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Putin Says "Invulnerable" Nuclear Missile Ready to Deploy; Top Eight Crime and Misconduct Stories of 2018; Dow Bounces Back from 600- Point Plunge; "Love Gilda" Premieres New Year's Day at 9PM Eastern. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired December 27, 2018 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] RYAN NOBLES, CNN HOST: Who would it benefit to jump out and get ahead of the field and say, yes, I running as soon as possible?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The key to that is if you are one of the campaigns which are winning the last three Iowa caucuses, if don't have a lot of money, earned media is your best way to get your message out. And if you announce early, as Ted Cruz did, he had a huge great event at Liberty University. But announcing early you get the opportunity, media will come to you. You get the opportunity to appear on different local television shows and the interviews with newspapers and certainly some national attention.

So where you don't have potentially the money to go out and buy ads and get your message out there, the advantage of making an announcement early is you kind of mark your territory and you also get some media attention, which provided it's good and provided there are not a lot of issues in your background, it's good to get some media earned media. But as I've said, slow and steady wins the race and staying out of the direct spotlight in my view is much more advantageous.

NOBLES: All right. We've got a long way to go, but 2020 is creeping ever close by the day. Simone Sanders and Alice Stewart, terrific insight, we appreciate you being here.

Next, Russia's Vladimir Putin calls it a new year's gift for his country, touting a new hypersonic missile that he says is invulnerable to U.S. defenses. Is this a legitimate threat or is Putin just flexing his muscles? We'll talk about it next.


NOBLES: Russian President Vladimir Putin calls it a wonderful, excellent gift to his country for the new year. The Kremlin celebrating the latest addition to its military arsenal, launching a test run of its new hypersonic missile the day after Christmas. Putin called the weapon, quote, invincible and invulnerable. But Putin is also known to boast about military capabilities which aren't always rooted in reality. So, let's talk about this. I want to bring in a former Pentagon spokesman and CNN military and diplomatic analyst, the retired Rear Admiral John Kirby. Admiral, I know you know a lot about this, walk us through Putin's claims about this missile and just how realistic they are.

JOHN KIRBY, CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: Let's take a look at it, Ryan. It's called the avant-garde missile system. And it's called a system because what we're really talking about here is a hypersonic glider that you put on top of an ICBM to launch it into space and then get it closer to your target. It flies about 20 times the speed of sound. Some estimates have it up at mock 27, incredibly fast, can carry a nuclear warhead. And the real scary thing about this is that as it closes in on its target, it can independently zig and zag to avoid missile defenses. Now the Pentagon, for their part, they are still working on hypersonic systems of our own but it doesn't look like we are going to have a hypersonic system in development or at least in the field for at least two to four years from now. So the Russia are ahead of us on this.

The other problem with this missile system is that our radar systems -- according to the acting Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan -- are not strong enough, not capable enough of detecting it far enough away because of the speed. So this is a real worry and it's got the Pentagon planners I'm sure working very, very hard.

There's another system, an underwater system that the Russians are working on and that Putin has been bragging about. It's called the Poseidon. It is a nuclear powered -- that's right -- it's a torpedo with a nuclear reactor in it that can also carry nuclear warheads. It is very long-range, up to about 6,000 miles. It can travel at depths of up to 3,000 feet and is very fast. The estimates are between 55 and 100 knots, 55 or 100 miles an hour underwater. The idea for this weapon is to go after large ships like aircraft carriers or shore installations.

And again, this is not a system for which we have adequate defenses right now, very worrisome. This is in testing right now, not in the fleet, not as far along as the avant-garde.

Now look, the Russians have also been doing a lot of military buildup, increasing their capabilities throughout the whole year. Back in March they tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile called the Satan 2, which can carry up to 26 independently targeted warhead, reentry vehicles if you will, 10 of them of a large size.

In September, back in the fall, they did war games with China. Now these war games in the East have typically been done to deter China. They've been about sort of making sure China knew not to mess with Russia. This year they worked with China to send a message to the West and to the United States in particular.

Back in October, of course, they now using satellite imaging we've been able to tell they've been upgrading military installations in Kaliningrad on the Baltic sea. Right on the doorstep of NATO. And then in November they tested a satellite system called the "Nesting Doll". Now what's really interesting about this is not so much the actual satellites, but the little satellite that comes out that it puts into space outside of it.

Now the Russians will tell you this is about being able to work on satellites. That this little guy is meant to go fix and repair other satellites that they have in orbit. But the Pentagon is worried that what it could be is actually a targeting mechanism to go after Western satellites either with lasers or even maybe even to crash into them.

