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Italy Official: Amri Was "On The Run Alone"; U.S. Abstains In U.N. Vote Against Israeli Settlements; Netanyahu, Trump Called On U.S. To Veto Measure; Trump Ally Facing Backlash Over Vile Remarks; President-Elect Trump's Social Media Diplomacy. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired December 24, 2016 - 08:00   ET


[08:00:00] VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Well done.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: All right, there's a lot of news to tell you about this morning --

BLACKWELL: Next hour starts right now.

KOSIK: Good morning, everyone. I'm Alison Kosik sitting in for Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you. We are beginning this morning with terror threats, travel warnings and breaking developments in that Christmas market attack in Berlin. This morning, new arrests, one of them the nephew of the Berlin attacker. Officials are now revealing recent conversations between the two.

KOSIK: Plus, U.S. on high alert as many prepare for Christmas one day away and Hanukkah beginning tonight. The FBI had issued a new warning about possible ISIS threats to churches and holiday events.

BLACKWELL: Meanwhile, the State Department is posting a travel warning for U.S. citizens traveling to Egypt and Jordan, this comes amid ongoing threats posed by terror groups and recent attacks in both countries.

Our reporters are standing by this morning on an investigation in Berlin. We have Nina dos Santos. We have -- on the ISIS threat we've got Polo Sandoval, and our two experts, Phil Mudd and Juliette Kayyem are here to break it down for us.

KOSIK: But first, the breaking news on the Berlin Christmas market attack. Tunisian state TV has just announced three arrests in connection to the plot. The three men between the ages of 18 and 27 are described as terrorist elements. This new information emerging as new video of the slain attacker Anis Amri pledging his allegiance to ISIS as that video continues to circulate.

In this video, Amri says he would serve ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi and vow to slaughter the, quote, "crusaders," who are shelling the Muslims every day, but he doesn't refer to Monday's attack that left 12 dead and injured 48. One of those victims the body of an Italian woman was transported to Rome this morning. CNN international correspondent, Nina dos Santos is in Milan for us.

Nina, so you spoke with counterterrorism officials there who said Amri had, quote, "hallmarks of being on the run alone." What exactly do they mean especially in light of these new arrests?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're basing this based on CCTV footage, video surveillance footage that they managed to glean of him in two major train stations, in Turin in the northwest of Italy and also the main central station of Milan.

Remember, Milan is basically the industrial heart of Italy in the north of Italy. These are big, busy train stations. He seems to have been alone in that CCTV footage. Also when they investigated his belongings after he was killed by those two police officers in a random ID check, they realized he had very few belongings on him.

He only had a toothbrush. He had some shaving foam in his backpack. He also interestingly enough had three pairs of trousers, one on top of the next and that some people say are often consistent with people who need to change clothes quickly to try and evade escape.

But crucially they haven't managed to find anybody who seems to have any links with him in these CCTV images as he made his way towards this parking lot in the northeastern suburb of Milan where he was gunned down.

I want to bring you some new news that's come out of the Tunisian Interior Ministry based on the initial report you were talking about earlier, Alison, with those three arrests. The Tunisian Interior Ministry has confirmed that one of those individuals aged between 18 and 27 was actually the nephew of Anis Amri.

And he's told officials that he communicated with his uncle via the encrypted messaging app, Telegram, to try to escape security services and on that app, he had a conversation with his uncle where his uncle asked him to pledge allegiance to ISIS. That's the latest.

KOSIK: You know, one thing that has got everybody scratching their heads is that Amri was on Germany terror watch list, but he still managed to get into Italy. How were authorities finally able to track him down?

DOS SANTOS: Well, it was happenstance, really. They didn't track him down. They're quite clear about that, the Italians. They say that he was just found in this parking lot by two police officers. They said he was behaving in a suspicious manner and so as a result they asked him for his documentations.

He reported the claim to be from Southern Italy. They thought from his accent that might not have been the case and they insisted on seeing what was inside his backpack. At that point when he opened his backpack, according to intelligence officials, that is when he brought out a gun and began firing at them. One of those officers was injured. He's believed to be discharged from hospital after sustaining gunshot wounds and having had surgery overnight. Likely to be discharged from hospital today. Those two officers considered heroes, by the way, both in Germany and also in Italy.

But essentially it was happenstance and there's many more questions that all of this raises from here, notably for the intelligence authorities, why was he here in this car park? Where was he heading to?

[08:05:02]We know that buses head to North Africa and also south of Italy from here. Could he be heading in that direction? That's one line of inquiry that they're likely to pursue from here -- Alison.

KOSIK: All right, Nina Dos Santos reporting for us live from Milan, thanks very much.

