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Moore, Jones in Final Sprint for Tuesday Election; Two Days before Election, Moore Again Denies Molesting Anyone; Cory Booker Joins Rally for Doug Jones; President Trump Records Robocall for Moore; Doug Jones makes Appeal to African-American Voters; New Evacuations Underway as Wildfires Grow; Graphic Video Shows Unarmed Man Begging for his Life; Aired 2-3p ET

Aired December 10, 2017 - 14:00   ET



FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. See you next week.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN HOST: Hi there, everybody. Thanks for joining me on a Sunday afternoon. I'm Dave Briggs in for Fredricka Whitfield.

Just two more days until Alabama voters go to the polls, both candidates no in the final sprint for votes. President Trump stumping for republican Roy Moore. Trump even recorded a robocall for Moore's campaign this despite challenge molestation allegations facing Moore today. Moore responding and claiming he doesn't even know the women making these accusations.


ROY MOORE, ALABAMA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I do not know any of the women who have charged me with sexual allegations. Or molestation. And I did not know any of the women. When I saw these pictures on the advertisements of my opponent, I did not recognize any of those women. I did not know them. I have written cards, graduation cards, I have no families. I've known a lot of people throughout my life, but these allegations are completely false. I did not date underage women. I did not molest anyone. And so these allegations are false.


BRIGGS: All right. Well, that coming up. Also today, Moore's democratic challenger Doug Jones courting the African-American vote, with Senator Cory Booker campaigning in Alabama for Jones. We have team coverage of this critical race. Abby Phillip with the president in West Palm Beach. Alex Marquardt is covering the Doug Jones campaign. But let's start with Kaylee Hartung covering Roy Moore who once again has no campaign events scheduled today. He has nothing since Tuesday.

Kaylee, what is Moore's campaign doing in the final stretch here to get out the vote?

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dave, as a member of Moore's staff just told me, if Roy Moore had it his way, there would be no get out the vote effort on a Sunday because it's the lord's day.

But the closer we have gotten two Election Day, the more he's let go of that. So today, launching out of this field office in Birmingham, people will be going door-to-door for the Moore campaign, but the thought being they'll be doing it between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. local. That's after folks have gotten home from a morning church service and maybe before they head to an evening service.

They tell me making phone calls here not the priority. They want to get face-to-face with voters in targeted areas. And when I asked about the plan for this campaign tomorrow on Monday, the day before Election Day, the strategists I talked to here said he wasn't comfortable sharing with me any of the details. They're in the process of working out because he doesn't want the Jones campaign to get wind of the areas that they will be targeting in that final stretch.

And a lot has been made of the fact that we haven't seen Roy Moore on the campaign trail since last Tuesday when he held that event that spirited event in Fairhope, Alabama, alongside former White House chief strategist, Steve Bannon. We know the next time we will see Moore will be tomorrow.

Another event with Bannon, this one, in midland city, also in south Alabama. But we're told today, Moore is spending the afternoon with friends and volunteers for his campaign at a Christmas party in Montgomery. Dave.

BRIGGS: Fewer than 10 events this past month. All right. Kaylee Hartung, thanks so much.

Let's go now to Alex Marquardt who is covering the Doug Jones camp today. Alex, what is the Jones campaign strategy as we enter the final few days here?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dave, in stark contrast to what Kaylee was just saying about the Moore campaign, this is the campaign that is firing on all cylinders. This is Doug Jones's HQ here in Birmingham. I was just inside. It's a height of activity. There are people all over the place, crowding into conference rooms, in the hallways. Even in the kitchen who are phone banking.

So this is really a campaign that is trying to squeeze every vote out of Alabama possible. They are doing everything they can. They had four events yesterday, they have four more events today. One is starting in just an hour's time. It is to launch this get out the vote effort. They will then launch these waves of canvassers going out into the neighborhood to try get as many votes as possible.

Now, if you look at the strategies of these two campaigns, we can really discern two things. The first that the Moore campaign feels very comfortable with his passionate base of support that they have that will turn out no matter what on Tuesday.

The second that Doug Jones feels there are a lot of votes out there still to get, whether they're from moderate republicans, undecideds, women who had been turned off by these allegations against Roy Moore and in particular from African-Americans.

