Manhunt for Nightclub Gunman Goes On; Husband and Wife Survive New Year's Shooting; House Republicans Drop Plan to Gut Ethics Panel;



New Year's Shooting; House Republicans Drop Plan to Gut Ethics Panel;

Trump Questions U.S. Intelligence on Election Hack; Assange: Russia

was not Source of DNC Leaks. Aired 12-1a ET - Part 1>


[00:00:12] MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.

Ahead this hour:

More arrests in Turkey but the man police say is behind the Istanbul nightclub massacre remains on the run. Has the trail run cold?

Russia's alleged role in hacking in the U.S. Presidential election. Donald Trump questions the intelligence of America's intelligence agencies.

And Brexit bombshell -- the man who was supposed to lead negotiations for the U.K. to leave the E.U. just quit early.

Thanks for being with us, everyone. I'm Michael Holmes.

NEWSROOM L.A. starts right now.

Thanks for your company, everyone.

Turkey extending a state of emergency for another three months as police hunt for the nightclub attacker. 16 people now have been detained for questioning and that includes two foreign nationals arrested at the main airport in Istanbul on Tuesday -- their nationalities unknown at the moment.

Now that new footage you're going to see shows some of the damage to the nightclub where a gunman killed 39 people shortly after they welcomed in the New Year.

A counter terror expert tells CNN this video apparently showing the attacker was first posted on a pro ISIS account. The terror group has claimed responsibility for this attack.

CNN's Ian Lee joins us now live from Istanbul with the latest.

Let's start with the investigation. Do authorities think the trail has run cold?

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, if they think it's run cold, Michael, they haven't told us yet. It has been going into the fourth day since this attack. And we haven't really gotten too much information about him.

Yes, we have the picture of him. We even have that video of him which actually having chillingly was just shot right over here. I can actually see where it was shot from my position. But also, they have his fingerprints.

But we haven't had a name. We do not know his nationality. Was he Turkish? Was he from somewhere else? We do know though that before the attack he came from a neighborhood near the airport, rode in a taxi to a neighborhood that was close by the nightclub. That's when he moved from that area to the nightclub to shoot it up.

But we know that they have hundreds of security forces that are scouring the country for him. But really, if he is an ISIS operative, there is a chance he might try to go to Syria. So it could be a bit of a ticking clock for security forces to try to find him.

HOLMES: So they haven't got him, but we do know about the 16 others who have been detained. Do we know anything about them?

LEE: They haven't released much information other than that at least two of them are foreign nationals. We've seen this before in previous investigations after a terrorist attack. They'll round up some people. They'll be brought in for interrogation. They'll investigate to see if there are any links to them.

Some will probably be released. Others may not be. But this time they're just trying to find fought he had any help, networks supporting him to carry out this attack.

HOLMES: All right, Ian, thanks so much. Ian Lee there, in Istanbul with the latest for us.

A dinner date turned into a struggle to survive for a husband and wife wounded in the crossfire.

CNN's Sara Sidner spoke exclusively with the couple about how they made it out alive. Here now their story.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The sound of rapid gunfire captured from afar. The moment of terror as a gunman began massacring people inside Istanbul's Reina nightclub.

Naif Dakardia Al Wassan (ph) and his wife were inside the Reina nightclub having dinner. Their video shows the excitement before the New Year arrived. It was supposed to be the honeymoon they never had. Instead, they both ended up pierced with bullets.

Naif, too exhausted to recount the story. His wife too shy to show her swollen face speaks for the both of them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When the song says ok, let's go. After ok, let's go -- after this statement I hear -- like shooting.

SIDNER: She says her husband begged her to crawl toward an exit, but it was difficult. A young woman had grabbed on to her shoe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was dying and she was like asking me, cover me, don't go, cover me.

SIDNER: Naif knew they couldn't stop. He was watching the gunman's every move.

[00:04:59] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said to me shhh, don't say anything. He is going to every table and shoot the people.

SIDNER: Then a gaping wound appeared on her knee. She had been shot. And Naif knew then survival meant running. They tried but the gunman responded.

Just as he had done outside the club, he aimed to kill. Naif was hit, a bullet entering his shoulder and exiting his back. He couldn't run anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said to me, "sorry, I can't". And he was like saying if I die, just be with my son until he gets older and after that live your life. I love you. You know how much I love you. And he just give me his ring. And -- and his ring were like filled with blood. And he just gave it to me.

