Return to Transcripts main page
Donald Trump Seals Presidency; Russian Ambassador Killed Live on Camera; Drone Returned by China; More Evidence Found in Berlin Attack. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired December 20, 2016 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[03:00:00] MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: Melt down. German police say a truck driver deliberately slammed into a Berlin Christmas market killing 12 people.
"Remember Aleppo." Turkish authorities search for answers after policeman shouting about Syria kills Russia's ambassador to Turkey.
And protest or not Donald Trump seals the deal as America's next president in the Electoral College.
Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Max Foster and this is CNN NEWSROOM.
Following several big stories for you this hour. First in Berlin, police now say that Monday's deadly truck crash in a packed Christmas market is a presumed terrorist attack.
They believe the truck was deliberately steered in to the crowd. Twelve people killed, 48 injured. And we warn you the images you are about to see are disturbing.
This is cell phone video. Moments after the truck crash through the market. One man is now in custody and being questioned. Another man, a Polish citizen was found dead inside the truck cab. Officials say it's too soon to draw any conclusions about what happened there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREAS GEISEL, BERLIN STATE INTERIOR MINISTER (through translator): Our free society needs us to be open and celebrate Christmas as a festival of the family of happiness. This has been destroyed here today, but I caution everyone not to jump to conclusions or change our way of life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Well, the crash happened in a central square in western Berlin near a historic church memorial. This is the 33rd year of the Christmas market at that site. First responders describe what they saw when they arrived at the chaotic scene.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SVEN GERLING, BERLIN FIREMEN SPOKESMAN (through translator): The whole
atmosphere was shocking, even for our own people. For them it was also very hard. They arrived at a place where everyone needed help, but in the initial phase, when we had a few people there, it was impossible to help everyone immediately. That's why we asked for help from volunteer firemen. And we are for helping our own people looking after them. And we have brought in volunteer firemen so we that we are able to continue working.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Julian Reichelt is the editor in chief of the German newspaper Bild, he joins me now live from Berlin. This is now being headed by the national authorities. A very serious instance indeed.
JULIAN REICHELT, BILD NEWSPAPER EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Yes. The authorities that are responsible for acts of terrorism just took over the investigation about 30 minutes ago, which is a clear indication that they think the person they have in custody is the perpetrator of this attack last night.
They now say that they think he drove the truck in to the crowd deliberately. So everything now indicates that this is a terrorist attack following the scenario we have seen in Nice earlier this year.
FOSTER: When should we expect more details on what the motive might have been?
REICHELT: Well, so far, the investigators are very careful with releasing any kind of details because, from what we understand, there's still an ongoing investigation. There was a raid at the former Berlin temple, which is now a refugee home, just a few hours ago.
This is where the man who we heard is 23 years old and from what we know now a Pakistani background has been living for the past year since coming to Germany. So, they are still looking into possible links with maybe other people here in town or anywhere else. So they are very careful with releasing this.
But also possibly being careful with releasing this information because obviously the whole refugee of debate has been a very heated debate in Germany and releasing any consolidated information about the possible ethnic background of the attacker, any relation to the refugee policy him coming to Germany as a refugee would have huge political implications.
So, the investigators here certainly want to get this right before releasing anything to the media.
FOSTER: Angela Merkel will want to be sure the information, as well, won't she? So, is that why we haven't heard much from her yet?
REICHELT: Absolutely. She will only address the public when she is 100 percent sure about who has done this and what his background is, how this person has come to Germany, if there are any other possible links. So far what we are seeing is that he -- she is following kind of a
hands-off approach. She's been briefed, obviously all the time, but she's leaving public statements to her minister of the interior who's responsible for the authorities that are investigating acts of terrorism.
[03:05:02] FOSTER: So, the investigation continues, and they are potentially carrying out extra raids, as you suggested there. But they don't think there is a wider threat. People aren't being told to stay indoors anymore.
REICHELT: Well, from what we have seen in the past, is that even those people who seem self-radicalized, who seem like, who seem to be what is called lone wolves in the public always have some sort of link to a wider network. Always have been in communication with a wider network either inspiring them or leading them or instructing them.
We have seen this kind of activity in Germany in the past months, very complete instructions coming out of radical. In this case, Islamist groups, two sympathizers here in Germany. So, there -- there is nothing that indicates an attack that would still be ongoing that there is still some trying to commit another act of terrorism.
But there are, telling from experience, in most cases some sort of network structures behind this and this is what investigators are still looking at. Not an actual threat on the ground.
