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5 Dead, 8 Wounded In Florida Airport Shooting; U.S Intelligence Is Certain That Russia Tried To Influence U.S. Election; U.S. Intel: Putin Had "Clear Preference" For Trump; Trump Downplays Role Of Russian Influence; Pres. Obama On Airport Shooting: "Heartbroken"; Donald Trump Says Mexico Will Pay For His Border Wall; Winter Storm Nails Southeast U.S. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired January 7, 2017 - 01:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[01:00:00] RICHARD QUEST, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome to viewers in the United States and around the world. And a good day to you, I am Richard Quest in New York.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm George Howell at CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. Thank you for being with us as we continue following the Breaking News this hour that deadly shooting that took place at the airport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

QUEST: The Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport is expected to fully reopen over the next few hours, following a gunman which killed at least five people on Friday and wounded eight others at the attack taking place inside the baggage claim.

Now, some cargo and private general aviation flights have resumed flying within the past hour. The suspected gunman is in custody. And so far, the FBI is not ruling out terrorism. The suspect is believed to be Esteban Santiago and he flew from -- to Florida from Alaska on Friday.

Santiago is a former National Guardsman and was in the army reserves but he was not on any government watch lists. Santiago did voluntarily visit FBI offices in Alaska just a few months ago when he said he was hearing voices and some of them wanted him to join ISIS.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE PIRO, SPECIAL AGENT, CHICAGO FBI: The individual did walk into our Anchorage office in November. He came in and spoke with FBI agents at that time. He clearly stated he did not intend to harm anyone, however, his erratic behavior concerned FBI agents that were interviewing him and they contacted local police and turned him over to the local police.

He was taken into custody by the local police and transported to a medical facility for a mental health evaluation. We looked at his contacts. We looked at -- we did our interagency checks and everything and at that point we closed our assessment. HOWELL: And Florida point out that the FBI is saying they have not ruled out terrorism at this point. The governor of Florida, Rick Scott, says that his state will not tolerate senseless acts of evil and he also vows full prosecution of the gunman while investigators search for a motive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SCOTT, (R), FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I've been talking to law enforcement, FTLE, FBI, local sheriff department. I've been kept apprised all day to be -- it's an ongoing investigation. You know, but, let's say when everybody is working well together. I saw that after pulse. State, local, and federal law enforcement work together. We're blessed in our state with a 45-year low in our crime rate. But this investigation will take some time and, you know, the expectation all of us have is that as law enforcement can put out information, they will. And we'll find out hopefully why this happened?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: Florida Governor Rick Scott. Their police say they have no reason to believe Santiago would be a threat. They didn't believe that. Everything that he did on his way to Florida was perfectly legal. Our Boris Sanchez now takes us through this attack.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just before 1:00 p.m., a gunman opens fire at Fort Lauderdale International Airport, chaos inside terminal two. At least 13 people shot with multiple casualties. This cell phone video shows people lying on the floor in the baggage claim area.

The panic inside the terminal then spills outside as hundreds runs from the gunshots flooding on to the tarmac and out on to the runways. The injured quickly evacuated to a nearby hospital.

UNINDITIFIED FEMALE: Everybody started running out of terminal one, out of the rental car place. Some lady was yelling for help down in the garage so I just ran.

SANCHEZ: CNN has learned that the suspected shooter left Alaska earlier today bound for Fort Lauderdale. He declared a firearm when boarding. That weapon packed inside his luggage. Sources say the suspect may have gotten into an altercation during the flight and on arrival after retrieving his bag. One source tells CNN, he went into a bathroom and came out firing. Long after the shooting, hundreds continued to run through open areas around the airport, some driven by false reports of additional shootings.

SCOTT ISRAEL, BROWARD SHERIFF: The shooter in custody. He's unharmed. No law enforcement fired in shots. The subject is being interviewed by a team of FBI agents in Broward Sheriff Office Homicide Detectives. At this point, it looks like he acted alone.