He said to me keep it with you and remember me. If I hurt you someday don't -- it's not me.

SIDNER: Her husband had surprised her with a trip to Turkey. They left Saudi Arabia with excitement. It was their first trip away from their young son.

But their New Year's Eve was interrupted with one terrible thought inside the club -- they may never see their son again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were like seeing people's bodies. It were like dream, dream that I would like saying to him can you just catch my hand, told me if we are in a dream and we were going to open our eyes again, are we alive.

SIDNER: She began dragging her blood-soaked husband. They made it just outside the club. Finally relief -- a taxi driver arrived and helped hoist them to safety.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If he hear me now, that taxi guy, if he hear me, I say to you thank you so much. I really appreciated everything you do, you did for us. You saved my life -- me and my husband.

SIDNER: Sara Sidner, CNN -- Istanbul.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Losing our son, we were like want to see him.

(END VIDEOTAPE) HOLMES: Well, Donald Trump apparently will not be revealing what he knows that other people do not know about Russian hacking. Not any time soon, anyway. That was supposed to happen on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Well, now Trump says the intelligence briefing on so-called Russian hacking was delayed until Friday perhaps for more time to build a case. "Very strange", he tweeted.

U.S. intelligence officials deny there is any delay. They say it wasn't even planned to have a meeting until later in the week.

Trump is also making his mark in the new Congress. Test driving his plans for the auto industry as well.

CNN's Jim Acosta with the latest.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This was not draining the swamp. On the very first day of the new Congress, Republicans in the House were set to pass a proposal to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics -- the independent watchdog that investigates allegations of wrongdoing on Capitol Hill.

The plan, which would have placed ethics probes under the control of lawmakers, was yanked. Republicans suddenly reversed course after an outcry from Democrats and public watch dogs, not to mention pressure from President-Elect Donald Trump who tweeted, "bad idea".

"With all that Congress has to work," Trump tweeted, "do they really have to make the weakening of the independent ethics watchdog, as unfair as it may be, their number one act and priority?"

Trump's tweet seemed to undercut one of his top advisers Kellyanne Conway who cautioned she hadn't discussed the matter with the President-Elect but sounded warm to the proposal.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISER: Many of these people, members and their staffers who have been under investigation have complained about their due process rights being violated and being compromised.

ACOSTA: But Democrats were already pouncing.

REP. STEVE ISRAEL (D), NEW YORK: You know, they said they were going to drain the swamp. They're distributing free swimming passes in the swamp by this change in the regulations.

ACOSTA: Trump is also going against much of his party on trade, again threatening high tariffs on U.S. companies that ship jobs to other countries. Today's target -- auto giant GM. Trump tweeted "General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealers tax-free across border. Make in U.S.A. or pay big border tax."

SEAN SPICER, INCOMING WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He doesn't want companies in the United States to be able to go leave this country and then sell back to the U.S., leaving the American worker behind.

ACOSTA: The problem is GM says Trump is wrong, adding in a statement "All Chevrolet Cruze sedans sold in the U.S. are built in GM's assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio. GM builds the Chevrolet Cruze hatchback for global markets in Mexico with a small number sold in the U.S."

But aides argued they're getting results, pointing to Ford's decision to scrap plans to build a new plant in Mexico after candidate Trump warned of consequences.

[00:09:53] DONALD TRUMP (R), U.S. PRESIDENT-ELECT: We'll be calling the executives at Ford, or whatever company it, and we'll tell them very nicely that if they want to move their factory or their plant to another country, they will have to pay a 35 percent tax when they sell their cars or their product back into the United States.

ACOSTA: Still, Trump and the GOP are on the same page when it comes to opposing President Obama's plans to pare down the number of detainees at Guantanamo, with the President-Elect tweeting, "There should be no further releases from Gitmo. These are extremely dangerous people and should not be allowed back on to the battlefield."

The White House snapped back, "Trump's tweet will have no impact on the current administration's plans."

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: No, it will not. He'll have an opportunity to implement the policy that he believes is most effective when he takes office on January 20th.

ACOSTA: A Trump transition official tells CNN Donald Trump is not expected to make any formal remarks on Russian hacking in the 2016 election on Wednesday. That's despite the fact that over the weekend Trump told reporters he would have more to say about Russian hacking on, quote, "Tuesday or Wednesday".

