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Holiday Weather Forecast; Harry and Meghan Reveal Christmas Card; Notre Dame Will not hold Christmas Mass; Christian Right Worships President Trump; Packers Clinch NFC North Title; Vaping's Black Market. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired December 24, 2019 - 06:30   ET



ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Up there. We don't need any more accidents today. But these are going to be the locations of most concern. Most of these advisories expire at either 9:00 or 10:00 a.m. this morning.

The rest of the day actually looks relatively pleasant. Chicago looking at some clouds in the afternoon but a high of 52. Partly cloudy skies in St. Louis with a high of 60. Look at Dallas, 71 degrees for the high today.

We do have some issues out across portions of the southwest, so if you do have some travel there today, you may want to check with your airline carrier just ahead of time just to be on the safe side.

Then, for Christmas Day itself, we do have some showers in the forecast for places like San Francisco or even Los Angeles. So if you have some last minute travel there, you may encounter some delays in both of those cities. Both looking at highs at least in the 50s.

The Northeast, New York, partly cloudy skies on Christmas Day with a high of 43. Washington, D.C., partly cloudy skies with a high of 48. Take a look at tis, Chicago, Alisyn, a high of 55 and partly cloudy. Here's the interesting thing to note. Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Louis all had snow on Halloween. All three of those cities will be completely dry with temperatures about 20 to 25 degrees above average on Christmas. I think Mother Nature may have gotten her holidays a little mixed up this year.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: That's a -- that's right, she needs a calendar.


CAMEROTA: Allison Chinchar, thank you very much.


CAMEROTA: So a dose of royal Christmas cheer. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle revealing their first Christmas card with baby Archie. Just look at this cuteness on your screen right there. JOHN AVLON, CNN ANCHOR: That is right in your face baby Archie.

CAMEROTA: That is a very cute baby.

AVLON: He's adorable.

CAMEROTA: CNN's Anna Stewart is live in London with more on this and the queen's Christmas speech. Anna, tell us about what's happening with the royals.

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: It's always a busy time of year for the royal family. Absolutely love that Christmas card. That's put a smile on everyone's face. Baby Archie's very first Christmas. And it looks like they're going to really enjoy it.

That Christmas card was sent by the Sussex's to the royal family. It was e-mailed to friends and colleagues and thankfully tweeted out by the Queen's Commonwealth Trust so that we could all enjoy it.

Now, they won't actually be spending Christmas this year with the royal family. They're in Canada taking, and I quote, some private family time. That is, of course, where the duchess lived for seven years while she was working on that legal drama "Suits."

And it's been quite an up and down year for family Sussex. I mean plenty of ups. New baby, new house, but of course, a really hectic, busy schedule and also a testing time, I would say, with the British press here in the U.K. It's actually been pretty bumpy generally for Brits with Brexit. Very divisive politicals. And it's thought that the queen will reference this tomorrow in her pre-recorded annual queen speech.

I'm going to read you a bit of that. She says in referring to the life of Jesus and the importance of reconciliation she's going to say, small steps taken in faith and in hope can overcome long held differences and deep seeded divisions to bring harmony and understanding. The path, of course, is not always smooth and may at times this year have felt quite bumpy, but small steps can make a world of difference.

And hopefully for the queen this year is actually ending with some good news. Her husband, Prince Philip, was seen taking some steps himself out of a London hospital. He was admitted for four nights for a pre-existing condition. Hugely worrying, of course, for any 98-year- old and his family. And it is -- so we can see him there -- it is thought that he will be joining the rest of the royal family now in Sandringham and there was a statement from the palace today saying, his royal highness would like to thank everyone who sent their good wishes.


AVLON: How about that. I mean --

CAMEROTA: Really cute. I just love that they -- when they put out pictures of the baby because they hadn't. I mean they held it really close to the vest for a while.

AVLON: They did.

CAMEROTA: And now we get to see his cuteness.

AVLON: And I have to say, some wise words from the queen there about reconciliation and healing in the new year (ph).

CAMEROTA: There you go. Beautiful.

AVLON: All right, now Paris's iconic Notre Dame Cathedral will not hold Christmas services tomorrow for the first time in more than 200 years. That's due to last April's devastating fire.

CNN's Melissa Bell live in Paris outside the cherished cathedral with more.