So, the Russians have been very busy this year. This is going to be certainly on the plate of Pentagon planners and the new Secretary of Defense, whoever that ends up being, well into 2019.

NOBLES: Admiral, you have to wonder if the words arms race are going to be started to be mentioned by many people involved with this.

[15:40:00] As you see this buildup not just from the Russians but on the U.S. side as well. Admiral Kirby, thank you for walking us through that. We appreciate it.

KIRBY: Happy to do it. Thanks.

NOBLES: And as we head to the close of trading, we are keeping a close eye on the stock markets. At one point today the Dow was down 600 points. They are now back up in the green. Investors finally finding their nerve again. Just over 40 points with just a little bit of trading left to go. We'll see how it all ends up. Stay here.


NOBLES: 2018 was filled with its share of violence and criminal conduct, multiple massacres, rampant sex abuse allegations, plus politically hinged pipe bombs.

[15:45:04] CNN's Jean Casarez counts down the top eight crime and misconduct stories of 2018.


JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Decades-old murders, Hollywood crimes of sex abuse and gun violence. All are part of the top eight crime and misconduct stories of 2018.

(voice-over): Number eight, a decades-old suspected serial murderer finally caught.

Captured. Finally authorities earlier today arrested a California man they believe is the notorious Golden State killer.

Investigators say James Joseph DeAngelo, a former police officer, killed 13 people and raped more than 50 women between the years 1975 and 1986, all across the state of California. Police finally caught up with him in April after they matched DNA evidence through a public genealogy database. DeAngelo, now 73 years old is in jail awaiting his trial.

Number seven. A pregnant mother murdered at the hands of her husband after pleading for his missing family to come back,

CHRISTOPHER WATTS, MURDERED PREGNANT WIFE: Somebody has her just please bring her back. CASAREZ: 33-year-old Christopher Watts pleaded guilty in the killings of his pregnant wife, Shanann and his two young daughters, Bella, four years of age and Celeste, just three.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: The victims' family agreed to a plea bargain trading the death penalty for multiple life sentences without parole.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to live with this vision every day of your life and I hope you see that every time you close your eyes at night.

Number six, pipe bombs caused chaos just before the midterm elections.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN NEWSROOM ANCHOR: The packages have been described as quote, potential explosive devices.

CASAREZ: While anchors Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto were discussing pipe bombs --

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN NEWSROOM ANCHOR: That they had projectiles --

CASAREZ: That were sent to the homes of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and others around the country --

HARLOW: We're going to jump in. There's a fire alarm here.

SCIUTTO: A fire alarm here, you might have heard in the background. We're going to find out what the latest is here.

HARLOW: We'll be right back.

CASAREZ: They were evacuated from CNN's New York headquarters after security discovered a pipe bomb in the building. Sixteen pipe bombs in all, allegedly sent by this man, Cesar Sayoc, a Trump supporter. Sayoc was arrested in South Florida living in his white van which was covered with images of Donald Trump and targets on prominent liberals. Sayoc, who has pleaded not guilty, faces up to 48 years in prison.

Number five, disgraced media mogul Harvey Weinstein charged. He was considered Hollywood royalty, but in the wake of the me-too movement, dozens of women came forward accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's so much power and money and prestige in Hollywood in handcuffs right there.

CASAREZ: Weinstein was charged with six counts of criminal sexual acts including two counts of rape.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has vehemently denied any of the allegations.

CASAREZ: In October, one charge was dropped because of inconsistencies with an accuser's story. Five charges remain.

Number four. Predator priest back in the spotlight. JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR, THE LEAD: We have breaking news. An

explosive report alleging a coverup of catholic Priest sex abuses dating back decades.

CASAREZ: The report issued by a grand jury in Pennsylvania found evidence that more than 300 predator priests have been accused of sexually abusing more than 1,000 child victims.

(on camera): Here's just one example, a priest sexually assaulted a little girl as he was visiting her in the hospital after she had her tonsils out.

(voice-over): Days later Pope Francis responded saying, we showed no care for the little ones. We abandoned them.

Number three, more sexual abuse of our youth, this time at the trusted hands of an athletic doctor for some of the nation's greatest gymnasts, Dr. Larry Nassar.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Larry Nassar is a monster. I will never forgive what you've done to me.

CASAREZ: More than 150 victims spoke out at a sentencing hearing after he pleaded guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You do realize now that this group of women you so heartlessly abused over such a long period of time are now a force and you are nothing.

CASAREZ: His sentence -- 40 to 175 years in prison.