Jim Acosta, CNN -- New York.


HOLMES: And joining me here in Los Angeles, Ron Brownstein, CNN's senior political analyst and senior editor for "The Atlantic".


HOLMES: I know. It's great to see you in person. Good to have you here.

You know, it was interesting with Donald Trump now putting off this I'll tell you what I know that nobody else knows. And it's not the first time. He said multiple times I'm going to have a news conference, I'm going to do this, and then it gets put off.

Is there any sort of fallout for that? I mean he said he is going to have a news conference on the 11th of January. What if that doesn't happen?

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. Well, you know, I think certainly within the mainstream media there is a sense that he has been less accessible than any president-elect. I think for his voters and for his constituency, he is communicating to them through Twitter.

Hey, the underlying substance here is more significant. I mean the so-called hacking again continuing to cast doubt here. And it's important for people to kind of recognize that yes, we are waiting for a final report with all of the details from the intelligence agencies.

But as far as back as October 7th, the entire U.S. intelligence community issued a statement saying they have high confidence, the term of art, that Russia had hacked the DNC and John Podesta in an effort to influence the outcome of this election.

HOLMES: And let's put up the tweet because you said you made the point about supposed --

BROWNSTEIN: So-called.

HOLMES: -- so-called hacking. But the other thing too when you look at this quote/unquote "intelligence briefing".


HOLMES: Now, I mean that in itself is saying something. What is the impact of the soon-to-be president basically saying, quote/unquote "intelligence community" that he is going to be heading, these 17 agencies who all say it was Russia and he says supposedly?

BROWNSTEIN: So many, you know -- it feels like in so many different spheres of this transition we could just start with the phrase "in an unprecedented development, comma".

Look, this is an unprecedented development to have an incoming president so openly at war with the intelligence community and raising the concern that when intelligence is presented to him that doesn't fit his agenda or his preconceptions that he is simply going to dismiss it and say I have other source.

We don't really know exactly where this is going to go. The only thing I would say is one thing we have learned is the intelligence community can make life difficult through leaks to the press and to Congress. You do wonder exactly how this relationship is going to unfold.

HOLMES: The one answer that nobody seems to have, and I certainly don't expect you to have it, is why is he so Putin-friendly? Why is it that 99 senators can say it was Russia? 17 intelligence organizations can say it was Russia? And he doesn't. He says Putin is a smart guy. Why is that?

BROWNSTEIN: I think there are a couple of reasons for that. I think first there is a backward looking reason and a forward looking reason. The backward looking reason is that he seems to believe that any acknowledgment of Russia's role in trying to disrupt this election in some ways undermines the validity of his victory. He clearly views this as an attempt to kind of smudge his --

HOLMES: Collective ego.

BROWNSTEIN: And also I think a political thing in the sense that he worries that it kind of reduces his credibility.

But I think there is a forward looking reason too which is that he views this as a threat to his desire to reset relations and to change relations with Russia, you know, as we talked about.

A lot of the populist parties, a lot of the kind of populist parties in Europe, certainly Steve Bannon who is close to him in the White House, have argued that whatever you think about Putin, there is a bigger threat -- Islamic radicalism. And we need to subjugate or submerge our concerns about Putin and try to work with him on that.

And I think there is an element of that as well. He clearly views this as both a threat to him politically, backward looking; and a threat to his agenda with Russia forward looking. And as a result, he is systematically downplaying what is a very serious threat not only in the U.S., but the potential that this model could be replicated this year in European elections and France and Germany in particular.

HOLMES: Because nobody who matters is really saying this impacted the outcome of the election.

[00:15:03] BROWNSTEIN: Right.

HOLMES: The issue is that it happened at all and could have been a foreign power, right?


HOLMES: I mean you had Julian Assange today. And I think -- why don't we play what Julian Assange had to say in an interview earlier today.



JULIAN ASSANGE, WIKILEAKS: He's acting like a lawyer instead of being honest. So he is playing games by trying to suggest that Russia, quote, "hacked the election", unquote. Pretending that what's going on here is Russia hacking voting machines, for which there is no evidence. Then saying without -- suggesting without saying that our information was part of a plot to get Donald Trump elected.


HOLMES: So WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange speaking with Sean Hannity from Fox News.

BROWNSTEIN: Just stop there -- right. I mean the whole world spinning on its axis with Hannity basically doing a friendly interview.