FOSTER: OK. Julian, thank you very much, indeed, for your time. A very busy day for you. Thank you for joining us.
Shandana Durrani was there when the attack happened. She described what she saw to John Vause there earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHANDANA DURRANI, EYEWITNESS: Actually looked like he jumped the curb and was going out of control, lost control of the truck and swerved into the crowded market. It came -- it went so fast and it sort of jumped the curb and went sideways where I was at. And people just started running and dropping their glue in (Ph) which
is, you know, such a big Christmas tradition here at the market and start screaming and running and yelling things in German. I'm an American, I've only lived here three months. I don't know much German, but I knew enough to run. I just ran in the other direction.
There's not much cover in these markets. So, there's really no place to run. You have to sort of hide behind the stall and or, you know, just keep running and I heard some popping and I thought maybe there is a guy with a gun.
You know, we see it a lot in America with these people going on a rampage with a gun so I just tried to duck and cover and hid behind a stall with a bunch of other people until we thought it was safe to come out.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN HOST: Do you remember seeing much security at the market before the truck went in to the crowd?
DURRANI: There's always security around at these markets and around Berlin. They are not as obvious as what you see in the U.S. with the guys in the army fatigues and the guns. They are kind of very little, you know, hidden, they're not so obvious but they are always there and they are always looking around.
But this is a very, very free society, it's very open society. So, it's not like it's in your face so people can come and go as they please which they like to do at the Christmas markets because it is like your previous correspondent said it is a tradition here in Germany and people really, really love Christmas here in Germany.
VAUSE: Do you remember how long all of this lasted before the truck actually stopped?
DURRANI: It felt like 10 -- it felt like 10 hours but it was probably 10 seconds. I was texting on my phone and I stopped to respond to a text. If I hadn't responded I probably might have been hit because it was only 20 feet away at that time.
I looked up and people just starting running and screaming. And I saw this big, you know, it looked like a gigantic UPS truck coming towards us. And I just ran. I mean, it was, it probably didn't last very long but it felt like I was in slow motion and trying to get away from it. Very surreal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Just one of the eyewitnesses there. And Saijan Gohel is international security director of the Asia-Pacific Foundation. He joins me now here in London.
What's shocking is, you know, the lack of shock really about what happened here. Because this is exactly the sort of attack the intelligence agencies were talking about and preparing for.
SAIJAN GOHEL, ASIA-PACIFIC FOUNDATION INTERNATIONAL SECURITY DIRECTOR: Very much so. I'm afraid they were warning us. They were concerned that the Christmas spirit would result in spate of plots. There was heightened activity, electronic chatter.
I guess it's still is disturbing because of the fact that when you see a vehicle being turned into a lethal weapon, mowing people down, everyone brings the similarity to the Nice attacks on the 14th of July of this year.
But there have been a whole number of other plots involving vehicles, which thankfully the authorities have disrupted, but unfortunately they have to be lucky all the time. The terrorists need to be lucky once and when it happens it's devastation.
FOSTER: It started as a simple technique, isn't it. I remember being in Nice. A lot of the witnesses caught off guard because they assumed that this is a truck out of control or a some sort of delivery truck.
[03:10:02] So they -- they allow it to continue its path because it just doesn't look like an attack at first sight.
GOHEL: It took many people off guard. And keep in mind that the Nice attack was on Bastille Day so there was heightened security but nevertheless, an incident like that is very surreal.
That vehicle in Nice drove for over one mile, for 1.7 kilometers and killed 86 people and injuring hundreds. And we can see that it gives inspiration to other individuals. Because one attack that's successful can then potentially being used by other people. That may be guided by a bigger terrorist group or maybe so-called lone wolves.
FOSTER: And realistically you can't protect each event to the extent that will be required to stop an attack like that. And it would just be unaffordable. So, it has to rely on intelligence, right? Or what should it be?
GOHEL: Counterterrorism is very much intelligence led. Perhaps, arguably, there could be more measures to use bollard heavy concrete around say marketplaces to stop vehicles from entering.
And keep in mind that there have been plots in Germany to target people with weapons and also as a car -- a real car kind of mid side, the individual carry the (Inaudible) at Wurzburg on the train earlier this year.
He -- German authorities discovered that his intention was actually to use a car to mow people down. The only reason why it didn't happen was because he didn't have a driver's license.
Just recently last week, a 12-year-old was arrested in Germany with the intention of targeting a Christmas marketplace. So, there a lot of activity going on in Germany. And the authorities are keeping track with intelligence but they can't disrupt every plot.
