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NEW DAY SATURDAY
Trump Impeachment Latest; Pelosi Invites Trtump to Give State of the Union on Feb. 4; Holiday Travel Weather Examined; Are US Airports Unsafe?; A Look at Online Child Abuse; US Diplomat's Wife Charged in UK Teen's Death; President Trump Signs Spending Package with Provisions Raising Age for Tobacco Purchase to 21. Aired 6-7a ET
Aired December 21, 2019 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump's impeachment right now hanging in the balance.
NANCY PELOSI, SPEAKER OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF PREPRESENATATIVES: We impeach the president immediately, everybody moves on to the next thing. The next thing for us will be when we see the process that is set forth in the Senate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How long are you willing to wait?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As long as it takes.
LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: What they're proposing is incredibly dangerous. You can't be Speaker of the House and Majority Leader of the Senate at the same time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will this TSA whistleblower is coming forward because he says the agency is putting speed over security.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What they're doing is injecting danger into the system.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Austin police said one of their tips led them to northwest Harris County, cracking the case.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We did recover an infant female child that we do believe at this time is Margot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But outside in the trunk of her friends car, Heidi Broussard dead from strangulation.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Good Saturday morning to you, top of the hour now. I'm Victor Blackwell.
AMARA WALKER, CNN HOST: Happy Saturday. I'm Amara Walker in for Christi Paul. BLACKWELL: President Trump is starting his day in Palm Beach, Florida.
He and First Lady Melania plus their son, Barron, got to Mar-A-Lago late last night.
WALKER: Before landing the president prevented a government shutdown by signing a $1.4 trillion spending bill. The package keeps the government funded through next September.
BLACKWELL: It provides money for gun violence research, raises the legal age to buy tobacco for 21.
WALKER: It also creates a new branch of the military called the Space Force.
BLACKWEL: But CNN has learned the administration refused the sign the bill if a time line for distributing aid to Ukraine was included in it. Democrats eventually dropped that request.
WALKER: CNN White House reporter Sarah Westwood joining us now from West Palm Beach, Florida, yes, a government shutdown averted. What's covered in the spending bill?
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, Victor and Amara. No government shutdown this holiday unlike the last holiday when we saw the longest one in U.S. history. Now this bill was broken up into two parts because President Trump has previously said he would not sign another sweeping government spending bill. He would not sign another omnibus.
Now in the White House's eyes, there are some wins in this bill. For one, they maintained funding for the border wall at current levels, about $1.4 billion. That's obviously a lot less than what the White House had asked for, as much as $8 billion, but Democrats did have to concede in the eyes of some progressives, continued funding for the border wall at current levels and there are also things that both sides are sort of claiming as a win right now including pay raises for military and civilian federal workers, including funding for election security grants and this omnibus, these two spending bills repeals a trio of taxes that have been used as pay fors for Obamacare. Now as you mentioned Trump had threatened to veto this bill over language about Ukraine spending. That crisis was averted and the president signed the two bills on his way down here to West Palm Beach yesterday Amara and Victor.
BLACKWELL: Sarah, why did Democrats back down on that stipulation for Ukraine aid?
WESTWOOD: Victor, sources tell CNN that even some of the Democrats viewed this language as a potential overreach, that they knew that they were going to have some pushback from the White House. Now White House officials argue that this was in infringement on executive authority because it injected this language that required a specific and quick timeline for the administration to release aid to Ukraine that Congress has appropriated. But this just shows you the extent to what Democrats really are shook up about what happened with the Ukraine aid, what lead to impeachment but this was something that was ultimately stripped out of the bill, a concession that Speaker Pelosi made to get this bill finished. Victor and Amara.
WALKER: Has there been any talk or concerns raised about the -- regarding raising the national debt with the spending bill?
WESTWOOD: That's something that we really haven't heard President Trump talk a lot about. We haven't even heard a lot of his Republican allies talk a lot about it even though it's something that conservatives for years have been pushing for. Even President Trump himself has been critical of previous presidents for inflating the debt, but this bill obviously adds a lot to the national debt, does very little to reduce it. So it is something that ostensibly should make conservatives upset, but we aren't hearing a lot of pushback from those conservatives about the bill.
BLACKWELL: And the state of the union, 2020, we have a date.
