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NEW DAY

Two Powerful Winter Storms Threaten Thanksgiving Travel; Biden Leads in New CNN Democratic Poll; New Revelations Continue to Undermine Trump's Version of Events. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired November 27, 2019 - 06:00   ET

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


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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These freezing temperatures there expected to last throughout the week.

[05:59:14]

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have blankets. We have food.

We have food to share with others. We always have a full tank of gas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It sounded like it was going to be a pretty major storm, so we thought we'd better get here early.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump found out about the whistle-blower, the fact that it was going to become public. He knew what he did was wrong, so he released the aid.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So much for no quid pro quo. So much for I want nothing. He only said that after he got caught.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Adam Schiff and the Democrats have attacked a very successful president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Essentially, what it shows is consciousness of guilt.

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ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. Exactly.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: It's a winter wonderland.

BERMAN: A little hint of our what our lead story is. It is Wednesday, November 27, 6 a.m. in New York.

So this morning, a wing and a prayer might be the best recipe for millions of Americans who are traveling for Thanksgiving. Because a pair of powerful storms is serving up a heaping side of trouble, congealed trouble, which is the worst kind. Like the cranberry sauce. Winter advisories stretch for 2,000 miles across the United States.

In the western part of the country, a storm that has been described as historic is expected to bring heavy rain and flash flooding.

In the Midwest, blizzard conditions are already causing widespread travel delays and a lot of canceled flights. And across the northeast, dangerous winds now threatening to ground the balloons at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade here in New York. We'll give you the complete forecast just ahead.

CAMEROTA: We are also following two significant developments in the impeachment investigation. A White House budget official testified to Congress that two of his colleagues quit after expressing concern about President Trump's decision to withhold military aid from Ukraine.

And "The New York Times" reports that Mr. Trump had already been briefed about the whistle-blower before he decided to release that aid in September.

We also have a brand-new CNN national poll on the 2020 race. Former Vice President Joe Biden maintains his double-digit lead at the top of the Democratic field, with Pete Buttigieg gaining momentum. So we will break down all of the numbers in just a moment.

But let's begin our coverage with CNN's Ryan Young. He is standing in a snowy Minneapolis -- Ryan.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Good morning. Snowy Minneapolis, for sure. Nine inches fell overnight.

And as you can see here, the streets are covered with snow that adds to the anxiety with so many people, millions of people hitting the roads and trying to travel through airports. We're talking some people yesterday who said they were hoping to make it out.

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YOUNG (voice-over): A taste of winter just in time for Thanksgiving. More than 20 million Americans from the West Coast to the Great Lakes under winter storm advisories. Snow and rain making some of the busiest travel days of the year even more dreadful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I knew it was going to cause trouble.

YOUNG: At Denver Airport, hundreds of flights canceled and delayed. Snow burying parts of Colorado in feet of snow, with nearly 21 inches falling in Boulder in its third snowiest day ever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a lot for Boulder. Doesn't happen too often like this. It's knee deep.

YOUNG: That same storm making its way to the upper Midwest. Here in Minnesota, crews preparing for close to a foot of snow.

JED FALGREN, MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION: We do have some times we're expecting over an inch an hour of snowfall. And that, coupled with some very high winds, is going to make it a bit of a challenge.

YOUNG: Snowplows already on overdrive working to clear the streets. With slick conditions and whiteout conditions making driving dangerous, first responders on high alert, clearing up crashes across roads and highways in the storm's path.

A second storm is pummeling the West Coast. Near Spokane, at least six people injured in the pileup of over 60 vehicles on Interstate 90 after more than a half an inch of snow fell in 25 minutes, causing slick conditions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you do not have four-wheel drive or chains, stay off the mountain.

YOUNG: In northern California, Interstate 80 at a standstill in both directions for over two hours. The highway between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe scattered with car accidents and spinouts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It got to the point where, you know, we couldn't keep up. We ran out of tow trucks and emergency personnel was stretched about as thin as it could be.

YOUNG: Look, crews have been working overtime to make sure the streets are clear here. There are also some worries at the airport.

Talking to some people yesterday, some flights were delayed. They were hoping they weren't going to have to sleep at the airport. So far so good, but we have to see how this piles up, because most of the snow hit overnight. They're hoping maybe just another two inches but, of course, the story extends across this country -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, Ryan. Run inside now and get toasty. We'll check back with you. Thank you very much.

