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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  January 2, 2020 2:00pm-3:00pm PST

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the worst drought on record. australia is suffering drought and bush fires. and australia's prime minister, scott morrison being heckled by residents at one of these townships that was absolutely decimated. as i say, jake, australia is suffering. >> anna koren, thank you. and stay safe. our coverage continues on cnn right now. happening now, direct order nuchltly unredacted documents from inside the trump administration reportedly revealed that the freeze on military aid to ukraine was a, quote, clear direction for president trump. democrats claim its new evidence for their impeachment case. mcconnell's plan. all eyes right now on the senate majority leader, mitch mcconnell expected to speak tomorrow on the senate floor and possibly clear the fog. could they proceed without
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articles of impeachment? democratic candidates announce their critical cash hauls. who raised the most money? who raised the least? and which candidate is dropping out of the race? man of his word? president trump offers new praise for north korea's kim jong-un, despite new threats from the dictator. tonight, newly released propaganda video may belie kim's frustration. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." >> a new twist in the ukraine scandal at the heart of president trump's impeachment. national security website just security is reporting its review of unredacted trump administration documents found that a white house budget official told the pentagon that the order to freeze u.s. military aid to ukraine came directly from president trump. democrats are seizing on the new revelation with senate minority leader chuck schumer calling it
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a devastating blow to gop plans for the impeachment trial. and house speaker nancy pelosi just tweeted moments ago, blasting the president saying he, quote, engaged in unprecedented total obstruction of congress, hiding these emails and all other documents. we'll talk about that more with senator bob casey. our analysts are also standing by. first, more on these emails that reportedly pinned the decision to freeze ukraine aid directly on the president. senior correspondent manu raju is joining us. what more do these redacted documents reveal? >> we got a statement from the house committee chairman adam schiff, jumping on these released documents that have been reported by just security, this website, reporting on national security matters. what schiff says is, quote, the disclosure of these incriminating documents reinforces the need for all these materials to be produced and a fair trial in the senate cannot occur without that. these emails that have been
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reviewed by just security essentially shows the concerns happening within the administration about the withholding of this military aid to ukraine and makes it very clear that it was the president who had instructed this hold to be placed on the military aid, even though it had been appropriated by congress, roughly $400 million for that country as it was fighting a war with russia. in this email from the top white house budget official mike duffy to comptroller elaine mccup of coffeer, duffy says clear direction from potus to continue to hold. potus, of course, being the president of the united states. that email came on august 30th, the same day as defense secretary mark espers. secretary of state mike pompeo met with president trump to discuss the hold. at the same time this report shows that there were concerns raised by mccup of coffeer. the pentagon comptroller, acting
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pentagon comptroller, who had concerns july 25th, same day that president trump talked to president zelensky of ukraine, urging them to investigate the bidens. she had concerns withholding this aid could potentially violate federal law, requiring the administration to appropriate money that had been -- spent money that had been appropriated by congress. that concern had been revealed throughout some time, the two months or so in which this aid had been when would. all these documents had been blocked and prevented from coming to capitol hill. it was part of the house impeachment inquiry. redacted version were released because of a lawsuit filed by an outside organization that got some redacted copies of these emails behind these blacked out lines, just security is reporting about what they're seeing behind these blacked out lines, democrats not only adam schiff but the house speaker jumping all over this as well, saying trump engaged in
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unprecedented, total obstruction of congress, hiding these emails and all other documents and his top aides from the american people. his excuse was a phony complaint about the house process. what's the excuse now? why won't trump and mcconnell allow a fair trial? >> the senate returns from recess as the president's impeachment trial clearly remains very much in limbo right now. what do you expect? >> reporter: we expect more of the two sides digging in, mitch mcconnell senate majority leader will go to the floor shortly after noon tomorrow to convene the second session of congress. expect him to say senate will continue on its course of affirming judicial nominees of president trump's and demand that the house speaker turn over those articles of impeachment, as she is required to do, so the senate can start its trial. if she decides not to turn over those articles of impeachment, he will say we're going to carry on with our business of the senate.
