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CDC Director Signs Off on COVID-19 Vaccine Booster after FDA Authorizes both Moderna and Pfizer Vaccine for Everyone 18 and Older; Jury Finds Kyle Rittenhouse Not Guilty on All Charges in Murder Trial; House of Representatives Passes Build Back Better Social Spending Bill; House Passed Build Back Better Bill Likely to Undergo Changes in U.S. Senate; Family of Christian Hall Calls for Independent Investigation into His Shooting Death by Pennsylvania State Troopers. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired November 20, 2021 - 10:00   ET




CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Happening now in the Newsroom, more than 100 million adults are now eligible for COVID booster shots.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are 11 yeses and zero no's and vote number one passes.

PAUL: The move comes as families you know are preparing to gather for the holidays amid an uptick in hospitalizations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like in this case, it feels like the victims' lives don't matter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kyle said if I had to do it all over again, and I had any idea something like this could happen, I wouldn't do it.

PAUL: Raw emotion and reaction from the families of those killed by Kyle Rittenhouse, and Rittenhouse himself is speaking out.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): The Build Back Better bill is passed.

PAUL: President Biden scores a win as his Build Back Better plan passes the House, now facing an uncertain future in the Senate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are all motivated to make the travel as easy and as enjoyable, but mostly as safe and secure as we can.

PAUL: The TSA is bracing for a record travel season since the pandemic began as an incoming storm could make for one heck of a travel nightmare.

And where is Peng Shuai? The growing demand for answers following the disappearance of a Chinese tennis star. Sports stars and leagues around the world are putting China on notice. Newsroom starts right now.


PAUL (on camera): Welcome to your Saturday, November 20th. We are so grateful for your company. I'm Christi Paul.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Boris Sanchez. You are live in the CNN Newsroom, and we're grateful to have you.

PAUL: Yes. So, let's talk about this just in time for the holiday season, 114 million American adults now eligible for COVID-19 booster shots. CDC director Rochelle Walensky signed off on the extra dose after the FDA authorizes both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine for everyone 18 and older.

SANCHEZ: The news coming as U.S. vaccinations are steadily increasing with a 36 percent spike in shots administered just in the last week. But health officials are still concerned about a winter surge as more Americans begin to congregate indoors. Earlier we spoke with Arkansas Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero who said this should potentially exhaust hospitals in the coming months, pushing them to the brink.


DR. JOSE ROMERO, ARKANSAS SECRETARY OF HEALTH: Spending more time inside, spending less time out in the open without a mask, and being exposed more to people is going to lead to a greater number of cases. On top of that, really, what is also driving our concern at this time is that we are entering into influenza season. We know that some states are already starting to see cases. The confluence of both COVID cases and now influenza cases could overwhelm our healthcare systems.


PAUL: CNN's Nadia Romero is live at a COVID booster clinic in Atlanta this morning. Nadia, good to see you. Talk to us about what you're seeing.

NADIA ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi. We saw a line of cars, about a dozen or so, even before this clinic opened this morning. So, you could tell people were eager to get here and get their shots. So, we spoke with the founder and CEO of Viral Solutions here in Atlanta, and he says the majority of people who come in are getting either their second shot or they're getting their booster shot. And they've seen a lot of kids coming in over the past couple of weeks of course now that kids five through 11 can get the COVID vaccine, so they'll at least be partially vaccinated for the Thanksgiving holiday.

And about 80 or so people had preregistered. He's expecting that number to really go up over the next couple of these days because of this news of the CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky giving her stamp of approval for the booster shot. You have Pfizer, Moderna. If you've been fully vaccinated within the last six months, you can get that booster shot, and he says that's exactly what people are doing right ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. Take a listen.


BEN LEFKOVE, CEO, VIRAL SOLUTIONS: I definitely think so. I think when people are realizing they're going to be gathering, it's getting cold. We're seeing what's happening in the northern parts of the country as far as COVID resurgence, which happens, and so I think some people are trying to do what they can to be as protected as possible. We see testing surges around the holidays, certainly for travel, but also just for people wanting to make sure that they're not positive or if they're having any sort of cold symptoms or something like that, to make sure that they don't have COVID before they go and see family. So, a lot of attention on COVID right before people are getting together for the holidays.



