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12-year-old Girl Wounded in Alabama Mall Shooting; Trump Intensifies Attacks on 9th Circuit Court; Turkey's Foreign Minister Chastises President Trump and His Decision to Stand By Saudi Arabia; Trump Threatens to Completely Close Border Over Migrant Caravan; Bargain Hunters Grab Deals Online and in Stores on Black Friday. Aired 9-9:30a ET
Aired November 23, 2018 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:00:15] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. I'm Jim Sciutto. We begin this morning with just a terrifying scene out of Alabama. Panic breaking out as gunshots fly inside a shopping mall packed full with Black Friday shoppers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go. Let's go. Let's go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go. Let's go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, everybody out. Out now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: It all started with a physical fight. A 21-year-old gunman opening fire, shooting an 18-year-old man. The gunman tried to run from the scene but was shot and killed by a police officer. Sadly, in the midst of all this, a 12-year-old girl was hit by a stray bullet.
For more details, let's get to CNN's Dianne Gallagher. She is in Hoover, Alabama.
Just a harrowing scene there. What more have you learned?
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jim. It really is. And especially, I mean, this was a fight. This wasn't someone who walked into the mall and just started shooting shoot indiscriminately but obviously you heard gunshots, you start running. You see the chaos in those videos there.
Even though someone was killed in this mall just a few hours ago, they re-opened at 6:00 this morning. People have been inside doing their Black Friday shopping.
I want to update you on basically how those victims are doing. That 12-year-old girl was shot one time. She is in stable condition. She underwent surgery this morning. We're told that she's expected to be OK physically of course.
The 18-year-old, who the gunman shot police say twice in the stomach area, is still in serious condition. He was taken by ambulance to the nearby UAB hospital. And of course it's also under investigation. They're not sure who shot the little girl at this point, where that gunshot came from. They're trying to look into this now.
But, Jim, I want you to listen to what some of the people who were there, talked about just to describe the chaos and the fear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEBBY WOODS, WITNESS: I heard one and then bang, bang. And then right after that people started screaming and going crazy just to get away from it. And then cops ran by us with their guns drawn.
LEXIE JOYNER, WITNESS: I heard six to seven gunshots. Right upstairs is where it sounded like where it was. And everybody freaked and screamed and ran (INAUDIBLE) and hide. And they stuck us in a supply closet and locked the doors. They seemed prepared and then we sat there for five to 10 minutes all freaking out and then they opened the escape route doors and we escaped through escape route doors.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: Now, of course, it was Black Friday so you have a heavier law enforcement presence during those times because there are so many shoppers. I guess it was the night before Black Friday it starts so much earlier these days. So a lot of authorities are crediting the fact that there were so many police officers there is why this was sort of stuffed out so quickly. But they're still looking into this, Jim.
The officer is then placed on administrative leave, which is pretty typical in these officer-involved shootings and a nearby county is investigating the shooting itself.
SCIUTTO: Sad on any day, particularly on a holiday.
Dianne Gallagher, thanks for covering the story for us.
To Mar-a-Lago now where the political grievances for the president pile up like Thanksgiving leftovers. And there is no such thing as a holiday truce. While many of us were still on our turkey naps, the president was still attacking the federal courts out west that make up the so-called 9th Judicial Circuit. He claims that adverse rulings on border issues are preventing, quote, highly trained security professionals from doing their jobs.
CNN's Kaitlan Collins is in West Palm Beach.
Kaitlan, quite a week here, and it appears that the president has found a new favorite target, at least for the time being, for his attacks, this time the 9th Circuit again.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jim. The president has a bone to pick with the 9th Circuit Court, and he's not going to let anything get in the way of that argument even a call yesterday thanking military members for their service on this Thanksgiving holiday.
Now President Trump is insisting that these judges don't know anything about border security and that they are hampering his agenda with their decisions and that comes as the president is insisting on Twitter today, just a few minutes ago, that Republicans and Democrats need to come together to pass some kind of border security package that includes funding for his border wall.
He's also tweeting about that criminal justice reform, urging senator -- Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell to bring it to the floor, even though McConnell has said he doesn't believe they'll have time for it during the lame-duck period.
But this comes as President Trump just said yesterday he would be willing to shut down the government in December during that spending fight if he does not get the money for his border wall. Now whether he actually follows through on that is an open question. But we know he has been frustrated for the last year since that spending package passed that did not have the money for his wall.
Now today President Trump doesn't have any public events on his schedule, Jim, but it is 75 degrees here in Palm Beach and he just arrived at the Trump International Golf Course a few minutes ago. So I will leave it up to you to decide what he's going to be spending his morning doing.
