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President Donald Trump Said That In No Uncertain Terms That Democrats Are To Blame When Migrant Children Die On The Southern Border; Hotel In Portland Called Police And Evicted A Black Guest For Talking On A Phone Call In A Hotel Lobby; Departing Senators Warn Our Politics Are Broken; Putin: "Invulnerable" Nuclear Missile Ready to Deploy; Oscar-Winner Kevin Spacey Court Appearance January 7 on Sexual Assault. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired December 29, 2018 - 16:00   ET


[16:01:18] RYAN NOBLES, CNN ANCHOR: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ryan Nobles in today for Ana Cabrera.

President Trump so far out of sight this weekend. He is not at his resort in Florida. He is not taking part in New Year's celebrations, and he is certainly not visiting or hosting any federal employees, any of the roughly two million American men and women who work for the United States government, especially anyone attached to the nine cabinet departments that are shut down for more than a week now.

People working without pay were told to stay home because the President and congressional Democrats can't settle on a dollar amount to earmark for a wall on the Mexican border.

And now this. Quite out of the blue today, President Trump saying in no uncertain terms that Democrats are to blame when migrant children die on the southern border. Those words from the President today, through his twitter feed, he wrote, any deaths of children or others at the border are strictly the fault of Democrats and their pathetic immigration policies that allow people to make the long trek thinking they can enter our country illegally. They can't. If we had a wall, they wouldn't even try.

CNN's Sarah Westwood is live at the White House. CNN's Nick Valencia is on the U.S. southern border in Texas.

Sarah, let's start with you. This is pretty strong language even for this President, who occasionally leaves the world drum struck by the thing he tweets out. But blaming Democrats for the deaths of migrant kids, has he followed that up with anything, any context explaining what he means?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: It certainly is strong language, Ryan, and this appeared to be the first time that President Trump commented at all on the deaths of these two migrant children at the border. And he chose to politicize those tragedies, blaming his opponents for not supporting his immigration agenda. And since then, the President has continued tweeting about the partial government shutdown. He is alone here at the White House, and increasingly frustrated with

his inability to get funding for his border wall. He canceled plans to travel down to Mar-a-Lago, his Palm Beach estate, for the holidays amid the shutdown that he has continued to blame on Senate Democrats, particularly Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and likely next house speaker Nancy Pelosi.

But keep in mind that those congressional leaders have not been invited back to the White House for further negotiations. That's according to acting chief of staff/budget director Mick Mulvaney, who said that the White House is also at this point just waiting on a counteroffer from the Democrats.

Mulvaney suggested that the President is actually willing to back off his original demand for $5 billion in border wall funding. He didn't specify by how much, but CNN has reported that vice president Mike Pence went to Capitol Hill on Saturday with an offer of $2.5 billion for a border security package that included funding for the wall. Democrats had rejected that number.

The White House is increasingly pointing the finger at Pelosi for dragging on this shutdown, claiming that her upcoming speaker's race has limited her ability to negotiate with this administration, to strike a deal that could reopen the government. But, Ryan, there appears to be no end in sight for this shutdown as both sides remain entrenched and there doesn't appear to be any kind of deal that funds the wall or border security in the offing.

NOBLES: All right. Sarah Westwood at the White House.

Let's move now to El Paso, Texas, where Nick Valencia is standing by.

Nick, you are there near the U.S. Southern border. The secretary of homeland security is in that part of the country today. How is she reacting to the situation there and the fact that the government is shut down specifically over the lack of money for this wall?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's be clear. The partial government shutdown is affecting the security of the border here in the United States. The agency that's tasked with securing the border, customs and border protection, just stretched thin and already operating with fewer resources when they are already overwhelmed by this influx of migrants.

And it's something that Secretary Nielsen, as you noted, Ryan, in her visit. It is something she heard about firsthand here. She released a statement after her visit here to a variety of the border patrol stations in the El Paso area.

Part of that statement saying quote "the system is clearly overwhelmed, and we must work together to address this humanitarian crisis and protect vulnerable populations. We know that if Congress were to act or the courts were to enforce the law as written, we could address this crisis tomorrow." Instead, she adds, we continue to do more with less. As I have said before, I ask Congress to please put politics aside and recognize this for the growing security and humanitarian crisis it is.

This is being called a crisis with no end, not just by officials that I have spoken to within the customs and border protection agency, but also charities here who are also overwhelmed by the influx of migrants that are being dropped off here at stations like the one that we're standing in front of -Ryan.

[16:05:51] NOBLES: And, Nick, you have personally spoken with border patrol officials who say at the very least, they are frustrated by the way things are taking place there on the border and how things are operating. Explain what they told you.