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expect him also to dig in and say we're not going to agree to moving forward on witnesses and documents until after the opening arguments occur and then at that point they can make those decisions. democrats want that agreement about witnesses and documents locked in at the forefront, before the trial takes place. expect chuck schumer, senate minority leader, to go to the floor afterwards and demand mitch mcconnell listen to his own concerns, but we're probably going to see, wolf, more of an impasse. two weeks and counting and perhaps there could be a resolution when all the senators return next week and congress reconvenes. for the moment, two sides digging in on the president's impeachment trial in limbo. >> manu raju, thank you. all of this clearly on the president's mind as he continues his holiday in mar-a-lago resort in palm beach, florida. boris sanchez is there for us. clearly ratcheting up as the president's vacation is beginning to wind down.
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>> reporter: yeah, that's right, wolf. with lawmakers returning to capitol hill, sources close to the president tell us he is growing anxious, eager to get this senate trial started. he wants his day in court, so to speak. the president also confronted with some foreign policy challenges, not only with iran, but with north korea as well. tonight, president trump railing against his impeachment, tweeting if this happened against a president who was a democrat it would be considered the crime of the century. white house aides have kept in touch with senate majority leader mitch mcconnell's office during the holiday break. though it's unclear how frequently those talks have taken place, trump's legal team plotting various procedural steps that might force house speaker nancy pelosi's hand as they wait for her to deliver articles of impeachment. >> i don't really care. it doesn't matter. >> reporter: publicly portraying a.m. biv lens, trump has privately been restless, eager for a trial, quizzing allies and
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aides, concerning his legal strategy. this, as the white house faces threats from iran and north korea. the pentagon issuing a strong warning that anyone who attempts to overrun the u.s. embassy in iraq will, quote, run into a buzz saw after a siege on the embassy earlier this week by supporters of an iran-backed militia. >> this obviously crossed the line for us. >> reporter: trump is responding to north korea's kim jong-un. >> he likes me. i like him. we get along. he's representing his country. i'm representing my country. we have to do what we have to do. but he did sign a contract. did he sign an agreement. i think he's a man of his word. we're going to find out, but i think he's a man of his word. >> reporter: this, after kim announced the world will witness a new strategic weapon and promised to deliver a christmas gift to the united states. and, wolf, back to impeachment, the president here at mar-a-lago
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has been figuring out his legal strategy. it's still fluid. questioning allies and aides on exactly how he should move forward and whether he should add to his legal team, bolstering who is already on board. wolf? >> boris sanchez in florida for us. thank you very much. let's get the latest on the situation at the embassy in baghdad. arwa damon is in the capital for us. the iranian-backed militia protesters tried to storm the compound. what's the latest? >> reporter: they've also had pretty confident statements as well, believing they delivered their message straight to america's door in their attempts to storm that embassy compound. the situation now is normal in as much as it can be, although the embassy has suspended its dealings at this stage.
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and you also have the iraqi security forces that have formed a perimeter around it, manning the checkpoints. meaning unless you have a proper badge or some sort of an escort, you can't get through. but these group of protesters, wolf, they're not your ordinary protesters. they make up or are supporters of this shia paramilitary force, extensibly part of the iraqi security forces but also very heavily funded, supported, trained and in some cases even provided with weapons by iran and how this was able to unfold goes to the crux of the dilemma of this entity. they're not just militarily very powerful but politically very powerful as well. wolf. >> so sad, 17 years after this war started back in 2003, it's still a crisis right now. huge, huge casualties potentially at stake right now. we'll continue to watch it.
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arwa, be careful over there. arwa damon in baghdad for us. let's get more on all of this right now. bob casey from pennsylvania is joining us, key member of the finance committee. thank you so much for joining us i want to get to the situation in iraq in a few moments. let's start with ukraine right now. these unredacted emails that we're seeing for the first time between the pentagon, and the office of management and budget reviewed by just security, that organization. they show that the pentagon officials were extremely concerned about the hold-up of u.s. military aid to ukraine. they were worried it might even be illegal. august 30th email an omb official says there's now clear direction from potus, president of the united states, to hold. how significant are these emails? >> well, wolf, i think these emails give new urgency to the question of who should testify in this senate trial upcoming.