ROMERO: And a lot of health experts are calling it a winter wave. So, we normally see the flu and the cold and other respiratory illnesses around this time of year. Now you add in COVID-19, that's the concern, that there could be a big spike in cases and hospitalizations after the holidays. Christi, Boris?

PAUL: Nadia Romero, great information for us this morning. Thank you so much.

SANCHEZ: Thanks, Nadia.

We want to turn now to the protests overnight across the country after a jury in Kenosha, Wisconsin, found Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty in the shooting deaths of two people and the wounding of a third person.



CROWD: Our streets!


CROWD: Our streets!


SANCHEZ: This is the scene outside of the Barclays Center in New York last night. Hundreds gathering to protest the verdict. Demonstrators marched from Brooklyn to Manhattan, actually shutting down the Brooklyn Bridge before dispersing.

PAUL: In Portland, Oregon, take a look at that. Police declared a riot there after they said protesters began breaking windows and doors at city buildings. And now this morning, we're hearing from Rittenhouse himself.


KYLE RITTENHOUSE, ACQUITTED IN KENOSHA SHOOTING: The jury reached the correct verdict. Self-defense is not illegal. And I believe they came to the correct verdict, and I'm glad that everything went well. And it's been a rough journey, but we made it through it.


PAUL: CNN's Natasha Chen is live in Kenosha. So, Natasha, we're seeing what's happening in other parts of the country. Are you seeing anything that mir mirrors that where you are in Kenosha?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi and Boris, there is really not much activity going on in Kenosha as far as protests and riots. It has been very calm since the verdict was announced yesterday and overnight. I think this community is very hurt over what has happened over the past year or two. And their reaction yesterday, while there was some celebratory shots and strong emotions for a few minutes there, there were also people holding signs that said we really need to unite, and really focusing on healing the fractures of this community right in this area. They've seen a lot of tension and conflict on the streets.

You did play a clip just now there of Rittenhouse. That was part of a trailer aired on the Tucker Carlson show on FOX News last night that seems to show Rittenhouse in the same outfit he was wearing in the courtroom yesterday, reacting to the verdict. But he did not speak to many members of the press yesterday. He in fact left quickly. And his defense attorney Mark Richards told Chris Cuomo last night what that was like, having some cameras following Rittenhouse during this process. Here's what he said.


MARK RICHARDS, KYLE RITTENHOUSE'S ATTORNEY: I did not approve of that. I threw them out of the room several times. I don't think a film crew is appropriate for something like this. But the people who were raising the money to pay for the experts and to pay for the attorneys were trying to raise money, and that was part of it.


CHEN: During an earlier press conference, we did ask him about what this verdict means from a wider perspective, and Richards was careful to say that his role here was not to be on any particular political crusade. Still, a lot of people may be seeing this through a political lens, and one of the family members of one of the men killed by Rittenhouse, the great-aunt of Anthony Huber, was talking about that and how this case has really sparked conversation and tension in an already difficult racial situation and a difficult situation with the idea of self-defense and the Second Amendment. Here's what she said.


SUSAN HUGHES, ANTHONY HUBER'S GREAT-AUNT: You throw that much adulation, turn him into a folk hero of some sort so you can advance your political career, he will be destroyed by the time he's 30. He's going to have to man up real quickly and learn to say no.


CHEN: And of course, just to remind everyone that this protest and this clash with Rittenhouse and these men happened at the result of Kenosha police shooting a black man, Jacob Blake, who was left paralyzed from the waist down. Of course, Blake's family was here yesterday as well. Really emotional about this verdict. Christi and Boris?

PAUL: No doubt. Natasha Chen, we appreciate it so much. Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Let's discuss this verdict and its fallout with Michael Moore. He's a former U.S. attorney. Michael, great to have you this morning. Appreciate you joining us.


SANCHEZ: At the core of this verdict, the prosecution had the burden of proving beyond a reasonable tout that Rittenhouse was not acting in self-defense, and they obviously did not convince the jury.


So given the facts of the case, do you feel like the prosecution could have approached this differently?

MOORE: It's always a tough burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, but it should be because the state, the government has the power, and they ought to have the duty and responsibility to prove a defendant's guilt.

I know there will be people who disagree with the verdict, but we have to respect and accept the verdict of a jury. There have been other verdicts that we've disagreed with in the past. I think in this case though, it may have been a little bit of an overreach on some of the charges that were levied, and maybe that gave too much room for a jury to look to see if in fact the government had proven its case. And so once they decided on what element the government didn't meet that, it becomes easy then to say if they didn't prove that charge to us, we're going to go on to the next one. So, there are some things that may be different, but that's hindsight.

