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CONNECT THE WORLD
Kim Jong-un Claims North Korea Ready for ICBM Test; Turkey Mourns Dead of New Year's Eve Club Attack; Donald Trump Still Skeptical of Russian Involvement of DNC Hack; One Analyst Claims West/Russia Already in Cold War. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired January 2, 2017 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:13] ZAIN ASHER, HOST: ISIS said it's behind the attack on the New Year's Eve
revelers in Istanbul as the manhunt for the murderer enters the second day. We'll have a live report from Istanbul coming up.
Also ahead, carnage in Baghdad, dozens killed in an ISIS attack there as the French president pays a visit. We'll be live in Paris this hour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT-ELECT: I know a lot about hacking, and hacking is a very hard thing to prove.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: As Donald Trump getting back to work, can he reset the relationship with Russia? We talk to a writer who says the U.S. will win a new Cold
War. That's next.
Hello, everyone, I'm Zain Asher. And a warm welcome to you here at Connect the world.
Eight people at this hour are in Turkish police custody in connection with the deadly Istanbul nightclub attack, but the hunt continues for the actual
shooter. Surveillance video shows the actual shooter. Our surveillance cameras caught the moment of the attacker in actually stormed the club in
the early hours of New Year's Day.
You can actually see in this video bystanders basically taking cover there and fleeing. In all, 39 people were killed. ISIS says that one of its
operatives carried out this attack. CNN, though, cannot independently confirm that claim.
I want to bring in our Ian Lee who is following this story from Istanbul. So, Ian, eight people right now in custody, what more do we know about
IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well very little right now. The authorities haven't released much information about these people and again,
their suspects, these are people that they think may have known about this operation or may have helped, but really we do not
know much about these eight people, but this nationwide manhunt is under way for this man that ISIS claims as one of their own. A soldier, they
say, was carrying out this attack at the nightclub, to attack Christians on the night of their celebration.
Now, many Muslims were among those victims on this New Year's Eve celebration. And ISIS also saying that it was out of retaliation for
Turkey's involvement, military operations, in Syria against ISIS.
Right now, Turkish troops are facing off against ISIS in al-Bab (ph).
We're also getting a picture of this suspect that the police believe could be behind this deadly shooting. This picture is circulating on Turkish
media. Now, this man, if he an ISIS operative. It could be a ticking clock as he might try to make it to Syria, back to territory held by ISIS.
ASHER: So, Ian, what is all of this. I mean, we've seen a number of attacks, terrorist attacks, in Turkey over the past month both from the PKK
and from ISIS. I mean, what does all of this tell us about the state of Turkish security right now?
LEE: It was interesting, Zain, as right behimd me is Takhsin Square. And walking through
it today we saw these special police units with fatigues on and automatic weapons and I haven't seen them before in the square during -- and really
ever and so it just shows you the increase in security that is taking place right now across Istanbul.
But even before this attack happened, there was a heavy police presence across the city. They had checkpoints here in this square. They were
going through people's bags. They were searching them. They were looking for anything suspicious leading up to the New Year's Eve celebrations.
There was also a police station that was close to that club. They had an armed guard, a police officer out in front of it, we're told from the owner
of the club that the coast guard was also increasing their patrol.
So, this was a country -- this was a city that was preparing itself for any sort of attack ahead of the New Year's Eve celebration, yet this lone
gunman was able to go into this club, kill 39 people and escape without being caught.
ASHER: All right, Ian Lee, do keep us up to speed on any updates you hear. Thank you so much. Appreciate that.
And we have much more. Still to come on the show on the Turkish nightclub shooting later in the newscast. We're going to be speaking with author
Simon Waldman. He's done extensive research about Turkey and the seas of discontent being sown there. We'll also take a closer look at some of
those who lost their lives in the attack and we'll bring you any new details on the eight people, only eight people that police have detained in
connection with this shooting.
ISIS has also claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in Baghdad today. A car exploded in a busy intersection in a predominantly Shia
district, killing 35 people, 61 others were wounded. This happened on the same day that the President Francois Hollande of France is in the city.
He's visiting French troops as well as Iraqi forces who are helping to ISIS there.
I want to go straight now to our Melissa Bell who is live for us in Paris.
So, Melissa, French President Francois Hollane is addressing troops. What did he have to say?
[10:05:31] MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's been speaking, Zain, to French special forces, mainly, who are there there in Baghdad, but
also Irbil, where Francois Hollande has moved on to this afternoon. Just wrapping up that one day visit of Iraq, speaking then to French troops, but
also to political leaders, because this was also about politics, Zain.