FOSTER: But if people stop going to these events then the terrorists have won, haven't they?
GOHEL: The primary goal of terrorism is to kill and maim. The second goal is to cause disruption to change our way of life to alter the way we think and feel about our security. And it's very important that doesn't happen. Because if they can have that psychological impact then it very much it feeds in to their narrative that they can control, influence and intimidate people.
But if more incidents like this happen after Berlin and I fear it's not necessarily an isolated incident then maybe we will see more problems emerge.
FOSTER: OK. Saijan, thanks for joining us. We'll speak to you again later.
Meanwhile, Turkish police have arrested a man who fire several shots outside of the U.S. embassy in Ankara. And he was heard shouting "I swear to God and don't play with us" in Turkish as officers led him away. This happened in the same neighborhood where Russia's ambassador to
Turkey was killed on Monday. The U.S. has closed its embassy and consulate in Turkey on Tuesday.
Swiss police are looking for a man who have been fire on worshippers in the Islamic center in Zurich. Three men were wounded in the shooting. A body was found nearby but authorities haven't said it is related, there is no word yet on a possible motive there.
Well, still to come, more on the assassination of Russia's ambassador to Turkey and the possible ramifications around the world.
Plus, the new report says the search for missing flight MH 370 is being way off. Australia's recommendation and reaction from the families of the passengers just ahead.
[03:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: hi, there. I'm Don Riddell with your CNN World Sport headlines.
We'll start with a dramatic night in the Premier League which saw Liverpool move into second in the title hunt facing Everton away in the Merseyside derby. It was goalless after 90 minutes. But deep into Sturridge time, Daniel Sturridge hit the post. And Sadio Mane reacting first to bury it and give Liverpool a 1-nil win.
Staying in football, FIFA has fined four countries for displaying the poppy symbol on Armistice Day. During that game at Wembley Stadium on the 11th of November, the England and Scotland wore arm bands with the flower on it while Wales and Northern Island had the image displayed on the pitch and around the stands.
The English FA which was handed a higher fine as the host nation release a statement on Twitter saying that it intends to appeal.
It's been a bittersweet say of cricket for the Pakistan team rewriting the record books for still ending up on the losing side. Chasing a seemingly impossible target of 490 runs to win the first test.
In Brisbane against Australia the tourists came up just 40 run short, thanks mainly to a battling century from Asad Shafiq. Pakistan's 450 was their highest ever forth in its total and it's jointly the third highest score in the fourth innings of any test.
And that is a quick look at your sports headlines. I'm Don Riddell.
FOSTER: Russia and Turkey say the assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey will not undermine their diplomatic relations. The shooting was caught on video. We're about to play and you may find it graphic and disturbing.
That shooter has been identified as a police officer. The 22-year-old Turk shot Ambassador Andrei Karlov at an art exhibition in Ankara, he then shouted "Do not forget Aleppo and allahu akbar or God is greatest." For more on this CNN's Nic Robertson is in Ankara and Matthew Chance
is in Moscow. Nic, we'll start with you, though. In terms of the developments overnight, what more have you learned?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, security in this area has been tight. The U.S. embassy is not far from here. When a gunman was outside of the U.S. embassy last night. He pulled a shotgun from under his jacket and started shooting in the air. He's fired seven, or eight shots in the air.
He was arrested and taken away. So far, that leaves five other people that have been arrested in connection with the shooting of the Russian ambassador. The gunman's mother, father, sister, and also the person who he shared an apartment this policeman, the attacker shared an apartment with have been arrested.
But the other things that have been happening were all sort of political diplomatic. You heard President Erdogan talking to President Putin in Russia. They are both on the same page about the joint investigation and President Erdogan is saying that this was an action that was aimed to try to sort of divide the two countries as they are normalizing their relationships. This is exactly what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRESIDENT (through translator): I described this attack on Russia's embassy as an attack to Turkey, Turkey's state and nation.
After the incident, attack on the Russian ambassador during the talk with Mr. Putin we agreed this is a provocation and there isn't any dispute.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTSON: So, a provocation, a provocation to undermine the sort of unity that they were building. They've been remembering that just over the past few weeks they have been working together, Russia and Turkey to help bring a ceasefire, it was a very fragile ceasefire that broke down in Aleppo.
But to get all those civilians out of Aleppo it was President Erdogan talking to President Putin that helped build that ceasefire. Max?
FOSTER: Is there any indication though that he was working as part of a group, or whether this was a personal grievance?
