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Trump Starts Christmas Vacation After Major Tax Win; House Staffer Question Trump's Longtime Assistant; Nearly 30 Million Under Winter Weather Alerts. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired December 23, 2017 - 07:00   ET



[07:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His aides prevailed on him not to have one.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I could have started with infrastructure. I actually wanted to save the easy one for the one down the road.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he wants Democratic votes, then I want to see his taxes. I want to make sure that whatever we're doing is not designed to basically line his pockets and the pockets of all his friends.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump's long-time secretary, Rhona Graff, is the latest member of his inner circle to face questions from lawmakers in the Russia investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The FBI has thwarted a plot that targeted San Francisco around the holidays.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The life of ISIS is going to live beyond the demise of ISIS in Syria and Iraq.


RENE MARSH, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm Rene Marsh in for Christie Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good Saturday to you.

MARSH: Well, this morning, President Trump starts his Christmas vacation and he's celebrating his first major legislative win.

BLACKWELL: You know, the president headed out to his Florida resort after he signed the tax bill into law. Cheers, what he called the largest tax cuts in history. They aren't -- the fifth largest since the late 60's. But despite his excitement, aides told the president to avoid the traditional presidential year-end news conference out of fears that there would be a lot of questions about Russia that could overshadow the high of the tax bill.

MARSH: And, of course, those concerns come as investigators interview the president's long-time personal assistant as part of the Russia probe. And Democrats warn Republican leaders against shutting down the investigation.

BLACKWELL: Well, more on that in just a moment, but let's start first with CNN's Dan Merica, he's near the president's resort there in Florida. Dan, good morning to you. No doubt that the tax bill -- a big win for the president as he wraps up 2017.

DAN MERICA, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: It really is a huge win, and the president is not somebody who likes muted celebrations. He's kind of a larger than life figure even before he was president so it was surprising when he signed this bill in the oval office with a few reporters and aides there, talked to reporters for about 20 minutes, it seemed, but didn't really, you know, do that traditional full press conference. And as you said correctly, he wanted to do a press conference, he wanted to tout this as a win, but aides said no -- it's probably not a good idea, you're going to get a lot of questions about Russia and other issues. And they've prevailed -- that he did not do the end of the year press conference with so many questions before him. The president then flew down here to Florida where he is spending the holiday at Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Palm Beach. This is an area he's comfortable with. He's surrounded by people who know him very well, but as that year turns to 2018, the focus is going to turn on really selling this tax bill. Yesterday the president was asked about that, and he actually said the tax bill will sell itself. Take a listen to what he said.


TRUMP: I don't think I'm going to have to travel too much to sell it. I think it's selling itself. It's become very popular, but I think it'll really -- you'll see something on February 1st when they open up the paycheck.


MERICA: The Republicans are hopeful that, you know, paychecks and possibly more jobs will sell this tax bill, but what we've seen in polls is that it's an unpopular bill even though it passed -- 45 percent of Americans disapproved of it last month. That number is now up to 55 percent. This much according to a CNN poll. So, as much as Republicans and the president think the bill will sell itself, they will have to do some legwork to sell this bill, and that matters in 2018 because it's a midterm year, and if Republicans want to keep their majority in the House, taxes will be a big part of that. The president also intends to push infrastructure next year. He said it would be the easy one, an easy issue that he could have done. It's not really clear that Democrats will either work with the president or remain to be seen whether infrastructure will be really a main focus.

BLACKWELL: Our Dan Merica for us there in West Palm Beach. I got a little audio issue there. Hopefully, we'll figure that out. Dan, thank you so much.

MARSH: And here to discuss it all: Kelly Jane Torrance, Deputy Managing Editor at The Weekly Standard; and Siraj Hashmi, who's a Commentary Writer and Editor at The Washington Examiner. Thank you, both for joining us this morning.

I want to start with you first, Kelly Jane, a little bit about this no press conference, the year-ender. This is the first time in 15 years that a president has done this. What do you make of it? Is it a sign that perhaps the White House doesn't quite have their messaging pinned down for all the tough questions that they would've faced from reporters or are they just simply afraid that the president was going to go off the rails or perhaps a little bit of both?

