tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN January 2, 2017 3:00pm-4:01pm PST
the search intensifies for the shooter behind a deadly new year's attack at an istanbul nightclub. now isis is claiming responsibility. did it inspire the massacre or direct it? business or pleasure? donald trump lavishes praise on a dubai business partner during a new year's eve speech at trump's florida resort, raising new concerns about potential conflicts of interest. you're going to hear the recording. missile threat. north korea warns of an imminent new test for a rocket that could threaten the united states. how soon before the kim jong un regime can attach a nuclear warhead to that missile. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i am wolf blitzer. you are in "the situation room." >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. we begin with breaking news. the gulf between president-elect donald trump and the u.s. intelligence community on russian election hacking is
growing tonight. trump is casting fresh doubt on the conclusion of the intelligence agencies that russia is responsible, and he claims to have inside information about the cyberattacks that he says he'll reveal this week after he meets with intelligence officials. many of those same officials are more confident than ever that moscow was behind the hacks on targets including the democratic party and hillary clinton's campaign chairman. sources tell cnn that so-called digital fingerprints implicate russia. also, concerns about donald trump's potential conflicts of interest as president are being fueled tonight by a recording obtained exclusively by cnn. it captures the president-elect speaking at a new year's eve celebration and lavishing praise on his dubai business partner, highlighting the tangled ties he will face in the oval office. new tonight, isis is now claiming responsibility for the new year's eve's shooting
massacre that left 39 people dead in an istanbul nightclub. an intense man hunt and under way for the suspect captured on surveillance video. we're that and more with our guests, including a key member of the house foreign affairs committee and our correspondents and expert analysts are standing by. beginning with the divide between donald trump and the u.s. intelligence community over russian election cyber meddling. jessica schneider is over at trump tower in new york city for us. jessica, trump claims to have special information about all of this, what do we know? >> reporter: that's right, wolf. the president-elect revealing that he knows things that others don't. those are his words. when it comes to the intelligence into those hacks during the election. but donald trump not revealing much more than that, at least not yet. donald trump is ringing in the new year, continuing to cast doubt on u.s. intelligence pointing to russia as the culprit of campaign hacks during the election. >> i know a lot about hacking.
and hacking is a very hard thing to prove. so it could be somebody else. and i also know things that other people don't know. and so, they cannot be sure of the situation. >> reporter: trump refusing to elaborate on what insider information he has, only promising to reveal more after his meeting later this week with intelligence officials. incoming press secretary sean spicer, though, tempering expectations about what the president-elect might make public. >> he's going to talk about his conclusions and where he thinks things stand. he is not going it reveal anything that was privileged or shared with him classified. one thing i think is missing from this discussion, alisyn, is this report that everyone keeps talking about is not final. the current president of the united states hasn't seen a final report. the intelligence community is talking about wrapping it up later this week. >> reporter: spicer also questioning whether the sanctions the trump team previously called symbolic were overblown. the obama administration expelled 35 russian diplomats and shuttered to russian
compounds on long island and maryland to retaliate against russian interference in the election. >> was it proportional with the activities that happened, and number two, is it a political response to russia or is it a diplomatic response. >> reporter: candidate trump certainly acknowledged and seemed to egg on russian hackers during the election. inviting them to break into hillary clinton's computers. >> russia, if you are listening, i hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. i think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. let's see if that happens. that will be next. >> reporter: hacked e-mails from the democratic national committee and clinton campaign chair john podesta trickled out throughout the campaign, exposing criticism against clinton by her own staff and revealing some of the topics of her paid speeches to wall street bankers, many democrats blame russian hacking in part for clinton's loss. donald trump once again evoking
the election, closing out 2016 with this contentious tweet. happy new year to all, including to my many enemies including those who fought me and lost so badly they don't know what to do. love. today trump hardly turning over a new leaf starting with boasts about the november election. tweeting various media outlets and pundits say i thought i was going to lose the election. wrong. i thought and felt i would win big, easily over the fabled 270. actually 306. when they canceled fireworks, they knew, and so did i. trump taking to twitter also to talk about the staggering crime numbers out of chicago. donald trump tweeting this. chicago murder rate is record-setting. 4,331 shooting victims with 762 murders in 2016. if mayor can't do it, he must ask for federal help. chicago mayor rahm emanuel's office did respond saying they look forward to assistance from
