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All 3 Men Guilty Of Murder In The Killing Of Ahmaud Arbery; America Travels For Thanksgiving; COVID-19 Cases Are On The Rise With Thanksgiving Just A Day Away; U.S. Inflation Gauge Shows Prices Soaring At Fastest Pace In 31 Years. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired November 24, 2021 - 15:30   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you so much. Take care.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: OK, moments ago, Travis and Gregory McMichael and William "Roddie" Bryan were led away from the courthouse in handcuffs. They were wearing handcuffs and leg shackles. All of them now convicted murderers. They were each walked to their own vehicle. The judge has yet to set a sentencing date for them, but they could spend the rest of their lives in jail without parole. All three men's attorneys say they will now appeal these convictions.

And we're also watching what else is happening today. Of course it is known as a very busy travel day, millions of people travelling, by plane, by train by car. This today is the busiest time the busiest travel time in fact of the entire holiday. So we're covering the roads and the sky's coming up next.



CAMEROTA: What a difference a year makes and more than 450 million vaccine doses. Travel this holiday weekend is expected to be as busy as it was before the pandemic, both in the air and on the road. If you're flying, you will be sharing the skies with about 20 million other Americans. If you're hitting the road, you'll be among 70 percent of Americans expected to visit people outside of their own households this weekend.

Clearly, there's a desire to put the pandemic in the rearview mirror. CNN Stephanie Elam is live for us at LA Airport. And Pete Muntean is watching Interstate 95, outside of Baltimore. So Pete, let's start with you. Gas prices, as we know are at their highest in years. But is that keeping people off the roads?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It doesn't really seem to be holding people back, Alisyn. You know, I just checked Google Maps and there's more red on the map now than there was earlier. I've been talking to folks here at the Maryland House Travel Plaza up I-95 in Aberdeen, Maryland, that's between Wilmington and Baltimore. And they're telling me this whole notion of pent up demand. They wanted to get out last year but simply couldn't. The point is here, this will look nothing like Thanksgiving did in 2020. In fact, AAA says the numbers for this year 48 million people are projected to hit the road for the Thanksgiving holiday. What's so interesting is that numbers really not that far off from where we were back in 2019. Before the pandemic, that actual number in 2019, only about 3 percent off from this projected number.

But so many people we taking on the chin when it comes to cost, $3.40 the average price of a gallon of gas nationwide. That's up $1.30 from where we were this time last year. So the bottom line is the traffic is back. And the cost is back. Travellers just tell me they just want to get out and they're going to do it with a lot of traffic out there on the road. Really AAA says the worst time to travel is right now if you're going to get out there wait until later on this evening. In fact, the Maryland Transportation Authority, which is responsible for this part of I-95 says might want to wait until 11pm tonight.

CAMEROTA: OK, thank you for that. Stephanie, I'm not seeing a lot of people behind you right now is it packed?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, I don't want to give people a false sense of security. But you're right. It's actually been pretty controlled here at LAX today. As we've been here, I'll show you what it looks like. But despite this, they are expecting to have some pandemic records here in LAX of 2 million passengers expected for November 18 through 30th. And that is actually two times as many people as last year, but down a third from the 2019 record high.

We did talk to one passenger today who was flying to Chicago and he's pretty much taking it in stride and knew what he was getting himself into. Take a listen.


JULIAN MAKOWITZ, THANKSGIVING TRAVELER: Well, I'm excited. I want it to be like dead trains, planes and aeroplanes movie. I'm going to Chicago so I feel like it's appropriate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you all concerned about the virus, and not at all, not the least.

MAKOWITZ: Yes, not at all. None the least.


ELAM: So despite what you're seeing here, it could get busier later. So they're still asking people to get here early. Be patient and also don't forget, got to have that mask, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, got it. Stephanie Elam, thank you, Pete Muntean, thank you very much.

So this is our first Thanksgiving with COVID vaccines. Still, new infections are rising in more than half of the country. The CDC predicts that COVID hospitalizations and deaths will increase over the next month. And new poll suggests that many travellers could be around unvaccinated people even unknowingly for Thanksgiving. So how do you celebrate this holiday while staying safe? CNN health reporter Jacqueline Howard is here with some answers. Hi, Jacqueline.

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Hi, Alisyn. And you know this year is our first Thanksgiving with vaccines and the number one way to stay safe is to be fully vaccinated. But of course, if you might be around people who are not vaccinated, it's important to wear your mask. And there are other safety measures you can take testing is an option.

And also the CDC just released today this really interesting interactive tool on its website showing how air ventilation can really play a role in reducing your risk. You see here, if you go to the CDC website, it shows how much of a difference opening a window can make, how much of a difference having, you know, a premium air filter or having a portable air cleaner so all of those different elements play a role as well. We often think of vaccines we think of testing which is important. But it's important to also consider air ventilation as well, Alisyn.


CAMEROTA: OK, Jacqueline Howard, thank you very much for that, for those safety tips. OK, we need to get in a little politics Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy hopes of -- his hopes of becoming Speaker of the House could hinge on getting the support of former President Trump. Will he get that support? What's happening with that relationship? We have new reporting.