KELLY JANE TORRANCE, DEPUTY MANAGING EDITOR AT THE WEEKLY STANDARD: I think a little bit of both, Rene, and haven't we seen that this entire year? Messaging is not this president's strong point. Wherever -- you know, whenever he does something that most people would see as a win, he seems to manage to go back and talk about the things that are negative. He starts complaining about Russia and the investigation, and, of course, that's one of the worst negatives against him. I'm not sure why he wants to keep reminding everybody about it, but it was a pretty surreal scene, and you could tell. I mean, I was watching it, you know, from the green room and you could see that you know, the camera people weren't sure what to do. They weren't sure, is the president going to take questions, is he not going to take questions. I thought, Jeff Zeleny of CNN wrote a great piece online that, sort of, described it and it seemed just surreal. He wanted to talk to reporters but his aides were trying to make sure he didn't. It was pretty bizarre.

[07:05:26] MARSH: Right. So, Siraj, to you -- I mean, even as he's on vacation, the president is on vacation here now, the Russia investigation continues to loom. We know that the House Intelligence Committee, they interviewed his long-time personal assistant, Rhona Graff. Talk a little bit about, you know, her and just what sort of information they may be actually to get from her?

SIRAJ HASHMI, COMMENTARY WRITER AND EDITOR AT THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Well, if you recall, the e-mail that was sent between Rob Goldstone, who's the film producer and he messaged basically Donald Trump Jr. about some very sensitive information that he wanted to give the Trump campaign during the 2016 election. That is something that they're pinning on because Rhona Graff was actually mentioned in that e-mail as possibly the vehicle in which they would, you know, transmit this information. So, Rhona who has been a long-time secretary of Donald Trump before he was president, this obviously could mean big implications. I don't think that this will be a really big deal in terms of what she knew, concerning the fact that we don't know if she actually got any information. But of course, the House Intelligence Committee figuring this whole thing out and getting those answers is very important.

MARSH: I want to talk a little bit more about this investigation. I mean, we certainly see a change in strategy or a very profound strategy from both the White House and Republicans and it is to discredit Mueller as well as this investigation. But the latest CNN poll shows and we have those numbers there that the majority of Americans approve of the Mueller investigation. So, here's my question: as Republicans in the White House continue to try to delegitimize the Mueller investigation, is this a losing strategy, Kelly Jane?

TORRANCE: It's an excellent question, Rene. And I'm sure, you know, Donald Trump is wondering what the problem is. I mean, Vladimir Putin told him they didn't meddle in the election. Luckily, Republicans in Congress are taking this a lot more seriously, and I -- you know, it's an interesting sort of play by play with the Republicans in the White House versus Republicans in Congress. Because the ones in Congress, they are concerned about is Russia trying to harm American democracy, and I think that you know, the --

MARSH: But even though that the Republicans are concerned about that, you do see this shift where it's very partisan and now the focus for a lot of Republicans on the Hill now is investigating FBI officials and investigating the institution as far as DOJ and the FBI. So, they too seem to be shifting.

TORRANCE: It is a huge shift because you remember when Mueller was appointed, you heard people on both sides, Democrats, and Republicans saying great choice, this is a great man, he's a serious honest professional, we can trust him. And there has certainly been a shift, and I find it interesting because Republicans often complain that tax on law enforcement and such undermine those institutions and I wonder how much damage are they doing right now to institutions like the FBI by implying that the place is full of unprofessional hacks who aren't doing their jobs. Now, you might have one or two people who made some bad judgments, of course, but the vast majority of people working in that institution are doing their job and they're doing it well.

MARSH: Siraj, what do you make of Republicans in the White House strategy here to really go on attack as it relates to the Mueller investigation and this FBI probe?

HASHMI: Well, some of the attacks have merit. I mean, Peter Strzok's conversation with another official in the DOJ and their romantic relationship using, possibly, the Mueller investigation or any investigation against President Trump.

