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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Donald Trump Slams Joe McQuaid and His Newspaper; Trump Ramps Up Attacks on Hillary and Bill Clinton; 18-Year-Old Ethan Couch, the So-Called Affluenza Teen, Apprehended Mexico; Record Rains Bring Massive, Deadly Flooding Across Missouri; Interview with Director of 'Steve Jobs' Documentary. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired December 29, 2015 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[20:00:03] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: Good evening. I'm Jim Sciutto in again tonight for Anderson.

And we begin with breaking news. The storm system that has already claimed dozens of lives has now threatening to put a big swath of the country under water by New Year's. More than 18 million tonight are under flood warnings across the United States.

The situation dire in Missouri with 16 counties are facing severe flooding. That has already broken one 25-year-old record. Here is what Governor Jay Nixon said this earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. JAY NIXON, MISSOURI: You are talking about for the nine, eight, you are talking about almost 10 more vertical feet of moving water. So the power we are talking about as well as the volume is extremely significant. The only time I hear that and say that we have a lot more water coming. We try to stay out in front of it as best we can. Today is Tuesday. As I said before we are looking at Thursday night for Friday morning for that crest.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO: Ten vertical feet of moving water. The governor has activated the National Guard. Evacuations have been underway all day long today. The floods have already claimed at least 13 lives in Missouri alone. We will have much more ahead on the deadly flooding in Missouri and across the Midwest.

First though, the feud that's heating up between Donald Trump and the publisher of "the New Hampshire Union Leader." About this time last night at a rally in New Hampshire, Mr. Trump was slamming Joe McQuaid and his newspaper and in typical Trump fashion, he didn't mince words.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So this guy, his name is Joe McQuaid. He is a lowlife. I'm telling you. Look at this (INAUDIBLE). I watched this guy and honestly, he is a loser. You have a very dishonest newspaper. It is also a failing newspaper. It is going down the tubers (ph). (END VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO: Mr. Trump served up those gems just hours after Mr. McQuaid wrote this in an editorial. Quote "he reminds us of the grownup bully biff in back to the future movie series. On February 9th, we trust New Hampshire Republicans will send biff Trump back to somewhere, anywhere but on the road to the most important elective office in the United States at a most crucial time for this nation."

So no love lost certainly between the two. Mr. Trump has been hurling new attacks at McQuaid on twitter just in the last few minutes. Mr. McQuaid's newspaper has endorsed Chris Christie and Mr. Trump has had a lot to say about that as well. That we are going to give Mr. McQuaid the floor and he joins me now.

Joe McQuaid, thanks for taking the time.

JOSEPH MCQUAID, PUBLISHER, NEW HAMPSHIRE UNION LEADER: Hey, Jim, how are you?

SCIUTTO: So Joe, Donald Trump, you heard his words, certainly had a lot to say about you last night at his rally. Let's just go through the list briefly here. He called you a lowlife, a sleaze bag, useless. What's your response to everything he said about you?

MCQUAID: Well, it is not at all surprising. I'm surprised that it comes this late. I thought that after we endorsed another candidate, we would join the long list of losers in the Trump lexicon. But I think we got under his skin with the editorial yesterday, which ran on the front page, which is where we go when we want to make a point.

SCIUTTO: It is an important endorsement leading up to the New Hampshire primary. It always is in the election cycle.

Now, back in August, you say that Trump actually sent you a letter asking for your endorsement the day after he didn't participate in the New Hampshire voter's first forum. I just want to read part of that what letter says, quote. And I have it mere.

"I got great credit for not coming. People called it insight and vision. That's what the country needs. And I hope this, along with many of my other correct decisions, will lead you," and this is key, "a man I have great respect for and the Union Leader, to endorse me at the appropriate time."

So clearly, he had much kinder words for you just a few months ago. But Trump now just tweeting about this letter after we asked him campaign for comment and about it. This is what he said, quote, in this tweet. Shows how dumb Joe McQuaid of the dying "Union Leader" is to put out the letter I wrote saying why I didn't do his failed debate. I got to ask for your response to that?

MCQUAID: I hadn't caught up with his latest twitter feed. It shows how dumb I am. He said in his crazy stuff last night and yesterday afternoon to this TV station that the reason we lashed out at him editorially, was because he wouldn't do our forum. Yet, the day after the forum in which he says it was a lousy forum and he was brilliant for not doing it. He was still asking for our endorsement and calling me a man for whom he has great respect.

