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Bargain Hunters Flock to Stores for Black Friday Deals; Trump Returning Home after Surprise Afghanistan Visit; Trump Announces Resumption of Taliban Peace Talks; Trump, Lawyers Face Sunday Deadline to Participate in Hearing. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired November 29, 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 MALE: We are --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Best Buy!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Best Buy!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Best Buy!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who are we?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who are we?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who are we?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Best Buy!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Best Buy!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Best Buy!

[05:59:06]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's Thanksgiving Black Friday. All the excitement, it's rockin' right now.

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

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

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The president making this unannounced trip to Afghanistan.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's nowhere I'd rather celebrate this Thanksgiving than right here.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: President Trump says he thinks the Taliban are ready for a cease-fire.

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

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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 29, 6 a.m. here in New York. John Berman is sleeping off his food coma.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST/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: Two?

CAMEROTA: Yes.

AVLON: Tryptophan is America's -- most American depressant.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my God. We're going to get to that in a second, because online shopping is off to a very strong start, analysts say. Bargain hunters spent a record $4 billion on Thanksgiving Day alone. And it takes more than a tryptophan hangover to keep the shoppers away.

The rush is on to get the first crack at those sales this morning. Today is traditionally one of the biggest shopping days of the holiday season. So we'll tell you what some of the hottest deals are and how the strong economy will impact the sales.

AVLON: Meanwhile, President Trump is back on his way to Florida after making a surprise visit to U.S. troops in Afghanistan for Thanksgiving. The president announcing his is reopening the peace talks with the Taliban less than three months after first breaking them off.

And the president served meals to the troops who are still fighting in America's longest wear. And Mr. Trump's first trip to Afghanistan comes as there is growing tension with senior military officers over his decision to intervene in war crimes cases. We're going to get to that, too, in a moment, but we begin with CNN's Alison Kosik at a Best Buy store in Paramus, New Jersey.

The calm the before the storm. How's it looking over there?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. This is a very calm before the storm you're talking about. We are the

only ones here at this Best Buy in Paramus. But I'm sure that's going to change real soon as soon as the doors open.

Because Black Friday is still a thing. It's part of a five-day shopping event that goes from, yes, Thanksgiving Day all the way to Cyber Monday. It's when 165 million people are expected to get out there and shop.

And although the U.S./China trade war is kind of hanging over everything, it looks like it's not going to impact how consumers shop, but consumers admit they are still concerned about tariffs causing higher prices on their holiday gifts.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Three, too, one!

KOSIK (voice-over): Black Friday shopping is officially underway.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's the best day of the year.

KOSIK: Customers getting a jump start on holiday shopping with many stores opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We knew that there was going to be the deals that are going to be really early so we've got to take advantage.

KOSIK: But because the holiday fell so late in the month, shoppers have the fewest possible days to tackle their Christmas list, which could be a billion-dollar hit in online revenue alone, according to Adobe Analytics.

So what is the hot ticket item this year?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to run inside, grab the TV.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm in line for a TV.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're just going to be worrying about one thing, which is a TV, too.

KOSIK: TVs, electronics, and appliances at the top of the list this holiday season.

The National Retail Federation says most retailers pre-bought inventory months ago, partly due to uncertainty with the trade war with China. So because those purchases happened before the next round of tariffs expected in a few weeks, consumers will not see a major increase in prices this holiday season.

The National Retail Federation also estimates this holiday season shoppers will spend between $728 and $731 billion. Adobe Analytics reports that retail spending already topped $4 billion in online sales for Thanksgiving Day alone, a new record.

And a huge chunk of those sales were made directly on smartphones, more than 38 percent higher than last year.

But still, some shoppers braved the long lines and crowds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got to go ahead and put on some skates. Right? That's the first thing we're going to do. Then we're going skate to more stores so nobody will beat us to the items that we want to collect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the line will be here, going through the curve.

KOSIK: Best Buy's CEO Corie Barry --

CORIE BARRY, CEO, BEST BUY: Welcome. Welcome. Good luck.

KOSIK: -- welcoming shoppers at a store in Minneapolis. She says the store has been preparing for this Black Friday since last November.