WESTWOOD: That's right. As Speaker Pelosi inviting the president to deliver the State-of-the-Union address on February 4th, 2020. The president has officially accepted that invitation so we are going to see what could be the final State-of-the-Union of his presidency depending on the outcome of the election. This will be an important opportunity for the president to address both chambers of Congress for the first time since his impeachment and the president accepting that invitation yesterday so we will see that the day, by the way, after the Iowa caucuses early next year.
WALKER: All right Sarah Westwood, thank you so much.
BLACKWELL: With us now, former federal prosecutor and CNN legal analyst Shan Wu and Emily Larsen, political reporter for the "Washington Examiner." Welcome back to you both.
EMILY LARSEN, POLITICAL REPORTER FOR THE "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": Thank you.
SHAN WU, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Good morning.
BLACKWELL: Emily, let me start with you and we're going to start with the budget and then go on to other things including impeachment. This fight came down to both sides fighting over a guarantee for disbursement of funds to Ukraine. Now that could have been politically problematic for each side if this had reached a government shutdown, right?
LARSEN: Certainly. I mean the Ukraine -- anything revolving around Ukraine and aid to Ukraine is going to be politically problematic and toxic for both sides especially when you're trying to avoid a government shutdown. It's very important for both sides to avoid a government shutdown on the Democrat side because the Democrats and Nancy Pelosi are trying to argue that they are pursuing both impeachment and can walk and chew gum at the same time and getting other priorities done. And so that's one reason. On the flip side, Republicans and President Trump want to project that even though he's under attack from impeachment, he's able to pass some of his priorities through. And so while it could have given Democrats some leverage and maybe some political points to try and push for that, at the end of the day it was more important to make sure the government was funded and push other authorities through.
BLACKWELL: Shan, the White House says this is not about Ukraine specifically but about protecting the powers of the office. Is that a valid argument from your perspective?
WU: It's not a valid argument because the Constitution is designed to protect the government and it allows us one mechanism to remove a president for misconduct. So to argue that well you can't really remove the president for misconduct because we're trying to protect the office is sort of a non sequitur (inaudible). The question is, is there evidence which would justify impeaching and then removing this president from office. So arguing that this is not really about the misconduct, it's about protecting the office of the presidency is really completely circular.
BLACKWELL: Emily, let me come to you about impeachment now and this strategy that's been articulated. We have here, I think we've got this sound from Chris Van Hollen, a Democratic Senator from Maryland, making it plain why, from his perspective at least, Speaker Pelosi is holding these Articles of Impeachment, not yet handing them over to the Senate. Watch.
SENATOR CHRIS VAN HOLLEN, (D) MARYLAND: What Speaker Pelosi is saying is that she won't transfer the Articles of Impeachment until we get assurances that there will be a fair trial.
BLACKWELL: So -- and you cover the Democrats for those purple district or those purple state - purple district or Trump district Democrats, does this make them even more vulnerable? The vote for impeachment was theirs, right? And that might have made them vulnerable but this is the speaker strategy. Does this hurt them?
LARSEN: Well, the Speaker's strategy, obviously anything she does has the possibility of hurting some of her more moderate members in these Trump districts. If she continues to hold these articles up and it becomes a long drawn-out process, that certainly gives the impression that Democrats are make this more of a political fight than what they are saying this is is a somber, important Constitutional occasion of checks and balances.
But if this is held up, that's a lot harder for these Trump district representatives to argue when they go back, which is going to be making them look like they were voting not necessarily based on principles but based off a Democratic Party strategy. There's a risk there. Another point is it's the holiday season, so Congress will likely -- there's a good chance that things move more quickly after they're back in session.
BLACKWELL: Yes. We know that there are members of the House, Democrats, the staff, working on the preparation of handing this over. Shan, let me come back to you, the clash that we're seeing between Leader McConnell and Leader Schumer you say is passion versus fact. Explain.
WU: With courtroom proceedings, and this is not a courtroom proceeding, there's a lot of focus put on by rules and by the judge to make sure that the case is decided not on passion or partisanship or biases but by the evidence. So here, what the Republicans are doing notably McConnell speaking for them is to try to get rid of that evidence. They don't want to hear witnesses. They don't want documents. They want to argue passion.
Really, this is what we call in the trial business a jury nullification argument which is they're really saying in jury nullification you really say, don't listen to the evidence. We don't care what evidence is out there. This is just wrong. Send the message. Don't do this. And that's really what the Republicans are saying. They're saying to their base, we're going to send a message, we're not participating. It doesn't matter what the evidence there is and we certainly don't want to hear or see it.