VALENCIA: Well, so frustrated, they are willing to go on background and just speak as frank as we've heard them speak, you know, as I've ever heard a source of mine speak in CBP. I spoke to a source who is a ranking official in CBP and has intimate knowledge of these facilities, and he says these facilities are not designed to hold so many people. They were originally built and intended for single adult males. And when the influx of family units, it is clearly creating a problem that is already, you know, a difficult situation for them to manage, Ryan.

NOBLES: All right. Nick Valencia. While politicians bicker over this or not talk at all about it in Washington, you are seeing the real world impacts there along the southern border.

Sarah Westwood, thank you as well for your reporting from the White House.

Let let's talk about it now. Political commentator and columnist for "the Huffington Post" and "USA Today" Kurt Bardella joins me as well as senior White House correspondent for "Bloomberg News" and CNN political analyst Margaret Talev.

Margaret, let's start with you. And I want to talk about this new tweet from the President. He has been tweeting quite a bit over the past couple of days. Critics would say this is a new low, blaming Democrats for a child or children dying at the border. I mean where do you think this is coming from? Does the President think that this actually puts pressure on Democrats to make a deal?

MARGARET TALEV, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, BLOOMBERG NEWS: Ryan, the President's trying to do two things at once, and one is messaging to his base, and the other is messaging to Congress, both the Republicans and the Democrats. And the President has concluded, at least so far, that he is -- that he needs to hold out a little bit longer on this to send a message to his base that he is committed to his longtime campaign promise to build this wall, you know.

But, look, there are two factors with children who are coming into CBP custody. One is the long trek they are making with their parents. And the other is what happens once they are, you know, sort of inside the care or holding or both of the U.S. and one of the real-life challenges or consequences of this administration's policies is that as those border patrol agents we are talking about, when you stretch the capacity, you are also stretching the health care circumstances. And once these people enter the custody of the U.S., they are the responsibility of the U.S. government.

So the President is trying to deflect potentially from two realty tragic desk that have begun to change the debate on Capitol Hill. And as you will see with Secretary Nielsen's language, the statements that DHS is putting out, she is not using that sort of language to describe her commitment to dealing with, you know, medical and life-threatening crises.


You know, Kurt, we have seen the polling after shutdown after shutdown. Usually there are no winners. It hurts both Democrats and Republicans. Are we getting to the point now, we know that there's a certain level of pressure on the White House, but is there a certain level of pressure on Democrats as well to find a way out of this?

KURT BARDELLA, POLITICAL/COLUMNIST, HUFFINGTON POST & USA TODAY: I don't think so because at the end of the day, this is a Republican- created shutdown. Right now Congress is controlled still by Republicans. Right now speaker Ryan could put a bill on the floor that passed the Senate unanimously and end this shutdown today. They are not doing that. And I think that the American people know that this has been created and driven by Donald Trump.

The fact that Trump won't stop tweeting about it just reveals how concerned he is about the optics of everything right now. The fact is it's still going to be another five days before Democrats officially take control of the Congress. So until that happens, this is settled completely in the laps of the Republican Party.

What's going to end up happening is Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats are going to take control. They are going to pass something that will end this shutdown. It will be sent right back to the President, and he is going to have to make the decision to either sign it and look like he is relenting and capitulating or he is going to veto it and, again, double down on owning the shutdown. Neither option is really good for Trump at this point. And I think he knows that.

NOBLES: It will also depend on how Mitch McConnell handles that situation, whether or not he decides to pass something along those lines. But your point is taken, Kurt.

Now Margaret, here's another tactic from the President. He also tweeted this.

Quote "for those that naively ask, why didn't the Republicans get approval tooled about the build the last year, it is because in the Senate we need ten Democratic votes, and they will give us none for border security. Now we have to do it the hard way with a shutdown. Then he says, too bad."

Is there a point here? I mean with the filibuster in the Senate, there isn't a ton of leverage that Republicans have, even if they have the majority to get something done. I mean is the President just utilizing a tool here in the political toolbox to try and get something accomplished? [16:10:35] TALEV: Well, there was a time when a theoretical

compromise could have been possible, and it involved a combination of border security and solution for the DACA kids. And the President was not able or willing to, you know, close the deal at that point in time. And now you are in a different situation, and Mitch McConnell has made clear -- Republican senators have made clear they are not ready to blow up the filibuster rule for all of the Senate operations for this President or for any President.

And so it's interesting to me. The White House has tried to kind of like create this dramatic situation, like Nancy Pelosi is not doing something in the waning days of minority-ship. Why would she? And those Republican coming in to the rants (ph) of the speakership, would they really feel the need to make a deal like four days before it happens?