[09:05:11] SCIUTTO: Yes. That's a tough quiz, Kaitlan. Thanks. I'll think about it these next couple of hours.
Kaitlan Collins in Florida there.
I'm joined now by CNN contributor Salena Zito and CNN legal analyst Jennifer Rodgers.
Salena, if I could begin with you. One thing for this president to criticize a court decision, but he's accusing an entire circuit, Court of Appeals, of endangering national security here in effect and going after the legitimacy of those courts. Is that something you want to see the U.S. president doing?
SALENA ZITO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's sort of like Festivus this week. It's like the airing of all the grievances that the president has had.
ZITO: Look, among conservatives, even conservatives that do not like President Trump, the 9th Circuit has always been sort of a sword in their side, and they have always believed and previous politicians, although not presidents, have, you know, said -- you know, if you want to win a case, you know, on the side of liberals, that's where you take it. That you take it to the 9th Circuit. But, you know, this president does -- everything that he does is unprecedented. And, you know, it is an awkward thing that we have become used to in the past two years.
SCIUTTO: Jennifer, from your perspective, is it more than awkward because beyond attacking the courts, you have the president with this reporting we learned this week was attempting to weaponize the Department of Justice in effect to go after his political opponents, was told repeatedly by his own White House counsel Don McGahn that that could be an impeachable offense. I'm referring of course to this story that he wanted to get the Justice Department to investigate Hillary Clinton and James Comey.
You're a federal prosecutor, spent a lot of time in the courts. What effect does this have on the functioning of the court system, which is meant to be independent of the politics of this country?
JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you're exactly right, Jim. I mean, initially it doesn't have an impact as far as the day-to-day functioning of the courts, but these attacks on our institutions are very damaging in the long term. What the president is trying to do is get the public to think that the judiciary is not independent, that it is political, that these decisions are against him as a political matter, and are not in fact based on the law, which is exactly the opposite of what's going on here.
And our Constitution is set up with a series of checks and balances for the very reason that we don't want one of those branches to be predominant above the others. We don't want the president to be a dictator or an autocrat. We want him to be checked by the other branches. The judiciary is one of those and has been more effective than the third brand, the legislature, in this past two years at checking what the president is doing and ensuring that there is nothing unconstitutional going on or in this particular case with this latest ruling on the asylum matter to make sure that there is nothing that violates a lawful act of Congress going on.
So long term this could be severe institutional damage, which is why the president should laugh at the criticisms, should just litigate in court as the administration always does, and should not comment beyond what's going on in the actual courtroom.
SCIUTTO: Salena, another institution that the president has attacked, or at least members of that institution, of course the U.S. Military. You saw that with Admiral McRaven, accusing him of being a Clinton person, in effect, the architect of the bin Laden raid. Yesterday you saw the president with troops on what was meant to be the sort of thank the troops call on Thanksgiving bringing up a whole host of political issues and put those military officers in a very difficult position.
He brought up the 9th Circuit. He brought up the border wall. He brought up trade deals in effect pressuring them to some degree, soldiers serving in the field to comment on domestic political issues. Is that a proper thing for the U.S. president to be doing?
ZITO: Well, no. I mean, one of the wonderful things about our military is it always has been apolitical. That is something that has been a point of pride since the very founding of our country. And Jennifer is exactly right. The president takes potshots at our institutions to undermine what already are sort of wavering trust on these larger big decision makers in our lives. And he knows that and he understands that, and he uses that to his advantage with people that are unhappy with these institutions.
This unhappiness with institutions did not start with him. But he certainly likes to put a fire under that.
ZITO: And, you know, we need those expertise, right?
[09:10:02] They're very important to the sort of infrastructure and the foundation of our republic. But, you know, there is a move afoot, and I would argue within both parties, to not trust them. And I don't think that's a particularly very good thing.
SCIUTTO: I just wonder why there wasn't a chorus of Republicans challenging the president on that. The president claims to protect the troops like no president in the past. Of course Republicans will often say that. No shortage of comments about kneeling during the national anthem.
But, Jennifer, when you had a president here put serving active military in war zones in that political space, which is a space that they do not want to occupy and by regulation should not, why didn't we hear more -- I don't want to say outrage, the most overused word in the political discourse today, but at least pushback from Republicans on that?
RODGERS: Well, you know, I can't really speculate except to say that, you know, of course they have been behind him on many of the inappropriate things that he's done during his first two years. I mean, one area where we are seeing a little bit of pushback is with the Khashoggi murder. And, you know, I hope that they continue to push on that because the motion that we will never know and there's no evidence is contrary to how we decide cases in this country and the court system every single day.
RODGERS: So hopefully in some areas they will push. You know, maybe he just lets them -- you know, maybe they'll just let him continue to do this nonsense with the courts and the troops. But I hope not.