BARRY: We just like to be there and feel the excitement. And because we do put so much work into this, it's great.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KOSIK: And Best Buy is one of the few old-school retailers, you know, defying expectations and killing it on earnings.

But Best Buy could be one of the retailers that has a lot to lose if another round of tariffs goes into effect on December 15, because those tariffs would affect electronics. And although Best Buy has been able to absorb the higher costs of any tariffs, it is expected that consumers would wind up paying more for electronics early next year. Like I'm talking about cell phones, those headphones, and other -- and other electronics like laptops.

John and Alisyn, back to you.

CAMEROTA: Alison, thank you very much.

Alison is living my childhood dream of being alone in a New Jersey mall. That was my dream. Like, could I get locked in there for the night and have my pick of everything?

AVLON: I think that was -- you could dream higher than that. But it's still fun.

CAMEROTA: No, I can't.

AVLON: You know what blows my mind, though? The tariffs, despite that $4 billion on Thanksgiving alone, that's extraordinary.

[06:05:05] CAMEROTA: That is remarkable. Alison, thank you very much.

AVLON: All right. Now, meanwhile, President Trump is on his way back to Florida this morning after surprising U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan. The president announced he's reopened talks with the Taliban, but details are still thin at this hour.

CNN's Kristen Holmes live in West Palm Beach, Florida, awaiting President Trump's arrival -- Kristen.

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John.

Well, that's right. So President Trump, in addition to dolling out turkey and mashed potatoes to the troops, making this announcement about these negotiations restarting.

And we have to remind our viewers here: It was just about three months ago that he abruptly called them off after issuing and then canceling an invitation to Taliban leaders to Camp David for what seemed like could be the final stages of negotiations.

President Trump at that time citing a Taliban attack in Kabul that left one American soldier dead. But now he says the two groups are coming back to the table.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The Taliban wants to make a deal, and we're meeting with them. We're going to stay until such time as we have a deal. Or we have total victory. And they want to make a deal very badly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: So I want to talk about two things here. One is that we don't have any details, as you said, about what these talks are actually going to look like and what has been done so far. Just essentially, that they've been restarted.

But two, I want to give a context here of this trip. This comes after a week of very high tension between the Pentagon, between the U.S. military, and President Trump. After the president went against the advice of the Pentagon and intervened in three war crime cases which eventually led to the ouster of his secretary of the Navy, Richard Spencer. As recently as Tuesday, the president calling the Pentagon a deep state at a rally.

So all of this the backdrop of this trip. And then you see President Trump standing in front of the troops, standing next to the joint chiefs of staff, General Milley, who we know was one of the commanders who went to the White House to object to his involvement in these war crimes cases.

So clearly here, the White House, the administration sending a strong message.

CAMEROTA: Kristin, that backdrop is really important. Thank you for giving us all of that context.

So the Taliban has yet to confirm or deny whether talks with the U.S. have restarted. So what has changed in the past three months since President Trump canceled those talks?

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[06:12:05]

CAMEROTA: President Trump is expected to land back in the U.S. shortly after his surprise trip to visit U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The president announcing that the administration has reopened peace negotiations with the Taliban. That's after calling them off less than three months ago.

So joining us now to talk about this and so much more, we have CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr and CNN military analyst, retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling.

So General Hertling, I'll start with you. Obviously, any time a U.S. commander in chief goes to visit the troops, it is a big morale boost. And the optics are certainly inspiring for everybody.

In terms of the substance of what the president said in his speech and announced, what are your thoughts?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, I'll reinforce what you say, first of all, Aly, that the president going there, a 13-hour trip there and back. Twenty-six hours in a plane, that's a long run for a short slide, as they say in baseball.

But the troops love seeing him. They always like to see the commander in chief, no matter what party, no matter what they represent, in the field. It shows that he cares.

But the substance of the speech, the comments on deal-making, for those of us who have watched this play out over the last couple of months, since the president ended the talks in September and actually asked the Taliban to leave what was potentially connections in Camp David, it's been critical.

Because the Taliban and their key negotiator, Mullah Baradar, has been to Russia, China, Iran, and Pakistan to try and get support. And they certainly hold some pretty good cards.