It's not a good day, I think, for Second Amendment advocates because essentially now, at least if you take this verdict, if you were to be try to stop, for instance, a carjacking and pull a gun on the carjacker to defend yourself as a law-abiding citizen and that carjacker was suddenly afraid that you may shoot him, the question is, does the carjacker have a self-defense right to shoot you? And so these are tough questions, and I appreciate the comments you relayed earlier, that folks are saying we need to heal and try to move forward. But it was a tough case, and again, we have to respect the verdict of the jury.

SANCHEZ: The jury did deliberate for more than 25 hours. We also know now that only two of the verdict sheets were signed yesterday. Others had been dated Wednesday and Thursday, so it seems like they came to different conclusions across the week. What does that tell you about what it took to reach the final decision to acquit him of all the charges?

MOORE: I think probably watching the evidence and asking to review the evidence, they were trying to find some compromise, or they were looking, maybe one juror was trying to convince another juror that this happened or that didn't happen.

I do think there were some things that sort of put this case in a bad posture for the state from the outset. I thought the idea that you couldn't refer to the shooting victims as victims, that ruling by the judge was just ridiculous. That to me sounds like, well, what would you call a lady who was raped? Are not allowed to call her a victim, or do we have to find some slur or derogatory name for that? I didn't understand that.

I also really didn't understand with a case of this magnitude why the jury may not have been sequestered. That would have seemed to have been a way maybe to cut down. We know we had an incident with someone following the jury. A way to cut down some possible problems that came up during the case. Just some rulings, even whether it was Mr. Rittenhouse's other conduct, whatever, I think that caused some problems, again, for the government going forward.

So, the jury, they tried to compromise, I think, or there was some dissent back and forth, obviously about having the delay in the signing of the verdict forms on certain counts. And so ultimately, it's not unusual to see juries come to a verdict on Friday. They want to end the week. They have responsibilities and family duties and other things just like everybody else. And so, once a case and the deliberations move toward a Friday deadline, you almost expect to see a jury wrap up.

SANCHEZ: And Michael, quickly, I want to get your take on what may come next, potential civil lawsuits. What would a prosecution potentially look like in a civil case?

MOORE: Just think about the O.J. Simpson case. In that case, you had a verdict of not guilty on the criminal case, and then there was a suit where the burden of proof is much less. You don't have to prove, for instance, that Mr. Rittenhouse did something beyond a reasonable doubt, but rather by preponderance of the evidence, just tipping the scales a little bit. Just like the Simpson case, where he ultimately was found by a civil jury to be liable for those deaths.

But what I'm worried maybe on the bigger scale is I hope that this does not become an excuse for jurors, for instance, in the Arbery case to look at self-defense as somehow a way to give a pass if you in fact create situation that causes you to need self-defense. And so, this we'll see how it plays out in other cases. I don't know if civil cases in the Rittenhouse case are likely. Obviously, there are press reports where some of the victims' family members were disappointed with the verdict, and we'll see. But if they move forward, their burden in that case is much, much less, and you don't need to do anything more than research the O.J. Simpson case to see how that will play out. SANCHEZ: Michael Moore, thank you so much for the time, sir.

MOORE: Glad to be with you, Boris, thank you.

PAUL: Let's talk about what's happening in Brunswick, Georgia. Closing arguments set to begin Monday for the trial of the three white men charged with chasing down and killing 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery while he was jogging.


After 10 days of court proceedings and testimony from more than 20 witnesses and investigators, one defense attorney raised tension in the courtroom again by making a last-minute push for a mistrial while reportedly trying to cut a plea deal behind the scenes. That request, by the way, was ultimately denied.

SANCHEZ: President Biden's Build Back Better bill passing in the House, but it's road in the Senate seems less certain. We're going to break down the future of Build Back Better when we come back from a quick break. Stay with CNN.


SANCHEZ: President Biden scoring a win to end the week. House Democrats approving his sweeping Build Back Better social safety net and climate bill.


NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA) HOUSE SPEAKER: On this vote, the yeas are 220, the nays are 213. The Build Back Better bill is passed.




