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WORLD RIGHT NOW WITH HALA GORANI

U.S. Intel Chiefs Brief House Lawmakers On Russia; Trump Blasted Dossier As "Fake News"; Kremlin: We Don't Know Man Behind Report; Trump Nominees Diverge From President-elect During Hearings; Trump Supporter Weighs In On A Wild Week; U.S. Deploys 4,000 Troops To Poland; Trump Signals He May Reshape U.S. Role In NATO; Trump Denies Russia Deals But Praises Putin; U.S. Army Cyber Cadets Train at West Point; Obama Ends "Wet Foot, Dry Foot" Cuban Policy; CNN Reporter's Most Memorable Interview. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired January 13, 2017 - 15:00:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(HEADLINES)

HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Hala Gorani at CNN London. Thanks for being with us on this Friday the 13th. This is

THE WORLD RIGHT NOW.

Public hearings, closed-door briefings, explosive allegations, and new investigations, it's been an extraordinary week in Washington, as the clock

ticks down to Donald Trump's inauguration. And controversies involving Russia are taking center stage once again. Here's the very latest.

U.S. intel chiefs briefed House members today on hacking investigations involving Russia, as well as the unsubstantiated dossier on Trump's ties to

Russia. Intel officials once again distanced themselves from the actual dossier.

But Trump is continuing to suggest that intelligence agents leaked it, even putting intelligence in quotes in a tweet. He says his own team, not the

intelligence agencies, but his own team will have a full report on hacking within 90 days.

Multiple sources now tell CNN that FBI Director James Comey himself briefed Trump on a two-page synopsis of the dossier last week. We're covering this

story, both from Washington and Moscow this evening.

Phil Mattingly is on Capitol Hill and Fred Pleitgen is on Moscow. All right, let's first talk about Phil Mattingly. Donald Trump promising that

his own team will look into Russian hacking and have some sort of result for us within 90 days. What kind of team -- do we have any more details

about this?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is going to surprise you, Hala, but there aren't a lot of details so far coming from the president-

elect. Here's kind of the sense that we have right now. That's that the president-elect wants his people to look into this and do some type of

informal review and then put out some type of informal report.

What we've gotten from them is this isn't going to be some official task force. We're not going to see a lot of big names out of it. But what he

did do yesterday is announce that Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor, obviously a close confidant of the president-elect throughout the campaign

is going to be one of his top advisers outside the White House on cyber- security.

Those are the individuals who will be looking into kind of the broader allegations, but the idea that this is going to be an in-depth report that

breaks new ground, I think you're going to be waiting a long time, if you think that's what's going to be coming out of this.

GORANI: But it's unusual, Phil, that a president-elect, soon-to-be president would compile, put together his own intelligence team, so to

speak, outside of the agencies, right? Because that's what he's promising?

MATTINGLY: Yes, what he's saying he's planning to do. And again, there's some skepticism, I guess, would probably be the best word, about how in-

depth this process is actually going to be, is essentially what the intelligence community did on the orders of President Obama.

But it really kind of underscores the divide you were just talking about, between the president-elect and the intelligence community, even though

they briefed him one on one, even though the chiefs have briefed him, even though they've tried to trade statements back and forth, saying things are

OK, he continues to attack them.

And I think when you talk to lawmakers up here on Capitol Hill, there's a lot of concern about the dynamic, but most importantly, Hala, when you

watched his nominees go through cabinet hearings over the course of the last three or four days, every single one of them defended the intelligence

community, something their soon-to-be boss has not been doing.

GORANI: And stand by, Phil. I want to go to Fred Pleitgen in Moscow. It seems like a daily affair now, the kremlin reacting to what's happening in

the United States.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is a daily affair, Hala. And it certainly is also a thing where the kremlin, by

the day, says, they're sick of reacting to this report. That certainly was the gist of what we got earlier today on a conference call with the

spokesman for Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Pescov, who as you said, is in the news pretty much every day.

And today one of the things that he was talking about was the identity of this MI6 agent, who apparently compiled some of this report, alleging that

the Russians had been collecting compromising details on Donald Trump.

But he was asked whether the Russians knew about this former MI6 agent. Here's what he said. This is Dmitry Pescov, and I quote, "No, he is not

known in the kremlin and we have already said everything about this report. We said you can hardly call this a report.

We said you can hardly call this a report. We are done discussing this fake report. We won't discuss this anymore." Then he actually went on to

discuss it a little more.

[15:05:12]He said, "Lots of fake reports are being published and this is not first one and it's quite low quality." So the kremlin continuing to

stick with their lines. They obviously had nothing to do with this thing. They are not collecting compromise facts or anything else on Donald Trump

nor did they do this with Hillary Clinton, either, Hala.

GORANI: Let's talk a little bit also about the news emerging today that a top Trump aide adviser, Mark Flynn, held some -- or had some sort of

contact with the Russian envoy, and we're talking thereafter the renewal of sanctions against Russia. Michael Flynn, I should say, what can you tell

us about that?

PLEITGEN: Yes, it was apparently right around the time that there was a renewal of sanctions against Russia, and also right around the time or only

a day before Russian diplomats were expelled from the United States, in light of that DNC hacking probe that was going on.