SANCHEZ: Multiple sources identify the alleged shooter as Esteban Santiago. He is said to have been a member of the Alaska National Guard leaving the guard last July.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[01:05:10] QUEST: Now CNN's Boris Sanchez who's in Fort. Lauderdale reporting for us tonight. And CNN Law Enforcement Analyst and retired FBI agent Steve Moore joins me now from Los Angeles. See, you could see. Thank you sir for being with us this evening. Look, fundamentally, we don't know any motive for what happened yet, do we?

STEVE MOORE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: No, we don't. But, you get kind of clue Richard when he starts saying the CIA is beaming things into my mind telling me to do things. I think that while he may have eventually have said some things that were related to ISIS, I think we're going to have to go back to mental health issues on this one.

QUEST: Right. But, even if its mental health issues that the -- which of course is an illness as opposed to necessary criminality in that sense. Even if it's mental health issues, the fact that he has linked it to ISIS or to CIA does sort of take the story towards if not terrorism but at least those issues.

MOORE: It does, Richard. But, I think, we have to go down to the ultimate motivation and, you know, it's a gray area. I see where -- what you're saying. But, I would tend to lean toward the root causes being mental illness because he didn't go into the ISIS ideology talk until he was already diagnosed as mentally ill.

QUEST: Right. Now, in terms of the way in which this all transpired. He boards the plane in Alaska and entirely properly and entirely legally checks the gun in because obviously he can't fly with that in the cabin. But, we don't know that he intended to use the gun when he got off the plane.

MOORE: No, we don't. I think, though, that the fact that he checked nothing else but that. I mean, he's coming from Alaska all the way to Florida and he doesn't bring a bag except a gun, leads me to believe that that may have been his goal. But, again, I'm not sitting in the interview room.

QUEST: No, but it's interesting because by bringing the gun as checked baggage, he manages to get the gun exactly where he would want it to be in an entirely legal way without the risk of being detected if he brought it through even though there would be no security there, at least the potential for detection.

MOORE: Yes, yes. But, you know, at the same time, I mean, I've checked the guns several times on flights if a person wanted to, they could come to the airport, get out of the cab with a rifle case, walk to a restroom, open it up and do the same thing. So, I don't think he needed to do that even in Florida.

QUEST: OK. Ultimately, there is no way -- and this is the depressing part of what I'm about to say, there is no way law enforcement can protect the number of public arenas, airports, train stations, shopping malls, that they would have to against this sort of attack. MOORE: You're right. And you're right it's depressing. I think right now -- you know, if I thought banning guns completely would stop the problem, I'd say let's do that. But, we've learned with the war on drugs, we've learned with Chicago that banning guns isn't going to keep guns away.

I think we have to do a holistic approach that involves gun control and we have to work on mental health. This guy went into a mental health center and somehow the fact that he was potentially violent didn't come out.

QUEST: Important to make Steve Moore in Los Angeles, thank you.

MOORE: Thank you.

HOWELL: So, we have been hearing from witnesses all day. Earlier my colleague Anderson cooper spoke to a man who saw the attack first hand and here's what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK LEA, AIRPORT SHOOTING WITNESS: They are just getting ready to leave and loud we kind of heard like three-round burst but at first that was firecrackers and then, after a quick little pauses, you know, they're kind of basing that the shooting started again at that point. We all realized along with everyone else in the terminal realized that it was not firecrackers but it was someone shooting.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN COOPER: How far away were you?

LEA: At that point in time, I was probably about 100 yards.

COPPER: Wow.

LEA: So, basically, at that point people started screaming, yelling, running. But, those close to the exit doors run and frantically to both exits trying to get out there, but people that are by the baggage carousel area, they were a little more -- obviously locked down. There were basic people, you know, hiding under the chairs, hiding, you know, close to the baggage claimer to try and block themselves to give them much protection as they can.

[01:10:11] He just continue to lock up in the aisle around the baggage claim carousels, kind of walking up and down. He just doing a point and shoot and just randomly shooting people. No warn, no reason but not yelling anything. He was quiet as a mouse, did not say anything.

COOPER: So, you could actually --

LEA: --no emotion.

COOPER: So, you could actually see the shooter while he was --

LEA: Yeah.