BLACKWELL: All right, now to the latest FBI warning in the U.S., possible ISIS threats against western churches and holiday events. Polo Sandoval is with us for this. Polo, is this an unusual warning, especially for the west?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, Victor. We have seen these kinds of bulletins especially during the holiday season. But there are some different things that really are getting the attention of the officials here. This bulletin was issued yesterdy by the FBI and also their partners at the Department of Homeland Security.

They are basically calling for an increase in vigilance among local, state and federal law enforcement agencies across the country that is because after that attack that we just talked about at the Christmas park in Berlin, intelligence officials here in the U.S. have noticed what appear to be an increase in chatter.

So you have the FBI and Homeland Security issuing that bulletin in that statement you just read a short while ago which are really stressing that point. There is really no credible threat against any particular target.

But what is specifically getting the attention of officials here is that there have been several postings on ISIS supporting websites, specifically calling for attacks on churches, other places of worship that also includes a lengthy list of churches across the United States, churches that are actually publicly listed.

But nonetheless, this could potentially indicate a shift in strategy for ISIS and ISIS sympathizers as they typically threaten for example military or law enforcement targets and in this case with the churches that is perhaps the softest target.

But really the main highlight here of this new development that we talked about yesterday and today is that officials within the government don't believe that there is any specific or credible threat. They want people to continue with their holiday plans but simply stay on alert -- guys. BLACKWELL: All right, Polo, thank you so much. Let's bring in now our two guests, CNN national security analyst and former assistant secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, Juliette Kayyem, and CNN counterterrorism analyst and former CIA counterterrorism official, Phil Mudd. Good morning to both of you.

Let me start, Phil, with you and the news out just a couple minutes ago. I want to read directly from this statement from the Tunisian Interior Ministry in relation to those three arrests connected to the Berlin attacker.

They write that, "It turns out that among the members of the cell, the nephew of the Berlin terrorist confessed that he communicated with his uncle through the "Telegram" app to escape security surveillance as it is encrypted in secret key.

Amri asked him the nephew to swear allegiance to Daesh terrorist organization, Daesh being (inaudible) for ISIS. Phil, when you get that detail about these three men arrested in Tunisia, you glean from that what?

PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: We're at the beginning stages of the investigation, Victor. What happens in these cases -- think of this as two steps and the first step over the past few days, the amount of data you're absorbing, communications including encrypted communications, travel patterns, documents, text messages, phone calls, that will blow up the investigation so you're talking potentially to dozens or more people.

You will then begin to chart, as we've seen today from the Tunisians, what that cell might have looked like. I would not presume at this stage that these arrests either represent a true core of the cell or the total extent of what the Tunisians, the Italians and Germans will find.

This is the first step of an explosion of information over the course of about two weeks, maybe three you can expect the dust to settle and Victor, we'll have a real understanding of what we've got here.

BLACKWELL: Juliette, let me come to you and what we're hearing from this Italian counterterrorism official saying that Anis Amri, quote, "had all the hallmarks of being on the run alone." Just had a toothbrush, no cell phone, was wearing three pairs of pants at that time. Does this seem to you that this is a man who had been, I guess, abandoned by his cell after his picture and his name went public or something else here?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, at this stage we don't know. There's a difference between traveling alone, which is reflected in the fact he didn't have a cell phone, he may have had layers of pants all sorts of other pieces of evidence, and going to a place where others will protect you.

It may have been that he had in place after the attack series of safe houses that would take him in and hide him. And so what we don't know at this stage and what is of keen interest, of course, to the Italians in particular, was that was he staying in Italy?

Was he planning on staying in Italy or was Italy just like it was in France just a hub or a transport area for him to go somewhere else? So although I will agree with the Italian assessment that both because of what he was doing.

And also we have to believe that there is a number of surveillance cameras that have picked up his movements between Berlin and Italy at this stage, that they have not seen him with anyone since the attack.

[08:10:06]BLACKWELL: Phil, let me come back to you and this bulletin from the FBI about churches and holiday gatherings, there will be millions of people going to church today and tomorrow. There, of course, are the New Year's Eve celebrations at the end of the year.

The significance of this bulletin with no credible threats, no specific threats, simply the publishing of a public list of churches, what are people supposed to do with this?

I mean, we've discussed soft targets for some time now. This is now a warning in the west, not closer to their self-declared caliphate, but to the west, what should be the response from people as they maybe tense up after reading this?

MUDD: Two responses, first go to church. Second on New Year's Eve, pop champagne. Let's be clear here, there's two steps you have to understand. One is the federal officials after ISIS speaks have no option to put out a warning. Their other alternative is to say nothing.

Second, let's understand what ISIS is meaning behind this. They're a magician in front of a curtain saying, you don't know what's behind there, but we're trying to tell you there's a huge threat. They've lost territory since their high point in mid-2014.

