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Gunman Kills Five People And Wounds Eight At Fort Lauderdale Airport; Trump: No Evidence Russia Affected Election Result; Ford CEO Looks Ahead To Trump Presidency; Toyota Fires Back After Trump Criticism; Michelle Obama Makes Emotional Farewell Speech. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired January 7, 2017 - 02:00   ET

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


[02:00:04] RICHARD QUEST, CNN ANCHOR: And a good day to you, wherever you're joining us. We welcome you as in the United States and around the world. I'm Richard Quest in New York.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm George Howell at CNN world headquarters in Atlanta. We continue following the breaking news this hour, that deadly shooting at the airport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

QUEST: Now, and police and federal investigators are learning more about the man who opened fire at the airport. The gunman killed five people and wounded eight. Sources say he entered a bathroom and started shooting when he came out, sending crowds running. The police have now identified the suspect as 26-year-old Esteban Santiago.

He's now being questioned in custody. The FBI says Santiago visited their office in Alaska saying he was hearing voices, telling him to watch ISIS videos. He underwent a mental health evaluation shortly thereafter. Nothing barred him from traveling to Florida or apparently from owning a gun. Authorities say terrorism could have been a motivating factor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE PIRO, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, FBI: With these types of incidents as horrific they are, we are looking at all avenues. We have not ruled out terrorism and will be pursuing every angle to try to determine the motive behind this attack. And any associates, any connections, communication, everything that you can imagine I assure you we are pursuing every possible lead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

QUEST: Now, one theory investigators were looking into is that Santiago was angry after an altercation with another traveler on his flight. But that seems to be being rubbish this evening. Delta airlines officials say they've spoken to the crew and passengers and there was no such altercation.

HOWELL: The investigation certainly continuing.

The Vice President-elect Mike Pence spoke with Florida's governor a few times after the shooting. And he says this was a heartbreaking loss of life.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT: The hearts of every American are in Fort Lauderdale tonight. The president-elect and I send our prayers and our thoughts to the victims of this attack to their families, to the courageous first responders and to all the citizens of the Fort Lauderdale area. It's a very challenging time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: So let's talk about that scene at the airport. What would have you done? I mean, this was a scene of horror, fear and confusion, people running for their lives.

Our Randi Kaye takes us through the timeline of events as we hear from the witnesses who were there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're currently having a building evacuation at Terminal 2.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's just before 1:00 p.m. when a gunman opens fire at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport. He's inside baggage claim at Terminal 2.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He came up right where we were and he was shooting people that were down on the ground too.

KAYE: He says they tried to help the victims.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My wife took a sweater from my mother-in-law and applied pressure to the gentlemen right next to it. He had been shot in the head. All the people seemed to be shot in the head. We checked the man next to him, had no vital signs, he was gone.

KAYE: Another witness tells CNN his plane had just landed and some victims are his fellow passengers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of a sudden, everybody started running. I grabbed our kids and we took off running down the ramp. Told the flight attendant let us off the tarmac. We ran onto the tarmac to hide behind some luggage carts. It's looks like a war zone in here.

KAYE: The airport is immediately shut down. All passengers are evacuated. They run to the tarmac in search of safety. Authorities quickly zero in on the suspect.

SHERIFF SCOTT ISRAEL, BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA: We have the shooter in custody. He's unharmed. No law enforcement fired any shots.

KAYE: Apprehended but not before these horrifying moments. By now it's 1:43 p.m. And the Broward County sheriff's office tweets that multiple people are dead. Some lucky enough to be alive are left bleeding. Someone posted video of this passenger being treated on the sidewalk. By 2:00 p.m., the official count is three dead. Minutes later, it's up to five dead. At least eight are injured. By mid afternoon, Florida's senior senator says the TSA has told him who did this.

BILL NELSON, U.S. SENATE DEMOCRAT: The shooter is Esteban Santiago. He had a military I.D. We don't know if that is an accurate I.D. or if it is a current I.D.

KAYE: But it's not over. About 2:20 p.m., word of more gunfire. Police are seen scrambling on a tarmac and near the parking garage. Once again, passengers spill onto the tarmac. Others duck behind parked cars.

[02:05:02] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody just sprinted outside again, and so just ran out again. I honestly don't know what's happening.

KAYE: At 2:33 p.m., a tweet from the TSA, active shooter at FLL shelter in place. Airport closed. Sniper teams are put on alert.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a variety of SWAT teams out and assets out clearing the entire airport.