He met even as that bombing took place earlier today in that Shiite district of Baghdad, with the Iraqi prime minister. The country's
president, also the speaker of the House -- very concerned, of course, that the resumption in violence -- and this is nothing new, we have seen over
the course of the last few days, Zain, these bombings increased and in November, just after that offensive from Mosul began a huge spike in the
numbers of attacks taking place away from Mosul outside. In other parts of Iraq, one French military specialist told me that he would have been
crunching some numbers. And he believed that 1,000 had died in terror attacks throughout Iraq in the month of November alone.
So a spike there in the violence, no doubt due as a retaliation of what's going on in Mosul. So , Francois Hollande very keen to shore up his
support for the Iraqi government. It is an Iraqi government that's facing troubles of its own even as this offensive goes on in Mosul. It is a
country without either an interior minister or a defense minister as we speak.
And Francois Hollande has really been leading the charge. He's the only major western leader to have gone to Iraq since the start of the
coalition's fight there and sort of picking up the slack where America has left off.
France is only the second biggest military contributor, but really Francois Hollande has been keen to show his political determination to support the
Iraqi government in these difficult times.
And beyond this particular visit today, Zain, he's been hosting a number of meetings here in France over the course of the end of last year, of
military leaders of that coalition, to decide on the future. The French are very concerned about what happens once Mosul falls, what is the future
of Iraq and what can western leaders do to help the government, stay together, stay unified, to face what's likely to be a very difficult
ASHER: All right, Melissa Bell, live for us there. Thank you so much.
And it has been nearly two weeks since Britain's Queen Elizabeth was actually seen in public. On Sunday, she missed a second holiday church
service, still recovering from a heavy cold. It has kept the 90-year-old monarch who is head of the Church of England from the traditional New Year
and Christmas church services.
Despite staying at home, a royal source tells CNN that Queen Elizabeth is up and working.
CNN's Phil Black joins me live now outside Buckinham Palace.
So, she's missed Christmas and New Year's services, which almost, Phil, never happens. I mean, how is she doing now?
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it's really unprecedented behavior, Zain, which is why people have been a little
worried. And there has even in the interim been some speculation online that perhaps her condition could be even worse than is being reported.
But the palace seems determined to try and get out ahead of that, to try and stop that sort of speculation, or even exaggeration about any serious
deterioration in the queen's health, and so that is why they are saying, and letting everyone know, that it is a cold, one that has knocked her
around for a couple of weeks now, but one that she is recovering from.
They're stressing the fact that she's still working, that she's still receiving government papers and so forth, and the fact that she's still in
residence at Sandringham estate in order to give some indication of just what her health status is.
So, it means that she's not well enough to go out and about in the cold winter weather, which isn't really a good idea for anyone with a cold, let
alone a 90-year-old monarch. But she is well enough to stay indoors, recover her strength, and continue with some of her duties.
So, that is what she is doing.
In the meantime, the palace is not giving regular updates or any sort of running commentary on the queen's health. The next time we expect to see
her will be this coming Sunday where, again she is expected to make another appearance at the local church near the Sandringham estate.
On that estate, that's where she's expected to spend the rest of January. And she usually spends a lot of time there this time of year -- time with
family, time out on the grounds, personal time, essentially, and she's doing that again this year, we're told, it's just a little more limited.
So, in the mean time, she's dealing with a cold and she's battling on through -- Zain.
ASHER: And, Phil, in terms of how this is being covered in London, I mean, how strong is public concern about the queen's health right now?
[10:10:03] BLACK: I think most people are certainly interested in the news that she has been struck by a cold that is as serious as this. But the
expectation is that she will soldier on through it and recover. There's a longstanding degree of respect for the queen and her ability to keep
working and just how hard she works, how seriously she takes her duties as monarch.
And so the fact that she is a queen, although she is clearly an elderly one, at 90 years of age, there is some concern, because it's clearly
serious, but at the same time I think expectation that she will make a full recovery.
We saw other member so the royal family, including her husband, Prince Philip, attending church yesterday without her. He apparently fell ill
around the same time and has clearly bounced back significantly faster than the queen has, but these are two people who are known for being in robust,
good health most of the time. And, as I say, the expectation and the hope is that the queen will return to
that sort of situation in the near future, Zain.
ASHER: Yeah, she is 90, her husband is 95, both an extremely resilient couple. Phil Black, live for us there, thank you so much. And happy New
Year to you.
I want to turn now to Germany. Police in Cologne are being criticized for allegedly racially profiling while conducting identification checks on New
Year's eve. Some 2,500 officers were deployed to prevent a repeat of the mass assaults that we saw last year that took place a year ago.
