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Trump Slams CIA Over Russia Hacking Intel; Alleged Church Shooter's Chilling Confession; Airman's Remains Returned 10 Years Later; Congress Averted Government Shutdown; Ohio Abortion Bill Await Governor's Signature; U.S. to Deploy up to 200 More Troops to Syria; Frosty the Snowman Stabbed by Masked Assailant. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired December 10, 2016 - 07:00   ET


[07:00:00] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you.

PAUL: Yes, also ahead, we should point out this hour, one of the oldest most revered rivalries in college football kicks off this afternoon and guess who's there? One Mr. Coy Wire.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: It's a balmy 29 degrees here in Baltimore for the game. We're going to hear from some of the players. And also we're going to show you one of the cool traditions. New uniforms for the game. I'm not sure whose are cooler, since Victor Blackwell is already playing fashion police this morning. And yes, my decisions are questionable. We'll find out who he thinks had the better unies for this year's Army-Navy game.

BLACKWELL: It's just the hat. But we'll get to that in a moment. Thanks so much, Coy.


BLACKWELL: Let's get to President-elect Donald Trump offering a stunning rejection of U.S. intelligence following new reports from the CIA that Russia meddled in the election to help Trump win.

PAUL: This comes of course after President Obama orders a full review of Russian-election related hacking. Now overnight Trump's transition team is invoking one infamous intelligence flop in the build-up to the Iraq war as evidence.

BLACKWELL: His team says, "These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction."

Well, this now threatening to fuel an early feud between America's top U.S. agencies and Trump's White House. This morning we're getting new reaction from Moscow. They're also dismissing the report. We'll get to that in just a moment.

PAUL: We do have a team of CNN reports and experts standing by to have these conversations. We want to begin with CNN's Kristen Holmes on Trump's new reaction to the report of Russian interference in the election. She is outside Trump Tower in New York for us.

Kristen Christine, good morning to you. What are you hearing from New York this morning?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN WHITE HOUSE PRODUCER: Good morning, Christi. Well, it is important to note that repeatedly during the election, President-elect Trump praised Vladimir Putin, the leader of Russia. It became quite a topic on the last debate. His opponent, Hillary Clinton, actually calling him a puppet, saying that Russia wanted him to win because he could be a puppet.

Now it is important to also note that this is not the first time that Donald Trump has dismissed claims of Russian hacking. Just earlier this week in a "TIME" magazine interview saying that he didn't think that Russia had anything to do with it. It could have been them, but it could have been China. It could have been someone in New Jersey.

But there is something different about this statement, and I do want to pull it up here because it comes from the Office of the Transition. This is an official statement, and it reads, "These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest electoral college victories in history. It's now time to move on and make America great again."

And what's important to note about that is that Trump is basically mocking -- essentially insulting the intelligence community. These are the people who are here to give him the presidential daily briefing, who are here to inform the president of the United States of matters of national and security so something that we have not seen before.

We have reached out to the White House for comment on these latest remarks and have not heard back. But we will keep you posted on that. Again, it is unprecedented to see someone attack the -- the intelligence community that is set up to keep Americans safe here on our home front.

PAUL: All right. Kristen Holmes, we appreciate it so much this morning. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: OK. We are getting reaction from the Kremlin this morning. So let's say good morning to Jill Dougherty, former CNN Moscow bureau chief, joining us now from Moscow. Also with us, CNN political commentator, Errol Louis.

Jill, first to you, what are you hearing from the Kremlin?

JILL DOUGHERTY, FORMER CNN MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF: Well, both from the Kremlin and from the Foreign Ministry. They're both saying essentially prove it. Dmitry Peskov, who is a spokesperson for President Putin, said there are no new conclusions here. Looks like they have no evidence to be blamed on. And he's also saying that it looks as if it's another attempt to influence the incoming president with a bad impression about Russia. And then the same thing coming from the Foreign Ministry. In fact,

the spokesperson saying, look, we've asked the United States to provide this information. They haven't done it. And so, again, prove it. But, as we have been doing, it would be very difficult for the United States to say precisely how it got that information because it could compromise sources and methods and ways that they get this information.