ROBERTSON: There are rumors circulating but they are only rumors. Certainly the mayor of this city is speculating about his ties to -- ties to the group that this government alleges was behind the killing this summer but there's absolutely, absolutely no evidence that's been presented for that so far. That hasn't stopped some newspapers from reporting it nevertheless.
[03:20:00] But in substance, we have nothing more to go on. And those arrest of the government has made a family members are quite normal in this circumstance. What President Putin has said is that whoever is behind it we must get to those who are behind it.
So, this joint investigation the Russian team to the right here, today they work the Turkish investigative team. And that one would imagine it would be a very first line of investigation.
Potentially the man, the gunman shared an apartment with, potentially there maybe insights coming from there but no concrete information is being made available publicly, so far, at least, on what the government is learning about motivations.
FOSTER: OK, Nic, thank you. Matthew in Moscow, clearly Russia and Turkey standing shoulder to shoulder on this one. They are very clear to show that this is not going to create any divisiveness between the two nations.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. As Nic was saying, President Erdogan said that and President Putin came out last night as well on state television with a stern face obviously and called it a despicable act.
He said it was intended to undermine the relationship, the normalization of the relationship between Russia and Turkey of course. The relationship which has been improving steadily in the past several months since they decided to rebuild ties following the downing in November of last year of a Russian warplane by Turkish interceptors.
There can only be one response Vladimir Putin said, and that's stepping up the fight against terrorism. The bandits, he said, will feel this happening.
We must know who directed the killer's hand and to that effect he said he did instructed members of his foreign intelligence services to work with the Turks to try to get to the bottom of this, and to work out whether this guy who carried out this assassination was working on his own or whether it was part of affiliated with some bigger group.
What we have to bear in mind of course, as the back drop to all of this is that Russia and Turkey are on opposite sides in the Syria war which is raging next door. Russia supports the government of Bashar al-Assad, Turkey supports rebel groups who have been fighting Assad.
And there's a lot of people inside Turkey who are very sympathetic to that Turkish position inside Syria. There have been protests outside the Russian consulate in Istanbul over the past several days and weeks.
And you know, clearly there is a lot of animosity amongst the section of the Turkish population towards what Russia has been doing inside Syria. And this appears to be the latest expression of that.
FOSTER: How then might this affect the operations of both Turkey and Russia in Syria do you think, or will this just be kept as a separate issue?
CHANCE: Well, it's not going to affect the Russian operations. I can -- I can probably, you know, guess at that. If anything, it's going to reinforce the justification that Russia has for being inside of Syria. All along, it said it was supporting Bashar al-Assad, it was bombing rebels in Syria to prevent the spread of Islamic terrorism.
It sees this has a threat not just to its own national security but to international security, as well. And it has tried very much to bring in other countries and to that way of thinking, and not the least of which, of course, is the United States.
And up until now, that's been -- that's been resisted by the U.S. that might change under Donald Trump.
In terms of what the Turkish position may be, well, already there are suspicions within rebel groups inside Syria that the Turks are softening their position towards them and moving more towards a Russian point of view when it comes to Syria.
The Turkish foreign is in Russia today and they are going to be discussing along with the Iranian foreign minister and their Russian counterpart how to proceed in Syria. And so there are a lot of talks underway between the various great powers or the various powers that are engaged in that conflict.
FOSTER: OK. Matthew, in Moscow and Nic in Ankara, thank you both very much.
Well, evacuations in eastern Aleppo say 4500 more civilians waiting in freezing temperatures with almost no food. The protest has been suspended multiple times this week.
In exchange, Syria and Iran demand the government supporters be evacuated from two Shiite villages on the lower left of this map that you see.
Now opposition fighters have been holding those towns.
The U.N. has been able to get medical aid and food into eastern Aleppo at least but they say more is needed. The U.N. Security Council has unanimously approved sending U.N. staff to monitor the evacuations.
France proposed a resolution which also demands that the U.N. is given access to deliver aid and food. After the vote, the U.S. embassy to the U.N. explained why the observers are needed. The Syrian representative voiced his disapproval.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[03:24:56] SAMANTHA POWER, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: With that presence, there may be some deterrence of what happens along the journey out of eastern Aleppo. And there, even if people are fortunate enough, as they see it, to get on buses, we have seen people pulled off buses, their valuables stolen.