KAYE: No other gunman is found.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this point, it looks like he acted alone. There's no second active shooter.

KAYE: Officials won't say if the suspect was targeting someone on an arriving flight or if he's cooperating.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

QUEST: Now, officials say the suspect carried the firearm and the ammunition in his checked baggage and he did so. And it was all perfectly legal, overboard and properly got organized. This incident could cause airlines to reconsider their policies on traveling passengers traveling with checked weapons.

CNN's Tom Foreman shows us how Esteban Santiago made his way into the terminal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the Fort Lauderdale airport. And based on everything that we've heard about this alleged shooter's travel plans, after leaving Alaska, laying over in Minneapolis and heading here, this in where he would have arrived at Terminal 2 specifically at Gate 5 at this terminal. If we move in closer, I can show you the Gate 5 is the one right back in this area. And people who were on some of the planes say they walked from here down to the baggage area would be about 50 or 60 yards if he traveled the same way that you would expect somebody to normally do on a plane like this.

It would be a path something like this through the area down to the escalator, down here and then down to the baggage area. The baggage area is all in here. That's where he would have retrieved his bag with the gun in it if the witness accounts are correct and then people talk about him going into a restroom. There's one over there, there's also one right over here. If that were the case, he could have gone in and come right back out firing roughly about 45 minutes after his plane officially touched down. And we do know, some of the victims were actually right in this area.

Now, what about this business of taking a gun on a plane? As a civilian, you cannot do that in a carry on bag. But it is perfectly legal for you to do it in a checked bag. Aside from local and state regulations here's what the TSA say, the federal regulations are. You must tell the airline that you are carrying a firearm. It must be unloaded. You can't have any shells in the chamber or in a clip that's loaded on to it. It must be in a locking hard shell case and only you can have the key and the combination. You can't have a whole lot of people with that information. And lastly, if you are carrying ammunition, that also has to be locked up. Many gun owners will actually lock it in with the gun itself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

QUEST: Tom Foreman in that report in first hand. Now, CNN's law enforcement analyst and a retired FBI agent, Steve Moore joins me now from Los Angeles. Steve, we can pass this any way we wish. But I'm curious, what for you as an expert is the most troubling aspect of all of this?

STEVE MOORE, FBI SUPERVISORY FIELD AGENT (RET): Well, for me personally, the troubling aspect is that he had contact with law enforcement and mental health professionals and he got a pass somehow. The army also knew that there were problems there. I'm wondering how so many agencies saw him and didn't do anything about him. It's almost as if every agency knew a little bit about it but nobody put the pieces of the puzzle together.

QUEST: Yeah. Now, you shouldn't be surprised about that. That is the story of many is whether it's lone wolf or organized attacks. We saw that in Paris. We saw it in Brussels. We've seen it more recently in Turkey. Everybody knows a little bit of something and nobody puts it together. Another good example of course, certainly, was Germany where the truck went into the Christmas market.

MOORE: Right. And I think that's going to be the revolution that happens in counter-terrorism and even in threat management where there is, and I mean, we've got all the data in the world on social media. We don't have it in law enforcement and there has to be some kind of synergy between all different phases of law enforcement and mental health to where you're all -- you're all sharing information. And until we get to that point, we're not going to be able to predict these things.

QUEST: If as suggested, Santiago does say that he have thought he heard voices from ISIS requiring him to join or whatever, does that, I mean, obviously, in terms of himself, that is a mental health issue, a sad one that needs to be treated. But in terms of the fact that, you know, ISIS raises its ugly specter, even in this area of mental health, what do we make of that?

[02:10:15] MOORE: I think what the mental health professionals might tell us, Richard, is that this person was looking to explain his homicidal ideology by the most oppressive group he could think of. ISIS was the one he thought of. If ISIS hadn't been there, it would have been Al-Qaeda. If it hadn't been Al-Qaeda, it might have been a white supremacist group.

QUEST: In other words, we need to be thinking of this as a mental health issue, not as a terrorism issue. But I suggest to you, Steve, whatever that you look at it, we can no longer continue business as usual in these exposed so-called horrible phrase, soft targets like auditoria, stadia, and airports. But that raises the question, what do you want to do about it?

MOORE: Well, Richard, you're absolutely right. I mean, we don't have a way to defend these. And if you defend the airports perfectly, they're going to go to stadiums. And if you defend both of those, they're going to go to the malls. There is no way to protect every single large group of people.