BLACKWELL: Yes. They would have to disclose far too much to explain all that.

Let me come to you, Errol, with this three-sentence dismissal, essentially, of the U.S. intelligence community from the Trump transition team. No signature here. So it's not pinned to a specific person.

Is this reluctance to accept the findings of the intelligence community limited to Russia? Or is this going to expose a real rift on other issues potentially between a Trump White House and the CIA?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: My sense of it, Victor, is that this is the first important foreign crisis of this incoming administration. They're going to have to do much better than an unsigned kind of flippant dismissal of information. There are other sources that have sort of chimed in with the same theme and theory.

[07:05:04] We have for the first time in over 100 years, the head of MI-5, the British Intelligence Service, went public and talked at length about subversion, espionage, cyber attacks coming out of Russia in a very aggressive way. They are alleged to have also hacked the Bundestag, the German parliament.

This is a shadow war, analogous to the Cold War. And the way that you fight back is not necessarily going to be with press releases. It's going to require something very serious and of course there are members of Congress who believe that, too. So unless this transition team, soon to be administration, gets really, really serious about this, I think they're going to be overwhelmed by events.

BLACKWELL: Errol, let me stay with you. If the Trump administration or Donald Trump specifically is not going to listen to the advice or the findings of the CIA, do we know who he's listening to? Because he hasn't offered any support for this refuting claim that Russia was not involved. He said maybe it's China. Maybe it's some guy in New Jersey. Maybe it's somebody who's 400 pounds, he said in the debate. But no support. Who is he listening to that's giving him any of this?

LOUIS: It's a good question. I think we have to make sure that we're always, with Donald Trump, interpreting his words the way they should be interpreted. When Donald Trump says so and so is unfair to me it means that they said something that he didn't like. When Donald Trump says, oh, this is not important to me and so forth, it means that he's going to have a problem if those facts turn out to be true. And so that's fine. That's pure political speech.

DOUGHERTY: You have -- do I have to be here or not? Because I don't have -- I can't see your show.

BLACKWELL: Jill, let me come back to you. I want to ask you about "The New York Times" reporting about Rex Tillerson who is now potentially, according to their reporting, at the top of the list to take the job as secretary of State. He's the president and CEO of ExxonMobil. And we found a part of a conversation just a few months ago at the University of Texas. Mr. Tillerson has been talking about his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Let's watch this.


REX TILLERSON, PRESIDENT AND CEO, EXXONMOBIL: My relationship with Vladimir Putin, which dates back almost 15 years now, I have known him since 1999. I have a very close relationship with him. I don't agree with everything he's doing. I don't agree with everything a lot of leaders are doing. But he understands that I'm a businessman. And I have invested a lot of money. Our company has invested a lot of money in Russia. Very successfully.


BLACKWELL: So their relationship goes back some period. He understands he's a businessman. This could be a windfall for Putin, especially when you compare Tillerson to a Mitt Romney who has been very critical of Russia even dating back to the 2012 election.

DOUGHERTY: Yes. I think, Victor, you know, there's a theme emerging. And that is business deals. I mean, the way the Trump administration seems to be coming out with the idea of foreign policy is let's do a deal. Essentially everybody can do a deal. And it doesn't quite work that way in the world.

Now I have to say, here in Russia, there are a lot of people who share that belief. President Putin may very well share that kind of real politic idea that you can just kind of make a deal. But it's a lot more complicated. So if that is the approach, it would be a very different way of dealing with American foreign policy.

BLACKWELL: And Errol, we may be having the same conversations if Tillerson is the pick about moving from the private sector to the federal government that we're having about Donald Trump and some of those challenges separating himself from his business dealings. We may have those conversations about Tillerson as it relates to Russia, as it relates to Qatar.

LOUIS: Well, I'll tell you, no one could have as complicated a business life as Donald Trump. So I'd be very surprised. You know, we'll find out if Rex Tillerson has all kinds of holdings and deals and investments and hedge funds and everything else. But I suspect he's going to have a different kind of a problem. I mean, Jill put her finger on it which is that a foreign policy is not just a series of deals. It includes things like values. It includes things like treaty obligations. It includes things like sort of strategic moves to try and make sure that freedom is expanded around the world. Things that don't necessarily lend themselves to a bottom line calculation of the type that corporate business people and entrepreneurs like Donald Trump are used to.