The chief of police in the city has rejected the criticism saying they took the actions because, quote, we had insights.
Let's go straight now to Chris Burns live for us in Berlin. So when the police say they had
insights, Chris, what exactly does that mean? How are they justifying racial profiling?
CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: OK, Zain, put yourself in their shoes. It's just before midnight. There are hundreds of guys pouring out of
trains and they do look of immigrant origins, shall we say.
The police encircled them. They checked most of their IDs and then they let them go. Now, that might seem OK, but they are getting criticism, and
especially for a tweet that was set out by the police, saying that -- and you might be able to show that tweet right now, hundreds of Nafris (ph)
were screened at a train station. They sent that out in German and then in English.
Nafris (ph) is short term that they use for North African's. And Nafris (ph) is seen by many to be derogatory. That came under fire. That came
under fire from the Social Democrats, one politician saying it's dehumanizing, a Green's politician saying that it was heavy-handed.
It came under fire at the same time the police chief, Mr. Matis (ph), Jurgen Matis (ph) saying that he regrets that reference of Nafris (Ph), he
says it is very unfortunate, but it is a kind of jargon that is used among the police, so this is not going away. The authorities are
very proud of themselves that there was not that replay of last year when hundreds of people were mugged, many women were sexually assaulted and that
did not happen on New Year's Eve, but when this happened, there is debate over how the police should have handled that and talked about it.
ASHER: Right. Obviously racial profiling is extremely controversial.
I'm curious, though, what other tools do police there have at their disposal to prevent, say, another sort of similar style mass attack that we
saw last year.
BURNS: Well, you know they had lots and lots of security. The year before, they had about 100 -- not even 150 city police. This time they had
1,500, plus another 1,000 state and federal police there. They water cannon. They had dozens of police vehicles. They had metal barriers when
they were checking people going in, around the area that -- around the domed cathedral. So it was very, very tight security.
It was all there, and lots of police. So, really, nothing could have happened, but they were very nervous about all these hundreds of young guys
pouring out of trains at the very last minute, Zain.
ASHER: All right, Chris Burns, live for us there. Thank you so much. Appreciate that.
All right, still to come here, U.S. intelligence says Russia meddled in the presidential election, but the next president of the United States says he
knows things that other people don't. We'll have more on what Russia-U.S. relations could look like under president Trump later on this hour.
Plus, airstrikes around Damascus are the latest acts of war now testing Syria's shaky truce. That's next.
[10:16:51] ASHER: Live from CNN Center, you're watching CNN. And this is Connect the World. I'm Zain Asher in for Becky Anderson. Welcome back.
To Syria now where hundreds of villagers in a valley west of Damascus are uprooting their lives, escaping the shelling and the airstrikes. The
bombardments are testing Syria's shaky ceasefire. Rebel groups warn they will abandon the truce if government forces continue to violate it.
While Damascus says rebels not included in the truce have actually launched more attacks.
CNN senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen have reported extensively from Syria. He joins us live now from Moscow.
So, Fred, just help us understand what state -- to what extent this cease fire is in jeopardy? We always talk about ceasefires here being fragile.
Could it literally unravel at any moment?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPNODENT: I think it could. I think it could certainly unravel very quickly, if, indeed, there is more
violence and there are more breaches of the ceasefire. It seems as through right now that the main parties that rae behind this ceasefire, Zain, which
is of course Turkey, Russia, and Iran are really trying to put pressure on the sides that they are on in what are the ones they are with in Syria to
make sure that the ceasefire holds.
And so far we have been hearing from the opposition, for instance, is they say that the ceasefire has been breached a couple of times, but they also
say that so far the ceasefire is still holding.
However, one of the things that the opposition also says is that they understand that there's going to be skirmishes in various places in Syria
even as a ceasefire goes on, but then when it when it comes to, for instance, air strikes in places like Wadi Barada (Ph) that you were just
talking about there outside of Damascus, that that is a serious violation and something that threatens the cease fire as a
Now, what we've been hearing there from Wadi Barada (ph) is that there have been various air
strikes that took place over the course of today. There were also some on Sunday, really an escalation in the fighting. And also there are a lot of
the civilians who were in that area have since fled.
Now, the Russians and the Syrian pro-government forces say that there are forces inside that town, rebel forces, that are affiliated or were
affiliated, with al Qaeda and that are therefore not part of the truth.