QUEST: That's rather depressing. I mean, you're basically saying there's to way to protect. And I suppose the right wing in the United States would say, well that's strong argument for everybody to be armed.

MOORE: I'm not going to go either direction with that. But I will tell you that I think that walls are not going to stop people. The prohibition of weapons of whatever type are not going to stop people. What are -- is going to stop people is the nuances of looking at people, learning about them and being aware when somebody doesn't fit in the right peg.

QUEST: Prevention and that's what that phrase about, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure or something like that. Excellent. Good to see you sir, thank you.

MOORE: Good to see you.

HOWELL: Still ahead on CNN NEWSROOM, the U.S. says an effort to influence the U.S. election was directed from the highest levels of the Kremlin. We'll explain what is in the declassified report ahead.

Donald Trump is reacting to the intelligence report that Russia orchestrated the cyber campaign to favor him in the U.S. election. You'll hear what he has to say, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[02:16:38] HOWELL: Welcome back Newsroom. I'm George Howell. Now to talk more about that declassified version of the U.S. intelligence report about cyber hacking of the U.S. presidential race it, points the finger squarely at the Russian President Vladimir Putin. That report says that Putin showed "Clear preference for Trump and that the Russian president ordered his government to help Trump win or to at least discredit Hillary Clinton."

Trump himself did not seem too bothered by that report. First, never specifically acknowledging that Russia was behind it and also saying regardless of it, the Kremlin had no effect on the outcome of the election.

Trump did say that he would set up a team to stop cyber attacks though he did not say how. Trump said in the statement "The methods tool and tools and tactics we used to keep America safe should not be public discussion that will benefit those who seek to harm us."

While Trump downplayed Russia's role in the presidential election, he praised U.S. intelligence officials following Friday's briefing saying that he had great respect for them. We get more now from CNN politics reporter, Sara Murray.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tonight, after huddling with the nation's top intelligence officials, Donald Trump still isn't ready to point the finger at Russia for election related cyber hacking.

Hours after calling the U.S. intelligence community's assessment that Russia interfered in the election, a political witch hunt, Trump was briefed by the heads of the NSA, CIA, FBI and director of national intelligence. Trump complimented intelligence officials after the meeting calling it constructive.

But he still refused to acknowledge their determination that Russia directed the election related cyber attacks against political institutions including the Democratic National Committee. Trump, insisting in a statement, "There was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines."

This morning, Trump told "The New York Times" the only reason Democrats care about the hacking is because they got beaten very badly in the election. They are very embarrassed about it. It's true that there's no evidence of issues with voting machines. But the declassified intelligence report on Russia concludes with high confidence that Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered the efforts to influence the U.S. election.

And it finds that those efforts were in part designed to benefit Trump. The report states, "We also assess Putin and the Russian government aspired to help President-elect Trump's election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him."

It also says, "When it appears to Moscow that is Secretary Clinton was likely to win the election, the Russian influenced campaign began to focus more on undermining her future presidency." In the run-up to the briefing, Trump and his advisors bristled at the idea that the focus on Russia was anything more than a political attack.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISER: There are those out there who are trying to delegitimize his presidency, review the election results and you know it.

MURRAY: But Trump insists that he will vigorously battle cyber hacking once in office. After his intelligence briefing, Trump saying, "We need to aggressively combat and stop cyber attacks. I will appoint a team to give me a plan within 90 days of taking office."

It's not just his opponents and the Democratic Party that are raising the alarm about Russia's cyber hacking efforts. U.S. intelligence officials are openly expressing dismay.

[02:20:02] JAMES CLAPPER, U.S. DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: I don't think we've ever encountered a more aggressive or direct campaign to interfere in our election process and we've seen in this case.

MURRAY: And Republican leaders in Congress say, there's little doubt about Russia's role in the cyber hacking.

PAUL RYAN, U.S. HOUSE SPEAKER: Russia clearly tried to meddle in our political system. No two ways about it.

MURRAY: Still Trump was apparently more concerned Friday with NBC's cyber hacking coverage than with Russia's efforts to interfere in the U.S. election, Trump tweeting, "I am asking the chairs of the House and Senate Committees to investigate top secret intelligence shared with NBC prior to me seeing it."