We have seen a very pointed strategy to try to get this African- American vote. Some of the biggest names in democratic politics where African-Americans have come down here this weekend. We have seen Deval Patrick and in events in Selma, that's the former Massachusetts governor. We saw Cory Booker, the New Jersey senator with Doug Jones last night at Alabama State University at historically black college. Cory booker will also be with Doug Jones here in just under an hour's time.

But as much as this tactic has been about targeting the African- American electorate, the message that Jones has been speaking about at all of his campaign stops has been --


MARQUARDT: -- relatively consistent across the board. And a lot of it is about perception of Alabama during this election.

So just take a listen to what he had to say last night.


DOUG JONES, ALABAMA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: A lot of people are saying that this is an election about we're Alabama. Who do we want to be in the 21st century? And I'm not sure I agree with that. I think that the question is not who do we want to be, but who are we? That's the question is, not who do we want to be, but who are we. That's the questions. Who are we, as we give this election to the face of the nation? And people look from all over.


MARQUARDT: Now Doug Jones has repeatedly said that Roy Moore is an embarrassment to the people of Alabama. It is something that we've heard from democratic voters and as well as a number of republican voters who have crossed over. He thoroughly feels that this notion that Roy Moore is an embarrassment is one of his strongest arguments as Doug Jones tries to become the first democratic senator from Alabama in a quarter century. Dave?

BRIGGS: And we don't hear a lot about his particular politics, but that is the strategy. Kaylee Hartung, Alex Marquardt working very hard covering these two camps. Thank you both.

Let's turn now to the president's big push for Roy Moore. First, he led a campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida. That's just 25 miles from the Alabama border. Also in the Mobile, Alabama TV market. There he gave a full throated endorsement of the accused child molester and now the president has recorded a robocall, urging voters in Alabama to vote for Moore.

CNN White House correspondent Abby Philipp with the president in West Palm Beach, Florida. She joins us now. Abby, why is this race so crucial for the president? ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dave, it's all about the votes for President Trump. He is very concerned about making sure that he doesn't lose a crucial senate vote on the republican side, as a result of this senate race. And so he is going against his own party here, going against Mitch McConnell and the senate and other republicans including the senior senator from Alabama, Richard Shelby all of whom say Roy Moore does not belong in the United States senate.

The key reason for this is because the president, as he said publicly and privately does doubt Moore's accusers. He does believe that we should take into consideration the fact that Moore says that these accusations are not true. That he does not know these women and that he did not actually molest teenagers.

But the president is concerned right now about the prospects for his agenda. He is very close to getting his tax bill and just down the road from here at his -- near his home in Mar-a-Lago. He is playing golf today with another U.S. senator, Lindsey Graham talking about taxes and about the budget according to the White House.

Another key indication that the president is clearly focused on his own agenda and his own legacy here and it's not as concerned about what republicans are saying could be a huge embarrassment for the party if Roy Moore is elected, Dave.

BRIGGS: Interesting, right? I mean, he's just stayed away on the golf course, but not setting foot in Alabama. All in on the race. Abby Phillip, thanks so much.

Roy Moore mostly out of sight as we mentioned. The run up to the special election. But this morning, Moore emerged for a rare interview with the Alabama political reporter where he again denied ever sexually assaulting women when they were teenagers including one when she was just 14.

How does he explain the accusations against him? Moore blames a vast left wing conspiracy driven by anti-religious fervor.


MOORE: They know I stood for more values and so they were attacking me in that area. Ritual defamation has been around for a long time and that's what this is. They have done this. It's inconceivable to think somebody would wait 40 years because they were embarrassed or ashamed of something and then less than 30 days before the general election come out and make allegations and then appear on a political advertisement when they waited 40 years not to be embarrassed.


BRIGGS: Joining me now from Attalla, Alabama, the man on the other end of that interview, he's Bill Britt. He's been covering Alabama politics for more than 20 years.

Bill, thanks for being here. Let's just cleared up for the viewers. Are you publicly supporting Roy Moore?

BILL BRITT, ALABAMA POLITICAL REPORTER: No, I'm not publicly supporting Moore. I'm not publicly supporting Jones. I know both men for a number of years. We don't support political candidates, but we respect our guests. We asked Mr. Jones, will he come on. He's been on our show before. He did not even bother answering my calls. (0:10:00.6)

BRITT: And I've had his personal number for years. I don't know --

BRIGGS: When Roy say he doesn't know these women, when he says he never molested any of these women, when he questions why after 30 plus years they came out, is that explanation going to be enough for the Alabama voters?

