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War Vet Accused Of Killing Five At Florida Airport; FBI: Too Early To Determine Gunman's Motive; Obama: "Vladimir Putin Is Not On Our Team"; Trump: No Evidence Russia Affected Election Outcome; Winter Storm Slams Mid-Atlantic and Northeast; Four Suspects Held Without Bail Charged with Hate Crime; Alabama and Clemson Arrive for Rematch. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired January 7, 2017 - 06:00   ET



[06:00:02]UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard, bam, bam, bam.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These people are running outside, says somebody's shooting, shooting.

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: I felt something hit my back. The bullets have entered by my backpack, hit my laptop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have the shooter in custody. At this point, it looks he (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The intelligence community's report on Russian hacking concluded that, quote, "Putin and the Russian government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are not going to tolerate a country like Russia trying to interfere in our election process.

MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT: We're going to take aggressive action to combat cyber-attacks and protect the security of the American people.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Always so grateful to have your company. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Welcome to our viewers joining us around the world. We are following two developing stories this morning, first, bloodshed at a baggage claim at an airport. New details on the man accused of opening fire inside a Florida airport killing five people, wounding several others.

The question, who is Esteban Santiago and what led this veteran to allegedly unload a checked pistol into a crowd sparking chaos inside the terminal.

PAUL: Also this morning, ordered by Putin, a declassified intelligence report showing precisely how the Russian president directed a, quote, "Influenced campaign during the 2016 election." The goal hurt Hillary Clinton and helped Donald Trump. We've got new reaction overnight from the president-elect and the stunning report.

And before we get to that let's talk about these new details we have for you on the deadly rampage inside that Florida airport. The FBI identifying now, Esteban Santiago, an Iraq war veteran, as the lone gunman who sent a terminal into chaos.

Who can forget these pictures of people rushing out of the airport to try to get away? Within the past hour, we understand, planes have started taking off again from Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport.

CNN correspondent, Rachel Crane, joins us live from Fort Lauderdale with some new information. Rachel, what are you learning at this hour? And good morning.

RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi. Well, the airport here at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport has reopened. We've seen TSA agents lining up, getting back to work. Passengers lining up to get through security. Stores reopening. But of course, today, the focus for law enforcement officials will be the investigation.


PILOT: OK, they want us to hold for the tango line. Guess there's firing going on in the terminal.

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER: We're currently having a building evacuation at Terminal 2.

CRANE (voice-over): Chaos and confusion at Fort Lauderdale's airport after a gunman opened fire inside a baggage claim area, killing five people and seriously wounding eight more. Some people fleeing the scene ran away from danger onto the airport tarmac.

NYE WOODHOUSE, WITNESS: There was one real close one next to me and then there was four that I heard, bam, bam, bam. It was like boom. We didn't know what it was. Everybody looked. Then there is boom, boom, boom and then people taking off.

CRANE: The suspect identified as 26-year-old Esteban Santiago apparently had a weapon in his checked bag. One source said he went to the bathroom to get the gun out of his luggage and came out firing. He was taken into federal custody shortly after the attack.

SHERIFF SCOTT ISRAEL, BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA: He's unharmed. No law enforcement fired any shots. The subject is being interviewed by a team of FBI agents and Broward Sheriff Office's Homicide detectives.

CRANE: This morning, new information about Santiago, who flew to Florida from Alaska Friday. He served in the Puerto Rico National Guard, the Army Reserve, and the Alaska Army National Guard. He was deployed to Iraq in 2010 where he received a combat-related honor. Santiago was discharged from the Alaska Army National Guard in August. Law enforcement officials said Santiago visited an FBI office in Anchorage several months ago. He was accompanied by associates who were concerned because Santiago said he was hearing voices.

Santiago told the FBI that an intelligence agency was telling him to watch ISIS videos. The FBI asked local police to take him to the hospital for a mental evaluation. Santiago voluntarily checked himself in.

Authorities are now working to determine the motive and if it's terror-related. They say it's a complex investigation that stems several states.

GEORGE L. PIRO, FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: We are looking at all avenues.

[06:05:02]We have not ruled out terrorism and we will be pursuing every angle to try to determine the motive behind this attack, and any associates, any connections, communication.