And of course, many reports of men and people in the fighting age range being either detained, forced to the front lines or just never heard from again. BASHAR JA'AFARI, PERMANENT SYRIAN REPRESENTATIVE TO THE UNITED NATIONS: France and Britain insistence on presenting and adopting such resolution is just another part of the continued propaganda against Syria and its fight against terrorism.
While we respect the Security Council resolutions, we are aware of the purpose of their efforts, which is to protect the terrorists.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Well, Turkey says a total of 20,000 people have now been evacuated from eastern Aleppo.
The head of the International Monetary Fund has been found guilty of negligence but she won't be punished or lose her job. A French court ruled Christine Lagarde's out of court settlement with tycoon Bernard Tapie.
Back in 2008, it wasn't negligent but failing to fight the award to him, was. After the verdict the IMF executive board restated its support for Lagarde.
Next, we'll go back to Berlin for the latest on the deadly attack on one of the city's Christmas markets. It's not the first time a truck has been used as a weapon this year, of course.
Just ahead, a look at why terror groups are pushing these types of attacks.
Plus, Donald Trump says these violent attacks are only getting worse and something must be done.
More in from the U.S. president-elect coming up as CNN NEWSROOM continues from London.
[03:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
FOSTER: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Max Foster live from London.
It's half past nine in the morning in Berlin. Where police now say Monday's deadly truck crash in a packed Christmas market is a presumed terrorist attack.
Authorities have just towed away the cab of the truck from the scene. Twelve people killed, 48 others were hurt when the driver plowed through the crowd. One man is in custody, another a Polish citizen was found dead inside the truck's cab.
Turkey and Russia say the assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey is a clear provocation of police officer shot Andrei Karlov at an art gallery in Ankara on Monday. Both countries say the attack won't hurt their relationship. Russian investigators will be i Ankara on Tuesday.
The U.N. Security Council has agreed to send evacuation monitors to eastern Aleppo. Turkey says 4500 more civilians are being rescued. The evacuations have been suspended multiple times this week. Many more people are still trapped in freezing temperatures with almost no food.
The attack on the Berlin Christmas market is especially alarming because the weapon is something almost anyone could use, which is a truck.
This is a tactic we are seeing more and more often as CNN's Tom Foreman reports.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Eighty six people dead, more than 400 injured. The attack in Nice, France, five months ago, proved how deadly a big vehicle can be. In that case it was a huge rented truck traveling close to 60 miles an hour plowing through holiday revelers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREG KRENTZMAN, NICE ATTACK SURVIVOR: I had a choice to either jump to my right or jump to my left because the truck was swerving, so I had to make a decision which ways to jump. I decided to jump to my left and thank God I did because if I didn't I would have been dead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: Purposeful attacks using vehicles have happened plenty in recent years. At University of North Carolina in 2006, a man rams his SUV into a crowd. Luckily no one dies.
But in the Netherlands in 2009, a car slams into a parade and eight people are left dead. In Canada, in 2014, a pair of soldiers are run down in a parking lot and one dies. That same year in Israel, a driver veers off the road and steps on the gas to hit people waiting for a train. Two were killed.
And in France, a pair of incidents one right after the other leaves 20 people injured and one dead. In each case questions of terrorism were raised and the prevalence of such attacks prompted homeland security to issue this warning during the holiday season a half dozen years ago.
"Vehicle ramming offers terrorists with limited access to explosives or weapons an opportunity to conduct an attack with minimal prior training."
Among the warning signs, "Vehicles reinforce with homemade metal plates on the front and large trucks in heavily traffic pedestrian areas at unusual times especially if they are driving erratically."
Still just last month it happened again. At Ohio State, a young man ran into a crowd with his car before he was shot by a police officer and became the only fatality that day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There is plenty of available evidence to indicate that this individual may have been motivated by extremism and by have been motivated by a desire to carry out an act of terrorism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: The simplicity and effectiveness of these attacks are clearly why the terrorist groups keep pushing them on the internet knowing that all it takes is one radical to get one started and yet it requires a lot more resources to detect such a plan or stop it.
FOSTER: Authorities believe the truck in the Christmas market attack was driven across the border from Poland. Joining me from Berlin is Dominic Thomas, he chairs at the Department of French Francophone Studies at UCLA.
And what's really depressing about this is the sort of attack that everyone was expecting within the police, within the security services, within government. There's very little you can do to protect these crowded places.
DOMINIC THOMAS, CHAIR, DEPARTMENT OF FRENCH & FRANCOPHONE STUDIES UCLA: That's right. That's what absolutely staggering about this. It's been a major conversation point both here and well-known internationally that these markets that attract tourists from all over the world and significant number of Germans from local areas come in to enjoy these markets during the months of November and December.
