PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBSNewYork/AP) — President-elect Donald Trump met with staffers Wednesday, including his incoming national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, in the aftermath of a rattling day of violence around the world.
At his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, Trump took the daily intelligence briefing on national security threats — something he has said in the past he doesn’t need to do every day.
“What’s going on is terrible. We have intelligence here right now,” he said. “What’s going on is terrible.”
Trump appeared to jump ahead of investigators in blaming Islamic terrorists for Monday’s deadly attacks in Turkey and Germany and vowing anew to eradicate their networks.
He called the gunman who shot Russia’s ambassador to Turkey a “radical Islamic terrorist.”
Ambassador Andrei Karlov, 62, was several minutes into a speech at the embassy-sponsored exhibition in the Turkish capital of Ankara on Dec. 19 when a man fired at least eight shots, according to an AP photographer in the audience.
“Don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria!” the gunman shouted in Turkish, referring to the Syrian city where Russian bombardments have helped drive rebels from areas they had occupied for years during the war.
The gunman approached Karlov as he lay on the ground and shot him at least one more time at close range, the AP photographer said. The attacker also smashed several of the framed photos hung for the exhibition, as panicked people ran for cover. Three other people were wounded in the attack, Turkey’s NTV television said.
After shooting the ambassador, the gunman climbed to the second floor of the same building and was killed after a 15-minute shootout with police, Turkey’s Anadolu news agency reported.
And Trump released a statement about the Berlin truck crash in which at least 12 people were killed, saying that “Islamist terrorists continually slaughter Christians in their communities.”
The truck ran into the market in the public square known as Breitscheidplatz, outside the landmark Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, at 8 p.m. local time Monday. The popular market featured stall after stall selling gifts, food and drink.
Breitscheidplatz is similar to Union Square or Bryant Park in Manhattan.
Shortly after the attack, a Pakistani man was detained based on a description from witnesses of a suspect who jumped from the truck and fled. But he was freed Tuesday after prosecutors couldn’t find evidence tying him to the attack.
While there are no credible threats here at home, in New York, the NYPD is not taking any chances. Special response teams have been re-deployed across the city, including at holiday markets in Bryant Park and Columbus Circle.
Trump’s meeting with Flynn came a day after Flynn and other members of the incoming national security team met with Vice President-elect Mike Pence in Washington.
The president-elect also met with the chairman of Boeing on Wednesday. Trump has been critical of the company over costs and threatened to cancel their contract for future Air Force Ones.
“I think we’re looking to cut a tremendous amount of money off the price,” Trump said following the meeting.
Also Wednesday, the Trump transition team distanced itself from a party planned for the day after his inauguration, CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported.
A brochure for the “Opening Day” party listed his sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, as co-chairs for the event.
Initially, access to the president-elect was promised to people who donated a half million dollars or more to the sponsoring charity. That promise has since been removed, and a Trump spokesperson said the details for the event were merely initial concepts that had not been approved or pursued by the Trump family.
Trump’s sons now say they will not attend the event.
The Presidential Inauguration Committee unveiled the official schedule of events, saying the festivities will begin with a wreath laying at Arlington National Cemetery the day before Trump is sworn in conclude with a national prayer service the day after.
Trump also took to Twitter on Wednesday to complain about news coverage of the fact that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. He tweeted that it was harder to win the electoral college than the popular vote, and that if he had focused on winning it, he would have done so.
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