BLACKWELL: All right. Errol Louis, Jill Dougherty, we're just starting to have these conversations about Rex Tillerson with this reporting from the "New York Times." There were a lot of names on the list. We know that Giuliani is off. They tell us that Romney is still on it, but we'll examine this relationship and this potential next secretary of state throughout the morning. Thank you both.

LOUIS: Thank you.

PAUL: Well, next, the disturbing confession of an accused mass murderer. Dylann Roof, admitting to the FBI he purposely murdered black church goers to promote his own ideology.

[07:10:05] Why he says, quote, "somebody had to do it."

BLACKWELL: Also, it's being called a military miracle. As an Air Force fighter pilot's remains are returned finally to his family 10 years after his death.


GINGER GILBERT RAVELLA, MAJ. TROY GILBERT'S WIDOW: I have been waiting for that homecoming for 10 years. And I got it.



PAUL: Thirteen minutes past the hour. It's a really chilling confession. Accused mass murderer Dylann Roof wasting no time admitting that he gunned down a group of worshippers.

BLACKWELL: Roof is accused of slaughtering nine people at the historic Mother Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina. You remember that tragedy. Surveillance video from June 2015 captured Roof walking in to that bible study with a gun on his waist. And then you see here, just slowly leaving.

The jury got to hear this disturbing confession in court. And we want to warn you, some of what you're going hear from this initial FBI interview may be a little difficult to listen to.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you consider yourself a white supremacist? I know sometimes that's hard. But the white people are superior --

ROOF: I consider myself a white nationalist. Maybe not white supremacist.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's your definition of the two then? You said you're not a white supremacist. You're a white nationalist. What's -- in your mind what's the difference?

ROOF: How about this? I do consider myself a white supremacist, sure. White people are superior, if that's what you mean.


PAUL: Our Polo Sandoval at the Charleston courthouse covering the trial.

Polo, we know that Roof told investigators, quote, "somebody had to do it." How are people there taking this confession now that it's out there and they can hear it for themselves?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, Christi. This is video that had never been seen or heard publicly until yesterday when jurors had the opportunity to hear directly from that 22-year-old self-described white supremacist say that he did it.

[07:15:09] So this is essentially the confession that authorities now have. It is cold. It is calculated. And it is what prosecutors hope the jury saw. Take a listen.


ROOF: I went to that church in Charleston, and I did it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You did what? Did you shoot them?

ROOF: Yes.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): The confession video was overexposed but Dylann Roof's motive is crystal clear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So your deal -- so is it like --

ROOF: To agitate race relations.

SANDOVAL: Seemingly consumed by a racist fury, Roof told officials he researched black-on-white crime on the Internet during the George Zimmerman trial. It was then he started down a path toward hate crimes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you consider yourself a white supremacist?

ROOF: I do consider myself a white supremacist, sure. White people are superior, if that's what you mean.

SANDOVAL: Church surveillance video released this week shows Roof entering the house of worship in June of last year. He was inside for about 45 minutes. Then he Roof peeks his head out. A Glock 45 caliber pistol in his hand. He then slowly walks out of the door of the church.

ROOF: I was in absolute awe that there was nobody out there after I shot that many bullets. When I walked out that door, you know, I peeked out the door. So I thought there was going to be somebody there ready to shoot me.

SANDOVAL: Roof was prepared to kill himself but didn't when he saw no flashy lights, he told officials. In the video confession Roof laughs occasionally and when agents tell him that he murdered nine people, he appears shocked.

ROOF: There wasn't even nine people there. Are you guys lying to me?


SANDOVAL: Dylan Roof also wrote a 2,000-word statement with photos and posted it online the afternoon of the shooting. In it, Roof said he thought black people were stupid and, quote, "inferior to whites," and violent. He goes on the say, "We have to skin head. No real KKK. No one doing anything but talking on the Internet. Well, someone has to have the bravery to take to it the real world. And I guess that has to be me."