And what's remarkable about it is the relative absence of security, of reinforcement around the market areas that are extraordinarily vulnerable to these kinds of lone attacks.
FOSTER: How did then does the government -- well, you know, Angela Merkel is going to have to come out then and reassure people, isn't she? But also politicians in Europe and around North America are going to have to do the same.
[03:35:03] Here in London people are talking about their concerns of getting on the transport system, how do you reassure people that they are protected and at the same time not succumb to the fear that the terrorists are instilling in society.
THOMAS: Right. You are absolutely right. This is the fundamental contradiction that European leaders are facing today. Particularly given the rise of populist political parties that have been exploiting precisely these kinds of questions around the issues of the migrant crises, the refugee crises, the place of Islam in Europe and these kinds f question.
What we absolutely need at this moment are reassuring voices and the measured response and conversation about the implications of this so that the German people can weigh in and determine what sort of society do they want to live in.
One of the issues here is that I think that many Berliners aren't comfortable with the high visibility and presence of security and that on border the security services have been monitoring the situation and inspecting these kinds of areas, people are simply not wanting to see the sorts of emergency status that we see around France today and in other parts of Europe. But certainly these markets were incredibly vulnerable to these sorts of attacks.
FOSTER: Doesn't it come down to intelligence sharing primarily, though? Because once someone hijacks a truck and starts driving it towards a crowd there's, you know, there's a limited amount that the local police can do?
THOMAS: Right. You are absolutely right. I think it's almost impossible to completely protect these areas. And this is precisely the problem, is that the impact of these kinds of lone attacks of this sort of lone attacks are absolutely tremendous, whether they are inspired by terror groups or sponsored by terror groups.
I mean, we really have yet to see -- to see that kind of event take place. They prove to be incredibly divisive. And I think that ultimately no matter how sophisticated or coordinated the security and intelligence services are there is almost nothing that they can do to prevent this kind of attack.
FOSTER: How do you think Angela Merkel can handle this? Because she is vested obviously in the issue. She's been criticized about her acceptance of refugees into the country and inevitably as part of the debate today. What can she do to secure her position and leadership in the country?
THOMAS: Well, she's very aware of the fact of how important these issues are. We certainly seen it recently in the United States. There's been much discussion around the constitutional referendum in Italy, the elections in Austria and we also know that there are big elections coming up in France next year in which the far right are using these kinds of questions.
Angela Merkel has already made several concessions talking about the fact that she was unprepared for the migrant crisis of the summer of 2015, that she would like to do things differently.
She made a statement about 10 days ago about potentially seeking to ban the wearing of the full-face veil in German society. So, she understands that these issues are polarizing.
I'm not just so sure that it's going to be easy for them to shape the debate in a kind of way that promotes on expanding and comprehension of these kinds of problems in the face of the rising interest in parties like the AFD.
The alternative for Germany that is doing everything it can to capitalize on this kind of discussion and security-based discourse to mobilize an electorate going into 2017.
FOSTER: OK. Dominic Thomas, thank you for joining us from there in Berlin. We do await Angela Merkel's comments on this. She's obviously trying to get all the facts that she can together before she does that.
But meanwhile, search teams have looking for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370, but in the wrong place, it seems. That's the conclusion of a new report from the Australian government who says there's a 95 percent likelihood that the plane isn't in the current search area.
It's been almost two years since Malaysian Airlines 370 vanished during a flight in Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
CNN's Matt Rivers joins me now from Beijing with more. This is what many of the family members suspected all along. Absolutely depressing news for them to hear.
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right even if though, it's perhaps not surprising news for them to hear. Because investigators have been increasingly pessimistic, logically so, as this original search area of 120,000 square kilometers was gone through piece by piece and this plane was not found.
Investigators have routinely said over the past six months or so that they are not that hopeful that the plane will be found in this particular area. A 110 of the 120,000 square kilometers that was originally designated has been searched so far.
[03:39:56] What is really new in this report, however, is that these investigators in this report are saying that there should be a new area searched that is about 25,000 square kilometers in size, it's actually northeast of the original search area.
They say that given the current evidence that they have, they believe that that area is the last possible place that they can determine, using the evidence that is currently in hand, that's the last possible place this plane can be.
But, Max, you mentioned the families right off the top. Many of them have been frustrated and frustrated is not even a strong enough word for years now as this search has gone on. We reached out to several Chinese families who had people on board that plane that has been missing for so long now.