CRANE: Now, as you mentioned, the investigation is spanning several states and we do know that yesterday the FBI spoke to Santiago's aunt who lives in Union City, New Jersey.

Meanwhile, here at the airport, at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport, one of the challenges for officials will be returning about 20,000 bags and personal items that passengers left behind during the evacuation -- Christie.

PAUL: Goodness. All right, Rachel Crane, thank you so much. We appreciate it. Now, there are obviously an awful lot of questions that linger from this incident.

BLACKWELL: Yes, our Tom Foreman takes a look at the suspected gunman's path.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the Fort Lauderdale Airport, 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 is where he would have arrived, at Terminal 2, specifically at Gate 5 at this terminal.

If you move in closer, I can show you that Gate 5 is the one right back in this area. People who are on to the plane say the walk from here down to the baggage area would be about 50 or 60 yards, if he traveled the same way you'd expect somebody to normally do on a plane like this.

It would be a path something like this through the area down to escalator down here and then down to the baggage area. The baggage area is right here. This is where he would have retrieved his bag with the gun in it, if the witness accounts are correct. 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 out firing roughly 45 minutes after his plane officially touched down.

We do know that some of the victims were actually right in this area. What about his business about 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 regulation. 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 the clip that's loaded onto it. It must be on 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. 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.

BLACKWELL: All right. Tom, thank you so much. Let's bring in CNN law enforcement analyst, Tom Fuentes for some perspective here. Tom, good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: So investigators are now trying to determine whether or not this was an act of terror. They have not ruled out terrorism yet. What will they be doing to try to get an answer to that question?

FUENTES: Well, the first thing they'll be doing is talking to him since he did live through this and was captured unhurt and intact. But aside from what he tells them, if anything, they'll be looking at everything else about him.

The social media, computer, entries, searches, discussions with neighbors, colleagues, co-workers and discussions that he had in the FBI office in Anchorage, and with the local police in Anchorage, when the FBI turned him over for mental evaluation at some medical facility.

Now, we may not know all of that due to health privacy laws that may still be difficult to find out. And another aspect of this is, that sometimes, believe it or not, these individuals don't tell the truth.

So, even if he gives his reasons to the authorities, you know, overnight and today, doesn't necessarily mean that he's being accurate. He may not even know the truth.

So this is going to depend on if he's mentally ill and if so, how disturbed he really is. So, this is still going to be difficult to unravel exactly what he did and why he did it.

BLACKWELL: That's a very thin line. You brought up this meeting with FBI agents in Anchorage that was back in November when he told agents that he was hearing voices telling him to join ISIS. That there were intelligence agencies telling him to watch ISIS videos.

Give us an idea of exactly how thin that line is to decipher between a man, who potentially thought he was doing something in the name of ISIS and someone who is just suffering with mental illness. Where's the line to determine if indeed it was terrorism in his mind?

FUENTES: Well, you can argue that most people that join ISIS aren't sane in the first place. So you can have a combination. They're not mutually exclusive to be mentally ill, disturbed, and yet become a terrorist, but we don't know that. And we don't know, you know, at this point, a lot of people walk into FBI offices and into police stations and make all kinds of claims like that.

[06:10:01]And very often they do the best they can to get them into some kind of mental health evaluation. So this is not the role of the FBI to, you know, take care of mentally disturbed people. That's why they turned it over to the local police to look into and take it from there.

And I think that basically, we don't know if he actually thought he was doing this for ISIS or wanted to do it for is or whether that was just an outlandish claim. You know that gets a lot of attention and the mere word ISIS attracts a lot of attention.

And the FBI even then would have looked very seriously into his background to see any evidence that he had already been radicalized or was, you know, in communication with partners who could be encouraging him to do a violence act.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Still so many questions that need to be answered very early in this investigation. Tom Fuentes, thanks so much.

FUENTES: You're welcome.

PAUL: When it comes to taking guns on airplanes, officials say the Florida shooting suspect, he did everything by the book. So, later, a closer look at air travel with guns and whether there should be changes now to the rules in light of this attack.

BLACKWELL: Also, a Russia-led campaign to undermine the election and the declassified intelligence report pointing at Putin. The react from Moscow this morning. They're calling it nonsense and putting the blame on the Obama administration. We'll have more for you in just a moment.


