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North Korea Nuclear Fears; Japanese Prime Minister Visits Pearl Harbor; Carrie Fisher, A Mental Health Advocate, Dies; New Law Aims At Improving Mental Health Care In U.S.; Obama, Japanese P.M. Abe Visit Pearl Harbor; Singer Visits 96-Year-Old Fan At His Home; Watership Down" Author Dead At 96. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired December 27, 2016 - 16:30   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: We're back with our world lead now.

Moments ago, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Obama visited the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Both leaders are expected to give remarks, which we expect to hear in just minutes, and we will bring that to you as we get it.

The visit comes 75 years after Japan's surprise attack. Abe is the fourth Japanese prime minister to visit Pearl Harbor, but he's only the first to visit the revered and sacred USS Arizona Memorial, which sits above the battleship destroyed in the attack where more than 1,000 sailors and Marines on board were killed.

CNN's Athena Jones is in Honolulu covering President Obama.

And, Athena, this visit is something of a return gesture of sorts to President Obama. Tell us about that.


President Obama visited Hiroshima seven months ago to this day. He became the first sitting U.S. president to do so, to pay his respects to the tens of thousands of people who died there. Now Prime Minister Abe coming here today.

And I should mention to you, I believe we may have pictures of the two leaders arriving not long ago on the USS Arizona Memorial, where Prime Minister Abe paid his respects, offering prayers to those who died not just on that ship, but on -- all over Pearl Harbor, the 2,400 who died -- more than 2,400 who died that day of that surprise attack.

I can tell you that, according to the press secretary, the Japanese prime minister's press secretary, he began thinking about making this trip more than a year ago, but he didn't finalize it, he didn't make it official with President Obama until they met briefly on the sidelines of the summit, APEC summit, in Peru in November. And so now you have this long-awaited visit 75 years later with these two leaders making history -- Jake.

TAPPER: Earlier this year, we interviewed one of the survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack. And obviously a lot of these brave service members, years later, still have very horrific memories of that horrible day.

What are we expecting to hear from President Obama as he takes the stage?

JONES: I expect we will hear some echoes of what we heard during his visit to Hiroshima.

This is not, of course, a policy speech, Jake. This is a speech that's much more emotional and poetic in some ways, you could say. We know that he wants to highlight the power of reconciliation, the ability of these two nations who were former adversaries who 75 years later have become the closest of allies.

You hear it often from White House officials, especially when traveling to Asia, that the U.S.-Japan alliance, the friendship, is the most important in the Asia-Pacific. And so we expect him to touch on that.

But he is also likely to reflect on what it feels like to be out there on that memorial. It's very still. And you can smell the oil. You can see the oil if the wind is right in the water.

There are more than 900 of those sailors still entombed there. And so it's an emotional moment, poignant moment. And so I expect that part of his remarks will reflect on -- in that way.


TAPPER: Athena, it seems unlikely we are going to hear an apology from Prime Minister Abe, right?

JONES: No, we are not going to hear an apology from Prime Minister Abe.

We had a briefing with his press folks, his press secretary, last night and asked that expressly. We should not expect an apology. Instead, they stressed that he wanted to offer condolences, offer his prayers, but his speech is going to be a forward-looking one.

And I will remind our viewers, Jake, that that's pretty much how President Obama approached his speech back in May in Hiroshima. He didn't offer an apology, but he instead talked about the friendship that's developed and the need to avoid the ravages of war. So, I don't expect we will hear that from either -- or from Prime Minister Abe when he speaks just a few minutes from now -- Jake.

TAPPER: Athena Jones in Hawaii, thank you so much.

An ominous new deadline from Kim Jong-un, why North Korea's nuclear weapons program could become a reality much sooner than expected. Stay with us.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.

The world lead now, new information on the movements of the Berlin terrorist as he dodged authorities in three different countries in the hours after mowing down dozens of people at a packed Christmas market.

Italian police have now released a screen-cap of a closed-circuit video. They say it shows the Berlin attacker at the Milan train station on Friday some time before police there identified him, shot and killed him.

CNN reporter Chris Burns joins me now with the latest live from Berlin.

Chris, what else are we learning about the terrorist?

CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, here at the Christmas market that was hit more than a week ago, people still coming to pay their respects.

And as this investigation goes on, we are hearing from authorities now in Tunisia that they have arrested five more people. That's the native country of Anis Amri, the man who crashed into this market Monday of last week, killing a dozen people and injuring more than 50.

He -- there were five more arrests over there in Tunis connected to anti-terror arrests, plus three. There were three before that, including one of the nephews of Anis Amri.


And we're hearing more from the Interior Ministry over in Tunisia about how Anis Amri had been asking his nephew to actually kill another uncle of that nephew and as well as, of course, asking this nephew to pledge his allegiance to ISIS.

German authorities over here are continuing their searches and also the French authorities have come up with a video in Lyon. What we're seeing is that Anis Amri went from Berlin, somehow got to Lyon. They have video surveillance of Anis Amri in Lyon.