And I'd like to read you some of their statements. There is one person, his name is Jiang Hui, he is 73-year-old mother was on the plane and he told us that "I'm glad that they finally realized their mistakes. I hope all governments can give us more information and be more transparent. I hope they will be more scientific on their estimate."
And another person, Lin Xiaolam her 27-year-old son was on board. And she said they, meaning the investigators, "have no idea how much they have hurt the families of those on board. They have been stringing us along all of this time. It is a waste of our time and emotions to follow their search."
And speaking of following the search, there might not be a search to follow for that much longer. Because even though this report suggests searching a new area, the Australian government have said that the search will end in the beginning of next year likely January or February if no clear-cut evidence is found that shows exactly where this plane is. The search is likely going to end fairly soon, Max.
FOSTER: OK. Matt in Beijing, thank you. And China meanwhile, has returned the U.S. underwater drone days after
it seized the device in the South China Sea. The Chinese official says the transfer was completed with friendly consultations between the two nations. The U.S. says it is still investigating the incident.
U.S. President-elect takes to Twitter to condemn the latest stream of violent attacks. Up next on CNN NEWSROOM, live from London. What Donald Trump's comments may mean for his foreign policy plans once he takes office.
[03:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
FOSTER: I'm Max Foster, live from London.
Our top story right now is that police in Berlin are investigating the truck crash at a Christmas market as act of terrorism. Twelve people were killed and four dozen injured.
The truck cab has a Polish plates and a passenger found inside the truck cab was a Polish citizen. Police arrested a man near the crash site.
The U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is speaking about the latest attacks in Europe. He tweeted on Monday, "Today, there were terror attacks in Turkey, Switzerland and Germany and it is only getting worse. The civilized world must change its thinking."
In a separate issue on his behalf he said, "Innocent civilians were murdered in the streets as they prepare to celebrate the Christmas holiday. ISIS and other Islamists terrorist continually slaughter in their communities in places of worship as part of their global Jihad."
I'm joined now by Leslie Vinjamuri she's a senior lecturer in International Relations, SOAS, the University of -- the University of London. It's interesting seeing statement come out. He was talking about terrorism before the Germans were.
LESLIE VINJAMURI, SENIOR LECTURER, SOAS UNIVERSITY OF LONDON: No, exactly. He's moved very quickly. Not only to talk about terrorism but importantly to talk about Islam, Islamic terrorism and ISIS to name it, which is of course not what we see from other leaders, not only Germany.
But President Obama really holding back as you would expect and waiting to see what the investigation reveals and what information comes out.
But this sort of plays into the narrative that we saw Donald Trump constructing throughout his campaign which was that the U.S., you know, the dominant threat would be radical Islamic terrorism. But it's a very quick move into that, that sort of narrative.
FOSTER: And talking about it as an attack on Christians. It's almost seem that quite simplistic. Obviously it was a Christmas market.
VINJAMURI: Exactly. FOSTER: And maybe there was some symbolism in there, but you and I know that these are events enjoyed by everyone. It's a cultural thing as much as religious.
VINJAMURI: Yes. And again, it plays right into the sort of a turn toward sectarianism which is very dangerous I think until there is more known. And even when there is more known to sort of, to frame it in the language of Islam and Christianity is a really quick move.
And I think it's not -- it's sign, it's a suggestion that he is moving very differently from right -- the way that Germany is moving and of course, that creates some problems potentially for cooperation on anti-terrorism with Europe.
FOSTER: There are some concerns about the initial statement but then you have the tweet that follows up. This statement is more formal, clearly worked out with other people. His tweet is more his language, right?
FOSTER: But what do you think about the fact that he is issuing a statement followed by a tweet which is clearly directly from him.
VINJAMURI: Well, I think you know, this is more of what we are seeing that Donald Trump is demonstrating that he is going to be his own man when it comes to voicing and articulating U.S. foreign policy and U.S. responses.
The tweet is informal. It doesn't appeared to be monitored. It talks about needing a new approach, the civilized world needs a new approach but obviously no real thinking behind what that's likely to be.
But I think that there is some real concern that this is going to be a very different presidency in which we are getting a lot of information that's unfiltered and not as reflective as we're used to seeing in the past.
FOSTER: And you will be analyzing it.
VINJAMURI: We will be analyzing Twitter.
FOSTER: Thank you very much, indeed.
Now it's official. The Electoral College has confirmed Donald Trump as president-elect of the United States. We'll have Trump's reaction to that coming up on CNN NEWSROOM live from London.