the trump administration, saying they are looking for the trump team to fund summer jobs for at-risk youth and putting a challenge to the trump team saying they hope they'll help pass meaningful gun control laws. wolf. >> pretty shocking. 762 people murdered in the city of chicago last year. more than new york city and los angeles combined. pretty shocking number indeed. jessica, thanks very much. we are learning new information also tonight about why u.s. intelligence is so confident that russia was in fact behind those election-related cyberattacks. our chief national security correspondent jim sciutto has been working the story for us. jim, you are learning more about some of the actual evidence implicating russia. tell our viewers. >> that's right, wolf. to be clear, the u.s. intelligence community would not have gone public with what it called a confident assessment one month before the election that russia was behind the hacks unless it had evidence. we're told by multiple officials
that there are digital fingerprints, and the code, in effect, of these hacks. one example being the use of cyrillic key boards, that being the russian alphabet, something you would use there and not here. there is the impression that this evidence is somehow secret or murky. as an example, the fbi and department of homeland security released what's in effect a schematic of exactly how the hacks were done. flow charts, they have a code name for it. grizzly step, a name for russian malicious cyber activity. a lot of the ways the hacks were carried out is now being made public so that companies, both private and public, can use the information to prevent acts in the future. >> you know, it's very interesting, the u.s. has identified foreign countries hacking the u.s. before, hasn't it? >> no question. they've done this before with confidence. you may remember in 2013 they were able to identify a specific
building outside shanghai in china where a military unit was hacking u.s. corporations, u.s. government institutions. the department of justice actually issued charges for individuals there. then in 2014 the u.s. was able to identify north korean hackers as being behind the hack of sony pictures, you will remember all those revelations. this is not the first time that u.s. intelligence, using its tools, has been able to identify a foreign country, again using these digital fingerprints that we're learning more about now as the evidence behind them now pointing the finger towards russia for the hacks of the u.s. election. >> just a few moments ago -- i want your reaction to this, jim, because you are an expert. donald trump tweeted this. i will put it on the screen. north korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the united states. it won't happen. exclamation point. strong words from donald trump. >> no question.
listen, the u.s. intelligence community view is that north korea has an untested intercontinental ballistic weapons capability. in that they put the pieces together but haven't shown they can make it work, in effect. there is a differing point of view. they have to assume that because they have to be prepared for it if it were to happen. the trouble is they are making e enormous progress at the short and medium range. that threatens allies. seoul and japan. donald trump is right, though, it will be a severe challenge for his presidency. >> jim sciutto reporting for us. thanks very much. let's get more on all of this. key member of the house foreign affairs committee, republican congressman lee zelden of new york is joining us. thank you for joining us. i want to talk about north korea and the latest tweet from donald trump in a moment. to russia first. do you believe that russia did engage in the cyberattacks against the u.s.?
>> i have so much faith in our intelligence community that has been where the large bulk of the evidence has been. there is -- the president, when he released the executive order last week, as well as the fbi and dhs putting out their report, did leave a few questions there still unanswered. the president indicated that congress would get some intelligence forwarded to us. i am hoping it happens this week. >> you're still not convinced? >> i just want who president obama is going to forward. and i would like to know what president-elect trump has that he hasn't released. so far everything that's been released indicates russia is responsible. i do have a ton of faith in u.s. intelligence sources. so until i see something that contradicts it, that we can move on, russia is responsible. >> they're excellent, the u.s. intelligence community, and their successes we often don't know much about. their failures like the weapons
of mass destruction assessment leading up to the iraq war, we know about that. it's always good to be skeptical, at the same time, you listen and you learn. listen to what senator john mccain said in ukraine about the russian involvement. >> when you attack a country, it's an act of war. and so we have to make sure that there is a price to pay so that we can perhaps persuade the russians to stop this kind of attacks on our very fundamentals of democracy. >> he is calling it an act of war. do you agree with him? >> oh, cyber warfare is real. it is a huge threat. we need to take our cyber security extremely seriously. this is not just russia. china. there are state actors. there are individual actors. this threatens the u.s. government, our infrastructure, companies. individuals can open up an e-mail that looks like a normal e-mail. you click on a link and all of a sudden it's getting spread out all through your company and into your contacts in your
e-mail list. the amount of sensitive information that has been released and can be is a threat to our security. absolutely. cyber warfare is warfare. the best defense on it is a good offense. >> what's more appropriate right now, knowing everything you know, to go ahead and take these steps, sanctions, expelling russian diplomats, making strong statements, or praising putin? >> the key is to have a long game where we are thinking several steps ahead. there are -- i can think of a thousand different ways to approach our relationship with russia. we are talking cyber security and cyberattacks. i just got back from afghanistan a few days ago. you look in the middle east with syria and turkey and iran and russia's interactions not just there but elsewhere around the globe. what we need to be able to do when we act, whether it's saying something or doing something that putin may take as a compliment or an insult, it needs to be part of a longer strategy. you can't just fire one shot. >> he did tweet this, donald trump. i'll put this on the screen.
