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Mueller To Interview Trump's Communications Director; Top General Would Push Back Illegal Nuclear Strike; Alabama Newspapers Endorses Doug Jones; "Saturday Night Live" Roasts Al Franken; Harvey Weinstein's Target List; Argentina's Missing Submarine; U.S. Threatens To Close Palestinian Office In Washington; Slave Auction Protests; Unity March For Puerto Rico; Severe Storms In Middle Tennessee; Heavy Rain And Snow Could Affect Thanksgiving Travel Plans; "Saturday Night Live" Spoofs Russia Meddling Investigation; Lisa Ling Goes Off the Las Vegas Strip; "Saturday Night Live" Spoofs Jeff Sessions' House Testimony Aired 6-7a

Aired November 19, 2017 - 06:00   ET





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump, by himself, can't change the behavior of Kim Jong-un. He'll tell me what to do and if it's illegal, guess what is going to happen? I'm going to say, Mr. President, that is illegal.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her prime place on the president's team has made Hicks of interest. The special counsel is particularly interested in Hicks' role.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been a difficult week and a half for Roy Moore and his campaign.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Moore's policy agenda in danger to the children of Alabama.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a candidate that has walked through the fire!

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My former opponent is obsessed with my speaking out between tweeting and golfing, how does he get anything done?


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. The Russia investigation inching closer to the president's inner circle it seems. Next person in the hot seat will be President Trump's communication speaker, Hope Hicks. She is expected to be interviewed by Special Counsel Mueller's team before the end of the month now.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Now, Hicks was in the room during key moments during the president's campaign and during the administration, of course, she is of special interest to Mueller's team.

PAUL: Yes, also as the lawmakers are worried that President Trump is too, quote, "unstable" to be trusted with nukes, the top nuclear commander says he would push back against an order for the president for a nuclear strike if it was illegal.


GENERAL JOHN HYTEN, COMMANDER, U.S. STRATEGIC COMMAND: I provide advice to the president. He'll tell me what to do and if it's illegal, guess what is going to happen?


HYTEN: I'm going to say, Mr. President, that is illegal. Guess what he is going to do? He's going say what would be legal and we will come up with options of a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is and that is the way it works. It's not that complicated.


BLACKWELL: Also in a scathing editorial, is asking Alabama voters to reject GOP Senate nominee, Roy Moore and vote for Democrat Doug Jones or write in another candidate instead. They write this.

"This election has become a referendum on whether we will accept this kind of behavior from our leaders. Of course, we are reading this after several women accused Moore of sexually inappropriate behavior."

First though, more on Hope Hicks and her time with President Trump. She is 29 years old and has been one of his closest and longest serving aides. Hicks has been present at key event and meetings and making her especially useful to Robert Mueller's probe.

PAUL: CNN's Jessica Schneider has more for us here.


PRESIDENT TRUMP: She is really, really talented. Hope, say a couple --

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hope Hicks never seems to be far from the president's side. Thursday on Capitol Hill, at a state dinner in Japan last week inside the oval office. Hicks is one of the only nonfamily members who has remained a critical part of Trump's inner circle since 2014 when the former model joined the Trump Organization.

She was a key point person when Trump launched his campaign in 2015 and the 29-year-old is now White House communications director working from a desk right outside the oval office. PRESIDENT TRUMP: The criminals that we send back --

SCHNEIDER: Hicks operates mostly behind the scenes leaving the public statements to others. Her prime place on the president's team has made Hicks of interest to Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Mueller's team plans to interview Hicks before the end of the month.

MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: What this tells us is investigation is moving at a steady pace. Going from out to in, from less important to more important. I think she is still a witness, not a subject or a target by any means, but she's got critical information that only she possesses.

SCHNEIDER: Sources tell CNN the special counsel is particularly interested in Hicks' role drafting the initial and misleading statement from Donald Trump Jr. about his meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower.