Clearly, the opposition sees that differently. And therefore they say that place should not be
attacked, but it certainly does complicate the situation. And it's not the only place in Syria, there's also other areas, as you just mentioned, where
we've also heard of skirmishes. And at any point in time, any of those could escalate to a point where both sides say, look, the ceasefire simply
isn't working out and then we could see another escalation of the violence, but the big thing right now continues to be, Zain, that the big backs of
the parties of the conflict there in Syria -- the Russians, the Turks, and the Iranians still continue to stand by the cease fire and obviously want
it to lead to some sort of reconciliation and possibly peace talk process.
ASHER: And, Fred, just explain to us, you know, how have the dynamics on the ground there in Syria changed since the previous, since the last cease
fire we talked about?
PLEITGEN: Well they have changed considerably. Right now what you have is a situation where certainly a great deal of the momentum is on the side of
the pro-government forces, especially since they won back Aleppo, since Bashar al-Assad's forces recaptured all of that city. You've certainly
seen a big shift in momentum where there is a lot fewer calls for Bashar al-Assad to step down, where there really is a lot less of belief in some
sort of transition taking place in Syria, clearly the opposition put out a statement after this recent ceasefire was put into place saying that is
still their goal, the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad, but it certainly seems that that is more and more remote possibility, especially, of course,
with the Russians continuing their support, with the Iranians continuing their support as well.
What these big powers want to put into place now is some sort of process, which they say they want try and get into gear at a conference in Astana
possibly later this month in Kazakhstan to see whether or not there could be a lasting cease fire and some sort of peace talk process going on, but
that still seems like a very difficult possibility.
But certainly, the idea and the situation where the Syrian government now so much has the momentum on its side, not just in Aleppo, but also in
Damascus as well, and the countryside around Damascus in northern Syria, that really has certainly changed a lot of the
equation on the ground.
ASHER: All right, Fred Pleitgen live for us there. Thank you so much.
Last week, Washington placed new sanctions on Russia for allegedly meddling in the U.S. presidential election, but it's far from the only country
that's experiencing rising tensions with Moscow.
Russia's annexation of Crimea caused major concern among some former Soviet states and they worry there could be even more vulnerable once President-
elect Donald Trump takes office. Here's our Ivan Watson with more.
IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: War games in the snowy fields of eastern Europe as U.S. soldiers train in Latvia. 25 years ago this was
part of the Soviet Union. Today, Latvia is part of the European Union and also a U.S. military ally in NATO.
These are live fire exercises, that's why I've got to wear all this extra protective armor. Military commanders say they are trying to show that they
are a force of deterrence and their number one potential threat, Latvia's much bigger neighbor to the east.
COL. GREGORY ANDERSON, U.S. ARMY: Origins are really in response to Russian activity in 2014, when the strategic situation changed.
WATSON: He's talking about Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula, after Russian forces drove Ukrainian troops out of this corner of Ukraine
Russia's land grab frightens people in former Soviet Republics like Latvia, where there are still bitter memories after a half century of Soviet
JANIS GARISONS, SECRETARY, LATVIAN STATE MINISTRY OF DEFENSE: Our main aim is to protect our sovereignty and everything -- protect our statehood. If
Russia is so peaceful and regards us as neighbors, good neighbors, why you should put a (inaudible) and more force on your borders?
WATSON: But there are two sides to this tension. We traveled from Latvia, across Lithuania, to Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave in Europe that's cut
off from mainland Russia.
In Soviet times, this was a heavily militarized place, closed off from the outside world. Kalinengrad was recently thrust back into the spotlight
after Russia deployed nuclear capable missiles here. Russia's top diplomat defended the move, arguing it's the U.S. that's threatening Russia.
SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Well, it's our territory. But the plans of the United States, not only to -- well, they quadrupled, I this,
the money allocated to support military deployment in Eastern Europe. Then they moved NATO infrastructure next to our borders.
WATSON: Kaliningrad is still the headquarters of the Russian navy's Baltic fleet and Moscow has been flexing its own muscles, performing military
drills in the region.
In 2014, western governments punished Russia's actions in Ukraine with economic sanctions. They've contributed to a broader economic crisis in
Russia that's got everyone we talked to worried about the future.
"Of course I feel bad when they always blame Russia for everything that's gone wrong in the world," says Constantin Smirnov (ph). This confrontation,
he tells me, is not good for anyone.
Rival militaries maneuvering along opposite sides of increasingly tense borders in a land that still bears scars from the last time armies fought
The countryside around Kaliningrad is dotted with dozens of old German churches like this one, abandoned and in ruins after the Soviet army
invaded and conquered this land. Reminders of what happened the last time tensions spun out of control in this part of Europe.