The president-elect hinting he may be more willing to trust his own officials once he takes office. Members of Trump's incoming team including his pick for national security advisor, Michael Flynn, and his choice to lead the CIA. Congressman Mike Pompeo accompanied him today for today's briefing. Trump telling "The New York Times," "We have great people going into those slots. I expect to have a very, very good relationship with them."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

QUEST: Donald Trump's insistence that Russia's alleged hacking has no effect on the election outcome is showing a sharp response from the Democrats who say, they're going to push for a bipartisan independent commission to investigate Russia's role. A top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee tell CNN, there's no question that it did have an impact.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ADAM SCHIFF, U.S. HOUSE DEMOCRAT: But the fact that there was no evidence of tampering with machines doesn't mean that it didn't influence the outcome of the election as Donald Trump has said in his statement, in fact, quite the contrary. The daily dumping of damaging material to Secretary Clinton was enormously consequential in terms of her campaign.

It was enormously beneficial to Donald Trump and to ignore that or to say it didn't happen, I think is quite inaccurate and all of this was of course enabled by the Russian cyber operations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

QUEST: Now, the former CIA Director Leon Panetta says it's time for Trump to start taking the Russian threat seriously and begin working closely with the U.S. intelligence community. He said otherwise, the United States could be in for a rough four years. Here is Mr. Panetta talking to Wolf Blitzer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEON PANETTA, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: Donald Trump is going to be the next president of the United States. He's going to be sworn in as our 45th president. There's no question that that's going to happen. But as the president-elect and as the future president of the United States, he's got to be very concerned about a country like Russia taking this kind of aggressive effort to interfere in our election.

And I think that's the one thing in the 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. That is unacceptable. And we have to do everything possible to stop it happening in the future.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Earlier in the day before his briefing from the intelligence community's leadership, he suggested that the intelligence agencies were actually involved in what he called a political witch hunt against him in that brief interview, he granted a phone interview to "The New York Times." Do you believe the relationship between the president-elect and the intelligence community and you're a former director of the CIA can be mended?

PANETTA: I pray that we get beyond this bickering and tweeting with regards to the intelligence community. And his statement today at least was a step in the right direction. He talked about having a constructive meeting. He indicated he had tremendous respect for the men and women in our intelligence community.

And he also indicated that he would appoint a team to make sure that we protect ourselves from cyber attacks. So I hope that he's moving in the right direction. President of the United States, his first duty is to protect this country. And there is no way that a president can protect this country without having a trusting relationship with the intelligence community. He needs to have good intelligence in order to be able to defend this country.

BLITZER: In a separate tweet, Mr. Secretary, the president-elect said he wants NBC News investigated because they reported on some of the classified briefings that President Obama received yesterday which is raising questions about his priorities right now. What was your reaction to that? PANETTA: You know, as a former chief of staff, I just can't imagine how you deal with a president who feels free to tweet every day about his own emotions and personal feelings. It is very disruptive and it creates tremendous problems in terms of the ability for a president to be able to guide policy in this country.

[02:25:13] A president ought to be thoughtfully considering what steps should be taken, talk with his advisors, consider the steps and the words he's going to use as president because if you just have someone who is going to tweet his, you know, his most recent emotions to the American people, I think we're going to be in for a very rough ride with this new president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: Straight ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM, we return to other stories we're following as authorities try to figure out what made this man open fire at the Fort Lauderdale airport. Our breaking news coverage continues here in the United States and around the world this hour. You're watching CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOWELL: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and around the world, who are watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell at CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

QUEST: In New York, I'm Richard Quest. And we return to the news from Florida where a gunman remains in custody after he opened fire at Fort Lauderdale airport killing five people and wounding eight. The suspect has been identified as Esteban Santiago. Officials say he likely acted alone but the FBI is investigating every angle and has not ruled out terrorism.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[02:30:00] PIRO: The subject is in federal custody as the sheriff mentioned, a long interview was conducted of the individual by the FBI and Broward Sheriff's Office. And he will be charged federally and most likely will have his initial occurrence in Broward on Monday.

The individual did walk into our anchorage office in November. He came in and spoke with FBI agents. At that time, he clearly stated that 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 that the point, we closed our assessment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: We've heard so many stories from people who were inside that airport. None maybe luckier than this where a laptop and a backpack may have saved the life of one shooting survivor. He spoke to my colleague Anderson Cooper about his terrifying experience inside that airport terminal. Listen.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

STEVE FRAPPIER, AIRPORT SHOOTING WITNESS: I dropped to the ground. I heard more of the popping sounds and then while I'm on the floor at eye level, I'm seeing people in front of me get hit.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: You actually saw that?