So the reality is that the Democrats won control of the House. That's about to happen. And these are the new parameters in which President Trump is going to have to be able to make any kind of deals for the next two years. So I just - he is trying to turn it into like an a-ha moment, but I think it's just we have known since November that this was the new reality.


You know, Kurt, it seems as though people like on Capitol Hill fair amount and they say, how is this thing going to end? I have no idea how it's going to end. You work on Capitol Hill at some time. And you just forecast for us one scenario that you could see that this actually comes to some sort of conclusion and the government opens back up.

BARDELLA: Well, I think, again, Democrats take back control of the House in a couple of days. They are going to pass something to the Senate, Mitch McConnell. I think it's very hard for the Senate to not vote for something when they have already done something. They have already approved unanimously a bill that would have ended this shutdown or not even started it for crying out loud. And for them to not vote for that now would look terrible.

I think it's going to go to Trump. He will go through one round of vetoing it because he likes to show posture and strength and do something that declarative. It will go back to the House. They will pass something else. Eventually it will get passed and this will end, but Trump is not going to get what he wants. The reality is elections have consequences. And the American people overwhelmingly rejected this border first caravan invasion going to happen scenario that Trump talked about (INAUDIBLE) went up to the midterms. He did that. They lost. It's not going to work now.

NOBLES: All right. Kurt predicting a veto showdown perhaps in the month of January. Could get saucy in Washington.

Kurt, Margaret, thank you guys so much for being here. We appreciate it. Up next, new details on why Trump's former campaign manager Paul

Manafort cooperated with the Russians during the President's 2016 campaign.


[16:16:10] NOBLES: It seems like you hear his name just about every day, but you almost never hear his voice. CNN's Tom Foreman has a fascinating look at the mysterious Robert Mueller.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Robert Mueller may be the most famous invisible man in Washington. President Trump can't stop talking about the Russia probe.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I call it the rigged witch hunt.

FOREMAN: But the man in charge of it holds no press conferences, gives no interviews, and is caught on camera so rarely, this photo at an airport with Donald Trump Jr. passing caused a sensation. Most of Mueller's comments on camera are old, like his thoughts on having survived being wounded while serving in Vietnam.

ROBERT MUELLER, HANDLES RUSSIA PROBE INVESTIGATION: In some sense, you feel that you have been given a second lease on life, and you want to make the most of it to contribute in some way.

GARRETT GRAFF, MUELLER BIOGRAPHER: In a city where everyone rushes towards the spotlight, the idea of actively turning away from it really baffles people.

FOREMAN: So what do we know about him? Mueller grew up in the northeast, attended Princeton, and has dedicated his life to the justice system, handling some very big cases along the way. He has served every President since Ronald Reagan, Republicans and Democrats alike.

LISA MONACO, FORMER MUELLER CHIEF OF STAFF: He is apolitical. He is nonpartisan. He is -- as I think has become quite clear -- a pretty law and order guy.

FOREMAN: That has made him the hope for Democrats, the bane of Republicans, and fodder for comedy show.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, Mr. Trump. I have waited for this moment for a long time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Mueller, I have been meaning to come to talk to you, but golf.

FOREMAN: But Mueller's real-life script remains a closely guarded secret. In a town as leaky as a rotted row boat, his team has given up virtually no details of their work until filed in court.

GRAFF: It is the most airtight operation that we have seen in modern American political history.

FOREMAN: Mueller has been married more than 50 years, a father of two daughters. I he goes to work early, enjoys golf, dislikes chit chat, understands not just the law but also the impact of crime, as evident in a speech about the bombing of an airliner over Scotland in 1988.

MUELLER: I will never forget the visit I made to Lockerbie where I saw the small wooden warehouse in which were stored the various effects of your loved ones.

FOREMAN: Some here in D.C. argue maybe Mueller is the only person who could conduct this investigation precisely because he is not overtly partisan. He does not try to grab headlines, and he lets his work do the talking. And so far, it's saying plenty.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


NOBLES: Tom, thank you.

Joining me now, former federal prosecutor and CNN legal analyst Shan Wu.

Shan, thank you for being here on a Saturday.

It is somewhat remarkable how little everyone has seen or even heard from Robert Mueller. When this investigation eventually ends, when he is ready to issue a report, how will he do that? Do you see him coming out and holding some sort of a press conference, making some sort of a formal presentation or will he do it quietly? Will we may never hear from him?

SHAN WU, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, my money is on him doing it quietly. That definitely seems to be Mueller's style. I worked with him as well. And certainly in this investigation, I think he has been very conscious of the weight of it and the need for being very quiet and not sounding politicized.

The actual format is a mystery because unlike the old independent counsel statutes which gave very specific requirements about what kind of report you would have to do, this is really just very vague, a report to the attorney general. So that really ends up putting the pressure on who is the attorney general.