They've lost leadership. They have lost recruits and they've lost money. They are trying to inspire one of 323 million Americans. They only need one to do something. But I would not interpret what they posted on the web or what the FBI and others say to suggest that there's a huge plot in America.

ISIS is trying to make you believe that because they're trying to persuade just one American to follow them. That's what you got here -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: To what degree, Juliette, does the Berlin attack play into the decision to release this bulletin? Do you think we would have seen this if not for what we saw in Berlin earlier this week?

KAYYEM: Well, a decision like this takes a lot of what we call sort of inner agency discussion. So it may very well have been that there were a series of discussions about what to say to the American public leading up to the holidays.

Berlin ends up being a data point. The ISIS remarks about targeting churches is another. The holidays generally are times of increased threat alerts. We've seen this before around the holidays.

Let's not forget, we're also in the midst of a presidential transition, which for law enforcement, national security folks, intelligence folks, is always a heightened level.

So I think all of those combined would have led the inner agency to make this determination and the FBI and DHS just based on protocols makes a statement to state and local law enforcement agencies.

That as you figure out how to sort of send your resources out in the week ahead as you talk to the public, as for the American public, see something, say something, that there is a particular focus on these areas.

Like Phil, live your life. Merry Christmas, happy holidays and go out on New Year's.

BLACKWELL: Go to church and pop the champagne. Phil Mudd, Juliette Kayyem, thank you both.

MUDD: Hello.

BLACKWELL: He got the hat already. Battery operated.

MUDD: Go celebrate, go pop the champagne. Merry Christmas.

BLACKWELL: All right, Merry Christmas to you both.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The draft resolution has been adopted as Resolution 23.34.


KOSIK: A round of applause for the passing of the U.N. Security Council vote condemning Israeli settlements.

BLACKWELL: But, is it -- was who abstained from this vote that's causing a lot of controversy. We'll have that for you.



KOSIK: There is new diplomatic fall out this morning after the U.S. refused to veto a highly controversial U.N. resolution defying pressure from Israel, a defying pressure from President-elect Trump as well. Israel says it won't comply with the new resolution, which called for a halt of Israeli settlement activity.

The measure passed overwhelmingly after the United States abstained ending years of protecting Israel rather against such a rebuke at the U.N. Here's how the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power explained her vote. Listen to this.


SAMANTHA POWER, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UNITED NATIONS: It is because this forum too often continues to be biased against Israel, because there are important issues that are not sufficiently addressed in this resolution and because the United States does not agree with every word in this text that the United States did not vote in favor of the resolution.

But it is because this resolution reflects the facts on the ground and is consistent with U.S. policy across Republican and Democratic administrations throughout the history of the state of Israel, that the United States did not veto it.


KOSIK: OK. So all of this is now sparking bipartisan backlash from some congressional leaders. Chuck Schumer is the top Senate Democrat saying he is extremely frustrated by the refusal to veto.

All right, to talk more about this, I want to bring in Jon Alterman, the director at the Center for International and Strategic Studies. Thanks so much for joining us today.

You know, you look at the timing of this, it's a little curious. You have President Obama just days away from leaving office. And I say the timing is curious because you look at the relationship between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama, it certainly has not been warm and fuzzy.

Do you think that this was kind of a parting shot maybe by President Obama, maybe President Obama giving Netanyahu the finger and saying, that's it?

JON ALTERMAN, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: First, the U.S. didn't decide on the timing of this resolution. I think if the U.S. had an option, the resolution wouldn't have come up at all, but the resolution moved.

I think that there was a certain amount of frustration in the Obama administration that they have shelved settlements are a big issue and spoken to Prime Minister Netanyahu about it. They tried to make Israel more secure.

And their feeling based on a conversation I had with the White House yesterday was after all these things, there are more settlements than they were even in the last month or so. There have been actions that they felt the prime minister did that were counterproductive, that added to the settlement enterprise.

That the U.S. counsels him not to do and he did and the U.S. was tired of defending the Israelis from the consequences and mistakes. But I think there's something else going on, too, which is that as the president looks forward to the next president, as he looks to the person, the next president has designated as the ambassador to Israel, committed to the settlement enterprise. President Obama said, you know, the window for a two-state solution for solving this problem amicably is closing. When the history books are written, I want to be the president saying enough, this can't continue.

If they settlement enterprise undermines the two-state solution, it leads to greater conflict, President Obama doesn't want to be responsible for that in any way. I think that's an undercurrent to what was going on in the president's mind.

KOSIK: But even John Kerry came out and said, listen, this is an abstention to try to get the peace process hopefully moving forward, but in essence what it may wind up doing is really isolating Israel even more. You look at the peace process, it's been stalled over the last eight years, has it not?