FRAPPIER: I saw that. There was a man probably 10 feet away from me that was shot in the head. And his wife, you know, collapsed on top of him and --

COOPER: Was he shot while he standing up or was he on the floor as well?

FRAPPIER: We were all on the floor.

COOPER: So the shooter just went over and shot somebody who's laying down on the floor.

FRAPPIER: It was some distance so the shooter was not necessarily walking around the whole baggage claim area. He was still several feet away from many of us. But he kind of shot into the crowd and toward the floor and hit that man.

COOPER: Was he saying anything at all before or during the shooting?

FRAPPIER: He said absolutely nothing. He said absolutely nothing. And so there was a point where the entire terminal was -- at the baggage claim area was completely silent and all we could hear was just the popping of the gun.

COOPER: Then that's how you remember it, people not screaming --

FRAPPIER: No.

COOPER: -- you remember silence.

FRAPPIER: The people screaming were the people that might have been hurt or people that were next to someone, you know, or a loved one that was hit.

COOPER: I understand you had a backpack with you.

FRAPPIER: I did.

COOPER: And that actually saved you or may have saved you. What happened?

FRAPPIER: The backpack saved my life. I was wearing a backpack on both shoulders and then when we went to the floor I just, you know, I dropped and the backpack was still on my back. And I was turned in such a way where at one point when the shooter shot towards my direction, there were several other people around me. There was a bullet that ricocheted and I did not notice until after the -- until much later. I felt something hit my back. And I turned around and I thought it was -- because the luggage was still coming.

So there was luggage that was falling on top of me too. And I thought it was just luggage at that time. And it was only later when I went to the bathroom to check myself out that the bullet had entered my backpack, hit my laptop and then later when I gave my bag over to the FBI for investigation, they saw the bullet in the pocket of my backpack.

COOPER: That's incredible. So your laptop saved your life. Your laptop stopped the bullet.

FRAPPIER: The laptop and I believe too the savage (ph) of the backpack. So the laptop, the plastic case and all of that combination because it was on the ground like a, you know, like a tortoise, you know, with the backpack on me, the way that it ricocheted and entered my bag, that would have been, that would have been my back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

QUEST: Extraordinary. Now CNN's Brian Todd has more details on the shooting. And takes us through the events and how it all unfolded at the airport.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Witnesses say the gunman entered the baggage claim area of Terminal 2 and began shooting randomly. One law enforcement source tells CNN moments earlier he'd 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 early of the shooting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They want us to hold for the tango line. Because there's a thing going off 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.

[02:35:06] 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 Office 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. 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 or sources say, then went into the bathroom and got his gun out of his luggage. Senator Nelson said had he easy access to his targets.

BILL NELSON, (D) U.S. SENATE: Anytime 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'd just gotten off a flight told 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)

HOWELL: Brian Todd with very terrifying moments for so many people at the Fort Lauderdale Airport.

Other news that we're following here on CNN, a look at some severe weather across the United States including a winter storm that is making it incredibly cold and slick in the streets of the southeastern part of the country. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[02:40:14] HOWELL: Welcome back. In California, they are facing more flooding and here in the southeastern part of the United States, snow is the big story, and ice. Our meteorologist Derek Van Dam is here with the latest on what to expect. And you know even Richard Quest and on Twitter they're giving us little briefs saying we need to toughen up a little bit.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: We do.

HOWELL: Atlanta doesn't do snow that well.

VAN DAM: Especially when you see what out west has to deal with. And they're starting to measure in feet, we're trying to measure it in quarter of inches, you know, so such a difference. But it's a freezing rain. And that's a significant difference because no four- by-four in the world can combat ice on the roads.

And look at these guys. They tried their best to combat the ice and well, I wouldn't recommend that because that's, well, just a little bit on the tricky side if you ask me. This is an image I snapped outside. I had a meteorology professor back in college that said there's no substitute to looking outside the window and going checking out what the weather conditions are doing outside. You can look at all the computer models you want but this tells it all.

Look at the icicles. This is right outside of the CNN building. The ice storm is it still under way for downtown Metro Atlanta. Let me explain how freezing rain actually takes place.