PAUL: The Democrats celebrated on the House floor, as you can see there on the left hand side of your screen. The $1.9 trillion plan heads now to the Senate where it is certain to undergo some changes. As for what's in the bill right now, take a look at this, $570 billion for clean energy and combatting climate change, $381 billion for childcare and preschools, $205 billion for paid family and sick leave, $203 billion in childcare tax credits, as well as billions for healthcare, housing, and more.

SANCHEZ: White house reporter Jasmine Wright joins us now live. She's traveling with the president in Wilmington, Delaware. Jasmine, Congress wrapping up an early birthday gift for President Biden.

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right. Look, he got an early birthday present when the House decided to pass that larger social safety net expansion package of his, what they call Build Back Better. And yesterday when he was basking in this victory, he called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to thank her for finally getting this bill. Both he and Pelosi teamed up and really approached it on both sides of the Democratic Party, pushing lawmakers to come to a deal and finally pass this bill on the House side.

But of course, we know this is not over. And there's more to come as it works its way through the Senate where it is likely to face significant changes. And it's going to be incumbent upon President Biden to really work those decades of Senate experience trying the shepherd this bill through. It's something White House officials when you talk to them, they say is one of his greatest assets.

And one of those things likely to be stripped from the bill is paid leave. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi put it back in the House version, but still key lawmakers and swing vote Senator Joe Manchin is against the provision, likely making it be dead in the water.

President Biden was asked yesterday about the timeline of whether he would sign a bill without paid leave. Take a listen to his answer.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Build Back Better plan, now that it's passed the house, when do you expect it to land on your desk?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know. It's going to take a while to get through the Senate. I think it will probably be after Thanksgiving.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you sign it if it doesn't contain paid family leave?

BIDEN: I will sign it, period.


WRIGHT: So now President Biden's birthday celebration today, it will come with a clean bill of health that he received after his first physical as president. Remember, today is his birthday and he turned 79, the oldest president to serve a first term. So yesterday, his longtime doctor issued a memorandum that said Biden remains fit for duty and fully executes all of his responsibilities without any exemptions or accommodations. So lots of good news here for the president this weekend as he celebrates his birthday, Boris and Christi.

PAUL: All right, Jasmine Wright, thank you so much.

SANCHEZ: Thanks, Jasmine.

So, let's dig deeper with CNN political analyst Laura Barron-Lopez. She's a White House correspondent for "Politico." Good morning, Laura, thanks for joining us.


SANCHEZ: Let's start with the wins for President Biden. The bipartisan infrastructure package got signed this week. The House passing the $1.9 trillion spending bill. But despite Democrats hoping that this will hope them get reelected in 2022 in the upcoming midterms, some of the effects, some of the benefits from these bills won't be felt for a while, right?

BARRON-LOPEZ: That's right, Boris. A lot of the healthcare provisions, ones that are aimed at either lowering prescription drug costs or just making healthcare coverage more affordable in general, won't be felt by everyday people until after 2022. And so, a number of Democrats are concerned that that makes it a bit harder to sell this package to the public.

That being said, the White House is pretty adamant. White house officials I've talked, they say that these are long sought promises, promises that the Democratic Party made when Biden was campaigning, that other Democrats down ballot have made. And so they're betting that by making good on those promises, that voters are going to say that they don't want something just because it doesn't take effect right away.

But the White House is, you're starting to see that they are being more aggressive in their messaging, not just around the physical infrastructure bill that passed, but also the Build Back Better plan, which has these healthcare provisions in it, because a of these health care provisions are also some of the most popular provisions with voters. Allowing Medicare to negotiate the cost of prescription drugs is actually one of the most popular elements in this bill. And so a lot of Democrats still want it even though it won't take effect until after 2022.

SANCHEZ: Laura, the BBB is now headed to the Senate. It's expected to undergo some major changes. When you talk to White House officials, what items are they anticipating are going to change or potential go away entirely?


BARRON-LOPEZ: As Jasmine said, the White House and all Democrats are pretty much expecting the paid family leave provision to get cut from the bill, because unless Senator Joe Manchin changes his mind, there's no way to get the votes for that. There are some senators that are trying to work with Manchin, to work with Senator Sinema to find a route on paid family leave, but right now the options aren't looking very good. So that's expected to get cut.