MARSH: But he was fired. As Mueller -- as soon as those texts came out, he was fired.

HASHMI: Right. He was fired rightfully so. But I'm just saying that basically using the -- possibly, the investigation kind of check his presidency should he get out of control, that's the part that's concerning. It's not the fact that Peter Strzok has political leanings of his own. It's the fact that he's willing to use his political leanings and act on those leanings to check on the presidency.

MARSH: So, I want to talk a little bit about this whole idea of firing Mueller. You know, it keeps on coming up. You saw Senator Warner raising concerns about this, however, the White House has continually said that the president does not plan on doing this. So, why do we keep on hearing this?

TORRANCE: You would think that President Trump would have learned his lesson after firing James Comey. That's why you have Robert Mueller in there in the first place, and that's why you have an investigation that everyone in Washington is, you know, wondering what's happening every day and leaks are coming out all the time. I think the fact that you know -- President Trump's been asked: are you thinking of firing Mueller? He said no, but the fact we're still talking about this is because President Trump is always talking about firing people.

He's, you know, it's not just because of "The Apprentice". If he thinks that everyone in the executive branch works for him personally, and it's a dangerous view of the presidency. And I think that, you know, people are trying to do a good job of laying the groundwork to make sure that either he doesn't get fired or if he does, that people are ready to be up in arms and very concerned about it and do something about it.

[07:10:42] MARSH: That's right. Kelly-Jane, Siraj, stick around. We have a lot more coming up.

TORRANCE: Thanks, Rene.

BLACKWELL: Including our conversation about the midterms, there's one senior GOP congressman who says that it's going to feel like a hurricane for Republicans. That's coming from (INAUDIBLE 10:56). But after a huge victory on tax reform, why Republicans so nervous heading into the 2018 elections?

MARSH: Plus, the FBI has stopped a terror plot in San Francisco. We'll tell you what this former U.S. Marine was allegedly planning to do.

BLACKWELL: Plus, the winter is -- what's the line from "Game of Thrones"? Winter is here, winter is coming?

MARSH: Something like that.

BLACKWELL: Winter is coming, thank you.


BLACKWELL: I only watched the first season.

MARSH: I only watch CNN.



BLACKWELL: Heavy rain and snow may hamper thousands of holiday travelers. We'll talk about that in a moment.


BLACKWELL: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is calling for a course correction next year. He's signaling a new strategy in time for the midterm elections, of course. The strategy is Republicans working with Democrats. Watch.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: One thing I can say about this year, it was pretty partisan. It's not much you can do on a partisan basis in the Senate at 52-48 or a 51-49, which would be the number for us next year. I don't think most of our Democratic colleagues want to do nothing, and there are areas, I think, where we can get a partisan agreement.


BLACKWELL: All right. Our panel back with me now: Kelly Janes Torrance and Siraj Hashmi. Siraj, let me start with you and specifically on the effort going into 2018 midterms, legislatively. Republican Congressman Tom Cole, told The Hill, the Republicans are, and these are his words, "running with the wind if their face and it's not a normal breeze. It's a hurricane force wind." What does that mean legislatively? There's a lot of talk about partisanship. Are Democrats willing to give a win or cooperate with Republicans heading into midterms?

HASHMI: Well, if we saw anything from 2017, it's that Democrats are looking to obstruct President Trump's agenda and the GOP Congress as much as they possibly can. With this win on GOP tax reform, I think this is probably the momentum that the Republicans need moving forward on entitlement reform, on infrastructure. I mean, those small bills that they can actually get bipartisan support on, those will be the things that probably move the needle forward, and probably lessen the pressure on Republicans at this time.

BLACKWELL: Well, Kelly Jane, the suggestion that infrastructure might be easier is going to be challenged by Democrats, of course. And, you know, the president talked back, during his address in the joint session of Congress that it would be a trillion-dollar plan. Where is that money coming from?