This was Michael Flynn, who apparently sent a text message to the Russian ambassador in Washington, wishing him a Merry Christmas. The Russian

ambassador then apparently sent him a text back, wishing him the same thing.

And then on December 28th, which was only one day before those Russian diplomats got those orders to leave within 72 hours, the two apparently set

up a call to discuss what they say is supposed to be a phone call between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, once Donald Trump is in office.

So certainly, a lot of news around that. The Russians, for their part, have not actually commented on that yet, but that's certainly something

that is raising a lot of eyebrows and has actually also been a lot in the Russian media as well -- Hala.

GORANI: All right. Thanks very much, Fred Pleitgen is in Moscow. Phil Mattingly on Capitol Hill, thanks very much for both of you for joining us.

Let's get some perspective now from a woman who's a supporter of Donald Trump who's traveling to Washington for the inauguration. Jan Halper-Hayes

is the former worldwide vice president of Republicans Overseas. Thanks for being with us.

JAN HALPER-HAYES, FORMER WORLDWIDE VICE PRESIDENT, REPUBLICAN OVERSEAS: A pleasure to be here.

GORANI: So you're going to be taking part in the inauguration. Are you a member of the transition team at this stage?

HAYES: I'm preparing a strategy document for them, yes, but the transition team, people are confused by it. If you think of it as a merger or a

takeover situation, so the Obama administration has their transition team, because they need to communicate policies.

They have to transfer the information, if Hillary had won, it would be like a very simple, friendly merger, but given that it is a different

administration and different political, it's more like a takeover situation.

GORANI: Right. So you're preparing a document to facilitate the transition from the Obama White House to the Trump White House?

HAYES: No. We have to -- the transition team has to appoint 4,000 political appointees. There are different people who are handling

different things. I'm working on a strategy document to deal with the -- basically, the personnel issues.

GORANI: OK, got it. Let me ask you a little bit about what's happened this week. It's been a crazy week. I'm sure you watched the news

conference on Wednesday. I'm sure you've watched many of the confirmation hearings as well from some of the cabinet picks of President-elect Trump.

They keep contradicting their president-elect on major issues, on torture, on terrorism, on registries of minorities. What's going on? There's a lot

of daylight, isn't there?

HAYES: Well, you know --

GORANI: Between his picks and himself?

HAYES: But it's interesting that you used the word "contradiction." Because it's fascinating to me that when Mike Pence did not agree with

Trump on something and someone confronted him, he said, he has the right to his opinion. Rex Tillerson does not agree with him wholeheartedly. That

is why he put together such a varied group so there is that discussion and there are those different viewpoints so that they end up --

GORANI: But these aren't nuances. These are diametrically opposed in some cases. I mean, on torture, Donald Trump during the campaign, said he

thought waterboarding wasn't such a bad thing. On terrorism, he said we should take out the family members of terrorists. On registries, he

famously he proposed banning Muslims. None of his cabinet picks have agreed with him on any of those things.

HAYES: All right, and then how about if we look at it from a little different framing, which is, after he had the conversation with the person

he wants to put in defense, he came out and he said, I listened to him and actually, I have learned that waterboarding doesn't really work.

Now, I would much rather have someone who listens to the advisers who have experience and are willing to say, guess what, I've changed my mind on it

because I've been educated even more.

GORANI: And so you believe he might change his mind if advised by some of his cabinet secretaries to change course or change his opinion on certain

things?

HAYES: I think that he is very much a person who is willing to respect experts who have experience in things and that's why he's put those people

in.

GORANI: So you saw that news conference on Wednesday.

HAYES: I did.

[15:10:03]GORANI: What did you make of it? What did you make of, first of all, his attacks on the press? I mean, calling a news organization a pile

of garbage. The BBC, "Oh, that beauty." Refusing to take questions from a CNN reporter. As a Trump supporter, on any level, if he continues to act

this way when in the White House, would you reconsider your support?

HAYES: No, I would never reconsider my support, but I also -- I don't look at it the same way as you because you're accusing him of being hostile.

But if you look at whether it's the Democrats or even the establishment media, there is still such a drive to de-legitimatize him as a person and

the fact that he won this election. And you know, they never stop doing it, but guess what? They don't win! They don't win! You know, he just

keeps --

GORANI: So none of it is a cause for concern? Because, I mean, in even his tweet storm at 5:00 in the morning, overnight, still talking about

Hillary Clinton. Still talking about fake news, I mean, is any of it, do you think, in your opinion, something that a president-elect should at some

point, just stop doing? Stop tweeting? On these micro issues, as well.

HAYES: You know what, what I'm perplexed by is why the media keeps focusing on the micro issues, on how he should be as opposed to what he's

actually talking about. The media will say, oh, we don't understand his policies.

Guess what, he starts the press conference off talking about three changes he's going to make, what they're going to do, and then everyone wants to

get on Russia and attack him and find a way to take the rug out from him and it's their fault that they don't understand the policies.

GORANI: You gave a radio interview to the BBC last August. You yourself said, Donald is out of control right now. You also said, an element of him

is truly psychologically unbalanced. Those are your words.

HAYES: They are my words.

GORANI: What made you change your mind?

HAYES: No, I didn't -- I didn't change my mind. First off, let's back up. I wrote a two-part article for Breitbart in June that I thought that he had

the right temperament. I was very bothered by the media not separating temperament and personality.

