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At This Hour

Holiday Shoppers Search For Deals On Black Friday; Heavy Rain Impacts Holiday Travel Across Southern U.S.; Authorities Release Note Walmart Killer Had On His Phone; Biden Renews Call For Assault Weapons Ban After Mass Shooting. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired November 25, 2022 - 11:00   ET




ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. At this hour, many Americans lining up for those Black Friday sales, but will inflation hurt the holiday shopping season? Authorities in Virginia releasing details of a note found on the Walmart killer's phone. This as investigators work to piece together a motive.

At a World Cup showdown for the ages. The U.S. and England set to go toe to toe in cutter. That's what we're watching at this hour.

Thanks for being here on this Friday. I'm Erica Hill in for Kate Bolduan. Holiday shoppers hitting the stores on this Black Friday. Inflation, though, is along for the ride this year. So, yes, there are plenty of holiday deals out there, but with the starting prices a little bit higher than they were last year. Are you actually saving?

Walmart and Target, you may have noticed, kept their stores closed this Thanksgiving, opting instead to begin discounting items ahead of the holiday.

CNN's Alison Kosik is live at Macy's here in New York City. So give us a sense, fairly busy? How busy is it? What are shoppers telling you this year?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It's been pretty busy so far today on this Black Friday, the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season, Erica. And I think it's deals and discounts that may bring out a record number of shoppers this shopping season, at least from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday. That's considered the first real holiday shopping weekend of the season.

166 million people are expected to come out and shop across the country. 115 million of those just today on Black Friday. And more than half of those, 67 percent, are expected to shop inside stores, which is something new because we all think that people only shop online. One thing heavy on everybody's mind is what you mentioned, Erica, inflation. It really is the elephant in the room.

And while it is taking away a lot of spending power for consumers, they're getting kind of crafty on how they, you know, find a work around. Listen to one shopper I spoke with,


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the problem is inflation. Price is high, so we have to make some adjustment what we're going to buy this year. So, yes, it is a little bit downsizing in terms of buying gifts, not like last year. So, yes, inflation is affecting us.


KOSIK: So it looks like that shoppers are sticking to their budgets this year. They're looking for deals, they're looking for ways to sort of keep the holiday magic, despite the fact that they may have to choose a different product than they wouldn't normally choose.

Overall, though, the National Retail Federation is upbeat about how the shopping season will go, saying Americans will spend 8 percent more than last year, adding up to a total of $940 billion to $960 billion for November and December. Erica?

HILL: And we'll be watching it all. Alison, appreciate it. Thank you.

Joining me now, Jean Chatzky, she's the CEO and Co-founder of and the host of HerMoney podcast. Nice to see you this morning, Jean. So Alison just noted some of those numbers, expectations from the National Retail Federation. They also predict that instore shopping this season is going to increase about 3 percent over those 2021 numbers.

I have to say one thing I've noticed recently, being out there in stores again physically, is -- there's not a lot of merchandise. They may have something in one size. So I'm wondering, have you noticed, are retailers upping that inventory in anticipation of more in person shopping this holiday season?

JEAN CHATZKY, CO-FOUNDER & CEO, HERMONEY.COM: Yes. Nice to see you too, Erica. Happy Thanksgiving. And we are seeing more inventory, a lot of inventory that they haven't been able to clear from earlier in the pandemic, from the supply chain problems that hit. And so the big question is whether consumers are actually going to want the merchandise that the retailers have in store.

But this could be the first Black Friday in a long time that looks fairly normal because there were a lot of stores that decided they were not going to open for Thanksgiving, that they were not going to do the really traditional doorbusters where people line up at 3:00 in the morning and you get crowds of people hustling over each other. Instead, what you're seeing is, as you saw in the piece, shoppers trickling in all day and looking for deals. And if you're careful, there are good ways to get them.

HILL: So they're out there. What are the deals this year, Jean?

CHATZKY: So, we're seeing a lot of the traditional deals, technology, laptops, computers. I found a MacBook Air for $150 off on Amazon, Herman Miller and a lot of other sites are doing completely site wide sales. So you're seeing 20 percent off on the whole store. That's a good thing to do.


And then look to stack deals, look to find a coupon, stack that on top of Black Friday, and eventually the savings start to add up.

HILL: So in terms of these deals, too, one thing that stood out to me, Shopify CEO was on CNN earlier this morning and said that he found this year for a lot of shoppers, everyone wants a good deal, right? But it's less about --


HILL: -- finding that deal. And the holiday shopping is actually a little bit more focused. Take a listen.