ALTERMAN: If this doesn't get the peace process stalled, what it does I think in effect is it rallies Israelis together because they feel the outside world is against them.

[08:20:05]We already see American policies going to change and I think President-elect Trump has indicated that quite clearly. This isn't, I think, intended to move the process going forward.

It's meant for this White House, this administration to say, this is what we think. This is what we thought we have created a huge amount of security for Israel. We made the largest aid package ever.

But we still think that Israel is doing things that are destructive of American interests and destructive of Israeli interests and we're not going to protect Israel from the consequences from the international isolation that comes from Israeli actions.

That's the way they see it. It's not received constructively in Israel, whether it will in several years from now or not is unclear.

KOSIK: All right, very strong opinions on all sides. Jon Alterman is the director of Strategic International Studies. Thanks so much for your time.

ALTERMAN: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Still ahead, President-elect Donald Trump says he really enjoys Twitter, he loves it. His recent tweets about foreign policy are confusing some and alarming others especially when it comes to nuclear arms. We'll talk about this next.


BLACKWELL: The former co-chair of President-elect Donald Trump's New York campaign, Carl Palladino, is facing some strong backlash over inflammatory comments he made about President Obama and the first lady. Even Donald Trump's transition team called his remarks absolutely reprehensible. This is coming as Donald Trump is expected to make more cabinet picks in the coming days. CNN's Jeremy Diamond has more details for us. Quickly because I don't want to give this too much oxygen, but it cannot be ignored, what we're hearing from Carl Palladino, at least reading from this report about what he said about the president and the first lady.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Yes, Victor, it's really quite incredible to hear somebody say remarks like this, of Michelle Obama, he talks about her returning essentially to Africa to go hang out with gorillas, a racist remark without question there. And then of President Obama he wished him death by mad cow disease.

So Carl Palladino making some very, very controversial and clearly racist marks at least when it comes to Michelle Obama here. Listen, Carl Palladino, was Donald Trump's New York campaign co-chair, but he also has been in Donald Trump's orbit more recently.

[08:25:07]Just earlier this month, he was spotted leaving Trump Tower after just having met with the president-elect.

BLACKWELL: I want to get to something else really quickly, but if you know, let us know. Has the transition team severed ties with Carl Palladino or are they simply calling his comments reprehensible, but there's a possibility he could be involved in the future?

DIAMOND: Well, we've actually reached out for comment to the Trump transition team and they have not responded as of yet. Not come out to condemn those remarks or make any other comments regarding them otherwise.

BLACKWELL: All right, let's talk about this tweet that we saw a couple hours ago from the president-elect. The day started with a very nice letter, he said, from Vladimir Putin. Day ends with the president-elect quoting Putin.

DIAMOND: Yes, that's right. Donald Trump tweeting just last night Vladimir Putin said today about Hillary and Dems, quote, "In my opinion, it is humiliating. One must be able to lose with dignity" and Trump says of that, "so true."

So this is, of course, just the latest in the string of comments we've seen Donald Trump agree with Vladimir Putin on something. Here, though, what we're talking about is, you know, the Democrats and many Republicans, in fact, as well pointing to the Russian hacking into the election saying that influenced the election.

And of course, you know, Vladimir Putin has denied that. Donald Trump has expressed heavy skepticism of the intelligence community's conclusions that Russia did, in fact, meddle in the elections, not only to influence the process but to help Donald Trump win.

So here once again we're seeing Donald Trump choosing to rather align himself with Vladimir Putin rather than the U.S. intelligence community.

BLACKWELL: All right, Jeremy Diamond there along the inter-coastal from West Palm Beach not too far from Mar-a-Lago, Trump's report there on Palm Beach Island. Thanks so much for being with us.

Let's talk about these developments. We've got with us CNN politics reporter, Tom Lobianco. Tom, good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: So first let's start with the tweets. This has become some have called it social media diplomacy and let's remind our viewers of a few that we've seen. First, this resolution being considered at the United Nations Security Council regarding Israel should be vetoed, talking about the abstention that eventually came from the U.S.

Then there's the tweet about nuclear weapons where Trump tweets the United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear cape ability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.

We should tell China we don't that want the drone they stole back, let them keep it. This approach to this issues, they seemed to come out of nowhere essentially and often we find that they were not -- now, these tweets did not follow any consultation with his advisers.

LOBIANCO: Yes. Well, you know what's interesting is inside D.C. there's been a lot of talk recently about whether or not this is Trump's take on Richard Nixon's quote/unquote "mad man theory of diplomacy," sort of the idea that a democratic leader, a popularly elected leader must appear to be a little unstable when dealing with autocrats and dictators.

And you know there's been a lot of talk about that. And if you assume that, then there's calculation behind it. There's reasoning behind it. But this doesn't seem to have those pieces. You know, as you mentioned, this does not always come in consultation with his advisers.