after donald trump -- he tweeted this after putin decided not to retaliate by expelling american diplomats in exchange, because of what the u.s. did to the russian diplomats. he said this on december 30th. great move on delay by v. putin. i always knew he was very smart! was that appropriate? >> well, what would be best is if our president -- our current president and our next president could get more on the same page, because when they are contradicting each other with messaging at a moment or strategy over the course of days and weeks, it doesn't help the united states. but what is so important is -- and by the way, putin is a bad guy. he is not an ally of the united states. he should not be looked at as one. is provocative. he is an aggressor. he does not have our interest. he meddles in areas where we have service members risking their lives and being put into harm's way. what is so important, whatever strategy we choose, is that we are anticipating putin's response and that we know what our response to that.
>> trump never says any of those bad things about putin. >> if there is a strategy and there is a long game where he can find diplomatic successes in engaging with putin where he thinks he can make progress that can help us, if it's part of a long game that works, great. if it's not going to work and we need a more hostile approach, over the course of eight years, president obama in many ways was asking nicely with russia on certain fronts. just over a year ago, if we wanted to negotiate a truce in syria, we could have done so. if someone came up with the answer, you could have sat down on the table and russia didn't need to be there. now you can't negotiate without russia being there. vacuums have been created and russia has filled those vacuums and secertain elements of forei policy have become more complicated because of it. whatever strategy our president wants to take, whether it's president obama or our next president, with regards to vladimir putin, it just needs to be part of a long game and not taking one step at a time.
>> let's talk about north korea. donald trump issues this threat, and i think it's fair to call it a threat. he just tweeted this. i will put it on the screen. north korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the united states. it won't happen! you see that as a threat. i assume you do? >> no doubt. he is absolutely right. that should be america's foreign policy. that should be the world's foreign policy. and there are countries in that region who should be more involved, especially china, because that threat -- intercontinental ballistic missiles is a threat when you are talking about the united states. there are delivering mechanisms for certain warfare closer to home for north korea. it's scary that kim jong un would look at calling him a maniac as a compliment. for him to have nuclear capability that threatens the u.s. shores is something that absolutely cannot happen. >> how do you think kim jong un, the leader of north korea, reacts to a statement like this by donald trump? >> it's -- actually the
president-elect is right. you can't allow north korea to get their hands on nuclear weapons. it's not that the president-elect, in his tweet, was making fun of kim jong un and trying to provoke. he is saying what really should be american foreign policy and has been american foreign policy, is that we cannot allow kim jong un to have his hands on a nuclear weapon. >> i wonder what he is talking about with "it won't happen." a preemptive strike or a military strike. who knows what could happen with regard to that given the north korean capabilities. maybe he is hopeful china could intervene. china still has influence in north korea. donald trump keeps saying he'll rely on china to get the job done. we'll see if that happens. congressman, please stand by. we have breaking news coming into "the situation room" right now. the prime minister of israel, benjamin netanyahu, is questioned as part of a criminal investigation into alleged corruption. stand by. we have new details and the prime minister's reaction right after this.