Ivan Watson, CNN, Kaliningrad, Russia.
[10:25:13] ASHER: Still to come here on Connect the World, Donald Trump is getting ready to take the oath of office. We'll look at the plans for the
first 100 days of the Trump presidency including how he will deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin. That is all ahead on Connect the World.
ASHER: A speech by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has ratcheted up tension in the region. In it, he claims his country is close to testing an
intercontinental ballistic missile. He also referred to his country as a nuclear and military power.
The speech has been condemned by both the United States and South Korea. CNN's Saima Mohsin has more.
SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Zain, Kim Jong-un chose his New Year's Day speech to announce North Korea as a military and nuclear
power in the east. And then, of course, he mentioned this intercontinental ballistic missile, meaning a missile that can go way beyond 5,500
Now, it's always, of course, very hard to separate the rhetoric from reality when analyzing a Kim Jong-un spech, but what do we know? We know
North Korea has nuclear weapons. Two nuclear tests in 2016 alone, the fifth and largest under Kim Jong-un's watch in September.
Now experts are also pointing to the fact that in February 2016, North Korea launched a satellite, which many saw as a template or perhaps a guise
for testing a long range ballistic missile. Now as well as the nuclear test, North Korea has conducted and launched several missiles, mostly short
to medium range ones have been successful. Long ranges missile tests have been largely unsuccessful
according to the experts and North Korea watchers.
Kim Jong-un says he's well on his path to his nuclear ambitions. And we know from a recent defector that he's timing this for 2017 when there will
be a new president in the White House and there will be a new president here in South Korea after elections here, because he believes the
administrations' hands will be tied.
Well, South Korea has condemned the move from North Korea warning North Korea that it will only be responded with stronger sanctions. And the
United States saying that North Korea should refrain from provocations and come to the table for talks.
Well, we know that sanctions have not worked as far as Kim Jong-un is concerned, and this defector also says that they simply won't be able to
stop him and his nuclear ambition.
Kim Jong-un wants to be a nuclear power before he enters into any kind of dialogue. He wants
to redress the balance -- Zain.
[10:31:42] ASHER: Thanks very much. That's Saima Mohsin for that report.
We want to turn now to the United States where the current president is preparing to say goodbye to the White House. And the president is
preparing for his first 100 days in office.
Barack Obama is set to deliver a farewell address next week in his hometown of Chicago. That speech coming just 10 days before President-elect Donald
Trump will be sworn in.
And ahead of taking the oath of office, Donald Trump and congressional Republicans are getting ready to put their policies in place. On the
agenda working to repeal Obamacare, voting on Trump's cabinet nominees and examining the alleged Russian meddling in the election.
For more on this, I want to bring in Sunlen Serfaty who joins us live now from Washington.
So, Trump has talked about this big revelation he has had on the hacking and on Russia and that he plans to reveal it on Tuesday or Wednesday.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORREPSONDENT: That's right, Zain, he has promised to reveal this Tuesday or Wednesday, saying he knows a lot of things that
other people don't. But it's very unclear right now what, exactly, Donald Trump is taking about. And members of his transition team really trying to
downplay this morning the significance of what he potential will reveal saying, no, he's just going to talk about the conclusions he has going
But we do know that Donald Trump is heading into that big briefing with intelligence officials this week very skeptical about the evidence that
they say points a finger to Russia.
SERFATY (voice-over): Donald Trump back in New York City this morning and gearing up for a busy week ahead. The president- elect meeting with
intelligence officials for a briefing about Russian hacking just days after again expressing doubt about the intelligence community's conclusions about
the Kremlin's interference in the U.S. election.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just want them to be sure. Because it's a pretty serious charge, and I want them to be sure. And
if you look at the weapons of mass destruction, that was a disaster, and they were wrong.
SERFATY: Trump referencing intelligence failures in the lead-up to the Iraq War to bolster his points and claiming to have inside information about the
hacking that he says he will reveal this week.
[08:25:27] TRUMP: I also know things that other people don't know, and so they cannot be sure of the situation.
SERFATY: Trump's defiance pitting him against the Obama administration and many of his fellow Republicans.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: When you attack a country, it's an act of war.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: If he's going to have any credibility as president, he needs to stop talking this way. He needs to stop denigrating
the intelligence community.
SERFATY: While speaking to reporters outside of his New Year's Eve party at Mar-a-Lago, Trump, a long time skeptic of e-mail, offered this advice.
TRUMP: You know, if you have something really important, write it out and have it delivered by courier, the old-fashioned way, because I'll tell you
what: no computer is safe.
