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NATO: Deadly Missile Strike In Poland Was Not A Russian Attack; Retail Sales Rise In October Despite Inflation Concerns; UVA Shooting Suspect Denied Bond, Charged With 3 Murder Counts. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired November 16, 2022 - 11:30   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Poland and the broader NATO Alliance now saying a Ukrainian air defense missile is what most likely caused the deadly explosion in Poland that killed two people, also making it clear they do not believe that it was from Russia but the NATO Secretary General, adding this.


JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: Let me be clear, this is not Ukraine's fault. Russia bears ultimate responsibility as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine.



BOLDUAN: And joining me now is Kurt Volker, the former U.S. ambassador to NATO. Ambassador, thank you for being here. What do you think of --


BOLDUAN: Of course. What do you think of that response from Stoltenberg, from NATO, from the broader Alliance so far as this investigation still is underway?

VOLKER: Well, I think this all speaks very well of NATO. The first thing is no one jumped to a conclusion but said we need to investigate and understand what exactly happened. And that appears to be progressing. The next thing is to differentiate between an intentional Russian attack on NATO, which would be one thing, and could trigger Article Five, and the need for a defensive response versus an accident versus something that maybe wasn't even Russia. So, it's important that NATO take this in a measured way.

But what they did do was very important, they consulted with each other privately, they held an emergency meeting of the North Atlantic Council, they did make clear that this is Russia's fault regardless because they're the ones launching these attacks against Ukraine, and they made sure that it was Secretary General Stoltenberg himself who was giving this response, which is a way of showing the solidarity and unity of all NATO allies in response to this. So, a very good showing from NATO at this point and I think we just need to see the remaining details of what exactly this missile was, where it was launched from, and how did it happen?

BOLDUAN: You know, Ukraine made a mistake earlier on in kind of the moments after the explosion, Zelenskyy blaming Russia for an attack on Poland, just how he said it in his evening address. What do you think of that mistake? Does it surprise you?

VOLKER: Well, it doesn't surprise me because Ukraine is under attack by Russia all the time. And yesterday was a particularly bad day. So, it would be a logical conclusion to think that one of those missiles went astray and actually landed in Poland. And we still didn't yet. And I know the Ukrainians are asking for access to the site to inspect the missile itself. I think we will see more details come out on this over time.

BOLDUAN: You know, Poland has so far -- you mentioned Article Five, but it's Poland refrained from invoking Article Four, which states that any NATO member country needs -- can request a formal consultation if territorial integrity or security of another member is threatened? Does that tell you anything about what's believed here, what's going to happen going forward?

VOLKER: Well, I think what it shows is there's two things that are important to keep in the back of our minds. One, we don't believe that Russia actually wants to attack a NATO ally. And NATO itself does not want to be in a war with Russia. So, we shouldn't let ourselves get drawn into situations where we just start sliding into a conflict that nobody wants. So, I think being cautious the way the Poles have been, and the way NATO has handled it thus far is exactly right.

BOLDUAN: Ukraine, Russia, the NATO alliance, is a major issue, of course, for the current U.S. president and will remain one for the next U.S. president. You served under former President Donald Trump. You resigned from the administration in 2019. And since it -- he has just announced that he was running for president again, I'm curious about your reaction to that, Ambassador?

VOLKER: Well, it's not a surprise. You know, I think everyone watching this thought that he was going to announce that he's going to run again. And if you watch the midterm elections, you see that there's a lot of stability right now in U.S. foreign policy. We're not going to see a lot of changes from the Biden administration or from Congress about support for Ukraine, about Russian sanctions, and so forth. And so we have a good couple of years ahead before we're really into the presidential election. And I hope during that time, Ukraine is already able to prevail.

BOLDUAN: Do you have an -- do you have an opinion on a few things that President Trump if you would like to see him run again, you would support him in his -- in his candidacy?

VOLKER: You know, I keep my comments to Russia and Ukraine and what -- and what the substance is there. BOLDUAN: Absolutely respect that. Ambassador, thank you so much for the time. I really appreciate it.

VOLKER: Thank you very much, Kate.

BOLDUAN: A new report on retail sales beats expectations. So, what does that mean for inflation? We're going to take a look at the latest numbers next.



BOLDUAN: New retail sales numbers out this morning offering another view of how Americans are handling stubborn inflation ahead of the holidays. Retail sales rose last month by 1.3 percent, which is more than economists were expecting actually but up more -- up more than eight percent from the year before, so solid news there.

But there's also this. Target's CEO is now warning of a weak holiday shopping season ahead. The company reported a 52 percent drop in profits last quarter and also lowered its economic outlook for the rest of the year.

Joining me now for some perspective on this, the much-needed perspective is Mark Zandi. He's the chief economist for Moody's Analytics. It's good to see you again, Mark.


BOLDUAN: What's the story coming out of this retail sales picture here sales are up, but Target is spooked.

ZANDI: Yes, I take it as good news. I -- you know, the American consumers hang in tough. Nothing extravagant, they're not out spending with abundant but just enough to keep the economy moving forward. They're shifting their spending, though you know. They're going from buying goods, things that you would buy in a Target, and we were doing a lot of that obviously, during the teeth of the pandemic when we are stuck at home.


