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Manhunt for Berlin Suspect; Protesters Call for German Borders Closing; Search Teams Comb Market After Fireworks Blasts; Russia's Kremlin Says U.S. Dialogue is Frozen; Bill O'Reilly's White Establishment Comment. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired December 21, 2016 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, you are watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me.
As we begin the hour with what's been happening, the latest developments in Berlin, I want to play some sound for you that just happened. This is President-elect Donald Trump speaking out for the first time as he's been on holiday down in Palm Beach at Mar-a-Lago, specifically weighed in on these attacks overseas, including Berlin. Here is Mr. Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Violence in Europe, in Turkey on Monday, and Berlin. Have you spoken to President since then?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: What's going on is terrible. (INAUDIBLE) intelligence right now. What's going on is (INAUDIBLE).
QUESTION: Has it caused you to rethink or reevaluate your plans to create a Muslim registry or ban Muslim immigration into the United States?
TRUMP: You've known my plans all along and it's - I've been proven to be right 100 percent correct. What's happening is disgraceful. Anyway, (INAUDIBLE). Nice to have you with us.
QUESTION: Have you talked to President Obama at all, sir, about -
TRUMP: I have not. Two days ago, but not recently. Not since.
QUESTION: Mr. President, your comment about the truck attack in Berlin being against Christians, do you think that this might -
TRUMP: Say it again, what?
QUESTION: Your - your - the attack in Berlin being against - is an attack against Christian.
TRUMP: Well, who said that? What (INAUDIBLE)?
QUESTION: I think - I believe you said it in the press release.
TRUMP: Did I?
QUESTION: So I'm wondering how this might affect relations with Muslims?
TRUMP: It's an attack on humanity, that's what it is. It's an attack on humanity. And it's got to be stopped.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: I know that wasn't entirely crystal clear. I'm sure we had a correspondent there who can walk us through exactly what he said. But what was crystal clear is in reference to this heinous attack at this Christmas market in Berlin, he called it, it's not just an attack on Christianity, it's an attack on humanity there, Donald Trump. That is the first time we've seen him as he's been on vacation in Palm Beach. We'll loop back to that.
But let's talk about the latest development here in Germany, this urgent manhunt is underway for this person. This is - just this afternoon is the first time we've been seeing images of the suspect. This is 23-year-old Anis Amri, a Tunisian asylum seeker and the suspected terrorist who police believe plowed this truck into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin two days ago.
Here's what we can tell you. He has been known to authorities who say he has direct ties to an ISIS recruiting network within Germany. Sources also telling CNN that German security services considered him a threat and that he was arrested back in August but he was let go. So let's begin there with Erin McLaughlin, who's there for us in Berlin.
We know that police have offered up a reward, 100,000 euros, roughly $100,000, saying, quote/unquote, he is under urgent suspicion. Do they have any leads in finding him?
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Brooke. Well, at the moment, authorities are being very tight-lipped with that kind of information. They do not want, of course, to compromise this investigation, which is very much ongoing. We know that earlier today they were conducting police raids in the Cologne area of Germany. That is the area with which he was registered to have lived. And they issued a warrant for his arrest, identifying him as 24 years old, a Tunisian national, 5'8", 165 pounds.
And they - authorities are saying that he was in fact arrested back in August, at the time trying to cross illegally into Italy, but the judge took the decision to let him go. We also know that he had applied for asylum here in Germany. That application was denied. However, at the time, authorities could not identify him directly and therefore they were unable to deport him back to Tunisia. Lots of questions surrounding that here in Germany tonight. Authorities in that arrest warrant warning that he is armed and dangerous, today saying that the Polish citizen that was found in that truck had been shot, was believed to not have been driving the truck. That gun still missing, Brooke.
BALDWIN: I want to loop back to some of those points you made here with my law enforcement panel in a second. But let me ask you about these dueling protests we're hearing there at the Christmas market where the truck careened and killed a number of people. Some people calling to close Germany's open borders. Tell me about that, Erin.