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Joh, it was back in 1803, that was the very last time this monumental cathedral, such an icon for the whole world, was silent on Christmas Eve. It was the aftermath of the French Revolution. It had been deconsecrated and turned into a temple of reason.

But since 1804, and the arrival and power of the emperor Napoleon, there has been a Christmas Eve mass celebrated here every year until now.


BELL (voice over): First caught on social media, the flames quickly took hold as tourists and Parisians alike looked on aghast and helpless, Notre dame burned. The more than 850 year old beams that held up its knave, known as the forest, went up in smoke, and to the gasps on the on-looking crowd, the cathedral's 19th century spire collapsed. For nine hours, the fire raged, but by morning the crowds who gathered to inspect the damage found that much of the edifice still stood.

The French president announcing an ambitious timetable for reconstruction.

EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): We will rebuild our Notre Dame Cathedral even more beautiful, and I want it completed within five years. We can do it.


BELL: Eight months on, that rebuilding work hasn't even begun. It's taken this long just to secure the building. With three weeks lost over the summer when fears of lead poisoning led to the closing of the site.

FATHER BRICE DE MALHERBE, NOTRE DAME CHAPLAIN: The reconstruction will begin in a year's time, more or less, because the building is still fragile because of the scaffolding that's weighing on the -- on the walls and so all this means a lot of dexterity, a lot of professional work. But, once again, we have fantastic teams.

BELL: Last week, a giant crane was cemented nearly seven feet deep to allow a new scaffolding to be built. Only then will the old one be removed, a delicate operation since for now it is what's holding the structure up.

From inside the knave, the scale of what's to be done is all the clearer. A knave which will remain silent on Christmas Eve for the first time in 216 years. And, for now, they still hope that Christmas mass will be celebrated here anytime soon.

DE MAILHERBE: It's exceptional. I mean, you know, this hasn't happened in 850 years such a blaze. The tricky part is how to know how to go as fast as possible without being too fast because you really have to make sure that everything will stand and will stand for at least another 850 years.

BELL: As for what it will look like, the jury is out. Architects are vying for a chance to redesign the cathedral's spire and whether or not the future Notre Dame will be very different to the old, it is achieving the five-year deadline that looks from here, at least, nothing short of a miracle.


BELL: And it isn't just the reconstruction efforts that have been delayed and that look set to last for some time. Eight months after this blaze, the investigation into how it began continues and we're no closer to knowing exactly what happened, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Melissa, thank you very much for the reporting from outside of Notre Dame.

Well, polls show that white evangelical Christians overwhelmingly support President Trump despite his well-publicized personal and political scandals. So why are they so passionate about him? Up next, a "Rolling Stone" writer shares her own experience as part of the Christian right.



CAMEROTA: Nearly 200 evangelical leaders have gone public to criticize that op-ed in the prominent Christian magazine that called for President Trump to be removed from office. These are folks like Jerry Falwell Junior and Mike Huckabee. And they write that the piece in "Christianity Today," quote, offensively questioned the spirituality, integrity, and Christian witness of tens of millions of believers who take seriously their civic and moral obligations.

According to a recent poll, 75 percent of white evangelicals approve of President Trump despite his well-publicized scandals. Eighty-one percent of them voted for Trump in 2016. So why do they feel so passionately about him?

Joining us now is Alex Morris, she's a senior writer for "Rolling Stone," and she recently wrote a piece titled "False Idol, Why the Christian Right Worships Donald Trump."

Alex, it's great to have you here.

AVLON: Welcome to NEW DAY.


CAMEROTA: Your article was so illuminating. It really helped me understand why evangelicals are all in on Donald Trump.

But before we get to that, I just want to tell everybody where you come from. You are from an evangelical family.

MORRIS: Absolutely. Yes.

CAMEROTA: And tell us a little bit about your history and your family's history because they weren't always political, but something happened. And I don't know if it was Donald Trump or before that, but they became the Christian right.

MORRIS: Yes, I mean, it was definitely before Donald Trump. I was born in 1979. So that's the year the moral majority started. And I do feel like over the course of my growing up, there was introduced into my family's theology this sense of sort of spiritual warfare and us being at odds with the rest of American culture, and this -- this idea became more and more prevalent long before Donald Trump ever took office.