But now we're out and about and so we're spending on services. And back in the retail sales numbers, you saw a big increase in restaurant sales. So, we're traveling, we're going to restaurants, we're going to ballgames we're doing different kinds of things so Target is suffering as a result of that. But if you take it all together, it feels like the American consumer is doing their part, just their part.

BOLDUAN: Yes. I'm spending less on things and more on experiences. I'm seeing some analysis that the solid -- that the solid report on retail sales may actually scare investors who may interpret it as a sign of the Federal Reserve -- sign that to -- sign to the Federal Reserve that it's going to continue its aggressive rate increases in order to try to cool the economy and fight inflation. Do you see that? ZANDI: No. Certainly, you don't see it in today's action in the markets. I mean, the stock market is basically flatlining at least the last time I look. And more of a window on this is what goes on in the bond market interest rates and they're down. And so, if investors were nervous that this indicated that the economy is too strong and inflation is going to be a bigger problem, interest rates would be up. So, now I don't think investors are nervous about it.

I mean, you got to put it into context, right? I mean, it's a big number 1.3 in the month, eight percent year over year, but a lot of that is that inflation so, you know, if you take out the inflation, the so-called real growth, its growth -- and we need growth, we want to keep moving forward but it's not growth that would send off alarm bells with regard to what it means for inflation down the road.

BOLDUAN: And perhaps a perfect encapsulation of kind of what people are up against still with inflation is a new report out and analysis offering kind of some insight into a Thanksgiving meal, it's going to cost something like 20 percent more than last year. According to the American Farm Bureau, they found that a dinner for 10 including turkey stuffing, cranberries, and pumpkin pie, it's going to cost $64.05 on average, which is up $10.74 from last year. What is it going to take to finally see grocery prices across the board starting to come down when you started to look at this?

ZANDI: Yes. You put your finger on the problem obviously, it's inflation and I didn't realize that the turkey dinner was going to cost that much more. That is a lot more -- yes, I think it goes back to the Russian invasion of Ukraine but believe it or not, you know, they jacked up diesel prices and energy prices, and energy, diesel is a big part of food costs, right? Getting these things from the farm to the store shelves requires a lot of -- a lot of diesel.

The pandemic has also played a role. I mean, it disrupted labor markets, immigration got nailed, and a lot of farm workers are immigrants. And so, if agriculture food processors can't find workers, you know that causes wage costs to go up and that obviously means higher inflation for us. So, what has to happen is that the fallout -- the economic fallout from the pandemic and the Russian invasion have to continue to fade away. Good news that that is happening. Hopefully, that continues. Obviously, a lot of risk around both those things, as you know, we can see in the kind of the daily news flow, but you know, hopefully, they fade away. And with it, I think next year's turkey dinner will be hopefully less expensive or certainly not see the increases we're seeing this year.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Well, it's good to have you, Mark. Thank you.

ZANDI: Sure.

BOLDUAN: So, just this morning, we are hearing a disturbing new details about the shooting at the University of Virginia that killed three football players. The student charged was just in court. What we learned from that, next.


BOLDUAN: A University of Virginia student now charged with fatally shooting three football players and denied bond in his first court -- it was denied bonded his first court appearance. Chris Darnell Jones Jr. is charged with nine counts, including three of second-degree murder. Prosecutors told the court that he shot one of his victims while he was sleeping. Joe Johns is live in Charlottesville for us with the very latest. Joe, what else did you learn in that court appearance?

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, he appeared alert and responsive while talking to the judge. He was on a closed circuit. And the judge asked him a series of questions. The judge also took an allocution from the prosecution -- the prosecuting attorney here in the county who said that according to a witness that authorities had spoken to, Chris Jones actually shot one of these football players, Devin Chandler, while he was sleeping. So, that's one of the disturbing details that came out of this. No bond was set for him. And they're planning on another appearance in court sometime in early December.

Meanwhile, we have heard from another witness who was on that bus during the shooting who said in fact that she felt there was a big degree of intentionality if you will in all of this. Listen to what she had to say.


RYAN LYNCH, WITNESSED SHOOTING ON CLASS FIELD TRIP: Chris got up and pushed Lavel. And then after he pushed him, he was like, you're all -- you guys are always messing with me, said something weird like that. But it was very bizarre because they didn't talk to him the whole trip.


JOHNS: And we learned a little bit more about Chris Jones's record. He has a hit-and-run, as well as a reckless driving case from last year, including a concealed weapon charge that we already knew about. Back to you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right, Joe, thank you so much for that. I really appreciate it. We'll continue to follow all the developments out of Charlottesville, Virginia.


Finally, let's end with this today. Taylor Swift -- Taylor Swift's fans more specifically, not happy with Ticketmaster this morning. Demand was so high for tickets for her first tour in four years that it caused glitches and delays on the ticketing site. Even fans who manage to secure tickets say they waited for hours in online queues in order to pull it off. Ticketmaster is denying that the site crashed but acknowledges they were facing unprecedented demand how they say it for tickets. Now, Ticketmaster is extending pre-sales for Taylor -- for Taylor's tour, but getting tickets will likely, of course, continue to be a challenge, so good luck with that.

Thanks for being here today, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts after this break.