I had said, in that interview, I was really concerned that at that point, it was after the convention, he should have been rejoicing in having

knocked 16 people out and really turning it upside down.

But instead, there must have been something going on behind the scenes that we didn't know about so that it was causing an element of him to behave

psychologically unbalanced.

GORANI: All right. So you're saying, an element of him -- you said you were very concerned about his behavior. So at some point, all of these

concerns, I guess, fizzled or evaporated or became less of a concern, because now you're part of the transition and you're going to the

inauguration.

HAYES: They didn't fizzle or whatever you said. What happened was, I continued to watch his behavior. On August 17th, he changed his

leadership. He brought truth tellers in. I had been in touch with some of his staff and they were truth tempers. They were sycophants enamored with

him.

Two days after he put Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon in, he came out and for the first time in his life, he apologized, because it was the first

time any of the people around him said, guess what, you are saying things that offend people.

He came out and said, I really have said some things that I regret, because it seems that I've offended people. He didn't get that feedback. And if

you don't give that feedback to a leader, they think that how they're behaving is perfectly fine if they get the silence or they don't get

challenged.

And then I have watched him continually take on more and more professional behavior, be clearer and clearer about things. And, you know, what, he

won, and I knew he was going to win.

GORANI: Right, well, I don't think anyone's disputing the fact that he won. But in that news conference, for instance, you may have heard some

cheering and some jeering. That news conference was filled with some of his staffers there.

And that is, I think, something that is quite unprecedented. Where in a news conference, you have staffers clapping in favor of what the president-

elect is saying and jeering reporters. Is that something that we're going to see, do you think, in a Trump White House?

HAYES: I think what we have to do is forget anything of expectations, how anyone has behaved in the past. We have learned that conventional wisdom

or expected behavior is not happening and will not happen, and for once, pay attention to him and perhaps accept him for how he is going to run

things, rather than picking on all of these nuances and talking about the more substantive things.

GORANI: All right. Well, it's going to be an interesting next few years. Jan Halper-Hayes, thanks very much for joining us. We appreciate you

coming into the studio. The former vice president of Republicans Overseas and also member of the Trump transition team. Thanks for being with us.

[15:15:01]A lot more to come this evening, so stay tuned. A sign of the times, the U.S. sends 4,000 troops into Europe, one of the biggest

deployments since the cold war. We'll see how Russia is reacting. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: The Pentagon says it's sending a clear message to Moscow, as American troops, tanks, and military vehicles rolled into Poland this week.

It is meant to reassure NATO allies in the region following Russia east actions in Ukraine. But as CNN's Jonathan Mann reports, the kremlin has a

different view of it all.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Welcome to Poland. U.S. soldiers side by side with Polish troops in a ceremony Thursday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No challenge is too large to overcome, no distance is too far to cross when the need arises.

MANN: These are just the first of approximately 4,000 U.S. forces to arrive. Troops and tanks that began streaming into Poland this week, in

one of the largest deployments of American military forces in Europe since the cold war. U.S. soldiers will also be deployed on a rotational basis to

Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary. All NATO states near or bordering Russia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our unit is here to enhance ties with our NATO allies and partners.

MANN: Russian officials have angrily branded the mission an aggressive western buildup and a security threat.

MARIA ZAKHAROVA, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESWOMAN (through translator): One can say that this is not just a deadlocked path, but a path that

provokes confrontation between our countries.

MANN: U.S. officials say the troop rotation has been in the works since last summer, aimed reassuring U.S. allies in the region, after Russia's

2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This deployment is defensive in nature. It isn't intended entirely to shore up our defenses along the

eastern flank. It is motivated at least in part by some of the destabilizing and even escalatory actions that the Russian military has

taken over the last year or so.

MANN: Now a military move meant to calm allies has ratcheted up tensions among old cold war foes. Jonathan Mann, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: Let's get more on this now. I'm joined by Cedric Leighton, a CNN military analyst and a former member of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.

And from Orlando, Florida, I'm joined by Mark Hertling, a CNN military analyst and a former Army commanding general for Europe in the Seventh

Army. Thanks to both of you for being with us.

First of all, to you, Mark Hertling. You've had experience in Poland. Obviously, many of these countries in Europe worried after Crimea of what

lies ahead for them. What should we read into this deployment?

[15:20:12]MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, this is a deployment that's been in the works, Hala, and I have to smile about this, for at

least 12 years. The rotational forces going to Europe was part of a plan associated with U.S. Army drawing down Europe, which started in the early

'90s and then went to full bore in 2002.

So, you're talking about the history. There was 300,000 soldiers in Europe during the cold war. It drew down to about 100,000, and then in 2002, an

order was given to draw it down to 24,000, to include getting rid of all of the armored brigades.

As part of the plan, the Russians were told, we will rotate a brigade to the eastern part to train with our allies, as far back in 2002. How do I

know that? Because I was there.

And I talked to some of the Russian generals about exactly what they were doing. They were very happy to get rid of the heavy armored brigades back

in 2002 through '04 and '06. They are now not very happy that we are rotating a brigade based on their aggression in Ukraine and other states in

Europe.

GORANI: So Cedric Leighton, this shouldn't be a surprise to the Russians, then?

CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Not at all, Hala. And General Hertling is exactly right. There are so many aspects of this that have

been planned before, and there were some that were planned right after the Berlin wall fell.

I was stationed in Berlin when that happened. And there are so many parts of this that are really part of the NATO overall strategy. So, nope, no

surprise for Russia, and they should actually have really been expecting it and preparing their people for it, as well.

GORANI: And Mark Hertling, should those countries, I mean, especially Baltic nations, as well as Poland, those worried after what happened in

Crimea and in the Ukraine, should there be concern, do you think, on their part, that Russia might make more moves in that part of the world?

HERTLING: There should be, Hala, because it's been happening. I was in Ukraine recently. They were very concerned, not on the in the Baltic

nations, but again in Ukraine, as the spring comes. What Russia will do next?

Poland is another country, the Czech Republic, Romania, are all very concerned about the expansionist views of Russia. And what's happened is,

as you see the reports coming in from the citizens of the countries where these army and some officer forces will be deploying, they're ecstatic

about having just a small number of U.S. forces there.

Because it shows them we are still part of NATO, first of all, and secondly, we are willing to stand up to an enemy that they see, not us, but

what they see.

GORANI: Well, you say we are still part of the NATO, meaning the United States, I'm going to remind our viewers, and I'm sure you two distinguished

gentleman remember this very well, that Donald Trump, our president-elect or what the president-elect of the United States said in May of 2016 about

NATO. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT-ELECT: NATO is obsolete. It was 67 years or over 60 years old. Many countries, doesn't cover terrorism, OK? It covers

the Soviet Union, which is no longer in existence. And NATO has to either be rejiggered, rechanged -- you know, changed, for the better. The other

thing bad about NATO, we're paying too much. We're spending a tremendous - - billions and billions of dollars on NATO.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: So Cedric Leighton, based on comments lake this during the campaign, what might change with NATO and the U.S.' relationship with NATO

under a Trump presidency, do you think?

LEIGHTON: Well, it's hard to say, because, of course, campaign statements can be a little bit different, but based on that campaign statement, I

would say that the NATO nations are going to be expected, under the Trump administration, probably, to pay more in their -- as far as their

contributions to NATO are concerned.

So they're looking at least 2 percent to 2.5 percent of their GDP to be paid as part of their annual contribution to the alliance. That is

basically what the Trump administration says they're looking for at the moment.

And of course, what's interesting about that, to me, is that other administrations have asked for similar things in the past, with mixed or

little success.

GORANI: All right. And Mark, one of the, one of the arguments that the president-elect makes is that NATO is not designed to combat what is the

biggest threat to humanity today, or western civilization, and that is, Islamic terrorism. What do you make of those types of statements?

HERTLING: Well, first of all, his statements, Mr. Trump's statements during the campaign were uninformed and irrational. And I think it's been

countered by General Mattis, when he testified before Congress, yesterday, saying, when he said, quite appropriately, if NATO wasn't in existence now,

we would have to create it because it is a superb alliance.

[15:25:02]And what I would also talk about, too, Hala, this is much more than about paying percentages of GDP. I have fought next to, in combat,

against radical extremism, NATO forces. The polls, where the ceremony will take place tomorrow have continually put a large number of forces in both

Iraq and Afghanistan, during the wars against terrorism in those countries.

We have been fighting together, side by side, with most of the elements in NATO, and part of the force that was in Afghanistan, was about 80 percent

NATO forces. It wasn't a coalition of the entire world. It was primarily NATO. So, NATO has transformed over the last 20 years, and so I would,

again, say Mr. Trump was uninformed and irrational in some of the statements he made during the campaign.

GORANI: And Cedric Leighton, do you think any of what Mr. Trump has said during the campaign is a fair criticism of NATO?

LEIGHTON: I think it's only on the economic side of it. I mean, I remember when former Secretary of Defense Gates made a comment that all of

the NATO nations should be paying their fair share. But General Hertling is absolutely right.

These NATO forces that we have today, have fought with us, have bled with us, and have done things that other alliance members have not done, and

they are definitely a modern force.

They have overcome some of their bureaucratic issues that they have had in the past, and they've done a major job to modernize not only the alliance,

but also their war-fighting capabilities.

And that's really what makes the difference. So Mr. Trump's comments will have to be revised in order to conform with reality.

GORANI: Cedric Leighton, Mark Hertling, thank you both, Gentleman, for joining us on the program this evening. We appreciate it.

HERTLING: A pleasure, Hala.

GORANI: Thank you.

Ahead on the program, no deals in Russia, but not for lack of trying. CNN is digging into Mr. Trump's claim that he has no money ties to Moscow.

And there's just one week until Donald Trump's inauguration and his relationship with Vladimir Putin is under more scrutiny than ever. I'll be

speaking to Gary Kasparov, a vocal Putin critic, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: U.S. intelligence chiefs briefed House lawmakers today on Russia hacking allegations, as well as the unsubstantiated dossier on Donald

Trump's ties to Russia. Trump is continuing to suggest that intelligence agents leaked the report, despite their denials. He said his own team will

have a full report on hacking within 90 days.

The United States has made one of its largest military deployments into Europe since the cold war. Four thousand American troops, tanks, and

military vehicles rolled into Poland this week. Moscow has denounced it as a threat to Russian security.