BLACKWELL: Shan, let me finish up with you. Some notes you sent to my producer, there was a phrase that jumped out, four words here, in the discussion of their oath, the Senators' oath to do impartial justice. You call that a meaningless circular word game about impartiality and their ability or willingness to do it after we heard from Leader McConnell and Senator Lindsey Graham. Explain that.
WU: They're focusing on, I assume their legal advisors are focusing on the phrase in the oath which is to do impartial justice. Very different than the court room where the jurors have to be impartial. A lot of attention paid to asking them questions about are they impartial or not. McConnell and Graham are taking the viewpoint of we interpret the words 'justice' and we have decided that this is not justice and that's impartial because we are impartial people. We can decide we're impartial.
BLACKWELL: Decided that the - the impeachment articles are not just. Is that what you're saying?
WU: Exactly, that the articles or the process are not just and the problem of why that's meaningless circular is they're the ones that get to decide whether they're being impartial or not. So they just assert, I've declared impartially, this is not justice. And that's clearly violating the spirit of the oath although maybe not the words of it.
BLACKWELL: All right, Shan Wu, Emily Larsen, good to have you both.
LARSEN: Thank you.
WU: Good to see you.
WALKER: New this morning North Korea is warning the United States not to critize the country over human rights according to state-run news agency, KCNA. The foreign ministry says if the U.S. dares to impair our system by taking issue over the human rights issue, it will be made to paid dearly for such an act. They're accusing a U.S. State Department official for making reckless remarks about the country. Back in Washington the Pentagon says they're watching North Korea closely amid signs and may conduct another test.
BLACKWELL: Well as millions of people are preparing to fly out to their destinations, there's a whistle-blower who says that TSA has made some changes that are making American airports and you less safe.
WALKER: Plus two cruise ships collide in Mexico. We're going to show you the video when we come back.
WALKER: According to AAA, a record number of Americans, more than 115 million will take planes, trains and automobiles to get to and from their holiday destination over the next 10 days.
BLACKWELL: That's the highest number since AAA started tracking holiday travel almost 20 years ago and a lot of people will be running right into some nasty weather. Meteorologist Allison Chincar joining us from the weather center. OK, prepare us. Where is it?
ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, here's all the good news for you Victor. Yes, we've got two different spots that we're keeping an eye on, out to the west and also into the southeast. Now let's begin there. We've really got this low pressure system that's really going to start to develop and take shape across the Gulf of Mexico today. You can already start to see at least a few of those lighter rain bands starting to take shape. Here's the concern.
It's what's going to happen later today and especially as we go into Sunday and Monday. That low pressure system will start to push inland, taking with it a lot of very heavy rain to places like Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, even areas of Alabama and Mississippi. This is a total of the rainfall accumulation really in the next two to three days. All of this yellow color, that's widespread amounts of 2 to 4 inches. The orange, the red, now you're taking 5, 6, even 8 inches of rain. That's going to pose a problem for people traveling necessarily in this area.
Where you see that red, this is where you could be looking at moderate travel delays not just in the air but also potentially on the roadways as well. Notice how it starts to spread up towards the Carolinas especially as we head into later in the portion of the day Monday. There's also going to be some travel concerns out west as we head over the next couple of days. Take a look at how much rain has already fallen across portions of Washington state. You're looking at 7, 8, if not even 9 inches of rain in a lot of these places.
Here's the thing though. More rain is still in the forecast so now you're going to be talking some places that could pick up as much as a foot of rain. Because of that, you do have flood watches in effect not just for Washington but also portions of Oregon as well. Now that system is actually going to be shifting down to the south as we make our way into the weekend so major delays possible today in Seattle and Portland. That begins to shift, Amara and Victor, down toward San Francisco and Sacramento as we wrap up the latter half of the weekend.
BLACKWELL: All right, Allison Chinchar. Thank you.
WALKER: Millions of Americans will fly to their holiday destinations, but a TSA whistle-blower says airports across the U.S. are becoming unsafe.
BLACKWELL: In an exclusive report, that whistle-blower tells CNN that TSA is relaxing security standards to make lines move faster. Here's Rene Marsh with the story.
RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This TSA whistle-blower is coming forward because he says the concerns he raised over the last couple of years have not been addressed. To put it simply, he says the agency is putting speed over security. He says the TSA officers on the front lines are not to blame. These screening changes, he said, have come from TSA leadership. More than 40 million U.S. airline passengers are expected to through airport security checkpoints this holiday, but this TSA security director says you may not be as safe as you think.
