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NEW DAY SATURDAY

Slain Suspected Terrorist Accused Of Killing Two Has Been Identified; Democrats Set Deadline For President Trump To Decide If He Will Participate In Impeachment Hearings; Three Children Missing In Arizona Floods; Coast-To-Coast Storm Threatens Weekend Holiday Rush; Grandfather Recounts Toddler Falling To Her Death From Cruise Ship; Man Strangled Student After She Wouldn't Talk To Him; Judge Allows Actress To Testify Against Harvey Weinstein; Soldiers Return Home From Year-Long Deployment; NYT: How Kamala Harris' Campaign Unraveled. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired November 30, 2019 - 07:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[07:00:00]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I realize quickly with a knife.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody, basically, under the table.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And a flood of people just running and not really knowing what was happening and just fear, a huge amount of fear on their faces.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The White House hit with a new impeachment deadline.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Jerry Nadler, telling President Trump and a letter he has now until next Friday to determine whether or not he'll participate in the next round of impeachment proceedings.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you complain, and complain, and complain, and then you have an opportunity to put your story to the American public and you don't want to do it. It shows you don't have a very good story and a very good defense.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a scam. It's a hoax.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Hope the weekend feels good to you after this holiday week. Good morning to you. I'm Christi Paul.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Martin Savidge in for Victor Blackwell, and we are going to begin this hour with new information of the man that police say killed two people in a terror attack in London.

PAUL: Investigators say 28-year-old, Usman Khan, was previously convicted on terror charges. He was released from prison last year after serving less than half his sentence, and he was wearing an ankle monitor at the time of the attack. Speaking of the time of the attack, we want to share with you now something we just gotten in a dramatic new video of the moments these brave Londoners came together to stop this suspect.

SAVIDGE: Yes, you have to remember they're watching this all unfold and at times it may even seem comical, even though it was deadly serious as bystanders had to grab whatever they could to try to stop the attack. At one point, one man was using a fire extinguisher and another was using a narwhal horn, which is from a whale and anything that will work to try to fend off and attack.

PAUL: Yes, so we're going to take a moment here and watch this with all the sounds so you can really get an effect. I'm assuming though, I just want to point out the person who was videotaping this did not understand the severity of maybe what had just happened

SAVIDGE: Again. Yes, it's just happening on London Bridge. It's happening in the middle of the day and you don't suspect it's a terror attack. What you see are people that are fighting in a commotion.

PAUL: Yes, so go ahead and take a look here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (BLEEP). Look at that! It's funny; I want a close-up. I want to see it. I want to see it. (BLEEP)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGEL: You're looking at it again here, we're just showing you one more time. And you can hear the laughter that's coming from the person who's taking the video because it does look so outlandish. But of course, they don't realize the two people have already been attacked, and at least two people have died in this attack.

And it shows you again, how people courageously used whatever they could find, including a narwhal harpoon to try to hold off and stop this offender and get them on the ground the use of a fire extinguishers.

PAUL: And this really puts you in those moments because London has been the scene of several terror attacks in recent years. In fact, CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has more for us here.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Terror returns to London Bridge, recorded by witnesses from multiple angles, a group of people appear to restrain a man on the ground. Members of the public pullback. Firearms police drag one man away then two shots are heard.

CRESSIDA DICK, METROPOLITAN POLICE COMMISSIONER: I am deeply saddened and angered that our city of London has again been targeted by terrorism. It is with the heaviest of hearts that I have to inform you that as well as the suspect, who was shot dead by police. Two of those injured in this attack in the London Bridge area have tragically lost their lives.

WALSH: A knife is seen pulled from the scuffle, yet still many ordinary Londoners appear to have thrown themselves at the assailant to restrain him.

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I also want to pay tribute to the extraordinary bravery of those members of the public who physically intervened to protect the lives of others, and for me, they represent the very best of our country, and I thank them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was also in the Boston Marathon attacks in 2013. And it's a very similar thing of just having a flood of people just running and not really knowing what was happening and just fear like huge amount of fear on their faces and you could feel it as well in the energy of just everyone stressing out.