COOPER: --firing? LEA: Yeah. I watched him. Yeah, I watched every bit of it. And

basically he walked up and down there. I mean, I thought, you know, basically get out my wife after the first three rounds and after I got my wife out and get, you know, some other couple older ladies that were kind of getting so much going over from trying to get out of there. I run back in and I was helping up the other people trying to get out there. And as he romped and continue watching where he is shooting and where he is going and obviously trying to stay out of line of fire to try and keep people fear. Once he finished shooting, you know, you hear him reloaded a couple of times because he was shooting a 9 millimeter of about 8 round mag on it.

COOPER: So, he was actually taking time to reload?

LEA: He has two extra mad for them. So, he did not have take time to reload. The magazines were already loaded.

COOPER: OK. And just to reiterate, you're saying he didn't say anything? --

LEA: No, nothing.

COOPER: He seemed calm?

LEA: Calm, he's calm as can be like he was just walking like nothing went on, none of this.

COOPER: Wow.

LEA: So, no emotion, didn't say any word but not yelling or screaming. No, nothing (inaudible) didn't matter whether you were male, female, white, black, child, it didn't matter any. He just point and shoot.

COOPER: How close was he shooting at people from? And was point blank?

LEA: Point-blank. Some were point-blank to 5, 10 away, to 20 feet away in max.

COOPER: So, he was looking directly at the people that he was trying to kill?

LEA: Oh, yeah, stand point and shoot. He didn't care. He did not discriminate in any way shape or form.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: Wow. That witness describing the gunman's demeanor as calm and methodical scene you know, as people ran for their lives. Of course, we'll continue to follow this investigation.

More news to come here on CNN News Room, U.S intelligence is certain that Russia tried to influence U.S. election but the President-elect Donald Trump, his reaction to that conclusion. Well, it leaves many U.S. officials scratching their heads. QUEST: Now the U.S. Vice President-elect Mike Pence has a warning for anyone who carries out cyber attacks against the United States. We'll talk about that after the break. This is CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:16:21] QUEST: A declassified version of the report on the Russian hacking says there is little doubt that the Kremlin orchestrated to the campaign to hurt Hillary Clinton, excuse me, if not to outright help Donald Trump win election in 2016.

The unanimous conclusion from U.S. Intelligence is that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a multi-pronged campaign to influence the election and that included the cyber attacks. Report says Putin and the Russian government developed a clear preference for Trump and set out to help him win by discrediting Secretary Clinton.

But, the CIA and FBI have high confidence in these conclusions. The National Security Agency rated its confidence as moderate. The reports also warning that Russia's efforts to undermine western democracies will not end. And in fact, it says Moscow will apply lessons learned from its Putin-ordered campaign aimed at U.S. presidential election to future influence efforts worldwide that includes U.S allies and their election processes. Donald Trump reaction to the revelations in the intelligence was lukewarm at best and for that part of the story, CNN's Jim Sciutto.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tonight, a declassified version of the intelligence community's report on Russian hacking concluded that, "Putin and the Russian government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump".

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election. Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton and harm her electability and potential presidency.

The Russian's assault on the U.S. election used several different techniques blending "covert intelligence operations such as cyberactivity with overt efforts by Russian government agencies state funded media, third part intermediaries and paid social media users or trolls. It also says "when it appeared to Moscow that Secretary Clinton was likely to win the election. The Russian influence campaign began to focus on undermining her future presidency." Following the briefing, the president-elect said in a statement, "I had a constructive meeting and conversation with the leaders of the intelligence community this afternoon. I have tremendous respect for the work and service done by the men and women in this community to this great nation."

However, Trump may make clear he believes that hacks don't taint his election victory. "There was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election including the fact there was no tampering whatsoever with the voting machines." The intelligence assessment confirmed that hacking was "not involve in vote tally". However in a statement, Trump never specifically acknowledged that Russia was behind the hacks, despite the clear intelligence assessment and overwhelming bipartisan agreement on Russia's involvement.

LEON PANETTA, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: I think that's the one thing in a statement that he should have acknowledged that whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, we are not going to tolerate a country like Russia trying to interfere in our election process.