You get in the upper levels of the atmosphere, snow falling out of clouds, and then there's a little warm layer of air about 5,000 feet above the ground and that helps melt that frozen precipitation so it liquefies. And then at the very base, the surface of the earth, temperatures are hovering around zero degree celsius or 32 degrees Fahrenheit. And that liquid water that just melted instantly freezes on the grounds or the surfaces and that can be extremely dangerous.

Again, we're measuring the ice here in Atlanta between a quarter to a half an inch. And the other concern that I have about this is that the winds are going to pick up behind this system and that means any of that ice that's accumulated let's say on a tree limb has the potential to bring that down, perhaps knocking down some power. We already do have 79 counties in Georgia declaring states of emergency, the entire state of Alabama under a state of emergency at the moment.

Here's the storm system. We definitely don't like to see that shading of pink over Metro Atlanta. That is ice, folks. And it's not only North Georgia that has to contend with the significant winter storm. As the system continues to move to the north and east, just as my computer decides it will freeze, this system continues to impact the entire east coast from the Carolinas and believe it or not, you in New York City, if you're watching, you'll feel the impacts of the storm all the way to Boston. You've got winter storm warnings in effect for you. And we're anticipating anywhere from three to six inches of snowfall for that area.

But again, the bulk of the heaviest snow across the Carolinas and the ice accumulation that stretches from Charlotte all the way to Atlanta and Central Alabama that was a significant ice storm that is going to bring major concerns. Can I take you to the other side of the world? This is in Istanbul at a Turk airport. They're contending with delays as well. Upwards of 25 centimeters of snowfall, up to a foot for us here in America, that caused some delays and you can imagine, you can see the sights there.

HOWELL: You know, you're from Michigan, I lived in Chicago for a bit we know snow so it can be really dangerous.

VAN DAM: It absolutely can. And really when I say no four-by-four can navigate ice, it's really true. So just don't get too courageous out there.

HOWELL: Thank you.

VAN DAM: All right.

QUEST: Look, I don't want to seem -- George, I don't want to seem too troublesome. No, seriously. I don't want to seem too troublesome about all of this. But it is January. And why are you all so surprised that this white stuff starts falling from the sky in the middle of January? I'm just saying. All right.

VAN DAM: Just because he travels the world, sees a little bit of snow, we can't contend with a quarter inch of ice, you know. HOWELL: We're doing our best.

VAN DAM: We're doing our best.

QUEST: If that is your best, then we're all in serious trouble. We need to move along.

HOWELL: Don't quit your day job.

QUEST: Thank you. Yeah, absolutely.

Toyota is punching back after a threatening tweet from Donald Trump. And the Japanese government is also getting involved. We'll talk about that. You're most welcome to "CNN NEWSROOM."

[02:44:30] Also, Michelle Obama's emotional farewell speech after eight years in the White House. Her wish for the future.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

QUEST: Now, after coming under fire from president-elect, Ford Motor Company has scrapped plans to build a new plant in Mexico. The automaker's chief executive says he and Donald Trump still want the same thing which is a healthy U.S. economy. Mark Fields was talking at the CNNMoney's Samuel Burke in Las Vegas at the CES.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK FIELDS, CEO, FORD MOTOR COMPANY: We're going to have to see once President-elect Trump gets inaugurated. I mean, clearly the most important thing is to lay out the facts. You know, the facts of Ford are 80 percent of our sales in the United States come from vehicles that are produced in the United States. And we are the largest producer of automobiles in the U.S. versus any other automaker.

SAMUEL BURKE, CNNMONEY BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: But the fact is, he is tweeting about tariffs. I mean, that we haven't seen something like this in really decades. So, do you fear that a tariff -- tariffs against the car industry could have a very negative impact?

FIELDS: Tariffs in general, you know, in general wouldn't be positive. I think the thing is making sure that, you know, as the president-elect gets into office and as the administration gets into office, that we can have a fact-based discussion. Because I think -- I strongly believe at the end of the day the right the policies are going to prevail because we share the same objective. We all want a healthy U.S. economy.

BURKE: Could be that means creating a relationship between you and Mr. Trump?

FIELDS: Well, we have, we have ongoing relationships with every administration going all the way back to Teddy Roosevelt when we first incorporated. And the same approach now. We have been establishing relationships with the transition team, with Vice President elect Pence and President-elect Trump. [02:50:06] BURKE: Do you think that NAFTA needs to be revisited?