BRITT: Dave, I think it's going to go the same as we've been seeing. There are people that believe Roy Moore. There's 30 percent that are going turn out, no matter what. There are others that will hold their nose and vote for Moore. And then there are plenty republicans going to stay at home. We're hearing there are some republicans that will be voting for Jones and to scant view.

This is Alabama. It's a red state. Well, Doug Jones is a nice guy. If you had a different democrat, you might be seeing a different result, but Doug Jones never thought he stood a chance to win against Roy Moore.

BRIGGS: Now, nationally you had some republicans who were out on Roy Moore before these allegations, like Tim Scott of South Carolina who calls his controversy before this. Whether it's the questioning 9/11 or the Sandy Hook shooting saying that's because we weren't living up to the law of God. When he says homosexuality should be illegal. When he says that Muslim should not be allowed to serve in congress. When he's kicked off the bench twice. Did those issues matter to the voters of Alabama?

BRITT: Again, I think they matter to most of us who vote in Alabama. We're not the wolves and idiots that we're betrayed to be and the media or by the left or the right. What happens is we -- as Alabamians don't want a South Carolinian coming down here and telling us what to do or D.C. Elite coming down here.

It's very resistant here to outside interference. Mr. Jones referred to it as outside agitators just like George Wallace who do great unfortunate choice of words.

But look, Roy Moore has always been a polarizing figure. I mean, 30 years ago when he had the 10 commandments in Etowah County, he was polarizing then and he's only gotten more so. This is the debate that we should be having. It's not about Roy Moore, but the way that men treat women in this country, about how we treat minorities.

But we can't have that debate with Mr. Jones because we can't get Roy Moore to debate.

BRIGGS: But let me ask you about the outsider position. Because Steve Bannon is the consummate outsider. Why does what he's saying matter to the voters of Alabama? Why -- if he doesn't want outsiders in this campaign, as Roy Moore showing up only with Steve Bannon?

BRITT: Listen, I don't pretend to speak for the Moore campaign and neither would I. Steve Bannon is the ultimate outsider. Steve Bannon isn't going move the needle in Alabama just like President Trump barely moved the needle in Alabama when he came down here for Luther Strange.

This is an Alabama race. I've covered politics here for a long, long time. I looked in other states and Alabama is unique. The people are proud and they're going to make up their own minds. That's just where we are. It really doesn't matter that Bannon or Mr. Trump, President Trump or who comes down here.

BRITT: That's interesting what to say about Bannon and about Trump, because Roy Moore's political strategist said this on ABC about President Trump's campaigning for Roy Moore and making a robocall as well. Here.


DEAN YOUNG, CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST FOR ROY MOORE: This is Donald Trump on trial in Alabama. If the people of Alabama vote for this liberal democrat, Doug Jones, then they're voting against the president who they put in office at the highest level. So it's very important for Donald Trump and again, it's ground zero for President Donald Trump. If they can beat him, they can beat his agenda.

BRIGGS: Bill, that's the position of the Roy Moore camp. What will the impact of President Trump be in this race?

BRITT: I think it doesn't hurt. OK? It helps because it's a deeply red state. What I'm saying here in contrast to Mr. Young is that it will move the needle some, it'll give some republicans covered to vote for a man that they didn't want to see in office in the first place and it will give his supporters even more fervor to get out and vote and they're going to show up.

So this is about numbers at this point. The Moore campaign's internals are showing seven to eight-point lead over Doug Jones who knows what's real. This is a very tough election to hold.

BRIGGS: So in the final --


BRIGGS: -- stretch here, again, we have Richard Shelby, the senator who's represented Alabama since '86 saying he did not vote for Roy Moore. The largest newspaper in Alabama saying do not consider the R and the D next to them. Think about what this means for Alabama. What will shift this election in the final 48 hours?

BRITT: I don't know. I think it's baked in already. I mean, to think that is going to influence anybody in the state is about like thinking that our sight is going to influence anyone. People, they're going to make up their own mind. They're not going to listen to us. Richard Shelby is greatly respected in this state, has done a great job for our state, that he won't change the vast majority of people's minds. One way or the other.

We are making this state. I mean, get used to it. We don't listen to many people. Even our own --

BRIGGS: All right. So we're listening to you though. Who wins?

BRITT: Moore. By probably a slim margin. It's just the nature of the beast. It is a red state. Let's go back to the fact that if we had a really exciting democratic candidate, let's say like a Walt Maddox from Tuscaloosa or an Anthony Daniels from Huntsville or Darrio Melton from Selma, this would be a very different race.