There's also immigration provisions, ones that would provide some form of legal status for about 7 million undocumented people that passed through the House. That's, again, is expected to face an uphill battle in the Senate. And the White House has said, look, that's up to the Senate. That's up to the parliamentarian, and they're pretty much just deferring to Congress on that front.

You've heard Biden say that he's going to sign this bill depending on what Democrats are able to get him. So there aren't a lot of red lines that we're hearing from White House officials. Really, the only one the White House has been consistent on this entire time is that they don't want this bill to raise taxes on anyone making less than $400,000 a year.

SANCHEZ: And the president has been engaged when it comes to having meetings with Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema in the past. Do you have a sense from White House officials how engaged he's going to be as this gets closer to a vote in the Senate?

BARRON-LOPEZ: Yes, I was just talking to a few White House officials yesterday who were saying that Biden is going to be very engaged, that he's going to continue to make phone calls as his team thinks that it's necessary. So his officials, his senior inner circle is constantly talking to Manchin's staff, to Sinema's staff, to all of the potential senators that still aren't totally convinced about this bill. They're in constant communication also with Senator Bernie Sanders, who has his own issues with what passed through the House. What passed through the House was a provision that would allow expanding coverage for hearing aids through Medicare. Sanders wants more than that. He wants dental and vision added on, and so he's going to continue to push for that as well. So White House officials are heavily engaged. They say that they're not going to let up because again, they really want to see this pass before the end of the year.

SANCHEZ: We'll see if it happens. Laura Barron-Lopez, thanks so much.

BARRON-LOPEZ: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: So where is Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai? That's what the world wants to know.

PAUL: And even included in that are more of the game's stars, who are speaking out now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is horrifying. A person is missing.


PAUL: Coming up later this hour, a live report on when the Chinese state media says we could see her.



PAUL: The parents of a Pennsylvania man shot by police are calling for an investigation, an independent investigation of his shooting. Christian Hall was in the middle of a mental health emergency when Pennsylvania state police fatally shot him. This was on December 30th of last year.

SANCHEZ: Investigators say the 19-year-old pointed what they believed was a real gun at officers in the seconds before they fired, but there's no video that's casting doubt on those findings. CNN's Polo Sandoval joins us now. Polo, walk us through what we've learned so far. POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: OK, so Boris, it's been almost 11

months since Christian Hall was shot and killed by Pennsylvania state troopers, and now, as you point out, his parents want the state attorney general's office to take a closer look at this case, given this video that they've subpoenaed and obtained, and they say is really casting doubt on what they initially heard, the local district attorney rule as a justified shooting.

We're going to walk you through this footage. It was shot on December 30th, of the shooting of this 19-year-old. It is a bit graphic, or at least tough to watch here. But basically here, trooper had initially responded to a distraught and suicidal man on a bridge, or at least that's what the call described. We later found out that he was experiencing what is being described as a mental health emergency. You can see state troopers here negotiating with Hall. This lasted for about an hour and a half, almost two hours here.

Authorities say he initially complied with their orders, especially after they noticed what appeared to be a pistol in his hand, even put it down at one point. But then, according to investigators, became uncooperative, as you'll see here in a few moments.

Now, it was later determined that it was not, in fact, a pistol, it was a pellet gun that was manufactured to look like a semiautomatic pistol. This other angle, and you can actually see him approaching the troopers. On the left hand side of your serene is this recently obtained footage, and then on the right is where the authorities here actually blur the moment that those shots, those fatal shots are fired, and that 19-year-old then collapses to the ground, taken to the hospital, where he later dies.

Three months after this footage was released, the local district attorney released their investigative report. They determined that the use of force was, quote, justified, that Hall's continued possession of that what appeared to be a gun, and also his advancement toward troopers, and that, according to the district attorney's office left them with no choice but to open fire.

As parents, though, they maintained that he did not point the pistol at those troopers at any point, and the fact that his hands were up suggested that he was about to surrender himself to authorities before he actually pulled the trigger. But in the end, what they want, they want the attorney general to look at this case, the FBI, and the Department of Justice, to launch a civil rights investigation, and also for more training for these officers when dealing with subjects that are experiencing these kinds of episodes here.


But Pennsylvania state troopers saying they do have training for their officers, and as far as Monroe County District Attorney's Office, they couldn't exactly comment on this any further. We're still waiting to hear, or at least waiting to hear back from them.

SANCHEZ: Polo Sandoval, thank you so much for that report.