HARLEY FINKELSTEIN, PRESIDENT, SHOPIFY: We really are seeing that consumers are buying in a very intentional way. They want to buy from their favorite brands. They do want to find discounts, but they want to support their favorite brands and they want to buy direct as much as possible.


HILL: So they want to support the brand, the store they want to buy direct, but they also know what they want as opposed to just waiting to see what the deals are. Are you finding that?

CHATZKY: Yes, and Deloitte is, too. They issued a piece of research that said consumers are going to buy an average of nine gifts this holiday season rather than the 16 they bought last year. That argues for being intentional. And I think that's why you're seeing alot of these favorite direct to consumer websites showing 30 percent off, 25 percent off, 40 percent off the entire site. Sites like Brooklyn and Food 52 and Glossier and J. Crew.

If you know exactly what you want, going specifically to those sites or to those stores is going to be the way to get it.

HILL: Is there one hot item this season? I don't know if it's because my kids are way past this phase that I am not in tune this year, but I don't feel that I've heard about the Tickle me Elmo or whatever it may be this season.

CHATZKY: No. And I went looking specifically for that, Erica, knowing that we were going to have this conversation. You know, there are some hot toys. LOL surprise is still hot. Lego is still really hot. Doug and Melissa still really hot. But we're not seeing that one item soar above everything else.

HILL: I can always get behind Legos at any age.

CHATZKY: Yes, absolutely.

HILL: Jean Chatzky, always to see you, my friend. Happy Thanksgiving. Thank you.

CHATZKY: You too. Bye-bye.

HILL: Well, just like those holiday deals now span the season, holiday travel is no longer limited to one or two busy days. We are looking at some of the busiest stretch of travel days since the start of the pandemic.

CNN's Pete Muntean is live in Washington. I'm happy you're not stuck in traffic today, Pete. I feel better about your assignment. What can we all expect in the next couple of days?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Erica. You know, we're kind of in this short-lived lull right now between the rush going into the Thanksgiving holiday and then the rush coming on the backside of the Thanksgiving holiday. It's about to come roaring back.

Look at the numbers at airports nationwide according to TSA screen. 1.4 million people just yesterday. That is the anticipated low number of the week. In fact, it's the lowest number we have seen since February. But look at Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. That's when we saw 246 million people screened by TSA at airports across the country.

That number only 6 percent off of what we saw on the same day back in 2019 before the pandemic. In fact, it's really just shy of a pandemic era air travel record. Now, the big question when everybody begins coming home on Sunday, when we could see this really big number again, and could we see an all-time air travel record, not just a pandemic era record, but the all-time record, 2.88 million people screened by TSA at airports nationwide on the Sunday after Thanksgiving 2119.

I asked TSA administrator David Pekoske about that, and he says, could be a real possibility this time around. Listen.


DAVID PEKOSKE, TSA ADMINISTRATOR: This holiday travel period will be the biggest holiday travel period, we think, since the pandemic. So pre-pandemic on the Sunday following Thanksgiving, almost 3 million passengers will be pretty close to that, the Sunday following this Thanksgiving.


MUNTEAN: These numbers are really important because of a lot of uncertainty in the air travel space over the last few months. Remember, airlines had major meltdowns over the summer. They canceled about 50,000 flights in total, due in part to staffing shortages. They've been on this hiring blitz.

Thankfully, the airlines have had a pretty smooth time around this Thanksgiving, and the cancelations are really low. In fact, United Airlines, this is a crazy superlative, Erica, had zero cancelations networkwide on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. It's kind of hard to believe -- HILL: Wow.

MUNTEAN: -- after they had hundreds of cancelations. All airlines at some point had thousands of cancelations in one single day on the worst days of the summer. So they've really turned a new page here, and they're trying to make it so that things are much more predictable this Thanksgiving around. They're proving it to the transportation secretary and the passengers.

HILL: Yes. In my mind, that would never happen ever, just because life, right? The fact that we have --


HILL: -- zero cancelations, it is something. Pete, appreciate it. Thank you.

Severe weather could also play a role in your travel plans this holiday weekend. Storms moving through the southern U.S. now. Chad Myers has your forecast. Chad, good morning.


CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Erica. It could get a little bit bumpy for flights tomorrow for sure. Now it rained this morning, kind of a wet Black Friday. I called it a slick Friday because all the rain has just kind of moved on up toward Boston, New York, but the airports are still doing OK. Slight delay out of Miami, but really nothing to speak of.

But here's what's next. The next storm that's developing in parts of west Texas, snowing in parts of New Mexico and west Texas, I-10, 20 and 40 could get in there. And also some very heavy rainfall in Houston. That could slow some things down as we work our way into Saturday. And then finally, we move this, guess where, by Sunday right, over the northeast airports.

So if you're sick of your relatives already, maybe you want to reschedule that Sunday flight. Or if you still like them, you could move that up to about Wednesday, because things are really actually looking pretty slow for your Sunday. If we're going to try to push 2.18 million people through those airports, really some slows down there. Also some slowdowns on the road because we will actually see so much rainfall across the deep south. Erica?

HILL: All right, Chad, appreciate it. Thank you.

MYERS: You bet.

HILL: Still to come here, officials releasing details of a disturbing note found on the cellphone of the gunmen who shot and killed colleagues at a Walmart store in Virginia. We have those new developments in the investigation just ahead.



HILL: Developing at this hour, authorities in Virginia releasing details of a note found on the phone of the gunman who shot and killed six colleagues at a Walmart store on Tuesday night. Now, in that note, he rails against people he perceived to have harassed or betrayed him and also hinted at what was to come.

CNN's Brian Todd is live in Washington with the very latest. It is disturbing, to put it mildly, Brian.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, Erica. This information on the so-called death note coming to us this morning from the city of Chesapeake. The note was found on the shooter's phone and basically outlines a series of grievances that he had with some of his colleagues but also with himself. The note discusses God, the holy spirit, and how the author felt that his associates at his workplace were mocking him.

Here is one passage, quote, "The associates gave me evil twisted grins, mocked me and celebrated my downfall the last day. That's why they suffered the same fate as me." Here is another quote, "I wish I could have saved everyone from myself. My God, forgive me for what I'm going to do."

Now, the note also discusses how the author wished that his parents had paid closer attention to what he called his social deficits and said that he felt like he was, quote, led by Satan. The note says the attack was not planned, but the fact that there even was a note discussing what he was going to do suggests that maybe there was at least some planning. And city officials say the shooter, Andre Bing, used a 9-millimeter handgun and that it was purchased locally on the morning of the attack.

Also, Erica, we can now report from the Chesapeake police that none of the names that are redacted in that death note belong to actual victims killed in the shooting. Erica?

HILL: Brian Todd, appreciate the new reporting. Thank you.

Joining me now to discuss, CNN National Security Analyst Juliette Kayyem, she's a former Department of Homeland Security official. Juliette, let's start on that note. It is, as Brian pointed out, it's a list of grievances. There were names in there, they were redacted. Also excuses for what was about to happen. What stands out to you in that note?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, the first is obviously consciousness of what he's about to do and then just learning that he purchased the gun that morning. So this is, you know, this is not murders from some emotional disruption all of a sudden, it was planned out. And clearly there probably are likely other notes that describe his grievances against coworkers.

I also think that the fact that people that he highlights in the notes were not people in the room, simply means that he walked into his place of work and wanted to sort of exert as much damage as possible. And he's well aware of that. I think the question now is, was anyone else -- what kind of complaints were made against him --

HILL: Yes.

KAYYEM: -- by employees to Walmart and others?

HILL: Yes. It'll be interesting as we learn more, whether --


HILL: -- some of those concerns which employees have -- and co-workers have expressed to our own teams at CNN, whether they were, in fact, communicated with Walmart. And if so, what was done.

In terms of what else we learned this morning, the fact that this gun -- the gun was purchased that morning. Virginia does not have a waiting period. We looked into it this morning. There's no license, no training requirement for a handgun.


HILL: We are seeing a change in this country, probably most notably -- I can't speak this morning, Juliette -- most notably in Texas, where a law went into effect last year that rolls back requirements for ownership. There is this move to permit less --


HILL: -- carry. So it's easier for someone to buy a gun in the heat of the moment and use it in that moment.

KAYYEM: Right. Right. And we've seen in the -- both the mass shootings and now this at least handgun instance that its purchase is normally occurs 24, 48, 72 hours before the mass killing, certainly not two years before. Let's just put it that way. And then, of course, we know the statistics of young men and their age in terms of the purchase to mass killing short timeframe.