That statement drafted on board Air Force One with input from the president, tried to downplay the significance of the meeting and failed to mention a promise the Russian lawyer would bring damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

Hicks was also in Bedminster, New Jersey, days before the president fired FBI Director James Comey. Sources tell CNN the president drafted a memo along with top aide, Steven Miller, explaining the reasoning behind the firing, but the letter was never sent. Mueller's team now has that letter and the president revealed in an interview just after the firing that it was Russia-related.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: And in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, you know? This Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.

SCHNEIDER: White House lawyer, Ty Cobb, wouldn't comment directly about Hope Hicks and when she will meet with the special counsel's team. Only this, "It is my Hope and expectation that shortly after Thanksgiving all of the White House interviews will be concluded."

[06:05:01] Mueller also plans to interview White House Counsel Don McGahn, who was also Trump's campaign counsel, and Jared Kushner's spokesman, Josh Rafelt (ph), who was on Air Force One when the Trump Jr. statement was drafted.

Hicks is represented by Robert Trout, a former assistant U.S. attorney who represented President Richard Nixon's Attorney General John Mitchell during Watergate and Monica Lewinsky.

ZELDIN: He will tell her tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth and protect yourself and nobody else.


SCHNEIDER: And Mueller's team has already interviewed former White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, and former White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus. That was earlier this month. Right now, there is no clear indication how far along in the process the special counsel's investigation actually is.

PAUL: All right. Jessica Schneider, thank you so much.

Julian Zelizer, CNN political analyst, historian and professor at Princeton University is with us now as well as Errol Louis, CNN political commentator and political anchor for Spectrum News. Gentlemen, thank you so much for being here.

So, Julian, want to start with you. What is it that Hope Hicks brings to the table here specifically? What are they going to ask of her?

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, the most important part of her resume is that she has been with the president at most of the key moments in the story that we have been following. So, she is a witness to everything that has happened from the response to the revelation about the now famous meeting in the Trump Tower to the president's responses, to the investigation, and the firing of the FBI Director Jame Comey.

So, this is someone who has been in the room during much of the mystery that we have been looking for. She is also someone who didn't have much experience and she was one of the people in the Trump orbit who, I think, Mueller understands could have been susceptible to some of what was going on with regards to Russia.

PAUL: Errol, how likely is it you believe that she will talk candidly? We know that loyalty is a big part of Donald Trump's value?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think both for basic reasons, most people, if asked, under those circumstances, would tell the truth. But I think Hope Hicks has got to be wondering, quite seriously, about what it is that Mueller's team knows.

Now the last person we know that tried to sort of give an account and tried to shade it in such a way that might protect the president was George Papadopoulos, who was promptly then caught in a lie and then charged with a crime that he pleaded guilty to.

So, you know, that in and of itself raises the question why would people think that they needed to lie and it is prime example for Hope Hicks and everybody else about the consequences of trying to clean up what might be either awkward or worse than awkward as far as conversations that were had and contacts that were made with people representing the Russian government.

PAUL: Julian, the fact that this is essentially a high-level aide, what does that tell you about the pace of this investigation and where it stands? Because very often when we see somebody who is in an inner include like this who is called to testify to special counsel, they are usually kind of wrapping things up.

ZELIZER: Well, we don't know if he is wrapping things up, but it's certainly going at a rapid pace. It's very clear that Mueller has now moved from what some call the outer center to the inner circle and he is now looking at the people who surround the president at the closest level. So, this indicates to me both with the contacts and with the obstruction of justice, questions that he is moving fast, and he is moving to the center of the oval office, which is going to cause many other people who are close to the president to be concerned as well about where this is all going.

PAUL: All righty. And real quickly, I wanted to ask you, Julian, keep it with you for a minute, this report that Jessica just talked about of Robert Trout, the former U.S. attorney that she has hired for her herself, but he has represented President Nixon, Attorney General John Mitchell during Watergate and Monica Lewinsky during the Clinton scandals. You would expect Hope Hicks will be very well-versed and extensively prepared when she goes in here. What do you make of that hire, I guess?

ZELIZER: Well, you're bringing in someone with great expertise and great experience, but she is ultimately the person who is going to be answering the questions. She is very young. She is very inexperienced, and I think he she is looking for help and her team wants to make sure she has good counsel but ultimately it will be her who is facing off against Mueller and his team.