-and--a . there is breaking news out of israel right now where police say the prime minister, benjamin netanyahu, has been interrogated in a criminal investigation. republican congress lee zeldin is back with us. he is a member of the foreign affairs committee. we'll get his reaction. i want to get the latest from jerusalem. cnn's oren liebermann is on the story for us. oren, tell the viewers what's going on. >> reporter: prime minister benjamin netanyahu is officially a suspect in a criminal investigation. israeli police and the attorney general say he is suspected of receiving gifts from businessmen. they won't say too much more about it at this point. they say to do so would bias the
investigation one way or the other. prime minister benjamin netanyahu has responded repeatedly here saying there will be nothing found against him. and all of these accusations are false. let me read you part of a statement he posted yesterday. unfortunately you'll have to be disappointed this time as well like you were disappointed on previous affairs. as usual, there will not be anything because there is nothing. try replacing the prime minister at the ballot box. as is customary in a democracy. is referencing an investigation from his first term in the '90s. it never led to charges and netanyahu was never indicted. this began about six months ago as an inquiry or examination. there was no suspicion of a crime just let. the attorney general says last month there was evidence found that led them to believe that a crime had been committed. police investigators questioning netanyahu for some three hours
tonight. >> i saw the statement that the israeli police released, the central unit of the israeli police, interrogated tonight under caution, the prime minister of israel, benjamin netanyahu, on suspicion of allegedly receiving benefits. that interrogation, as they call it, went on for three hours. the police vehicles we saw going into the prime minister's residence. it was a three-hour, quote, interrogation? >> exactly. we saw them pull in about 6:30 this evening and they were there until 9:30. the words "under caution," police use those words when someone is thought to have committed a crime. that means benjamin netanyahu is a criminal suspect. what does it mean for his leadership of israel? at the moment, nothing. he doesn't have to do anything until he is indicted. even then he may not have to resign or step down. under israeli law he is allowed
to stay prime minister until convicted of a crime and until that conviction is upheld on appeal by the israeli high court. if he is indicted on a serious crime he may face enormous public and political pressure to step down. wolf, it's important to point out we are not there yet. this is the beginning of a criminal investigation. any of the next steps, may also take weeks, months or more than a year. >> oren liebermann reporting from jerusalem. let's get reaction. lee zeldin is a congressman from new york. long island. you are a strong supporter of israel. what's your reaction? >> i would like to get more details as to exactly what the charges are. >> so far there are no charges. but there is suspicion. >> and if they -- if there is any information that would allow the international community, for us as americans, to be able to form an opinion on our own, that would be great. we have a system here in the united states that we deeply respect and we admire. they have one in israel that
they are following, their protocols. we have to have a prime minister who is in charge of a nation that is a great ally of the united states. and the strength of that bond between americans and israelis is one that is very strong. so we don't want to rush to judgment at all when we're talking, especially when we're talking about the prime minister of a nation that is such a strong ally. so they're following the protocol, hopefully nothing happened at all and we can continue to strengthen the relationship. >> the former prime minister of israel is in jail serving 19 months. he had to step down as prime minister of israel. so there is a history here, if you will. >> i sure hope that what might have been experienced in the past, in their nation, is not one to reflect on what is potentially being alleged here now. >> serious, serious situation. lee zeldin, thanks very much for coming in. just ahead what senate
democrats are threatening to do to some of donald trump's top cabinet nominees. breaking news, the recording raising new concerns about the pinellas county a president-elect and potential conflicts of interest. enough to catch a bird. (vo) try new beneful originals with beef. now with real beef as the number one ingredient. not to be focusingo finaon my moderatepe.
to severe chronic plaque psoriasis. so i made a decision to talk to my dermatologist about humira. humira works inside my body to target and help block a specific source of inflammation that contributes to my symptoms. in clinical trials, most adults taking humira were clear or almost clear, and many saw 75% and even 90% clearance in just 4 months. 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, and if you've had tb, hepatitis b, are prone to infections, or have flu-like symptoms or sores. don't start humira if you have an infection. ask about humira, the #1 prescribed biologic by dermatologists. clearer skin is possible.