[07:05:17]

WALSH: Similar horror befell London Bridge in June 2017, when three attackers drove a van into pedestrians and then launched a savage knife attack some also wearing hoax explosive vests. Police killed the attackers in minutes, but still eight victims died. After that attack, roadside barricades went up in London, some visible in these videos.

London Bridge would have been bustling at that time with commuters and workers in the city.

The extraordinary speed of the police response and reaction of members of the public, a sign of how practiced and anticipated the horror of such attacks are in London. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAVIDGE: Congress returns from Thanksgiving break this weekend. Impeachment hearings resume in the house. In fact, several public hearings of impeachment are scheduled throughout December starting with the Judiciary Committee. That'll be Wednesday.

PAUL: Now, these hearings could be the Democrats' last chance to boost support for impeachment before a full house vote not just within Congress, but within the public sector as well. CNN's Kristen Holmes is in West Palm Beach, Florida this morning. So, I understand the White House has a week at this point to decide whether President Trump or his attorneys will take part in these hearings. What are you hearing from the White House regarding that?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi. Well, so that's exactly right. Yesterday, we saw this letter from the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee -- and keep in mind, this is now really the official start of the impeachment inquiry because it is under the Judiciary Committee.

They essentially laid out given an extension to the White House Council to make that decision of whether or not they're going to participate and they laid out what exactly that would look like it would look like them being able to cross examine witnesses; they will be able to suggest evidence, provide summaries of additional evidence.

They would even be able to possibly suggest other witnesses and have the president cross examine some of those witnesses. Now, the White House is reviewing that right now. But sources say they are leaning towards not sending any sort of counsel to these impeachment hearings, which might seem a surprising given the fact that President Trump has repeatedly, since the beginning of this process said that it is unfair because he didn't have representation. Take a listen.

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TRUMP: There was no due process. You can't have lawyers. We couldn't have any witnesses.

They're not allowed to even ask a question.

Because it's the minority. We have no lawyers. We can't question.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: And so, essentially there you hear it, but yet they are still thinking about not sending an attorney. Now, allies of the President say that this is because they don't want to give any credence through the process, they want you to consider to continue to say that it is a sham.

SAVIDGE: Kristen, the Intel committee is preparing a report on impeachment findings. Where is that going to go?

HOLMES: Right. So, this is basically the building blocks here of these potential articles of impeachment. When I say that the Judiciary Committee is the official start of the impeachment inquiry, they are the ones who are going to eventually decide whether or not they are going to draft these articles of impeachment, and what exactly they're going to look like.

And just to be clear, because there's been a lot of question over what exactly an article of impeachment is, those are the charges against the President of the United States. That's what they're talking about there. So, this will outline everything that they have learned in the Intel Committee, pass it on to the Judiciary, and again, will serve as sort of a building block is the Judiciary Committee decides to go forward and draft these articles of impeachment, Martin.

SAVIDGE: Yes, there's still a lot to come. Kristen Holmes, thank you very much for that.

PAUL: CNN Legal Analyst, Shan Wu, with us, Defense Attorney and Former Federal Prosecutor sham. Shan, good morning to you.

SHAN WU, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Good morning, Christi.

PAUL: Good. So, I want to just for our viewers really dig into these constitutional grounds for presidential impeachment and what that means. Here's the summary, it says: "The president, vice president and all civil officers of the United States shall be removed from office on impeachment for and conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors."

I want to break this down for you, first of all, treason and bribery. That's based obviously on what we've seen in these hearings, what we know about these witness testimonies, the White House transcript, perhaps, President Trump's own words, based on that Ukraine call, is there anything that you have seen that would constitute for the evidence that would prove treason and bribery here?

WU: Probably not treason. I know many people feel using sort of common sense that the President has engaged in treasonous-like acts, maybe being to aligned with Russia. But treason is defined very narrowly in U.S. law and it really has to be aiding an enemy someone we're at war with and such. So, treason is probably out of the picture.