PAUL: It's 14 minutes past the hour. New for you this morning, President-elect Donald Trump claiming the Democratic National Committee is responsible for last year's hack. He tweeted overnight, quote, "Gross negligence by the Democratic National Committee allowed hacking to take place. The Republican National Committee had strong defense."

BLACKWELL: But the newly declassified intelligence report found Russians hacked both political parties, but only released the stolen information on the Democrats. That's the key reason the U.S. intelligence community found Russia's intent was to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton.

Here's what President Obama said when he was asked about the conclusion of this new report.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: One of the things that I am concerned about is the degree to which we've seen a lot of commentary lately.

[06:20:05]Where the fellow Republicans who are pundits or cable commentators, who seemed to have more confidence in Vladimir Putin than fellow Americans because those fellow Americans are Democrats. That cannot be.


PAUL: Now to President-elect Donald Trump's reaction to the revelation in the intelligence report. Top officials briefed Trump on their findings yesterday in New York, of course, and the president- elect had praise for them following the meeting. He never specifically acknowledged that Russia was behind it all though. Here's CNN's Jim Sciutto.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A declassified version of the intelligence community's report on Russian hacking concluded that, quote, "Putin and the Russian government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.

Russian president Vladimir Putin order an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election. Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. public 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, quote, "covert intelligence operations such as cyber-activity with over efforts by Russian government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries and paid social media users or trolls."

It also says, quote, "When it appeared to Moscow that Secretary Clinton was likely to win the election, the Russian influence campaign began to focus more on undermining her future presidency."

Following the briefing the president-elect said in a statement, quote, "I had a constructive meeting and conversation with the leaders of the intelligence community this afternoon. I have a tremendous respect for the work done by the men and women of this community to our great nation."

However, Trump made clear he believes the hacks do not take his election victory, quote, "There was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines.

The intelligence assessment confirmed that hacking was, quote, "not involved in vote tallying." However in a statement, Trump never specifically acknowledged that Russia was behind the hack. 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 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.


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 that. It says that the cyber-ops 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 here with the weaken Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump. Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.

BLACKWELL: All right, Jim, thank you so much. And what does this mean for the future of cyber-attacks potentially against the U.S.? And what did this mean for the incoming Trump administration? We'll ask our political panel. Two reporters with us -- after the break.



BLACKWELL: President-elect Donald Trump is still reluctant to blame Russia for cyber-attacks on U.S. political parties, despite receiving the full briefing now on the classified version of the intelligence report, which says those efforts were ordered directly by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Joining me now to discuss, CNN politics reporter, Eugene Scott, and White House correspondent for "The Washington Examiner," Sarah Westwood. Good morning to both of you.

Eugene, I want to start with you and the statement from Donald Trump's transition team. Let's put it up, "Russia, China, other countries outside groups and people are consistently trying to break through the cyber-infrastructure of our governmental institutions, businesses and organizations.

This seems to echo what we heard from Donald Trump during the campaign when he said it could be Russia, China, a 400-pound man sitting on the edge of his bed, could be anybody. So even after this, still no change. EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Right. Yes, all of that could be possible, but what U.S. intelligence agencies are confident of is that this situation was Russia. And they would like to see the president-elect are more aggressive in responding to the data that they presented to him Friday.

He seemed a bit more accepting of it, said that he would form a committee soon within the next 90 days to address issues of involvement of foreign governments, but I think his critics would like to see him be far more aggressive on Russia and Putin specifically.

BLACKWELL: Sarah, he says in this statement as Eugene just referenced that will be within the first 90 days of this administration, this group to come up with a plan to combat cyber-hacking and cyber-warfare potentially. How does that correspond with what we heard from the president-elect just a week ago when he says it's time to move on to bigger and better things?

SARAH WESTWOOD, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": It's an attempt to thread the needle here. On the one hand, Trump knows that he needs to acknowledge the deficiencies in cyber-defenses in American government.

But on the other hand, it's not in his interest politically to acknowledge that the election somehow lacked integrity and therefore his victory is somehow tainted and less legitimate than it otherwise would have been.

At the same time, Trump campaigned in favor of thawing the ice between Moscow and Washington. So you're just not likely to see him go beyond acknowledging that Russia could have been behind the attacks, among other actors, and denying that those had a desired effect.