attorney general. our chief political correspondent, dana bash has been working the story for us. dana, the democrats don't actually think they can block the confirmations but want to delay them. >> that's right. the votes just don't add up for them to be able to actually vote to say, you know what, rex tillerson, for example, he will not be secretary of state. ironically, one big reason is because the democrats, when they were in charge of the senate and they had a democrat in the white house, changed the rules so that the republicans couldn't filibuster. now they're living by the same rules in the minority. so the eight people that you just saw on the screen, thoue democrats are saying they won't do a swift confirmation process for because the democrats insist that these nominees have not put enough information out there for the confirmation committee hearings, and also for the office of government ethics and
even in some cases the fbi. so they want more information, they say, to prove that there are not conflicts of interest. it's no coincidence, wolf, that the people we're talking about, secretary of state, rex tillerson, jeff sessions for attorney general, tom price for hhs secretary and especially even the epa administrator, they're all people that the democrats strongly disagree with when it comes to their policy and what they'll probably do in the trump administration, especially someone like tom price who will take the lead on repealing obamacare. >> we'll see how it plays out. thank you. dana bash reporting. a tape merged of trump lavishing praise on his dubai business partner on a new year's eve celebration at trump's florida resort. mar-a-lago. our money correspondent, christine ah alesi has details. >> reporter: here is the deal, wolf. trump was in front of about 800
guests at mar-a-lago giving remarks on new year's eve when he praised a business partner in dubai who owns trump-branded golf courses. listen. >> saying that the whole family, from the most beautiful people, from dubai, are here tonight. they're seeing it and they love it. >> reporter: trump is talking about a man, here is background on the family. the relationship started in 2005. he built trump international golf courses in dubai and is working on another one designed by tiger woods which will open in 2018. wolf, trump may not see the comments as controversial. a trump spokes woman down played the remarks, but that won't fly with ethics lawyers, the ones i spoke to anyway. here is why. they see it as trump using his office to expand his existing
business partnerships. and the implication there is that trump is enriching himself. now, trump was, of course, addressing possible conflicts of interest saying he'll separate himself from the business and having his kids run it. here is the issue with the plan, wolf. trump already knows who his business partners are. as a result, he knows how a policy decision may impact them and, in turn, help or hurt trump personally, financially. this situation is tricky for trump because he doesn't own the golf courses. he'll have to break a licensing deal in order to avoid the conflict. and that could end up in a messy lawsuit. so there is no simple answers to this question here, but the scrutiny over this issue will certainly continue, wolf. >> cristina alesci reporting. donald trump says he'll have a news conference later this month to explain how he'll deal with these potential conflicts of interest. thanks for that.
let's dig deeper right now with our political experts. david chalian, let me start with you. is he able to really clear up this opportunity for potential conflicts of interest? because a blind trust apparently is not necessarily going to be able to emerge from all of this. >> yeah. that's not in the cards. that much the trump folks have made clear, i think. so donald trump will give his best explanation to the american people as to how he is going to divide what was his life's work and his family business now that his two adult sons will be running versus what he'll do in the governing sector. quite frankly, i think it is certainly not going to be to the satisfaction of watch dogs that look at this stuff, but we will see if it is to the satisfaction of the american people. that really is going to be the audience that donald trump has to convince that he is separating out his business from his governance. >> abby phillip, to the confirmation battle that's expected to emerge this month and in the weeks and months to
follow. the democrats, you heard dana bash's report, their motivation is to effectively protest though they are under no illusions that they'll have the votes to actually block these nominees. is that right? >> yeah, that's right. they'll try to use whatever clout that they have at the moment to drag this process on. i mean, time is particularly in the senate and in the house are not unlimited. so, for every additional day that they can add to the process of confirming one of trump's nominees, they can force a conversation about whatever issues they want to talk about. they can just simply make it annoying for the incoming president-elect to not have his cabinet in place. you are hearing republicans remind democrats that, when obama came into office they unanimously consented to approve several of his nominees on the day of his inauguration. and i suspect that we're not going to see many of the high-profile folks sliding through here because people like