[15:30:08] Princess Margaret's former husband, photographer Lord Snowdon, has died. Buckingham palace says Lord Snowdon, born Anthony Armstrong-

Jones, died Friday at the age of 86 peacefully. The late Princess Margaret was the younger sister of Queen Elizabeth.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump says he has no financial ties to Russia. Without his tax returns, though, it's difficult to confirm that statement.

But CNN's Brian Todd is working on it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump's not backing away from his apparent admiration for Vladimir Putin and his hopes for a good

relationship with the Russian President.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability.

TODD (voice-over): But the President-elect is determined to avoid the appearance that he might have business conflicts in Russia.

TRUMP: I have no deals. I have no loans, and I have no dealings. We could make deals in Russia very easily, if we wanted to. I just don't want

to because I think that would be a conflict.

TODD (voice-over): There's no way to verify Trump's claim because he hasn't released his tax returns. CNN and other news outlets have looked

into Trump's history with Russia and found that he's made no significant real estate deals there, but it wasn't for lack of trying. Trump's

attempts to build hotels and other buildings in Russia go back at least 30 years.

MICHAEL KRANISH, CO-AUTHOR, "TRUMP REVEALED": He tried very hard several times to do deals in Moscow. He said, we'll be in Moscow. It's inevitable

we'll be there. But in the end, he wasn't able to do the real estate deals.

TODD (voice-over): An attempt to build a Trump Tower in Moscow fell through before it started. What's gotten in the way of Trump's attempts to

make some real estate deals in Russia and elsewhere?

KRANISH: Donald Trump tries to make deals around the world. And often times, in recent years, it's been an effort to have someone else bear the

risk and then pay Donald Trump to put his name on a building.

TODD (voice-over): But Trump has made money from Russians. He sold this mansion in Palm Beach to a Russian billionaire for $95 million. And there

was one deal in Moscow that did go through.

TRUMP: Russia is our partner in this endeavor.

TODD (voice-over): In 2013, he made millions when he partnered with a Russian billionaire to hold the Miss Universe pageant in the shadow of the

Kremlin. At the time, Trump tweeted, "Do you think Putin will be going to the Miss Universe pageant in November in Moscow? If so, will he become my

new best friend?"

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, AUTHOR, "THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUMP": Trump did want to meet with Putin during the Miss Universe pageant. The connection was never

made, but I think there was an exchange of gifts.

TODD (voice-over): Which one biographer says included a lacquered box from Putin. Trump has since given conflicting accounts of whether he's ever

actually met Vladimir Putin in person.

MICHAEL SAVAGE, RADIO HOST: Have you met Vladimir Putin?

TRUMP: Yes.

SAVAGE: You have?

TRUMP: One time. Yes, a long time ago.

TODD (voice-over): A year later, a different story.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm asking. I'm asking if you said that.

TRUMP: I never met Putin.

TODD (voice-over): Either way, one Trump biographer says he's had a deep fascination with Russia and its leaders.

D'ANTONIO: There's something in him that really admires strong men, tough guys, who seem to be able to get things done without much encumbrance.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: As for the possibility of any future Trump deals in Russia, looking ahead, Donald Trump's lawyer promises that no new foreign deals will be

made by Trump's company during his time in the White House. And she says that any profits from foreign government payments to his hotels like this

one will be donated to the U.S. Treasury.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

GORANI: My next guest is an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin. Garry Kasparov is Chairman of the Human Rights Foundation, a former World Chess

champion, and author of the book, "Winter is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must be Stopped." And he joins me from New

York.

Thanks, Garry Kasparov, for being with us. First of all, you've been tweeting a lot --

GARRY KASPAROV, CHAIRMAN, HUMAN RIGHTS FOUNDATION: Thanks for inviting me.

GORANI: Yes. You've been tweeting a lot about Donald Trump, about your thoughts, the things that Donald Trump has said about Vladimir Putin. What

did you make of the news conference on Wednesday?

KASPAROV: This was nothing new, this news conference. Trump, as usual, doubled down by attacking people who tried to dig deeper on his potential

ties with Russia and also to find explanation why Trump who criticized everybody, every person who ever, you know, stood in his way, every

organization, he had nothing but praise for Vladimir Putin. We can look at the many facts, you know, on this --

GORANI: Yes. You even said it reminded you of a Soviet press conference. I mean, you went very far.

KASPAROV: Oh, absolutely.

GORANI: Yes.

KASPAROV: More flags than answers, yes. Now, the problem is that, you know, if we look at many facts and some of them have been just, you know,

recently mentioned in this program, is, taken separately, you can say, oh, it just, you know, speculation. They're not, you know, substantiated. But

when you start bringing them together, they look to me as, you know, having cumulative effect.

You also have, you know, later the story of Michael Flynn, his chance to be a national security adviser, making calls to Russian embassy on December

29th. Again, suspicion rises because, at that day, Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats, you know, intelligence officers who were blamed for

working against U.S. interests.

[15:35:16] So, again, we have so many questions, you know, and we have some of the facts that are just, you know, hard to deny. For instance, you

know, Trump had financial ties with Russians. We don't know who are these Russians. But even his son said, I think, in 2009, that there was a

disproportionate amount of Russian money that helped to save Trump from filing for bankruptcy.