It seems to be a little breakneck. I mean, we just talked about a reescalation of nuclear arms dealing, which is stunning. I recall there was talk about when he had an off-hand comment about whether Japan should arm itself with nukes and that was stunning on the campaign trail. And now he sends out a tweet and we're talking about whether we need to re-escalate this.

BLACKWELL: We should remind our viewers if they were not watching on "NEW DAY" yesterday, Sean Spicer, the incoming press secretary told Alisyn Camerota that we should take those tweets literally. If they're coming from Donald Trump, he says I don't know how else they should be taken.

So these tweets should be taken literally. Do we expect that he will continue this pattern? Even continue to tweet during the primary I believe it was back in January -- I'm sorry, it was April of this year in Rhode Island if I remember correctly, he said that he would stop tweeting as president because he didn't find it to be presidential. Is that going to change? LOBIANCO: Well, I mean, he's been the president-elect now for officially a few days since the Electoral College signed off on it. You know, for a month and a half formally or not formally, but it hasn't stopped then.

[08:30:00] It didn't stop during the campaign. In a way, you can almost see them testing it, right? I mean, when you -- when you send out a tweet, if it's -- if it's just a candidate, that's one thing. But this is the President of the United States -- I mean, in three weeks, this will be the president sending these.


LOBIANCO: These -- it might not, you know, be a memo; it might not, you know, carry the -- the letterhead of the office of the President of the United States; but, it still is a declaration from him and it's incredibly powerful. This move mountains (sic).

BLACKWELL: There's a difference between tweeting as a candidate, as the nominee, as the president-elect even, and then tweeting as the President of the United States. Tom LoBianco, Merry Christmas to you. I see your tree there on the edge of the shot. Enjoy the holidays, sir.

LOBIANCO: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. Alison?

KOSIK: All right. Actress Carrie Fisher -- she's best known as Princess Leia in the Star Wars films -- well, she was rushed off an airplane last night. We've got details of what happened and how she's doing just ahead.

But, first, if you're traveling to L.A. for fun, there's more to do than just visit Hollywood, or visit Disneyland. An actress takes us on her tour of her favorite spots in the area


ANDREE VERMEULEN, ACTRESS: Hey, I'm Andree Vermeulen, comedian and actress, and I'm about to show you some of my must-see spots in L.A.

So, welcome to Amir's Garden, an oasis in the middle of the city. So, in 1971, a massive brush fire kind of wiped out all of the trees -- the vegetation -- and Amir decided to plant this garden oasis by hand.


We are here at Crossroads, one of my favorite restaurants. It is L.A.'s premier hotspot for gourmet plant-based cuisine.

TAL RONNEN, CHEF AND OWNER, CROSSROADS KITCHEN: Signature dish, our artichoke oysters. And this is our take on a carbonara -- the egg is made out of a yellow tomato bearnaise sauce.

(MUSIC PLAYING) VERMEULEN: Welcome to beautiful Malibu pier, such an amazing place, just a little over 25 miles from downtown L.A. You can fish; you can surf; you can paddleboard; and you can enjoy two farm-to-table restaurants all here on the pier, with a little gift shop at the end.


This is a perfect way to end a wonderful day, looking out at the ocean, shipping a fresh-squeezed juice. I mean, come on. I hope you enjoyed this trip with me through L.A. I hope to see you here soon.




KOSIK: Good morning and welcome back. I'm Alison Kosik, in for Christie Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you this morning.

KOSIK: We've got an update for you on Star Wars actress, Carrie Fisher. The actress' brother told CNN she's in stable condition, but she is intensive care. Now, Fisher suffered a full cardiac arrest. She was on a flight that was going from London to Los Angeles last night.

BLACKWELL: Her Star Wars co-star, Mark Hamill, tweeted in support of her recovery, saying "As if 2016 couldn't get any worse. Sending all our love to Carrie Fisher."

CNN's Stephanie Elam is following this story for us. Stephanie, good morning to you.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alison and Victor, from what we understand, Carrie Fisher had a cardiac event close to landing at Los Angeles International Airport on her United flight coming in from London. From what we understand, people on the plane did come to her aid -- passengers, and also the folks working the flight coming to her aid. And they also called in -- you could hear it on air-traffic control -- they call in to make sure that there was EMT's waiting at the gate to receive her.

We know that she was taken to a local hospital. Her brother, Todd Fisher, telling CNN that she was moved to intensive care unit care and that's where she is; but, obviously, a lot of people tweeting out their support and love for Carrie Fisher, hoping that she'll make a full recover -- from people who are just deep fans, to her co-stars like Mark Hamill, also tweeting out. So, a lot of people very concerned about the health of Carrie Fisher here. The 60-year-old actress still very busy -- still keeping a very full plate. And, obviously, just way too young to die.