So let's get more on the timing of these storms and try to answer the big question of the morning: Will the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons fly? Chad, what is the answer?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, if they take a look at what the forecast will be by 10:30, 11 a.m. in the afternoon, in the morning, then no, they will not fly. It will be somewhere around 36 or 37 mile per hour gusts. But if you look at what happens at 9 a.m., we're below the threshold. We're just going to have to wait and see. It's a game-time decision.

This weather is brought to you by Jared. Dare to be devoted.

So the entire country today really is going to be a travel mess. At least the eastern half and the West Coast.

In the middle, at least Denver now digging out. But there's a lot of rain on the radar. It's heading to New York. There's rain and wind in the west. It's closing down interstates, certainly going to slow down San Francisco. And when one plane can't take off, even though you're sitting there in Omaha, if your plane was supposed to come out some place else, and it's sitting on the tarmac, you're not leaving either. This is going to be one of those domino kind of days.

Very windy conditions Chicago all the way through Cleveland. Winds are going to gust to 50. And then the rain is going to kick into New York City somewhere between 9 and about 11 a.m. and stay for much of the day. That will slow down La Guardia, Newark, JFK; slow down BWI and also DCA.

[06:05:07]

So it's going to be one of those days where you're just going to have to wait and see whether your plane is leaving or not.

And here, here is the 9 a.m. forecast. Everything's gone. It's not going to rain or snow in New York, but the wind is going to be howling out of the Poconos, down through the Delaware Water Gap and right through into New York City. That's the real threat for the balloons right now, guys.

We'll have more coming up later on today.

BERMAN: All right, Chad. We're watching it very closely. My niece can't get home. My niece in California trying to get back to my house for Thanksgiving tomorrow. So far hasn't been able to get a flight.

CAMEROTA: That's really frustrating.

BERMAN: Yes.

CAMEROTA: You know, it's horrible this weekend, because everybody wants to be together and somehow, invariably, there are travel delays.

BERMAN: I know she wants to come hang out with me. No matter what you say, she definitely -- I think you were being sarcastic there. She wants to come back to my house.

CAMEROTA: I'm not. I'm not. I can tell her it's great to hang out with him.

BERMAN: All right. There's a brand-new CNN poll released just minutes ago on the 2020 race for president. We'll tell you who is in the lead and who is on the move, next.

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[06:10:37]

BERMAN: We have breaking news in the 2020 race. Literally minutes ago, literally --

CAMEROTA: I believe you.

BERMAN: -- CNN released new national poll numbers showing Joe Biden leading the Democratic field by double digits. He's at 28. Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in a close race for second at 17 and 14. And then you see Pete Buttigieg down there at 11. Everyone else way down.

CAMEROTA: But look at Bloomberg at 3 percent. That's interesting.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER AND ANALYST: Eh.

CAMEROTA: Not interesting?

BERMAN: Not going to win the election.

CAMEROTA: It's a meh?

BERMAN: I mean, do you think he's going to be president at 3 percent?

CAMEROTA: I don't know, but it tells me that, if you just put a lot of TV ads, you might be able to --

BERMAN: You can get to 3 percent.

CAMEROTA: You can get to 3 percent. Good to know.

BERMAN: Yes, all right. Harry Enten is here to talk to us about the actual numbers.

ENTEN: Oh, boy. I think the real thing to take away from that is that Cory Booker, who is on the show yesterday, is nowhere on that screen. I believe he's only at 2 percent in our poll. And he needs four qualifying polls to get into the December debate. And he's just, at this point, not making it.

But let's talk about the top four. Those who are above 3 percent in our November poll. And I think the trend line here is rather important. There are some interesting little nuggets that we can sort of tease out.

No. 1, Joe Biden. Steady as ever, right? Twenty-eight percent. He's always been right around 30 percent. This is down a little bit from October, but it's above September. All within the margin of error. Pete Buttigieg, this is his best standing in a CNN national poll so far at 11 percent.

And Elizabeth Warren, she was at 19 percent in October. She's down to 14 percent now. This is one of a number of polls that are showing her dropping in the presidential race, at least nationally.

BERMAN: And you talk about Pete Buttigieg on the rise in our poll. Another poll, he's up even more. But you see movement here.

ENTEN: Yes. There's definite movement. But it's important to point out where that movement is. It's mostly among his white base. He's at 17 percent now among white voters versus nine in October. Among non-white Democratic, potential Democratic primary voters, he's at just 4 percent now. Now, that's only up two points since October. So in fact, that racial gap of Buttigieg is actually getting wider.

BERMAN: Camerota thinks 3 percent is a big deal, though. All of a sudden, 3 is the new 90. CAMEROTA: Yesterday, if you got in yesterday as Bloomberg did, then you're at 3 percent, bingo.