I mean, Doug Jones is another aging white guy like me. Lord knows we have enough of those up in D.C. already. We need to -- the democratic parties going to succeed in Alabama.

We have some of these grown men and women who have passion, who have ideas and that can make the case to Alabamians that it is not about the D. It's not about the R. It's about what is best to govern in Alabama and what's best to move our country forward in the 21st century. We cannot continue to be in the cronyism on the face of the planet if we're going to ever have real change.

BRIGGS: The voters will decide on Tuesday. Bill Britt, thanks for being here. Really appreciate it.

BRITT: Thank you.

BRIGGS: All right. CNN will have complete election night coverage of the Alabama senate race starting Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Should be a wild ride.

Still ahead, new mandatory evacuations underway as massive wildfires tear through Southern California. Some of those who can return home are finding ashes where their homes once stood.

And disturbing new body cam footage of the moment Arizona police shoot and kill an unarmed man begging for his life. What police are saying about that shooting next.



BRIGGS: Nearly a week has passed and only one of the six fires raging in Southern California is fully contained. But the biggest fire, the Thomas Fire in Ventura County just keeps growing. It's devoured nearly 180,000 acres and jumped into neighboring Santa Barbara County as well.

New mandatory evacuations are underway. Officials say this is the 13th most destructive fire in state history. All the fire that's burned have scorched an area nearly the size of New York City. Hundreds of homes and businesses are gone. Let's not forget the deteriorating air quality there as well.

Meanwhile evacuated residents who have been allowed to return home are finding there's nothing left. California's governor had this sobering message for residents. This is the state's new normal.


GOV. JERRY BROWN (D), CALIFORNIA: We're facing a new reality in the state where fires threaten people's lives, their property, their neighborhoods. And of course billions and billions of dollars.

So we have to have the resources to combat the fires and we have to also invest in managing vegetation and forests and all the way we dwell in this very wonderful place, but a place that's getting hotter.


BRIGGS: Senior national correspondent Kyung Lah is in Santa Barbara County with the latest.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're looking at is the firefighters from the air. That is a helicopter that picked up the water from the nearby area of what is a burning house. This is house that firefighters have already lost. You can see the water dropping down now.

We've seen several different air drops on this one house. Firefighters have already lost it. They know that this is lost. It's not about putting out and trying to save this house. It's actually about trying to stop the embers from flying into the air. You can see the wind as it pushes the ember this is way. All of these embers fly towards the houses that haven't burned yet.

The Santa Ana winds today are expected to be much stronger than they were yesterday. You can hear some of the explosions from that house.

But the Santa Ana winds expected to be much worst today. What they're trying to do, is try to prevent any of this from catching on fire and the fire then spreading to other parts of this particular part. We are in Santa Barbara County. The fire has pushed further north to. It's a 3more populated area. Let's back up.

Firefighters trying to --


LAH: -- make sure that this northern part of a fire doesn't expand. Another water drop. Water is going to be key. But there are also firefighters on the ground.

And as you see there, firefighters really trying to put out this blaze here on the ground. There are thousands of firefighters trying to circle around this large fire, a fire that is almost 200,000 acres.

BRIGGS: Wow. Kyung Lah, Stay safe. Thank you.

If you want to help those impacted by the California wildfire, CNN has put together a list of vetted charities, assisting victims. You can find that at

Still ahead, some shocking new police video cam shows an Arizona man complying with police commands and begging for his life before he is shot and killed. But officers say there is more to the story than meets the eye. We'll have their explanation, next.



BRIGGS: Graphic, disturbing video released by Arizona police is giving us insight into a 2016 shooting. It shows an unarmed man, sobbing, begging for his life moments before being shot and killed by police.

The video was released after a jury acquitted the now former officer of murder, and reckless manslaughter charges sparking outrage.

CNN's Polo Sandoval joining us now live. Polo, this is disturbing video. What's the back story here?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Disturbing and graphic, Dave. But important to remember that as you mentioned this video was shot in January 2016. However, it is just now being released with the conclusion of the trial process and eventually the acquittal of that officer.

Just to give you context of the video you are about to see, investigators say that the man who shot and killed was apparently showing an air rifle to some acquaintances in his Mesa, Arizona hotel room when some witnesses called police, and this was a result.