PAUL: Errol, I want to get to Donald Trump Jr. here and this former Russian senator, Alexander Torshin (ph). The report this morning that they had some brief introduction at an NRA dinner back in May of 2016.

Trump Jr.'s lawyer is speaking about that meeting saying they made small talk for a few minutes and went back to their separate meals and that is the extent of their communication or contact. How imperative do you think this meeting is going to be?

LOUIS: Well, it becomes one among many because unfortunately, as we have seen with Donald Jr. the first story is not always the last story and the first story is not always a truthful story. He had a meeting at Trump Tower that he all but arranged and said publicly it was about adoption but anything but that.

An important meeting trying to find dirt on the Hillary Clinton campaign. So, I wouldn't, unfortunately, take at face value the first statement about this meeting. It's entirely possible that further evidence or if we could, let's say, refresh his recollection, we may get a very different story about what that

contact was and anything that might have followed from it.

PAUL: We always appreciate having your perspective, Gentlemen. Thank you so much. Stick around with us here because there is more to talk about here in a moment.

BLACKWELL: The general in charge of nuclear weapons takes a strong stance saying he'll refuse orders from his commander-in-chief if he thinks the reason for launching a nuke is illegal.

PAUL: Also, a London newspaper gets access to a list of Harvey Weinstein's targets, so to speak. On that list, nearly a hundred people he reportedly wanted to investigate to find out what they knew about sexual misconduct claims against him. BLACKWELL: Also, "Saturday Night Live" spoofs Attorney General Jeff Sessions again. This time over his testimony this week.




BLACKWELL: A top U.S. nuclear commander says he would refuse nuclear strike orders from President Trump if those orders were illegal. General John Hyten says his first obligation is to follow the law, despite what any commander-in-chief tells him to do. Watch.


HYTEN: I provide advice to the president. He'll tell me what to do and if it's illegal, guess what is going to happen?


HYTEN: I'm going to say, Mr. President, that is illegal and guess what is he going to do? He is going to say what would be legal? And we will come up with options of a mix of capabilities to respond whatever the situation is and that is the way it works. It's not that complicated.


BLACKWELL: Well, the general's comments came as part of a larger conversation as you saw there and happening while Democrats are raising concerns about the commands of nuclear weapons. And not just Democrats, some Republicans too. Critics say the president's past comments show how he is prone to lash out at enemies like North Korea.

Let's bring the panel back in. We got with us Julian Zelizer and Errol Louis. Let me go first to content and then the context. Errol, first to you, is it as simple as he says?

LOUIS: Well, in some respects it is. I mean, the thing everybody has to keep in mind is that there are two scenarios that involve the very grave issues that are under discussion here.

One is when there is some reason that the military has to allegedly or so to speak wake up the president in the middle of the night and say, the country is under attack right now. You have to make a decision. We have 11 minutes to respond. That is one set of circumstances.

I think what was under discussion the hypothetical that was put to General Hyten was what if the president comes to the military and says is there a threat that that is out there and not felt in 11 minutes, but we have got to do something, I want to use nuclear weapons to make foreign policy happen with North Korea or some other nation.

That is a different kind of a conversation and the assumption there is that there are some hours, days, or even weeks to try and fashion a response. I believe that is what he was really getting at there.

BLACKWELL: All right. So, context now to my historian, Julian Zelizer. Is it common to hear the top U.S. nuclear commander speak about this in the hypotheticals of an illegal order from the president?

ZELIZER: No, it's not. I think there has been an assumption at some level that the president is rational, and the president will have some sense of both the risks and the threats of launching a nuclear war, and so some of this discussion is very particular. It's about the current president, rather than the president in general.

But it does come after many decades where Congress has seceded authority to the president on matters of war, where there has been many warnings that we can't have so much power under the hands of a president and particularly with nuclear weapons.

This is a danger at some point that we will face and so there is this long view of where this comes from, but this is not a common fear that we have with particular concerns about the president.