Alison and Victor? KOSIK: All right, Stephanie Elam, thanks very much. Still ahead, more than 20 million people are facing a winter weather threat this weekend. Where the worst of the ice and snow is expected to hit. That's next.


BLACKWELL: All right, about 21 minutes until the top of the hour now. A plane carrying the Minnesota Vikings skids off an icy runway. The airport is forced to use a fire truck ladder to get the players off the plane. This happened at Appleton International Airport in Wisconsin. No one was hurt -- good news there. But, several of the players seemed, actually, pretty thrilled at the experience and the team shared the video on their website.

KOSIK: Taking a look at other stories in the world of sports, this morning, a star college football player makes an emotional apology more than two years after punching a woman in the face. Here's our Coy Wire.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Oklahoma running back, Joe Mixon, said he wanted to address this issue earlier, but his legal team advised him not to do so. The incident happened two years ago, but this disturbing video was released just eight days ago. It shows Amelia Molitor shoving and slapping Mixon, but we won't show you what happened next. Mixon punched Molitor so hard he broke her nose and cheekbone, fractured her jaw and orbital bone near her eye. She had her jaw wired shut, as well.

Now, Mixon issued a formal apology last month, but in the wake of the video's release, he spoke publicly to say he's sorry.


JOE MIXON, FOORBALL PLAYER, OKLAHOMA UNIVERSITY: I'm here to apologize to Ms. Molitor. I apologize to Coach Phillips. I apologize to, you know, our President Boren. (Inaudible). Most of all, you know, my family. I've let a lot of people down.

It's never, never, never okay, you know -- you know, never, never, okay to, you know, retaliate and hit a woman, you know, the way I did.


WIRE: Now, Mixon did not serve any jail time, did not lose his scholarship. He was ordered, though, to serve 100-hours of community service, get counseling, and he was suspended for the team for his freshman year. But, one of the problems many have with this punishment is that most first-year football players red-shirt anyways, taking a year to acclimate to college life and get bigger and stronger. And, also, in the wake of this video's release, Mixon is, as of now, still allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl, as number seven Oklahoma takes on number 14 Auburn, January 2nd.

Let's move to the NFL where the New York Jets may not have their head coach for their game today. The Jets released a statement saying Coach Todd Bowles was in stable condition after he was admitted to the hospital with an undisclosed illness. The team said that if Bowles was unable to make it to the game, Assistant Head Coach Mike Caldwell would take over. We wish Coach Bowles well. He is a tough cookie, indeed. He played seven years in the NFL, himself. His Jets are four-and-ten and they're playing against the 12-and-two Patriots, who are playing for home field advantage throughout the playoffs, so it's going to be a tough go for the Jets today.

It's Christmas Eve and the spirit of giving is in the air, but wait until you see what Cowboys rookie, Ezekiel Elliott got his offensive line for Christmas. Here it is -- $25,000 custom-camouflage John Deere ATVs. We've seen it all. That's more than the cost of a brand- new Honda Accord. Zeke's offensive line hasn't been naughty to him this season. He's leading the league in rushing, he made it to the Pro Bowl, so the young rookie just wanting to show the big boys some love. The Cowboys don't play until Monday night against the Lions, in Dallas, so those offensive lineman have a few days to play with their new toys.

Alison, Victor, that's exactly what I was going to get you for Christmas, but, Alison, I got you this cool Santa hat. And because, Victor, that's not really your style, I got you a bunch of razors, my friend. Merry Christmas Eve.

BLACKWELL: Always can use an extra razor. Thank you very much.

KOSIK: So nice of him.

More than 20 million people could see snow, freezing rain, or ice this weekend. Dual storms are sweeping the West and the Northeast today, just as millions are trying to get home for the holidays. Joining us now to talk about what's ahead, CNN meteorologist, Alison Chinchar, looking in her -- looking in her telescope to tell us what's going on.

BLACKWELL: Her snow globe. You were supposed to use snow globe there.


BLACKWELL: It's applicable.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: A snow -- snow globe is perfect. Yes, well, some cities are actually excited that the system is moving east, and that would include Seattle and Portland. Even San Francisco, because that means most of the system is finally exiting their area. But, we also have another system. That's in the Eastern half of the country, bringing incredibly heavy rain to cities like New York, D.C., Philadelphia -- stretching all the way towards Nashville. And even some snowfall starting to arrive into Boston.

Here, we have a winter weather advisory out for portions of the Northeast, and even a freezing rain advisory. And that's certainly much more dangerous for driving conditions. And we also have freezing rain advisory out towards the west, as well as ice storm warnings and a blizzard warning. That's the bright orange color you can see here. Now, that's really going to have big impacts on driving travel, because we're talking visibility of a quarter of a mile or less.