We also have many other quotes last summer in which the newspaper, "the Union Leader," is terrific and I'm terrific, et cetera. I am mildly surprised at the number of balled-face lies that he committed yesterday in trying to flame us with his Trump tower of inferno.

[20:05:16] SCIUTTO: His Trump tower of inferno.

Now, as we know, we have just quoted them here. Trump used very tough words, familiar words to describe you. But I want to get to how you described him in your editorial. You describe the quote as "crude, a blow hard with no clear political philosophy, no deeper understanding of the important and serious role of president of the United States than one of the goons he lets rough up protesters in his crowd. So do you think, do you see an argument there that he is responding to you with similar language that you used to describe him?

MCQUAID: Absolutely. The only and clear difference is that I was telling the truth about Trump. Trump has been lying about the "Union Leader" and yours truly. And the reason that I said he was a crude blow hart and then cited several examples of it, Carly Fiorina, a face you don't want in the White House, John McCain, not a true war hero, et cetera, et cetera was because somebody has to call a spade a spade. And that this guy is not going to be an emperor and he isn't got no clothes whatsoever. So I was happy to do that in simple, direct English.

SCIUTTO: So let's talk a bit about the numbers as we approach the New Hampshire primary because it has certainly surprised a lot of pundits that even with these comments, and that primary just 42 days away, that his support is maintained, keeps growing. You said in your editorial that you trust that New Hampshire voters will not vote for him. But the fact of the matter is that the polls still show him polling the highest in New Hampshire. What do you think is going to change between now and February 9th?

MCQUAID: Well, I think on February 9th, the voters of New Hampshire are going to show that the polls are incorrect. And that the news media, the networks, yours included, have elevated these national polls to way more important than they should have been and should be. The fact of the national networks deciding to limit the stage of Republicans to now six is going to be the next one. But even eight or ten back last summer is why we had our voters' first forum. It is because credible candidates don't get a chance to be heard in the states which are going to do the voting, because the national networks won't let them on prime time. So, of course, you are going to get certain bubbles for certain candidates. And the national poll is going to show Trump ahead, because he has got the name recognition. He is a TV brand. And he is, in part, a creature of the national television networks.

SCIUTTO: Joe McQuaid, I want to thank you for taking the time tonight and giving us your side of this argument that seems to still have a life of its own. We appreciate it. MCQUAID: Well, your very welcome, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Well, Mr. Trump is also ramping up his attacks on Hillary and Bill Clinton. He claims that Mrs. Clinton has made her husband's past infidelities fair game for criticism after accusing Trump of being sexist. Just a short time ago on his campaign plane, he was asked if that means his own personal indiscretions are fair game. Here is his answer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Yes, they would be. And frankly, Hillary brought up the whole thing with sexist. And all I did is reverse it on her because she has a major problem. It happens to be right in her house. So, if she wants do that, we are going to go right after the president, the ex- president and we will see how it comes out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO: Just after last night's rally in New Hampshire, Mr. Trump tweeted this.

Remember that Bill Clinton was brought in to help Hillary against Obama in 2008. He was terrible, failed badly and was called a racist.

On "the Today Show" this morning, Mr. Trump said he, himself, wasn't calling President Obama a racist in that tweet. And he also took another swipe at Bill Clinton's treatment of women.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: He was called it by the Obama campaign. He was called it loud and clear. He was extremely insulted but that's what they said. They called him a racist. I don't believe he is a racist if you want to know the truth. But they called him a racist. It was a miserable campaign. There was certainly a lot of abuse of women. And you look at whether it is Monica Lewinsky or Paula Jones or many of them. And that certainly will be fair game. Certainly if they play the woman's card with respect to me, that will be fair game.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO: I just want to be clear here, it was Donald Trump tweeting that he did not call President Clinton, himself, a racist. He didn't make that accusation himself. He is saying that others did at that time.

Certainly, a lot to discuss. Joining me now CNN political commentator and Trump supporter Jeffrey Lord, also CNN political commentator Tara Setmayer. She is the former communication director for Representative Dana Roarbacker. We also have Kellyanne Conway, president and CEO of the polling company that runs one of Ted Cruz's super PACs.

Jeff, I would like to speak with you. So Trump continuing to make the argument that Bill Clinton's infidelity is fair game bringing up Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky. Is that fair game? After all, Bill Clinton is not running for president. Hillary Clinton is running for president.