SERFATY: Also on the president-elect's "to do" list this week: filling several open cabinet spots, including the secretaries of veterans affairs
and agriculture, and giving a deposition related to his legal battle with Chef Jose Andres.
JOSE ANDRES, CHEF: Apologize to every Latino, to every Mexican.
SERFATY: Trump is suing Andres after he pulled the plug on a restaurant at Trump's new hotel in Washington after the president- elect repeatedly
insulted Mexicans during the campaign.
SERFATY: And as the president-elect works this week to potentially fill out the rest of his cabinet posts, Democrats on Capitol Hill are really
threatening to drag out and potentially delay the confirmation hearings for many of Trump nominees. They say, Zain, that many of the nominees have not
turned over the appropriate information they need, so certainly one big thing to watch on Capitol Hill in the coming days and weeks is how long
could the delay last, Zain.
[10:35:19] ASHER: All right, Sunlen Serfaty live for us there. Thank you, so much.
So my next guest argues the hacking and election controversy are more than the latest strain in a relationship that has been long marked by distrust.
She says that Russia and the west, including the United States have already entered a new Cold War.
Molly McKew is an information warfare expert. She writes in Politico, we won the last Cold War, we will win the next one, too. When it's us against
them, they were, and are, never going to be the winner.
Molly, thank you so much for being with us.
So, just explain to us -- I mean, given Trump's policy towards Russia, what makes you so sure
there's going to be another Cold War?
MOLLY, MCKEW, INFORMATION WARFARE EXPERT: Well, I think we're already in a new war, and I think this is the key to this coming period. I think the
last eight years have advanced Russian interests considerably in the world. I think the Obama administration's policy of the reset, which gave them
time to advance some of these policies was really at a mistake.
And I think we are really at a critical juncture.
I think understanding what Russia is doing and that this is a war for them already is really critical and really important. And I think we've been
very slow to acknowledge that in our official policy and in how we're countering it.
And so I think it's not about us choosing to be in a war or not, Russia has already decided we're in a war. They identify us in their policy doctrine
as the main enemy of Russia. We need to fight the war. We need to respond...
ASHER: What about the warming relations between Trump and Putin, then?
MCKEW: I think Trump has these ideas about improving relationship with Russia, about new negotiations with Putin. I think if you look at what
Putin has been doing the last 18 months especially it's moving the line forward as much as possible so that whoever is coming to the table is
coming with the least favorable terms possible, which I think really speaks to Russian intentions and what any American administration can get out of
I think Putin is very successful at convincing leaders here and in Europe that it's about personalities, you know, the previous personality was the
reason that this policy wasn't better, that our relationship has been bad. It's not about personalities, this is the Russian policy to have this
relationship with the United States and no personality can change that regardless of how they think about themselves or their own ability to
negotiate with others.
ASHER: So, it's very obvious why Russia needs the United States, largely because of sanctions, but why does Trump -- how does it benefit Trump to
warm up to Russia?
MCKEW: Well, this is really the question. And I think our top military commanders, our top intelligence officials are all very clear at
identifying Russia as the number one threat to the United States of America by far. And if Trump chooses to pursue a policy that is lessening those
threat assessments or is rejecting those threat assessments, he really needs to be forced to justify what that policy is for and what he hopes to
get out of it.
I think so far that's been very unclear. And he's very good in the previous segment, you just showed, he's very good at sort of saying well
nobody really knows the truth. How can we possibly know what's happening.
ASHER: Yeah, he's not even acknowledging that Russia may have meddled in the U.S. election.
MCKEW: Right, exactly. And it's -- but it's the same thing that the Kremlin has done, where it's all the sort of nobody knows the truth
reality, but that's not true. There is truth. There is reality . And the reality of the security threats to the United States of America are what
they are and choosing to reject those because he claims he has information from sources none of us
know is not acceptable and it shouldn't be acceptable to the American people, or to the men and women
who serve on the front lines of these wars.
ASHER: So, who has the upper hand in terms of the relationship between Putin and Trump? And how do you see that relationship evolving over the
next four years?
MCKEW: I think coming into this, it will always be Putin. He is a very skilled negotiator. He
knows how to come to the table forcing you to negotiate for things you didn't think you were going to
be negotiating for. I think you have seen some of this in the last month or so. There's this weird Russian narrative in their state funded media
about how all talks with the U.S. have been suspended and there's currently no bilateral relationship. This is completely false.
And that means whatever the new administration and the United States comes in with, what they'll be given is what they already have which is talks
So, this is how Russian negotiations always work.