And I think if you have either Barr or Whitaker, they are not going to be disposed towards revealing anything publicly because there is no way this is going to be a favorable report. It may not be indictment or impeachment, but there is going to be a lot of negative stuff in it.

[16:20:16] NOBLES: And so, it might not even be up to Mueller is what you are saying. That the acting attorney general or an attorney general confirmed may be the one that ultimately makes that decision.

Let's talk about the investigation itself. We obviously don't know all that much about it, but we do know this report from "Time" magazine today that Paul Manafort was pressured by an ex-Russian intelligence officer to pay down millions of debt owed to a Kremlin- linked oligarch. That Russian, Victor Boyarkin, told "Time," that Manafort owed us a lot of money and he was offering us ways to pay it back. How significant could this be?

WU: That's an extraordinary bombshell to hear about. The fact that somebody in Manafort's position had that sort of leverage on them from a Russian intelligence agent. That has enormous significance.

Total speculation, of course. This could be part of what we hear that Manafort was not being forthright about, and that could certainly lead to a more tight nexus, sort of a missing link if you will between actual Russian government agents and directly trying to influence the campaign.

NOBLES: But then I guess in order for it to link to the President, there would have to then be a second stage of that connection, right? I mean theoretically, Manafort could have been acting without the President knowing anything about it, right?

WU: That's right. I think there always have been two steps here, Ryan. The first is really trying to show some sort of direct link to the campaign itself. And then the second step, of course, would be what kind of knowledge the President had of it.

NOBLES: All right. We will see what 2019 brings, and if we ever end up learning everything that Robert Mueller knows.

Shan Wu, thanks as always for your expertise. We appreciate it.

WU: Sure thing. Good to see you.

NOBLES: Why employees at a hotel in Portland called police and evicted a black guest for talking on a phone call in a hotel lobby, and what the hotel is now doing about it. That story when we come back.


[16:25:25] NOBLES: The fallout continues from an alleged racist incident at a Portland, Oregon, hotel. The two employees seen in this viral video asking a black guest to leave a doubletree hotel have been fired.

Jermaine Massey says he was racially profiled and discriminated against for taking a phone call in the hotel lobby last Saturday. A security officer also informed Massey that police were on their way to escort him off the property.

And joining me now is CNN's Miguel Marquez.

Miguel, what can you tell us about this incident?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So this seems to be yet another situation where it is white people calling the police on black people for either a small offense or no offense at all.

Mr. Massey, on December 22nd, checked into the Doubletree Hotel in port LAPD. It is a Hilton property in Portland. He had gone to a concert. He was coming back and had a text from his mother, a bit of an urgent text. So he stopped in a quiet area of the lobby to make that phone call. He posted the confrontation he had with the security officer there on Instagram. We took sort of the highlights of it and put it together, and here's what that looks like.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's calling the cops on me because I'm taking a phone call at the Doubletree Hotel. Say hi, Earl.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Portland police will be here in a minute.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Call them. I'm waiting.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are coming why? Why are they coming?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To escort you off the property?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because why? And I'm staying here.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How am I loitering in an area that's public?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're setting here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So this area is off limits after a certain time?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Only if you're a guest.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You didn't tell me that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said that I'm a guest. I told you that.


MARQUEZ: Hard to see how he stayed so calm. I probably wouldn't have done as well. Mr. Massey was on Don Lemon's show last night. Don asked him, why do you think they did it?


JERMAINE MASSEY, GUEST KICKED OUT OF DOUBLETREE PORTLAND: It's hurtful. It's humiliating, and I don't understand why it continues to be an issue. I'm a person at the end of the day just like everyone else. And I deserve respect and fair treatment, and I did not receive that on Saturday. I think that there's a lot of perceptions about black males in particular that we are threats and we are harmful and we are just fearful individuals and, you know, that bias, it impacts these situations. And it's harmful to us as a people.


MARQUEZ: Now, the mayor of Portland, Tom Wheeler, called this the sort of systemic nature of discrimination. The two individuals have been fired. Mr. Massey and his lawyers want a bit more. They want Hilton to go on the report on paper and say what is the policy? Why was he targeted in that hotel lobby just for making a phone call while being black?

NOBLES: I mean, there are so many stories like this. It is amazing, if it weren't for these cameras and these phones, how may --?

MARQUEZ: He put down his phone call with his mom, started recording them and that's where it all picks up.

NOBLES: So how often it happens when the cameras are not going.

MARQUEZ: Exactly.

NOBLES: OK. Miguel, thank you for that report. We appreciate it.