TORRANCE: That's a great question, Victor. Now, normally, I would say infrastructure would be a great bipartisan issue, and Democrats would love to spend a trillion dollars on projects like that. But, you've got somebody in the White House who they consider toxic, and I don't think they're interested in giving him a win at all. And you can -- you know, you can argue about their strategy, but given the resistance to Trump throughout a lot of the country, and given what we've seen in the special elections since he was elected president, I think there's a lot of people who are coming out to vote against the president and the Democrats may not be willing to give him a win, and as you point out, a trillion dollars.

Now, we just had a tax bill passed that's going to cost over a trillion -- a trillion and a half. So, where is this money going to come from? And admittedly, this is not a question Democrats always ask, but maybe this time they are going to ask it and it's a great question as the debt and deficit continue to go up and who's going to be paying for that, of course? The young people. And the young people are a big part of the base of the Democratic Party right now.

BLACKWELL: Siraj, Kelly just mentioned the special election. Let's talk specifically about Alabama and the loss of Roy Moore there to Doug Jones who'll be turning the numbers 51-49 in January. Here is the swipe that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took yesterday during his end of the year news conference at Bannon and his -- as he called it "political genius".


MCCONNELL: The political genius on display, throwing a seat away in the reddest state of America, is hard to ignore.


BLACKWELL: So, let's remember though, that President Trump backed Mitch McConnell's chosen candidate Luther Strange in the primary and he lost by nearly ten points to Roy Moore, who went on, of course, to lose the general. But I imagine that this tax win, Siraj, has to help Mitch McConnell as he tries to keep the president backing his slate of candidates over those of Steve Bannon who's going to be challenging an entire slate of Republicans running for re-election in the Senate.

HASHMI: You know, Victor, I think the only thing that could've made that clip of Mitch McConnell sound better is if he threw on a pair of shades after. Because, and just basically had to deal with it --

BLACKWELL: And put out the mic.

HASHMI: -- had to deal right there, because right now Mitch Connell and Steve Bannon are the biggest foes right now within the Republican Party. And the more that Republican, and Establishment Republicans, can get the victory over Trump and Bannon-type candidates, the better their chances are in terms of holding the edge against that type of Democratic wave that we saw this year. Because with Bannon trying to back people like Roy Moore, you know, you saw the moral depravity of some of these individuals who are running for office, and right now, Trump and Bannon, they need some people who have some better character and better morals who can actually run for office and have a chance.

[07:20:35] BLACKWELL: And so, so Kelly, let me come to you about this meeting that happened at the White House this week. White House staff, including, or added to rather the staff that's typically there, Corey Lewandowski, a former campaign manager was in on this meeting, had a really intense back and forth with the political director there at the White House, Bill Stepien, in which he expressed disappoint in White House strategy. First of all, before we talk about, you know, what he said, how much influence does he still have over this administration as it relates to strategy?

TORRANCE: It's kind of mixed. I mean, he is dying to get a job in this administration. He wants to be in the White House. But he hasn't been able to do it so far and he's still trying, and I understand that Donald Trump has been talking him up a bit amongst the staff, you know, and they're talking about who Trump might bring in in 2018. So, he's certainly angling. He's certainly trying. And it was a big help to him, of course, when Donald Trump tweeted about his book -- that's got to help sales. So, you know, maybe he's made a little money from the book. Now, he's hoping to get to the White House and then have a more influential position.

BLACKWELL: Now, Kelly, let me stay with you with what he talked about, what he said that there was the RNC is not raising nearly enough money -- although it has about $40 million and breaking records with its fund-raising. They're not getting the president's message out through this political director. How broadly are those concerns shared throughout the party?

TORRANCE: They're not and it's really -- it's almost like they're -- the party is at war amongst itself when you think of the party as a whole and the president. Now, I understand that the Trump's team has interviewed over 100, possibly, candidates for the elections in the midterms that are pro-Trump, and they're, sort of, trying to figure out what they believe, what they -- if they're with the president's agenda. And I actually -- if I were in the Republican Party, I'd be a little bit concerned that the quality of candidates is really going to be going down because you see people who are -- who are very good conservatives like Bob Corker, at least until recently, Jeff Flake are leaving and they want to replace them with people who support the Trump agenda, which is not really an ideologically consistent thing and that's going to be hard to campaign on.