SCIUTTO: Now, Donald Trump and some of his surrogates have made the point that only the Democrats were hacked here and that's why only Democratic material was released. But, in fact, this report contradicts and says that the cyber apps targeted both major U.S. political parties but because material stolen from the Democrats, only that material was released in the days and weeks leading up to the election. It is in large part because of that, that the community concluded that the intention was to weaken Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump. Jim Sciutto CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEO CALL)

[01:20:12] HOWELL: Jim, thank you. The Vice President-elect Mike Pence attended that intelligence briefing with Donald Trump and he says the Trump administration will take swift and decisive action against cyber attacks. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, (R), VICE-PRESIDENT-ELECT, USA: We did this afternoon complete an extensive briefing from the leaders of our intelligence community. It was as the president-elect said. It was a constructive and respectful dialogue and president-elect has made it very clear that we're going to take aggressive action in the early days of our new administration to combat cyber attacks and protect the security of the American people from this type of intrusion in the future.

But, I know the president-elect appreciated the presentation made by the leaders of our intelligence community and I know the president- elect and I both appreciate the sacrifices that the men and women who serve in our intelligence services around the country and around the world provide and contributing to the safety and security of the American people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: Let's talk more about this with Rod Beckstrom, the former director of the National Cyber Security Center at the U.S Department of Homeland Security, also a former senior adviser to the U.S director of National Intelligence.

Rod joining us lives this hour from Santa Cruz, California. It's good to have you with us, Rod. Let's talk first about this declassified report. The president-elect meeting he got a much more detailed version of this particular report. That report essentially stating that Russia was behind and influenced the campaign to influence the election. It was targeting Hillary Clinton to hurt her chances of winning, but still his statement afterwards, Trump never acknowledged that Russia was behind it. Your thoughts on that.

ROD BECKSTROM, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL CYBER SECURITY: It looks that President-elect Trump is a tough New York street fighter and fights to win. He's not someone who's going, you know, easily change his position on this issue. Clearly, he feels that, you know, it relates to the credibility of his election potentially.

So, you now, he's taking a strong position and I think any president that was elected would do exactly the same thing. So, we shouldn't be surprised by that. And I think this report -- you know, it's a good report. Community has done some good work here and started to connect some dots.

And so, you know, it certainly is not a final decisive document in terms of hard core proof and that's attested as Richard Quest just said by the fact the NSA rated the even Putin intentionality here on the Russian governments as moderately probably (ph). That's a couched term here. So, I think -- anyway, I don't think we should be surprised by the president-elect's position.

HOWELL: OK. But, looking back, you know, in the weeks before this particular report and this meeting that Donald Trump had, Trump did describe this meeting as constructive. He seemed to walk back some of that harsh rhetoric where he was directly criticizing the intelligence community. Is that enough to mend fences?

BECKSTROM: Yeah, I think it will be. He's appointed someone extremely respected Senator Dan Coats to be the next director of National Intelligence who has a great reputation for bipartisan collaboration and by the way. So, I think things will be calming down from here and coming back together. I certainly hope so. But I guess some important lessons from this experience and why is that we're living in a hyper connected, high transparent world and everything is becoming more exposed and transparent including election, presidential elections and others.

Leaks are occurring whether it's by government insiders like in Edward Snowden or by hacktivists or foreign nation state or other parties. This is part of the new world we're living in to and we need to really improve our elections systems and processes in this country. And, you know, for example only roughly half the states there will be audits after the election.

And addition in many state, you can elect electronic voting machines that have no paper audit and the Russians could have hacked some of those devices. They have absolutely the capability. I believe they chose not to strategically. And actually it would have been nice this report.

It would been useful to hear why the Russian chose not to actually hacked the device. I mean, I think there are some good reasons why but it would have been interesting to get the intelligence assessment on that.

HOWELL: Rod, you suggest that fences will be mended but, you know, the big story here, the Trump administration, the incoming administration is suggesting hey, hey, this is a partisan situation that, you know, the hacking may have happened but at the same time, you know, that it's not undermining his legitimacy as the president.

[01:25:01] The big story, though, here, is that a foreign power may have acted to influence the U.S election. That's the big story. Do you think that's going to be swept under the rug here?