Outgoing senators from both sides of the aisle leaving a scathing farewell message to their colleagues and the country. What they have to say when we come back.


[16:31:55] RYAN NOBLES, CNN ANCHOR: They've left Washington, so now they can tell us how they really feel. I'm talking about outgoing Senators who either weren't re-elected or chose to get out of politics. Take a listen.


SEN. ORRIN HATCH, (R), UTAH: All the evidence points to an unsettling truth. The Senate as an institution is in crisis, or at least may be in crisis. The committee process lies in shambles. Regular order is a relic of the past. And compromise once the guiding credo of this great institution is now synonymous with surrender.

SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL, (R), MISSOURI: Something is broken, and if we don't have the strength to look in the mirror and fix it, the American people are going to grow more and more cynical.

SEN. JEFF FLAKE, (R), ARIZONA: To say that our politics is not healthy is somewhat of an understatement. I believe that we all know well that this is not a normal time and that the threats to our democracy from within and without are real.

SEN. BILL NELSON, (D), FLORIDA: What in the world has happened to civility and to humility in our nation's public discourse?

Tribalism is our problem. And if not corrected, it's going to take our country down.


NOBLES: With us now, Washington bureau chief for the "Chicago Sun- Times," Lynn Sweet.

Lynn, I'm struck by one thing when I hear all these Senators speak. It's almost as if they, you know, didn't have jobs a month ago that would have played a role in this Washington that they are so unhappy with. Couldn't there be an argument that if these gentlemen were so upset with Washington, that they should have done more to fix this problem that they're complaining about?

LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES; Well, I agree with you that retirement and defeat brings remarkable hindsight. Now, does that that mean that's translated into foresight? I doubt it because there's no fundamental change, and the farewell speeches of these departing Senators are -- they're heartwarming, they're sincere, but it won't change anything because the fundamentals have not changed. And I think we could put a start date when things went even more divided and more polarized, and that was the day, a year before the 2016 election, or just about then, when President Obama still had a year in office and Senate Leader McConnell said that the -- no matter who President Obama nominates for Supreme Court that person will not get a hearing.

Now, that is hard to ignore when you're a Democrat or if the positions were reversed. So I think there are reasons why we are at the place we're at. A lot of it, when Flake talks about a not normal time, that's reference to President Trump --

NOBLES: Right.

SWEET: -- which certainly tests the institution of the Senate.

But it's not like they come here with their hands clean either --

[16:35:04] NOBLES: Right.

SWEET: -- as the departing Senators noted.

NOBLES: Right. Exactly. I mean, we have a new -- a whole lot of fresh faces that are going to be coming in to both the House and the Senate, some of them young, some of them coming from a wide range of diverse backgrounds. I mean, do you envision a scenario where some of these problems begin to get solved or could the acrimony get worse?

SWEET: Both, because a lot of things happen in Congress all at the same time. I'm kind of on this bent right now to preach this. Let's not look at our civic life in Washington as we do a one-thing-at-a- time scenario. Multiple things happen at the same time. I will point to one person in the Senate who I think will make a difference, the only one right now, and that is a freshman in the Senate, but seasoned otherwise, Mitt Romney. He has the stature, authority, inner security, and the experience to start as an extraordinary freshman. In the House, I would point to Donna Shalala, a veteran cabinet member, who is new but certainly seasoned and a veteran of government and governing, as people who could make a difference as well as the multiple new members of the House who inexperienced in government but have some very exciting ideas on how they think governance should happen.

NOBLES: All right. You heard it here first from Lynn Sweet. Romney and Shalala, the two names to watch in 2019 in the United States Congress.

Lynn, thank you so much for being here. We appreciate it.

SWEET: Thank you.

NOBLES: Coming up, a new arms race challenge from Vladimir Putin. Does Russia really have a missile that is impossible to stop?


[16:40:22] NOBLES: The Russian military claims to have a new missile that will be online and ready to go in 2019. President Vladimir Putin says this new hypersonic missile flies so fast and with such maneuverability that it can beat any defense system, including anything the United States has to defeat it. Russian forces tested the missile a few days ago.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen tells us the world's other nuclear powers are certainly paying attention.


FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Vladimir Putin in command, observing his armed forces test what they claim is a hypersonic missile capable of defeating America's missile defense systems, called Avangard.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translation): The new Avangard system is invincible when faced with current and future air defense and missile defenses technology of a potential enemy. This is a great success and a great victory.

PLEITGEN: While some experts doubt whether the Avangard missile is really combat-ready and as capable as Moscow says, Russia claims it flies up to 20 times the speed of sound and is capable of evasive maneuvers if confronted by missile defense systems.

PUTIN (through translation): Next year, the Avangard system will be put into service. A regimen will be formed, which will start combat duty. This is a wonderful, tremendous gift to the country for the New Year.