[07:10:06]

Bribery, a little closer call. There's this notion that Ukrainian aid would be like dangling money to Ukraine's, was a lot of money to the Ukrainians. I think though it's a little bit of a tough uphill battle, because (INAUDIBLE) has a lot of common-sense appeal.

Again, the Republicans will likely argue that bribery normally is offered to an individual with a bad intent, here's some money do something illegal for me. Here, they can argue that this is more like lobbying there. The money was meant for a good purpose, and they're offering it to a government, not an individual. So, it's possible to argue bribery, but still a little bit out of the normal context for bribery.

PAUL: OK. So, then we get come to high crimes and misdemeanors, and, and the precise meaning of that phrase, apparently, and that's not defined in the Constitution itself. So, with that said, if it's not formally defined, what are the parameters by which they can try to establish this.

WU: Right. The high crimes one is the sort of catch all phrase. And if you look back historically at what the framers were defining for that, a very important point is they specifically did not want to include as a high crime or misdemeanor, the idea of what they called maladministration. Malfeasance basically doing a bad job. And the reason they didn't want that as an impeachable offense is they felt that that would be too easily used for political or partisan gain. Just we don't like the job you're doing.

So, therefore, we're going to impeach you. So, what the Democrats have to do to avoid that is they have to make it clear that this wasn't just we disagree with the job President Trump's doing, but that there is actual misconduct here. And that's what they need to focus on; things that are clearly wrong that are like bribery, or an abuse of power, not giving aid that was already meant to be given aid for his own political gains. So, they really need to concentrate on the misconduct aspect, rather than just we think you're a terrible president.

PAUL: OK. And we don't -- Democrats are also considering obstruction of justice connected to the Mueller probe, any evidence of that, in your opinion?

WU: There, there's a lot of evidence to that Christi. There those 10 instances that were set out in the probe. So, I think that is a pretty strong legal argument for it.

The question will be whether, from a strategy point of view, if the Democrats are worried that that's too many issues going on, and maybe they want to avoid Mueller probe; but there's very good evidence of that. And also, of course, there's very strong evidence of obstruction of Congress, instructing all of these officials absolutely not even show up with regard to their subpoenas.

PAUL: Shan, I only have a couple of seconds left, but I did want to ask you one more thing about the fact that the President has two deadlines now, one tomorrow, one next Friday to determine -- to make the determination as to whether he and his lawyers will participate in these hearings. Do you think they should?

WU: It will be a big mistake not to participate. We have a common misconception that impeachment is not a legal proceeding, that it's purely political. It's really not. It's one of our most basic legal proceedings. And if I were advising the President, I would tell him, you really need to have lawyers in there to help figure out what kind of questions you want to ask. It's not just cross examination; it's listing helpful testimony that you can use later in the trial.

So, that's important for us all to remember that impeachment is a legal proceeding, one of the most basic ones and trying to the Constitution. It's just a proceeding, a legal proceeding that doesn't take place in the courtroom, like many others administrative hearings, for example, regulatory hearings. This is a legal proceeding that takes place in a political venue, which is Congress.

PAUL: OK. Shan Wu, always appreciate your expertise, sir. Thank you for being here.

WU: Good to see you, Christi.

PAUL: You too. So, we have House Speaker Nancy Pelosi taking questions on the impeachment, the 2020 election and more. And a live CNN Town Hall, it's moderated by Jake Tapper, so be sure to watch that's Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

SAVIDGE: Still to come, the former top aide to Senator Kamala Harris resigns and is now telling all about the inner workings of the senator's campaign, that's ahead.

PAUL: Also, a Customs and Border Protection employee under arrest for Thanksgiving murder. His wife was found dead at their front door as their family celebrated the holiday inside that home.

[07:14:29] SAVIDGE: Plus, as millions begin to make the trek home from the Thanksgiving holiday, there's a storm bringing rain and snow and it's threatening this weekend's rush from coast to coast.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAVIDGE: Three children are missing after floodwaters swept their car away in Arizona. Another four children and one adult were rescued. That car was attempted to cross a creek near the New Mexico border last night.