Charged with 33 federal counts including hate crimes, Roof's defense team has conceded that he committed the slayings and has, instead, focused on trying to spare him the death penalty.


SANDOVAL: Adding some context from inside the courtroom, while this lengthy video was being played yesterday morning, there were some at least apparent responses from some members of the audience. But the individual with absolutely no emotion, no response was Dylann Roof.

I was watching as he simply sat there on the defense table, staring blankly at the table. This is something that we've seen over the last three days -- guys.

PAUL: All right. Polo Sandoval, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Well, still to come, a family's fight to put their husband, father to rest. It finally come ones to an end after an Air Force fighter pilot's remains are returned. We'll have the details of this decade-long journey home in just a moment.


[07:21:42] BLACKWELL: This morning, we salute an American hero. Major Troy Gilbert, an Air Force fighter pilot who died 10 years ago protecting American troops in Iraq. Well, over the years, the U.S. military was only able to recover only some of his remains. But now the rest of his remains were finally found and returned to his family.

CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr reports the family is finally getting some what others call closure.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Ginger Gilbert Ravella, mother of five, has been an Air Force widow for a decade. Now 10 long years after her husband, Major Troy Gilbert, died in combat in Iraq, his body has come home.

RAVELLA: I've been waiting for that homecoming for 10 years, and I got it.

STARR: A heartbreaking 10 years during which Troy's body was used in propaganda videos, then a call to Ginger last August.

RAVELLA: And he said Troy's -- Troy has been found. And I was -- I was blown away.

STARR (on camera): This summer, an Iraqi tribal leader approached U.S. forces in Iraq. His tribe had the flight gear and body of Troy, and they wanted to give it back.

(Voice-over): His F-16 crashed on November 27th, 2006. At the time, U.S. Special Operations Forces on the ground were in imminent danger.

RAVELLA: He was singlehandedly taking out the enemy and saving our guys.

STARR: General David Goldfein, currently head of the Air Force, headed the investigation into Gilbert's death 10 years ago.

DAVID GOLDFEIN, AIR FORCE GENERAL AND CHIEF OF STAFF: He was so intensely focused on taking that target out, saving American lives that he didn't give himself enough room for recovery.

STARR: Ginger received this photo. It's an image taken from a drone watching the battle just 30 seconds before he crashed.

RAVELLA: You can see him in this, right here.

STARR: The investigation found Gilbert was flying low using his guns to make sure he didn't inadvertently bomb the U.S. personnel on the ground.

RAVELLA: He took out the first truck. And on the second pass flying, you know, maybe 500, 600 miles per hour, 250 feet above the ground, crashed.

STARR: Among Gilbert's personal items returned, knee pads with dirt from Iraq still on them. A barely recognizable digital camera with a pristine memory card. On it, this final photo taken long before anyone heard of selfies.

RAVELLA: I do believe that he knew he was risking his life, and I believe he wasn't thinking about his own life at that point. I believe he was solely focused on saving theirs.

MAJ. TROY GILBERT, U.S. AIR FORCE: I love you guys. Sorry I can't be there.

STARR: This video recorded just before he died.

GILBERT: I can't wait to get home. I know it's going to be just a couple more weeks before I'm there. So I will stay safe and I will stay healthy and I want you, guys, to do the same.

STARR: There have been two funerals already. One in 2006, one in 2013, when Gilbert's small portions of remains were returned. Now a chance finally to lay him to rest properly.

Some of the special operators Troy saved are expected to attend a final funeral. So will his five children, including twin girls who were just six-months old when he died.

[07:25:09] RAVELLA: What greater gift could we be given this Christmas than to have their dad home. That's all -- that's all we needed.

STARR: Barbara Starr, CNN, Washington.


BLACKWELL: We thank that family for their sacrifice and his service, of course.

When we come back, shutdown narrowly avoided. With an 11th hour deal to stop the government from running out of money. We'll tell you how it all went down. And also important, what happens now?


PAUL: Well, mortgage rates went down this week. Here's a look.