rex tillerson, steve mnuchin, betsy devos are very wealthy. there are troves of things that democrats can pull out of their history, their financial dealings, and air that out for the american public and perhaps create an embarrassment for the president going into his first 100 days. >> ron brownstein, abby makes a good point. i think more than a dozen obama nominees were sworn in on inauguration day, and a dozen more -- half a dozen more were sworn in within a week or two right afterwards. the republicans moved pretty quickly in allowing that confirmation process to go forward, and they're asking why won't the democrats do the same thing right now. is this democratic strategy that schumer enunciated, chuck schumer, the incoming democratic leader in the senate, is it smart? >> first of all, the record is mixed on the republican side. elizabeth warren is a senator because republicans refused to confirm any appointee to run the
consumer protections board because they didn't like the underlying dodd/frank law in which it was created. she ran for the senate after they blocked her with filibuster. same thing with merrick garland who never got a hearing in the last year of the obama presidency. there is plenty of dirt under the fingernails on both sides. the democrats have limited leverage. the question is from their point of view whether they can use the process to begin to drive a story. the trump presidency, the trump agenda in many ways is offering a wish list with one big exception of tariffs for corporate america presented under the rubric of providing benefits for american workers. in many of the nominees i think they're hoping to begin to drive a story that what he promised is no the what you are getting, whether environmental or consumer protections or workplace protections, being rolled back. it's a government delivering something different than promised. whether they can make the case is something else but it's their first chance to begin driving
the narrative. >> the republicans in the new senate, 52 senators and 48 for the democrats: they need a bare 50 because the vice president is president of the senate and he can break a tie. so they need 50. what are the prospects that some republicans will bolt and join, let's assume, and it's a big assumption, that all the democrats vote against someone? >> i find it hard to believe. >> i do too. >> i think that the -- the president's party, the president-elect, soon to be the president's party, will give him his team to be able to put together. that doesn't mean it goes without any comment. we have heard from some republicans on rex tillerson, the secretary of state nominee, i am sure we are going to hear some republican concerns over his relationship with putin, the overall u.s./russia relationship, as a part of their probing for their advice and consent. but i have a hard time believing that you'll see republican senator defect from trump on the floor over some of his nominees. >> let's talk about the first
day or two of the new administration, abby. you heard sean spicer say on day one there will be a lot of executive orders that president obama signed that will be reversed. what are we talking about? what are some of the first initiatives that president -- the new president will remove? >> well, there are any number of things on the republican wish list, many having to do with business regulations. i think we can see a lot of also environmental regulations on the table. the president did some executive actions even in the last couple of weeks that have to do with oil drilling and protecting public lands. i imagine that republicans are looking at some of those and trying to determine whether it makes sense to roll them back, whether there is an interest in doing that. but i think the business community is also particularly interested in even putting in place some more proactive efforts that effectively undo the obama legacy, having to do with how federal regulations are put forward and whether the government takes into
consideration the cost of those regulations and also the consumer financial protection bureau. republicans on the hill really want that agency to be -- to have more congressional oversight and less executive oversight. i wouldn't be surprised if they look to try to rein in that agency that they haven't liked from the beginning at the top of the administration. >> deregulation, ron brownstein, that donald trump is promising. it is seen supposedly as one of the reasons why the dow jones has gone up approaching 20,000 since his election on november 8th. get rid of a lot of the regulations. the assumption is it's good for big business. >> there are different categories here. you have executive orders by the president that, as abby said, the next president can simply undo. there the critical one which we haven't heard much from donald trump lately is the deferred action. the program for the so-called dreamers people, young people brought here as undocumented
immigrants by their parents. he's pledged at different points to undo that on day one. he hasn't talked about it lately. getting beyond the executive orders, you get to proposed federal regulations. easy to withdraw. federal regulations that are completed are more complicated. things completed since roughly last may may be subject to the congressional review act. it's only been used once in its history but there are a number of rules such as requiring the overtime rule for federal -- for employers, paid leave for federal contractors, some offshore drilling rules that republicans are eyeing for that. what looms beyond that are things that may take more steps. the clean power plan, a high priority for many conservative groups and the energy industry, the carbon emission rule. that's a completed rule so they'll have to go through rule-making to undo it. the big enchilada of all is repealing obamacare which they're signalling they need to start on day one. >> they need legislative action.