GORANI: Well, it's not something that we've been able to confirm, but what we do know are the things he's said about Vladimir Putin. He's said that

he's smart not to have retaliated in a diplomatic tit for tat. He's never said anything necessarily negative about him. I mean, what do you make of

that apparent sort of friendly approach coming from Donald Trump to Vladimir Putin? And what do you think Vladimir Putin thinks about Donald

Trump?

KASPAROV: Look, you know, you may think that, you know, the Trump's admiration for Putin, you know, was based on Trump's affection for a strong

man. Let's not forget in 1989, he praised Chinese communist leaders for Tiananmen massacre. That's one story. But maybe there's something else,

something more sinister. We don't know.

But what I know in reading Russian press, Russian media, and also following Russia today, which is the Kremlin's foreign propaganda orb, they are

praising Trump all over the place. Trump is the best hope of Russia to these sanctions. One of the Putin's top ministers just, today, said that

these sanctions will be lifted because, you know, expect Trump to do it.

Russia today repeated the propaganda line saying, what about Mr. Tillerson, Trump's nominee for Secretary of State is saying, adhering to the senate?

It's just, you know, to get nominated. The moment he's nominated, he will change his behavior.

GORANI: So they're suggesting that Rex Tillerson is basically lying under oath? That's when he says that Crimea --

KASPAROV: That's not what I'm saying. I'm --

GORANI: -- should be met with a more --no, no, "they." I mean, I'm just saying those --

KASPAROV: Yes, absolutely, absolutely!

GORANI: Yes.

KASPAROV: It's just, you know, we don't know whether it's true. Maybe they're just -- you know, they're trying to --

GORANI: But that's the issue.

KASPAROV: -- overplay their hand.

GORANI: We don't know what's --

KASPAROV: But, again, it's not the fact. It's an --

GORANI: That is the issue, that a lot of things are being said, very few things are confirmed or that we're able to confirm right now.

But one of the things that Donald Trump says, one of the things that his supporters say a lot is, what's the problem with trying to have a better

relationship with Russia? Barack Obama was a weak leader -- this is coming from Trump supporters. He allowed Russia to take Crimea, didn't react. He

allowed Russia to intervene in Syria, didn't react. Why not have a better relationship with Russia, so at least there's some leverage there?

How do you respond to that?

KASPAROV: Well, OK, having good relations with any country in the world is probably, you know, desirable, but at what price? You know, what will be

at the table, if the rumors about grand bargain are true?

So if you want to have good relations with Russia, Mr. Trump administration wants to have good relations with Russia, at the expense of NATO,

traditional American allies, that's another story. And it looks to me, this is a price Mr. Trump is willing to pay. And that's a totally

different story because America benefits from the spread of democracy. America benefits from traditional alliances.

And again, we heard in your program a few minutes ago about European nations, eastern European nations, fighting side to side with Americans in

Iraq and Afghanistan. And all we saw from Putin lately -- and of course, we can blame Obama administration for very tepid response to Putin's

aggression -- it's annexation of Crimea, it's fomenting war in eastern Ukraine, it's war crimes committed by Putin's client, Bashar al Assad in

Syria, support for Iran, support for global crisis. And Putin is the prime beneficiary of this chaos.

GORANI: But this has all happened under the watch of President Obama. Donald Trump is not President yet. Right now, it's just tweets and

statements.

KASPAROV: Look --

GORANI: Do you point the finger of blame in some ways at President Obama? For not having, maybe, confronted the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin.

KASPAROV: Absolutely. No, I think Obama's foreign policy was a disaster. But the problem is, it seems from what Mr. Trump has been tweeting and also

from the choice of people he's trying to bring in like Michael Flynn or Rex Tillerson, that Trump is going to reward Putin for all he did.

At least at the end of his presidency, Obama acted against Putin's aggression and tried to change the balance, to tip the scales. While

Trump, you know, is suggesting that, you know, he can, if not to eliminate NATO, but to change it and to place straight into Putin's hands because we

don't hear Trump, you know, addressing the issues that are so important for American traditional allies.

GORANI: But his Cabinet picks in confirmation hearings have said some harsher things against Russia. I mean, Rex Tillerson, you mentioned him.

He talked about Crimea, that the response was weak.

[15:40:04] We heard also from the nominee for CIA Director saying, essentially, they believe that Russia was behind the hacking. Even Donald

Trump himself in that news conference said, yes, probably, it was Russia behind the hacking. So when you hear all those things, do you think that

maybe they're going in a different direction or not?

KASPAROV: Again, we don't know. I think Trump doesn't know. And by the way, I guess Putin doesn't know because, you're absolutely right, we're

hearing these conflicting messages.

We heard very strong words from General Mattis. We heard very strong words from to-be CIA Director Pompeo. So we could be all confused. And I don't

know what Trump is going to do because when he says, oh, in 90 days, my team will come up with a full report on Russian hacking, I mean, what team?

You know, he can replace a few people but at the end of the day, it's the same U.S. intelligence.

And the fact is that Trump keeps attacking U.S. intel community by taking the word from WikiLeaks or KGB, again, it's not reassuring.

GORANI: Do you ever have concerns for yourself, for being so outspoken, so anti-Putin? I mean, you talk about it. You have a book out. Is there

some level of concern for your own safety sometimes?