[15:50:00] He will serve that after he completes a 60-year sentence on federal child pornography charges.

Number two, America's dad convicted.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALES: Guilty, guilty, guilty.

CASAREZ: After a lifetime creating laughter, Bill Cosby's downfall shocked the nation. The actor and comedian found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault after prosecutors successfully argued that Crosby drugged and sexually assaulted Andrea Constand in 2004.

(on camera): Accusers of Bill Cosby, those who say they are victims of Bill Cosby, they were in the courtroom, and they let out audible cries at that moment.

(voice-over): His previous trial ended in a hung jury in 2017, but his second trial came after the me-too movement took off. Armed with a new defense team, Crosby this time faced testimony from five women.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can say that although justice was delayed, it was not denied.

CASAREZ (on camera): Cosby's PR team called the guilty verdict racist. He is appealing the conviction from prison.

And the number one crime story of 2018, mass shootings. Four of the deadliest single-day mass shootings in the past 70 years took place in 2018. From a high school in Santa Fe, Texas.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Ten people are dead after a gunman opens fire.

CASAREZ (voice-over): To a popular college bar in Thousand Oaks, California.

TAPPER: 12 dead in yet another mass shooting.

CASAREZ: To a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 11 people were killed, and 6 were wounded.

CASAREZ: And to a high school in Parkland, Florida.

SCIUTTO: 17 people are now confirmed dead.

CASAREZ: The deadliest shooting of the year rests at the hands of a former student. Nikolas Cruz walked into his school on Valentine's Day and killed his classmates. Gun deaths in the U.S. have reached their highest level in 40 years.


CASAREZ: But amid those statistics, a spark has ignited, turning young people into gun control activists. Will the numbers rise? Or will this most recent activism bring about change in 2019?



NOBLES: Now how's this for a wild ride. Traders trading their anti- acid for champagne bottles right now. Down 600 points at one point. Here is where the Dow is right now, up over 150 points, approaching the 160 mark. Just yesterday stocks rose more than 1,000 points for the best single-point gain ever.

Gilda Radner was a comedy superstar whose reach extended far beyond the world of entertainment. Her iconic "Saturday Night Live" characters made us laugh, and her thought-provoking writing broke boundaries for women. Now, the new CNN original film "Love, Gilda," uses special access to Gilda's diaries, letters and home videos to tell her story. Brooke Baldwin has a preview.


GILDA RADNER, COMIC, ACTOR: Live from New York, it's Saturday night.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR, NEWROOM (voice-over): Legendary comic Gilda Radner broke down traditional gender roles when she entered our living rooms in 1975. RADNER: Hello, Paula, baby.

This is Barbara Wawa speaking to you live.

BALDWIN: Radner was the first cast member hired on NBC's iconic "Saturday Night Live."

LORNE MICHAELS, CREATOR SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE: She was incredibly comfortable on the stage.

She was fearless. Nothing was too feminine or too masculine for her to do.

RADNER: I found that my comfort in live television was laughter, that I can do almost anything if people are laughing.

BALDWIN: Radner would rotate through a cast of characters, alongside male comics, geniuses in their own right.

RADNER: Boom, va-va-vroom.

BALDWIN: Every Saturday she with a would break down traditional norms for women at that time.

CHEVY CHASE, COMIC: That was terrific. How was it for you?


CHASE: What is it just OK, or was it really OK?

RADNER: Well, it was really just OK.

RADNER: Dear Roseanne, Roseanna Dana.

MICHAELS: Gilda said, OK fine to name her Roseanne Roseanna Dana. We made her into an entity, into a character and it just grew.

RADNER: I only named those people for television, but they have always been inside me.


BALDWIN: In 1978, Radner won an Emmy for her ground-breaking work on "SNL."

RADNER: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Radner starred in the 1982 film "Hanky-Panky" where she fell in love and married actor Gene Wilder.

RADNER: There was a time when I thought that all I wanted to do was work, and now I know that what I really want to do is live.

BALDWIN: Unfortunately, Radner's plans to live, laugh and love were cut short when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1985. ROBIN ZWEIBEL, CLOSE FRIEND OF GILDA RADNER: She didn't want any

sympathy. She didn't want anybody to feel like, you know, that -- that -- to treat her like she was sick.

BALDWIN: Gilda Radner lost her battle to cancer on May 20, 1989. She was 43 years old.


NOBLES: "Love, Gilda" premiers New Year's Day at 9:00 p.m. Eastern only on CNN. "THE LEAD" with Dana Bash starts right now.