It wouldn't be within his interests politically and it wouldn't fit with the foreign vision he laid out during the campaign.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about the rhetoric here, Eugene, because in just the last couple of hours, we are now seeing a Russian official echoing Donald Trump's arguments to criticize the findings here from Alexi Pushkov (ph), a Russian official in the parliament there, he tweeted out, "All accusations against Russia are based on confidence and assumptions. The U.S. would just as confident of the WMDs Hussein had."

You'll remember that the Trump team said, or Trump himself, said in a statement of the intelligence community these are the same people that said that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

So now, we're in this place where Russian officials are paraphrasing the criticisms of the president-elect against said president-elect's own intelligence community.

SCOTT: Exactly. And Donald Trump has been criticized for having more confidence in the Russian government and Julian Assange than U.S. officials -- intelligence agencies because of that. It's also unfortunate that that statement was made because it's not a fact. These are not the same people.

The department has been very intentional in clearing individuals and reorganizing since the war in Iraq began and that announcement was made about WMDs. It's just not the same thing.

[06:25:02]I think along those lines, one of the most interesting things in that report is even if the intent was not intentionally to help Donald Trump, it certainly was to hurt Hillary Clinton.

BLACKWELL: Sarah, I want you to listen to what the former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said about his criticism of the intelligence community from the president-elect. Watch.


PANETTA: I think the bickering that we've seen going on, with regards to the intelligence dealing with Russia and the questioning of the intelligence on that issue has, in some ways, damaged our national security because it sent a message to our enemies that somehow, they can conduct these kinds of attacks in the United States, and not pay a price for it and that has -- that has to be very clear, that we are not going to tolerate that.


BLACKWELL: From the former secretary of defense, that this criticism has damaged our national security. When you hear that, you think what, Sarah?

WESTWOOD: I think that that's the precise reason why Donald Trump has said he wants to put together this commission, to focus on cyber- activity. Because following this briefing and the pressure that's being put on him by congressional lawmakers in both parties, he's coming to the realization that this might have been a very serious breach of America's cyber-defenses in ways that we haven't seen before.

And he knows that he cannot let this go unchallenged. It's not in Donald Trump's nature to let anything go unchallenged, but certainly, that's part of why I think you see him moving toward addressing this in a way that doesn't leave him exposed by acknowledging that the Russians might have helped him win the election unfairly.

BLACKWELL: It is a tight rope walk through that statement. Not specifically acknowledging that Russia was responsible as the intelligence community says and Putin ordered it. But also saying that there will be a panel to combat the cyber-hacking in the first 90 days of this administration. Sarah Westwood, Eugene Scott, thank you both.

SCOTT: Thank you.


PAUL: We hope you can be with CNN next week, there's a town mall special with former Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders. It's Monday night, 9:00 p.m. Eastern. He's going to discuss the Democratic strategy during the Trump administration. He'll do so with Chris Cuomo.

And then on Thursday, Speaker Paul Ryan joins Jake Tapper for a CNN Town Hall. He'll take questions from a live audience. This, of course, ahead of the inauguration on the 20th.

Coming up on this show, we'll learning more about the Iraq war veteran who is in jail this morning, accused of killing five people at the Fort Lauderdale airport. What Estevan Santiago told FBI agents just a few months ago? That triggered a mental investigation. And what are the TSA's rules for guns on airplanes? We'll talk about it. Stay close.


[06:30:36] PAUL: So good to have your company on a Saturday morning. I'm Christi Paul.

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

The FBI is now trying to find out why Esteban Santiago may have pulled a gun from his checked bag and opened fire, killing five people at the Fort Lauderdale Airport. Regular operations, we know, this morning have resumed.

PAUL: Yes. But investigators say he did that alone. They've determined that already. They have not ruled out terrorism here. The 26-year-old security guard spent nine years in the Alaska Army National Guard. He was discharged last year for unsatisfactory performance.

Now before this shooting, Santiago had only minor offenses on his criminal record. Now he's being held without bond on a murder charge. He's set to make his first appearance in court on Monday.

BLACKWELL: Well, as they try to pin down a motive for the shooting, the FBI is talking to Santiago's family members.