KASPAROV: Look, I live in New York for a reason. So I had to leave Moscow almost four years ago facing imminent arrest, you know? And now, I live in

a country that, you know, is a democracy. But with Donald Trump taking over, you know, everybody here, you know, people like me or others, you

know, they are concerned, you know, what will happen with the freedom of speech here since we keep, you know, hearing almost open threats from Trump

and some of his hardcore supporters about the First Amendment.

GORANI: Thank you very much for joining us. Garry Kasparov, former World Chess champion, of course, and author of the book, "Winter is Coming: Why

Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped." Thank you so much for joining us from New York. We appreciate it.

KASPAROV: Thank you very much for inviting me.

GORANI: Trump has tapped former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani for help with cyber security. A transition team statement says Trump wants to learn

from private sector executives who've creatively overcome cyber challenges. Giuliani says he'll find those people and get them to the President.

Whatever cyber strategy Trump creates, he will rely on a new branch of the U.S. Army to execute it. Clare Sebastian met some of the cyber cadets.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MAJ. NATALIE VANATTA, INSTRUCTOR, UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY: So if we talk about cryptography, it's been around for about 4,000 years.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's not even 9:00 a.m. and these cadets are already being drilled in applied algebra with cryptology, the

study of codes. It's just one of the disciplines in the West Point Military Academy cyber curriculum.

VANATTA: That's what we call a brute force attack. When we look at doing crypt analysis on ciphers, is we just try every possible key in the key

space.

SEBASTIAN: Some of these young and women will join the Army's less than 3- year-old cyber branch when they graduate.

VANATTA: When A is not invertible, that's what I want.

SEBASTIAN: Their teacher, Major Natalie Vanatta, is a cyber officer herself currently on teaching assignment.

VANATTA: We explore the mathematical ideas and foundations that make encryption systems work today.

If I use a bunch of them and interweave them, that's really important because it really helps these cadets develop their critical and creative

thinking skills when it comes to, well, what do we do next?

SEBASTIAN: Steeped in tradition dating back centuries, West Point is now at the forefront of developing the Army's newest and most technologically

advanced career field, combatting the growing threat in cyberspace.

COL. ANDREW HALL, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY: We need to have soldiers that are able to incorporate the fighting in the

domain of cyber into everything that we do in the Army. It's well beyond just the setting up of the networks or the intelligence that's being

collected over networks, to actually learn how to maneuver in cyber space and to be a war-fighting element.

SEBASTIAN: Colonel Andrew Hall leads the Army's Cyber Institute at West Point, which not only runs the education program here but also operates as

an Army think tank on cyber warfare issues.

I suppose the danger is that you are teaching something that may be evolving faster than you can teach it.

HALL: And we're trying to teach them and educate them, so they can solve problems we're not sure yet what they're going to have to solve.

SEBASTIAN: For cadets like 22-year-old Diana Contreras, one of 15 cyber officers to be commissioned at West Point this year, it's a big

responsibility.

DIANA CONTRERAS, CYBER CADET: It's something that is so vital for our country as a whole. We can't function, we can't really survive as a nation

without having backup cyber support, offense, defense.

SEBASTIAN: What does it mean, the insignia?

CONTRERAS: So the two lightning bolts represent the lightning god who would send communications from above, and the sword represents readiness in

combat. So communications and readiness in combat.

SEBASTIAN: Old principles for a new and unpredictable kind of warfare.

[15:45:03] Claire Sebastian, CNN, West Point, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: This news just coming in. A prominent Democratic U.S. Congressman is saying publicly that he considered Donald Trump's presidency

illegitimate. John Lewis is a representative from the state of Georgia. He's also one of the leaders of the civil rights movement in the '60s. And

he explained this to NBC.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: I don't see it as President-elect as a legitimate president.

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS HOST: You do not consider him a legitimate president?

LEWIS: No.

TODD: Why is that?

LEWIS: I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. I don't plan to

attend the inauguration. It would be the first one that I'll miss since I've been in the Congress.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: John Lewis, a representative from the state of Georgia, saying some remarkable things there, considering the presidency of Donald Trump to

be illegitimate, saying he will not attend the inauguration. So there you have it. That's one of the latest developments from Washington.

A quick break. When we come back, with a week left in office, President Obama makes one last historic decision on Cuba. Details, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: A Hungarian camerawoman who was filmed tripping up refugees has just been sentenced to three years' probation. Petra Laszlo made

international headlines, you'll remember, when she did this. This footage surfaced. There. It shows her tripping a Syrian man holding his child as

they fled from police near the border between Hungary and Serbia.

It sparked outrage and shortly after, she was fired by her employer, a local television stage. In court Thursday, Laszlo was given a suspended

sentence though, no jail time. On this same day, Hungary announced new measures to crack down on migrants. Prime Minister Victor Orban, no fan of

the refugee influx. Also swore in a new team of border hunters to patrol the country's frontier.

With one week left in office, Barack Obama is making one last historic decision. He's just announced an end to a decades-old policy giving Cubans

safe haven in the United States. It's a policy called "wet foot, dry foot," and it allows Cubans who manage to reach American soil to stay their

legally. Obama's decision was praised by Havana but drew some opposition from Republican lawmakers.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann joins me live from Havana, Cuba with more on this.