HOLMES: With a guy that he has derided in the past. What is interesting there -- would you not expect Julian Assange to say it wasn't the Russians?

BROWNSTEIN: Sure, right. And look, I don't think people believe -- I've not heard anyone say that the Russian hacking was the decisive factor in the election.

Was it an irritant? Was it a problem for Hillary Clinton and her forces? Yes, it was. I mean there was a series of kind of difficult headlines starting in the summer with the removal of the Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, going on through the fall with John Podesta that kind of reinforced this Trump narrative that Clinton, if you elect Clinton, you're going to have four years of scandal, four years of investigation.

And at the end, there were a fair number of voters who had significant doubts about Trump who said, look I don't know exactly what I'm going to get with him. I know what I'm going get with her, and I don't really want it.

In the exit poll, 20 percent of the people who said Trump was not qualified to be president voted for him. And that really is the number that kind of quantifies the number of Americans who said, you know, at the end, I know what I'm getting with Clinton. I don't want it. I'm ready to take a chance.

And I do think that the Russian hack did have a factor in that, even if it wasn't clear that it was the decisive factor in the election.

HOLMES: Yes, exactly. All those people obviously looked to it -- a litany of concerns about Donald Trump.


HOLMES: Ethical and business wise and all that and said I don't care as well about those things. I'm going to vote for him anyway.

BROWNSTEIN: I'm going to take the risk for change.


One other quick question just generally. I want to get your thoughts on the Twitter -- the Twitter aspect anyway. If he keeps doing this as president, the problem being and the North Korean one really got me because he was saying it won't happen when it comes to intercontinental ballistic missile headed for the United States. It won't happen.

The problem is when you do foreign policy in 140 characters, the South Koreans took it as a threat. Others thought he meant well, they're just not going to be able to do this technically. Nobody knows what he means.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. No one knows what he means. And what we above all don't know is what is the process, you know.

HOLMES: Right.

BROWNSTEIN: Normally, before a word comes out of the mouth of the President of the United States, there is an extensive process. There are deputy committees, principle committees. There is a policy.

We don't know if anyone is kind of filtering Donald Trump. There was one tweet where he misspelled unprecedented as unpresidented (ph) which kind of made you wonder if anybody else had read it before he sent it out.

So I think this is going to be something that is going to be very difficult for the government to adjust to and even more difficult, I think, for other governments around the world. Being unsure how much of this actually translates into policy and what it translates to policy.

One thing, though, if you look at kind of the confrontations he has had with U.S. auto companies in the last few week, that is where these tweets that many people thought were just posturing, he is following it up in policy.

So it may be a mistake to simply assume that anything that comes off his smart phone at 3:00 in the morning is simply going to disappear by 7:00 a.m. the next morning. Some of this may in fact signal where he is going.

HOLMES: Maybe it will. That's the problem.

BROWNSTEIN: Exactly right.

HOLMES: We don't know.

Ron -- thanks so much. Ron Brownstein. We'll talk to you again in the next hour. Thanks so much.

All right. Next up here on show CNN L.A. -- much more on the explosive new information from the founder of WikiLeaks about the cyber attacks connected to the U.S. election.

Also still to come, one of the lead Brexit negotiators suddenly steps down. How that could impact the talks, now just a few months away.

Stay with us. We'll be right back.


HOLMES: Now as we were discussing before the break, the founder of WikiLeaks says Russia was not the source his Web site used to leak those e-mails from Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman -- Julian Assange making those comments on Fox News.

The Obama administration has said Russia was behind the cyber attacks meant to interfere with the U.S. election. But Assange says not true.


ASSANGE: We can say and we have said repeatedly over the last two months that our source is not the Russian government and it is not a state party.


HOLMES: Meantime U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump tweeting that his, quote, "Intelligence briefing on so-called Russian hacking was delayed until Friday. Perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange."

But U.S. and intelligence officials say actually that meeting was not delayed. It just hasn't been scheduled yet and wasn't going to happen until the end of the week anyway.

Internet security analyst Hemu Nigam joins us with his perspective. I suppose -- let's start with Julian Assange. You would expect him to say it wasn't the Russians because the Russians aren't going to deliver stuff like that to him from the embassy in a FedEx envelope are they?

HEMU NIGAM, INTERNET SECURITY ANALYST: It was absolutely expected what he said because the bottom line is if I do want to give you something, I'm not going to tell you it's me.