SANDOVAL (voice-over): Newly released body camera footage of this police shooting shows Daniel Shaver's last moments. Police were responding to reports of a man pointing a rifle out of a hotel room window.

UNIDENTIFIED OFFICER: Hands up in the air. You do that again and we are shooting you? Do you understand?

SANDOVAL: Begging for his life.

UNIDENTIFIED OFFICER: Then listen to my destructions.

SHAVER: I'm trying to just do what you say.

UNIDENTIFIED OFFICER: Don't talk! Listen! Hands straight up in the air. Do not put your hands down for any reason. You think you are going to fall, you are going to fall on your face. Your hands go back to the small of your back we are going to shoot you. Do you understand me?

SHAVER: Yes, sir.

SANDOVAL: An officer then orders Shaver to crawl toward him. Shaver complies but then moves his right hand behind him despite the warning. Officer Philip Mitchell Brailsford fires five rounds, killing Shaver.

Brailsford was charged with second-degree murder over this January 2016 shooting. In an interview with police, he said he thought Shaver was going for a gun, saying, quote, "He could have easily and quickly drawn a weapon down on us and fired without aiming. He could have hit us or the citizen that we had just detained."

No gun was found on Shaver. Brailsford was acquitted last week and his defender saying his actions were justified.

NATE GALVERT, PRESIDENT OF MESA POLICE ASSOCIATION: Pretty much every use of force subject matter expert that reviewed this case absolutely said he acted consistently with his training.

SANDOVAL: On the tape, Shaver is repeatedly ordered to follow officer's instructions.

UNIDENTIFIED OFFICER: If you make a mistake, another mistake, there is a severe possibility you are both going to get shot. Do you understand?


UNIDENTIFIED OFFICER: If you move, we are going to consider that a threat. We are going to deal with it and you may not survive. Do you understand me?

SHAVER: Yes, sir.

SANDOVAL: Despite the warnings received, Shaver's family does not believe the shooting was justified. The attorney saying in a statement to CNN, quote, "That's an execution, pure and simple. The justice system miserably failed Daniel and his family." Witnesses later told police Shaver was showing them an air rifle he used in his job exterminating pests.


SANDOVAL: There was a second person that was being held at gunpoint and that was a female acquaintance who was unharmed and questioned and later released. In the meantime, Mr. Shaver's family has not responded after the acquittal of this officer, who was responsible for shooting and killing their loved one.

Mesa, Arizona police also we are hoping that they will hopefully respond to our request for comment as well after the most recent developments not to convict a police officer -- Dave.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Disturbing video there. Polo Sandoval live for us. Thank you, my friend. All right. Still ahead, if Roy Moore wins the Alabama Senate race, he will be greeted by Republicans who opposed his election. How will that impact the party's agenda going forward?



BRIGGS: Welcome back. President Trump has left no doubt where he stands in Alabama. He is all in fully endorsing Republican candidate, Roy Moore, despite these sexual abuse allegations against him. The president even recording a robo call for Moore.

But this morning, Alabama Senator Richard Shelby rebuked the head of his own party and saying he cannot stand by Moore.


SENATOR RICHARD SHELBY (R), ALABAMA: As a Republican, I had to vote Republican, I wanted to vote Republican. I understand where the president is coming from. I understand we would like to retain that seat in the U.S. Senate. I tell you what. There is a time where we call it a tipping point. I think so many accusations, cuts, drip, drip, drip. When it got to the 14-year-old story, sorry, that was enough for me, I've said, I can't vote for Roy Moore."


BRIGGS: All right. Here to discuss this and other issues in this race, CNN political analyst, Julian Zelizer and Kyle Whitmire, a political commentator for the Alabama Media Group. Good to see you both.

Kyle, let's start with you and what Richard Shelby said there. He's represented Alabama since 1986. He says he cannot vote for Roy Moore. He did not say who he wrote in, but he says the Republican Party deserves more. Deserves better. Do the Alabama voters agree with that?

KYLE WHITMIRE, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, ALABAMA MEDIA GROUP: I don't know. We will find out on Tuesday. You know, I think for Senator Shelby this is something that is as practical as it is ideological. Look, what is happening to Alabama's image around the country right now because of this race is not good.

That has an effect on economic development and how we keep businesses here in Alabama or if we can keep businesses here in Alabama, and I think he saw this as not just long-term challenge for the state, but also for his own party.

I mean, you can believe if Roy Moore is elected to the United States Senate, next year around this country his face is going to be an attack ad used by Democrats against Republican opponents.