So those are just well documented. So, once again, we are at the stage where anything we can do to make things safer, not to make things safe in this country, given the amount of weaponry on the streets, but to make things safer, we should be looking at, and that includes delays or at least some deep breaths that are allowed by law. That if you think you want to buy a gun that morning, maybe you have to wait 48 hours. It seems to me not a big ask of a nation with these many guns.


And I think that's why you're seeing the Biden administration gets so aggressive so quickly after another mass shooting, because the proof is in the pudding. They -- I will say this, that the election after major national gun safety legislation went into place, showed that moderates and the young, what -- who we call lockdown generations is of what we put them through in their schools, are voting on this issue in ways that are consistent with more gun regulation. The NRA had scared off many moderates from doing this.

HILL: So let me ask you really quickly because we're almost out of time. The President --


HILL: -- yesterday also calling -- he said he wants to bring back the assault weapons ban. Realistically, it is unlikely that will happen, given where this country is politically. Is there anything that could be done? There are the most recent numbers from 2020, according to the Firearm Industry Trade Association --


HILL: -- more than 24 million weapons of war in this country. What do you do at this point? You're not banning them. And to your point, there's a lot already out there.

KAYYEM: Right. OK, so you first keep trying to ban them. In other words, the political momentum is clearly showing that independence and generation lockdown who came out in numbers this last election may continue to come out on this issue. So they are viewing gun legislation as seriously as pro-gun advocates have been viewing it. So that's what the politics just took a while to catch up.

The second is, of course, I think the delay in the ages. I would like to get these weapons off the street. But in the short term, if you can get this -- you can get both state or national legislation to prohibit 18 to 25 year olds, to 21 year olds from purchasing this weaponry, you are going to limit the number of mass killings.

Again, we don't get to -- we're not going to stop everything, but why wouldn't you try to at least try to get things safer than they have been? And the data is just clear. Just looking at the data, that 18- to-25-year-old male bracket, they should not be having these guns, period. There's just no reason to.

HILL: Yes. Stopping one, saving one life you would think would be enough to have that --


HILL: -- serious discussion. Juliette, always good to see you. Appreciate it. Thanks.

KAYYEM: Thank you.

HILL: In terms of the tragedy in Colorado, you heard about President Biden, what he was saying. He's also called the owner of Club Q, called on Thanksgiving to offer his condolences after the mass shooter there killed five patrons of the LGBTQ plus bar.

CNN' Nick Watt live for us this morning in Colorado Springs with more. What did the President have to say in that call?

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, offering condolences and remember, the President also called Rich Fierro, who was the hero amongst this horror here in Colorado Springs. He was the man who brought down the shooter during the rampage. Fierro and his wife own a brewery here in Colorado Springs, the Atrevida Brewery, and they are reopening this afternoon.

Fierro also says that they have had a huge influx of orders for T- shirts from the brewery. Says it might take him a year to deliver all those T-shirts, but he will do his best. And remember, they are still worried about their friends who are still in the hospital. Their daughter is still injured. Her boyfriend is dead. They are mourning him and they are reopening this afternoon.

Now, as for Club Q, every year, they have held a Thanksgiving lunch. This year, they did, and it was different. Past years, they've cooked themselves, brought it into the club. This year, everything was donated, including the location. A local church is where they met.

Now, they did not let media in for the event itself. There are certain things this community wants and needs to do on its own without the glare of the media. We are all, of course, leaving and this community will be left with years ahead of hurt and healing. Erica?

HILL: Yes, that's for sure. Nick, appreciate it. Thank you.

Just ahead here, Ukraine's capital in survival mode. The city of millions trying to restore power after Russian strike plunge Kyiv into darkness. We're going to bring you live to Ukraine next.



HILL: Ukraine is racing now to restore power to homes across the country. Kyiv's mayor says about half of the capital city still in the dark. This after the latest barrage of Russian missiles hit infrastructure.

CNN's Sam Kiley is live in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine with the very latest for us. Sam, where do things stand?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erica, the infrastructure is being repaired. The government's saying that they're hoping to get most of it sorted out by the weekend. That's if there's another wave of cruise missile attacks from Russia. There's been at least seven, according to the Ukrainian government.

And this all coming as cities like Kherson, which has been recently liberated from Russia, a regional capital recaptured by the government at the beginning of November, is still struggling with no power and therefore, no water being pumped around its system. And now being struck with artillery and rocket fire from across the Dnipro River.