BLACKWELL: As we've seen so that the last several special elections. Siraj, let me wrap up with you here. There's a -- a senior White House official who says that there is some discrepancy between, you know, the White House and congressional campaign officials. Is that the only discrepancy we're seeing here or is the White House still divided about where they go?

HASHMI: I think right now the White House is looking for wins in any way they can get it, and if that comes through Congress, then so be it. But right now, they're trying to look for more pro-Trump candidates right now, and President Trump is going to have to distance himself from a few races at least in the House and Senate just because his brand brings such toxicity to the Republican brand. I mean, you're looking at Arizona where there's an open seat with Jeff Flake, and you're looking at Nevada where Dean Heller is up for reelection. Those two seats are viable for Republicans maintaining control of the Senate. And if Trump has anything to do with those races, it's possible that we can see a flip to the Democrats.

BLACKWELL: Siraj Hashmi, Kelly Jane Torrance, thank you both.

TORRANCE: Thank you.

HASHMI: Thank you.


MARSH: All right. Well, coming up, as many people are packed into airports for holiday travel, nearly 30 million people are under a winter weather alert. And potentially, dangerous travel conditions could hamper their travel plans. Details ahead.

[07:24:12] And it's the season for giving, but police say it's also the season for taking. Holiday packages right off of doorsteps. We'll tell you what police are doing to catch these thieves in the act. That's coming up.


MARSH: Welcome back. I'm Rene Marsh in for Christie Paul. Thanks so much for joining us this morning.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Happy Saturday to you.

MARSH: Well, the president is at his Mar-a-Lago resort this morning, celebrating after Christmas came early in the form of his first major legislative win -- tax reform.

BLACKWELL: Yes, but his end of the year high could be overshadowed by new developments in the looming Russia investigation. The president wanted to celebrate the win with an end of the year news conference. It's traditional for the president, but his aides told him not to. That comes of course after the House Intelligence Committee started questioning his long-time assistant over that infamous meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and several Russians.

MARSH: All of these making Republicans very nervous as they head into the 2018 midterm elections. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is reportedly concerned about losing both the House and the Senate to Democrats.

[07:29:50] BLACKWELL: We'll get back to Washington in a moment, but let's go out to California where the Thomas Fire is now the largest wildfire since the 1930s. It began on December 4th. The fire has burned an area larger than New York, Washington, San Francisco combined. About 65 percent contained, and almost 3000 firefighters we know are fighting these flames. You see some of the buildings that have been ruined. Although, weather conditions have improved over the past few days, no rain is expected to help put out that fire.

MARSH: And a headache for people who are trying to get to their destinations this holiday, the holiday weekend for millions of Americans, potentially dangerous. I want to bring in our CNN Meteorologist Allison Chinchar. Allison, what are they going to be facing out there?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: We've got some that are going to be dealing with potentially flooding rains and others that are going to have to contend with snow and even ice. Here's the look at the radar, here you can see the majority of it is heavy rain as of right now. We've got some snow on the backside but also look off to the north, this purple color that indicates that mixing. We're talking freezing rain and some ice and that's the last thing you want to have especially when you're driving on the roads.

Now, as this system continues to push off to the east throughout the day, it's going to impact cities like Cleveland, Pittsburgh, New York, even Boston. Those are going to be some of our main focused areas for today. But the question then becomes what does that mean in terms of your travel forecast? Because we are going to end up hitting a lot of these big cities as we talked about New York, Boston, Philadelphia stretching all the way South towards even Charlotte and Atlanta. Those are the big concern areas for today, not just for air travel but also for roads.

Tomorrow, it begins to shift, that first system begins to exit off the East Coast but now we have the next system and that's going to bring some travel problems to areas of the Midwest. We're talking Detroit, Chicago as well as Cincinnati. But the bigger picture becomes what happens when we get a little bit closer into the Christmas forecast?

