Return to Transcripts main page


President Trump Makes Unannounced Visit To Troops In Afghanistan; Black Friday Is Upon Us; Boris Johnson Replaced By Melting Ice Sculpture. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired November 29, 2019 - 05:30   ET




CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Another Thanksgiving going to the dogs.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the Best in Show tonight is the bulldog.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my goodness, wow -- look -- oh.


ROMANS: The most surprised person in the building may have been the dog's handler. Thor, the bulldog, bested six other finalists to claim his prize. In all, more than 2,000 dogs from more than 193 breeds competed in the National Dog Show in Philadelphia.

The annual event has aired after the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade for the last 18 years and more than 20 million people tune in each year.

EARLY START continues right now.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN ANCHOR: The president making a surprise visit to Afghanistan, telling American troops talks with the Taliban are back on.

ROMANS: And get your holiday wish lists and your budgets ready -- it's Black Friday. The retailing industry hoping savvy shoppers will give them a big boost.

PHILLIP: Heavy snow and strong winds headed for the middle of the country. A major storm system could make travel dangerous throughout the weekend.

Good morning, this is EARLY START and I'm Abby Phillip.

ROMANS: Nice to have you here today. I'm Christine Romans. It's 31 minutes past the hour. Good morning, everyone.

Peace talks with the Taliban are back on. That's according to President Trump who made that announcement during a surprise trip to Afghanistan for Thanksgiving.

Now, CNN is waiting for confirmation from the Taliban, and the White House has not shown any proof, so far, that these talks are restarting. Even if they are, the president told American troops at Bagram Airbase he's uncertain whether a deal can really be made with the Taliban.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Taliban wants to make a deal. We'll see if they want to make a deal. It's got to be a real deal, but we'll see.


ROMANS: This was President Trump's first visit to Afghanistan.

White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins has more on the trip.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Abby and Christine, the president making this unannounced trip to Afghanistan. And when the president hit the ground they met with the troops. He served them Thanksgiving lunch.

And then he makes news while speaking with reporter, announcing that they've restarted those peace talks with the Taliban -- those talks that ended pretty abruptly less than three months ago when the president said he was scrapping them and a visit to Camp David for some leaders of the Taliban where they were going to have final negotiations, he believed, after that Taliban attack left one soldier dead.

Now the president says they've restarted. He thinks that the Taliban is going to be more open to a potential ceasefire, which would be noteworthy given that was a big sticking point the last time around.

But also, we should note that this trip was kept pretty under wraps pretty well by the White House and Secret Service.

He left Florida on Wednesday night, flew to Washington where he then boarded another plane that was not on the tarmac as it normally is when Trump gets onboard -- but instead, tucked away in an airport hangar where the president then boarded the plane. They turned off the lights and flew with the window shades drawn so as not to give away their location.

Last year when the president went to Iraq, actual plane enthusiasts spotted the president as he was making his way over there, though this time there were no sightings.

But we should note the White House did schedule tweets to come out of the president's Twitter account so there wouldn't be any suspicions about his whereabouts -- Christine and Abby.


PHILLIP: Thanks for that, Kaitlan.

The president's first visit to the site of America's longest war and the revelation that Taliban peace talks have resumed come at a time when he is clashing with his own military.

We'll get more on the trip's significance from CNN's Barbara Starr at the Pentagon.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Getting a peace agreement in Afghanistan is really critical for Mr. Trump's goal of reducing troop levels -- 13,000 troops there right now. He wants to get it down to about 8,600. And obviously, at some point when the Afghans are able to stand on their own and be able to protect security in their country, eventually withdraw all U.S. troops.

During the Thanksgiving visit, he took pains to thank the troops -- to remind them that America, of course, is behind them, and thanked them for their service so far away from home.

It comes at a tough time, though. It's been a difficult week for the U.S. military. Mr. Trump has intervened in several cases of war crimes allegations and issued pardons. Exonerations of troops involved in those not gone down particularly well with the top brass at the Pentagon.


And it actually, of course, has led to the firing of the Navy secretary, Richard Spencer, who then penned a scathing editorial op-ed in "The Washington Post" saying that Mr. Trump simply did not understand what it meant to serve in the U.S. military with uniform regulations and uniform discipline across the board.

For the U.S. military, they very much want to stay out of politics. Mr. Trump making that difficult for them, at least during this past week.


PHILLIP: It's a complicated time for the president and the military right now. Thanks, Barbara Starr, at the Pentagon.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Three, two, one -- Happy Thanksgiving.


ROMANS: Shoppers stepped away from the dinner table and into the stores Thanksgiving Day, meaning big bucks for retailers in stores and records online. Early data from Adobe Analytics shows this. Online sales for

Thanksgiving expected to reach a record $4.4 billion, nearly half of those coming from smartphones before 5:00 p.m.

