstruct, maybe even more importantly harder for all republicans to go along. we have new information coming in. please stay with us. we'll be right back after this break.
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donald trump's latest effort to avoid a major distraction has hit an obstacle. new york's attorney general says he cannot close down his charitable organizatifoundation it's still under investigation. tell us more about what the new york attorney general is trying to do here. >> reporter: jim eric schneider man says donald trump will have to wait until after an investigation is complete, and the new york's top cop isn't the only one speaking out. after the president-elect's announcement he will end the trump charitable foundation, new york's attorney general saying
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not so fast. the trump foundation is still under investigation by this office and cannot legally dissolve until the investigation is complete. new york a.g. snyder man launched the prohibit amid allegations that he used it to settle personal business dealings, trump making mention of the order in october that's still in effect only say the foundation has done enormous good however, to avoid even the appearance of any conflict with my role as president, i have decided to continue to pursue my strong interests in philanthropy in other ways, but donald trump hasn't even donated to his ocharity since 2008, according to the foundation's tax records. the democratic national committee mocking plans to shut the foundation down, saying the announcement is a wilted figure leaf to cover up the remaining
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conflicts. president george w. bush's chief ethic lawyer closing the foundation is a start. >> that means dissolving the foundation, it also means president trump selling off his being interests that creates conflicts of interests, making sure there's no foreign money coming into the operation rump the trump team has dealt with settle issues, settling the trump university laws, eric trump shutting down his foundation, and recently dropping the battle with hotel workers in las vegas and d.c. over unionization, allowing the d.c. workers to hold a vote and agreeing to a four-year contract with vegas workers, but still no road map on how the president-elect will disentangle himself from the worldwide empire, but the trump team is promising a press conference in the next few weeks to detail donald trump's business plans after initially postponing a december 15th press conference,
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but this is a cumbersome process. in fact the general counsel said they are currently working to reevaluate some of the various transactions and working to comply with conflict laws, donald trump saying he's immune from the conflicts laws. he is right, save for the emo emoltment's claws, jessica schneider, thank you very much. we're back with our panel. ron, if i can't go to you first, you heard the dnc statement on this, calling this a wilted figure leaf to cover up hi remains conflicts. what's your reaction? substantial at all? >> it's a step, but this is the secondary front. the charitable could charitably be called a charitable foundation. it had a very limited operation. the real key question here as
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richard painter was alluding to, the unprecedented level of business entanglements. we have not elected someone with all these business connections and they present all sorts of problems in all sorts of directions about the interests of either domestic or foreign interests, trying to curry favor with the president or his family by doing business, you know, with the trump organization, and we are still waiting. it does not appear that the the solution that people like mr. painter talks about conversion into a blind trust is on the table, so anything will be short of that. i think wherever it is resolve, it will still leave us facing questions throughout his presidency. >> david, your colleague did some great reporting digging into the foundation. what are the facts that lead to that assessment. >> right. most charities use the person named as the name brand person of the charity to give their
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money to charities in this case he found much of money that was used was money donated by others and given out in the name of donald trump's foundation. also david looked into whether or not the foundation was using more than $250,000 to settle disputes with, you know, local political entities rather than as charitable donations. >> so jeffrey toobin, you know a think or two about the law. you have the new york attorney general still investigating this. is the president-elect elect in real legal trouble? i think this is more a political problem. this won't go away, and people ill-disposed to him and it's important noting that he has a majority of the country that has
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an unfavorable view, will continue to ask questions and be suspicious of the fact that the trump family is running this business called trump at the same time the family is closely advising him on policy matters. i mean, this is going to be a part of the trump presidency. obviously he won the election, so enough voters didn't care about the issue to elect him, but that doesn't mean that it's going to be -- that the issue will simply go away now that he's president. >> and simply -- is there any sign on capitol hill that a republican-controlled house and senate will press this issue of conflicts of interest? >> yes, at the front end, because they don't want to have to deal with it. they don't want to be in a position for the investigative committees in the house and the senate to be called upon to look into conflicts of interest, to look into whether a foreign
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government has tried to curry favor where donald trump by doing x, y and z, vis-a-vis the trump organization, so yes, they don't want those distractions. capitol hill, they want to use the fact that they have a majority in congress, they have a republican in the white house to get policy done they haven't done for eight years. >> we've got to leave it there, unfortunately. but we'll be talking about this for some sometime. coming up next, we mark yet another shocking death in the music world. george michael's video made him a global superstar. tonight he's being remembered for much more than his singing. [vo] quickbooks introduces jeanette
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tonight, we're following an extraordinary outpouring of grief over the death of pop music superstar george michael. his body was discovered just yesterday at his ohm in england, a death that has manager attributes to heart failure. cnn's ian lee looks back at michael's career. ♪
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♪ wake me up, before you go, go, go ♪ >> reporter: george michael launched into pop culture history in 1984, as half of the british boy duo wham, singing the chart topping ballad "careless whisper." ♪ ♪ careless whisper >> reporter: by 1986, michael launched an incredible solo career. his number one album "faith" raising eyebrows with its first single. ♪ i want your sex." >> reporter: the lyrics drawing sharp criticism for those wants to bring awareness to the aids epidemic and the need for safe sex. "faith" producing four number one singles, including "father figure." ♪ "one more try."
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♪ "and monkey." by the '90s, he was celebrating his independence from the pop machine. ♪ freedom >> reporter: refusing to fear in the video "freedom." but the late '90s were rough for the pop icon. he was arrested by an undercover police officer and charged with engaging in a lewd act at a park in beverly hills, leading him to reveal in a cnn interview that he was gay in 1998. >> i don't feel any shame whatsoever. and neither do i think i should. >> reporter: in later years, there were drug-related arrests and a nasty car accident in 2010. he served a month in jail for driving under the influence of marijuana. but his career continued to
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flourish, thanks to his powerful vocals. at nearly 50, michael once again found critical success with his sixth and final album, a creative master piece backed by a full orchestra. ♪ the first time ever saw your face ♪ >> i've been so lucky. i've had an amazing, amazing life. ♪ i will be the one who loves you till the end of time ♪ >> george michael dead at just 53. coming up, more reaction as israel is lashing out at the u.s., as well as the countries that voted to condemn its continuing settlements in the west bank.
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happening now. lashing out. the israeli prime minister defends his scathing criticism of president obama. tensions are escalating after the u.s. refused to veto an anti-israel resolution at the u.n. tonight, israel claims it has evidence against the obama administration that it says it's ready to hand over to donald trump. nuclear fallout. as the president-elect gets closer to inauguration day, there are growing questions whether he's preparing to launch a new nuclear arms race with russia. there's new proof tonight that words can indeed be dangerous when nuclear weapons are in play. third

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