MCLAUGHLIN: That's right. That dueling protest that was just taking place behind me, in fact, has just wrapped up. A few dozen or so neo- Nazis had gathered. They were met by a counter protest numbering in the hundreds, separated by police. For the most part it was peaceful, though the neo-Nazis clearly trying to capitalize on the tragedy that took place here.
[14:05:11] Lawmakers, for their part, are looking at pushing a number of security measures, new laws in place that would increase their surveillance powers, increase the number of cameras out in public spaces, electronic surveillance powers as well. They're also looking at arming police with body cameras to be able to document exactly what is taking place in some of these incidents. After all, this was not the first terrorist attack to take place in Germany this year.
BALDWIN: All right, Erin, thank you, in berlin.
Let me bring in two voices here. Juliette Kayyem back with us today, CNN national security analyst and former U.S. assistant director - rather secretary for Homeland Security, and also Foria Younis, who is a former FBI agent and extremism expert.
So, ladies, thank you for being with me.
And, Foria, let me just turn to you, because you know what people are thinking. They hear the arrest. They hear that he was deemed unfit for refugee status. And the question would be then, well, how - why wasn't he being watched more closely by authorities?
FORIA YOUNIS, FORMER FBI AGENT: Yes. It's just there's too many people, too many immigrants, too many refugees in that area to be watching all of those people 24/7, especially that it didn't seem like he was known in terms of anything related to terrorism beforehand. He wasn't violent beforehand. There was not that much information. So to ask a federal law enforcement agency in Germany to watch somebody 24/7, just - there's not as much - there's not enough law enforcement people to do that.
BALDWIN: Juliette, I want you to weigh in on that as well, and also given the fact that he is considered armed and dangerous and what he - what he is capable of doing, how does that then change the calculus in this kind of manhunt?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I think the fact that they released his name and photo means that they do need the public's help because that - because that's a last - an option of last resort. You don't want to engage the public if you're looking for an armed and dangerous person, but they may have lost the trail. I should note that it's a European warrant. It's not just in Germany.
It would mean that all the tools and resources that any country would need to arrest him and have essentially probable cause, they call it different things in different countries, exist. So they may have a belief or certainly should believe that he has left the country.
But just to this point, I mean he clearly was being watched at certain stages, but just given the number of people in Europe now who have radicalized ties, they just don't have the capacity. The irony here is, he's not an asylum seeker, refugee seeker from Syria, which is the big political issue. It's - you know, he is coming from a -
KAYYEM: Different country. It doesn't - it doesn't matter in the politics of this, though.
BALDWIN: Just so I'm, though, clear on your initial point. The fact that law enforcement have released his face and name tells you, what, square one?
KAYYEM: I - well, I think that they probably don't have a trail because this is very dangerous and law enforcement will always prefer to keep the search, the manhunt, to themselves. Not because they don't need the public's help, but simply because you don't want to put the public at harm. This now just raises the - you know, it basically is saying, see something, say something, if you know where he is. One has to believe he had an exit strategy that he is now hiding somewhere and people may be protecting him.
BALDWIN: You know, Foria, another piece of this that's missing, from everything I've read, there is no actual surveillance video at all of this attack, right? You walk around New York City, you walk around any major U.S. metropolitan city, and for that matter in other places in Europe, and there are cameras everywhere and apparently it's an issue with German behaviors toward being, you know, surveilled.
YOUNIS: Yes. So this is one of the negatives of not having those security cameras around.
YOUNIS: They might have been able to help us identify him earlier, although he is identified now and maybe who dropped him off. There could be so much more information if there was security cameras. But not every country has those and so right now we don't know of anything.
But in terms of, just if I may follow up on what Juliette said regarding him hiding out.
YOUNIS: If they don't know where he is, they have to fall back on traditional law enforcement methods. And that is, who - where does he go where he's most comfortable? So if you look at the French attacks, that guy went and hid back into the neighborhood.