they can't do that through executive orders. stand by. we're getting new information about the suspect in the istanbul terror attack. was he directed by isis? plus, there is breaking news, donald trump responds to the disturbing new year's message from north korea's kim jong un. we've all been here.
and here... and here. the answer is 8. bottom line, life is hard. that's why godaddy created website builder... it makes creating a website...easy. build an awesome mobile-friendly, website... and it's free to get started. plus with the money you save, you can hire a math tutor. get your free trial of godaddy website builder now! at godaddy.com
tonight isis is claiming responsibility for the new year's eve shooting massacre at an istanbul nightclub that killed 39 people. cnn's brian todd is working the story for us. brian, the man hunt for the suspect is intensifying. >> it is indeed intensifying. we are told there is a massive dragnet involving hundreds of turkish law enforcement and counter terror forces being conducted across turkey and into neighboring countries. turkish media outlets have published a new still photo of the suspect which they say they obtained from turkish police. we don't know when or where the photo was taken. then this other image, a frame grab of surveillance video. our affiliates obtained this from turkish police.
cnn cannot independently verify the authenticity of this frame grab. turkish officials apparently releasing two photos of the suspect. they tell us they have his fingerprints from the scene but so far have not given us a name of the suspect. there is also dramatic surveillance video of the gunman entering the nightclub. take a look at this. he is firing as he goes in. in some frames you can even see bullets ricocheting. he killed 39 people inside the nightclub and wounded dozens of others. the victims were from 14 different countries. isis has claimed responsibility for this attack but has given no clues about the identity of the gunman. terror experts tell us, if isis actually directed the attack, it may have been more likely to have been a martyrdom operation with the perpetrator either taking his own life or confronting police and dying in a hail of gunfire. the information that this man slipped away leads some experts to believe this might have been an isis-inspired attack by a man acting on his own, possibly,
wolf. >> brian, tonight turkish authorities are up against real obstacles as they track this man? >> they are. former u.s. marshals we've talked to are telling us that the porous border between turkey and syria is a real problem, especially in this particular search. if this guy slipped into syria and if he is getting help inside that country, he could simply disappear. there are millions of refugees also inside turkey. that's complicating the search. and there is turmoil within the turkish government. some of the security forces and other factions of the government are distrustful of one another. if they are not on the same page, finding this man will be even more difficult. >> brian, thank you very much. brian todd reporting. let's bring in our experts. peter bergen, our national security analyst. isis claims responsibility, it says this killer was an isis soldier, but it was not a suicide mission. the guy is still out there at large right now. what's your assessment? >> it's the same formulation
they used in the berlin attack in which the attacker eventually was killed by police but it wasn't a suicide operation formally at the beginning. so the fact that it's not a suicide operation i don't think invalidates isis' claim of responsibility. it is quite likely this they inspired the attack. >> at least inspired but directed as well? >> i don't know. one of the two. >> at least inspired. michael weisma. the nightclub was frequented by a lot of high-profile crowd. was this a symbolic location that this guy was going offer? >> yeah. it's in a secular neighborhood of istanbul. you have a major holiday, which all jihadists call on each other to attack during the holiday season. this is the softest of targets. he killed one police officer outside. that's not much of a security
detail whatsoever. coming in, much like the shooter in the pulse nightclub in orlando, spraying machine gun fire into an open crowd, guaranteed to maximize the casualties and casualties. they are losing ground. as they lose ground should we anticipate more isis-inspired or even directed terror attacks on international targets? >> we certainly should, wolf. you are right. they are losing ground in mosul specifically and 2345 lesser degree. you have the limited flow across the border. many isis fighters who usually used istanbul to transport into syria or iraq are not doing that as much. there are a huge number of refugee camps. i think that in combination with changes we have seen in the turkish government and the approach to being a lot more
thore tar yn you have confusion within the intelligence, military and security community within turkey itself due to so many people being rolled up during the koup attempt. you will see turkey continue to sustain these kinds of attacks from isis fighters. >> you anticipate more of these kind of so-called lone wolf attacks? >> i don't know that this is lone wolf. turkey has got one of the largest networks of isis operatives scattered. they have sustained the most number of terror attacks of any european nation. in 2014 before the real spike in the isis attacks they had something like half a dozen or seven attacks that were carried out by members of isis who had either come from syria or who were inspired or radicalized. one reason isis likes to do this and this represents a sea change.