PAUL: Thank you, Polo.


PAUL: During the 1920s, the Osage people of Oklahoma were some of the richest people in the world, but as Lisa Ling uncovers, that wealth made them a target. Discover the horrific plot carried out to steal Osage land and money. You can watch an all new "This is Life with Lisa Ling" tomorrow night at 10:00 right here on CNN.

We'll be right back.



PAUL: Well, a looming storm could mean travel trouble ahead of Thanksgiving.

SANCHEZ: CNN's Allison Chinchar joins us now from the CNN Weather Center. Allison, some headaches ahead, it appears.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, if you've got some flexibility in your travel plans, I highly recommend maybe leaving today, because other than a few isolated spots, some snow showers in the intermountain west and thunderstorms across south Florida, everywhere else is typically dealing with some sunshine, so this would be an easier day to get out. Although we do realize that not everybody has that flexibility.

But starting tomorrow, we're going to get the first in a series of systems making its way through. This will be impacting the Midwest, the deep south, and eventually in towards the northeast, especially late Sunday and into early Monday. And that likely to cause some travel delays, not only in the air, but also on the road.

Now, from there, here's a look at Sunday night. Again, you can see that system really starting to enter into area of the northeast as well as the mid-south. That system continues Monday morning, likely causing some delays, Boston, Philadelphia, New York. That first system moves out, and now we make way for the second system coming in. That's system is also going to bring rain and snow Monday, Tuesday, and into Wednesday, but winds are also going to be a factor.

Christi and Boris, take a look at all of these strong, gusty winds Tuesday and Wednesday. That includes cities like Chicago, St. Louis, even stretching down to Dallas. So as you're packing your stuff, please also pack some patience.

SANCHEZ: Excellent advice. Can't forget to pack that. Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.

PAUL: Thanks, Allison.

Listen, just like everything else this past year, Thanksgiving dinner is going to cost more than last year. And estimates range from five percent more, that's according to the department of agriculture, to 14 percent more, that's according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Let's talk about this, what's causing this increase? Veronica Nigh, she is an economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation. Veronica, so good to have you with us. So is COVID -- the first thing that comes to our mind is COVID is to blame. Is that accurate?

VERONICA NIGH, ECONOMIST, AMERICAN FARM BUREAU: It's certainly a contributing factor. So when we look at all of the supply chain challenges that we've seen as folks are coming back out of lockdown and starting to spend money in a very serious way, that's increased demand. It's made the supply chains challenged. It's also made it really difficult for farmers to plan and to predict how many turkeys the United States might need for this Thanksgiving.

You also add in things like inflation and increasing consumption of meat both in the U.S. and worldwide, and you add those up, and it's really hard to point to any one thing. But certainly, the underlying factor for most of those elements is the global pandemic.

PAUL: Well, and you mentioned the farmers inability to predict what will be needed. Is there a shortage on turkeys?

NIGH: Well, actually, the data shows we're only down about four percent on production in 2021 compared to 2020. Now, we see a lot of fluctuation in the retail price that consumers are receiving. And I think that certainly points to some of the supply chain issues that the retailers are trying to gauge demand from week to week. We've seen price fluctuations anywhere from 88 cents per pound all the way up to $1.50 per pound. So certainly there's a lot of variation that we're seeing in the retail space, and I think that's driving a lot of those concerns about shortages when people are out shopping.

PAUL: So a big chunk of that 14 percent that you say is particularly because of the turkeys. If you take that out of the equation, what is the difference, 6.6 percent increase in the price of the meal?

NIGH: Exactly, 6.6 percent for the rest of the meal. That includes pumpkin pie, green bean, peas, carrots, celery, you're looking at dinner rolls. Everything else is about in line with where we're seeing top line inflation numbers.

PAUL: OK, so for people who are going out now and looking for a turkey, help me understand, because I read you're better off getting it now than say if you were concerned about supply chains and you got it a week or two ago? Prices have gone down?

NIGH: Yes, so retailer haves a lot of flexibility in the price they actually offer to consumers. And when we look at Thanksgiving, that is especially true. So we look at reports week after week, and two weeks ago -- excuse me, three weeks ago, when our shoppers were out, the average price was about $1.50. Two weeks ago it was $1.07. Last week, it was 88 cents.