ENTEN: That's basically where he was before he got in anyway.

One other sort of -- one other sort of nugget in terms of the breakdown, in terms of race, I think it's important, right. Which is Joe Biden's African-American sort of base in this Democratic primary.

It took an average of the October/November polls to get a substantial enough sample size so we could do this. And he's at 49 percent among African-Americans. All other candidates combined received only 40 percent among African-Americans. So that gives you an understanding.

And it's not just non-whites, right? Hispanics and whites are actually voting rather similarly. It's really African-Americans who are jettisoning her up.

Let's sort of move on now to the general election, shall we, folks? So look, I think that this is very interesting. Extremely or very important in your 2020 vote, we tested a bunch of issues. We've been talking so much about the impeachment inquiry. But look at this.

Extremely or very important to your 2020 vote, just 46 percent say the impeachment inquiry is. That is the bottom of the list for all these issues tested, and it's also the bottom list for the independents who might be those persuadable votes.

CAMEROTA: But of course. I mean, what do we expect? That's not a kitchen-table issue. That's not something that affects people directly. Of course. Does that surprise you?

ENTEN: It doesn't -- it doesn't surprise me, though sometimes I hear the conversation on Twitter and sometimes on cable news, and I guess it's a little surprising for that sort of -- that way. Voters are not really caring about this.

BERMAN: What are they saying about the economy?

ENTEN: Yes. I think, you know, we pointed this out yesterday. Right? The economy, this is Trump's greatest issue. Been wondering why is it that Trump cannot get a higher approval rating? I think this gives you a very good understanding.

These are different presidential -- applies to different issues that could apply to Donald Trump, different attributes. Has stamina, sharpness to be president, can bring the type of change, can manage the government effectively, is honest and trustworthy, will not divide the country.

Look at this. A minority say yes on all of those. And unite and -- will unite and not divide the country, only 31 percent.

CAMEROTA: That's stunning. Those are stunning numbers. But also, so is "can manage the government effectively." What the president is tasked with, he only gets 42 percent. ENTEN: He only gets 42 percent. And indeed, if you were to look at

the things that are most highly correlated with, in terms of the presidential qualities, in terms of President Trump's overall approval rating, can bring the change the country needs, 94 percent say he can.

Among those who approve of Trump overall, 5 percent disapprove of Trump overall. And as you were saying, can manage the government effectively: 92 percent, 3 percent.

[06:15:03]

BERMAN: Three percent. In Bloomberg numbers, winning.

ENTEN: Three percent, I guess so.

BERMAN: All right. Harry, thank you very much. We'll have you back on later.

ENTEN: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: OK. So a new report reveals that President Trump's motivation. It reveals his motivation for finally releasing the aid to Ukraine. Spoiler alert. Well, he knew about -- knew about the whistle-blower. He knew about the whistle-blower, and we have the facts to prove it. Next.

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CAMEROTA: New revelations this morning continue to undermine President Trump's version of events in the Ukraine scandal. We are learning what President Trump knew and when about his own freezing of the aid to Ukraine. Do you have something you'd like to interject here?

[06:20:14]

BERMAN: It's actually more than that. I mean, he was told about the whistle-blower complaints. He was actually told about the whistle- blower complaints.

CAMEROTA: Of course, he didn't release the aid until he knew about the whistle-blower. Here's what "The New York Times" reports.

"President Trump had already been briefed on a whistle-blower's complaint about his dealings with Ukraine when he unfroze military aid for the country in September, according to two people familiar with the matter. Lawyers from the White House counsel's office told Mr. Trump in late August about the whistle-blower complaint, explaining that they were trying to determine whether they were legally required to give it to Congress, the people said."

Joining us now, CNN legal analyst Elie Honig; and CNN political commentator and former congressman, Charlie Dent.

Elie, as always, with excellent reporting, the picture comes into sharper focus. For the past week, we knew the White House counsel's office knew about the whistle-blower complaint, so it stood to reason that they had briefed President Trump, as they do. And now we know from people who saw it all unfold, from people on the inside that yes, he knew about the whistle-blower complaint.

And then on September 9, he knew that Congress had been informed about the whistle-blower. They were beginning an investigation. And then, magically, he released the aid to Ukraine.

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I'm just wondering how long it took White House counsel to run down the hall and tell President Trump. Probably as much time as it took to cover those 20 yards or whatever. Yes, shocker. Another defense bites the dust, right?

Last week, as recently as yesterday, the silver bullet defense was when he talked to Gordon Sondland, he said, "I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo." That defense was doomed from the start. Look --

CAMEROTA: Because it was after he knew --

HONIG: Of course.