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it's interesting that the just security reports point specifically to an individual named in the letter that senator schumer sent to senator mcconnell on the 15th of december, which is mr. duffy, who is the national security person at the office of management and budget. he should testify because he has direct knowledge about the president giving the order, direct knowledge that is evident in that email that's now disclosed. in addition to the testimony proceeded or summarized, i should say, in the house intelligence report, way back in july, even before the august 30th email, way back in july, there was real concern about two things, two issues, i should say, that the president himself should have been concerned about. what will the delay in aid or holding up of the aid, what will that do to our national security
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interests? secondly, is it legal or not legal? unfortunately, the president wasn't concerned about either of those. people around him in the administration were concerned about the aid itself as well as the legality. >> the money, appropriations, $40 million appropriated by the house and senate, signed into law by the president of the united states and withholding that money was considered, at least by some over at pentagon, potentially an illegal act. that's why they kept saying the president personally authorized it. we'll continue to follow this part of the story. as you know, senator, the democratic leader, chuck schumer in the senate, he says trump administration witnesses need to come and testify about this new information, other information. do you have a strategy to convince at least a few of your republican colleagues in the senate to back up this call for witnesses? >> wolf, i think that's going to be a determination that's made in terms of a strategy, that's going to be a determination made
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by the caucus. senator schumer proposed something very reasonable. four witnesses and then documents that are relevant to two basic issues. the question of the aid to ukraine and the importance of that aid and also the second issue, which is how these decisions were made. having the national security and the appropriations questions are critical. i think chuck schumer presented a case to mitch mcconnell. there's been no response yet. maybe tomorrow leader mcconnell will outline his response on the floor. to have a trial, which is fair, and if there's nothing to hide, as the president said over and over again in the memorandum of the conversation with the ukrainian president, why not put it on the table, let the
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senators, as triers of fact and jury, make a determination as a complete record? >> assuming all of you hold firmly and agree, you need four republicans to join you to get to 51, a simple majority. is that doable? >> i think it is. there are some republicans that have express ed concern about te process, about the denial of process. in keeping with not just their oath of office, but that they will have to take and i will take as well as jurors in this senate trial, which is to do, quote, impartial justice according to the constitution and laws. to do that, to discharge that duty they have, you have to do this to ensure the record is complete. >> formally, officially
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withholding these two articles of impeachment or could this delay backfire on democrats? >> well, we'll see in terms of timing, but i think what the speaker has articulated is that having information about the process before she finalizes her list of house managers, because it will be presented by house managers. it's difficult to make that decision about which house members will be managers until you have a sense of the process in the trial. i think she has made a reasonable judgment here. i'm sure when she presents the articles, we'll have a trial that's ready to go. it's critical that we have witnesses that senator schumer outlined, critically mr. bolton and his team as well as mr. mull veiny. >> senator bob casey, thank you
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so much for joining us. >> quick programming note from or viewers before we move on from impeachment. please join us this sunday for a special look back at the suspense, the drama from the impeachment trial of president bill clinton. very timely cnn special report, "the trial of william jefferson clinton" coming up sunday night 9:00 p.m. eastern right here on cnn. up next, new numbers in the money race among the 2020 democr democratic presidential candidates. whose campaign is in the best shape with a month to go until the iowa caucuses? later, north korea releases a new video of kim jong-un riding a white house or a rev e revered mountain. what's the message behind the pictures? robinhood believes now is the time to do money.
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newly released fund-raising numbers show important trends in the presidential democratic race with the first of the nation presidential caucuses just over one month away. joining us from iowa right now, where joe biden just finished an event. first of all, natella, tell us about the money raised. >> these democratic contenders are showing they'll need the
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resources for what could be a very long democratic fight. bernie sanders raised a massive $34.5 million in the last quarter of 2019. he is in a league of his own, powered by that small donor base that he has. joe biden had a bit of a rebound from a sluggish quarter that was the third quarter. andrew yang with impressive figures at $16.5 million. elizabeth warren, we're still waiting for her to release her numbers. jeff zeleny caught up with bernie sanders a little bit ago. take a listen to what he had to say. >> what's important to me is not just the large amount of money. that is important. what's important is in this campaign so far we've received over 5 million campaign contributions, more than any candidate in the history of the united states. and that tells me the kind of grassroots support that we have.