PLEITGEN: The missile test came at the same time President Trump was in Iraq, standing by his decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria, giving a massive boost to Russia's influence in the region. And amid growing tensions between Moscow and Washington over Trump's decision to pull out of the decades-old intermediate range nuclear forces treaty.

Vladimir Putin unveiled plans for a variety of nuclear weapons in March, including the Avangard and an unmanned, underwater drone, which the Russians also claim will be invincible.

PUTIN (through translation): We've achieved a major breakthrough in developing new weapons this year. There's nothing in the world like these weapons. And I hope that our new systems will make those used to militaristic and aggressive rhetoric think twice.

PLEITGEN: While Moscow says its new generation of nukes are not aimed at threatening anyone, experts fear Russia, China, and the U.S. could be on the brink of a new nuclear arms race as tensions between them rise and arms control treaties are scrapped.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.


NOBLES: Let's bring John Kirby in now. He's a retired U.S. Navy admiral, two-star admiral, former Pentagon spokesman, and CNN's military and diplomatic analyst.

Admiral, nobody knows for sure if this new kind of Russian missile is capable of everything it's hyped up to be. But even if it's not, why would Russia want to brag about being able to beat any kind of a defense system? Isn't that a pretty strong provocation?

REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY, CNN MILITARY & DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: Well, they feel clearly emboldened to be able to be so open and honest about their capabilities. Plus, they want the world, particularly the United States, to know they're working on these systems. It's sort of a way to intimidate and effect our own foreign policy decisions. Look, the Russians have been very staunchly against U.S. missile defense systems, particularly in Europe, for a long time. This is their response to it. So I'm not surprised that they're being so overt about it, but I do think it does -- it begins perhaps a harbinger for potential new arms race that could be destabilizing.

NOBLES: Yes. Let's expand on that thought. We know the U.S. is working on a version of these hypersonic missiles. They could be a few years off. China could be developing the same type of technology. Are we in a position now, basically, at the start of another arms race?

KIRBY: It's possible. I don't know that I'm willing to go that far right now, but I do think we need to be mindful of that potential outcome here as these capabilities now hit the field. And you're right. The Pentagon is working hard on hypersonics right now, but we are probably two to four years away, by the Pentagon's own estimate, of being able to field anything like what the Russians say that they have now in this Avangard. So hopefully, it won't lead to an arms race. But as the Trump administration, you know, talks about pulling out of INF and tearing down some of these multilateral agreements, you leave a vacuum, you leave a space for other nations, your adversaries to want to pursue those kinds of capabilities and, thereby, forcing you to do the same.

NOBLES: These are new technologies, but it's kind of an old type of system, right -- KIBRY: Exactly.

NOBLES: -- big, fast, missiles, right? But there's another type of arms race that's happening in the digital sphere, the digital realm, cyberspace.

KIRBY: Right.

NOBLES: That could really be the bigger battlefield of the future. Is it really still an effective strategy to just kind of brag about how many missiles you have and what you can blow up with that, or is cybersecurity really a bigger threat?

[16:44:58] KIRBY: I think they both are. And I'd hate to say one is more critical than the other. I mean, these kinds of conventional and nuclear capabilities really do have existential potential outcomes in terms of the damage that they can do and the lives and infrastructure loss. But just as equally scary and dangerous is the cyber realm. And all these three nations you're talking, Russia, China, and the United States as well as North Korea and Iran are all working very hard in the cyberspace realm as well. The United States has taken it seriously now for many, many years. You know, the Trump national security strategy and national defense strategy for the first time really explored this notion of potential offensive cyber capabilities, which was a real turn for us. We hadn't been willing to talk openly about our own ability to conduct offensive cyber operations. So I think everything is moving in this direction. And Trump's decision to set up a space force, whether you agree with it or not, is very much about helping us be more agile and nimble in the cyber realm.

NOBLES: Now this missile system isn't the first of several military provocations from Russia in the past few months. What do you make of the moves from the Kremlin here? And what does it say about the stability of not just that region but the entire world?

KIRBY: I think we have a slide that kind of shows what they've done here just in the last year. I mean, you know, starting with the development of a new intercontinental ballistic missile called the Satan 2. And then in early fall, they had major exercise in the east, Vostok 2018, they call it. That's basically East 2018. This exercise was the largest one they have conducted in probably 10 to 20 years. They estimated somewhere like 300,000 Russian troops participated in it. And for the first time, Ryan, they cooperated with China. China actually played a part in this exercise. This exercise used to be about deterring China. Now they actually participated. And it was a very strong signal to the West and the United States about their close relationship and their burgeoning military alliance. I think in October we also saw satellite images of them building installations in Kaliningrad, right on the Baltic Sea, right at NATO's doorstep. Very provocative if true. Of course, they put into space a year or so ago this nesting-doll satellite. What's interesting about this -- and you can see in that graphic there -- there's a sub-satellite system that comes out of this, which moves autonomously. The Russians say it's about doing maintenance and repair work on their satellites, but there's a real fear by some defense analysts that this could be a way of weaponizing satellites, weaponizing space. So there's a lot to be concerned about.