JAY BRAINARD, TSA FEDERAL SECURITY DIRECTOR: What they're doing is injecting danger into the system.
MARSH: Jay Brainard is the top TSA official in his state, and has been with the agency for 17 years. He says TSA is cutting corners on the screening process to shorten wait times. One example, TSA reduced the sensitivity on all walk through metal detectors at airports across America.
BRAINARD: They're reducing the concentration of metal to set off that alarm so that you can speed up lines and have fewer pat downs.
MARSH: How do you know that's why they did it?
BRAINARD: Because there's a memo out that supports it.
MARSH: This TSA memo show the order came into 2013, quote, changing all walkthrough metal detector settings in all lanes to the TSA precheck setting to normalize the passenger experience. Brainard says the practice continues today and he worried bomb-making components could go undetected.
BRAINARD: You could have a 30-minute wait time and they treat it like it's a national health emergency that is such an unhealthy obsession of placing speed over security.
MARSH: Brainard says that obsession also led the TSA to disable technology on x-ray machines that screen carryon bags in precheck lanes. This internal memo states as of last month, those x-ray machines should be operated without the auto-detection algorithm enabled.
BRAINARD: Put simply, when the item comes through, a box will come around and surround the item. It says, hey stop and take a look at this. That box is no longer on the screen. TSA has made changes to the settings which really hamper the ability of the x-ray operator to detect explosives in carryon baggage.
MARSH: But TSA will say this is precheck.
BRAINARD: They have been putting millions of passengers into TSA precheck who aren't precheck so you do not have an entire population in precheck that are vetted.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning everybody.
MARSH: (Voice over) CNN put this to TSA administrator, David Pekoske. He said the agency is not prioritizing wait times over security.
DAVID PEKOSKE, TSA ADMINISTRATOR: I won't discuss any of our particular security procedures because that's really not appropriate for me to do but rest assured that we do provide the level of security that we think is appropriate based on the risk
of the passenger.
MARSH: Brainard says the issues he's raised are especially problematic for an agency with a 95% failure rate in detecting dangerous items at the check point. That's according to a government audit in 2015. Another audit two years later found there were still vulnerabilities.
BRAINARD: When you sit back and you watch these things happen. It is the most frustrating thing you can imagine.
MARSH: Going public is his last resort. He's filed an official whistle-blower complaint with the Office of Special Counsel. He sent complaints to DHS, TSA and sent letters to Congress. Not just about the metal detectors but also the x-ray machines. A policy change allowing some passengers with medical devices to do a self pat down and a new policy called blended lanes where precheck and standard passengers are mixed in one line, something that could confuse screeners.
BRAINARD: They now have to mentally switch themselves on and off about what's permitted, what's not permitted with every other passenger. You know the last time I checked, our detection rates were not stellar and it doesn't make any sense to introduce this kind of variable.
MARSH: Last year the special counsel ordered DHS to investigate Brainerd's complaints, writing, there is a substantial likelihood that the information provided to OSC discloses gross mismanagement and specific danger to public safety.
BRAINARD: My biggest fear is having something happen that costs American lives and I didn't step up and put a stop to it or at least try because it's going to happen. It's not a question of if. It's a question of when. We're long overdue for another attack.
MARSH: TSA did take action on one of Brainard's complaints. He said they continued to use an ineffective test to determine if new hires were colorblind, a disqualifying medical condition even after concerns about the test's effectiveness were raised.
BRAINARD: If you had something in a bag and if somebody were colorblind, they wouldn't see the bomb if it were the only thing in the bag.
MARSH: TSA is now using a new test for new hires but according to this TSA memo, the agency will not finish retesting the existing workforce until the end of next year. Brainard knows despite whistle- blower protections and consistent top ratings on his TSA performance evaluations, speaking out could cost him his job.
BRAINARD: ... retaliation and I fully expect the first discussion that they're going to have is how they can fire me.
MARSH: But he believes these issues are too urgent to keep quiet.
To be clear, no changes have been made to the body scanners that travelers go through. Now CNN reached out to both agencies investigating Brainard's complaints but no comment from either. Brainard has secured a whistle-blower attorney.