PAUL: All seven children and two adults were in that car together. We don't know, though, their ages or how they're connected but officials are warning people in that area. Please be careful. Even if you don't see rain, some of that water can really be deceiving doesn't look as deep or as rushing as it might be.

This weekend, there are millions of you in the path of this storm that's sweeping. I mean, it's from the West Coast to the East Coast; so, we're talking about snow and rain. And you know, I apologize if you're sitting in the airport trying to get home right now. You might be OK, as I understand it, it's tomorrow that could be dicey.

SAVIDGE: Let's check in with Ivan Cabrera right now to give us a look at what we can expect.

Good morning, Ivan.

IVAN CABRERA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, you get to watch Christi Paul and Martin Savidge just there at the airport. I could think of worse things, right?

PAUL: Thanks, Ivan.

CABRERA: Good morning, guys. Yes, I was talking about whether -- you know, we were scouring through what will this storm not do? I mean, it's just very little that it's not going to throw at us here. We're talking about the potential for snow that's going to happen. We have sleet, we have freezing rain, we're going to have icing. And then on the warm side of the storm, we have rain, hail, lightning. Severe storms are going to likely produce wind gusts in excess of 60 miles an hour and then tornadoes.

We're going to throw that for good measure as well, unfortunately, this afternoon; so quite a powerful storm. Very few of us really won't be impacted in one way or the other. Right now, the Dakota is getting hit, the Midwest with heavy snow. Look at a thunderstorm activity, already getting going from Oklahoma City, good morning, you're up early thanks to the frequent lightning that has been out there or the thunder waking you up. Look at all the winter storm warnings that are posted.

When you see the orange, that's not just having snow, now we're adding wind, and so we're going to have visibility under a quarter mile and it is going to be treacherous even if you your flight makes it in once you get in the car, that's going to be a problem if you're traveling that way. There are the severe storms. I'm thinking for later this afternoon and into this evening, some supercells could develop; those are the thunderstorms that could develop into tornadoes. So, we're going to watch that closely. And then on the northern side,

the cold side of the storm, we have a transition zone which unfortunately is going to provide us with some sleet and ice. Then further north, it's just going to be snow which will accumulate.

[07:20:04] Now, what I'm showing you here is not for today, this is now heading

into Sunday and into Monday. This is why it's blue. We have winter storm watches. Yes, some have gone over to pink, the warnings. All of this area will go into winter storm warnings, by the time we get into tonight, it's just not quite there yet.

So, if you're traveling today, I think you'll be okay but not on Sunday. There comes to storm. It is going to be windy; visibility is going to be an issue, you're going to have planes that are going to be sitting, waiting to get de-iced.

So, that's going to delay your travel and then, of course, the snow that's going to pile up. What are we thinking? Well, potentially, 12 to 18 inches. My hope right now with some of the latest models is that we are able to bring that down a little bit with some brain mixing in for places like Boston.

New York looks better, but you could get one to two inches. The bulk of the heavy snow, I think at this point will be for interior, northeast. So yes, everything the storm has to offer. It's coming and it's coming in the next three days, guys.

PAUL: All right, Ivan, thank you for the heads up. Everybody be safe out there.

So, listen, the man whose granddaughter slipped and fell from his arms, and she died, this was on a cruise ship, where he gives his side of the story. This is an emotional interview. Stay close for him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SALVATORE ANELLO, GRANDFATHER OF CHLOE WIEGAND: I saw her fall. I saw her fall. I saw her fall. And it was just a disbelief.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:25:10]

SAVIDGE: A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers are facing a murder charge after police found his wife shot to death at the front door of their home on Thanksgiving. Police tell CNN-affiliate KTRK, that the couple along with their two young sons were inside celebrating Thanksgiving with family.

Dudley Bernard shot his wife, 42-year-old, Chauntelle Bernard, multiple times according to police, both work for CBP. Bernard gave himself up to police without a fight. He's being held on $200,000 bond.