Shoppers also went to the stores -- hit the stores to score early Black Friday sales, often waiting in long lines for stores that opened later in the day.

Now, with fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year -- six fewer days -- many retailers even started sales as early as Halloween.

All of this good news for the retail sector as the holiday shopping season gets -- really gets underway. And despite the ongoing U.S.- China trade war, consumer confidence remains strong.

PHILLIP: It is Black Friday -- have we mentioned that? Shoppers are expected to spend up to $7.5 billion on everything from turtlenecks and toasters and televisions.

CNN's Alison Kosik is live this morning at a Best Buy in northern New Jersey. Alison, what is going on where you are today?


So we are the first ones here. No one is even outside yet, I know, so if you need anything just give me a quick text. I'll see what I can pick up for you or Christine.

But you know what? Black Friday is still a thing. A lot of people are still expected to wait outside those doors for an early opening here at this Best Buy in Paramus, New Jersey to get these doorbusters. So tickets are going to be given out in about a half-hour for doorbusters like flat-screen T.V.s and an HP laptop.

But you know what? Consumers already began shopping for the holidays back in October because they're feeling more confident about their economic situation. Low unemployment is giving them more confidence about job security and about their paychecks, so this holiday shopping season is expected to be a big one.

The National Retail Federation expects that for the months of October, November, and December, retailers could bring anywhere from $727 billion to $730 billion. And that money I'm just talking about just brought in in those three months.

So how is the U.S.-China trade war expected to impact shoppers? Well, the National Retail Federation thinks it really won't. Now, it's unprecedented to be in the middle of a holiday shopping season with tariffs on goods, so the NRF is sort of waiting before it makes a stand on whether or not the impact is going to be big or small.

But it looks like consumers aren't that concerned. Although other studies show that around six out of 10 shoppers are expecting to see higher prices, and if they wind up spending more on those holiday gifts they won't try to absorb the cost -- that they'll just buy fewer goods or find cheaper alternatives.

Abby, back to you.

PHILLIP: Well, since it's so quiet where you are you could pick up some headphones for me and Christine.

ROMANS: Exactly.

PHILLIP: Thanks, Alison.

KOSIK: Headphones?

ROMANS: Ah, there she is. All right, Alison Kosik -- thank you --

PHILLIP: I love it -- thank you.

ROMANS: -- so much. All right.

Car manufacturers in the U.K. are warning that Brexit could hurt their bottom line, and badly. We'll explain, next.



ROMANS: All right.

Car production in the United Kingdom is falling and Brexit could make it even worse. Data from the U.K. Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders shows this. Production down four percent in October and it has declined for 16 of the past 17 months.

The group says leaving the European Union without a trade deal in place would mean new tariffs and more dramatic declines in production, reducing it to a million vehicles a year by the year 2024.

Now, the auto sector is one of the most productive industries in Britain and the single-biggest exporter of U.K. goods. Global car sales are already on track for the worst decline since 2009. The slump in the U.K. much more severe because of the uncertainty over Brexit.

And a lot of this damage has already been done. Honda announced plans to shut down a factory in England. Nissan scrapped plans to build its new SUVs at its factory in Sunderland.

PHILLIP: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson replaced by a melting ice sculpture after he decided to skip a televised election debate on the climate crisis. The chilling reaction to Johnson's absence triggering a complaint by the prime minister's Conservative Party to the U.K.'s broadcasting watchdog.

Let's go live to London and bring in Nina dos Santos -- Nina.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR: Thanks very much. Good morning, Abby. Well, this was empty-chairing in spectacular fashion by Channel 4. The broadcaster had originally invited all of the leaders to appear on this debate to try and set out their stores (ph) for cutting carbon emissions.

And the two proponents of Brexit -- obviously, one being Nigel Farage; the other one the leader of the ruling Conservative Party -- the current British prime minister, Boris Johnson -- were the real no- shows here. Instead, as you said, they were replaced in equally spectacular fashion by these melting ice sculptures that continued to drip throughout the course of the one-hour-long debate as things got increasingly heated.

Now it should be pointed out that the Conservative Party actually has the longest lead time for cutting carbon emissions.

They did actually put forward a more junior minister who had been the environment secretary who complained that he was blocked from attending and representing the party on this debate. Channel 4 rebuffing that again, saying well look, this was a leaders' debate. We didn't want anyone more junior on stage.


But as you said, this has prompted an official complaint from the Conservative Party to the U.K.'s broadcasting regulator, Ofcom, saying that this was a provocative partisan stunt which would, itself, constitute making a political opinion in its own right.