When we take a look at the extended forecast, you'll start to notice that we have the chance for some much cooler temperatures, take New York for example. Look at this, going from 54 today down to only 39 for the high temperature on Christmas day. But it's not just the northeast, other regions of the country are also going to be feeling that cool blast of air, take for example Minneapolis. High today of only 21 degrees but Renee, Victor, take a look at the high Christmas day, a high of only 2 degrees in Minneapolis on Monday. The only bright thing is a lot of folks in the Midwest will end up having a white Christmas because of those cooler temperatures.

BLACKWELL: That's nice, that's a bright spot.


CHINCHAR: If you're going to have snow any day of the year, I feel like Christmas is the one that nobody's really going to complain about.


BLACKWELL: Yes, and let's get it out of here by like 11:30 that night. All right?

MARSH: So demanding.

BLACKWELL: Too much, I apologize, too much.

MARSH: -- Allison. Well, the holidays usually mean giving or getting gifts and these days with more people shopping online, the gifts are often left on people's doorsteps making them easy targets for thieves.

BLACKWELL: Yes, but police are working hard at now to try to stop that problem. CNN Digital Correspondent Dan Lieberman has details for us.

DAN LIEBERMAN, CNN DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT: Victor, Renee it's happening all over the country, package thieves are snatching away people's holiday gifts. So in the days leading up to Christmas, I spent time with one police department that using a clever tactic to try and stop the Grinch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As you can see, he's thinking about it -- thinking about and he walks right up to the front there and then goes ahead and --


LIEBERMAN: The male finger, double male a finger.

It's something that's happening all across the country, some of it caught on camera.

Are you seeing more packages being stolen this year?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely, I think it's becoming quite be epidemic.

LIEBERMAN: One survey found 23 million Americans that had a package stolen. In this holiday season, maybe the biggest heist yet with more than a billion packages being delivered as more people do their shopping online.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That one as well.

We're going to be running two teams, make sure everybody is vested up.


LIEBERMAN: This police unit is trying to catch package thieves in the act.

You had a flat screen T.V.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have what's made to look like a blue ray player over here.

LIEBERMAN: Someone trying to steal this, they'll be pretty disappointed when they open it up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. And --

LIEBERMAN: There's nothing in here.

As you see someone trying to steal this, you'll jump out and arrest them?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have two surveillance teams on packages that are placed at people's doorsteps. The chances of one of them being stolen is possible.

LIEBERMAN: Lieutenant Rayner, says it's all too easy for thieves to snatch up these packages.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a -- you know, a prime example of how easy it is to commit one of these thefts. The package is clearly visible from the road on high traveled street.

LIEBERMAN: So far, his department's recovered more than a hundred items this season that they hope to return to the rightful owners. So what do we have here? We got a blender --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got blenders, we have makeup, sneakers, you know, we have some, you know, some higher end items.

LIEBERMAN: Packages have already been returned but a lot of people are still missing their gifts.

[07:35:05] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all have families and we want to put smiles on our children's faces on a Christmas morning and just to find out that, you know, an individual stole a package is really, you know, it's heartbreaking.


LIEBERMAN: We talked to some of the big shippers out there and they say that if something is stolen, to contact them and the police and they'll try to make it right.

MARSH: All right, Dan Lieberman, reporting. Well, a former Marine is accused of planning to attack San Francisco during the holidays. We have the details on how the alleged plot was stopped.

BLACKWELL: Plus an investigation right now in Colorado after the explosion at an oil well site, one person was hurt. We'll tell you what happened here.


[07:40:21] BLACKWELL: Well, the FBI says they were able to stop a terror attack that was planned for San Francisco. Here's the story, a former U.S. Marine is accused of plotting this attack at Pier 39 during the holiday season.

MARSH: Well, Everritt Aaron Jameson is in apparently told an undercover FBI investigator that he wanted to show his support for ISIS. CNN's Justice Correspondent Jessica Schneider has the details.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: The FBI has (INAUDIBLE) a plot that targeted San Francisco around holidays. Authorities say, Everitt Aaron Jameson was plotting to stage an attack on Pier 39 in San Francisco sometime over this Christmas holiday.