[14:40:02] Just in the same way here ins Alabama, every Republican candidate tries to make his opponent into Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer, Barack Obama, they will be using Roy Moore and Donald Trump, the Democrats who will be in other races throughout this country to tip the balance of the Senate and Congress next year.

BRIGGS: All right. Kyle makes a good point there, Julian. Will this be the issue the Democrats run on in 2018 and to Lindsey Graham's point, if Roy Moore wins, is this the gift that keeps on giving in terms of Democratic politics?

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it might be although the Republicans retain the seat, and as we have seen that with President Trump and the Republicans some ways are doing all right. In the short-term, I think the Republicans can survive.

2I'm not convinced 2018 goes to the Democrats because of Moore, but it will certainly be an issue in campaign. In the long-term, Donald Trump combined with Roy Moore, you see the GOP narrowing its appeal at a time the country is moving in a very different direction. So there the damage can be done.

BRIGGS: Combining that with Al Franken who Democrats ushered out the door. They jumped aboard and said he needs to go. Would they have done that if Roy Moore weren't running for Senate? Would they have done that if they are Republican governor of Minnesota and therefore, a Republican appointee. Was it all a political play for Democrats?

ZELIZER: I don't think it was all a political play. I think there are some Democrats, who genuinely say we need to clean house on this issue. We have to take a principal stand and even if it's one of our own, we will do something.

That said, I do think there was a political calculation. We can't go after Republicans for doing this sort of thing. If we have candidates who are also being questioned for other kinds of behavior. I think there is a lot of Democrats who are not on board. It is a divisive issue.

BRIGGS: Kyle, let's get back to you on the ground and how it is shifting because the president, of course, is just 25 miles away campaigning Friday night. He also recorded a robo call.

We talked to Bill Britt earlier who interviewed Roy Moore and denied all these allegations and said he doesn't know the women. Bill also said no outsider will have any impact in Alabama politics. Do you agree with that assessment?

WHITMIRE: I think that is used pretty selectively. I think who agree with the president are going to listen to the president, people who disagree with the president are going to use this as a reason to go to the polls and vote for Doug Jones.

So, no -- I think people use that sort of resistance to outside agitators. Whenever it's someone they agree with, you know, support from above. When it's someone that they disagree with, it's an outside agitator. So, it's very selective here.

ZELIZER: And Shelby in some ways for the supporters of Moore will be an outsider meaning even though he is from the state, he is also part of Washington and he fits this narrative that these voters are sending a message as they did with President Trump to the entire system.

So, that's where Shelby is really a veteran legislator is a bit limited in the kind of impact, but overall, I agree. This is a turnout battle. In the next two days, it's really about who can get more people out and to actually vote. That will be the winning ticket.

BRIGGS: Turn out will be key. That may decide this race. Julian Zelizer, Kyle Whitmire, thank you both for being here. It should be an interesting Tuesday night.

Still to come, violent clashes broke out near the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, but what prompted the anger? We will talk about it on the other side of the break.



BRIGGS: A security guard has been stabbed at a bus station in Jerusalem in what police there are calling a terror attack. They identified the attacker as a 24-year-old Palestinian, who was captured at the scene and the guard is hospitalized.

Meanwhile, Lebanese Security Forces fired tear gas and water cannons at hundreds of angry protesters near the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon. The crowds had gathered to demonstrate against President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

There were also protests in other parts of the world including Pakistan and Turkey where hundreds showed up to show their anger at the decision. Earlier today, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, defending the president's move.


NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: For 22 years you have had presidents and the American people ask for the embassy to be moved. No president, not Clinton, Bush, or Obama actually had the courage to make that move and listen to the will of the American people. When it comes to those who are upset, we knew that was going to happen, but courage does cause that.


BRIGGS: As controversial as it is, CNN international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson, explains it's a calculated risk that the White House is hoping will pay off in the long run.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Clashes like these in the past few days, stones throwing Palestinian youths (inaudible) well-armed Israeli security forces apart of what world leaders openly worried might happen following President Trump's announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Their fears weren't misplaced. There have been casualties.

(on camera): Yet this is only a partial picture many of the Palestinian protests have been relatively peaceful. They've rule have lack the scale and zeal of past Palestinian actions.

[14:50:06] It's way too soon to know how all this is going to turn out. It raises the question, can President Trump capitalize on his announcement?