And then we have the Italians showing him on the video in Milan after which he was killed in a gunfight by Italian police. There still remain a lot of holes in this. But there's one argument that is being done here in Germany a lot is that we need more video surveillance.

A recent -- a new poll shows that 60 percent of Germans believe there should be more video surveillance here. But there is also the question about privacy here in Germany in post-war Germany. And so it's a big debate here -- Jake.

TAPPER: Chris, there are calls for more than just increased video surveillance, right?


As a matter of fact, Chancellor Angela Merkel's -- her center-right group, the CDU/CSU, they have a shopping list they'd really like to push through the Bundestag. And that includes not only more video surveillance, but it includes re-registering with iris scans and fingerprints all of the asylum seekers.

They'd like the entire E.U. to register in that way all of the immigrants coming into Europe. Imagine what a job that would be. And also there are some 550 considered terror threats, people who are terror threats, in Germany, and the CDU/CSU would like to put ankle bracelets, electronic ankle bracelets on every single one of them -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Chris Burns in Berlin, thank you so much.

More news from our world lead now. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has a major and ominous New Year's resolution. He wants his country to finish developing nuclear weapons in 2017.

A high-profile former diplomat who recently defected from the repressive regime made that revelation, saying there is not enough money in the world to convince the ruthless North Korean leader to give up his nuclear weapon ambitions.

Let's bring in CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.

Barbara, what can the U.S. and incoming President Trump do about this if anything?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Very little, Jake. That's really the assessment right now.

It was just several weeks ago, in fact, that the director of national intelligence, the top intelligence officer in the U.S., James Clapper, said it really didn't do any good, North Korea was committed to its nuclear program and it was a losing proposition to try to make them change their mind.

What this defector is saying is that Kim Jong-un not interested in money, not interested in economic or financial concessions. He is full-bore aimed at trying to develop a working nuclear weapons program that could attack the United States someday, and he wants to have it done by the end of next year, within the next 12 months.

Trump may have to deal with this. And his options may be very limited. If he can't convince the North Koreans in concessions, he could sanction China, which is said to be supporting the North Koreans in this effort. That's unlikely to settle the region. He could order military action, but nobody knows how Kim Jong-un might react to that -- Jake.

TAPPER: Barbara, we know Kim Jong-un wants to complete the program, the nuclear weapons development program, by the end of 2017. How are U.S. officials assessing the likelihood of the North Koreans accomplishing that?

STARR: He has a couple of technical hurdles he still has to get over. One of them is called reentry. What it means is, he has got the

missile. He is pretty close to having a warhead. He can launch all of that. But after you launch that, that missile has to come back down into the Earth's atmosphere, reenter, so it can strike a target. His people have not, by all accounts, mastered that yet.

This is what the U.S. intelligence community is watching very closely. Where is that point at which North Korea crosses the line, has a working weapon, and what do you do about it, Jake?

TAPPER: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon for us, thank you so much.

Still ahead, a 96-year-old woman -- I'm sorry -- 96-year-old World War II veteran who just got one of the biggest surprises of his life thanks to a superstar. Stay with us.


[16:45:00] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.

Turning to our health lead now, President Obama signed the sweeping bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act into law earlier this month, just one day before the fourth anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, a painful reminder to us all. 20 young children senselessly slaughtered by a young man with deteriorating mental health in addition to six teachers. As the first major health care reform since Obamacare, this new law paves a way to address mental illness.

And joining me now is one of the lawmakers who worked so hard on the 21st Century Cures Act, Republican Congressman Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania. He's also the co-author of "Overcoming Passive- Aggression" which has been released with a brand-new edition. Thank you so much for being here, Congressman, good to see you as always.

I want to get to your book and I want to get to the 21st Century Cures Act. But first, I want to ask you about Carrie Fisher because she was so outspoken when it came to destigmatizing her struggles with mental health issues. Here is a clip from her just a few years ago on "The Today Show".


LAUER: You said there still a stigma and you don't quite understand why.

CARRIE FISHER, ACTRESS: I don't get it because I think if you're manic depressive, when you're living with it, it takes balls or the female equivalent. And, you know, it's -- people make fun of it or don't want anyone to know. Man, I don't care. It's like a war story.

LAUER: People who talk about alcohol and drug addiction talk about, it's a daily struggle. Are you in a daily struggle with depression and bipolar disorder? I mean --.

FISHER: If I am, it's going on right now. LAUER: Well, could you come here tomorrow and I look and go she is

completely different today?

FISHER: It's not that fast but it could happen. It's weather. It's -- these are moods that happen independently of what's going on in your life. So it's pretty freaky.


TAPPER: That's one of the reasons so many millions of people around the world admired her was for how outspoken she was. Why do you think people are so reluctant to talk about mental health issues still?

[16:50:02] REP. TIM MURPHY (R), PENNSYLVANIA: One of the major reasons is you can't get help for it. I mean, half of the counties in America, you can't find a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, so oftentimes when you have a breakdown crisis, you end up in jail or lying in an emergency room bed for hours and hours and hours. And so, people don't want to talk about it. And it's still a cultural thing that what Carrie Fisher did that's so important.