CNN national correspondent Deborah Feyerick is in Santiago's hometown of Union City, New Jersey.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: FBI agents are here in Union City, New Jersey. They were questioning the aunt of the alleged airport shooter. Maria Ruiz spoke to reporters and she told them that her nephew was a recent father. He has a young child. He was deployed to Iraq back in 2010. When he returned, the aunt says that he was acting strangely. He is the youngest of five children. They live in Puerto Rico as well as Florida.

He was 17 years old when he joined the National Guard in Puerto Rico. He did serve in New Jersey, in Puerto Rico, in Fort Dix in New Jersey as well. He was given awards for his service. He was given the Army Good Conduct medal, as well as a commendation medal. He also received a combat action badge. And he was in Anchorage, Alaska, where he's also part of the National Guard. In August 2016 he was discharged from the National Guard. Several months later, he went to an FBI office and said that he was -- that U.S. intelligence agencies were telling him -- were speaking to him.

He said he didn't want to do anything violent. He was questioned and then he was handed over, taken into custody by local authorities who took him to a medical facility where he was evaluated.

Now FBI agents at the time, they did do an assessment. They'd looked at data bases. They did an interagency review. And they also interviewed family members at the time. Their assessment was closed, though, shortly after that. However, right now, authorities looking very, very closely at all family members. They're interviewing them to try to figure out exactly what is going on with Santiago and why he did what he is alleged to have done.

Deborah Feyerick, CNN, Union City, New Jersey.


PAUL: Deborah, thank you.

Now Esteban Santiago flew into Florida on a flight from Alaska. There was a stop in Minnesota. Law enforcement officials say he had declared his gun in a firearms carrying case. Guns are allowed, we need to point out, in checked bags. This is according to TSA policy but they're supposed to be unloaded and packed in a locked case. Easily opened cases are not allowed, are not permitted.

So let's talk about this with CNN aviation analyst Mary Schiavo.

Mary, thank you so much for being with us. She's a former inspector general at the Department of Transportation.

Do you see any areas in this process where there were some vulnerabilities that could have been compromised here?

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, certainly, and starting, of course, with the airline. Alaska Airlines actually has a rule that says if you're traveling with a rifle or a shotgun case, that you have to present your claimed check or your I.D. to pick it up at the baggage claim office. So that would have been one more intermediary there before this. But if he had a small hand gun in a checked carryon which is -- excuse me, in a checked bag which appears to be the case here, then that rule wouldn't have applied.

And then the other rule concerns ammo. Some carriers allow up to 50 pounds of ammo. Alaska Airlines is one of them that allows that much ammunition. If you're connecting and going -- there other rules that reduce that down to 11 pounds but that is probably 48 rounds at least, if it's a quarter of -- you know, if it's four ounces or so a shot. So that's just way too much ammunition.

So there are a lot of things you could do short of keeping guns off of planes. And remember, the United States Department of Justice has already said in a letter in 2005, when this issue was debated that they must be allowed -- you must be allowed to travel with your weapon as long as it's secured in a cargo hold.

[06:35:10] PAUL: So when we look at what happened here and looking at the laws that you just -- you just mentioned, do you believe there are any parts of these laws that need to be changed, the ammo, for instance?

SCHIAVO: Right. I think that, for now, what we have to worry about, will other people have the ideas as well? Are there going to be copycat attacks, et cetera? The right to transport your weapon, there are constitutional issues there. So I don't think you're going to be able to do that anymore soon. To do something about guns on the planes. Because even the Justice Department has weighed in on that and said you've got to transport them because you've got to be able to into interstate travel and you have the right to have a firearm.

I think we're doing something with the ammunition. I mean, let's face it Amazon can deliver anything, anywhere anytime. If you're going someone for target practice or for shooting or for hunting event, you would think that you could have your ammo delivered on the other end in an interim process.

Now I realize that the constitutional decisions on this issue say that ammo can be defined as to be part of the right to carry a gun but for now, and given we always have the risk of copycats, I think we need to get the ammo out of the situation, until we figure out what to do. How to make it safer. Maybe have a claims process, a checked process on the other end to retrieve it. But for now, you could keep ammo off a plane.

PAUL: I want to share some video with all of us here, with our viewers. We haven't even seen this yet, or I haven't. This is new video we have coming in. There he is, our pictures here of his walk as he was arrested and he was being taken into custody. And these are first pictures we're getting of him.