[20:10:41] JEFFREY LORD, FORMER REAGAN WHITE HOUSE POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Right. Well, the problem here for Hillary Clinton is that Juanita Broaddrick is out there. And Juanita Broaddrick famously accused President Clinton when he was attorney general of Arkansas, of raping her. And she has quite specifically accused Hillary Clinton of threatening her to be quiet. So that's about Hillary Clinton, not Bill. And she is saying, flatly, she is an enabler and that she was a bully and that she threatened her.

Kathleen Willey has said that Hillary Clinton is the war on women. So yes, sure. It is absolutely relevant. If they are going to go down this path on the war of women, you have a whole bunch of women out there who are saying that Hillary Clinton herself played a role on this and not a good one.

SCIUTTO: Just to be clear, Jeffrey, I want to be sure of what you are accusing Hillary Clinton of here. You are accusing her of helping to cover up a sexual assault.

LORD: I am not accusing her. Juanita Broaddrick is accusing her of this.

SCIUTTO: OK. Just want to be clear.

LORD: In print and on the radio. Absolutely. I have the transcripts.

SCIUTTO: We are aware of that story.

Kellyanne, I want to ask you as we are on this topic. Fact is Trump has made his share of questionable comments about women through the years. So, is he treading on thin ice here by calling Bill Clinton the sexist perhaps opening himself up to criticism of his own comments?

KELLYANNE CONWAY, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: He has already been criticized for those comments. He was criticized roundly in August. It was mentioned in a live first debate in Cleveland on August 6th. And I think let's back up a little bit and realize why Mr. Trump said what he said. It is because Hillary Clinton called him a sexist.

And so, just as he has done with the Republican candidates, it seems like he attacked after he has been attacked. And I believe if Mrs. Clinton is going run a gender-based campaign subtly saying to all the Republican candidates, I dare you to speak to me a certain way or use a certain word about me. And of course, the subtle reminder that we are voting for the -- we need to elect the first female president. If she is going to play the gender card, that the gender card, in fact, may be played against her. And that's what this is about.

Look. Mrs. Clinton -- Secretary Clinton, herself, in a town hall meeting in New Hampshire, this fall, said, all sexual assault victims ought to be relieve. They have the right to be heard. And she was promptly asked by someone not named Donald Trump in a town hall meeting in New Hampshire with their sexual assault victims include Juanita Broaddrick and Kathleen Willey. So she will be asked questions like this by the voters. The voters will decide whether it is important. I frankly think her husband's casual relationship with an intern is less relevant to most of the electorate than Hillary Clinton's casual relationship with the truth. Her lack of trust worthiness is really what is dogging her in some of these polls.

SCIUTTO: Tara, I want to ask you, the tweet from Donald Trump which I quoted Bill Clinton was called a racist when asked about that this morning, if Trump, himself, was calling Bill Clinton a racist. He said he didn't believe Clinton was. But if Clinton was called a racist by others, this of course, related to his comments before the South Carolina primary.

So if he is going to put something like that out there, does he need to own it and not tiptoe around it? Because that applies to the racist comments. Certainly applies to other accusations here of abuse as opposed to just sexist comments. Abuse by the former president.

TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Listen. Who needs to own it? Does Trump need to own the implication of his tweet? I mean, Trump doesn't own up to anything. He says what he wants to say, because he has absolutely nothing to lose, OK. That's what makes him such a rogue candidate. In politics, most candidates are very cautious. And they have a limit to how far they will go, because there is usually a consequence for it.

For Donald Trump, let's defy the laws of political gravity. Hillary Clinton has everything to lose. She has everything on the line here. She has waited her whole life for this one moment. It was right there in her hands in 2008. It slipped through. And now is her big chance. And she knows that her candidacy is flawed. There is lack of enthusiasm. That's why she is reeling out Bill Clinton because he is popular.

And bringing up -- for Donald Trump to do this, it is part for the course. So, to throw that out there, just like when, you know, so did you beat your wife? And it is like, what? You know, as the famous political actinium. But no, you just want to put it out there because you want the candidate to answer, no, I have never beaten my wife.

It is the same thing. Trump is a master at this, master manipulator, master manipulator of the messaging. And what he has done is he has taken over the entire new cycle again with this. He knows exactly what he is doing. And it is not -- Hillary Clinton is not controlling the message, Donald Trump is. And that's exactly what he wants to do.

[20:15:22] SCIUTTO: Jeffrey, I want to ask you. Let's get what Donald Trump is accusing Hillary Clinton, for instance, here of on playing the feminist card, playing the sexist card. Responding to a comment is not the same as running a gender-based campaign? And let's be fair here. Donald Trump says a lot of things that might open him up to playing, whether it is the ethnicity card or the race card or the Muslim card, you know.