BLACKWELL: All right. So, let's listen. Get a reminder from back in August when the president was at his resort. This was this August break. It was the height of the rhetorical back and forth between President Trump and Kim Jong-Un of North Korea and this is what the president said really frightened some in the diplomatic and military section. Watch.


PRESIDENT TRUMP: North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury, like the world has never seen.


BLACKWELL: Just this week, Republican senator and chair of Foreign Relations, Senator Bob Corker called a hearing to review the president's orders and potential for calling a nuclear war and the Democratic member of that committee, Senator Chris Murphy said this on Tuesday. Let's listen to this.


SENATOR CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: We are concerned that the president of the United States is so unstable, is so volatile, has a decision-making process that he might order a nuclear weapon strike that is wildly out of step with U.S. national security interests.


[06:20:11] BLACKWELL: Chris Murphy, a Democrat there. Bob Corker has been critical of president and calling the White House an adult day care. Errol, does this come down to partisan politics, anti-Trump politics, or is it more than that? Is it about this president specifically and a genuine fear that he'll use nuclear weapons? LOUIS: There is a genuine fear buried in there somewhere underneath the politics, honestly, victor. I mean, when you hear some of the rhetoric, the president says fire and fury the likes of which they have never known, I believe the response by the North Korean leader was, the frightened dog barks loudest.

You know, there was some chest thumping and trash talking going on there that didn't necessarily translate into an imminent or immediate threat. And certainly, the Democrats murphy and others on Capitol Hill, they want to make the most of this. They want to sort of frighten people a little bit.

They want to beat up on the president a little bit because they do have, of course, a valid point, which is that this is not the right way to make foreign policy. You know, do it with empty threats, loud boasts or by trying to scare people. In the end it sounds like the president scared Americans more so than our adversaries overseas.

BLACKWELL: Julian, Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona was asked about after that hearing on Tuesday if this hearing would have been held if Hillary Clinton were elected president. He quickly smirked and said, "don't know" and walked off.

Bob Corker was asked if legislative solution or legislative fix to some of the issues raised during that hearing. He said he didn't know. What is the commitment to some legislative controls on the president's ability to start a nuclear war, to order a nuclear attack?

ZELIZER: There is almost no commitment and I don't think there will be. I think that bias is that Congress would never be able to deliberate with enough speed if we were in a real serious threatening moment to launch a nuclear attack.

And so, the bias in American politics is not to give Congress that power and I really don't think that is going to change right now. Congress can try to insert itself more in discussions of national security policy, but I doubt there will be any greater checks than that.

That is why the selection of a president in the nuclear age is so important and so vital and that is why questions of temperament and questions of policy are essential and let's remember, presidents have made big mistakes on foreign policy, so the assumption shouldn't be they get things right even when they are doing things legally. Just look at Vietnam.

BLACKWELL: Errol, finally to you, the fire and fury moment was back in August and we have seen some inconsistency from the president, himself, and inconsistencies between the White House and the State Department on its rhetoric relating to North Korea.

As of late, a name calling back and forth between the president and Kim. But there has not been this talk of, again, fire and fury like the world has never seen and will see. The president then said, that isn't strong enough. We haven't seen that in the most recent weeks. Is there any indication of what the influence is that has changed president's rhetoric as it relates to military response, a preemptive response militarily to Kim and his nuclear weapons program?

LOUIS: It's always hard to be sure but the trip that the president just took to Asia, I think, was an example of him being, I guess clued into the reality, which is that you got to work with other nations and there are wakes to make this happen, that the power of the president is the power to persuade and there are limits to his power.

He can't just snap his fingers and have everybody fall in line. The fact that North Korea has not conducted a missile test the last two months is good news, to a certain extent. I think the president has realized it gets him nowhere to sort of pop off a lot of tweets and make a lot of boasts and threats and have the rest of the world look at him and do absolutely nothing.

BLACKWELL: Yes. More than 60 days since the last missile test I should say. Some question if the North Koreans are a focusing on a potential nuclear test. Errol Louis, Julian Zelizer, thank you both -- Christi.