[03:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: This is CNN weather watch. I'm meteorologist Allison Chinchar.
Now the next system that's been making its way to the Pacific west is going to continue through portions of Canada and the U.S. But this is not quite as potent of a system as the last several has been. So, not going to be as big of a snowmaker as we've been seeing the last few week.
Elsewhere, things are actually relatively benign. In fact, even the frigid air is actually going to begin to retreat farther north. So, the temperatures not necessarily warming, per se, but getting at least closer back to where they should be for this time of the year.
We take a look at Winnipeg, for example, because that will change. We notice the high temperature right around minus two. And we will stay within about two degrees of that for the rest of the week.
But by the weekend, we'll be going to be dipping back down in to the mid-teens. So again, those temperatures will get cold again. Chicago high of minus three. But we will have the sunshine to go with it. So it will at least look nice outside.
Atlanta, we talked about these temperatures getting back up. I wouldn't necessary call it a heat wave, per se, but the temperatures will be getting back into the mid-teens by the middle portion of the week.
Even New York going from a high of one on Tuesday to nearly 10. We are talking seven degrees for several days as we finish out the rest of the week.
FOSTER: After one of the most divisive elections in U.S. history, it's now official. The Electoral College has confirmed Donald Trump as the President-elect of the United States. But his critics didn't take the news sitting down.
Sara Murray reports.
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: With the dash of a last minute drama...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The votes are 10 votes Donald J. Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You sold out our country. Goodbye America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MURRAY: The Electoral College is making it official today, sealing Donald Trump's victory as he prepares to head to the White House.
Trump critic, making a final stand, protesters aired their grievances at state capital. A few electors attempted to vote for candidates besides Trump. And former President Clinton, an elector in New York lamented the quote, "bogus e-mail deal" and the hurdles Hillary Clinton couldn't overcome in her bid for the presidency.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's far too early that she prevailed against it all but, you know, then at the end we had the Russians and the FBI deal, which she couldn't prevail against that but she did everything else and still won by 2.8 million votes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MURRAY: Trump appearing to take the final snubs personally. Tweeting Sunday, "If my many supporters acted and threatened to people like those who lost the election are doing they would be scorned and called terrible names."
With Trump's win official. On Russia, some are hoping the president- elect will adopt a tougher tone.
Republicans like Senator John McCain expressing alarm to Jake Tapper on State of the Union about Russia's attempts to meddle in the U.S. election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN MCCAIN, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: This is serious business. If they are able to harm the electoral process, than they destroy democracy, which is based on free and fair elections.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MURRAY: Trump's top aides continue to shrugging aside U.S. intelligence agency's assessment that Russia interfered, insisting they need more proof.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REINCE PRIEBUS, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I think he would accept the conclusion if these intelligence professionals would get together, put out a report, show the American people that they are actually on the same page.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MURRAY: Trump's soft approach with Russia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would treat Vladimir Putin firmly but there's nothing I can think of that I'd rather do than have Russia friendly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MURRAY: A sharp split with its dealings with other countries that rift on full display this weekend as Trumped a admonished China for seizing a U.S. underwater drone.
Trump tweeting, "China steals United States navy research drone in international waters, rips it out of water and takes it to China in an unprecedented act."
[03:55:04] And later adding, "We should tell China that we don't want the drone they stole back. Let them keep it."
Meanwhile, Trump is pouring over candidates for administration slots in a series of meetings at his Mar-a-Lago estate filling out at least one post today, announcing billionaire businessman and former U.S. army infantry officer, Vincent Viola as his pick for army secretary.
FOSTER: Sara Murray reporting there.
U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama meanwhile leaving the White House on a high note of favorability rating as higher than her husband, 72 percent according to Pew Research. But if you are expecting her to go to politics you would be waiting a pretty long time it seems.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OPRAH WINFREY, TV HOST: Would you ever run for office?
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: No.
WINFREY: I have to ask you.
OBAMA: No, no.
WINFREY: No kind of office.
OBAMA: No, look, that's one thing I don't do. I don't make stuff up. I'm not coy. I haven't proven that.
OBAMA: I'm pretty daric. If I were interested in I'd say it. I don't believe in playing games. You know, it's not something I would do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Mrs. Obama has said she would like to serve the American public free from partisan controversy.
Thanks for joining us. I'm Max Foster. Early Start is next for U.S. in the United States. For everybody else I'll be back with another edition of CNN NEWSROOM after this short break.
[04:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)