PAUL: So, tapping this morning with Legal Brief, the man whose granddaughter slipped and fell from his arms to her death on a cruise ship says he didn't realize there wasn't glass in that window where they were standing. Salvatore Anello, he got real emotional describing what he claims happened to that 18-month-old.

Anello mentioned that he's colorblind; he says that could have played a role. He was charged with negligent homicide in October. He's due back in court in Puerto Rico in December. I want to listen to what he had to say in that interview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANELLO: I saw her fall. I saw her fall. I saw her fall. And it was just a disbelief. I was like, oh my god! And then, I just remember screaming that I thought there was glass.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Let's talk to Joey Jackson, CNN Legal Analyst and Criminal Defense Attorney for this. Joey, I just -- I mean, the human side of you looks at this and said: Gosh, was this just a horrible accident or how strong is the plausibility of negligent charges here?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Christi, good morning to you. So, the essence of negligence is carelessness; did he act in a careless and unreasonable way in as much as holding his granddaughter up to the window. You know, and I think people have many opinions. You know, looking at him, certainly he's very sympathetic. And notwithstanding the variety of opinions, the one thing that I point to is that you're on the 11th floor of a cruise ship.

And so, it would seem to me that the cruise ship would have precautions or institute some measures such that you can get your ventilation, you could have a window that's freely flowing, you can have people that are comfortable in terms of body temperature, but you can have it in a situation where a child can fall. And so, while people will point fingers and point blame and look to perhaps criminally prosecute him as he's being prosecuted, the real issue to me is having a cruise line, having a widget window situated in such a condition where a child can fall. And so, notwithstanding everyone's point of view, I think it really falls down and boils down to that.

How do you have a situation in a predicament which you can foresee, such that a person can hold their granddaughter to a window and she can fall. So, we could talk about color blindness; they could say they have tinted windows, people should know the difference, he should not have been holding his baby -- you know the baby to the window.

She likes glass, whatever you say. I look at that cruise ship and say moving forward don't have a condition which would allow for this to happen, Christi, in the first instance.

PAUL: All right, we need to move on here to something that happened in Chicago. Prosecutors say this man accused of killing a student at the University of Illinois in Chicago, strangled her because he was angry that she wouldn't talk to him. 19-year-old, Ruth George, was found dead last weekend in a campus parking garage. CNN-affiliate in Chicago reports, 26-year-old, Donald Thurman, got violent after she ignored his attempts to try to talk to her.

Now, police say, Thurman confessed and he's now facing charges of first-degree murder and aggravated sexual assault. Joey, we should point out that he was released from prison last December after serving two years for armed robbery. He been sentenced to six. So, he was on parole. How do you only serve two years of a six-year sentence?

JACKSON: Yes, Christi, this is so troubling, so problematic, so horrific, particularly around this time of the year. People with their families, their loved ones getting together, celebrating, enjoying and being appreciative and having gratitude for all you have. So, imagine a 19-year-old who's moving forward, who's bettering her life, who's doing everything that she should do, and because she ignores the cat calls of a person, she ends up strangled and dead.

And to your point, yes, he has confessed, in addition to his confession, though, that's not it, they also have surveillance video showing him walking behind her, surveillance video showing him coming out of the garage, and just all indications are that it's him and so he'll be punished.

The fact is, is that no, we can't keep a keep people in jail forever. But we have to look at the issue of look, if you're serving six years should you have done two; and if it is two, what have you done to justify that two years? And so, it's just unimaginable that this would occur, he'll be punished, but whatever punishment he has, Christi, what does that say, and what does that do to the family who they call Ruthie and that's a problem.

[07:30:07]

PAUL: Right, right, exactly. One more to get through with you here, Joey -- there's so much going on. But the judge overseeing the Harvey Weinstein case is allowing an actress who says Weinstein wait for 26 years ago to testify.

Now, according to Variety, Weinstein's defense team tried to argue actress Annabella Sciorra, but the allegations are too old to come into play here. The ruling allows prosecutors to make the case that Weinstein is a repeat sex offender and push for life in imprisoned, therefore. So, Weinstein is set to go to trial, January 6th. By the way, Joey, what is your first reaction to the fact that this was allowable?

