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Fate of Thanksgiving Day Balloons Still Up in the Air; Trump Angers China by Signing Laws Backing Hong Kong Protestors; Ousted Navy Secretary Blasts Trump in New Op-Ed. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired November 28, 2019 - 06:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A million people from all over the world come out to see the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons.

[05:58:52]

Which character are you most excited to see and why?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Snoopy, because he's just majestic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are tracking a number of storms across the U.S. Really incredible on how it's impacting the East Coast.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The president signed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act into law.

ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY (RET.), CNN DIPLOMATIC AND MILITARY ANALYST: We need to see the United States coming out full-throated in support of these democratic protests.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This bill serves as the latest reminder that the U.S. is the biggest black hand behind the chaos in Hong Kong.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

BERMAN: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Thursday, November 28. It's 6 a.m. here in New York. Alisyn is off. Erica Hill is with me this morning.

Happy Thanksgiving.

(SFX: TURKEY GOBBLING)

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Happy Thanksgiving.

BERMAN: Oh, look, there's a turkey.

HILL: I'm thankful for an amazing graphics department. How about you?

BERMAN: I'm thankful for that, too. HILL: Yes.

BERMAN: Can I just say, I saw you on TV in Washington yesterday. You were in Washington as of 5 p.m. yesterday.

HILL: Yes. And you were on TV here as of, what, 9 p.m.? So --

BERMAN: But I didn't have to get on a train.

HILL: Well --

BERMAN: You're a trooper.

HILL: You know, to sit next to you, John Berman, it's worth it. I am thankful for trains that work and for this chair. There you go.

BERMAN: All right. Well, great to have you here. There is a big issue here in New York City today having to do with the parade. Will the balloons fly? We're talking about the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons. The wind rates are really dangerously close to canceling this whole thing. The parade kicks off in just a few hours.

The National Weather Service is forecasting winds that could exceed city rules, which means the balloons might be grounded. The officials will make the call in about two hours. We will bring that call the minute we get it in.

The weather's been a real issue for millions of Americans, soaked by downpours, left in the dark, or forced to shovel the snow this week. We're going to have the latest forecast and a live report from the parade route in just a moment.

HILL: We are also following several political stories on this holiday. China vowing to retaliate after President Trump signed two bills backing pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

What does it mean for potential trade deal with China? Well, we have an early sign. Take a look at the Asian markets, which are down this morning.

Also new this morning, rising tensions between President Trump and some of the nation's senior military officers, who tell CNN they're disturbed by Mr. Trump's behavior, by his intervention in the cases of three service members accused of war crimes.

All of this as ousted Navy Secretary Richard Spencer penned a scathing new op-ed in "The Washington Post," writing the commander in chief has, quote, "very little understanding" of what it means to be governed by a uniform set of rules and practices.

We'll have more on that shortly. Let's --

BERMAN: But first the balloons.

HILL: Let's get to the balloons. Again, CNN's Miguel Marquez is live along the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade route here in New York City. And the countdown to the answer, right?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Look, it's going to be minutes before they kick off at 9 a.m. Eastern Time that they will make that call.

But I got to say, I would have thought there was no chance on earth that those balloons would go the way the wind was howling overnight, but it is pin-drop calm right now.

Everything is set up. The floats down this way, Tom Turkey leading the way over here.

Look, this is a massive undertaking, as well. Eight thousand people it takes to put this thing together. These are just some of the police that are up here staging right now.

And the balloons. This one right in front, this is Astronaut Snoopy. This is the 40th iteration of Snoopy in the 93 times that the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade has gone. And they hope it will be one of the new balloons flying today.

Right now, wind conditions are -- I'm shocked at how little wind there is. But as you go down the parade route and you cross those intersections, they sometimes get big gusts of wind.

They want to avoid what happened in 1997 when a balloon hit a light post. Debris came down and critically injured a woman. She was in a coma for about a month. And they're hoping to avoid that.

Twenty-three miles per hour. If that wind is over that, they won't fly. If gusts are up to 34 miles per hour, they will not fly. Macy's Day Parade folks and police and others are watching the wind all the way up and down the route here. And they will make that call just before they kick off at 9 a.m.

Right now, though, I'm saying pretty good chance of them going, because it is a gorgeous day here. Compared to last year, the wind was howling. It was freezing cold. Right now, we're looking pretty good. Happy Thanksgiving.

BERMAN: It's incredible access you have, Miguel. I mean, Snoopy is right there. You are right there with Snoopy.

MARQUEZ: I beg for this job every year because of this access. This is the most fun part of the job.

BERMAN: Well, you're doing wonderful in singlehandedly keeping that wind at bay. Keep it up.

HILL: The power of Miguel Marquez.