What do you make, Mary, of these reports that he had voluntarily checked himself into a hospital? He had voluntarily gone to the FBI and said he believes that ISIS was -- he was being talked to in his head by ISIS? What does that say to you about the fact that this man was able to get a gun and carry it on to a plane?

SCHIAVO: Well, that's one of the problems. We don't know when he had obtained the gun yet. If you obtain the gun before you report any psychological disturbances, not just whether you report it, it's whether you're having adjudged disability. A mental disability. So we don't know where he acquired it. And we don't have a process in the United States where you have to be reevaluated, when you get your initial guns, and you're legal to have them, and then something happens. We don't have a mechanism to trigger for someone just saying this without some sort of adjudication. So that's the problem.

And also people saying they hear voices, they're hearing things, that's not going to do it unless you get some medical evaluation. I don't think we know yet what his true medical evaluation was in a situation and whether that's the truth, whether it's believable or not or some people can simply just say things. PAUL: We talk about the public areas where this chaos erupted. I

can't get over some of the pictures of some of these people running out, some of them carrying children. They're running on to the tarmac. Do you believe that there is enough security in these areas?

SCHIAVO: Well, there isn't. But this has been debated for literally decades. There were shootings and -- and bombings in '60s, '70s, '80s in baggage terminals in Europe, for example. And the problem is by decreasing -- rather, increasing the perimeter and putting the checkpoints farther out away from the airport, then you've created another area where people will congregate and lineup. And here, that wouldn't have made a difference because this person flew with his gun and flew with his ammo.

He would have been behind any sort of perimeter security leading up to the airport. But in terms of people going out to the tarmac, in the simulations where you plan for these events, that's usually not the evacuation plan. The evacuation plan is to get them out of the airport. But here, since a threat was in the airport, while it caused mass chaos trying to get the airport up and running again, because you've compromised the security of the entire airport, there's no sterile area left, that was the kinds thing to do. Because people were taking people out to the tarmac to potentially save their lives.

And so I can't really facility the airport for that. I think that was -- that really the only thing that could be done in that situation. You couldn't dump people out into the bag claim area where the thread was. So the tarmac was the safest place for them.

PAUL: Absolutely. Absolutely. No doubt about it. I just -- I see these images and I cannot help but wonder how these people are doing this morning.

Mary Schiavo, thank you so much. Appreciate your insight as always.

SCHIAVO: Thanks.

BLACKWELL: All right. Still to come -- well, I say still to come on the show, a lot of people already have it, the snow, the sleet, the ice, the rain -- pardon me. The mess out there. 2017's first winter storm bearing down on the mid-Atlantic, the northeast, here in the south as well. We've got an update for you.


[06:42:41] BLACKWELL: 72 million people waking up to winter weather watches and advisories this morning. Listen, this winter storm is ripping through the mid-Atlantic. The northeast as well. The south, too. Snow, sleet, ice, rain warnings have prompted Alabama, and Georgia, and North Carolina's governors to declare states of emergency.

PAUL: National Guard troops, we know, are on standby. There are thousands of people across the southeast who do not have electricity right now. But the southeast in particular is caught in the thick of this storm. It stretches all the way from Arizona to the Carolinas. BLACKWELL: Yes.

PAUL: Just to give you -- you know, an image of how expansive this is.

BLACKWELL: It's huge.

PAUL: Yes.

BLACKWELL: And keep in mind, the temperatures in the south today will not reach much above freezing. So the severe icy conditions are expected to stay around for a bit.

CNN's Allison Chinchar is following the storm for us.

Allison, even here in Atlanta, we've got a little coating of ice across much of the area.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: And I would change that word to more than just a little, Victor. The problem is, it's causing big travel problems. Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson airport under a ground stop right now. They're not allowing any flights in or out.


CHINCHAR: And our own Polo Sandoval is in Raleigh, kind of dealing with a lot of that ice and sleet accumulation there as well -- Polo.

[06:45:03] POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Allison, what's interesting is that expected snow, that's not really what's making getting around here so difficult. It's that ice that you mentioned. And what's helping officials keep people off the roads this morning, two main reasons, it's Saturday, so it's not a commuting day. We're not seeing a whole lot of people out and about this morning.