NIGAM: I will give it to somebody who will give to it somebody who will give it to somebody, and eventually it will end up in his hands. So when he is speaking, he is being accurate, so to speak.

HOLMES: What do you make of the evidence? Donald Trump is not satisfied there is enough evidence. There are others who say there is not enough evidence. What is enough evidence?

[00:25:06] NIGAM: Well, I think what we have is a battle between what America is trained to do, which is look at the things from our court system, which is, well, beyond a reasonable doubt do we have the evidence to say you're guilty of a crime or something like that versus what the intelligence community does.

It doesn't do law enforcement investigations. It does things to protect the interests of the U.S. In this case, unfortunately, the intelligence community cannot give the full source of the information they have. If they do that, you may have a spy who dies.


NIGAM: That's a very dangerous part of it. And that's why what we should have been doing is focusing on what to protect ourselves rather than politicizing security. And the more we politicize security, everyone -- now we're in Hollywood -- everyone is going to have a narrative. They will take snippets of the facts that are coming out and fit the Trump narrative, the Putin narrative, Obama narrative and in this case also the Assange narrative. HOLMES: How have you seen that unfold during this debate? I mean from President Obama's position to Donald Trump's to Vladimir Putin's?

NIGAM: Well, let me give you a perfect example of the two narratives. You see snippets of evidence. There was Russian signatures in the hacks, which frankly all of us in the security community are kind of sitting back and laughing at that saying some snippets?

Hackers use each other's code all the time. Of course there is going to be snippets of other hacks. And if you want to blame the Russians, of course you're going to leave it. That's one narrative.

Now I can say on the other side well there are snippets of Russian things. They made mistakes. It is definitely the Russian. So I just choose which narrative to go by. And I think that's what is going on.

HOLMES: So it's like digital fingerprints and so on don't convince, the digital fingerprints

Nigam: The digital fingerprints in and of themselves do not point to frankly anything. They have suggestions, they have things that hackers may have left behind. They have hackers who are borrowing things from other people.

But that's why I don't actually question so much the intelligence committee. They may know things we will never know. I'm one who has had security clearance in the past in the private and the public sector there are things that you just can't talk about because it's going to cause serious danger to lives or ongoing investigations.

So in some sense, if you politicize what they're allowed to tell you the snippets of it, which is what has been happening here, you're going to create all sorts of chaos for us in the security community, the question of why are we talking about this and not what we should be talking on which is what are we doing to protect ourselves given that we're all the digital cold war of hackers.

HOLMES: Yes. And everybody is hacking everyone.

NIGAM: Everyone's hacking everyone.

HOLMES: Hemu Nigam -- thanks so much, Internet security analyst and founder and CEO of SSP Blue.

NIGAM: Thanks for having me.

HOLMES: Good to see you.

Well, the U.K. preparing to negotiate its exit from the E.U. But first they'll have to find somebody new to do it.

Also, 2017 could prove to be a tumultuous year in European politics in general. Why the Brexit might be just the beginning.

That's coming up.



[00:31:35] MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Michael Holmes. Let's update you on the headlines this hour.

Turkey extending a state of emergency another three months after the Istanbul nightclub attack. Police still hunting for that man on your screen. They believe he is the shooter who killed 39 people. 16 people have now been detained in connection to the investigation, including two foreign nationals arrested at the city's main airport.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says his group did not use Russia as a source for damning e-mails it leaked from Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman. The Obama administration has said Russia was behind the cyberattacks meant to interfere with the U.S. election.

Ford cancelling plans to build a new factory in Mexico, instead saying it will create 700 new U.S. jobs. Ford's CEO says it is a vote of confidence in the pro-business environment Donald Trump is creating. The president-elect then tweeted General Motors should make its cars or all of them in the U.S. or pay higher tariffs.

Activists say an air strike by an unidentified plane killed at least 25 people in Idlib in Syria on Tuesday. The video you see there claiming to show the incident. Now that strike targeted headquarters for the insurgent group formally known as Al Nusra front, which is a formerly al Qaeda affiliated group, not part of the ceasefire agreement. They were excluded from it.

Well, the British ambassador to the European Union has resigned. Sir Ivan Rogers would have been responsible to leading the U.K. up to the Brexit negotiations, but that will now be left to his successor as the entire EU wonders who will take his place.