Clearly, Putin is feeling his oats right now with Donald Trump sort of pulling back from the world stage. Putin very much wants to step onto that world stage and increase Russian influence. This is the resurgent Russia that Jim Mattis has warned us so much about.

NOBLES: I know this, Admiral. You don't have to be a military weapons expert to know that something named Satan 2 could likely lead to nothing good.

KIRBY: Exactly.

NOBLES: That is for sure.

Thank you for breaking that down for us, sir. We appreciate it.

KIRBY: You bet, Ryan.

NOBLES: Coming up, first a cryptic video online. Now new details about how Kevin Spacey plans to fight allegations that he sexually assaulted an 18-year-old busboy.


[16:51:46] NOBLES: Oscar-winning actor, Kevin Spacey, has a court appearance scheduled for a few days from now, next Monday, January 7th. That's arraignment day for a felony charge that he sexually assaulted a teenager two summers ago. According to the criminal complaint, investigators have a SnapChat video of that alleged assault.

It's also just a few days since this bizarre clip hit the Internet that was posted by Kevin Spacey himself. He rants directly to the camera using the voice and the accent of his character in the Netflix show "House of Cards."

The latest on Spacey's legal saga now.

And I do have to warn you, this report contains some language that is sexually explicit.

Here is CNN's Miguel Marquez.


KEVIN SPACEY, ACTOR: You trusted me even though you knew you shouldn't.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The video, titled "Let Me Be Frank," posted to Kevin Spacey's verified Twitter account shortly after indecent assault and battery charges brought by a then 18-year-old accuser whose mother spoke out on his behalf last year.

HEATHER UNRUH, MOTHER OF ALLEGED SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIM: In July of 2016, Actor Kevin Spacey sexually assaulted my son. MARQUEZ: Spacey in his video doesn't address the charges. He

performs the video in a kitchen, Santa Claus apron on, and in Frank Underwood character from the Netflix show "House of Cards" that Spacey starred in for five seasons until he was fired after several allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced.

SPACEY: You wouldn't believe the worst without evidence, would you? You wouldn't rush to judgment without facts, would you? Did you?

MARQUEZ: Netflix had no comment about the video, whose timing, tone, and substance were jarring given the charges the actor knew were coming.

There was a hearing in the case four days before Spacey posted the video.

SPACEY: Conclusions can be so deceiving.

MARQUEZ: One piece of evidence Spacey's accuser has against the 59- year-old actor, says the complaint, is video of the assault itself. The accuser's girlfriend, when interviewed by the police, says she received a SnapChat video from her boyfriend showing Spacey touching the front of the accuser's pants by his crotch.

UNRUH: Kevin Spacey bought him drink after drink after drink, and when my son was drunk, Spacey made his move.

MARQUEZ: Her son, the accuser, admitted to police he told Spacey that night he was 23, not his real age of 18, according to the complaint. He says the assault happened late night, after his shift as a busboy at Nantucket's Club Car Restaurant.

UNRUH: The victim, my son, was a star-struck, straight, 18-year-old young man.

MARQUEZ: The accuser claims, after several drinks, Spacey asked sexual questions, exchanged phone numbers, then tried to get him to his house. Then in a packed bar, the accuser claims Spacey used his left hand and started rubbing his thigh and eventually sexually assaulting him for about three minutes.

UNRUH: Nothing could have prepared my son for how that sexual assault would make him feel as a man. It harmed him, and it cannot be undone.


[16:55:11] NOBLES: Thank you to Miguel Marquez for that update.

Joey Jackson is with me now. He's a criminal defense attorney and CNN legal analyst. Also here, Lola Ogunnaike, who is the host of Entertainment Weekly's "The Show."

Joey, we just found out the prosecutors are insisting that Kevin Spacey appear in person to that court hearing on January 7th. There was some discussion about him signing papers and not showing up. They don't appear to be giving him the VIP treatment. JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No. Look, that's the right call.

Because you're Kevin Spacey, it doesn't give you a basis not to appear for an arraignment. It's a critical stage of the litigation, and it's a time where you're informed of the charges. You enter your plea, and there are bail conditions that are set. And some of that bail condition may be, hey, you're not leaving this jurisdiction until you account for this.