So to respond to an attack or make a comment doesn't mean that the campaign is defined by that particular cause, is it? Is that a fair accusation to level at the Clinton campaign?

LORD: In her case, she has, I mean, on numerous occasions, she says, don't you think it is time for a woman president? You know, in 1966, John F. Kennedy was running for president.

Wait, Jim. When John F. Kennedy was running for president he said, I am not the catholic candidate for president. I am the Democratic Party's candidate who happens also to be a catholic. If Hillary Clinton is nominated, she will be the Democratic Party's candidate who happens also to be a woman. She is not running as the woman's candidate except that she is. So she is not going to be that. And so, you know, she is playing that card. And this has opened a whole set of kind of worms for in doing so.

SETMAYER: Jim, every opportunity Hillary Clinton - every opportunity she has, she reminds us that she is a woman. She talks about, you know, the first woman this and this and that. And (INAUDIBLE) the ridiculousness she sets out there to pander to Latinos, the grandmother thing. And she does it all the time.

SCIUTTO: Donald Trump talks about how much money he made. Theoretically --

(CROSSTALK)

SETMAYER: But Donald Trump doesn't play the money card. So we know - I mean, Hillary Clinton is being so disingenuous on that.

CONWAY: Just quickly, Trump has done something else smart here. I don't know if it has been missed which is he is pivoting to a general election now. The fact that he is taking Hillary Clinton on, will really animate the base, one. And, two, it suggests to me he thinks he is going to win the Republican nomination. And now, he is showing and all these polls are now coming out showing that the Clinton/Trump race is a little bit tighter than some people may have hoped or may have thought that he is pivoting. And he is also paying Hillary back for suggesting in the democratic debate that he is in the ISIS recruiting videos. A comment that many Democrats immediately asked Secretary Clinton to recant.

SCIUTTO: All right. We have to leave it there. Jeffrey Lord, Tara Setmayer and Kellyanne Conway. I'm Jeff, I appreciate it. But great to have you on.

CONWAY: Thank you. Happy New Year.

SCIUTTO: We mix it up a lot there. And Happy New Year to all of you.

Just ahead, an international manhunt ends in Mexico. The man, actually a teen. 18-year-old Ethan Couch, the so-called affluenza teen. He had dyed his hair and beard. He was hiding out with his mother. We speak with the Texas sheriff about the going away party that two threw before they skipped town.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [20:21:30] SCIUTTO: The jig is up for teenage fugitive Ethan Couch and his mother. They were detained today in Mexico. Here is what the Texas teen looked like when authorities found the two hiding out in an apartment near (INAUDIBLE). His darkened hair and with a beard apparently to help disguise himself. In 2013, when Couch killed four people while driving drunk, he was blonde and clean-shaven, at 16 years old. He got off with a light sentence, no prison, just rehab and probation, after his lawyers argued his client was too rich and too spoiled to know right from wrong. The sentenced sparked a lot of outrage at that time and that is putting it mildly.

After this video recently surfaced, apparently showing Couch at a beer pong party, he vanished. His probation officer couldn't reach him. And an arrest warrant was issued two weeks ago for allegedly violating his probation. His mother, Tonya Couch, also facing charges now. The prosecutors' office said today they will be deported to the U.S. It is not clear exactly when that will happen, though. Authority said today they have evidence that mother and son carefully planned their disappearance.

Joining me now, Sheriff Dee Anderson of Tarrant County Texas as well as CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney, Mark Geragos.

Sheriff Anderson, if I can begin with you, thank you for joining us. What information are you able to give us tonight on where Ethan Couch and his mother are being held tonight and when you expect them to be brought back here to the U.S. to face charges?

SHERIFF DEE ANDERSON, TARRANT COUNTY, TEXAS: They are still in the custody of the Mexican authorities in Mexico. We expect within the next 24-48 hours for them to be brought back to the United States. Obviously, we won't publicize or talk publicly about when that occurs for security reasons. But I suspect very soon to have them back in Tarrant County and where they belong, locked up in a facility.

SCIUTTO: Sheriff, looking at this, it looks like something that they both skillfully planned. I mean, even had a going-away party before they left which would have seemed to have given opportunity for people to warn authorities that they were going. But is that what you believe now? That they took meticulous plans to leave the country possible for good?