Now, that next system begins to make its way in and that gives us the potential for some very heavy rain, very heavy snow, and also the potential for severe weather as we go into the day on Christmas. Now, here you can see some of those rain showers setting up ahead of time. Nashville and Memphis, that will be today. And, then, tomorrow we have the chance for severe weather a little bit farther out to the west.

Now, we're also keeping track of another storm system. This one out in the Pacific Ocean. We're talking about a super typhoon. Right now, winds 150 miles-per-hour. That makes it a high-end category four hurricane equivalent, gusting up to 185 miles-per-hour. It's not a very fast storm, but that's still not the point. It's still expected to make its way, barreling towards the Philippines as we go into Christmas day, likely to impact there around 2:00 in the afternoon local time; 1:00 in the morning Eastern-U.S. time.

So, unfortunately, guys, we're talking about a super typhoon making landfall on Christmas day. Not exactly what you'd hope for, for the weather.

BLACKWELL: Not at all. Thank you for watching all of it for us, Allison Chinchar. We'll check back in a moment.

KOSIK: All right, still ahead, President-Elect Trump exhibiting his deal-making skills -- his latest victory with Lockheed Martin. Errol Louis is back with his keen political eye to help us make us make sense of it all. That's coming up.


KOSIK: Okay, now Donald Trump's latest negotiator-in-chief moment. This time, getting assurances from Lockheed Martin's CEO, who -- who gave the President-Elect her "personal commitment" to cut the cost of the stealthy F-35 fighter jet.

Let's continue this conversation with CNN Political Commentator and Spectrum News anchor, Errol Louis. Hello again, Errol, and thanks again for sharing your holiday weekend with us.


KOSIK: So, are we really seeing a -- just a taste of what a President-Elect Trump will be once he gets into office? He's going to be more of a negotiator-in-chief, because we saw him go -- go on Twitter about Air Force One; he slammed Boeing; and now he -- he's kind of pitting Lockheed Martin and Boeing against each other concerning these fighter jets. But he -- he, ultimately, is looking to -- to cut the costs of these -- of these aircraft to save taxpayer -- take -- to save taxpayers money.

LOUIS: Yes, it's a -- it's a good move politically, at first glance, but I -- I must tell you that there's another side to this, which is, that F-35 program that he's talking about with Lockheed Martin -- that's 146,000 jobs spread across 35 states, and concentrated in big states that are important to any President, like California, Texas -- 15,000 jobs in Florida. To put those jobs at risk -- while he might get some nice, national headlines, believe me, all across Florida, in lots of little towns, there are people who are quite worried that a generation's worth of work that they were planning to do -- this is a 22-year contract -- might suddenly vanish. And that is going to sort of cut back the other way.

So, you know, in looking at who wins and who loses, it's not nearly as simple as 140-character tweet from the President-Elect might make it seem.

KOSIK: All right, let's switch gears -- talk about the fallout about the U.S. refusing to veto a U.N. resolution which condemns the construction of Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. You had John Kerry coming out and saying this is going wind up preserving the possibility of peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians; but, interestingly enough, President Obama hasn't had luck in fostering peace. In fact, peace talks have -- have all but stalled between the Israelis and the Palestinians. And now, many believe that what this -- with this move -- meaning the U.S. not vetoing this resolution -- what this is going to do is further isolate Israel and -- and not help the peace process at all -- it's going to backfire.

LOUIS: Well, that's right. I mean, look, it's a -- it's a key component of the peace process -- process is probably too optimistic of a word, these days. But, the reality is, for 50-plus years now, there' hasn't been a substantial change in the questions that are on the table, which are "What will the borders be?" "How can you make those borders secure?" "What will be the final status of Jerusalem, which is claimed as a capitol by multiple peoples, and as a holy site by multiple religions?"

It's -- it's a really tricky kind of a thing to -- to manage, or else it would have been done by now. The notion that settlements, in violation of U.N. resolutions and international law, could somehow be exempted from that, and that Israel could just kind of go ahead, full- steam ahead with support from the United States -- that is a -- a reckless and -- and surely faulty interpretation of the situation on the ground.

So, we'll see if the President-Elect, after his inauguration, really wants to continue down that road and still claim to be moving toward a peace process, because it would do -- nothing would derail the process faster, I think, than simply saying "We're going to push for Israeli settlements", "We're going to push for a one-state solution, not a two-state solution and the fate of 6 million-odd Palestinians, well, we'll just ignore that question." That's not how you get to peace.

KOSIK: All right, Errol Louis, Merry Christmas Eve. Thanks so much for getting up early with us.

LOUIS: Merry Christmas. Thanks.