PAUL: Welcome back. So good to have you with us on a Saturday morning. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. So good to start the day with you.

PAUL: And good to have you back.

BLACKWELL: Good to be back.

PAUL: All right. This morning, President-elect Trump waking up in New York. He's going to be heading to the Army-Navy game, though, in Baltimore soon. And while he's there, he'll be meeting CIA director- designate Mike Pompeo. All of this of course the day after he dismissed the findings of the intelligence community that the Russian government was behind cyber attacks during the presidential election specifically to help Trump win.

BLACKWELL: The statement came after President Obama ordered a full review of the cyber attacks by Russia to influence U.S. elections going back to 2008.

[07:30:05] Now Russia insists there is no evidence of hacking. Meanwhile, the search for secretary of State still ongoing. Rudy Giuliani is out. But according to "The New York Times" Donald Trump may seriously be considering ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson. Trump just tweeted this. "Rudy Giuliani, one of the finest people I know as a former great mayor of New York City just took himself out of consideration for state." But CNN learned that Giuliani was told this week that he would not get the job. So he learned a few days ago. PAUL: And new this morning, the government just averted a shutdown.

The Senate cleared a bill to fund the government through the end of April. The 63-36 vote coming just before a midnight deadline when the government could have run out of money.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Manu Raju has details for you.


MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Democrats took a funding battle to the brink last night. Nearly shutting down the government over a fight related to coal miners' health benefits. That was a provision that was included in this must-passed bill to keep the government open past the Friday midnight deadline up until April 28th. In that bill, there's a four-month extension of that health insurance program. But with Democrats wanted a year-long extension.

So behind the scenes, all day long led by Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia where they were trying to drum up enough opposition to the spending bill, to block it, pass it, and actually get what they wanted on that help miner's provision but they were unsuccessful, unsuccessful in getting enough Democratic support to side with them because a lot of other Democrats had other priorities that they wanted to get done in this bill.

Another complicating factor, the House has left town, leaving the Senate with only one option, either accept that package or shut down the government. That's a step too far for a lot of Democrats. But really this was the first big post-election fight for Democrats and Republicans, especially for the Democrats who struggled to win over white working class voters. And some believed pushing on this coal miner health plan could help them with a key constituency that has been voting for Republicans.

Manu Raju, CNN, Washington.


BLACKWELL: All right. Let's go to Ohio where anti-abortion rights activists are claiming a major victory after the state legislature passed two bills that would restrict abortions.

PAUL: One would ban abortions after a heartbeat can be detected. The latest would ban the procedure after 20 weeks gestation. Now backers say the passage of the new bill is a sign of a new America under Donald Trump. Opponents are already planning to fight it.

BLACKWELL: Now everyone is watching Ohio Governor John Kasich because the bill essentially sits on his desk.

Here's Courtney Yuen from CNN affiliate WCMH.


JANET PORTER, PRESIDENT, FAITH2ACTION: We live in a state whose motto is, with God, all things are possible. That's just what happened today.

COURTNEY YUEN, WCMH REPORTER: Janet Porter with Faith2Action says they did everything they could to make sure the heartbeat bill passed. Now she hopes Governor Kasich will sign this bill into law.

PORTER: I think It's going to take eternal vigilance for us to make sure that he maintains his pro-life promises. He keeps his pro-life promises and passes the bill that will protect babies whose heartbeats can be heard.

YUEN: Not soon after the Ohio Senate approved it --



YUEN: A protest erupted outside the governor's mansion.

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: Not the church, not the state, women must decide our fate.

STEPHANIE CRADDOCK SHERWOOD, EXEC. DIRECTOR, WOMEN HAVE OPTIONS: Six- week abortion ban will essentially outlaw abortion all together.

YUEN: Pro-choice supporters argue abortion before viability is a constitutional right.

GABRIEL MANN, NARAL PRO-CHOICE, OHIO: This is a horrible attack on Ohio women. A very dangerous proposal. This blocks access to a safe and legal abortion procedure.

YUEN: Gabriel Mann with NARAL Pro-choice Ohio says their next step is to challenge the bill in court.