BERMAN: It's immense.

HILL: It is a real thing.

MARQUEZ: That's right. HILL: There's also some power in the forecast. And the man who can

tell us all about that, the hour-by-hour forecast: our man Chad Myers. There, of course, is not just the wind, Chad, that we're dealing with, but these storms across the country.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely. Very, very slow. Yesterday, 5,000 planes were delayed. But only 140 or so were canceled. So you got there, but you were late.

So the wind for today, right now the wind at Central Park is 12. Gusting to 20. So we're nowhere near that threshold. But as the hours to on, those winds will pick up.

And in fact, just last hour, La Guardia had a gust to 36. Now, the parade isn't at La Guardia. The parade is downtown in the buildings, so we will see what happens here.

Now, there's a big storm out west, and that will affect your trip home as you work your way into Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Yes, high wind advisories. It's still blowing out there in other areas other than New York. It's still snowing back out west in other areas than New York.

But watch this. Watch the timeline. We start here at 11 a.m., and we move you into Friday. Everything is good East Coast. West Coast, a mess. If you're skiing, you're loving it. But if you're not, you're trying to get someplace, you're not going to be going very much.

Now, as we work our way into Saturday, here's Saturday, 12 p.m. You can still get anywhere you want to. And I suggest that you do if you're in New England. Because this will be an ice and snowstorm as we work our way into Saturday morning and Sunday morning. There's your wintry mix. Niagara frontier, the Poconos, Alleghenies. You are going to start to ice up.

And then by noon and 6 p.m., almost the entire New England and Northeast Coast will have some snow, and that will slow you down -- John.

BERMAN: I feel like this is guest inoculation. You're basically telling us to get rid of people on Saturday, Chad. Is that correct?

MYERS: Yes, absolutely.

HILL: There are people everywhere saying thank you.

MYERS: I volunteered to work on Sunday.

BERMAN: Not us, as far as you know, Chad. We want our guests to stay as long as they would like.

MYERS: Right.

BERMAN: Thank you for being with us. See you again very soon. So China this morning is vowing to retaliate after President Trump signed a bill backing the protesters in Hong Kong. What does this growing tension mean for the trade talks? That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:10:21]

BERMAN: Breaking overnight, China has threatened to retaliate, accusing the United States of bullying behavior. This is after President Trump signed laws in support of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

The Chinese government has summoned the U.S. ambassador to lodge a formal protest. CNN's Will Ripley live in Hong Kong with the breaking details -- Will.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, you have to understand from the Chinese perspective, these protesters, they consider them rioters. In fact, we have a live picture right now at Poly U., which was the scene of some intense clashes just over a week ago. And police are on the scene there right now, collecting weapons that they say they found that protesters stored on the campus, including 600 petrol bombs.

And so China is asking why is the United States siding with this protest movement?

But of course, this bill passed unanimously, almost unanimously, in both houses of Congress and President Trump would have been going against pretty much everyone on the Hill if he didn't sign it.

He did wait a week to do so and then put out a statement trying to tread very carefully with his supposed friend Chinese President Xi Jinping.

What this bill does, is it authorizes sanctions; sanctions on, potentially, Chinese and Hong Kong officials believed to be involved in human rights abuses.

It also requires the State Department to review Hong Kong's special trade status, which throws a whole lot of uncertainty into this city which is already in a recession as a result of this protest movement. This is the second big win in less than a week for the pro-democracy protestors. It was just on Sunday when the pro-democracy candidates got a landslide 90-percent victory in district council elections.

But the China foreign ministry, they are accusing the U.S., as you mentioned, of bullying behavior, disregarding the facts, and publicly supporting violent criminals.

And there could be fallout here. The Chinese government summoned the U.S. envoy to China, Ambassador Terry Branstad, just days after basically telling him that the U.S. shouldn't interfere.

What we need to watch, there are concerns this morning that Beijing and Washington's disagreement could affect trade negotiations. Remember, the two sides previously appeared to be nearing the initial stages of a deal. Is that still going to go forward? We just don't know, John.

BERMAN: Will Ripley in Hong Kong, our thanks to you. I'm sure your family misses you here in the Northeast on Thanksgiving. So we hope you have a great day, Will.

RIPLEY: Happy Thanksgiving.

BERMAN: Will was talking about the trade negotiations. What will the impact of this signing be on that? We are joined by CNN chief business correspondent, star of "EARLY START," Christine Romans.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT/ANCHOR: Good morning. Happy Thanksgiving.

BERMAN: Happy Thanksgiving to you.

HILL: Happy Thanksgiving.

BERMAN: So what's going to happen here?

ROMANS: This is really remarkable. The fact that the White House signed -- the president signed this bill the day before a holiday shows some strategy and some savvy in the White House. It gives a pause in the market reaction.