JACKSON: I think it's a terrible ruling and I think it's an appealable issue. And I think if convicted, he'll be -- it will be overturned. And here is why, Christi. A criminal justice system can't be about you not liking someone, certainly public sentiment is against him, he's accused that as Harvey Weinstein of some abhorrent things, and that's awful. And he should not if they're true have engaged in that conduct.

However, that being said, crimes need to be about what they are about. Give a person ultimately a trial which is fair that's predicated upon issues that you did now. And so, just to be clear and I'll be brief. You're charging someone and you're allowing evidence from 26 years ago to substantiate a new law which occurred 15 years ago that speaks to the issue of predatory sexual conduct.

What does that mean? It means that you've raped two or more people. And so, you're going to use allegations about a rape when the law wasn't even in effect that happened 13 years before that to convict someone. I think, ultimately, he should be tried on the merits of what happened.

If the evidence is strong enough, he should be convicted and he should spend the rest of his life in jail. But don't throw issues at someone about what they did last week, last year, 26 years ago, make it about what you're guilty about now. And if you do that and you get a fair trial, I think the system works. If you don't do that, I think it's broken. And I think this judge's ruling quite frankly leaves a lot to be desired.

PAUL: All right. Joey Jackson, always bringing up for us. Thank you, sir. And happy Thanksgiving, by the way.

JACKSON: Thank you, Christi. Always. Thank you.

PAUL: Sure.

SAVIDGE: Next is the campaign or a Trump campaign rally. Staple bragging about the greatest economy in history. But NEW DAY to raises a big 2020 question. Should the president worry more about the economy than the impeachment?

And it's our top story this hour. Police identifying the suspect in the terrorist attack in London. Coming up, how brave Londoners were able to stop the suspect from continuing his rampage?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:36:38]

SAVIDGE: We're staying on top of the developments from the terror attack in London. Investigators have now identified the suspect as a convicted terrorist, who was released from jail last year.

PAUL: And we also have some new video, we want to share with you here. This is the moment a half dozen Londoners confronted the suspect. Now, the suspect was armed with a knife, remember.

These bystanders, still brave, they grabbed really whatever they could. One man had a fire extinguisher, another had a narwhal tusks. Take a look at this. So, you can see that the spray they're going on.

But do you see the man with the large spear there? That is a narwhal tusk. They were doing whatever they could to try to subdue this guy and make sure he didn't hurt anybody else.

SAVIDGE: What's interesting is the person recording this was actually laughing at the time because it seems so absurd. But, of course, not realizing that this was a terror attack and that two people have subsequently died, three other people were injured.

But again, it shows you how you will fight back with anything you have and that's how the person was subdued, eventually.

PAUL: So, Americans vote with their wallets, most people say. So, if that's true, you could count new economic data as good news for President Trump.

SAVIDGE: Yes, the Commerce Department says the U.S. economy grew faster than initially thought in the third quarter, but there are other economic indicators that should worry the president as he heads into 2020. Cristina Alesci has more on that.

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: That's right. The consumer is feeling really good and continues to spend. Look, this is a win that Trump can spin as evidence that he's generating economic growth. 2.1 percent growth for the third quarter, which was revised up from an earlier estimate is notable because so many analysts and investors have been worried about a possible downturn.

And those concerns stem from Trump's trade policy, but also because the economy has been expanding for so long that economists are just worried that it can't go on forever, but apparently, the consumer thinks it can.

They keep spending because of a very strong labor market. Also, Trump to his credit has been able to inspire confidence. The growth number is also pushing markets up. The S&P 500 hit 10 new all-time highs this month that also plays into Trump's narrative. Remember in September, he said markets would crash if he's not reelected.

So, the headline number is good but let's dig in and see what's really happening with the economy. First of all, that headline number of 2.1 percent is not that much different than what Obama was able to generate.

Second, businesses are less optimistic than the consumer. They're actually pulling back. Business activities like buying software and investing in research and development actually fell 2.7 percent.