BECKSTROM: Well, at first, this is not entirely a partisan issue. I mean, even the hearing that McCain and the armed forces committee of the senate had earlier this week was clearly a well orchestrated bipartisan affair with general buy in from the participants and from different the intelligence leaders that they all had concern that Russia probably was involved here.

But, again, this is not a shocking news story. As the report itself says, the Russians have been doing this for years all around the world and also with previous American elections thought to have an impact. The change is that we move towards hyper transparency that moved towards disclosure of information is a shift. It is something we want to protect from. But, the most important thing is that we prepare for the future and learn from the lessons here because this is the new reality we're going to live in.

HOWELL: The Trump over Twitter has suggested that gross negligence by the Democratic National Committee allowed hacking to take place. The Republican National Committee had strong defense, he said.

The truth is though that both groups were hacked but only damaging information from the Democrats was leaked and released. So, the question here is, are we at a point even before the inauguration that we cannot longer expect to have an honest conversation about facts with the incoming president?

BECKSTROM: Look, there are --the reports said there was hacking of both parties. It did not say that the Trump campaign servers were hacked and the campaign has maintained and their spokes people have maintained that it was not hacked and that they shared their information with the FBI as well as there's -- it's been maintained that the DNC did not share their data and servers with the FBI.

I'm not 100 precise but I've not have that data that says that the Trump campaign or the RNC was directly hacked. I'm open to receive, that was not this report. It said there was hacking in both side. I think it would be useful, of course, George to hear which parties were hacked. I think it's relevant. The American can hopefully learn this through time.

Regarding, you know, facts and non-facts. You know, the fact is that there is very good evidence that the Russians did hack into the DNC servers. There's also -- it's very clear that Wikileaks did a major leak of e-mails that could have come from Podesta's account and g-mail as wells the information from the DNC. What has not been absolutely proven is the connection between the two. All of this report and the good research done by the intelligence community suggest that it's actually quite likely and that the smell is clearly there in terms of the trace in connecting the dots.

So, I think this transparent world will move us toward of more fact based analysis. But again I really hoping George that we learn to improve the system here. And also, I want to mention, you know, when I had the discussion with John Vauss on CNN on October 14th, I mentioned that election tampering could be construed as an act of war. That discussion came up in Senator McCain's hearing this week. And what I've based on this report, in this case, we're not to the level of an act of war but had there been tampering with the tallying systems or the voting machines. We could get there.

And I think we want to make sure that we figured out what are those red lines in the future? What does constitute an act of war and we'll also going to do some self reflection on what role does our government play in other elections around the world? And do we want to an international treaty relationship, treaty created on this or does the United Nations policy -- but these are really important questions that I think we are all going to have to confront moving forward.

HOWELL: Again, the president-elect not saying directly that Russia was behind this hack. Rod Beckstrom thank you so much for your insight on this. We appreciate you joining us.

BECKTROM: Thank you, George.

QUEST: As we continue tonight on CNN, President Obama is reacting to the shooting at the Fort Lauderdale airport and the president's weighing in on whether or not it was an act of terror. We'll talk about that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:32:26] HOWELL: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm George Howell at CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

QUEST: I'm Richard Quest in New York as we continue to follow closely the events taking place in Florida where a gunman is in custody after he opened fire at the Fort Lauderdale airport. Five people were killed. Eight more were wounded. The suspect has been identified as Esteban Santiago. President Barack Obama says he is heart broken over the attack and thinking of the victims' families.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That shooting down in Fort Lauderdale this afternoon. Do we know enough now to know if it was an act of terror?

BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: As a general rule, until I've got all the information, George, I don't want to comment on it other than just to say how heartbroken we are for the families who've been affected. These kinds of tragedies have happened too often during the eight years that I've been president. The pain, the grief, the shock that they must be going through is enormous. I've asked me staff to reach out to the mayor down there and make sure that coordination between the state and local officials is what it should be. But I think we'll find out over the next 24 hours exactly how this happened and what motivated this individual.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: That's the reaction from the president of the United States. CNN's Brian Todd now has more details on the shooting and how it all unfolded at that airport.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Witnesses say the gunman entered the baggage claim area of terminal two and began shooting randomly. One law enforcement source tells CNN, moments earlier he gone into a bathroom to get the gun out of his luggage and emerged firing. Amateur video captures people cowering, chaos inside the terminal. Air traffic control got word of the shooting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They want us to hold for the tango line. Guess there's firing going on in the terminal.