PAUL: You know, like all other presidents, Donald Trump has a military aide seen there always by his side with that so-called nuclear football. If he gets on a helicopter, an elevator, a boat, the briefcase is only a few steps away. You say what is inside there?

Well, the former director of that White House military office says there are four components. A so-called black book. First of all, it lists possible options for retaliation if the U.S. is attacked with nuclear weapons.

Secondly, a book with bunker locations where the president can be taken in an emergency. Third, a manila folder with procedures with the emergency broadcast system. Lastly, a small card with authentication codes to verify it is the president ordering nuclear launch.

[06:25:15] The former aides who carried that football tells CNN they had to go rigorous psychiatric and emotional screening as does everyone else in the nuclear chain of command. Everyone, except the commander-in-chief -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: Major endorsements for Roy Moore's Senate opponent from several Alabama newspaper editorial boards. Next, how they make the case for Doug Jones.

Plus, Harvey Weinstein's alleged -- allegedly wanted his investigators to target nearly 100 people to find out what they knew about sexual misconduct claims against him. Now a London newspaper has gotten access to the list.



PAUL: Good morning. Half past the hour if you're just waking up with us. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you this morning.

PAUL: So let's tell you President Trump's communication director will most likely be interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller soon. Hope Hicks is who we are talking about and she could be talking to them by the end of the month.

BLACKWELL: Also the top U.S. nuclear commander says he would push back against the nuclear strike order from the president if it were legal. Now this is coming of course as lawmakers are worrying that the president may consider the option of a first strike on North Korea.

PAUL: And several Alabama editorial boards are coming out very strongly against Senate candidate Roy Moore.

BLACKWELL: Look at this. This is the headline in "The Birmingham News." "Stand for decency, reject Roy Moore. Doug Jones is the only candidate worthy of representing Alabama."

Joining us now to talk about why this may be helpful or hurtful to the campaign of Roy Moore -- Brian Stelter, CNN's senior media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES."

Brian, every cycle we talk about the persuasiveness and the potency of a newspaper editorial board. And for a candidate who makes his bones the whole narrative is against the establishment, this could actually be a good thing.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Well, Roy Moore is definitely running in anti-media campaign at this point. Not just against "The Washington Post" but against the entire president corps that is covering these allegations against him.

But I'm struck by just how stark and how well placed this editorial is. Take a look again at the front page "The Birmingham News." It's not just an editorial supporting Doug Jones and against Roy Moore it's on the very top of the front page in all of these papers in Alabama.

A single company owns the papers in Mobile and in Birmingham and other cities. So a lot of folks in the state are going to see this this morning.

It's not just an endorsement of Doug Jones. It's saying, "Stand for decency and reject Roy Moore."

I spoke with Michelle Holmes overnight. She's one of the VPs in charge of the papers.

She said to me this is an important moment in Alabama and we felt this treatment right there on the front page was in line with what is at stake in this race in Alabama.

PAUL: My goodness. All right.

I want to ask you about SNL. They were throwing some punches. One landed right smack on former cast member Al Franken.


STELTER: I was really curious how the show would handle this, you know --

PAUL: Yes.

STELTER: -- because Al Franken was famously on SNL before making his transition into the U.S. Senate.

We can update, acknowledge the controversy. I wouldn't say they were as tough on Franken as they typically are against President Trump, for example. Everything is different.

But here is what they said about Franken.


COLIN JOST, ACTOR: Al Franken is being accused of sexual misconduct on a 2006 USO tour by Leeann Tweeden who posted this photo of Franken apparently groping her breasts while she was asleep.

Now I look -- I know this photo looks bad but remember, it also is bad. And sure this was taken before Franken ran for public office but it was also taken after he was a sophomore in high school.

It's pretty hard to be like, oh, come on. He didn't know any better. He was only 55.


STELTER: There we go. We update acknowledging that the Franken story it seems like every week SNL and in other, you know, late night comedian shows are having to wrestle with another story about sexual misconduct and there we are of them talking about Franken.