ANDERSON: I do believe that. I don't know for good. But I certainly think they planned to run and run a long way and for a long time. And I said that when he first disappeared. He had a big head start on us. I mean, they certainly had enough money and an ability to go a long way and hide. So I didn't think we would find them close by. I didn't think we would find them in this country. And sure enough, they did. They went to Mexico. And they were I think going to be in it for the long-haul. So I wasn't surprised at all where we found them. That was one of the two places that we were prone to look, Mexico and the Caribbean were the two things we heard where they might end up. And so, it was planned, no doubt. They planned it out and left to give them the maximum lead time before we started even looking for them. SCIUTTO: So Mark Geragos, I have to ask you, you have seen a lot of

cases before. Have you ever seen one like this, I mean, the disguises going to Mexico but holding a party before? I mean, it just seems unbelievable that they would imagine they could get away, free and clean?

MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I'm not so sure that I buy all of this. I mean, for all I know, mom wants to take him on a vacation to Mexico over Christmas break. They didn't adequately tell the probation authorities. Who knows if they are going away forever? I mean, you know, literally, we were told that he was facing ten years. Today, that has been scaled back that he is facing 120 days. I don't know that anybody decides they are just going to flee, because they are facing 120 days for failure to check in with their probation officer. I know it makes a great story and it makes a great tabloid picture for, you know, the youth trying to flee and everything else. At the same time, I expect that we are going to hear some information that counterbalances the story that's being put out there right now.

[20:25:28] SCIUTTO: Sheriff, I want to ask you, if you buy that, do you think this was just a lark? They were going for a vacation based on the preparation you saw and I mean, and the laws that they appear to have broken here?

ANDERSON: I don't think you go on a vacation and disappear and not tell anybody and cut your hair and dye your hair and hide out in a shabby apartment in a resort town and not be heard from -- from anyone, any family members or anything. I think it was clear that they snuck across the border. There was no knowledge by anybody where they had gone. And I don't believe at all for a second that they were not trying to escape.

She was -- his mother was not going to let him do any jail time. It didn't matter if it was 120 days or one day. They fought so hard to keep him out of trouble when he killed four innocent people drinking three times the legal limit of alcohol. There is no doubt in my mind that when the video came out that showed him at that party and he was facing possible revocation of his probation, they made a conscious decision to run. And they did so.

SCIUTTO: Mark, let me ask you. Once Eric Couch and his mother are in fact reported back on U.S. soil, what scenarios do you see playing out in this case? Do you see them facing charges here? Can they use, we were just going on vacation defense at this point to avoid time?

GERAGOS: Well, I think that's exactly what the mother is going to say. I think the mother is going to argue. And I think it is going to come out that she is now estranged from the father and she is going to say the father was just setting her up and was making it look like she was fleeing or something else. I just don't think - I mean, the story seems too ludicrous to me. And we will wait and see. I don't disagree with the sheriff. Obviously, he caught a break. This young man caught a break when he was put on juvenile probation and not held in custody for a long period of time. Obviously, people are anti this kid. Obviously, at least if you believe what you see on the Internet, a lot of people think the mother should do some real time. So I get that.

But at the same time, I just think there may be another side to this story. And before we jump on the bandwagon and do our public lynching, we might want to hold back a little bit and wait and hear what they have to say.

SCIUTTO: We will certainly keep following it.

Dee Anderson and Mark Geragos, thank you for joining us.

Coming up next, the breaking news. Deadly flooding in Missouri, rivers there near or over record levels.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCIUTTO: More now on tonight's breaking news. Record rain bringing massive and deadly flooding sweeping across Missouri. We are seeing evacuations, the National Guard deployed and so far, at least 13 lives lost. In Union, Missouri, there is water covering cars, homes, restaurants. Three major rivers in the area, the Mississippi, the Missouri and the Merrimac are near or at record flood levels. It's so bad that one intrepid photographer even managed to catch this house floating away in Bourbon, Missouri. CNN meteorologist Tom Sater is from the area. He joins us with the latest from our Atlanta Weather Center.

Tom, how much worse is this expected to get in Missouri? We were talking earlier. There is still more rain coming.

TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, there is rain coming in some areas to the south. I think we are going to be in for a good break, Jim, when it comes to the Missouri Valley. Dry conditions through the weekend. The problem is, because the Mississippi River is so high, when you get above 30 feet, it impedes the other rivers that flow into the Mississippi River to do their job. So what we're seeing is after days and days of rain, in fact, spent a week there, just came down, 5, 6, 7, 8 1/2 inches. Record rainfall. Now, we are seeing the effects of that. The last time the Mississippi River flooded, a major flood was in 1993. The benchmark here. But that was in the spring, Jim, when they had major snow melt and heavy spring rains.