And the CEOs and executives, I speak with, say this dynamic will not change because there's still too much uncertainty about Trump's trade war and labor costs going up among other concerns. But for now, these growth numbers definitely bode well for strong holiday spending, which is exactly what Trump wants.

SAVIDGE: Cristina Alesci, thank you very much.

Now, joining me from Washington is Christal Hayes. She's a Washington correspondent for USA Today. And Christal, good morning to you.

CHRISTAL HAYES, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, USA TODAY: Morning.

[07:39:55]

SAVIDGE: So, the president at his rally in Florida this week, bragged that everybody's getting rich under his leadership. I don't think everybody is, but look at the stock market's growth under President Trump compared to other presidents at this point.

In the first term, the Obama stock market outpaced the Trump stock market. So, how central is the economic narrative to Trump for the 2020 campaign?

HAYES: Well, we've seen this. The president loves to boast about the state of the economy. And, you know, his aides and his campaign know that that's the number-one issue that he's going to be running on that he can point to as we head forward into 2020. And also as we continue to whether this impeachment inquiry.

And it's not only just important heading forward into 2020. I mean, looking at our number of these key swing states that the president won by razor-thin margins, but also keeping Republicans united for him as we go forward in impeachment.

SAVIDGE: The president typically polls much better when you get down to the specific focus of the economy and how he's been handling it. Then, say on his overall job approval, that's even true with those who support him.

Is there any sign that perhaps economic anxiety is shaping how voters think about this president or is beginning to have an influence?

HAYES: Well, I think like looking at a lot of the Midwest, the Rust Belt, some of those states that have been hit really hard with farming and manufacturing. That's going to be the key.

Those states are where everyone's looking not only for 2020 and also this economic outlook, but also as we head forward with impeachment. Those moderates, those independents -- not really the president's base as much, they seem to be sticking with him regardless of the state of the economy, regardless if they're losing jobs, regardless if their farms are not doing well, but it's those key moderates and Independents in those states where I think everyone is looking, looking to. And no one really knows exactly how they're going to vote, how they're going to be looking at this.

And, you know, where the economy ranks on issues. Because the president is one of those candidates. He's unlike other candidates, you know. It's either you love him or you hate him or you're kind of still deciding a little.

But there's, you know, a lot of issues that voters are looking at, and of course, the economy is right there at the top. It is absolutely right there at the top, which is quite so crucial. Christal Hayes, thank you very much for coming in and talking to us this morning.

HAYES: Thank you.

PAUL: Well, stay with us. Up next, one mom called that the best early Christmas gift ever after nearly 200 troops come home for the holidays. We are going to show you. Stay close.

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[07:46:38]

PAUL: So, six people in a minivan were rescued Friday after driving down a flooded road. This happened in San Diego, and thankfully no one was hurt. But it happened on a popular road leaving a nearby mall which was closed because of rising water levels.

The police say the driver -- the car rather was driven by a rideshare driver who picked that group up from the mall. They were visiting from outside the country, apparently.

SAVIDGE: Now, some better news. 190 soldiers from Wisconsin got to come home on Friday after nearly being away a year.

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PAMELA ROBOLD, MOTHER OF UNITED STATES SOLDIER: Oh, my gosh. I'm so happy. My heart is just overfilled. I need nothing for Christmas, I have my Christmas presents.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: Yes, what a wonderful thing. This was the first deployment to Afghanistan for the Red Arrow soldier -- soldiers of the 2nd battalion, 127th Infantry. Their family say at times, they had no idea where they were or what they were even doing.

The unit's commander thank their families for staying strong at home while they were away. The other half of that unit will be home next month, hopefully, in time for Christmas.

PAUL: And we thank you and your families for your service. Because at that point, everybody really does serve when they're not home.

SAVIDGE: They do.

PAUL: Thank you so much. We appreciate you.

So, there are new reports that Democratic candidate Kamala Harris's campaign is unraveling. What we're learning from a top staffer.