AVLON: I mean, look, it -- that context is so important because it does provide insight. In the article, you interview your mother, and I'm -- and it's really about how she reconciles her faith as a good Christian person with the actions of Donald Trump. You bring up things like the migrant detentions, and she doesn't defend them.

MORRIS: Right.

AVLON: But distill for us how she does rationalize on behalf of so many evangelicals how someone who doesn't live the faith that she does is her political savior, if you will.

MORRIS: Right. So, I mean, I think one thing that really interested me in this article and made me want to write it is that I had a lot of family who voted for Trump very begrudgingly. They were always going to vote for the Republican candidate, but they really didn't think that Trump represented their -- you know, he didn't seem like the typical evangelical candidate, and they were very hesitant about him. And he made the right, you know, far right evangelical community a lot of promises, and he has fulfilled those promises. I mean he really has come through.

AVLON: But so did George W. Bush, and he was authentically an evangelical, and yet he got a lower percent total vote. MORRIS: Not once he was in office. I mean there was really the sense

that Bush was a disappointment.

AVLON: Really?

MORRIS: That he made a lot of promises that he did not keep once he was in office.

So I think someone like my mom -- you know, one -- the thing --

AVLON: Like the embassy in Jerusalem?

MORRIS: Right. Exactly. I mean there's so many examples. But I think that one thing that interested me was this transition from sort of begrudging approval to really heartfelt embrace of him. And I wanted to -- you know, I understood voting Republican. I understand voting the wedge issues that a lot of my family votes for, but there was this sort of final step that I just didn't understand and I wanted to try to figure it out.

CAMEROTA: And that's what I think your article shows all of us.


So, for instance, one of the things that he did was he courted them. Well, as a candidate, he courted them in the way that Mitt Romney and George W. Bush never did. And what he promised them, you talk about this White House meeting -- or campaign meeting before he was in the White House.

MORRIS: Yes. Yes. Yes, at Trump Tower.

CAMEROTA: He -- Trump Tower meeting.


CAMEROTA: He'd select only pro-life, anti-choice judges he promised. He'd get rid of the contraception mandate in Obama. He would support prayer in school. He would keep transgender people from using the, quote, wrong bathroom. And so they -- he was speaking their language.

MORRIS: Oh, sure.

CAMEROTA: And, you know, for them, I guess, they were -- that was enough. All of that was enough to overlook any of his many personal peccadillos.

MORRIS: Sure. I mean, I think in evangelical Christianity you have a wide -- you have a spectrum of people.


MORRIS: You have progressive evangelicals like myself who were going to get behind Trump. We do not believe that the wedge issues that motivate his base are the issues -- are the right issues that Christians should be voting on. And then you have, you know, people on the other side for whom it doesn't really matter what the president's character is as long as he is supporting their agenda, they're going to vote for him, and they're going to really, really support him.

AVLON: I want to throw up a tweet from Brit Hume that I think gets to the heart of what a lot of folks miss if they're not part of the evangelical community about the loyalty right now. He tweeted over the weekend, people mystified by evangelical Christian support for Trump don't seem to get the reason why, which is not that evangelicals approve of his personal conduct, it's that they think he's their enemy's enemy and he's willing to fight.

Do you think that's accurate? And how do progressive Christians, that tradition which has been eclipsed in America but you now identify with, gain a toe hold in this conversation?

MORRIS: That's such a good question. I mean I think that's absolutely accurate. Certainly many of the people that I interviewed for this article, including my own family members, when you really got to the bottom of it said, this -- this is not a moral guy. But, at the end of the day, that doesn't really matter.

And I do think that this editorial in "Christianity Today" was interesting in that it can hopefully allow people who have been sort of hesitant to speak up and say, actually, the calculus doesn't work for me anymore. It's, you know, getting certain policies that I might like is no longer -- you know, it's -- it really does feel sort of like a deal with the devil. Hopefully it will allow people who have felt that way to speak up about it and --

CAMEROTA: If you're willing to lose your job, I mean, if you're willing to move on for your job, that's what this "Christianity Today" editor, he's had to leave -- you know, he had planned to leave. And so when you see the 200 other people coming out and lambasting him for this, it's a really tough thing to be able to speak out and say all the things that you're -- that you're saying.