Well, now what we are seeing, everything in green is under a warning, so parts of South Central Illinois across the Missouri Valley down to the Ozarks, Arkansas, too. We are looking at the Arkansas River having problems. Not so much in Little Rock, moderate flooding. But major cities to the north or the south are being flooded. Let's break down St. Louis. We give you an idea. And you may want to take those - because it explains everything. The Mississippi River meets, well, the Missouri River right in St. Louis. In between the Mississippi and the Missouri is West Alton. This is where we first had problems. It is a flood-prone area. But one of the levees, the north county levee was not breached, but we had overtopping, which is the number one cause for levees to give way and break because of the forced - to the water. So, that is a concern. Along the Missouri River that flows into the Mississippi, we have got problems from St. Charles out towards areas of Jefferson City, Herman as well. But the I-79 was shut down over the weekend. That is a major artery. Now, the problems are going to be from St. Louis and mainly southward. 1993, these are the records. We are going to come close. We are looking at, may be within 5 1/2 feet in St. Louis. Second highest levels. It's the Merrimac River that is surpassing all records that even go back to '82. And in that area of concern, once that moves into the Mississippi, Jim, we are talking all-time historic levels on the Mississippi southward. Towns like Chester, historic Saint-Genevieve, getting down to Cape Girardeau on the Boot Hill of Missouri. But when you look at the East in U.S. over 443 weather warnings for flooding on rivers occurring right now.

SCIUTTO: Incredible. A lot of populated areas along those rivers. Tom Sater, thanks very much. As you just heard, Union, Missouri has been particularly hard hit with businesses, roads and homes under water, much of the town flooded. For the latest, we are now going to the Mayor Mike Livengood. He's joining us on the phone from there. Mayor Livengood, thank you. We have been showing video of your town. The water from this afternoon looking really incredibly high. What's the situation there right now? And are people able to get out of their homes to safety?

MAYOR MIKE LIVENGOOD, UNION, MISSOURI: Yes, all the people have been evacuated. We did crest here. We are on the Barbas River, which feeds into the Merrimac. And we have hit a crest, which is a good thing.

[20:35:01]

So, it is starting to drop on us. We made it to 34.31, which is roughly not quite a foot over our previous record. So, it was a record flood here in our community, as you've seen on your videos. You see it impacted about 25 homes, some of them very severe. And people were - did get out. Some stayed to the last minute and were evacuated. But not too many. Most people were able to - we gave them enough time and told them that we felt it was going to rise above what they had projected, you know, and it did.

SCIUTTO: Glad to hear the waters have crested. Do people around there -- this is always a key question here. Do they have flood insurance? And I am curious what the cleanup process is going to be like. A lot of those homes severely damaged. They look like a loss.

LIVENGOOD: Yes. The majority of the homes in my, I would have to say, probably don't have flood insurance. It's - I don't understand all the actual rules and how flood insurance operates. You know, if you know -a flood plain. Your option is supposed to buy flood insurance. Hopefully, they all did. I am sure there are several that do not have home insurance. And hopefully, FEMA inspector, and they will be able to help them some too.

SCIUTTO: Well, Major Mike Livengood, we are going to keep following the story. You'll have to keep in touch with us. So let us know how folks can help the people there in need. And we appreciate you coming on tonight.

The president and his family are on vacation in Hawaii. The Secret Service, however, is not. We'll tell you what happened when this man and this drone got too close to the presidential motorcade.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:40:16]

SCIUTTO: Welcome back. There is a lot more happening tonight. And Randi Kaye has a 360 bulletin.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jim, police in Belgium have arrested two people suspected of plotting to attack New Year's celebrations. As well as police and military facilities. They are members of a Muslim biker gang. The kamikaze riders. The plot appears to have been inspired, but not directed by ISIS.

In Chicago, police officer Jason Van Dyke pleaded not guilty to six counts of murder and one of official misconduct in the shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald. McDonald's October 2014 killing caught on a police dashboard camera sparked protests and calls now for the mayor to resign.

And Jim, take a look at this. Officials in California, Sonoma County, are wondering tonight why a female elephant seal left the ocean and tried to cross the state highway. They got her back into the water, not easily, though. They think she was about 900 pounds. But they say she is determined and she keeps trying to get back across that road. Now, I know that there is a joke in here somewhere, but I am a bit worried about that seal.