SCIUTTO: Yes. Well, you know, on that, I mean, the president talked about the CIA having feelings certain ways regarding Khashoggi when in fact they delivered a high confidence assessment that the crown prince ordered this murder.
Salena Zito, Jennifer Rodgers, thanks very much. Wish you and your families a very happy Thanksgiving holiday.
ZITO: Thank you.
RODGERS: Thanks, Jim. ZITO: Same here.
SCIUTTO: Overseas, Turkey lashing out. The country's foreign minister calling out President Trump for not acting against Saudi Arabia over the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, saying that the president has turned a blind eye to that murder.
Plus, grab those Black Friday deals now because next year they might not be here at all. We're going to tell you why.
And firefighters getting help from the rain now in California. The devastating Camp Fire -- it's a relief to hear -- 95 percent contained. But more rain today could actually be trouble.
[09:15:00] JIM SCIUTTO, HOST, NEWSROOM: This morning, Turkey's Foreign Minister is chastising President Trump and his decision to stand by Saudi Arabia. He's accusing the president of, quote, "turning a blind eye to the CIA's high confidence assessment the Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman ordered the murder of Jamal Khashoggi."
President Trump has continued to cast doubt on the CIA's findings while arguing that Saudi money flowing to the U.S. is just too important to lose. Let's discuss now with Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois; he's on the Foreign Affairs and the Energy and Commerce Committees. Congressman, thanks for taking the time during these holidays --
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R), ILLINOIS: Yes --
SCIUTTO: So first question --
KINZINGER: Good to be here --
SCIUTTO: You heard the Turkish Foreign Minister's comments there, President Trump turning a blind eye to Khashoggi's murder. Fair statement?
KINZINGER: No, I don't think so. Look, I said from the very beginning, I wish the president would have done a far different statement, I agree with the outcome, but not the words, not the statement. I mean, ultimately, yes, there was a killed journalist, that's very bad, that needs to be called out and it should have been a page and a half of the statements saying how terrible that is.
But that is not enough, that's not an impetus to totally realign our objectives and our foreign policies in the Middle East in a bad area. He did miss the opportunity to use our force of words for good. And that's where I think we missed that. Now, for the Turkish Prime Minister to say -- I mean, for the Turkish Foreign Minister to say we're turning a blind eye to these abuses is rich coming from Turkey because they have a lot of journalists imprisoned every day.
And they're pretty good at human rights violating themselves. SCIUTTO: Fair point, but let me ask you this, isn't it a false choice
between holding Saudi Arabia accountable for this murder and the leader, which the CIA believes ordered this murder and abandoning the relationship. The U.S. has long alliances, difficult moments with a whole host of allies.
They've held them to account for things without completely abandoning the relationship. It strikes me that's a false choice.
KINZINGER: Yes, I don't think it has to be one or the other. Either you abandon -- but when you look at it, if we look at what really happened here, I mean, again, the egregious nature of it, the fact that it was on Turkish territory, even though in Saudi territory technically in Turkey.
The fact of the brutality of it is what's getting all this attention. But keep in mind, Moscow, for instance, I mean, Vladimir Putin kills opposition leaders, kills journalists, killed two citizens with weapons of mass destruction in the United Kingdom and empowers Bashar al-Assad to kill 500,000 Syrians of which 50,000 are children. Same with Iran too.
So, yes, this is terrible. But this idea -- if you look at really the side of the argument and see who on the far right and who on the left is actually pushing for, you know, realigning our interests against Saudi Arabia, it's people that have wanted to do this before this whole incident ever even happened. For whatever reason, they've wanted to change our alignment in the Middle East and they're just using this now as an impetus because of the egregious nature of it.
SCIUTTO: But the difference is it not that Saudi Arabia is an ally, it's not an adversary like Russia, and it's an ally that committed this murder on the soil of another U.S. ally, a NATO partner. Just remind folks at home, this is a guy going into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, he thought he was safe, a guy who lives in Tysons Corner of Virginia by the way, whose children are U.S. citizens, he's getting marriage documents, and he comes up dead. I mean, isn't that different?
[09:20:00] KINZINGER: Yes, well, yes, it's different, and like I said, I wish the statement would have been far different because while there is a lot of human rights issues around the world and issues that we don't like and things that can make us cringe, obviously the United States can't intervene every time a sin like that happens.
So what we can do, though, is use the force of our words to basically say this is what we stand for and while in this case, it may not rise to the level of massive change of U.S. foreign policy, we hold these truths of freedom and human dignity to be something that we value.
And I think we really missed that opportunity to use our force of words for a page and a half of that statement to say how terrible this thing was and then half page to say why we're not doing anything.