PAUL: Well, and speaking of that let's talk about Harvey Weinstein. There's this new list that is out.

What have you learned about this list of Weinstein's as I understand it?

STELTER: Yes. It's a remarkable story overnight and a couple of British newspapers -- it's making its way all around the web this morning.

This is what is described by the paper as a hit list. Weinstein and his team put this together months ago when he was trying to defend himself, trying to stop "The New York Times" and "The New Yorker" from look into his past.

Think about this. If you're Harvey Weinstein and you know that reporters are snooping around trying to find out about the women you've paid in the past to keep them quiet, what do you do? Apparently you make this target list with dozens of women on the list for private investigators to then pursue, trying to have these investigators keep these women quiet, try to find out how they feel about Weinstein.

Are they -- are they talking to the reporters? Are they -- are they giving away information? Are they speaking out against him?

So Weinstein had this secret target list, according to "The Observer" and "The Guardian" in Britain. This is something that Ronan Farrow had also written about. The use of private investigators to try to intimidate and threaten women from coming forward against Weinstein.

But as we know six weeks ago, the dam broke. Women speak out in "The New York Times" and "The New Yorker" and then at various other outlets. Dozens of women have now come forward with allegations against Weinstein.

And he is essentially in hiding. We haven't seen or heard from him in weeks, but we know there are active investigations in L.A. and New York with police attempting to bring cases, bring charges against him.


So his hit list did not end up working.

PAUL: All right. Brian, thank you so much.

STELTER: Thanks.

PAUL: Brian Stelter there with us and all that news and there's more of it.

You can watch Brian, he's not going away, on "RELIABLE SOURCES." He is with you today at 11:00 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

BLACKWELL: And when we come back, Argentina's submarine -- it's missing. It tried to reach several naval bases, several times yesterday, just couldn't get in contact.

We will have a live update on the search.


PAUL: Thirty-nine minutes past the hour right now.

And Argentina's defense ministry tells CNN their missing submarine tried contacting naval bases seven times but they were never actually able to get through.


The ship has been missing since Wednesday and those calls were made just yesterday.

BLACKWELL: And now the U.S. Navy is helping with search and rescue efforts for the 44 crew members on board.

CNN correspondent Patrick Oppmann is in Havana, Cuba, with more on this. Good morning to you, Patrick.

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you. And finally, some good news for the ARA San Juan submarine and its 44 crew aboard. Seven times yesterday, over a period of about five hours, sailors apparently tried to communicate about a seven different Navy bases in Argentina and while they were never able to get through because apparently the satellite signal which is not strong enough they were not able to connect.

Still this could give the Argentine Navy information. They are trying to work with U.S. satellite companies to use the information that fact that calls were at least attempted to narrow down where they should be searching from to hone in on the position of this missing submarine.

No communication since last Wednesday. People had worried that the submarine could have been lost. It was a mystery.

It's due back in port today. When there is an emergency like this, the submarine is supposed to go to the surface to become visible. There have been searches going on now for days.

Nothing has been seen. Weather conditions are very, very bad. The U.S. is giving a lot of resources, aircraft, as well as undersea rescue vehicles that could help with the rescue attempt. But people feel this is very good news, at least some kind of communication has been attempted.

But, of course, until these sailors get back on dry land, their families will not be able to breathe a sigh of relief, but Argentine officials feel that they are getting closer to a possible rescue.

BLACKWELL: All right. Hopefully, there is some good news soon.

Patrick Oppmann for us there in Havana. Thank you so much.

PAUL: And the U.S. issued a warning to the Palestinian Liberation Organization. State department officials saying if they don't -- quote -- "get serious about peace talks with Israeli" -- unquote, they will close the Palestinian offices in Washington.

The organization was put on notice last week after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson determined the Palestinians violated a law by calling on the international criminal court to investigate and prosecute Israeli for war crimes against Palestinians. Now a top PLO official said if their offices close, they will end all talks and contact with the Trump administration.

BLACKWELL: In Paris, there were moments of chaos. There is (ph) hundreds of demonstrators gathered to protest auction of slaves in Libya.