You know, Asian markets are lower. It's really seen as a complication to the U.S.-China trade deal. No question here.

But the president, after sending out a White House statement, the president sent out a personal statement saying, basically, I like you, President Xi. And this gives you room; together, you guys can figure something out. So almost taking some of the sting out of that signing, don't you think?

BERMAN: I'm signing it, but I don't really mean it.

ROMANS: Right.

BERMAN: I'm signing it, because I have to for domestic political reasons. But President Xi, I don't like this.

ROMANS: Now, the Chinese have said that they will retaliate. We'll have to wait to see what that retaliation is. We thought that they were getting pretty close to what's been called a skinny deal on trade, which maybe will be some big agriculture purchases by the Chinese, in exchange for the -- the Chinese maybe putting some intellectual protections in and he U.S. dropping tariffs in December and maybe dropping tariffs that are already in place in September. That's what Wall Street wants. That's what the Chinese want.

Will the president be able to get that, now that there is this other subtext of supporting democracy protesters in Hong Kong, something the Chinese are furious about? HILL: And also, you say the skinny deal. The real question, too, is

even if that is the deal, how much is the U.S. actually getting out of it?

ROMANS: And how well can the president rebrand it as something that he promised heading into 2020? And that's what it's really going to be about. If you can stop some new tariffs, that's something that Wall Street will like. It would be good for the markets, something China will like. If the president can use his -- you know, his impresario abilities and rebrand it for his -- for his base, then maybe it's a win for everybody.

BERMAN: Look, we've talked about this. The president -- any deal the president signed, he's going to sell as the best deal ever.

ROMANS: Of course he is.

BERMAN: That's what he does.

We have had some economic news this week which points to a, I guess, resilient economy.

ROMANS: The economy is doing just fine. Growth in the third quarter revised up to 2.1 percent. It's not the 3 percent that the White House has said was their target. It's not the 4 or 5, 6 percent the president has said would happen because of his policies. But 2.1 percent is just fine. It's just kind of like around the Obama economy. Doing just fine.

We're still the strongest economy, really, relatively, in the world. The Fed has cut interest rates three times. There's a $4 trillion Fed balance sheet, which doesn't get a lot of attention.

Remember when the Fed had to go in there and kind of, like, unclog the plumbing in the money markets recently? That put a lot more money back in the system also, helping prop things up.

The consumer continues to be strong heading into the holiday shopping season. But really, the only risk there is that trade war, which put so much pressure on the White House to try to just stop an escalation, at least, in the tariffs to try to buffer the economy here.

[06:15:15]

The economy is doing just fine. It's not the super-charged economy, the unprecedented wave of prosperity, as the president called it last week. It's not that. It's not. It's just fine. And that's where we are.

HILL: All right. Christine Romans, thank you.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

HILL: Christine Romans, who's better than just fine.

ROMANS: Happy Thanksgiving, by the way. BERMAN: Super fine like the hair spray that I use in the makeup

department.

HILL: You use the super fine?

BERMAN: Super fine.

HILL: I was wondering. It works very well. Yes. Nice haircut, too, by the way.

Shocking and unprecedented. That is how ousted Navy Secretary Richard Spencer describes the commander in chief's decision to intervene in a Navy war crimes case. More from his scathing new op-ed next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:20:18]

HILL: The fired secretary of the Navy, Richard Spencer, unleashing on President Trump in a new op-ed in "The Washington Post" this morning, weighing in on the president's involvement in the case of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher. He, of course, was charged with multiple war crimes before ultimately being convicted of a lesser charge.

Spencer writing, "This was a shocking and unprecedented intervention in a low-level review. It was also a reminder that the president has very little understanding of what it means to be in the military, to fight ethically, or to be governed by a uniform set of rules and practices."

Joining us now is CNN military analyst, retired U.S. Army major general, James "Spider" Marks; and Joe Lockhart, President Clinton's former press secretary.

As we look at this, he is very clear in this op-ed. Also admits that he didn't handle this the way that he should have in terms of who he looped in and when. Should have spoken with Secretary Esper. But I'm just curious. General Marks, you know, when you read this, what is your takeaway from not only how he handled it but his assessment of the president?

MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, as you said, it is rather scathing. You know, any time you ascribe to somebody else that they don't understand something, you're on kind of thin ice, primarily because you've got to take ownership of that.

Look, if the secretary -- the former secretary of the Navy is saying, Mr. President, you do not understand what it's like to be a soldier. You don't understand what it's like to be in the military, it's my obligation to describe it in a way that you can understand it. In other words, the obligation is on the secretary.