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAEL: We are profoundly grateful for the president for his courageous and just decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Israelis from the prime minister on down have been gushing in their praise.

NAFTALI BENNETT, MINISTER OF EDUCATION, ISRAEL: It's a good step forward towards peace.

ROBERTSON: One lawmaker suggested Trump's name should be carved into Judaism sacred western wall and another said he named a park after Trump.

(on camera): Of course, there has been much speculation about why Trump made the announcement. His critics say it was just to fulfill a campaign promise yet the careful framing by the White House and the positive Israeli response perhaps gives President Trump leverage other U.S. presidents lack.

(voice-over): Throughout the region, pro-Palestinian protesters have united to say Trump is biased towards Israel and the U.S. can't be (inaudible) peaceful negotiator. The Palestinian's chief negotiation told CNN Trump had effectively shut down talks for a two-state solution.

SAEB ERAKAT, CHIEF PALESTINIAN NEGOTIATOR: President Trump made the biggest mistake of his life.

ROBERTSON: At the Palestinian protest, I talked to people who said this too, but they told me they are not happy with their own leadership.

GEORGE ASSAD, CHRISTIAN CONSULTANT: I think the leadership had many opportunities in terms of a wakeup call and they haven't listened to the street. I hope it's a wakeup call for them to pursue a different course of action.

ROBERTSON: Frustrations hang in part from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. His post Trump statement was seen as weak, but also with regional leaders.

AHMAD TIBI, PALESTINIAN MEMBER OF KNESSET: Some of the Arab states are not reacting in a very vigorous and obvious way. The statement was dangerous and the reaction should be stronger. ROBERTSON (on camera): Helping Israelis and Palestinians find peace has been one of the bigger challenges for recent American presidents. It's bedeviled the best minds and negotiators the U.S. has been able to muster. Too soon to say if Trump's gamble against advice and orthodoxy will pay off. Nic Robertson, CNN, Jerusalem.


BRIGGS: All right. Nic Robertson there. Thank you, sir. We'll be right back.



BRIGGS: There's just 15 days left until Christmas, which means how much time to get on Santa's good side, but this year, Santa Claus is not the only one with the naughty or nice list and that's this week's "State of the Cartooning."


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): He's making a list and checking it twice. For Santa Trump, determining who is naughty or nice is complicated. Take Alabama Senate candidate, Roy Moore, who has been accused of sexually abusing at least two teenagers. Now that might land him on Santa Claus's naughty list but Santa Trump?

"SANTA TRUMP": He denies it and said it didn't happen. You have to listen to him also.

TAPPER: OK. So, Moore is denying it. What about a man who admits to things like murder? Say Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte? He is also in Santa Trump's nice column.

"SANTA TRUMP": We've had a great relationship and this is very successful.

TAPPER: And speaking of human rights abuses, what about the big guy himself, Vladimir Putin?

"SANTA TRUMP": President Putin and I have been discussing various things. I think it's going very well.

TAPPER: OK, that's the nice list. Don't bother checking your stocking if you have been naughty. Starting with two former pals.

"SANTA TRUMP": I think the losers are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.

TAPPER: Lumps of coal for Chuck and Nancy. Santa Trump also thinks that former FBI Director James Cmey has been naughty. Comey probably has the president on a list of his own.

"SANTA TRUMP": Director Comey was very unpopular with most people.

TAPPER: One year later the person who still is number one on the Trump naughty list.

"SANTA TRUMP": If Hillary runs again in four years which I hope she does, we will teach her unbelievably nasty. Really nasty.


BRIGGS: Good stuff. The next hour of NEWSROOM starts right now.

Hi, everybody. Thanks for joining me. I'm Dave Briggs in for Fredricka Whitfield.

The moment of truth quickly approaching in Alabama, just two days until voters go to the polls there and pick a new U.S. senator and the stakes are high. Republican Roy Moore has the president in an all-out push for him. Trump even recorded a robo call for Moore's campaign.

This despite child molestation allegations against Moore. Today, Moore responding and claims he doesn't even know the women making these accusations.


MOORE: I do not know them. I had no encounter with them and never molested anyone. For them to say that, I don't know why they are saying it, but it's not true.


BRIGGS: And right now in Alabama, Moore's Democratic challenger, Doug Jones courting the African-American vote. Senator Cory Booker campaigning in Alabama for Jones.

We have a team of correspondents and political commentators covering this critical Senate race.