TODD: One witness told MSNBC, after firing multiple rounds, the shooter dropped his gun and law enforcement officers quickly converged on him.

SHERIFF SCOTT ISRAEL, BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA: We have the shooter in custody. He's unharmed. No law enforcement fired any shots. The subject is being interviewed by a team of FBI agents and Broward Sheriff's homicide detectives.

TODD: As the scene unfolded, witnesses told of absolute panic.

CHARMAINE YOEST, WITNESS: We can see that hundreds of people lined up on the tarmac just a few minutes ago, flashing lights with an ambulance leaving.

TODD: Multiple law enforcement sources tell CNN the shooter is identified as Esteban Santiago.

[01:35:02] Senator Bill Nelson from Florida said Santiago had a military I.D. on him but it's not clear if it's a current I.D. Law enforcement sources tell CNN the suspect flew to Florida from Alaska, had a gun in his baggage and had declared the firearm. When he arrived in Fort Lauderdale, he retrieved his bag at baggage claim, our sources say, then went into the bathroom and got his gun out of his luggage. Senator Nelson said the shooter had easy access to his targets.

BILL NELSON, U.S. SENATE DEMOCRAT: Any time you get a bunch of people bunching up like at baggage claim or like outside of TSA where you're going through security or like lines at the ticket counter, it's a soft target. TODD: One passenger who just got off a flight tells CNN, he might have been saved when a bullet hit his laptop. More than an hour after the shooting, people were still scrambling for cover, panic and confusion on the tarmac and on the airport roads by the terminals.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My family is in Terminal 2. I was taking the rental car back and kind of waiting between Terminal 1 and the rental car place. Everybody started running out of the Terminal 1. At the rental car place, some lady was yelling for help.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

QUEST: Brian Todd reporting there. And as we continue our coverage tonight, Donald Trump's action plan to counter cyber attacks. We're going to be talking to a senior adviser to the President-elect. The news never stops now that we're around the world. This is CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:40:03] HOWELL: Welcome back to CNN following the breaking news. While never acknowledging specifically that Russia was behind the cyber attacks against the U.S. which the intelligence community has suggested, the U.S. President-elect Donald Trump says he will set up a team within 90 days of taking office. A team to find ways to aggressively combat and stop cyber attacks but the recurring theme in the Trump transition team is even if Russia did what it is accused of doing, it did not change the outcome of the election. Here's what Trump's Senior Adviser, Jack Kingston told CNN, Wolf Blitzer on Friday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACK KINGSTON, TRUMP'S SENIOR ADVISER: What was clear that there was no effect of the results because of this, no tampering of the machines and no motive that was found and so forth. So, I think that the good part about this report and today's action and the hearings this week is that maybe we can get beyond the politics and say, "OK, what can we do about this? Because we Russia is a lone, there's lone actors, there's China, there's other nations who are always trying to hack into our computer systems. What can we do about that?"

And then, you know, one other question if we are going to continue -- and we as a community of -- maybe critics in Washington, D.C., where was the president? If this was going on in 2015 and 2016 why did the President wait until this fall to talk to Putin about it and even when he did talked to Putin about it, he said, "You guys need to cut that out." Those were his words. It seems to me like it would have been a much bigger deal for the President of the United States.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Yeah.

KINGSTON: And would have merited him sitting down with Putin and say, "What the heck are you, guys doing? And if you are going to continue doing this, we're going to get very, very involved." And things like that would have been happen as well. BLITZER: That is a fair criticism that even some Democrats like Adam Schiff and Dianne Feinstein, I have leveled against the President that he waited too long to go and launch this sanctions and to punish Russia for these cyber attacks. But I just want to get your personal understanding. Do you agree with this line from this report, we further assess that Putin and the Russian government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump? We have high confidence in these judgments. Do you agree with that?