previously they didn't want to clear responsibility. when there is an act of violence to blame the pkk. isis had always wanted to drive that wedge within turkish politics to have turkey exacerbate its relationship and go after the kurdish militias that are fighting isis on the ground. now it seems like they have changed their tactics. >> we are getting breaking news. donald trump responds to north korea's missile threat. we have details of his twitter message to kim jong-un. it's about moving forward not back. it's looking up not down. it's feeling up thinking up living up. it's being in motion... in body in spirit in the now. boost. it's not just nutrition. it's intelligent nutrition. with 26 vitamins and minerals and 10 grams of protein. all in 3 delicious flavors. it's choosing to go in one direction... up. boost.
be up for it. it's beautiful. was it a hard place to get to? (laughs) it wasn't too bad. with the chase mobile app, jimmy chin can master depositing his hard earned checks in a snap. easy to use chase technology for whatever you're trying to master. g new cars. you're smart. you already knew that. but it's also great for finding the perfect used car. you'll see what a fair price is, and you can connect with a truecar certified dealer. now you're even smarter. this is truecar.
there is breaking news. donald trump just fired back at kim jong-un's declaration that he is close to testing an intercontinental ballistic missile. trump tweeted north korea stated it is in the final stages of creating a nuclear weapon capable of reaching part of the u.s. it won't happen. a second tweet says china has been taking out massive amounts of money in wealth from the u.s. but won't help with north korea. nice. our pentagon correspondent barbara starr has been looking into the latest north korea threat. >> tonight these threats are raising question of whether donald trump will be the president that has to take out north korea's nuclear program
possibly with military action. that scenario poses staggering implications. north korea leader kim jong-un's new year's day message, he is almost ready to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile that someday could hit the u.s. >> translator: research and development of cutting edge arms equipment is actively progressing and intercontinental ballistic missile test launch preparation is in the last stage. >> reporter: a security challenge donald trump could face very early on. trump has made clear on the campaign trail he wants china to deal with kim. >> we have to be very vigilant on north korea. china should handle that problem. >> reporter: and offering his own blunt assessment of the north korean leader. >> you have the guy in north korea and is probably crazy. >> reporter: something donald
trump and current director of cia appear to agree on when it comes to kim. >> he is delusional because he believes that the world is going to accept a nuclear north korea and allow it to maintain that arsenal. >> reporter: u.s. war plans have detailed a strike option bombing the regime if it poses an immediate nuclear threat but the intelligence community warns the u.s. may have few cards to play. >> i think the notion of getting the north koreans to de-nuclearize is probably a lost cause. >> reporter: there is intelligence showing how hard kim moved ahead. >> north koreans are close to being able to make a nuclear weapon and hit the united states. >> reporter: the north koreans have already tested an intercontinental long range missile but it had a satellite on the end. north korea claims it tested a
miniaturized war head. u.s. officials say they can't verify that but they have to work under the assumption it's true. north korea has conducted five underground nuclear tests. another could happen at any time with little or no warning, joous intelligence officials say. north korea has to master the technology to assure it can hit a specific target. >> they need to improve their accuracy. they need to improve their range. they have a pretty fierce missile program at this particular time. >> now, two traditional strategies using china to pressure north korea as trump is suggesting and sanctions essentially putting more money in kim's pocket. there is no indication at this point that kim jong-un is interested in either of those strategies. >> serious development indeed. thanks very, very much. a very different note.
we want tocongratulate our producer, new father chris dos santos. his daughter was born this morning. chris says baby and mother are happy and they are healthy. we send our best wishes to all of them. a great way to start the new year. erin burnett outfront starts right now. the breaking news, u.s. intelligence officials with new evidence pointing to the russians in the u.s. election hack as trump continues to discredit their findings. plus more breaking news. trump threatening north korea tweeting it won't happen after kim jong-un says -- and mariah carey making it a new year's celebration to remember. what caused the epic melt down? let's go outfront. and good evening.