And the FBI agent who were tracking him online saying he was modeling his planned attack on those over the past few years including San Bernardino and most recently in New York City. In fact, Jameson voiced his support for that truck attack in New York City on October 31st. That was when eight people were killed on a bike path and then the complaint says, Jameson recently became a tow truck driver in his hometown of Modesto, California, leading to concerns that he could attempt that exact same type of attack that was on New York City.

Now, the criminal complaint also details the letter that authorities found inside his home under a search warrant this week. The letter said things like you all brought this upon yourselves and you've allowed Donald J. Trump to give away Al-Quds to the Jews, that's a reference to Jerusalem. Also, he said, we have penetrated an infiltrated your disgusting country.

The top officials here in the U.S. have been warning as recently as last month about this danger of a possible uptick in ISIS-inspired attacks right here in the U.S, especially with the collapse of the Islamic State's caliphate. The FBI did a search of Jameson's home in Modesto, California, that just 90 miles from San Francisco and they found firearms, empty magazines, ammunition, and fireworks. Jameson is now on custody. Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.

MARSH: And California's Modesto Bee, says that Jameson's attorney has actually denied the allegations contained in that affidavit.

BLACKWELL: Well, one worker has been hurt this morning after an explosion, this was at an oil well site in Winsor, Colorado. The people in the area, let say that they felt and heard this loud boom. And you look at these pictures, you can imagine how they feel this. And the worker was taken to a local hospital, we don't know his condition just yet.

MARSH: All right, and it's still unclear at this hour, how many workers were on site at the time of the explosion. Authorities are investigating the cause of the blast, but they say preliminary information suggests that this was an industrial accident.

BLACKWELL: All right, wrapping up 2017, we'll take a look back at the major moments and there have been many since President Trump took office.


[07:47:37] MARSH: Well, it's been nearly one year since President Trump took office. And by any measure, it's been a whirlwind of events, on everything from the appointment of Justice Neil Gorsuch, to passing tax reform.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Dana Bash, takes a look back at some of his most memorable moments of 2017.

DANA BASH, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Let's be honest, the first year of the Trump presidency feels more like a decade because of the relentless stream of news. Here's a look at some of the key moments of President Trump's first year in office.

For candidate Trump, large campaign crowds were the norm. But at his inauguration, this was a sore subject. The new President grew angry watching reports his inaugural crowd size was smaller than President Obama's. One of his presidential act was to order his press secretary to do this.


SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration period.

BASH: That's something the President himself amplified while standing in front of a CIA memorial to fallen heroes. TRUMP: We had a massive field of people, you saw that. Hah, I looked out, the field was -- it looked like a million, million and a half people.

BASH: But the numbers didn't lie and the episode set an early Trump administration tone. Government regulation, it sure doesn't sound exciting so it's no surprise the Trump administration effort on this was not splashy 2017 news.

TRUMP: One, two, three.

BASH: But the President withdrew hundreds of regulations, a dull term with a real-world impact from the safety of the products you use to the air you breathe.

TRUMP: We have reduced unnecessary regulations to a point that this country hasn't seen in years.

BASH: It was a promise kept to Republicans who argue excess regulation hurts business and economic growth.

TRUMP: Raise your right hand.

BASH: The most blasting Trump 2017 accomplishment is arguably the nomination and confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

NEIL GORSUCH, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT: I will do all my powers permit to be a faithful servant of the constitution and laws on this great nation.

BASH: The seat was open for a year since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia and Senate Republican's refusal to consider President Obama's picked, Judge Merritt Garland.

[07:50:06] TRUMP: You will you go down as one of the truly great justices in the history of the United States Supreme Court.

GORSUCH: Judges can disagree without being disagreeable.

BASH: Getting Gorsuch was not were they not just for the Trump legacy but the process.

TRUMP: It is an extraordinary resume.

BASH: From announcement to confirmation, this success was the most conventional Trump undertaking of the year. After months of back and forth between Donald Trump and North Korea's dictator, words like "rocket man" and "fire" and "fury", the President took his insults to the world stage, his first speech at the United Nations.