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SAVIDGE: Turning to politics, the 2020 Democratic national presidential race. It's been a series of ups and downs with some candidates rising in national polls and some dropping out, and new ones jumping in just this month.

According to the New York Times, now, Senator Kamala Harris's campaign is unraveling. The campaign's operations director just resigned, saying that Harris does not have a real plan to win.

Joining me to discuss this, is national correspondent for the New York Times, Jonathan Martin. Jonathan, good to see you this morning.

JONATHAN MARTIN, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Hey, good morning, Martin.

SAVIDGE: So, you are the co-author of this new piece that's in The New York Times.

MARTIN: Yes.

SAVIDGE: It's called, How Kamala Harris's Campaign Unraveled.

MARTIN: Right.

SAVIDGE: I want to ask you this because time is short. One of the Harris's top staffers, Kelly Mehlenbacher, I think, if I'm saying it right.

MARTIN: Yes.

SAVIDGE: Was among a group of staffers that just resigned. She had a scathing letter of resignation. I'm not going to read the whole thing, but she basically said it's dysfunctional, there's a whole lot of disorganization.

MARTIN: Yes.

SAVIDGE: Here is my question. Does that explain everything about why it seems that Kamala Harris has disappointed in so many ways we thought she was going to be so strong?

MARTIN: I think there's two things that work here, Martin. The first is on candidate clearly. Every campaign for president is driven by the candidate's performance, and her performance has been uneven.

She's had some really high moments but she has not performed consistently. And she is not -- I think, most importantly had a clear message as to why she wants to be a president or what is the sort of -- the purpose of her candidacy. And I think that has hurt her.

Especially in a campaign where you've gotten some other candidates who have been clear about why they're running for president. But the other issue is there's been this dysfunction from day one in her campaign. It's a bifurcated campaign in which she empowered her sister to be the campaign chair and de facto campaign chief.

But at the same time had a regular campaign staff simultaneously. And when you do that, you just create conflict from the start. And I think that has plagued her campaign also. Not having a clear plan as to what states matter, for example.

About fundraising, about tactics in terms of which opponents to engage. And that has been a challenge for her, as well.

SAVIDGE: And does that fall on the candidate or does that fall on you just had really the wrong staffers?

MARTIN: Yes. It falls on the candidate. It's ultimately it's their campaign. They are the ones who are making these choices. If Senator Harris had not empowered her sister and had not created a simultaneous campaign structure, those tensions wouldn't have happened. But that was her choice to do that.

SAVIDGE: Mehlenbacher has now accepted a job with Harris's political rival as Michael Bloomberg.

MARTIN: Right.

SAVIDGE: I'm wondering, does this indicate that the end is coming soon for Kamala Harris's campaign.

[07:54:56]

MARTIN: That's a good question, you know. I'm not sure about that. There's no saying in politics that campaigns for president don't run or don't end, they run out of money. And I think that could be the key

That there's an old saying in politics that campaigns for president don't run or don't end, they run out of money. And I think that that could be the case here. Her financial situation is pretty dire. She's not been on the air in Iowa, what an ad since September. She hasn't been able to afford a poll since September.

So obviously, money is tight. That's why last month, they had that deep cut back and they laid off a number of employees to survive.

So, I think she'll have the money to stay to Iowa if she chooses to what here's something to watch. The last day to get off the California ballot is near the end of December. I think it's the 26th.

So, that's something to watch for, because she's obviously a first- term senator from California, that if she want her name on the ballot in California on Super Tuesday, and sort of have a poor performance.

So that can be something to watch if she does want to find a way to get out of this race, it will be before that deadline to get off the California ballot. But Martin, for now, it does seem like she's going to push to Iowa, which is basically two months from now. And sort of give it a go there. And if it doesn't work out in Iowa, will then pull back.

SAVIDGE: Yes, she'll have to reconsider at that point. Jonathan Martin, thank you very much for coming in.

MARTIN: Thanks, Martin. Appreciate it.

PAUL: Thank you, Jonathan. And we're going to be back in just a moment. Next hour of NEW DAY starts after the break.

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