She outlined it's OK to be talking about it. It's OK to push for those things, very courageous. But her life was also pretty much a story of what happens to someone. Her life with addiction, just trying to self-medicate, health issues too, people with serious mental illness tend to die 10 to 25 years sooner than the rest of the population. She faced those same terminals. She came in with great state and it amazes the American public, we need to continue to treat this and not run away.

TAPPER: Let's talk about your mental health legislation that you and some of your colleagues worked on so hard. You started really working on it after the Sandy Hook shooting. Is there anything in the bill that would have stopped either the Sandy Hook shooting or anything like that? Any incident where somebody with mental health issues got their hands on a weapon?

MURPHY: Well, the key features is, if someone is getting help, you reduce the likelihood. A person with serious mental illness who is in treatment is 26 times less likely to be violent than someone not in treatment. That being the case, it was hard for him to get treatment.

I don't know all the details with that. I mean, some of those things died with the mother's death too. But the fact it's so hard to find a treatment. There's a 100,000 bed shortage in this country for people with serious mental illness, so oftentimes they're discharged and not getting help.

They're oftentimes not getting proper medication, 70 percent of psychotropic drugs are prescribed by non-psychiatrists. And please not him at least (ph). And our bill addresses many of those things, increasing of the hospital beds, increase the number of beds and increasing the number of psychologists and psychologists, allows more communication takes place between a doctor and a parent on some limited basis here, pushes more for first episode psychosis treatment, more trauma treatments. There's a lot of things we're pushing out there. It's -- we didn't get everything we need but we needed everything we got in this going. Still a major, major step in moving mental health treatment forward.

TAPPER: Let's talk about the book "Overcoming Passive-Aggression: How to Stop Hidden Anger from Spoiling Your Relationships, Career and Happiness" are you giving this out to your colleagues on Capitol Hill?

MURPHY: I've given them out to House leadership. I said, well, that's kind of the mother's milk of how people work in Congress. Look, it's an insipid problem that happens in a great deal of certain politics. One of those things we could smile is someone say, "Boy, you're my friend and in the meantime trying to undo what they're doing." We doing all of that with social media, look at all those fake news meant just to hurt someone or destroy someone.


MURPHY: Your field is something to that, just like mine feel this too. But we recognize it can destroy relationships. Just people probably so loud that in holiday time, when your relatives came over and continued on the old battle, they continue on year after year after year. So it's a good guide to help you know those instances.

TAPPER: What's the biggest mental health, and I'm not using it like in a pejorative sense, but the biggest mental health challenge you see in public life, whether it's media, politics? What is the thing that people do that is unhealthy on a prescription level for the likes of you? You're a licensed physician.

MURPHY: Well, oftentimes what we do worse is we do lousy communication. We are not aware of how we come across. We just steam-roll over people. We are not very clear in our message, oftentimes not clear in ourselves. That leads to a lot of unnecessary stress, and actually an additional thing that we have in society now, much less sleep so we end up with sleep disorders.

We try to hide from trauma. We're building more things on top of each other there. And the fact that it's been so hard to get help, Jake, it's, you know, you've been a great outspoken voiceness (ph) and I appreciate it, the country appreciates that. But until we get more providers out there, until people feel more willing to talk about these things, it's still a disease without treatment but we know the treatment works.

TAPPER: New Year's resolution for both of us, let's do a story about PTSD in 2017 because I know that's an issue you work very, very hard on. Thank you.

MURPHY: Thank you, Jake. Happy New Year and merry Christmas.

TAPPER: President Obama and Prime Minister Abe of Japan are at Pearl Harbor where they just participated in an historic wreath laying ceremony at the USS Arizona Memorial. Abe is the first Japanese Prime Minister to visit that memorial. Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) [16:55:08] That's President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Abe at the USS Arizona Memorial, more than 1,100 sailors and marines were killed December 7th, 1941 on the USS Arizona. We're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back.



TAPPER: I don't think that 96-year-old is going to be able to shake that off for a while, that feeling at least. That's Taylor Swift there playing for Cyrus Porter and his family. It's our pop culture lead today. The World War II veteran's wildest dreams came true over the holidays, a surprise visit to his Missouri home the day after Christmas from his favorite singer. Porter was diagnosed with cancer last year. He has been to Taylor Swift concerts before but he wanted to see her perform again. He just didn't know she was coming to his own living room. His family was pretty excited


She took time to hold a baby, looked at newspaper clippings about Porter's army service, she even left a lipstick stain on the veteran's cheek.

Now, on to more sad news, the author of the beloved English children's book "Watership Down" has died. His family said Richard Adams was 96. Adams' daughter has persuaded him to write down the wildly imaginative bedtime story he told them as children about rabbits who banded together to live home in search of a better life. Some readers saw deeper things in the book about religion, and faith and exile and the brutality of life. But Adams insisted, it was a story he made up to amuse his young daughters. Richard Adams, rest in peace.

That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper, I turn you over to Jim Sciutto who's in for Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM", may the force be with you.