TRUMP: If it is forced to defend itself for its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.

BASH: The rhetorical crossfire continued on Twitter and prove regime statements.

TRUMP: Rocketman is on a suicide mission for himself.

BASH: By year's end, the escalation reached new height. North Korea tested it's most powerful missile yet, with the capacity to reach the U.S. mainland. No discussion about Donald Trump's first year in the White House would be complete without talking about his favorite little birdie.

He sent more than 2,000 tweets in 2017 alone, from the mystery of covfefe to a series of really consequential post like unprecedented attacks on his own Party's leadership. And some head-scratching retweets.

This anti-Muslim video sent by Brits convicted of hate crimes caused a diplomatic rift with the British prime minister. Plus his claim that President Obama wiretapped Trump tower. Yet the one that may come back to haunt him the most, taunting fired FBI Director James Comey, better hope there are no tapes of our conversations.

The hands-down biggest 2017 Trump defeat, failure to repeal and replace Obamacare. John McCain's dramatic no vote sealed its fate but Republicans were split on how to fulfill their Obamacare repeal promise, one that helped them win control of government. That loss may President Trump and Hill Republicans quest for tax reform a political life or death mission, must pass legislation.

GORSUCH: Tax cuts and jobs act as amended is passed.

BASH: And it worked.

TRUMP: People are going to be very, very happy. They're going to get tremendous, tremendous tax cuts --

BASH: Whether most Americans especially working-class Trump voters well see that as a win to be determined. And finally, the most important Trump moment of 2017, firing FBI Director James Comey. Sacking Comey while he was investigating potential 2016 Trump-Russia collusion caused the political earthquake with aftershocks still rattling the President.

TRUMP: Let's see what happens.

BASH: Not the least of which, Comey's revelation that he kept detailed memos documenting meetings with the President, which Comey asked a friend to leak to the press.

JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter. I asked him too, because I thought that might prompt the appointment of special counsel.


BASH: That's exactly what happened and Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's Russia investigation which a cloud over the first year of the Trump presidency, which so far produced indictments of two former Trump campaign officials and the guilty plea of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI. What a year. What will 2018 bring? Buckle up.


[07:58:02] All right. So, Victor, I know you still have the more shopping to do, so, this next story's for you. If you're looking for that unique gift this holiday season, you may want to consider a very special bear.

BLACKWELL: Yes, he knows the best word, he's got like a world-class memory and the -- as an American flag he carries around, here's Jeanne Moos.

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Prepare to be blown away by this Christmas gift, just by the fact that it exists.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The wind whispered through the forest I come when the trumpet sounds. Introducing the original Trumpy Bear.

MOOS: Is this really a thing reading a typical comment?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just find the secrets zipper and pull out the flag blanket.

MOOS: This looks like a bad SNL skit with another --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone knows, Trumpy Bear loves to go to the golf course.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I ride with Trumpy Bear, it makes my golf came great again. Thank you, Trumpy Bear.

MOOS: Is this crap for real with a third?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Simply style his trademark hair.

MOOS: You bet you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Order now for only two payments of $19.95.

MOOS: I can personally vouch for Trumpy Bear, he exists, we have one. A company that specialize as in seen on T.V. ads is doing the marketing for the woman who created Trumpy Bear. Nothing partisan the VPE says, we'd like everyone to buy it, meaning, Trump lovers and haters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trumpy Bear is a proudly made in America. I'm kidding, it's made in China.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The most fearless bear anywhere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right, he will kick ladies to Pooh's ass.

MOOS: Instantly recognizable with its red tie and its combable hair, no wonder critiques are making small hands jokes, "I am disappointed with the size of its paws." One thing, Trumpy Bear cannot do is tweet, no fingers. Hey, if President Teddy Roosevelt can inspire Teddy bears, why can't President Trump inspired Trumpy Bears?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm proud to have Trumpy Bear ride by my side.

MOOS: Its maker is planning some design changes in the New Year but it will still come with --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A special certificate of authenticity.

MOOS: So that you know who can't say --

TRUMP: Why doesn't he show his present?