They chanted free our brothers and let's liberate Africa in front of the Libyan embassy. Clashes broke out with some activists hurling rocks at police and police responding with tear gas. You see that here. All of this is happening after a CNN film showed migrants sold at a location outside of Tripoli. The Libyan government has launched an investigation into those auctions.

PAUL: In a few hours thousands of protesters will march on Washington demanding more help for Puerto Rico.

The organizers of the Unity March want Congress to exempt Puerto Rico from the Jones Act. Cancel Puerto Rico's debt essentially and help increase efforts to rebuild that island.

Take a look at the pictures here. This island is still struggling from basic necessities. We're talking about food and medical supplies and electricity some two months after Hurricane Maria.

BLACKWELL: Still so much work to be done there.

And severe storms tore down trees and homes and power lines in Middle Tennessee overnight but despite the damage, the people who live there say they have a lot to be thankful for.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything worked out good. Nobody got hurt.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So it is a thanksgiving. After all it is a thanksgiving.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got a lot to be thankful for.





JULIE, STORM VICTIM: We're a tight family. We'll get through this. Take time to rebuild but we will.

Just trying to soak it all in right now.


PAUL: Yes. That is a process to really understand what just happened after severe storms there with some possible tornadoes ripped through Middle Tennessee last night.

Take a look at what is left there. I mean, look at that. Just bricks ripped right off the home.

Winds were gusting as high as 50 miles per hour. It brought down trees. It took out power in that area.

And people are saying, look, we're just glad to be here at this point. BLACKWELL: So far there are no reports of any injuries and we know that the National Weather Service will be out this morning looking at the damage to see if they can confirm tornadoes.

PAUL: But today marks the beginning of course of the holiday exodus where so many people who are traveling this thanksgiving. Although I laugh because just like there is no crying in baseball, there is no holiday in news.

BLACKWELL: No, there isn't.

PAUL: I don't know about traveling.

BLACKWELL: Actually, I do.

PAUL: I know you do.


BLACKWELL: After the show, my vacation starts.

More than 70 million people are under a wind advisory. Could cause flight delays. Sad trombone there.


BLACKWELL: Severe storms are forecast to bring heavy rain, snow also which could also affect your travel plans. Let's bring in CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar with us right now the forecast.

Are we talking about flights out of Atlanta are going to be delayed at all?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: OK. So, I want you to know, Victor, my vacation just like yours starts as soon as this show is over.

BLACKWELL: All right.

PAUL: Cry me a river, everybody.

CHINCHAR: And we are flying so I've been keeping -- I know. I've been keeping a very close eye on this but, yes, it does include Atlanta, as well as many cities in the northeast.


Not just because of rain and snow. But those wind advisories. We have got them stretching from Maine all the way back to Texas.

Sustained winds about 20 to 30 miles per hour but you could be looking at wind gusts upwards of say 50 to even 60. Not to mention you've got some rain and snow in the forecast.

So let's break it down for some of the cities that we have across the northeast. We are expecting to have rain showers today in areas like Orlando, Raleigh and New York City.

If you have the ability to maybe be a little bit flexible on some of your travel plans those cities it might be better to wait until Monday. That's going to be your better travel day in terms of weather.

Take a look at example for Cleveland. Expecting a little bit of a rain/snow mix today. So same scenario there where it would be better to wait until Monday if you can.

Realize not everybody has that option. So if you don't make your plans out today and give yourself some extra time both on the roads as well as at the airports.

The Central U.S. really looks to be the best spot. We are talking cities like Dallas and Denver. The weather is expected to be pretty much the same today and tomorrow.

And by same, I mean, good weather. It's actually going to be relatively nice.

Now out to the west we are expecting at least some rain showers across areas of Seattle but that is going to be for both today and tomorrow. So really it doesn't really matter whether you left today or tomorrow. You're still going to have to experience some of those rain showers.

Los Angeles, Reno, Phoenix, other than being warmer than average it actually looks to be relatively pleasant in those areas.