SCIUTTO: Yeah, I am not going to take a stab at it. Randi Kaye, thanks very much.

President Obama got an unwelcome visitor himself yesterday as he finishes up his family vacation in Hawaii. It was a drone. And it got a little too close to the president's motorcade. The Secret Service had a few words with the man operating it. The man said he had no idea the president was in the area and no charges were filed.

From drones in Hawaii to gyrocopters on Capitol Hill, it has been an eventful year. And it's where Tom Foreman picks up with this sneak preview of the year in politics.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The least effective way to get yourself heard in Washington, because you might just be shot down. Flying a gyrocopter to the Capitol in a call for campaign finance reform, most effective way to get heard, "Black Lives Matter."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hands up!

CROWD: Don't shoot!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hands up!

CROWD: Don't shoot!

FOREMAN: The group confronted politicians on both sides of the aisle scoring headlines every time.

Worst job of convincing voters they are listening to anyone, the U.S. Congress.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Congress is Darth Vader. I don't think there is anything Congress can do to make itself more likable, whether it is a Democratic Congress or a Republican Congress. It is just one of those words that Americans seem to think is fingernails on a chalk board right now.

FOREMAN: Even the speaker of the U.S. House stepped down.

JOHN BOEHNER: Zippity-do, zippity-dah. My, oh my. What a wonderful day.

PAUL F. TOMKINS: John Boehner was so happy about leaving that job. He was literally singing as he walked up to the podium.

FOREMAN: At the White House, President Obama worked hard on a nuclear arms agreement with Iran and a new trade deal in the Pacific. The Supreme Court rejected yet another challenge to his health care reform plan and diplomatic relations with Cuba were renewed.

TRUSS BURGESS: It has been a brilliant year for Barack Obama.

FOREMAN: On the other hand, roughly half of all Americans disapprove of the job he is doing.

BETHANY WATSON, CO-HOST "ELVIS GORAN & THE MORNING SHOW": I think Obama is probably looking at the calendar like, oh, how I want to get out of here. Bad, bad year for Obama.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCIUTTO: There is much more on the year in politics, top stories, sports, pop culture and more. Tom Foreman hosts all the best, all the worst 2015 premiering at the top of the hour right here on CNN.

And next up, unraveling the enigma of Steve Jobs, a gripping and controversial new documentary about the founder of Apple's coming soon to CNN. I have seen it and it is great. I will talk to the Academy Award winning director of the film Alex Gibney. That's just ahead.

[20:44:16]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCIUTTO: It's hard to remember time before the iPhone, the iPad, the iPod. They have all had such an impact on our lives. But the man who sold us these devices was to put it mildly, extremely complex. In "Steve Jobs, the Man in the Machine," Oscar-winning director, Alex Gibney gives us a look at the legendary salesman and executive. He sat down with me to give me his own view of Steve Jobs.

Alex, thanks so much for joining us. You do such a deep dive on such a complicated character. I wonder when you come out of a project like this, do you end up loving him or hating him?

ALEX GIBNEY, FILM DIRECTOR: Neither. I mean I think I understand him better. I never met him. So it is a peculiar kind of exercise. But I came out admiring many things about him and being furious about him in many other ways. So, it is very much of a mixed feeling. But I felt oddly closer to him.

SCIUTTO: This dark side that comes across very much in the film, not only in his personal relationships with the mother of his daughter, but also in his professional relationships, literally driving some people to tears, right, as they recount this. Is that an essential part of the attraction to him as a character, as the subject of the documentary?

GIBNEY: I was attracted to him, because he is important. Because he means something to us. Every time we take out an iPhone or an iPad, we think of Steve Jobs. And he - this goes back to the beginning of the personal computer. So, that's what attracted me to him. And I was always interested in how people wept when he died. Then when you learn more about him, you wonder why. And you want to understand him. Because for somebody who had so much power and Apple was the most valuable, maybe still is, company in world history.

[20:50:02]

And what did he do with that power?

SCIUTTO: And what was it from his childhood not to get Freudian here. But his life experience. You learn so much about him. What did he bring from his childhood that created the man as you came to know him?

GIBNEY: Well, it is an important fact that he was adopted. And I think that affected him deeply. And a number of people who talked to me about Steve and even Steve who talks about it in the film, I reflect on both his sense of anger over being left, your parents leave you and yet his adoptive parents were extremely doting. So, he was both angry and entitled, which can be a tough combination.

SCIUTTO: Yeah. You said he could sell ice to the Eskimos. We know his salesmanship is legendary. You implied that he was more sales than substance?