And inflation is breaking a three-decade record. How long will we see these prices spiking.


CAMEROTA: It's not just the 2022 midterm elections that Kevin McCarthy has to win for him to become the next Speaker of the House. He also needs former President Trump's blessing and that is proving hard to come by.


Our Melanie Zanona is breaking this story. Melanie, tell us your reporting.

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, we're almost a year away from a potential Republican Speaker race. And already some of Trump's allies in Congress are starting to put Kevin McCarthy on notice. They are making clear that their votes are not going to necessarily come easy, and they're really starting to flex their muscles in any potential future speakers is.

Marjorie Taylor Greene, for example, a congressman from Georgia, one of Trumps fiercest supporters on Capitol Hill has said she's going to be laying out a list of demands in order to earn her vote for speaker. Some others in Trump's orbit, like Matt Gaetz of Florida, for example, have floated this idea that maybe Trump should run for the speaker's gavel.

Now, that is a wild idea. It's a highly unlikely scenario, but it's showing that the leverage lies with the Trump wing of the party right now. And look, here's what one Republican from Alabama, Mike Rogers, told me about all of this. He said, quote, Kevin has his full support, but if he came out against him, it would be ugly.

And I think that just really, Alisyn, speaks to the fact that Trump has the power to either make or break Kevin McCarthy's quest for the speakership.

Now, most Republicans do think that in the end, Trump will be behind McCarthy. McCarthy has been one of his earliest and staunch supporters on Capitol Hill. And having McCarthy a reliable ally in charge of the House is a benefit for Trump if he runs for president in 2024. But Trump and his allies are at least going to dangle the threat over the speakership over McCarthy's head. They know they have a ton of leverage in the fight and they are not eager to give that up anytime soon. Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Melanie Zanona, thank you very much an excellent choice in dress as well.

ZANONA: I agree, it's a great dress.

CAMEROTA: Why isn't everybody wearing that today? I know. Thanks Melanie. Great to talk to you.

ZANONA: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: All right, prices for everything are rising as you know inflation is soaring today another record breaks.



CAMEROTA: Some good economic numbers in today. Jobless claims for last week fell below pre-pandemic levels. In fact, they were the lowest since 1969. But at the same time, a key measure for inflation hit a 31-year high. CNN's Matt Egan is here. Matt, good news, bad news story, obviously. What are these numbers tell us about how the economy is doing?

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Well, Alisyn, the numbers show that the economy is actually heading into the holiday season in pretty good shape despite what the polls might show, especially the jobs market. Let me show you this chart on jobless claims.

When COVID erupted claims spiked above 6 million record high, they just fell to 199,000. That is the lowest number in 52 years since Richard Nixon was in the White House. You know, firing is very low right now. Companies are desperate to hire. And workers have all the leverage. That's why they're quitting their jobs at a record pace because they know they can get a better one. And also Wall Street banks, they're upgrading their forecasts. Jeffrey's just put up this report, they think that the economy is going to grow this quarter at the second fastest pace since 1983. Normally, all this would be a reason for a lot of optimism. The President's poll numbers will probably be higher. But it's not that case because of inflation and a new report out today show that consumer prices rose by 5 percent in October from a year ago. That is the biggest number since 1990, 31 years ago.

People -- a lot of people have never experienced inflation like this in their lifetimes. Those that have they're worried this is a return to runaway inflation like the 1970s even though the economists I talked to don't think that's likely big picture Alisyn, you know, unfortunately, inflation probably isn't going anywhere anytime soon. So that means it's probably going to continue to hover like a black cloud over this economy.

CAMEROTA: Such a mixed bag. Thanks so much for explaining all that.

EGAN: Thank you, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Great to see you, Matt. All right, we have much more breaking news. A jury finding all three defendants in the Ahmaud Arbery murder trial guilty.



CAMEROTA: This just in Vice President Kamala Harris reacting to the verdict in the Ahmaud Arbery murder trial. Today, she says the jury rendered its verdict and the three defendants were found guilty of murdering Ahmaud Arbery. Still, we feel the weight of grief. Ahmaud Arbery should be alive and nothing can take away the pain that his mother Wanda Cooper-Jones, his father, Marcus Arbery, and the entire Arbery family and community feel today. I share in that pain. These verdicts send an important message but the fact remains that we still have work to do.

The defense counsel chose to set a tone that cast the attendance of ministers at the trial as intimidation and dehumanized a young black man with racist tropes. The jury arrived at its verdicts despite these tactics. Ahmaud Arbery was a son. He was a brother. He was a friend. His life had meaning. We will not forget him. We will honor him best by continuing the fight for justice.

Also, we have an update for you on a story we covered that convicted felon whose alleged gun discharged inside the Atlanta airport setting off mass panic, he remains at large. But investigators have found the gun. They found it inside a trash can at the airport. Authorities say the suspect Kenny Wells grabbed the gun out of his bag and took off with it. Multiple warrants are out for Wells arrest.

And now this, Hollywood has already imagined a killer asteroid hurtling towards Earth. But what if it happens in real life? Could a well-aimed rocket blast an asteroid out of the way?