So the secretary had several options in this particular case. Keep Esper informed, the Sec Def, or at any point in the process, walk away. Just say, you know, I'm failing to communicate effectively. I've got to get out of here. I'm not managing this well. And then the final thing is, is you know, the president, albeit

difficult, albeit very difficult for everybody, for guys like me who are formerly in uniform my entire life, is that he can, the president can insinuate himself in these processes.

You'd prefer that he not. You'd prefer that the sanctity of the UCMJ, Uniform Court of Military Justice, process continue without oversight from above until the determination is made. You present the facts and the recommendations, and the president says yes or no. That did not happen.

BERMAN: There's no debate -- and I think Secretary Spencer would acknowledge this -- that the president can do what he did. The discussion that Secretary Spencer seems to be trying to instigate -- and this was his third bite at the apple, right? This is the third thing he did. Between his resignation letter, his TV interview, and now this op-ed. He's trying to say the president shouldn't do this.

And Joe, he wrote something else in this op-ed that I found, in its own way, even more scathing. He wrote, "More importantly, Americans need to know that 99.9 percent of our uniformed members always have, always are, and always will make the right decision. Our allies need to know that we remain a force for good, and please bear with us as we move through this moment in time."

"Please bear with us," he says. He's essentially saying that President Trump is an aberration.

JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I think he's essentially saying the president is unfit to be commander in chief, you know, which is one of the responsibilities of being president.

And there's a couple insidious parts of this. The first is how the president is influenced. There is a cottage industry in Washington right now to get people on FOX News or to run ads on FOX News to influence the president.

In this case, it was Bernie Kerik, a convicted felon, who went on FOX News and made the case for Eddie Gallagher. That's what got the president's attention. There ought to be -- that's not the way the commander in chief should operate.

The second is there are norms of the presidency. When I worked with President Clinton, he had a couple of issues that he just thought were wrong. I mean, he was a big admirer of Bill Gates. And he couldn't -- he never could understand why the Department of Justice was investigating him for antitrust.

We had a situation with a Chinese scientist, Wen Ho Lee, that the president thought was nuts that Justice was going after them. But he always kept his mouth shut, because he thought that the president should not influence the ongoing process of the military, DOJ, until it gets to a point where the president, where it's appropriate to make a decision.

HILL: You know what's fascinating, too, is we're also seeing not just in this -- you know, in this op-ed and what you're hearing. You have the president saying that there's some sort of a deep state, right, that we heard Tuesday night at a rally, that was somehow -- somehow there.

We have that moment. We can listen right now, I think.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I stuck up for three great warriors against the deep state.

People can sit there in air-conditioned offices and complain, but you know what? Doesn't matter to me whatsoever.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[06:25:01]

HILL: Spider, as you hear that, the president talking about some sort of deep state. You pair that with reporting from our own Barbara Starr about how concerned senior officers are at this point about the president's decision making, about what is happening here, I mean, you add the two together. That's a lot for folks to contend with, especially career military officers.

MARKS: Erica, it's incredibly troubling for me. Look, I spent my life in service to the nation. And maybe I'm naive. Paint me naive. There isn't a deep state.

What you have in government, like you have in any large organization, is you have jerks. You have selfish S.O.B.s. You have lazy, dumb, people that are protecting position. And they need to either be punched in the throat, or eliminated, moved along and say it's time for you to go. That's -- that's what we're talking about here.

And again, I -- I take great offense with the description of the military and, certainly, the UCMJ process that I was involved in deeply, in some incredibly troubling issues, as being a part of the deep state. That's insulting to me, and it needs to be eliminated. That's certainly not the issue.

But as we've all described, of course, you know, the president has got some disruptive tendencies here.

This particular case is about a secretary, former secretary of the Navy who made a significant mistake, and he needs to raise his hand, as he did, and say I'm out of here.

I don't think there's any doubt in anybody's mind that the United States military is the most professional, the most incredible, the most amazing group of young men and women, led magnificently by these great leaders that we have tested in combat over the course of the last 18 years.

BERMAN: And many of whom, thousands of whom will not be home with their families this Thanksgiving. MARKS: Absolutely.

BERMAN: So keep that in mind. General Marks, great to have you with us. Happy Thanksgiving to you.

Joe Lockhart, happy Thanksgiving.

MARKS: Thank you, guys. Happy Thanksgiving.

BERMAN: All right. President Trump and his allies have spent years pushing this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Spying on the Trump campaign.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): To spy on the Trump campaign.

LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST: Spy on the Trump campaign.

RUDY GIULIANI, PERSONAL LAWYER FOR DONALD TRUMP: I'm shocked to hear that they put a spy in the campaign.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Shocked because it's not true. And it was never true. "The New York Times" reporting the Justice Department inspector general report will say there were no spies inside the Trump campaign. That's next.

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