NOBLES: Right.

JACKSON: So, you know, innocent until proven guilty to be clear, but no one is above the law, including him. So he should have to appear. Right call by the judge.

NOBLES: I want to play for you this first piece of evidence we have. These are the court recordings of an attorney for Kevin Spacey questioning a police officer about the night that Spacey allegedly sexually assaulted that 18-year-old busboy. Kind of gives us an idea of what the defense plan is. Take a listen.


ALAN JACKSON, ATTORNEY FOR KEVIN SPACEY: Upon meeting Mr. Spacey, it was Mr. (BLEEP) who made that first approach, not Mr. Spacey seeking attention from Mr. (BLEEP), but vice versa, correct?


ALAN JACKSON: Mr. (BLEEP) admitted to you that he had been drinking a significant amount of alcohol that night, correct?

DONOVAN: Correct.


NOBLES: So what we hear there, Kevin Spacey's attorney saying they've been both drinking a lot. It was actually the victim or alleged victim that approached Kevin Spacey. Now listen to this.


ALAN JACKSON: Instead of walking away or moving away or moving back or grabbing the wrist or slapping the hand, he indicated to you during that three-minutes time period that he was texting and SnapChatting?

DONOVAN: That's correct.


NOBLES: So, Joey, it sounds like they're saying three minutes. That's a long time to put up with a sexual assault.


NOBLES: Is that a winning argument? JACKSON: I really think it is. Understand, at this hearing, they

were trying to say there's no probable cause, let's not move forward with an arrest. But I think the judge make the right call because that's a jury question. It's a factual issue as to whether or not this occurred in the way that the alleged victim is saying. But at the end of the day, the gravamen of this about this is about consent. Reasonable minds can differ. Look, when you're in a situation, it's nice after the fact we can play Monday morning quarterback and say I would have slapped his hand, I would have done this, I would have done the other thing.

NOBLES: Right.

JACKSON: We don't know how we would have behaved. But I think they're going to put to the jury what a reasonable person, number one, if they had a hand on the thigh, would they say, it's OK, but I wouldn't go that way, or would they have allowed you to encroach further. And then three minutes? You have a phone in your hand. Why not call your mom, call 911, do something else? So that's the issue. Was it consensual? Was it men flirting in a bar or was it something that was more sinister than that? And that will be up to a jury to decide.

NOBLES: All right, so Joey --

LOLA OGUNNAIKE, HOST, "THE SHOW," ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: He also admits to drinking eight to 10 drinks in less than 70 minutes. He did not make a charge the day that it happened or the next day. It took a year for him to come forward. Again, not to blame the victim, but those are certainly things that the prosecutors will bring up.

JACKSON: Right. Without question.

NOBLES: We've talked a little bit about the legal part of this, but Kevin Spacey also has a P.R. problem, right, Lola?

OGUNNAIKE: Yes. That would be the understatement of the year. That video is a P.R. disaster.

NOBLES: Let's talk about that. What could be behind the thinking of appearing as Frank Underwood, who I think everyone would agree is intended to be a sinister character with some sort of argument to the American people that you should wait for all the evidence to come out?

OGUNNAIKE: The only thing I could think of is that he would be hoping this would be a red herring and distract from the fact that charges for sexual assault were filed against him the same day. Unfortunately, for him, that video only gives legs to this story.

NOBLES: Right.

OGUNNAIKE: The news came out on Monday. We're still talking about it on Saturday primarily because of that video.

NOBLES: Right.

OGUNNAIKE: Also, if you're not trying to come across as a creepy, diabolical predator, this was not the video to release.

NOBLES: Don't be Frank Underwood.


OGUNNAIKE: He says, I know what you want, I know what you want, you want me back. That is out of the creepy predator handbook 101.

NOBLES: Right.

From your perspective, let's say he's exonerated from this particular case. There's obviously a number of other cases that he's accused of inappropriate behavior, perhaps criminal behavior. Is there any way Kevin Spacey can revive his career?

OGUNNAIKE: Never say never in Hollywood. But for now, he is a social pariah. There's no way he will work in the foreseeable future. This video did not help his case in any way. It did far more harm than good.

And if you really pull back and think about it, if you worked on "House of Cards" either in front of the camera or behind the scenes, this is the last thing you want to see from somebody who torpedoed your job, your livelihood with his indiscretions and his inappropriate behavior. You do not want to see Frank Underwood revived.


JACKSON: I'm upset because I loved "House of Cards." He was great on "House of Cards." It's unfortunate he's embroiled himself in all of the shenanigans.


OGUNNAIKE: Watch the final season.


OGUNNAIKE: Robin Wright is fantastic.