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>> reporter: now, joe biden has relied heavily on big-dollar fund-raisers but his campaign says he has seen an uptick in online donations, and they also view president trump's attack on joe biden as being a fund-raising boost. biden talked about those attacks from the president here at an event a short while ago. take a listen. >> he will do everything that he can, possibly, to bait me. and, by the way, whomever the next -- if i'm not your nominee, if i were to drop dead tomorrow, we're going to have another -- by the way, i may not be the nominee anyway. but if i were to drop out of the race tomorrow, guess what? do you think he's not going to go after and lie about and misrepresent, and deal in the dirt with whomever the candidate is? he'll come up with something in their lives. but the difference with me is i've taken it now for eight months, and i'm still winning. >> reporter: wolf, one other
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note tonight, the democratic field is getting a little bit smaller. former hud secretary julian castro said he is suspending his campaign. we are 32 days out from the caucuses. wolf? >> arlette saenz for us in iowa, thank you. coming up, budget official telling the pentagon that president trump gave clear direction to withhold aid to ukraine. stay with us. you're in "the situation room." lendingtree.com to compare and save on loans, credit cards and more! but with the new lending tree app you can see your full financial health, monitor your credit score, see your cash flow and find out how you can cut your monthly bills. download it now to see how much you can save. ♪
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we're closely following new developments connected with the impeachment of president trump, unredacted documents reviewed and published on the website just security include an email from office of management and budget official, informing the pentagon the hold on military aid to ukraine was at the, quote, clear direction of the president. let's ask our experts about the impact of this late revelation. nancy pelosi, bianna, tweeted this. trump engaged in unprecedented total obstruction of congress, hiding these emails, all other documents and his top aides from the american people. how will it get witnesses to appear at a senate trial? >> there's been pressure on her as to when she would transmit the articles of impeachment to the senate. all along she's said i'm not
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doing so until we get a clear sense of what this trial will look like, specifically whether or not we'll hear from key witnesses. this just gives her extra ammunition for making that argument, because you're seeing once again direct linkage not only to the president but also those around him, specifically duffy and mick mulvaney, well aware of the president's desire to withhold that money. you really see the tension between the top pentagon officials and the comptroller there at the pentagon and omb official duffy, who emailed that this came directly from the president the very day that -- hours, perhaps, after his chief of staff, his secretary of state and his secretary of defense tried to plead with him in the oval office why it was crucial to release that aid. obviously, to no avail and thus this email was sent. we don't know when she will transmit those articles but it gives her more leverage in the sense of this being so open now.
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adam schiff calls thee deeply troubling, saying that the president of the united states was violating the wall by withholding this military assistance to ukraine. >> yes. in fact, adam schiff is exactly right. we're finding a pattern. and the pattern is that every time there's a new revelation made, it reinforces, it strengthens the case of the house of representatives for impeaching the president. it strengthens the support for the two articles. the other thing it does, the other thing the pattern does, it strengthens the case for witnesses in the senate. we now know that the president has, of course, ordered these witnesses not to appear. they seem to be in possession of knowledge that it's hurtful to the president. it hurts the president. it does not exonerate the president and the strength for
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request made by senator schumer to have witnesses is actually increased right now for the senate. >> as a result of that. what stands out to you when you compare the previously redacted documents and you compare them to these new unredacted documents, the same documents? >> the department of justice appears to have initially redacted the most damning content from what they released. under the freedom of information act, federal agencies, like the department of justice, have to comply with lawyer requests unless content meets certain statu statutory confinements. what appeals from the now unredacted emails is that the department of justice, instead, redacted contact that was harmful to the president and harmful to the people closest to him in his inner circle. for example, the fact that legal concerns were raised. the fact that omb lied to the american people and to congress
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about the impact that withholding these funds would have on national security. and so i have real questions about whether they complied with the law. >> the deadline for releasing the money getting closer and closer, michael duffy at the omb tried to blame the pentagon for the whole thing. he wrote this. if you are unable to obligate the funds, it will have been dods decision that cause any impoundment of funds. and the reply, you can't be serious. my speechless. >> shifting the blame of the freeze on aid to the pentagon even though the pentagon