And also, people had time to prepare. We heard several of those reports for several days now recommending people simply stock up on some of those groceries and just stay indoors, if you don't have to be out, like if you don't have to be working in the middle of this. So that is the main recommendation from officials. But as you mentioned, Allison, a few moments ago, ice, that's the big issue right now. That's what officials are going to be trying to keep back and that's why some of this rain, sleet and snow, it may not go anywhere any time soon, Victor or Christi, because we're likely not to warm up for another two days or so -- guys.

BLACKWELL: Wow. Stay safe out there. I know the exact intersection you're standing at right there. It is busy.


BLACKWELL: At some point in the day. So be careful out there, Polo.

SANDOVAL: You got it.

PAUL: Yes. You and crew. Thank you. BLACKWELL: We've got new detail in the case of these four suspects

accused of torturing a special needs teen in Chicago -- I should say a teen with special needs who lives there in Chicago, including a scolding from a judge. We have that for you next.


PAUL: We have new details for you on the torture of that man who's disabled. This was something that happened in Chicago and was live streamed on Facebook. The four suspects being held without bail right now. And the judge told them she didn't see a, quote, "sense of decency" in them. All four have been charged with aggravated kidnapping because they allegedly asked the victim's mother for a $300 ransom.

CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney, Joey Jackson, has been looking into this.

And, Joey, first of all, based on everything we've seen thus far, does this constitute a hate crime, because of the mental capacity of the alleged victim here, and because of some of the racial epithets that were -- that were thrown at him?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Good morning, Christi. A horrific story, indeed. I really think it does. Now obviously in a court of law, they're entitled to due process. And they'll have that. They appeared before the court, denied, as you mentioned, bail. And the process now begins. But in terms of the proof that the prosecutor has to proffer before a jury if it gets that far, they'll base that proof on again one of two things. Either race, and here we see a video where they are saying derogatory things with respect to the president- elect, with respect to white people.

[06:50:07] And then of course, we know that the victim has that mental disability or impairment of some sort. And so on two grounds, according to Illinois law, you can proceed on a hate crime. And really what will be proven or the prosecution's burden will be is did they engage in this behavior, that is, the defendants in this case, the four of them acting collectively and jointly, did they engage in it, as we see them there, Christi, when was is it based upon anything related to race and anything related to that impairment?

And so it appears again they're entitled to due process but certainly from that Facebook video it appear to be that that's the case and it will be up to a jury to make that determination ultimately.

PAUL: Joey, do you anticipate that the three younger suspects here, 18-year-olds, will attempt to incriminate the oldest by asserting that they were perhaps being led or ordered by her?

JACKSON: You know, Christi, in any case, where there are multiple defendants what you oftentimes see is you see a pointing of the fingers. OK. Now I didn't do it, they did it. He didn't do it, she did it. And so I do expect in many cases where there's that finger- pointing. As it relates to age, though, remember that 18, yes, it's young, but

you're considered an adult under the law. And so I think where the age will factor in, it will factor in, in terms of what we call mitigation. It doesn't excuse anything. But I think when you're younger, the defense attorney will argue -- because the proof here, it's very significant. The defense attorney will argue in terms of the sentencing, and we should also point out, the aggravating kidnapping charge is, you know, when you pointed out based on the ransom, you know, asking the mom, it carries up to 30 years in jail.

It's very significant. And so I think what you'll see is an argument from the defense that the focus for the 18-year-old should be on rehabilitation. There's some redeeming quality about them so they shouldn't be put in jail forever. So if they're convicted, I think that's the argument you'll see. But again the fact that they're 18 does not excuse under the law, even though -- excuse me, one is 24, any criminality at all.

PAUL: Joey, I think one of the things that's so jolting about this is that they had the boldness, the audacity to put it up on Facebook live. How does that element play into this case? Because it does still seem like this is new territory.

JACKSON: Yes, it really does, as we see a burgeoning, Christi, of technology and its uses. Some uses very good. Other uses quite deplorable as we see here. But I think it factors in in a couple of ways. First of all, it shows an intention. It shows that they knew exactly what they were doing, broadcasting it, laughing about it, glamorizing it, and taking joy and celebrating what they were doing, of course. So that number one is the case.