GIBNEY: I think that is true. I think Steve knew that he had to surround himself with inventors and with designers who were of extraordinary quality. And he knew them when he saw them. But his job, really, was to sell the products. But I would go beyond selling. With Steve, at a certain point, he became the writer, director, producer and actor in a drama whose only goal was to sell these products to people, and frankly, served another goal as well, which was to make us more comfortable with them. To erase the distance between man and machine.

SCIUTTO: You talk about this reality distortion field that he presented, which in a way he needed as opposed to believe that those dreams were achievable. GIBNEY: Well, reality distortion can be a good thing sometimes,

because if everybody was consumed with what was possible in the moment, we would never get anywhere. Some people have to dream and to believe the impossible is possible. And Steve Jobs is a great example of that. On the other hand, reality distortion, particularly when it is applied to your own behavior, can be deeply problematic. When you think you are a good guy when you are acting in a very cruel, arbitrary and brutal fashion.

SCIUTTO: Did he think he was a good guy?

GIBNEY: I think he did.

SCIUTTO: You talk a lot about this alone together kind of phenomenon, where we are on our devices. And we might be in a group, but we are not interacting, at least face to face with each other. Is part of your message here to us - and, of course, my iPhone is in my pocket now. But is part of the message to us, to the world, to put it down for a time, for a bit?

GIBNEY: He connected us all through these products. You know, we have -they are extensions of ourselves. And we connect ourselves that way. But at the same time, Steve Jobs had a lot of trouble communicating with people unless it was in a kind of transactional way. And these devices, I think, betray that, too. Because they separate us, they isolate us even as they bring us together.

SCIUTTO: Alex Gibney, thanks very much. Thanks very much.

GIBNEY: Pleasure.

SCIUTTO: "Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine," from Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney airs on CNN at 9:00 p.m. Eastern this Sunday, January 3rd.

And just ahead tonight, a civics lesson that a group of fourth graders will probably never forget as our ridiculous countdown of 2015 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:57:14]

SCIUTTO: Our "360" holiday tradition continues. We are counting down the top three ridiculous of 2015. Tonight, at number two, a room full of state lawmakers crushed the dreams of a group of fourth graders. A civics lesson they probably won't forget.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Time now for "The Ridiculous" and tonight we have a civics lesson from the great state of New Hampshire where some fourth-graders tried to get the red-tailed hawk, designated as the state raptor, to see how a bill becomes a law. The students drafted house bill 373, they got a sponsor for it, and then took a field trip to watch from the gallery of the state house as lawmakers debated and then voted on their bill.

Now, you might think that the state representatives quickly passed the bill sending the nine and ten-year-olds back to their school with a sense of accomplishment and a great impression of how our government works.

Well, you would be wrong. Here is just some of the debate that preceded the vote. And remember, the kids were there watching and listening to it all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We already have a state bird. But now, do we need a state raptor? Isn't that a bird? Isn't that an animal?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, are we going to have, you know, flightless birds, waterfowl, pet birds, garden birds, wild birds? How many of these bills do we need to have?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Only one other state has a state raptor. Why do we need a state raptor?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we keep bringing more of these bills and bills and bills forward, that really, I feel we shouldn't have in front of us, we'll be picking a state hotdog next.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Must we designate one state raptor? Does a raptor that is found everywhere in the country symbolize New Hampshire?

COOPER: They could have just pooped on the bill right in front of the kids. In a way, it was probably the most accurate education a group of fourth graders could receive on how our government works. Take a totally innocuous idea, something that doesn't seem like it could possibly be controversial in the slightest, then spend 18 minutes talking about what a waste of time it is while simultaneously nitpicking its details. Honestly, the only thing that could have possible made it worse is if someone - somehow injected abortion into the debate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it is known for its extremely strong and sharp talons of which it grasps its prey. But it grasps them with its talons. And then uses its razor sharp beak to rip its victims to shreds and to basically tear it apart limb by limb. And I guess the shame about making this a state bird is, it would serve as a much better mascot for Planned Parenthood.

COOPER: That was state representative Warren Grown who stands by his comments. The bill was defeated and I'm guessing so were the fourth graders as they returned home to wonder, what in the world just happened and what Planned Parenthood is and what it - has to do with the red tailed hawk.

[21:00:00]

And that, boys and girls, is exactly how a bill does not become a law in real life and on "The Ridiculist."

SCIUTTO: Inspiring. Number one is tomorrow night. That does it for us tonight. The premier of the CNN's --