So the best advice is to make sure and shop those sale ads, and make sure that as you're spending your dollars that you're looking at not just maybe going to the same grocery store for all items of the Thanksgiving dinner, but shop around a little bit because there are certainly deals to be had. But you might not find the same deal on every product in the same store.

PAUL: In the same store, that's good advice. Veronica Nigh, thank you so much for walking us through it. Happy Thanksgiving.

NIGH: Thank you. You as well.

PAUL: Thank you.

NIGH: She has been missing for nearly three weeks. Chinese state media now says tennis star Peng Shuai will return soon to the public eye. The latest on that mystery. It is captivating the world. That's next.

SANCHEZ: We do want to take you to Kentucky, though, where three African American brothers are making history in the whisky world in today's "Start Small, Think Big."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Brough Brothers distillery is Kentucky's first African American owned distillery. We're three brothers from humble beginnings, Victor, Chris, Bryson Yarbrough. The whole family is the Brough Brothers distillery. One of the great things that makes this bourbon unique is that this is one of the few bourbons that you can really mix in a cocktail.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you look at a Brough Brothers bottle, you see Louisville and Kentucky's history and heritage come to life. Representation is of horse racing, wildlife, basketball, boxing. You want to share it with family, friends, and loved ones, which that's what our brand is about, is bringing everyone together, making a stranger your friend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kentucky is the bourbon capital of the world, 95 percent of the world's bourbon is produced in Kentucky. Being from Louisville, we want to be able to bring economic investment back into the more economically diverse area, so we located our distillery right in the heart of west end to bring more investment and give economic opportunities to the community around us.

We want our community to be proud of the work we're doing. We're hitting 30 states. We're international, we're in the U.K. We're already working on expansion, so we hope our business will bring people of all races and creeds together, fellowship over a drink, and enjoy life.



SANCHEZ: This is really a bizarre story. The editor in chief of a Chinese state-run newspaper now says that Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai will appear in public soon and, quote, participate in some activities. Peng has been missing for nearly weeks after she accused one of China's most powerful leaders of sexual assault. Chinese state media released what it says are new pictures that Peng posted on social media. But it's important to point out CNN cannot confirm the authenticity of these photos nor when exactly they were taken.

PAUL: The Women's Tennis Organization is threatening to pull out of China entirely unless they're reassured that Peng is OK. CNN's Paula Hancocks joins us live. The story, what it's generated in terms of a global outcry, people are waiting to hear what's going on. What do you know at this point, Paula?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi, just in the last half-hour, that global times editor has tweeted once again, and he's tweeted a video clip which he says shows dinner with Peng Shuai and her coach and friends. You do see her sitting at a table in what appears to be a restaurant. And he says that it is, the video content clearly shows they are shot on Saturday, Beijing time, so today. Now he had said, as Boris mentioned earlier, that he didn't know that she was going to have public activities soon.

Now, CNN cannot independently verify this video. We have just seen it, as I said, in the last half hour in the comments section, or at least one of our translators has listened to what they are seeing, and there is confusion about the date. The man in the video points out tomorrow is November 20th and is quickly corrected by someone sitting next to him, no, no, it's the 21st, which is raising some questions on social media.

Now, it is worth pointing out we are seeing this video of Peng Shuai, but everything we have seen or heard from her so far has been through Chinese state media. We have not heard from her directly. We have not heard from her family directly. And this is really what many in the tennis world and beyond are calling for around the world. The world number one, Novak Djokovic, talked about it just recently.


NOVAK DJOKOVIC, WORLD NUMBER ONE TENNIS PLAYER: The whole community, tennis community needs to back her up and her family and make sure that she's safe and sound, because if you would have tournaments on the Chinese soil without resolving this situation, it would be a little bit strange.


HANCOCKS: So we have already heard from the head of the women's tennis association that he is willing to pull out of China despite the millions of dollars that that might lose, saying that this is clearly more important than business. Now China up until to point, Beijing still not commenting directly, saying it's not a diplomatic matter and they have nothing more to say on the matter.


PAUL: Paula Hancocks, so appreciate the update that you're giving us. We are grateful. Thank you.

And we will keep you posted on that story and so much more when we see you tomorrow morning right back here. But for now, we want to make sure that you have some good memories today. Thank you for being with us.

SANCHEZ: Appreciate you watching. There's still much more ahead in the next hour of the CNN Newsroom. Fredricka Whitfield picks us up after a quick break.