So the deal-making that the president talked about yesterday is going to continue to be challenging. Because the Taliban are in a very key position. The Afghan government, even though President Ghani said yesterday he thought the forces were up to the task, they are challenged in several provinces in Afghanistan to maintain peace and security.

And we don't quite know what the details of the deal -- and there are many -- that are going to be back on the table with U.S. Ambassador Khalilzad as he works through this with -- with the Taliban. AVLON: Barbara, I want to press on that point, because certainly, the

president, it's great to see him with the troops; and he did make some news. But I understand the real questions about whether the Taliban are actually ready to go back to the negotiating table.

STARR: That's absolutely right. And in fact, we are hearing this morning that everyone is expecting a statement from the Taliban shortly, perhaps as soon as Friday prayers are over in that part of the world. We will have to see what they have to say about all of this.

But it's not even what they formally say in a statement, of course, right? Do they have a real commitment to it? Will the Afghan government be brought in? Do the Taliban feel that the -- they are -- themselves are just going to wait out the U.S., wait for U.S. troops to withdraw, and then they'll be back out?

Look, the president wants a troop drawdown in Afghanistan. Right now, there are about 13,000 U.S. troops. He's already said he wants to bring it down, the figure there, bring it down to about 8,600. And he wants an eventual withdrawal from Afghanistan, an 18-year war, as he and many others see it.

[06:15:15]

This would be another example of his very difficult relationship with top commanders right now. They feel, yes, they can draw down, but they want to stay for some period of time. They want to help the Afghan forces get on their feet fully. They want to be there to fight ISIS, which is on the rise in some parts of Afghanistan.

We've seen a lot of behind-the-scenes tension in the last several days between the Pentagon and the president. And this may turn out to be just another example of that. We're just going to have to watch it and see.

CAMEROTA: In fact, Barbara, as you know, there's bene -- CNN has reporting about this. I'll just read a portion of it. There's dismay in the Pentagon. It's been building over President Trump's sporadic, impulsive and contradictory decision-making on a range of issues, including his sudden pullback of troops in Syria.

And General, this week, the president talked about the Pentagon, I guess, in terms of the language he uses of the deep state. So listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: 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)

CAMEROTA: What do you make of that, General? HERTLING: Well, I don't -- as I've said before, I don't know what

defines the deep state. If it means the people who abide by the Constitution; who are looking for strong national security; who are looking at the rule of law and understanding rules and regulations abide in combat, then color me part of the deep state, Aly.

I'm not sure what that means. And it's certainly not the kind of language you want to try and bring the government and all the institutions of the government to play in tough negotiations with foreign partners.

So it's troubling to me when he uses that kind of language, especially as it alludes to those who were saying that it's not such a good idea to pardon three war criminals, as I am, truthfully, because it hurts the institution.

So again, this is just rhetoric that hasn't been well-defined. And -- and it's not very conducive to bringing our country together.

AVLON: General, Barbara, thank you for joining us. A lot to discuss.

CAMEROTA: Thank you, guys.

AVLON: All right. Up next, will President Trump and his lawyers participate in the next phase of impeachment hearings? We're going to tell you about a deadline they are facing this weekend. And that's up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:22:15]

AVLON: All right. Democrats are moving forward with the next phase of the impeachment investigation. And the House Judiciary Committee will hold their first public hearing next Wednesday.

Now, the White House has until Sunday night to inform the panel's chairman if President Trump or his lawyers will participate in the proceedings.

So joining us now, CNN political commentator Joe Lockhart. He was, of course, President Clinton's former press secretary. And CNN legal analyst extraordinaire, Elie Honig.

Joe, let's start with you. We've got a big week ahead. So there's this deadline from Chairman Nadler that the White House has to respond to if they're going to participate legally in the next phase of the impeachment inquiry in the Judiciary Committee. You're going to see a formal report of what the investigations have found to date.

Break this down for folks, using your experience on being on the other side of it.

JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I think, for news value, the -- the intel report written by Schiff and Dan Goldman and -- and the committee is going to really pull all the things that have happened together. So I think that will be the newsiest thing of the week.