And I think Trump is really slow to recognize this. He thinks he has some special relationship with the Russians that none of us understand. That
may be true. He has been very unclear about providing insight into those relationships, on what they might be. And
that's something we need to be aware of.
But I think he is not facing the realities of the situation and of the threats to our country if he
pursues these negotiations from a position of weakness as opposed to a position of strength.
[10:40:03] ASHER: All right, Molly McKew, live for us there. Thank you so much for your insight and happy new year to you.
All right, live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World. Coming up, Turkey is reeling from the nightclub shooting there. We take a look at why
Turkey is in the crosshairs of terrorists.
And later, we'll show you how that incredible smog closes in on Beijing. Stay with us.
ASHER: Live from CNN Center, you're watching CNN. And this is Connect the World. I'm Zain Asher. Welcome back to all of you.
Returning now to our top story, the nightclub attack in Istanbul. Turkey's deputy prime minister just announced that his government will press ahead
with its fight against terror groups in Syria until they are no longer that a threat to Turkey. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack
in Istanbul. Police in Turkey have now detained eight people in connection
with the New Year's Day shooting.
The surveillance video you can see here shows the gunman actually entering the nightclub. And you can see patrons, people in the club -- outside the
club, rather, ducking for cover. Police saythey have not yet caught the gunman. All in all, 39 people were killed. One of the survivors calls it
a massive tragedy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM JACOB RAAK, U.S. TOURIST: This is a very good country. And it's so unfortunate that this is happening to you guys. And I really feel for
everybody here. For me, I wake up in the United States. I eat breakfast. You guys wake up and have to think of this, it's so sad. And I really wish
everybody here the best. I have only met very good people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: We're also learning a little bit more about those who lost their lives in the attack. At least 27 of the 39 people who were killed were
foreign nationals, including from the top left, you can see this graphic here, a film producer from India, a 19-year-old woman from Israel, a duel
Belgian-Turkish citizen who was just 23 years old and a woman and a man from Lebanon. At least 11 Turks were also killed, including the young man
on the lower right. There was one American among the 69 people wounded. The U.S. has identified him as William Jacob Raak.
So, let's talk more about the terror threat in Turkey and what it means going forward. Simon Waldman is an author and visiting fellow at King's
College London. He's just written an opinion piece for the Globe and Mail called where are the martyrs of the Istanbul nightclub attack. He joins me
live now from Istanbul.
Simon, thanks so much for being with us.
So, just explain to our audicne, why has there been this dramatic escalation in the terror attacks
in Turkey and from the PKK and from ISIS as well?
SIMON WALDMAN, AUTHOR: Well, thank you very much for having me on your show.
Well, the last 18 months have seen an increase in terrorist attacks, as you rightly said. There are several reasons for this. One is the spillover
from what's taking place in Syria, the civil war, and also most recently since August, Turkey's incursion into northern Syria.
Also, in terms of the PKK, there was a breakdown of the ceasefire, a breakdown of peace talks
or the elementary stage of the peace talks with the PKK around 18 months ago as well.
So, Turkey's found itself with a two pronged terrorist attack, one which is perpetrated by the PKK and the other by Islamic State. And it's finding
itself very, very difficult to deal with these two major terrorist threats, especially at a time when its security forces are under significant strain
after purges which have taken place after the attempted coup in July of last year.
ASHER: So, then what should President Erdogan be doing differently that he's not already doing?
WALDMAN: Well, the problem I think in terms of Turkey's strategy is that it has failed to prioritize its number one enemy. It needs to choose,
which is its primary threat? Is it the Islamic State or is it the PKK? And then work accordingly.
I would argue that the best strategy going forward is to try and create some kind of ceasefire with the PKK, try and reenter those early peace
negotiations which were taking place a couple of years ago, and use this time to concentrate its fight against the Islamic State and once that
threat has been neutralized, focus on the other.
At the moment, it's taking on too much.
ASHER: It's interesting, because this time -- we just got word this morning, our time in the United States, that ISIS had claimed
responsibility for this attack. It's interesting because sometimes they do claim responsibility, other times they don't.
Why would they claim responsibility for this attack and not others?
WALDMAN: Well, this particular attack targeted a landmark, quite frankly a landmark, at a time when security and Istanbul was heightened on New Year's
Eve celebration. Behind me, you can see Takhsin Square. This is usually where gatherers come to celebrate New Year's Eve. This was cordoned off on
New Year's Even, because there were a lot of attempts to try and prevent this kind of attack.