BALDWIN: That's right.
YOUNIS: A few blocks from where he was most comfortable. So unless there's new information coming from his Internet use, his cell phone tracking, all of that, if you don't have none of that and you're frozen on that - on that, then you have to fall back on, where would he go where he's most comfortable, you know?
BALDWIN: On that point, Juliette, you know, the fact that apparently law enforcement is saying that he does have direct ISIS ties within Germany. They know where he comes from. Where would they be looking if it's not obviously just for him but for any sort of web or friends or family?
KAYYEM: So, you always begin with the family and the siblings, the marriage - I don't - he doesn't appear to be married - family and friends and the community that they are a part of.
[14:10:06] What we don't know is that, you know, whether others were helping him and so that they had safe houses outside of areas of Berlin or even in another country. This network has ways of communicating that make it difficult for law enforcement to track, especially if they had planned it ahead. I would suspect, just based on my experience, that he's staying put somewhere. I don't think he's moving around. Moving around is very risky for people on the run. They're seen. They make mistakes. So they need to go to those houses that - of affiliates of ISIS or him that may - that may be holding him or protecting him right now.
BALDWIN: OK, Juliette Kayyem and Foria Younis. Ladies, thank you so much.
As we stay on, obviously, what's happening in Berlin, I want to tell you about this frightening scene as deadly explosions rock this marketplace. Look at this. We have the very latest and what fire investigators are saying about how this mass tragedy happened.
Also ahead, strong words from the Kremlin today saying Russia's relations with the United States are essentially frozen. How the Pentagon is responding to that today.
Also ahead, the queen, Queen Elizabeth, changing her holiday plans because of an unexpected really, really bad cold. What Buckingham Palace is saying about the 90-year-old royal's health.
I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN.
BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
This place is known as the pyrotechnics capital of Mexico, and now you have all these emergency workers who are combing through the rubble of this fireworks market in Tultepec after a series of explosions left at least 31 people dead, 50 others injured. [14:15:10] Here's what happened.
BALDWIN: It just keeps going and going. These massive plumes of smoke and explosions into the sky.
Sara Sidner is in Mexico for us.
And, Sara, how did that start?
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, that's the question everyone's asking, especially those who have lost loved ones. Thirty- two people now officially have been confirmed dead. There are dozens of other people who are in the hospital.
And we just had something so touching and painful happen. A man came up and said he's still looking for his mother who was working in the market alongside her sons. The sons made it out. They cannot find their 72-year-old mother. And so they are going from person to person handing out flyers.
I want to let you see the scene now and see why and what happened after you saw those unbelievable explosions that just seemed be never ending. That's the result, Brooke, right there. You're looking at a very devastating scene for the people of this town, not just those who lost love ones, they are in mourning. Then you have to rest of the town that relied on this as really the place to make a living. Pyrotechnics is the main economy here.
What you're seeing right now, you see those men that are walking around in those whiteout outfits? That's the forensic team. And they've been digging through that specific area for quite some time. What are they looking for? Any kind of evidence as to how this started and also the possibility that there may be more charred remains inside of all of that rubble.
This used to be about a football-field-sized area of 300 little stalls, and you see the stall there that are made of concrete. Those were filled with fireworks. Not just sparklers, mind you. You saw those pictures. We're talking about almost professional-grade fireworks that are explosives, essentially. And they just somehow caught fire and it started the chain reaction. This is not the first time this has happened here in this market, but it's the first time that people have died here and in such high numbers, Brooke.
BALDWIN: So help me understand though exactly. So this is an area where these mega fireworks are made, but this is also where they're sold, and there's also a market where it's hustling and bustling and full of people?