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repeatedly raised questions about the legality of the freeze on that aid. they warned they would not be able to obligate those funds as appropriated by congress. you're now hearing democrats say these revelations really reinforce as we gear up for the trial in the senate the need to have some of those key witnesses testify, including duffy, including acting chief of staff mick mulvaney. they're reiterating things like these when would from congress that may contain more information about who was directly involved in that decision making. one of the key takeaways is that the pentagon, not only did they warn about the impact of the hold on that aid but reportedly accused omb of mischaracterizing the process. you're seeing those tensions in that exchange. >> certainly are. bianna, the democrats want to see witnesses appear, john bolton especially, john bolton's
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national security adviser. what options do the democrats have if there is going to be a senate trial, to see those witnesses appear? >> the option is that we get more news like we're getting right now that puts extra pressure on republican senators, specifically lisa murkowski and susan collins, who have already said they're not very comfortable with the way mitch mcconnell has addressed this, and saying he's in lockstep with the white house, but, you know, these are really damning emails. if more information does come out over the next few weeks, you're going to see more pressure on republicans. that having been said, mcconnell of all people can withstand pressure. he has done it in the past. he knows this is a popularity contest. he wants to make this trial fast and quick and and knows how damning these witnesses could be for the president. what strikes me after reading these emails and the information we now know, when we think back to mick mulvaney and everyone was bewildered as to why he
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admitted it was a quid pro quo and with we should just get over it, one has to assume he knew information like this would be coming out and and there was a direct trail to both him and his deputie deputies. >> i'm told, michael ger hardt john bolton may the most. is it realistic to think he will show up and be a witness in the senate? >> i don't think it's realistic at all. keep in mind that the president is trying to stop ambassador bolton from testifying and all these other witnesses from testifying. and i think it's becoming quite clear why he's trying to stop them. because they don't have exonerating evidence. they have, actually, evidence that will incriminate him further. that's a problem for the president. there seems to be substantial evidence right now, reinforcing the democrat's case in the house that the president of the united states has been obstructing congress and also trying to prevent any inquiry that would
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show the president is guilty as charged. >> everybody, stand by. there's more we're following right now as investigators look into yet another anti-semitic attack in new york city. the family of a man severely injured in an attack on hanukkah has people standing up and asking to stop the hate. i see award-winning service, and a trade desk full of experts, available to answer your toughest questions. and i see it with zero commissions on online trades. i like what you're seeing. it's beautiful, isn't it? yeah. td ameritrade now offers zero commissions on online trades. ♪
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as investigators look into yet another anti-semitic attack in new york city, the family of a man injured during the stabbings at a hanukkah celebration is now dire. new security measures have been announced in the community where the hanukkah attack took place. brynn gingras is on the scene for us. what more did we just learn from this news conference? >> reporter: yeah, wolf, the rockland county district attorney says it will bring its case against that suspect, gr t suspect,grafton thomas, before a grand jury. we got an update on the investigation continuing at this point. they say they still don't have a clear moment as to why grafton
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thomas chose that particular home, the rabbi's home, to carry out this vicious attack on the seventh night of hanukkah. thomas is actually familiar to police they interviewed thomas and his mother while they were investigating a previous incident, a stabbing of a youish man in muncie in november. they're clear they've not yet made a connection between that incident and thomas at this point. at this news conference we've also heard from the family of the victim that was most critically injured in this incident, joseph newman. their family members, his daughter, essentially says their father is in a coma, he hasn't woken up since this attack. i want to show you a picture that they released of him in the hospital. and it's graphic. i want to warn your viewers. it is extremely horrific to see the injuries that he sustained. and that is why this family said they released this picture. they essentially say if there's anything good to come of this, they hope that their father, in the dire condition that he is