Now, having said that, Boris Johnson is not doing badly in the polls. There was the latest poll that came out just yesterday which surveyed 100,000 people, which is going to be replicated over the next week to come. And they said that if the election were to be held today, Boris Johnson would get a comfortable majority of about 68 seats in Parliament.

So things aren't appearing to damage him that much, even despite this, Abby.

PHILLIP: That's right, but never a dull moment with Boris Johnson. Thanks, Nina.

ROMANS: All right, to Texas now. An evacuation order remains in place in Port Neches after Wednesday's huge explosion and fire at a chemical plant. Tens of thousands of residents within a four-mile radius of the TPC plant still not able to return to their homes.

Firefighters have made progress suppressing the fire, but the chemicals are still burning. Officials are hoping to lift the evacuation order in the next four to five hours.

PHILLIP: Ten animals perished in a fire at an African safari wildlife park in Port Clinton, Ohio on Thanksgiving night. Authorities say the animals were housed in a barn that was destroyed by the fire.

According to the park's owner, three giraffes, three hogs, three bongos, and a Springbok antelope were all killed. The park's staff, in a Facebook post, says the animals were part of their safari family and they are devastated by the loss.

ROMANS: Fire crews in Southern California are finally getting a handle on the Cave Fire burning in Santa Barbara County. The fire has burned more than 3,100 acres and with the help of improved weather conditions it is now 40 percent contained. Some 300 firefighters are battling that blaze.

All right, you've probably heard that 5G networks of the future, bringing ultra-high-speed Internet to your phone. Cell phone service providers are starting to roll 5G out in some cities and CNN's Samantha Kelly tried it out.


SAMANTHA KELLY, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR (on camera): This is an actual 5G cell site location. The 5G site is a small rectangle on top of a longer vertical rectangle. There are other 4G sites around it. The 5G T-Mobile site allows this high-band millimeter wave to pass a spectrum down and you are able to access these higher speeds if you're in the vicinity around it.

So what is 5G, anyway? It's a next-generation -- or G -- of cellular service. 4G introduced faster speeds, though. It could handle Uber or Facetime. 5G is supposed to be 10 times as fast.

You can see how close we are to the 5G cell site right there in the building above the Starbucks, but I can't even get on the network. Oh, wait -- OK, I got it.

KELLY (voice-over): We did a test on T-Mobile's 4G and 5G connections in the park. The 5G network was significantly faster but it didn't quite hit the high speeds I saw on other networks.

KELLY (on camera): So I'm getting really great 5G service right here at the Starbucks and the 5G cell site is right above me, but let's see what happens if I go inside. And there we go, it just -- it just dropped -- just now.

The hype for 5G is high but for now, service is super spotty, it's expensive, and it's going to take so long for these companies to put equipment in all the different buildings and the lampposts across the country. You might just want to sit tight and wait for them to work out the kinks.




PHILLIP: A major storm system bringing hazardous travel to the Rockies and Northern Plains with heavy snow and strong winds throughout the weekend.

Meteorologist Derek Van Dam has the forecast for you.


DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Christine and Abby.

You know, there are a lot of people traveling home from family and friend's house today and they're going to be confronted with some wicked weather over the western two-thirds of the country.

Look at the slew of winter advisories and wind advisories in place. It's all thanks to a large storm system moving out of the southwest and into the central parts of the country.

The east coast, no problem today, but that is about to change as we round off the weekend and into the early parts of next week.

Look at the evolution of this storm system. Look at the copious amounts of moisture. It really blows up throughout the day on Saturday across the Plains. Des Moines to Chicago, you'll be mainly a rain event. But, Minneapolis, you have the potential for some snowfall.

Going forward, though, rain will overspread the mid-Atlantic states by Saturday midday. And then, the potential exists for some heftier snowfall across the major east coast cities -- New York to Boston, as well as Philadelphia -- before transitioning to rain and then back to snow again. The potential exists for several inches on the ground as we head off into the early parts of next week.

Back to you.


ROMANS: All right, Derek. Thank you for that.

Let's get a check on "CNN Business" this morning.

Taking a look at markets around the world, a mixed performance, really, here this morning.

On Wall Street, markets reopened today. They were closed yesterday. Futures are down a little bit here. It will be a short day today. It's the last trading day of the month.

Just for the record -- big picture -- stocks have been resilient this year. The Dow was up almost 21 percent this year, the S&P 500 up 26 percent, the Nasdaq up 31 percent. You've had a great year in your 401(k).

All right. Apple facing backlash from Ukraine after marking Crimea as part of Russia. CNN reporters in Russia confirmed Apple maps lists cities in Crimea as being in Russia. The app also shows a border between the rest of Ukraine and Crimea and no border at the Kerch Strait between Russia and Crimea.

[05:55:06] Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 -- annexed via invasion -- and violence between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian soldiers continues.