FIELDS: Well, overall, you know, NAFTA has been I think very good for improving the competitiveness of the continent here in between Mexico and Canada and the U.S. The thing is, when you look at NAFTA, there's such a deep integration between whether it's vehicle assembly or the supply chain between Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. That integration supports a lot of good U.S. jobs. So, I think it's going to be really important to understand the facts before obviously anything is negotiated.

BURKE: So, you don't think it needs to be renegotiated?

FIELDS: Well, President-elect Trump has said that's one of his priorities. And obviously we take that very seriously. We just want to make sure it's done intelligently.

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QUEST: Now Ford may have adopted a conciliatory tone with Donald Trump. Its rival Toyota came out swinging after the president-elect tweeted this last Thursday. Mr. Trump said, "Toyota Motors said it will build a new plant in Baja, Mexico to build Corona cars for the U.S. No way. Build plants in U.S. or pay big border tax." It sparked reaction not just from Toyota but from the Japanese government. CNNMoney's Andrew Stevens reports from Seoul, South Korea.

ANDREW STEVENS, CNNMONEY ASIA-PACIFIC EDITOR: Richard, Toyota pushing back pretty hot particularly for a Japanese company and even the Japanese government getting involved with Donald Trump's tweet. Toyota basically saying look, we've been part of the U.S. fabric for the past 60 years. We've put $22 billion worth of investments in. We've built 10 manufacturing plants. We've got 1,500 dealerships and critically we employ more than 130,000 people in the U.S.

And anyway, this new plant in Mexico is not going to take jobs from the U.S. The Coronas that will be built in Mexico are currently being built in Canada. But there's no doubt that the Japanese automakers have now been put on notice by Donald Trump.

In Tokyo yesterday, the leaders of the big manufacturing companies said that they weren't going to change policy at least until they saw exactly what Donald Trump had in store. But with these tweets coming out, we've seen them both against G.M. and Ford, it's pretty clear that Donald Trump is quite serious about pushing back at these automakers. Richard?

QUEST: Andrew Stevens in Seoul. Now, for three weeks, the Dow Jones has been flirting with 20,000, and on Friday, it came as close as you are likely to get. That's the closing number but doesn't tell the whole picture. The Dow is actually less than half a point away at one stage, 19,999 and change before it retreated. The S&P finished at record levels. Next week, another chance, George, for the Dow to attempt 20k.

HOWELL: Let's hope, let's see.

Now to a story about the First Lady of the United States. Michelle Obama who gave her last official speech and not a dry eye was left in the room. Mrs. Obama was hosting top high school counselors from all around the country. The First Lady got very emotional during the speech. And some of the guests cried as she spoke. Michelle Kosinski has more.

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MICHELLE OBAMA, U.S. FIRST LADY: As I end my time in the White House, I can think of no better message to send to our young people. Something that has carried us through every moment in this White House and every moment of our lives, and that is the power of hope. The belief that something better is always possible if you're willing to work for it and fight for it. It is our fundamental belief in the power of hope that has allowed to us rise above the voices of doubt and division, of anger, and fear that we have faced in our own lives and in the life of this country.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: In a crowd of educators, advocates, school counselors, the First Lady took this opportunity to speak to America's youth about America's values. She didn't miss the chance to once again hit out at the kind of rhetoric she has said defined the Trump campaign.

OBAMA: If you or your parents are immigrants, know that you are part of a proud American tradition. And whether you are Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, these religions are teaching our young people about justice, and compassion, and honesty. You see, our glorious diversity, our diversities of faiths, and colors, and creeds, that is not a threat to who we are. It makes us who we are.

KOSINSKI: Noting too, that it comes with responsibility. Half of those young people she's speaking to didn't vote at all.

[02:55:04] OBAMA: You cannot take your freedoms for granted. Empower yourselves with a good education. Then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of your boundless promise. Lead by example with hope, never fear. And know that I will be with you rooting for you and working to support you for the rest of my life. And I am so grateful to all of you for your passion and your dedication and all the hard work on behalf of our next generation and I can think of no better way to end my time as First Lady than celebrating with all of you.

So I want to close today by simply saying thank you. Thank you for everything you do for our kids and for our country. Being your First Lady has been the greatest honor of my life. And I hope I've made you proud.

CROWD: Thank you.

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QUEST: So the world turns and the baton of power gets closer to being passed. I'm Richard Quest at CNN in New York.

HOWELL: And Richard, a pleasure being with you. I'm George Howell at the CNN Center in Atlanta. Our coverage off the shooting of the Fort Lauderdale Airport continues in just a moment. You're watching CNN.

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