In response to the complaints raised in our story, the head of TSA told me that whistle-blowers and I'm quoting, provide a very valuable service and it's our responsibility to fully investigate those concerns to see if they represent a valid security risk or not. But the TSA says they have not completed their assessment. Rene Marsh, CNN, Washington.
WALKER: An eye-opening report. Thanks so much Rene. Still to come, a 37-year-old mom poses as an adolescent girl online to highlight the pervasiveness of online child sex abuse. We talked with a company that spearheaded the undercover project ahead.
WALKER: Hi, everyone. Welcome back. I'm Amara Walker.
BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you.
Police in Texas have identified the body of a woman found in a Houston area home is Heidi Broussard. Investigators say her infant daughter was found alive and healthy, but they're waiting on DNA tests to confirm her identity.
WALKER: The two went missing on December 12. On Thursday police detained an individual after being led to a home in the Houston area. That person has been arrested. She faces two charges of kidnapping and one charge of tampering with a corpse. Officials say more charges may be filed.
Now, many parents may not know this, but your child's simple and innocent social media posts can open the floodgates to online sex predators. Just listen to this story. A 37-year-old mother posted online as an 11-year-old girl for one week with the help of a team of researchers with specific clothing, background and hair styling, the team was able to pull off an undercover operation to expose child online abuse.
Within minutes - within minutes the young girl received sexually- explicit messages and even video calls from men around the world. I talked with Tatania Jordan, the Chief Parenting Officer of BARK, which is a company that conducted the operation, and this is what she said about monitoring these conversations.
TATANIA JORDAN, CHIEF PARENTING OFFICER OF BARK: It was completely overwhelming and gut-wrenching especially being in this space. We know what happens with children's devices and accounts. We're - it wasn't a surprise to know that these issues are happening but to see it in your face so frequent and so prevalent and so persistent is a whole other story.
WALKER: I don't think parents are aware just how easily it is for a child predator. All you have to do as an 11-year-old girl, a10-year- old girl, a15-year-old girl is post something innocent on instagram and that's it, and people around the world - men around the world - unsolicited will start messaging you. Is that how it works, it's that easy?
JORDAN: It is truly that easy. The thing is we went out of our way to make sure that we were not posting anything that could be in any way, shape, or form deemed salacious. We wanted to really go under cover as a true innocuous innocent 11-year-old girl, and that is exactly what these sick, sick people are looking for. Even if children have private accounts, they can still receive solicitations via their direct message folder. That's one of the biggest take aways from this operation. If we can educate parents is that if your children have devices that can access the world, the world can access them and you have to do something about it.
WALKER: That's very scary. The other thing too is that many of these predators, they know how to win over these young girls, right? It's called online grooming. How does that work?
JORDAN: That's correct. So these men - these people, it's not just men, but mostly men, work very hard to gain the trust of these vulnerable and innocent children and they're looking to lift them up, yet make them very dependent. It's a very abusive relationship. They will give gifts, they will give compliments, they will make power plays, they will act like a father figure or an authoritarian figure. It's very sick and it's very twisted, but they're very skilled and they're very smart.
WALKER: Yes. Tell me about the results - excuse me -- of these sting operations. I was reading in 2018 BARK, your organization, alerted the FBI to 99 child predators and then in 2019 there's been more than 300 who have been reported.
WALKER: That number obviously is still changing, hopefully going up. It must be gratifying, even though horrifying for the people who work in these sting operations. What happens to the people who are reported to the FBI? Are they all arrested and charged?
JORDAN: So that's a great question. You know we work very closely with both local and national law enforcement and unfortunately these cases can sometimes take a very long time. And also because we're not law enforcement, we don't always know what happens to these people once we flip the case, and so have there been arrests? Yes, thankfully. Do there need to be more? Absolutely.
WALKER: Sure. Lastly for parents who are watching in absolute horror, what is the takeaway advice here for parents? How can we protect our children from these predators?
JORDAN: Yes. So first and foremost, please have open and honest conversations with your children about the harsh realities that exist in an age-appropriate way. Do not think that it won't happen to your child. It very likely can. Next, you need to know what's going on with their devices whether it's an iPhone, an Android, a Kindle, whatever it may be. You need to not just hand them that device blindly and hope that you will know when something's going on. So I strongly-I strongly, strongly encourage you to use a monitoring platform like BARK to get alerts when your child is encountering dangers and also know about the free parental controls that are built into the devices that you're handing your children.