BLACKWELL: Snazzy blazer too, if I might say so myself.

KOSIK: It is. I agree.

BLACKWELL: All right, still to come, it's a hard truth behind balancing your work life and your personal life. We're going to get to resolutions soon enough, and maybe that's the one for you. We'll tell you why time management may really be the most difficult part of this and it may not be working on your side.


KOSIK: All right, it's what many of us have to figure out every day -- how to find that delicate balance between our work life and our personal lives. So we look for ways to use our time more efficiently, right? But, my next guest says all of our efforts to be more productive actually end up backfiring and ultimately cause us to feel more stress.

All right, let's break this all down with Author of "The Antidote: Happiness For People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking", Oliver Burkeman, joining us live from New York. Thanks so much for coming on the show.

OLIVER BURKEMAN, AUTHOR: Thanks for inviting me.

KOSIK: All right, so, I've got to know this; how is it that, if we try to manage our time, if we make our to-do lists, how does that actually make things worse? I thought it makes us more organized.

BURKEMAN: I mean, I think that's the promise, isn't it? But I -- I -- I mean, we're all anxious about time. We all want to try to fit in enough work, be good parents, be good spouses -- the whole of it. But, the problem comes that when you respond to that anxiety about time with systems and advice that involve just thinking more and more about time and focusing on time, you get into this kind of hysterical situation where you are constantly even more stressed than you were. Even if it works -- even if you get more efficient at answering emails, doing the chores -- whatever it is -- you end up in this kind of efficiency mindset where the moment you try to relax, you're -- you're kind of beating yourself up for -- for not using that time as efficiently as possible.

KOSIK: All right, so what's the answer? What's the answer to finding the balance between your work and your personal life?

BURKEMAN: I think -- well, firstly, I'm not sure there is a perfect answer --

KOSIK: Oh, (inaudible).

BURKEMAN: -- and I think the problem with -- I'm sorry about that, yeah. You're talking to someone who's going to be leaving this studio and finishing his Christmas shopping at a sprint in about an hour and a half right now, so -- but, I think, you know, this idea that there is this ideal state of work life balance that we can achieve, that's kind of shimmering off in the distance -- it may not be attainable and, actually, trying to focus on it and feeling bad because we're not there may just be adding to the stress in our lives. But, to give a little bit of -- of constructive, positive advice, I'd think I'd say we just have to face up to making trade-offs. We just have to accept that there are things that we are -- feel are pretty important in life, but not very important, that we're not going to get to, because we want to do the really important things. I write stuff -- that's how I make a living; we have a five-week-old baby at home at the moment. So, what priority do you think, you know, vacuuming the carpets is getting at my house? It's -- it's not getting a high priority, and that's the only way to handle it, I think -- to just accept that some things aren't going to get done.

KOSIK: What do you think -- this sort of digital era that we're in with the smart phones and the social media; is that adversely affecting our ability to be more productive, as well? Is there a situation where we're feeling like we have to keep up with the Joneses and be perfect, just like what everybody looks like they are on social media?

BURKEMAN: I think that's so true. And it's so ironic; you know, technology is supposed to help us -- that's almost like the definition of technology, but instead, yes, especially on social media, you get this kind of highlights reel of everybody's life. You -- people don't post about the days they're feeling kind of blah. They post about their weddings, they post about their vacations. And, so, if you compare yourself and what's going on inside you, to what you're seeing on their behalf, you know, on the outside, you're just going to feel worse and worse.

KOSIK: So it's all about trade-offs. Maybe cut back on work, in exchange for time elsewhere? Is that what you're saying?

BURKEMAN: I mean, if you can. A part of what I was trying to get at in the -- in the big article I wrote in "The Guardian" on this topic was that we might just be living in a slightly impossible situation as a society, where you can't be perfect at all these things; you can't get enough work done and be enough of a parent, and a spouse, and a friend, and all the rest of it. But, yes, I think, ultimately, you have to take some tough decisions and not pretend that an infinite amount of stuff can be done in your -- in your finite amount of time.

KOSIK: Hey, we don't have to be perfect. No pressure. I'll take that, because I'm certainly not perfect. Oliver Burkeman, thanks so much for your perspective on this.

BURKEMAN: Thank you.

KOSIK: All right, there's a lot of news to tell you about this morning.

BLACKWELL: Let's get to it. Hour three starts right now.


KOSIK: Good morning, I'm Alison Kosik, in for Christie Paul.

BLACKWELL: It's hour four, actually. KOSIK: It is.

BLACKWELL: Get it right. All right, I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you. Nine o'clock here on the East Coast; 6:00 out West. CNN "NEWSROOM" starts right now, and we're beginning with terror threats, travel warnings, and breaking developments in that Christmas market attack in Berlin.