And what Islamic State showed, and wanted to boast of, was quite frankly that they could still penetrate Turkey and beat Turkey's security services.
ASHER: So, in a few months Turkey's going to have this referendum on potentially granting President Erdogan new powers. Given the security
situation on the ground there, which way do you think it's likely to go?
WALDMAN: Well, that's hard to tell. It's not just security which is going to see whether these constitutional changes that will create a presidential
system would actually pass. It's also what will take place in terms of the economy and other factors as well.
At the moment, it seems likely that there's a solid 50 percent plus, up to perhaps 55 percent of the Turkish population who still have confidence in
President Erdogan and they are -- would be inclined to actually support it if it goes to a referendum.
ASHER: So, Turkey is obviously heavily involved in the fight against ISIS. That could potentially be one reason out of many that we're seeing a rise
in terrorist attacks.
So what does -- what should Turkey be doing differently from now on?
WALDMAN: Well, as I said before, I think it's very much important to prioritize its threat. In other words, Turkey has enemies on its borders.
And it needs to prioritize. In fact, he needs to choose which enemy is the biggest security concern. And I would argue that that is Islamic State.
And then Turkey needs to focus specifically on targeting the Islamic State, but it can't do that while there is no peace process, there are no talks
taking place with the PKK.
So I would argue that the best strategy, not just for the security threat, but also Turkey's involvement in Syria is to see if there are any grounds
for a ceasefire with the PKK, restart negotiations, and that way its hands will be open to focusing specifically on the Islamic State. And that way
it can then plan for future counterterrorist measures.
[10:50:24] ASHER: All right, sir, They can't basically afford to fight two wars against ISIS and the PKK. They have to sort of wrap things up with the
PKK and then focus on ISIS.
Simon Waldman live for us there. Thank you so much. Appreciate you being with us.
All right, live for us at CNN Center, this is Connect the World. Still to come here, a fascinating look at a blanket of smog overtaking China's
capital. We'll show you the dramatic footage. That's next.
ASHER: Live from CNN Center, you're watching CNN. And this is Connect the World. I'm Zain Asher. Welcome back.
Donald Trump's inauguration is less than three weeks away. The Morman Tabernacle Choir has agreed to perform, but the attention now is on one
member who not only refused to sing for Trump, but she also quit the choir as well. Here's our Jean Casarez with more.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Marching bands from around the country are going to Washington for Donald Trump's inaugural
festivities. Forty organizations will be in the parade, 8,000 participants.
But tonight, a new controversy surrounding those performers. Jan Chamberlin, a four year member of Utah's Mormon Tabernacle Choir, a state
Trump won handily, has written a lengthy public Facebook posting that she is quitting the choir because it agreed to sing for the president-elect.
"It is with a sad and heavy heart that I submit my resignation to you and to choir. I simply cannot continue with the recent turn of events. I could
never look at myself in the mirror again with self respect. I also know looking from the outside in, it will appear that choir is endorsing tyranny
and fascism by singing for this man."
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir says the performance is voluntary and the choir's participation continues its long tradition of performing for U.S.
presidents of both parties at inaugurations and other settings.
Late Friday, Chamberlin responded to criticism.
JAN CHAMBERLIN, QUIT CHOIR OVER INAUGURATION PERFORMANCE: And I value the country we have the freedom of speech under the First Amendment. For me, this is not a political issue. For me, this is a moral issue, where I'm
concerned about our freedoms being in danger.
CASAREZ: This coming just days after it was announced the legendary New York City Rockettes would be performing at the inauguration. In an
interview with MarieClaire.com, one Rockette spoke out about the decision. "The majority of us said no immediately. Then, there's the percentage that
said yes, for whatever reason."
The dancers union ultimately deciding that participation in the inauguration will be voluntary. Madison Square Garden which employs the
dancers adding, "We have more Rockettes request to participate than we have slots available."
[10:55:28] BORIS EPSHTEYN, DIR. OF COMMS., PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURAL COMMITTEE: It's not about the big names. It's about the American people.
And that's who will be represented all over this inaugural. And we've got such an outpouring of support of positivity from all over this country.
It's been truly humbling.
CASAREZ: Jean Casarez, CNN, New York.
ASHER: In today's Parting Shots, China is the world's deadliest country when it comes to outdoor air pollution, that's according to the World
Well, this dramatic footage, which has gone viral, captures just how bad things are in Beijing. Take a listen.
Really eye opening video there. I am Zain Asher, and that was Connect the World from me here in Atlanta and my entire team in Abu Dhabi, thank you so
much for watching. Have a great week.