SIDNER: Yes, this one was particularly full of people. People come from all over to come here because also it's Christmastime and as tradition has it here in Mexico, a lot of people will bring your children. They'll have mom and dad and grandma and grandpa and uncles and aunts coming to this market to pick up fireworks so that they can blow them off for Christmas and for New Year's. And so it was bustling. There were a lot of people here. There understand there are quite a few children who have been injured. We know that three were so badly injured they had to Helivac them to Galveston, Texas, a ways away, because they were so badly burned. We - our hearts go out to those families who are trying to figure out just how bad it is for those kids, but we know it's bad because they had to be airlifted out of here, Brooke.
BALDWIN: Awful, awful, awful. Sara Sidner, thank you. We'll stay in close contact with you. Thirty-two, as she said, now dead.
We also now have some news just into CNN from Russia's Kremlin saying nearly all levels of dialogue with the United States, frozen. But the U.S. Pentagon is telling a different story. We'll discuss that.
Also ahead, President-elect Donald Trump stopping to speak to reporters as he's on vacation down in Florida, talking specifically about the attack in Berlin, calling it an attack on humanity. More on what he shared in just a moment.
[14:22:32] BALDWIN: Just in to CNN, Russia's Kremlin has surprised the U.S. State Department by saying that all communication between Russia and the U.S. has, quote/unquote, "frozen."
Let's go straight to Elise Labott, our CNN global affairs correspondent, for - let's just begin with what exactly the Kremlin said and then, of course, how the U.S. is responding.
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, the Kremlin put out a statement a short time ago saying that all contact with the U.S. government was frozen and it, you know, then went on the say that they keep it at a minimum. That they don't talk to the U.S. if they have to.
And, obviously, the U.S. and Russia have tensions that are sky high right now over Syria, over the hacking allegations. But this really kind of surprised both the Pentagon and the State Department. Pentagon Spokesman Peter Cook putting out something that said, the U.S. and Pentagon - the Pentagon and the Russian Defense Department had a conference call just today about coordinating, you know, and trying to deconflict in Syria.
And the State Department Spokesman John Kirby just gave us a statement a short time ago that said, "it's difficult to know what exactly is meant by this comment, but diplomatic engagement with Russia continues across a wide range of issues. That we have significant differences with Moscow on some of these issues is well known, but there hasn't been a break in dialogue." And John Kirby went on to say that Secretary of State John Kerry just spoke yesterday with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov about the situation in Syria.
So certainly tensions sky high, Brooke, but conflict doesn't mean that dialogue is frozen. And certainly if you listen to what the U.S. is saying, that's just not true. BALDWIN: Not the case. Elise, thank you.
Let's move on and talk politics here. Donald Trump's Electoral College victory has been in the books now officially for two days, right, since the electors all got together across the country. But Trump apparently isn't ready to end this chapter of the election just yet. He tweeted this morning, quote, "campaign to win the Electoral College is much more difficult and sophisticated than the popular vote. Hillary focused on the wrong states."
Well, listen, a lot of Hillary Clinton supporters, they're not seeing the Electoral College in a positive light obviously since their candidate won the popular vote by nearly three million votes.
Enter Fox News host Bill O'Reilly and his take on what's really bothering Clinton supporters, he thinks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS: The left in America is demanding that the Electoral College system put into place in 1787 be scrapped, but there's a hidden reason for this. Talking Points believes this is all about race. The left sees white privilege in America as an oppressive force that must be done away with, therefore white working class voters must be marginalized. Summing up, left wants power taken away from the white establishment. They want a profound change in the way America is run. Taking voting power away from the white precincts is the quickest way to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[14:25:28] BALDWIN: Let's begin there. CNN political commentator Alice Stewart is with me, a Republican strategist who served as Ted Cruz's communication director, Bakari Sellers is a former South Carolina house member and Hillary Clinton supporter, and Ryan Lizza is the Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker."
So awesome having you all on.
And, Alice, let me just turn to you and ask, I mean, that clip - since that happened last night, that clip has gone gangbusters all over online.
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right. Right.
BALDWIN: You read some of the more liberal critics, you know, and they're equating it to being reminiscent of something you might have heard in the apartheid era South Africa. Do you think O'Reilly went too far?