And some of these interesting cases of people who've tried to make it to U.S. soil in order to stay there legally, Patrick.

[15:50:02] PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. It really is the end of an era for Cubans, Hala. For two decades now, anyone who made

it to a U.S. coastline, made it to a land border, like the border between the United States and Mexico, if they were Cuban, they got to cut the

immigration line and essentially automatically stay. So that was a privilege, a right that Cubans had that no other nationality had. And now

that ends.

Of course, in Cuba, where officials here for years had criticized this policy saying it drained the country of the youth of Cuba and some of the

most educated people like doctors and engineers, they're celebrating the change. But for many Cubans that I had spoken to that had tried to go to

the United States and dreamed of going to the U.S. for many years now, it is the end of a dream.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OPPMANN (voice-over): The 24 Cubans who arrived by makeshift boat to a lighthouse nearly seven miles from the coast of Florida in 2016 thought

they had made it. Cubans who reached the U.S. got to stay under a law known as "wet foot, dry foot." After the U.S. and Cuba restored diplomatic

relations in 2015, a surge of Cubans fearing a change in the law left the island.

"We thought we were on land. If they say it belongs to the United States, it must be part of the United States," says Leone Conception (ph), one of

the Cubans to reach the lighthouse. But instead of bringing them to the U.S., the Coast Guard took the Cubans to a cutter where they waited and

waited for 42 days. The issue was whether the lighthouse was really dry land.

Aboard the cutter, the four Cubans we talked to said they slept on the ship's deck. The U.S. just out of reach on the horizon.

"For asking for water, they handcuffed my arms and a foot behind me for a whole day," he says.

WALTER MARRERO, CUBAN (through translator): That is inhumane. I don't think those people were humane.

OPPMANN: Growing increasingly desperate, the Cubans asked the Coast Guard for scores from recent football matches, but what they really wanted was

paper to write about their alleged mistreatment. Then they put the paper in a water bottle with an inflated plastic glove tied to the top, so their

message in a bottle would float. The message, they said, was their last chance to let the world know about their plight.

"We waited for the boat to get close to the coast, and we threw it," he says.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was our last resort.

OPPMANN: "We are in hell," the letter reads. "Please, whoever finds this letter, make this paper arrive to a lawyer of a case or someone who can

help us, please."

A fisherman in Florida found the lighthouse Cuban's message in a bottle and did just that. The Coast Guard said in a statement, the migrants were well

treated but promised to investigate their allegations of abuse.

The U.S. federal court judge hearing their case ruled the lighthouse Cubans did not reach dry land since even at low tide, the lighthouse stands in the

water. But 20 of the migrants were sent to the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo, Cuba while their case continues to be investigated.

The remaining four Cubans told us they were overwhelmed by the ordeal and chose to return here to Porto Padre, their hometown in Cuba. But one of

the men, Walter Marrero, says he doesn't plan on staying long in Cuba.

"If the opportunity comes up, I would probably do it again," he says.

MARRERO (through translator): Every other way of leaving here is too difficult.

OPPMANN: Contacted by CNN, members of the lighthouse Cubans said they would still try to reach the U.S., no matter the law, they said. They do

not see a future in Cuba.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

OPPMANN: And the new policy goes into effect immediately, the Obama administration said. And that is to keep a further spike in Cubans trying

to leave the island. Already, we are hearing reports of Cuban who arrived in the U.S. just a few hours after the new policy took effect and, Hala,

they were told they could not stay.

GORANI: Patrick Oppmann, thanks very much. He is live in Havana.

A quick break. We'll be right back. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:55:25] GORANI: CNN is kicking off a new series called "MY HERO." And up first is my colleague, Max Foster, who reflects on a touching and

emotional he did with a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There was an extraordinary interview that I did earlier in the year, which absolutely sticks in my mind and everyone's

mind who was there, I think. And that was with someone called Eva Kore. Now, she was at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

You were only saved because you were a twin, right? That's the only reason you're here today?

EVA MOZES KOR, AUSCHWITZ SURVIVOR: That's correct, because they noticed that Miriam and I looked alike.

FOSTER: There's this remarkable point in her story where she, 50 years later, goes back to Auschwitz, which must have been very hard in itself, as

she's standing next to a Nazi doctor, and she asks him to document everything that he knew about the gas chamber. So this, for the first

time, was firsthand evidence of what happened in there, and she used it against the holocaust deniers. But then she wanted to thank him for that

because that was a very big thing for him to do.

KOR: Hereby give amnesty --

FOSTER: And she decided to write him a letter and it took her four years to write, but it was this forgiveness letter.

KOR: I ultimately came up with a gift of forgiving him. That was my gift to him, but it became a gift to me, too.

We are free!

I was finally free from what happened in Auschwitz emotionally. I was in charge of my own feelings.

FOSTER: The fact that she was so willing to open up and talk about something so horrific is one thing, but then to do it for a reason, which

isn't just to tell her story, is absolutely not a selfish process. And it can't be easier for her doing what she's doing, but she's doing it to give

something back to the world.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: A remarkable story. This has been THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. Thanks for watching. I'm Hala Gorani. I'll see you same time, same place on

Monday. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END