MANN: The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal to preserve North Dakota's. So Ohio legislators are signing up the tax payers for a very expensive court battle that they're probably going to lose.

YUEN: While Porter believes it will be upheld after President-elect Trump's victory.

PORTER: I think that we have a brand-new day here in America. And we're going to see a brand-new Supreme Court with pro-life justices. By the time this law gets to the Supreme Court, I'm confident it will be upheld.


PAUL: Joining me now to talk about this, Joey Jackson, CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney.

Joey, thank you so much. As you saw in that piece, both sides here saying look, they're looking forward to victories in higher courts. How far do you think this is going to go? How do you see it playing out? JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Christi, good morning. I

think it's going to go very high. Now just taking a step back, of course. The law has always based on precedent. Since "Roe v. Wade" in 1973 which said that the woman has a right to choose and then "Planned Parenthood v. Casey" 19 years later in 1993. Of course it said the states could restrict abortions, but you can't unduly burden a woman. And the fact is, is that, you know, so we have that precedent to come off. The major concern is not what the current appointee, what happens when we get a new appointee.

[07:35:04] We know that it's 4-4 for the Supreme Court. But -- and Justice Scalia who is conservative, he died, as a result, that's why it's 4-4. So we know that Donald Trump will replace him with someone conservative.

What the concern really is down the road, Christi, is who else Donald Trump appoints to that court. I would take a look at someone like Anthony Scalia -- excuse me, I would take a look at someone like Kennedy on the court, who has really been pro-abortion, or at least a swing vote. But he's going to be 80 years old. And I'd also take a look at someone like Ruth Bader Ginsburg who's over 80 and she's liberal.

So depending on how the mix of the court, it really could change in terms of the analysis because at the end of the day, Christi, the law is what the Supreme Court says it is, and so we could point to precedent as I have with "Roe v. Wade," women's right to choose, and "Planned Parenthood v. Casey." But ultimately, if the court reverses that long term, that we could see a major shift. And I think that's what emboldening states like Ohio to pass these restrictive measures.

PAUL: And this is one of the most restrictive as far as we know. I mean, banning it at the moment a heartbeat is detected is at about six weeks. Do you see other states possibly trying to follow suit?

JACKSON: Well, you know, we have seen this before because in Arkansas, they tried to pass such a measure and of course what happened was it was rejected as unconstitutional. And as we saw in the piece, North Dakota attempted the same thing. And I should also say in rejecting those two measures there were conservative justices that make it to the Supreme Court, but in the federal courts and the appellate system, conservative judges essentially said that, you know what, the law is what it is. We're bound to follow precedent, regardless of our personal views. And at this point, those laws are not going to pass constitutional muster.

But again, Christi, so I think that ultimately this Ohio bill I do believe, as it goes through the channels will be declared unconstitutional, if of course the governor signs it and it becomes law. But again long-term, in the event that you get two conservative appointees on the court, the Supreme Court that is, you could see a seismic shift in terms of "Roe v. Wade," does a woman really now have a right to choose, and women rights, and of course "Planned Parenthood vs. Casey," when can a state restrict abortion? At what level? Is it viability? That is when you are detecting? Is it a heartbeat now that's going to be deemed viability by the Supreme Court? Or are they going to adopt some other measure?

We're not there yet. We're very far from that. And I don't have any immediate concern that the court is going to change or women's rights to choose are going to change. But long term, if we get into two justice appointees by a Republican president, I think that there could be a seismic shift in that regard.

PAUL: We should point out that according to the "Cleveland Dispatch," Governor Kasich himself has had some misgivings about previous attempts to pass so-called heartbeat bills. They report -- and I want to read this to you here. "Kasich said on several occasions in the past two years, he opposed the heartbeat bill primarily because of constitutional concerns."

So, Joey, I mean, he's hinted that this may not withstand legal challenges. Really at the end of the day, what do you think?

JACKSON: I think, as it's currently constituted, I don't think that this bill, the heartbeat bill, which if you can detect a heartbeat at six weeks, that that's going to carry the day. I do believe it's unconstitutional. Arkansas again struck down unconstitutional, same such law. North Dakota struck down unconstitutional same such law.