KINGSTON: Well I would accept that. Bu, you know, again, now that we have this report, can we get beyond the political side of it and say, you know, what are we going to do about it from this point forward and in that respect, Donald Trump called for a 90-day action plan. He is going to put the hand cuts. He is going to put my (inaudible), General Flynn everybody to task immediately to come back with what are we going to do about this, how do we prevent it in the future from other nations and again sole actors who are out there.

I think that the President has acted in a very responsible -- the president-elect has that in a very responsible manner and he also by the way as you know complimented the intelligence community. So I think he wants to get the kind of the public debate over with and let's move to constructive solutions of how do you learn from this and what can we do going forward?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

QUEST: Let's continue with U.S. politics. Donald Trump says Mexico will pay for his border wall and the former Mexican President again begs to differ in some fruity language. Vicente Fox took to Twitter on Friday for series of jabs at Mr. Trump. He wrote "Trump, when will understand that I'm not paying for that expletive -- I mean, he used that particular word that we're not going to talk about on television, (inaudible) be clear with U.S. taxpayers. They will pay for it. In T.V. interviews last year. And Vicente Fox used that particular expletive to insist he would not pay for the wall.

And building it and getting Mexico to pay for it was the center of the core campaign promises of Donald Trump that much (inaudible). Now his transition team is sending signals they want to fund the wall through U.S. Congress. It's a move that's even during criticism from some where Republicans, CNN's Phil Mattingly on funding the wall.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are going to build a wall. Don't worry about it. And -- wait a minute. And who's going to pay for the wall?

MATTINGLY: It's the call and response to that defined a winning campaign.

TRUMP: Who's going to pay for the wall?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mexico!

TRUMP: Who's going to pay for the wall?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mexico!

MATTINGLY: Despite clear cut promises like this.

TRUMP: We're going to build the wall and Mexico is going to pay for the wall, believe me, 100 percent. Believe me. And that will be very easy. That will be very, very easy. Politicians think we're joking. We don't joke. We don't joke.

[01:45:01] MATTINGLY: President-elect Trump now acknowledging that U.S. taxpayers will at least initially foot the estimated $10 billion price tag for a Mexican border wall. Money, Trump tweeted that will "Be paid back by Mexico later."

TOM COLE, U.S. HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE: I'm certainly open to Congress appropriating funds for border security including walls and all sorts of things.

MATTINGLY: With Mexican officials from current President in Enrique Pena Nieto to former President Vicente Fox.

VICENTE FOX FORMER MEXICAN PRESIDENT: I declare I'm not going to pay for that [bleep] wall. He should pay for it. He's got the money.

MATTINGLY: Making clear they have no intention of going along with Trump's proposal. Trump's team and GOP lawmakers are strategize around an idea to use a 2006 law enacted under George W. Bush. That already authorizes the construction of "physical barrier" on the border. All the lawmakers have to do is authorize the billions of dollars, billions of taxpayer dollars to pay for it. For (inaudible) conscious Republicans, there are signals it may be a tough sell.

MO BROOKS, U.S HOUSE REPUBLICAN: I can't speak as to how voters will generally react at American time's payers report to pay for that wall. But I can tell you how I would react and I would be disappointed.

MATTINGLY: And Democrats are casting doubt on whether it's a reality at all.

NANCY PELOSI, HOUSE DEMOCRAT: Republicans would put $14 billion in a continuing resolution to build the wall. I don't know. I think that's a heavy sell. I think that's a tough sell.

MATTINGLY: But Trump's position started to shift late in his campaign.

TRUMP: Remember I said Mexico's paying for the wall. With the full understanding that the country of Mexico will be reimbursing the United States for the full cost of such a wall, OK?

MATTINGLY: A shift that underscores one clear fact, recovering billions of dollars from a foreign country is not exactly easy.

SEAN SPICER, U.S. PRESIDENTAL PRESS SECRETARY: How is Mexico going to pay for the wall? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Again I think he's going to talk about higher tariffs or a direct check. I mean he will talk to them about that. That's something he has been clear about.

MATTINGLY: Phil Mattingly, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: Up next here on CNN Newsroom, a look at severe weather across the United States including a winter storm that that is challenging people who aren't all that used to it. Stay with us.