WALKER: Just head-shaking stuff there. That was part of my conversation with BARK's Chief Parenting Officer, Tatania Jordan. And if you want to learn more about how to keep your child safe online, you can go to www.bark.us. BARK is a company that has an app available to parents that monitors behaviors online including cyber bullying, predatory behavior among other things.
BLACKWELL: You remember that Texas police officer who quit after shooting and killing a woman who was playing video games with her nephew? Well a grand jury this weekend indicted that officer. We'll tell you more.
BLACKWELL: This was a nightmare, caught on a police body cam. A black woman killed minutes after playing a video game with her nephew.
WALKER: Now a Texas grand jury says the white former police officer who shot and killed Atatiana Jefferson will face a murder indictment. Police video captured Aaron Dean, 35, failing to identify himself as a police officer telling the victim, show me your hands and then firing the fatal shot just moments later.
BLACKWELL: In the immediate aftermath of the incident, the then interim Forth Worth police chief said he would have fired Dean for multiple violations had he not resigned.
WALKER: This morning fresh court charges set up a test of the U.S. - U.K. relationship. British prosecutors charged a U.S. diplomat's wife, Anne Sacoolas, with the causing of the death of 19-year-old Harry Dunn.
BLACKWELL: So here's the question now. Will U.K. officials seek to extradite her despite her claims of diplomatic immunity? CNN's Phil Black has the story from London.
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Harry Dunn's parents have endured months of grief and frustration. Now finally they say they've had a great day.
CHARLOTTE CHARLES, HARRY DUNN'S MOTHER: We feel that we've taken a huge step in the start of achieving the promise to Harry that we made.
That in itself to us as parents to make that promise to him the night that we lost him that we would seek justice thinking it was going to be really easy knowing the circumstances that night as we did.
BLACK: Nineteen-year-old Harry's motorbike collided with a car in Northhamptonshire, northwest of London in August. The car's driver was Anne Sacoolas, an American diplomat's wife. Harry died soon after the crash. Sacoolas claimed diplomatic immunity and returned to the United States. That's where a British news crew caught up with her last week. She didn't answer their questions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you go back to the U.K. Mrs. Sacoolas?
BLACK: We now know the answer. Anne Sacoolas' lawyer says Anne is devastated by this tragic accident and continues to extend her deepest condolences to the family. She has cooperated fully with the investigation and accepted responsibility but Anne will not return voluntarily to the United Kingdom to face a potential jail sentence for what was a terrible but unintentional accident.
Harry's parents have angrily lobbied for Sacoolas to come back, even making their case directly to President Trump in the White House.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... they're very nice people...
BLACK: They left that meeting upset, Trump had tried to orchestrate a face-to-face meeting with Sacoolas. Now a U.S. state department spokesperson says, we are disappointed by today's announcement and fear that it will not bring a resolution closer. We do not believe that the U.K.'s charging decision is a helpful development.
And Sacoolas is charged with dangerous driving causing death. The maximum punishment is 14 years in prison. Prosecutors say they've now begun extradition proceedings but that's unlikely to be a quick or easy process. The British government says it hopes Sacoolas will now realize the right thing to do is to come back and cooperate. Phil Black, CNN, London.
WALKER: Two cruise ships collide off the coast of Mexico. We'll tell you what the captain says caused the accident and we'll also - wow -- show you more of that video next.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is. He's going to hit us next.
WALKER: Not exactly a sight you see often. Two carnival cruise ships colliding Friday in the morning while at port in Cozumel, Mexico. The Carnival "Glory" was pulling into port when it hit the Carnival "Legend" which was already docked. The company says six guests had minor injuries. BLACKWELL: So the captain of the "Glory" says there is now a formal
investigation, but so far they think the crash was caused by spontaneous wind gusts and strong currents. The ship is back on its way back to its home port in New Orleans. According to a letter from the captain, passengers were given a $100 per room onboard credit.
WALKER: I feel like the video close so you can see that the currents are pretty strong there.
BLACKWELL: Yes. All right, the president signs a massive spending package, it happened last night, to avert a government shutdown. One big line item is getting a fair deal of attention today.
WALKER: Yes the new law hikes how old you have to be to buy cigarettes, vapes, or any tobacco products from 18 to 21. CNN's Jacqueline Howard is here for our health check. So Jacqueline, how significant is this?
JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH CORRESPONDENT: This is a major move, but we already have seen several states individually pass legislation to raise the tobacco buying age to 21. As of this month, 19 states have raised the age to 21 along with Washington, D.C., and more than 500 cities and towns. But what is attention-grabbing, especially about this new national law is that it includes e-cigarettes and vape products. Now, the president has spoken previously in favor of raising the age limit to 21 including e-cigarettes. Just take a listen to this.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have to take care of our kids, most importantly, so we're going to have an age limit of 21 or so, but we'll be coming out with something next week very important on vaping.
HOWARD: The president made those comments after being asked about vaping, so this new law could be seen by some as his response to the youth vaping epidemic. Vaping remains popular among teens. A new federal survey just this week found that 1 in 4 12th graders, 1 in 5 10th graders and nearly 1 in 10 8th graders say they vaped nicotine in the past month. So only time will tell if the White House has any stronger legislation to address youth vaping, but for now this move is its latest move, and it's a big one. Back to you.
BLACKWELL: Jacqueline, thank you.
Still to come, the House has voted to impeach the president. Now there are a lot of people wondering what is next. Everything you need to know about how Senate impeachment trials work. We have that for you after the break.
[06:50:00] BLACKWELL: Good morning, New York City, live picture here. I think this is the spire of the Empire State Building. Somebody tell me if I'm wrong.
WALKER: I believe so.
BLACKWELL: All right, Amara says it is. Our director, Jeff (ph) says it is as well. Beautiful sunrise and horizon there, sun coming up. For the folks listening on Sirius XM, I really wish you could see this because it's a beautiful shot. We don't do it often but we wanted you to see this one.
WALKER: These are the days I wish I did yoga where I could like look out the window and meditate although I don't do yoga.
BLACKWELL: I never have those days.
BLACKWELL: I never have a day when I wish I did yoga.
WALKER: It's supposed to give you zen in your life. Come on.
White House Democrats and White House officials are spending the holidays prepping for the president's Senate trial. Here is how it will all work. The rules were written for Andrew Johnson's trial in 1868. Everything is minutely choreographed. The sergeant-at-arms kicks things off and you'll be seeing a lot of him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye. All persons are commanded to keep silent on pain of imprisonment while the Senate of the United States is sitting for the trial of the Articles of Impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives.
BLACKWELL: Well then Senators take an oath of impartial justice in weighing the arguments presented in the trial.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you solemnly swear that in all things pertaining to the trial of the impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton, President of the United States now pending, you will do impartial justice according to the constitution and laws so help you God?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do. (END VIDEO)
BLACKWELL: At least two Republicans, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina have already declared that they are not impartial jurors.
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: I'm not an impartial juror.
MITCH MCCONNELL, SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I'm not an impartial juror.
BLACKWELL: Supreme Court Justice Chief Roberts presides. Now he's got the power to compel the Senate to vote and he has the power to decide things like the rules of evidence but he can be overruled. If a Senator disagrees with him, he or she can ask for the full body to vote.
TRUMP: I want the whistle-blower who put in a false report to testify.
BLACKWELL: Yes, you know by now that President Trump has talked about calling witnesses like Hunter Biden, Adam Schiff, the whistle-blower, but he'll need 51 Senators to agree, and witnesses cannot just be call and willed by the prosecution or defense And if a Senator wants to question a witness, they have to put that in writing and give it to Chief Justice Roberts. So don't expect much of the showboating we've seen so far. Then we get to the vote.
It take 34 Senators to acquit. There are 54 Republicans, so let's do the math. That means that 20 of them would have to sign with the Democrats and two independents assuming that all of those members will vote to remove him from office. Now all 100 Senators then stand at their seat to cast their decision as either guilty or not guilty. That sounds easy enough but it isn't always so cut and dry.
Senator Arlen Specter confused clerks in the final moments of the Clinton Impeachment by saying not proved therefore not guilty. He decided to borrow a line from Scottish law. He was making the point that he didn't necessarily think Clinton was innocent, just that it had not been proved but it didn't make much of a difference. His vote was still counted in the not guilty column.
WALKER: After a nine-month deployment, Coast Guart Port Security Unit 301 in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is home for the holidays.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It feels good. It's been a long nine months. It's just good to come back and have somebody waiting for me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what timing too? Right? Right before the holiday?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It doesn't really get much sweeter than that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was waterworks well before I thought I would be. When I finally locked eyes on him, it was good.
WALKER: Happy homecoming to them.
BLACKWELL: Next hour of your "New Day" is after a quick break.