But I think that there's a new, you know, level of commitment to this and state legislatures may be emboldened because looking long term, if there's a shift in the Supreme Court, which really says what the law is, then I think you have a better chance long term for something like this to see the light of day. Not only in Ohio, but other states to follow.

And so it will really depend not on the immediate appointment because again we should alert everyone that all Donald Trump will be doing is replacing Antonin Scalia. He was very conservative. Anti-abortion. So that -- you know, he's been on the court. It's been what it is been. Women's right to choose. But if you get into another appointee such as Kennedy, who's been a swing vote but he's been supporting abortion rights, or if you get into the issue of Ruth Bader Ginsburg retiring, now you have an issue.

So I think long term, Christi, there could be a problem. Immediately I think things stays status quote and women continue to have the rights and abilities to make decisions about the most personal things and aspects of their life.

PAUL: All right. Joey Jackson, always appreciate your insight, sir. Thank you.

JACKSON: Thank you, Christi.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's talk about these beefing up ground forces. 200 additional American troops will soon be headed to Syria to back up local forces there as they drive toward the Islamic State's self-declared capital.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [07:43:29] PAUL: In Syria, fierce clashing, ground fighting, as the Syrian regime battles rebel force there. In the meantime Defense Secretary Ash Carter says the U.S. will be sending help to that region.


ASH CARTER, DEFENSE SECRETARY: I can tell you today that the United States will deploy approximately 200 additional U.S. forces in Syria, including Special Operations Forces, trainers, advisers, and explosive ordnance disposal teams.

These uniquely skilled operators will join the 300 U.S. Special Operations Forces already in Syria to continue organizing, training, equipping, and otherwise enabling capable, motivated local forces to take the fight to ISIL.


BLACKWELL: Well, this deployment comes as thousands of people are rushing out of Aleppo every day.

CNN's senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen is there in the old city of Aleppo and he takes a look at the humanitarian disaster there.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): This is what the Syrian Army's alleged halt in fighting looks like in Aleppo. The call to prayer pierced by explosions and gunfire as Bashar al-Assad's forces continue to pound the rebels.

Aid groups like the Red Crescent working around the clock to try to provide help for the growing tide of displaced.

(On camera): Of course the volunteers from the Red Crescent are doing their best to try and keep up with the massive demand for aid here in this district after it was taken back by the Syrian military. But there are so many people lining up that it's impossible to meet all the needs.

[07:45:08] (Voice-over): Tens of thousands have already fled eastern Aleppo. Many with only a few belongings they were able to grab trying to get out of the crossfire, now left with almost nothing.

"These are the blankets they gave us," this woman says. "But we're 10 people. Do you really think that one blanket per person will be enough?"

These could be the rebels' final days in Aleppo as the Syrian Army continues to hit them hard, bringing more weapons like tanks and artillery into position. A senior general telling CNN he believes his forces could take the entire city soon.

"It won't be long until we get it back," he says. "It might be a matter of weeks but not more than that."

As the international community continues to try to broker a truce for Aleppo, the reality on the ground shows an escalation in the fighting. The Syrian Army so close to achieving their goal seemingly unwilling to back down.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Aleppo.


BLACKWELL: All right, Fred. Thanks so much.

Let's go to Baltimore for the annual Army-Navy game. Big bragging rights on the line. Coy Wire is already there at the stadium.

WIRE: Yes, Victor. And it is a chilly morning, but things are about to heat up. This is one of the greatest rivalries in all of college sports. We'll hear from some of the players, the coaches, and we're going to show you the new uniforms the teams are busting out. They may be some of the coolest uniforms ever.


[07:50:18] BLACKWELL: All right. Army-Navy, they will meet on the field for the 117th time this afternoon.

PAUL: Yes. Coy Wire, he's already there, on the field, in Baltimore, in all of his glory.


PAUL: And yes, I know he's talking about the uniforms. And these -- what I love about these uniforms, Coy, is there's a real purpose of honor behind this.