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in, will have some change in the community. take a listen. >> guys, i'm begging you, if you are watching this, please stand up and stop this hatred. it cannot keep going on. we want our kids to go to school and feel safe. we want to go to our synagogues and feel safe. we want to go to groceries and malls and feel safe! >> and as we talk about safety, there is officials that are really stepping up safety measures all across the state when it comes to state police. also in new york city, we're seeing stepped-up patrols. and in this county they will be adding more cameras just for security measures. this, as we're learning, there have been 50 incidents, anti-semitic, vicious attacks this last month, the most recent one happening yesterday, wolf, new year's day against a youish
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man punched in the throat. so the security measures asked to do more. >> brynn gingras, thank you very much. also coming up, new propaganda from kim jong-un. proof i can fight moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. proof i can fight psoriatic arthritis... ...with humira. proof of less joint pain... ...and clearer skin in psa. humira targets and blocks a source of inflammation that contributes to joint pain and irreversible damage. humira can lower your ability to fight infections. serious and sometimes fatal infections, including tuberculosis, and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened, as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. tell your doctor if you've been to areas
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right now, we're following new threats and new propaganda video from north korea. brian, tough new talk from the dictator. >> some tough talk, wolf, frustration on the part of kim and anticipation tonight. military officials from seoul to washington are now watching closely to see if kim is frustrated enough to engage in a dangerous provocation. the new year brings bold strokes of bravado from north korea's lead person the propaganda is a video he made on a white stallion complete with sound effects of the horse's gallup. the dictator brashly declares his country will no longer be bound to his self-declared halt to testing of nuclear bombs and long range missiles, as the world sees fresh video of kim's
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officers standing in the water and kim posing with his wife in a snowbank stream we also get an ominous new warning from the despot, the world will witness a new trach weapon to be possessed by the dprk in the near future. >> many are expecting an icm launch, whether existing missile or new icbm like solid fuel. they could do additional submarine launches and they could finally demonstrate they have a re-entry capability. that would protect a warhead as it comes back into the earth's atmosphere. >> despite the cheerful propaganda of kim emerging with applause, he is frustrated president trump has not paid for
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him. >> there has been no lifting of sanctions and no progress on ending the korean war and no progress and frankly kim jong-un doesn't have much to show for it. >> venting that frustration, kim jong un imposed a deadline by the end of 2019 or else and threatened a so-called christmas gift to america many experts believed would be the testing of a long range missile. that hasn't come yet. even with his latest new year's threats, analysts pointed out kim did not say he's walking away from diplomacy with president trump. >> what kim jong-un has done signaling assertiveness and aggressiveness but leaving the door open saying we want to negotiate as much as you do. >> reporter: as the latest threats are trickling in, he's still banking on his personal relationship with kim.
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>> he likes me, i like him, we get an along. i think he's a man of his word. >> reporter: some believe if kim test as missile soon trump and his leaders should no longer be so accommodating. >> we canceled at least 13 exercises. that's degraded u.s. deterrence and defense capabilities. >> analysts say if kim jong-un test as missile soon, the test would be to not overreact but target him with specific sanctions like going after the chinese banks suspected of laundering his money for him. we'll see. we can do that. >> you hear kim is sensing potential vulnerability with purcha president trump at this moment? >> right. my sources tell our colleagues
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in asia, that they now view president trump as politically vulnerable because of his impeachment trial and election and why there have been such aggressive statements. >> thank you. coming up, democrat seize on e-mails that reportedly show president trump directly ordered a freeze on ukrainian aid. new details on the latest twist on the impeachment drama next. i. lots of ink. print about... this many pages. the epson ecotank. just fill and chill.
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happening now, new direction, evidence the order to hold u.s. aid to ukraine came directly from president trump. and giving democrats fresh ammunition as they cry cover-up. nancy pelosi, holding onto the articles of impeachment, we're getting new information on the business as usual strategy. cashing in, top presidential candidates raise mega millions ahead of the lead-off contest in iowa. can any of them compete with the trump fund-raising machine. deadly wildfires. this disaster is about to get even worse. cnn is on the scene. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in the

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