Now in terms of your actual Thanksgiving Day forecast, truly for most people, it actually looks very nice. We are talking partly cloudy skies in Chicago. New York, mostly sunny skies.

A lot of folks heading for the big parade. And the weather actually looks to cooperate. However, guys, we will point out, Victor and Christi, we do expect some showers across areas of Florida and as well as out to the west. So probably not the best beach day on Thanksgiving but for most other folks it should be relatively nice.

BLACKWELL: Allison, I listened to all of that but there is one thing that distracted me in the corner. Was that a turkey twerking in the corner (INAUDIBLE)?

PAUL: I know.

CHINCHAR: My producer and I had a little bit of a conversation about what exactly the turkey was doing. We are informed it's a dancing turkey but I don't know what type of dance.

PAUL: Let it dance before you kill it! Come on. Yes.

BLACKWELL: It was an improvised twerk. I'm just told.

CHINCHAR: It was. It was. It did look like that. Yes.

(LAUGHTER) PAUL: It worked. It got our attention.

BLACKWELL: Allison Chinchar, thanks so much.

PAUL: All right. The Russia investigation. (INAUDIBLE) critical point this morning. President Trump's communication director Hope Hicks most likely going to be interviewed this month. We are going to have more on that next hour.

BLACKWELL: Plus another sketch from "Saturday Night Live" on the Russia investigation.

This time opening the show with Eric and Donald Trump Jr. Meeting in a parking garage with Julian Assange. The Wikileaks.


KATE MCKINNON AS JULIAN ASSANGE: How does a treasure trove of hacked DNC emails sound?

MIKEY DAY AS DONALD TRUMP JR.: Oh, thank God for Wikileaks.



MCKINNON: Keep that in a safe place, all right?

DAY: Oh, I will. This bag never leaves Eric's side.




PAUL: So Las Vegas, you know, is for the night life and the casinos. Maybe some outlandish lifestyle.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Well, tonight Lisa Ling goes off the Strip and looks into the dark, shocking and sometimes dangerous underbelly of Sin City a few get to see.


LISA LING, CNN NARRATOR (voice-over): Las Vegas. Every year, millions flock here trying to fulfill a dream and win big. This is the Las Vegas, the world knows. The casinos, the hotels, the clubs.

But step off the Strip and you'll find another world that couldn't be more different. A world where lost people hide in plain sight.

This is crazy.

In the middle of the desert.

Oh, my gosh.

In boarded up buildings.

Wow. Look at this place.

Even underground.

It is pitch black in here.

It's a world that can be dark, unpredictable.


LING: And sometimes very dangerous.

Oh, someone is just coming out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could be a drug deal. It could be anything.


LING: Tonight, Las Vegas natives introduce us to a side of Sin City that few get to see.


LING: And it's shocking.

Oh, my God.


BLACKWELL: Watch that full episode "THIS IS LIFE WITH LISA LING," airs tonight, 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

PAUL: Well, the Russia investigation is providing materials it seems for "Saturday Night Live."

BLACKWELL: Last night they spoofed the Trumps son and Julian Assange and the House testimony of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Watch.


MCKINNON AS JEFF SESSIONS: When I say, "I do not," you say, "recall." I do not.


MCKINNON: I do not.


MCKINNON: Oh, thank you.

JOST: That's great. MCKINNON: Now that is a recall and response calling. That's my catch phrase.

JOST: Yes. Yes.

MCKINNON: Catch phrase.

JOST: Yes. I noticed you said that a lot during testimony. Do you really not remember meeting with George Papadopoulos about Russia?

MCKINNON: Well, you know, Colin, I've actually -- I've had some memory problems stemming from a childhood trauma.

JOST: A childhood trauma? What was that?

MCKINNON: Oh, the passing of the Civil Rights Act.


JOST: All right. I'm going to ask you some questions. I'm going to ask you some question now, Attorney General Sessions.


JOST: I'm going to ask you questions and do you think that you can answer them truthfully?


JOST: Did you just say yeb?


JOST: Did you meet with any Trump surrogates about Russia?

MCKINNON: I do not recall.


You know I recall.