STEWART: I think his language is, as it always is, it's used to provoke thought. And if you take it in full context exactly what he's saying here, he's saying, look, the Electoral College is - was set up initially to spread out the balance of power with the election and bring about people in the smaller state, the battleground states, give them equal voice as larger areas, say California, New York, Texas and so forth. If we do away with the Electoral College, then that takes away a lot of the areas where there are large white influence and it changes the way presidents run for office.
BALDWIN: But, if I may, we went back, because, listen, this is all on the Twitters. Donald Trump, 2012, in November of that year, tweeting, "the Electoral College is a disaster for a democracy." How do you square that? This is how he won.
STEWART: So that's - those two statements do conflict.
BALDWIN: They do.
STEWART: Contradict each other. And, look, if we do away with the Electoral College, president - in the future, presidential campaigns will be run in California, they'll be run in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Houston, large cities where there are huge concentrations of population, largely Democratic concentrations of populations, and it will change the face of how they campaign, but also the make-up of the election process.
BALDWIN: But I think - I think so many people - and, Bakari, let me just pivot to you - are jumping on this because of how he talked about, you know, white establishment and white privilege. And I think it was Dan Pfeiffer who said something to the effect of, is this like his internal monologue now like his inside voice externally and is this how he really feels? I mean what did you think of what he said?
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, this is the same Bill O'Reilly who we had a discussion about not too long ago who actually said that slaves were OK because they were well fed and had jobs. And so I don't - still don't have much use for Bill O'Reilly.
This statement in itself was the height of hypocrisy, was the height of ignorance. And, yes, I mean, he was talking about these ideals, which have come up. It sounded as if it was apartheid South Africa the way he was speaking and the way that he discussed race. I mean I think that Bill O'Reilly misses one factor, and a lot of people, when we have this discussion about race, they miss one fact. Many people on the left, many minorities, African-Americans, we don't want anyone to give us anything. All we want are our endowed rights. All we want is the benefit of our humanity. All we want is equity. And so for him to say all of a sudden the white establishment, this white nationalist rhetoric that he was using, I mean this is Bill O'Reilly we're talking about. He's been saying this for a long time, we just finally listened to him.
BALDWIN: Let's move on to Donald Trump, Ryan Lizza. We just heard him step out in front of Mar-a-Lago, his vacation home down there in Palm Beach, Florida. And he spoke specifically about the Berlin attack. Here he was.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) in the wake of the violence in Europe, in Turkey on Monday -
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: Terrible. Terrible.
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) have you spoken to President Obama since then?
TRUMP: No. What's going on is terrible. (INAUDIBLE) What's going on is awful (ph). (INAUDIBLE).
QUESTION: Has it caused you to rethink or re-evaluate your plans to create a Muslim registry or ban Muslim immigration to the United States?
TRUMP: Hey, you know my plans all along and I've been proven to be right, 100 percent correct. What's happening is disgraceful. Anyway, (INAUDIBLE). Nice to have you with us.
QUESTION: Have you talked to President Obama at all, sir?
TRUMP: I have not. Two days ago, but not recently. Not since.
QUESTION: Mr. Trump, your comments about the truck attack in Berlin being against Christians, do you think that this might -
TRUMP: Say it again? What?
QUESTION: Your -- your - the attack in Berlin being against - is an attack against Christians.
TRUMP: Well, who said that? When did - when was that said?
QUESTION: I think - I believe you said it in a press release.
TRUMP: Did I?
QUESTION: So I'm wondering how this might affect relations with Muslims.
TRUMP: That's an attack on humanity is what it is. It's an attack on humanity. And it's got to be stopped.
[14:30:05] OK, thank you. Thank you all. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: OK, Ryan Lizza, maybe your hearing's better than mine. I asked for a transcript, OK.
RYAN LIZZA, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, "THE NEW YORKER": Yes, it's tough to hear. Yes.
BALDWIN: So let me translate. He