WIRE: Absolutely. There's purpose and meaning behind every aspect and every tradition involved in this game. See, every year on one Saturday afternoon, Army and Navy with the deepest level of respect stare each other down and go toe-to-toe of battle for victory that will last them for a lifetime. Give them bragging rights for a lifetime. They play for the love of the game and for the love of our nation.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Army-Navy game is -- this is the greatest game in college football. It's the greatest rivalry in sports.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You could play at a big stadium, you could play a big-time team, but when you come out in the Army-Navy game, it's a different feeling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming out on to the field, the crowd is roaring, the cadets of Army, the midshipmen, everybody is going nuts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's awesome to go out there with a bunch of guys you have shared experiences with and play for each other on such a big stage and just do it for your country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As bad as we want to beat them and as bad as they want to beat us, there's still a great respect for each other.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This game is a fight. You know, it's going to be blow for blow. It's going to be a 15-round heavyweight battle.


WIRE: All right. They're going to go toe-to-toe and they're going to look good doing it. Each team is going to don special uniforms for this game. Army's, theirs are inspired by that which their 82nd Airborne paratroopers wore. All black and gray with a netted helmet representing the division's tactical helmets of the World War II era. And then you have Navy's, stepping back in time to 1963 with a throwback uniform. That's the year that they had Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, Roger Staubach. They finished number two in the nation. They have the blue shoulders, the anchor on the helmet and the gloves that say "Beat Army."

This is the most unique display of American pageantry you will ever see in sports, guys, the Army-Navy game, America's game, is today at 3:00 p.m.

PAUL: Enjoy yourself, Coy. Thank you so much.

WIRE: Thanks, guys.

PAUL: Thank you.

Well, the president-elect has some choice words for the CIA regarding reports that Russia intervened in the election to help him win. What could that mean for the Trump administration's relationship with the intelligence community? We're talking about that at the top of the hour.

BLACKWELL: Plus, how is this for a holiday spirit? Someone stabbed an inflatable Frosty the Snowman and then ran off. It was all caught on video. You know we have it for you. The story is next.


[07:57:36] PAUL: Well, a real-life Grinch was spotted in a St. Louis neighborhood after someone stabbed Frosty the Snowman.

BLACKWELL: He was such a happy jolly soul. It was all caught on video. And although the masked assailant got away, Frosty's owner went to YouTube to put that person on blast.

CNN's Jeanne Moos has the details of this attack.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's kind of chilling to hear that -- has been stabbed?

JEFF DIGS, ST. LOUIS RESIDENT: It's just mean spirited. I mean, it's silly vandalism.

MOOS: St. Louis resident Jeff Digs discovered the diabolical attack on his inflatable snowman when he came home from work.

DIGS: That's when I saw the big hole that had been gashed in his side.

MOOS: He immediately checked his surveillance camera video, at 11:22 p.m. a masked passenger jumps out of a pickup and makes a beeline for Frosty, viciously stabbing him, then trying to cut the rope and finally escaping in the getaway vehicle.

What could be sadder than watching Frosty slowly, slowly, ever so slowly deflate? The good news --


MOOS: But he did require extensive surgery.

DIGS: I put nine stitches in him. And he's doing well.

MOOS: To pay Frosty's medical bills, Digs jokingly set up a go-fund me page. The modest proceeds will actually go to charity. And he used "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" to attack the attacker by posting the surveillance video with a sound track.

(On camera): Digs didn't bother to call police figuring they have more important things to investigate, so the Frosty slasher remains at large.

(Voice-over): And you can't blame Frosty for being nervous after experiencing this.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


PAUL: Love that the guy did something great with it and I hope somebody turns him in because you know those guys are talking about -- that's me.

BLACKWELL: Yes, yes, yes, yes. Somebody foolishly is bragging about this.

PAUL: All right. We've got an awful lot to talk to you about this morning.

BLACKWELL: Next hour of your NEW DAY starts right now.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: It was an unprecedented cyber attack ordered by senior Russian leadership on the U.S. election. Trump repeatedly praised Russia during his campaign.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two of Trump's most high-profile and loyal supporters, Chris Christie and Rudy Giuliani, are no longer in the running for jobs.