CAMEROTA: It was after Congress knew. It was after everybody knew.

HONIG: Of course. It was also contrary to what all the -- all the evidence has been, what all the witnesses told us over the last couple of weeks. Do we think it's just some cosmic coincidence that he happened to release this right when he -- right when he found out that he was in trouble? Of course not. This defense was doomed, and now it's dead.

BERMAN: Right. And Charlie, it matters. I mean, I understand that people always assumed that the president knew, but it just goes to show that the foundation from which they are building their defense never existed, or it's crumbling now.

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, of course. The whistle-blower exposed the whole drug deal, as John Bolton called it. Once it was exposed and revealed, they got caught, and then -- then the president released the aid. By the way, which he improperly held in the first place.

The president cannot withhold spending. That's called a rescission. He cannot do that without the consent of Congress of both the Appropriations Committee and the Armed Services Committee. They did not follow any type of regular order.

It was no wonder that these budget -- these OMB staffers were so deeply alarmed and, I guess, some left their jobs over it. They didn't abide by the rules.

CAMEROTA: What I find really interesting is not that the president knew that there was a whistle-blower and an investigation. That he knew what he had done was wrong. That is, I think, what is revealing here. He knew what he had done was wrong, because he immediately reversed it. So he and the people around him were scared enough about the whistle-

blower and about Congress' investigation that they immediately released the aid. If the president believed he was right, why release the aid then?

HONIG: Of course. And we've seen this whole effort now. We saw it in the testimony that was released yesterday from Sandy and Reeker. That there was this whole effort after the fact: Let's come up with a reason now why he did what he did then. Any time you see that, I mean, it's a bright red flag that people knew it was wrong; they're trying to cover up.

And by the way, just use common sense and logic. Why would they have withheld this money from the same country who they wanted to investigate Joe Biden? Coincidence? And by the way, did they withhold money from other countries? Did they withhold money from Ukraine in 2018?

CAMEROTA: No, they did not.

HONIG: What was special about the country Ukraine and the year 2019? They thought they had information on the Bidens. It was coming up as the political opponent.

BERMAN: And it also explains the president's sudden use of Latin. I mean, let's face it. Not a man --

HONIG: No, you're right.

BERMAN: -- who is known to be schooled in the classics, all of a sudden telling Gordon Sondland there's no quid pro quo.

HONIG: We had -- I had the exact same thought, which is that tells you that somebody planted this with him. Right? There's no way Donald Trump is routinely saying quid pro quo. Some lawyer said here's the problem. You have a potential quid pro quo; you need to fix it.

BERMAN: And Charlie, you brought up the other interesting thing here that developed yesterday. And this is from the Mark Sandy deposition. That there were two officials at OMB who quit, who left their jobs, at least in part because they did not like what they were seeing in terms of the holdup in Ukraine aid.

And that's interesting, because Mick Mulvaney, who's still overseas OMB along with the other 12 agencies he's still acting head of, he said get over it, basically. He said this happens all the time. There's nothing wrong with this. Well, apparently, people who work for him thought there was something really, really wrong with it.

DENT: Well, as a former member of the Appropriations Committee, I would not get over this. I'll tell you why.

Because Congress has Article I authority. The president may not -- may not withhold funds for -- that have been appropriated by Congress. And he cannot spend them on other purposes without the consent of the Congress. And as an appropriator, I had to sign off on these things. I had to approve. Department of Defense would make a request, either not to spend the money or to move it for something else. That's the only way it can be done.

So Congress should be outraged that the president of the United States is actually trying to do things with appropriated funds other than which they were intended.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

DENT: This is completely wrong. Of course, these OMB officials know what their job is. They know they can't do that, and that's why they probably quit.

CAMEROTA: Yes, Charlie. And at some point we will ask you why Republicans in Congress --

BERMAN: Yes.

CAMEROTA: -- are not upset that he's usurping their power of the purse. But we have to wrap you at the moment, please.

BERMAN: Hell hath no fury like an appropriator scorned.

CAMEROTA: I can see that.

BERMAN: As the old saying goes.

DENT: Absolutely.

BERMAN: The president's time line is --

DENT: It's all about the money.

BERMAN: All of this just goes to show that the president and his people were lying about the timeline here. I mean, the president was told about the whistle-blower thing. Period.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

BERMAN: All right. The official who goes by Anonymous now says he or she will reveal his or her identity before the 2020 election. What is this move? What is behind this move by him or her, and the person, either he or she, what he or she says they got dead wrong about the Trump White House next.

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