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[01:51:19] QUEST: Tantalizing and teasing. That's what happened on Wall Street as the Dow came about as close to hitting 20,000 as you can possibly get. Out (inaudible) market it went all to the session. And one particular point it was less than half a point away. You're looking there at the closing number the S&P 500 was at a record. You look at the closing number on the Dow which was up 64 points. But it got to 19,999 and change which is frankly at the most tantalizing and teasing it can get.

HOWEL: Now to talk weather, the west coast is preparing for more flooding and in this part of the country, a frigid mixed of snow, of sleet and rain. It is making for a miserable mess across the southeastern part of the United States this weekend. Our meteorologist Derek Van Dam is here live to talk more about the weather. And Derek, Atlanta doesn't do snow so well.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: No not so well and I stepped outside of the office 20 minutes ago and this has the potential to really debilitate the city again. And we don't want to see a repeat of what happen in 2014. We all remember snow apocalypse, the term that was coined during that particular time, but this is the scene that we have just outside Atlanta right now.

This is (inaudible) familiar area to George and I. You can see people taking to the streets. Well, I wouldn't exactly recommend this. So, we'll get right to the images behind me so you can see the picture I snapped on my iPhone to show you what the individuals around Atlanta. That was in the downtown area of Atlanta have to deal with and that, threatens (ph), is a thick layer of ice starting to coat the roadways and some of the robots or light fixtures that are placed across the city. By the way, robots, that's the term used for light signals in South Africa. So, I lived there for period of my life. Excuse that terminology there.

Any way, look at this. We have had ice accumulations between a quarter to a half inch already in and around the metro area of Atlanta. And I'm concerned about this not because of just the ice accumulation but the fact that we are going we ushering strong northwest in the winds.

When that's freezing to let's say treelands (ph), we have to concerns that that could wait down those treelands (ph) and bring them down causing power outages and all kinds of problems. This is the set up. We have impulses of energy coming off the Gulf of Mexico and that is send (ph) a significant moisture across the southeast, an area that doesn't brace for winter storms all that well. And we don't like to see the shading of pink in and around the Atlanta metro area. But it's not only northern Georgia that seen this significant winter weather.

Let's travel further north along Interstate 95, very popular thoroughfare across Eastern United States. Look at Charlotte into Raleigh and Norfolk. They're under a full fledged winter storm. In fact, blizzard warnings in effect for Norfolk as we speak. You can see the winter storm warning stretching from Alabama to Northern Georgia and the Carolinas into Virginia. And it doesn't stop there folks because it goes all the way up England coastline into Boston believe and not this storm system is going to exit the southeast but bring a wide swath of snowfall right along the coastal communities. So it will impact travel conditions on Saturday for I-95.

And it's not only the southeastern and eastern United States for concerns about, it's the west coast. This pacific moisture streaming in from Hawaii, we call it the "pineapple express" and it's got the potential to produce the greatest flood threat that this area has seen within 10 to 15 years. We have got a well advertise drought taking place across the western United States including California. This would definitely help with the situation but maybe a little too much too soon. We have up to 10 inches of water equivalent expected with the storm and that is going to cause the potential for flooding.

[01:55:11] One last stop, we'll take you to the other side of the world. This is Istanbul, Turkey. A friend of mine shoot this photo as he walk to work this morning and there is the Ataturk airport in Istanbul. Well you can imagine travel delays plague in that city as we speak because they have had upwards of 25 centimeters of snow.

HOWELL: Wow, wow a lot of snow there. That is a worldwide whether forecast. Derek Van Dam, thank you so much.

VAN DAM: All right, George.

HOWELL: And thank you for being with us for this hour of CNN Newsroom. I'm George Howell at the CNN center at Atlanta.

QUEST: Those pictures from Turkey put your miserable bit of ice into perspective.

HOWELL: They really do. We don't do snow over here.

QUEST: (Inaudible) shame. Seriously, if you're not used to it, it is dangerous. Come try living in New York. I'm Richard Quest in New York. More updates after this break because the news never stops, neither do we.

HOWELL: That's right.

QUEST: This is CNN.

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QUEST: A very good day to you wherever you're joining us. We welcome viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Richard Quest in New York.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell at CNN world headquarters at Atlanta.