The hearing will be just like in 1998. There'll be some constitutional scholars who will argue whether what happened here is impeachable, explain what impeach, what a high crime and misdemeanor is. And they'll be difference of opinions. There certainly were in 1998

I don't expect the president's lawyers to participate in that, because this is a legal constitutional argument. Their argument is political. They don't -- they don't have evidence that helps them. They don't, you know, have a legal theory here that helps them.

So I think when that's done, the House Judiciary Committee will begin to basically mark up articles of impeachment and go through and decide which ones they want to do, pass that, past the House. Then you move to the Senate, which is a whole different --

AVLON: Sure.

LOCKHART: -- forum for these things.

CAMEROTA: And then the lawyers and Trump's side -- President Trump's side will be represented.

LOCKHART: Yes. I -- I would fully expect the president's lawyers to participate there. President Clinton's did. You'll remember Dale Bumpers giving a stemwinder at the end of it.

Because the way that works is the senators are the jurors. House managers comes over. I think they'll be led by Congressman Nadler and Congressman Schiff and six or seven others. And they will make the case. And the case will be made for the president's side by whoever the president designates. Could be his private lawyers; could be people from White House counsel; could be a mixture.

The big question, which was the big question in 1998, 1999, was will they have live witnesses? Trent Lott and Tom Daschle decided, much to the dismay of the House team, that they would not have live witnesses, because they just wanted to get through this.

The big difference this time is the investigation's not over. We could, between the House vote and the Senate trial, have court rulings that compel John Bolton to testify.

[06:25:04]

So the -- I think the Senate trial could be much more dramatic as far as, you know, kind of the Perry Mason moment, you know. You know, this piece of information --

AVLON: I love a good Perry Mason reference.

LOCKHART: Yes.

CAMEROTA: But I mean, that gets, obviously, dicey if you're going to have live witnesses. Because obviously, the Republicans have put out their laundry list of who they would like that are not necessarily as connected as Democrats think to this.

So what do you think is going to happen? Will there be?

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Will there be live witnesses?

CAMEROTA:

HONIG: Yes, I mean, I think there could be. Because as Joe said, in '98, basically, you had a cause in a box. They took the Ken Starr report, and they took the evidence and that became the case. I was done and done.

Here, I think it's a much more dynamic situation. We've even seen it already.

Remember, during the impeachment hearings that we heard the last couple weeks, this whole story about the July 26th, the restaurant phone call. Right? That David Holmes testified about, where Trump talked about investigations and the three-letter words that shan't be repeated. That came out of nowhere. Nobody knew that was going to come up. That's become a key piece of evidence that we learned about during the testimony.

And so this is still developing. Adam Schiff and his staff are still investigating. They're still finding new facts. We used to say, you investigate up until the moment you get a jury verdict when we were prosecutors. And you never know. I found incredible pieces of evidence, game-breaking piece of evidence, mid trial. And I think that could happen here, as well.

AVLON: So Joe, given the amount of information that came out just during the last inquiry, are you surprised that, according to CNN's polling, that impeachment basically was steady, 50 percent from the previous month?

And I've got to ask you this, too. What do you make of Mark Penn, your former Clinton colleague, going to the White House to give his advice to President Trump?

LOCKHART: I'm not completely surprised about there being no real movement because, remember, there was a big move between late spring until Ukraine story happened.

This is -- this is an unusual case where the confession came first, the transcript. With the president admitting he did it. And then we just built blocks of evidence to prove yes, he did it. Even though he'd confessed.

So I don't expect -- on Mark Penn, as a partisan Democrat, I'm glad he's advising the president. He's a very divisive guy, not well-liked among his peers. And he will -- he will inject chaos into the process.

CAMEROTA: Oh, just what we need more of. HONIG: More.

CAMEROTA: Elie, Joe --

AVLON: What we've been missing.

CAMEROTA: -- thank you both very much.

So there's this powerful winter storm that will pummel parts of the U.S. with snow and freezing rain. Chad Myers with what you need to know for this weekend next.

AVLON: And the giant balloons did fly at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. But some, including this nutcracker, were, shall we say, unruly.

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END