MORRIS: Yes, I mean, I think what -- what was interesting to me about the letter with the 200 signatures is that they really took issue with how Mark Galli had characterized them, but they didn't really -- there wasn't a whole lot in there that explained why that characterization was inaccurate to me. I mean one thing that they talked about was having sort of Christ-like grace for a sinner. And I think that that argument would have a whole lot -- hold a whole lot more weight had they had that same kind of grace for Bill Clinton, for instance, or if Trump himself had not, you know, said publicly, well, I -- there's nothing I think I need to ask God forgiveness for. I mean he hasn't -- he certainly hasn't helped their case much.

AVLON: Alex Morris, thank you for coming on NEW DAY --

CAMEROTA: Yes, great article.

MORRIS: Thank you.

AVLON: And Merry Christmas.

CAMEROTA: Yes, Merry Christmas.

MORRIS: Thank you so much.

CAMEROTA: Everybody should read the article in "Rolling Stone."

AVLON: Absolutely.

MORRIS: Well, thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thanks so much.

AVLON: All right, now, up next, can you tell the difference between an authentic vaping cartridge and a fake one? Well, most people can't, and it's a growing problem. We're going to break down what you need to know. That's next.



AVLON: The Green Bay Packers bringing home a division title for Christmas. They beat the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night football.

Andy Scholes here with more in the "Bleacher Report."



You know, it wasn't pretty, but you know what they say, a win is a win and the Green Bay Packers are going to have a very merry Christmas after clinching the NFC North last night.

Now, the Packers, they were down in this game at halftime, but running back Aaron Jones had a huge second half. He was the star of this one, running for 154 yards and two touchdowns. Green Bay's defense taking care of the rest. They would sack Kirk Cousins five times as the Packers get the win 23-10. Cousins now 0-9 on Monday night football.


AARON RODGERS, QUARTERBACK, GREEN BAY PACKERS: Winning is always beautiful. And defense wins NFC North championships. We've got to find a way to win. They all count the same if you win. So, good one for us. Rest up this week. You know, a chance to play for something even bigger next week and make people have to come to Green Bay.


SCHOLES: Yes, and the Packers could get home field advantage in the playoffs with a win and a Seahawks win over the 9ers on Sunday. The Vikings, meanwhile, they're locked into that sixth seed.

All right, the Celtics Tacko Fall can now add symphony conductor to his resume as he led the Boston Pops last night.


SCHOLES: You see that Tacko rocking the size 48 double extra-long tuxedo, Alisyn, 7'5". I'll tell you what, looked like a natural.


AVLON: Is that a legit move from an orchestra perspective?

CAMEROTA: Yes. Who knows what the legit moves of conducting are. I think you can do anything.

AVLON: It's a lost art. I think you can.

SCHOLES: If you're feeling the tones, you know, you've got to do it.

AVLON: I guess (ph).

CAMEROTA: That's right. Andy, thank you very much.

AVLON: Thanks, Andy.

CAMEROTA: Now to the latest on the deaths and illnesses from vaping. The CDC says the number of people getting sick and dying from e- cigarettes is starting to slow down, but with more than 50 people dead and 2,500 others sick, the agency is still working to pinpoint the exact cause of the illness. As Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports, most signs point to the black market.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: So this is Chronic Pain Release Center. That's cute.


This is a legal and licensed dispensary in California. You know, this is one of the nicer ones. It's important to keep in mind that there are some illicit shops that look just like this.

GUPTA (voice over): It can be really hard to tell. So we sent an undercover camera to see for ourselves. According to the California Bureau of Cannabis Control, this is an illegal vaping store. The thing is, it looks just like a legal one. Within minutes, we were able to purchase these illicit THC cartridges for $30 to $55 apiece. We paid cash, and there was no sales tax. And this store is also in California where THC is legal.

GUPTA (on camera): It feels like we're at the, you know, the wild west in terms of actually figuring this out.

HOASHI: It is the wild west. I think there needs to be more enforcement of the illicit shops and easier way for consumers to identify which shops are operating legally.


So this is the Doja app.

GUPTA (voice over): That's exactly why Mark Hoashi created Doja. Think of it as the Yelp for cannabis.

HOASHI: On the Doja app I do see that people are getting headaches and nausea.