Most countries refuse to recognize this Russian annexation. The U.S. has imposed economic sanctions, including freezing assets and restricting trade.

In a series of tweets, Ukraine's foreign minister slammed Apple, saying, "Stick to high-tech entertainment. Global politics is not your strong side."

Apple did not respond to our request for comment.

All right, couldn't share a picture of your Thanksgiving plate Thursday? The tracking site Downdetector received thousands of complaints about Facebook and Instagram being down as of 10:30 a.m.

Facebook said an issue with one of its software systems caused users to have trouble accessing its family of apps. Just after 3:00 p.m., it said the issue had been resolved.

Both Facebook and Instagram services are prone to frequent outages but Thursday's was especially problematic because love sharing their holiday festivities.

The outage did not appear to affect WhatsApp.

PHILLIP: Another Thanksgiving going to the dogs.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the Best in Show tonight is the bulldog.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my goodness, wow -- look -- oh.


PHILLIPS: The world's cutest dogs. The most surprised person in the building may have been that dog's handler. For the bulldog -- the bulldog bested six other finalists to claim his prize. In all, more than 2,000 dogs from more than 193 breeds competed in the National Dog Show in Philadelphia.

The annual event has aired after the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade for the last 18 years and more than 20 million people tune in each year.

ROMANS: My favorite dog is Ginger, the chocolate lab with the droopy eyes who lives at my house. Maybe not a breed like that, but she's a good dog.

All right. A waitress at a Denny's in Galveston, Texas has a lot to be thankful for -- more than she could have imagined.

Every day, Adrianna Edwards walks over four hours to and from work. Those days are over. A couple she served this week, after hearing that Adrianna was saving up to buy a car, decided to buy one for her.


ADRIANNA EDWARDS, WAITRESS, DENNY'S: In my head, I was like, you know, pranks are cool and everything, but this one's just a tad bit cruel.

This morning, the first thing I did when I woke up was look out my window and see if it's actually there or if I dreamed it.


ROMANS: Oh, my goodness. The Galveston couple prefers to remain anonymous but they told CNN affiliate KTRK it made them happy to see her so happy.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She teared up, which made me feel happy and, you know, that we moved -- that she was so moved by that. I know it's Thanksgiving but I said Merry Christmas and that hopefully someday she'll just pay it forward.


ROMANS: Pay it forward. Adrianna Edwards says she plans to do just that.

PHILLIP: Nereida Araujo named her newborn Sky and it's pretty clear why. The mother of two was pregnant with her third child and was flying from Florida to Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving when suddenly, it was time.

NEREIDA ARAUJO, DELIVERED BABY ON PLANE: And I was sleeping and I felt like a pop in my lower back. I just felt, like, liquid, and I woke my husband up.

PHILLIP: That was her water breaking 11 days early.

When the plane landed in Charlotte for a scheduled layover, airport medics and fire department personnel delivered the baby on the Jetway.


PHILLIP: Very lucky day.

ROMANS: Sky's got a great origin story, that's for sure.

All right. A Thanksgiving baby boom at a hospital in Kansas City. Twelve sets of twins were born Thursday at Saint Luke's Hospital in Kansas City. It's believed to be the most being cared for at any one time in the hospital's history.

All of the twins were born around the same time. They all arrived between five and 14 weeks early and are being treated in the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit. That is a lot of babies -- a lot of twins, a lot of diapers, and very little sleep.

All right, everybody, have a great weekend. Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans. Nice to have you here this week.

PHILLIP: And I'm Abby Phillip. "NEW DAY" starts right now.


BEST BUY EMPLOYEES (Chanting): We are Best Buy. Who are we? Best Buy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's Thanksgiving Black Friday and all the excitement and it's rocking right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE CHILD: Some video games, some shoes, clothes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm trying to get some sales. Thanksgiving is the best time to go.

COLLINS: The president making this unannounced trip to Afghanistan.

TRUMP: There's nowhere I'd rather celebrate this Thanksgiving than right here.

STARR: President Trump says he thinks the Taliban are ready for a ceasefire.

TRUMP: The Taliban wants to make a deal. We'll see if they make a deal. If they do, they do and if they don't, they don't.


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

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Friday, November 29th, 6:00 here in New York.

John Berman is sleeping off his food coma --

JOHN AVLON, CNN ANCHOR: As well he should.

CAMEROTA: -- and John Avlon joins me now. Did you have a good Thanksgiving?

AVLON: I had a great Thanksgiving. I saw your Alisyn-cam from your kitchen. You had a turkey the size of your torso. It was terrifying.

CAMEROTA: That was only one of them. We made two.



AVLON: Tryptophan is America's most American depressant.

CAMEROTA: Oh, yes.