And secondly, Christi, it's very significant in terms of proof. You know, if a picture is worth a thousand words, we could imagine what a video was worth. And so, in the event that, again it goes that far, there could be plea discussions, negotiations, et cetera, between the district attorney and their defense lawyers, but if it goes that far think about it for one second, Christi. You're on that jury. You see that videotape, what does it do to you? What does it do to your emotions, or feelings, your thoughts about who can possibly do some things?

Where are the humanity of it? So I think it plays in very significantly as far as the compellingness of the evidence that show you know what they knew exactly what they were doing and what they were doing, it's really inhumane.

PAUL: Which makes you wonder if the defense will even allow it get to trial. Maybe there will be some pleading out here.

Joey Jackson, we appreciate it so much. Thank you.

JACKSON: Thank you, Christi.

BLACKWELL: Up next on your NEW DAY, college football, Alabama takes on Clemson for the championship. Coy Wire has a preview of the big game coming up on Monday -- Coy. COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Victor, I played in some big NFL

games against divisions. Tampa Bay Bucs at Raymond James Stadium behind me. But no game anywhere close to as big as the national title game is going to go down on Monday. Teams arrive yesterday. We'll show you that and talk a little bit more about the game after the break.


[06:57:06] BLACKWELL: Alabama and Clemson have touched down in Tampa. You see what I did there? Touched down in Tampa?

PAUL: Mm-hmm.


PAUL: Yes.

BLACKWELL: Ahead of Monday's National Championship game.

PAUL: All right. Coy Wire, he is so excited he's already in the stadium. Of course he is. For this morning "Bleacher Report."

WIRE: Yes.

PAUL: I know that he's not even cold today.

WIRE: Good morning, guys.

PAUL: About a million of us are.


PAUL: Hi, Coy.

WIRE: Nice warm breezy air right now. Good morning, Victor, Christi. I'm so excited I've been here since Thursday actually. But I remember arriving for big college games like the Rose Bowl, and you think about getting off that plane. And long season. It all comes down to one final game. All eyes are going to be on you, Alabama, Clemson, they both arrived here in Tampa yesterday. And they're ready for a rematch.

The Crimson Tide roared into Tampa with their nation's best 26-game win streak. Alabama had coach Nick Saban going for his sixth national championship. That would tie him with the legendary coach Bear Bryant if he's able to pull it off.

Now Clemson arrived with revenge on the tide on their mind. They barely lost to 'Bama in the national title game last year 45-40 but they fought their way back to this rematch. Coach Davos Sweeney has turned Clemson into a perennial powerhouse. They were the only FBS team other than 'Bama to win the last -- at least 10 games in each of the last six seasons so Clemson and "Bama going toe-to-toe for the national title Monday night. I cannot wait. The Florida Panthers honored the victims of the Fort Lauderdale

Airport shooting by holding a moment of silence before last night's game with Nashville. The team actually talked about postponing this game due to the tragic event but the organization felt it was important to move on, to play on. Several players like defenseman Michael Madison wrote the airport code FLL on his skate. Madison said he was sitting in his apartment just five minutes away from that airport when he heard the news. He wanted to do something to recognize those affected.

Let's turn to the NBA. One of the worst meltdowns you'll ever see. Last night, Golden State cruising up by 24 in the third quarter against Memphis. But someone poked those sleeping bears. They came fighting back. The Grizzlies' Mike Conley drilled a game-time jumper with seven seconds in regulation. That sent it into overtime.

And listen to this, Memphis never had a lead in this game until overtime. But they led when that final buzzer sounded. That's all that mattered. Grizzlies shocked the Warriors 128 to 119. They're 2- 0 against the Warriors this season.

And today -- there's something else going on today, what is it? Oh, yes, NFL playoffs, baby. They get underway with a pair of wildcard games. Raiders and Texans get things started at 4:35 Eastern. Then the Lions up in Seattle against the Seahawks, kicking off at 8:15.

Christi, the holidays are over but it's still the most wonderful time of the year. Three days of football. Finishing offer with the national title game. I love this time of year, Christi.

PAUL: Into glory. We love to see you. Coy, thank you.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Coy.

PAUL: Oh my goodness, there's so much to talk to you about this morning.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Next hour of your NEW DAY starts right now.