SCIUTTO: Let me ask you another topic, you probably saw some of the president's call with deployed U.S. forces yesterday. As a veteran yourself, pilot, served in war zones -- as the president was there making transparently political points with those troops about the border wall, about trade deals, even about the Ninth Circuit, is that something that the U.S. president, the commander-in-chief, is that a position he should put those forces in?
KINZINGER: No, I think a call to the troops on Thanksgiving should be thanks for all you do, we're very proud of you, thanks for putting your life on the line. I'm not outraged by him talking about the border because the border is a mission that the president has ordered.
Just like if you're a member of the military and you don't agree with the fight in Afghanistan, the president is still going to talk to you about that fight. But there were other areas that I thought he went obviously where he shouldn't on a Thanksgiving holiday.
And I think he missed an opportunity again just to be like, thanks for what you do, we appreciate everything, we're thankful for you and then be done with that call.
SCIUTTO: Yes, it could be a pretty simple call there. But let me ask you --
KINZINGER: Yes --
SCIUTTO: About the deployment of U.S. forces here domestically at the southern border. More than 5,000 troops to supplement nearly 20,000 Custom and border Patrol officers, most of whom are armed for a putative threat from migrants who the president has accused of being. you know, full of criminals, et cetera.
Is that a necessary use of active U.S. military, or do you suspect that the military is being used to some degree here to political effect?
KINZINGER: I think it's -- to the extent of any kind of political effect, this is a political issue with real consequences, so it depends how you define that. I don't think he's deploying the military for the sole purpose of trying to win an election because we did not do that great in November.
But I do think it's a legitimate use for the military. Whether it's guard or whether it's in some cases a surge of active troops. I mean, defending the U.S. border I think is a very important role of the federal government --
SCIUTTO: What's the real threat --
KINZINGER: And our military --
SCIUTTO: From these migrants? You got 20,000 CBP agents. Do you need -- do you need 5,000 active military to defend against this --
KINZINGER: Yes --
SCIUTTO: Caravan? Is that really a clear and present danger in your view? KINZINGER: No, well, see, I don't think that the question is, is this
a clear and present danger, are we defending against an invasion? I don't use those terms. But as a guy that has worked the border in a military capacity, and I will again probably in February, it is not secure.
I can tell you that. And the use of the military because they have skill-sets that can augment the border patrol to do what they do within their law enforcement capacity, I think is OK. And President Obama did it, President Bush did it, and yes, this is -- President Trump is much more controversial on these issues, but now he's doing it.
And I don't see this is like the end of the world kind of thing. I think it's a legitimate use of the military in a situation like this.
SCIUTTO: And reminder there of viewers who may not know, you're still in the reserves, right? So you still got to do your time every year?
KINZINGER: Yes --
SCIUTTO: OK, and that's -- this is a -- this is a --
KINZINGER: Yes --
SCIUTTO: Burden that many Americans share, and I think that a lot of folks don't realize that you're still getting called back even when you wear a suit and tie most days.
Congressman Kinzinger, thanks for taking the time --
KINZINGER: That's right --
SCIUTTO: And happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
KINZINGER: You bet, take care, you too, Jim, see you.
SCIUTTO: Yes, well, the other big holiday after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, big crowds. But could the president's trade war with China bring bigger price tags down the road?
[09:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SCIUTTO: Whether you swiped a card, clicked a mouse or counted out cash, Americans spent a record amount of money in the days leading up to this Black Friday, and the sales, they're far from over. Millions of bargain hunters are hitting stores today, looking for deals on clothes, electronics, toys and more, there they are storming in.
And many didn't wait for stores to open to grab those discounts. Industry experts say online sales could hit yet another record high. Cnn's Alison Kosik joins us now. Alison, what are you seeing out there? Does it look like one of those crazy Black Fridays?
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's a little calm here at this store. I'm at a Best Buy in Paramus, New Jersey, and it opened about an hour and a half ago, but more than a 100 people who waited out in 12-degree weather streamed in.
They had smiles on their faces, they had lists in their hands and they were ready to shop. Many of them shopping for TVs, these big screen TVs, they went really fast. One woman walking up to me so excited, she said, I got the last TV, I'm so excited, what else are they buying? They are buying drones.
Anything electronic people really want this year. Also, HP laptops, they're going quickly as well, and then those game consoles, that's another thing people are buying. And what are they playing on those game consoles, the big game this year that everybody wants, Call of Duty: Black Ops.
But they didn't wait to just shop in the store. as you were mentioning before, Jim, online shopping has already gotten off to a really strong start, just Thanksgiving Day yesterday, an estimated $3.7 billion is estimated to have been spent.