GUPTA (on camera): When you've heard people were having symptoms and then subsequently tested, what have you found?

HOASHI: I've found cartridges that test positive for over 15 different pesticides and even heavy metals, including lead and mercury.

GUPTA (voice over): Hoashi says a lot of consumers have no idea the products they're buying are fake.

HOASHI: The fake brands are easily identifiable because there's no testing, there's no government warning, and they have no child resistant mechanism.

GUPTA (on camera): Those would be red flags.

HOASHI: Now this one's interesting because this is a really well done counterfeit. It has the information on the testing data here. It does have the government warning. And it does have a manufacture date and a batch number. This would be really confusing to the end user.

GUPTA: But that's what's happening.


GUPTA: When people say black market, they think they're buying a legitimate product.

GUPTA (voice over): And that has started to affect the legal companies, which abide by the regulations, like Pure Vape.

ART KUSHKYAN, CEO AND FOUNDER, PURE: We've found that it is possible to purchase our cartridges and our packaging from a number of Internet websites.

This is the California warning sign.

GUPTA: Take a look. These are the authentic, Pure Vape products that Art Kushkyan sells. And now look at what Art says is counterfeit packaging being sold online. They look exactly the same. The problem is anyone can buy these and fill them with whatever they want.

KUSHKYAN: Personally, I mean, it makes me feel very, very angry. But, most importantly, it creates a possible danger to public of consuming products that are untested.

MYRON RONAY, CEO, BELCOSTA LABS: When you concentrate the THC, you concentrate everything along with it. So every pesticide that could have been in that plant material, is now -- if it went from let's just say 20 percent THC and now you've concentrated it to 80 percent THC, you've also concentrated the pesticide the same amount.

So they're trying to get off of tobacco.

GUPTA: Myron Ronay runs BelCosta Labs, one of California's state certified labs that approves products for consumer use. This year alone, Ronay says they've tested more than 10,000 different products.

GUPTA (on camera): Vaping's been around this country for some time, more than a decade. What we're seeing is relatively new. When you add that into the equation, on top of all the testing you've cone done here, does it start to lead you to some sort of conclusion?

RONAY: Yes, I think it leads us to really that there's something going on either in the illicit market that's causing this. You also have a challenge of -- the average consumer not wanting to pay more, so they look at, well, I could buy this for $40 or I can go to a legal store and buy it for $60.

GUPTA (voice over): One way the illicit market keeps the price down, by cutting the product. Let me show you what that means. A typical legal THC cartridge would have 70 to 90 percent pure THC distillate, the rest terpenes, aromatic oils which give it flavor. In illegally cut cartridges, you might have only 40 to 50 percent THC distillate, the rest terpenes and a cutting agents, like Vitamin E acetate, which is a near perfect cutting agent because it looks very much like the actual product, the same color and the same thickness. It would also pass something known on the street as the bubble test. Basically, if the bubble moves slowly, that should mean that it's viscus enough to be mostly pure THC oil.

GUPTA (on camera): When you look at any of these things, propylene glycol, Vitamin E acetate, you super heat it, you breathe it into the lungs, do we know what those molecules then do to the body?

RONAY: So Vitamin E acetate can convert into acidic acid, which is essentially vinegar. And when it heats up, I mean, you're then inhaling an acid.

GUPTA (voice over): It's why the CDC has identified Vitamin E acetate as a chemical of concern. But here's the challenge, the illicit market is a moving target. And if it's not Vitamin E acetate as a cutting agent today, before long it will be something new.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Long Beach, California.


CAMEROTA: Our thanks to Sanjay for that.

Meanwhile, we have a brand new interview with Rudy Giuliani, and it is raising a lot of eyebrows.

NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chuck Schumer sending another letter to his colleagues arguing that they need to have witnesses.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): President Trump has said he wants due process. Well, our proposal gives it to him.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Seems to me a rather absurd position to say after you've impeached the president you won't send the papers over to the Senate.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The longer this process drags out, the more surprises you could have.

JOHN AVLON, CNN ANCHOR: Boeing's CEO Dennis Muilenburg fired in the wake of two deadly crashes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The company suffered a series of very public missteps since Boeing's 737 Max airplane was grounded before saying the problem boils down to a lack of confidence in Muilenburg's leadership.