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More "Smash-and-Grab" Robberies, Hitting Apple, Nordstrom Stores; Biden Visits Coast Guard Servicemembers on Thanksgiving; Biden Had Benign Polyp Removed During Colonoscopy; Families, Friends Gather for Holidays as COVID Cases Rise Across U.S.; Trump Attorneys Claim Jan. 6 Panel Could Permanently Damage Presidency. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired November 25, 2021 - 13:30   ET



CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is really a concerning and an ongoing issue here in the bay area.

The chief of police in San Francisco saying they will watch hours and hours of surveillance video trying to figure out who these people are in order to make arrests.

Then this gets passed on to the district attorney. In San Francisco, he is a controversial figure. He's facing a recall. And yet, he also says he wants to hold people accountable, but then adding, "It's up to the judges."

It's getting passed on and, in the meantime, we're seeing more and more of these incidents happening as we continue to watch on social media and surveillance video -- Jessica?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN HOST: Seems like a new one every day.

Camila Bernal, thanks so much for that reporting.

For more on these brazen smash-and-grab robberies, I want to bring in former commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department, Charles Ramsey.

Great to have you with us. Thanks for being here. And happy Thanksgiving.


DEAN: Let's start first -- there's been dozens of these takeover robberies in recent weeks. Why do you think this is happening? What is causing this?

Is it something that these kids, these teenagers are doing because it seems like a cool thing to do or what's causing this?

RAMSEY: Well, it's really hard to say what's causing it, but they're very hard to guard against.

We had something similar to this happen in Philadelphia a few years ago. We called them flash mobs where groups of mostly young people would just rush into a Macy's or other large department store, steal as much they can then run back out.

We found these things were being organized on social media. And many of the kids we locked up add no prior criminal history at all.

So what's driving it, I really don't know. But police need to pay attention to social media. That could be a way in which they're organizing.

The other thing, in many jurisdictions, you know, theft like that just didn't get treated seriously. It's still considered a misdemeanor.

In my opinion, when you have organized shoplifting like that, when you have large groups going into these stores, it ought to be a felony.

I mean you've got to crack down on folks doing these things. It's going to get worse before it gets better.

DEAN: Right. On that note, it seems like there doesn't seem to be a consequence in a lot of these situations, or if it is, to your point, it's treated as a misdemeanor, which isn't acting as a deterrent, clearly.

Do you get the sense there just really isn't any, enough of a consequence?

RAMSEY: Well, there's not enough of a consequence. And we're starting to see more and more of that.

Listen, I understand where people are in a store and steal food because they can't feed their families. That's not what this is.

I mean, stealing Louis Vuitton bags has nothing to do with your poverty or inability to feed your family or anything like that. It's just flat-out theft is what it is.

And when people do that sort of thing, they need to have some consequences that they'll face at some point in time. It can't be just a slap on the wrist.

Because it affects all of us. These stores just pass on the loss to consumers.

And it's going to get worse. We're entering now into the very heavy shopping season so you're going to see more of this. So police need to be on guard. It is difficult.

But the way we were able to stop it in Philly, we really paid close attention to social media.

We reached out to parents to make sure they were paying attention to what their kids were doing because a lot of these young people did not have criminal records.

And we got calls from parents telling us, hey, they're planning on doing something, and we were able to have people there to stop it.

DEAN: Yes, very interesting.

Charles Ramsey, thanks so much for your insight. Appreciate it.

RAMSEY: Thank you.

DEAN: The first family releasing a hopeful Thanksgiving message for the country.


Plus, President Biden's potential checkup reveals a potential cancer scare. We've got details from his doctor, next.



DEAN: Developing new, President Biden and the first lady just wrapped a visit to U.S. Coast Guard servicemembers in Nantucket where they're spending Thanksgiving with their family.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny is there.

Jeff, what was the president's message to the members?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Jessica, President Biden and first lady, Jill Biden, spent about an hour or so talking virtually to members of the six branches of service, really serving all around the world.

The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and, of course, the Space Force, as well as the Coast Guard, really expressing their gratitude for their service.

But as the president left this meeting, he also had these word to say about these Coast Guard members.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've been all over the world and I've watched these people. I've watched them in the South China Sea. I've watched them in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Wherever they are, people wonder what America is. They look and they see them. That's who they see. They don't see us here. They see them. And they make me proud.


ZELENY: So certainly, he says that these armed forces are the -- you know, exemplify what it means to the world.

This is his first visit, Jessica, to Nantucket as commander-in-chief. He's been coming here for four decades or so. But, of course, this added a bit of responsibility.


But mainly, the family is spending time here on out, a bit of a holiday break before a busy month of December when he's trying to get the rest of his agenda enacted.

DEAN: Yes, he's got plenty waiting for him in Washington.

Before I let you go, we're also getting new details about the president's recent physical exam. What have you learned there?

ZELENY: The White House releasing a letter last evening -- a bit unusual to release a letter like this on the eve of Thanksgiving -- with his doctor, Kevin O'Connor, saying there was a precancerous three-millimeter polyp discovered during his colonoscopy last week during his routine physical.

It appears there's nothing to worry about. It was removed. It was precancerous.

The doctor said this was similar to something he had in 2008 right before becoming vice president. But it seems to be routine. But again, they're issuing this about a week after the physical.

Of course, he's 79 years old now, the oldest-serving U.S. president -- Jessica?

DEAN: That's right.

All right, Jeff Zeleny for us. Very pretty there in Nantucket. Have a great Thanksgiving.

ZELENY: It is. You, too, my friend.

DEAN: Thanks.

I want to bring in Dr. Sanju Mathew now, a primary care physician and public health specialist out of Atlanta.

Dr. Mathew, great to see you. Happy Thanksgiving.

First off, let's get your thoughts on the removal of that polyp for President Biden.


The keyword as Jeff mentioned is that that polyp was precancerous. The colonoscopy is not only a tool that detects cancer. It's also a tool that prevents cancer.

A good number of people, in fact, men, when they get screening colonoscopies, 45 percent will have a polyp like President Biden's.

It is benign. But if not removed, over time, it can transform into cancer.

And also for women, 15 to 25 percent of women at screening colonoscopies can have polyps like this.

So bottom line, President Biden's results should make us realize, even if we don't have symptoms of abdominal pain or blood in the stool, you must get a screening colonoscopy starting at age 45 to prevent cancer down the road.

DEAN: Yes. It sounds like this colonoscopy did exactly what it was supposed to do in keeping him healthy.

Let's turn now to the COVID pandemic. Of course, right now, as we speak, families, friends getting together for Thanksgiving. We've got more holidays ahead. But we're also seeing COVID cases going up across the country.

What are your thoughts on how to do all of this in a safe way? Because I also know a lot of people are saying, OK, I'm vaccinated, maybe they got boost. Am I in the clear?

Obviously, it's very different between vaccinated people and unvaccinated people.

MATHEW: Yes, that's right, Jessica. Listen, the good news first. Thank god for vaccines. A lot of families are able to reunite this year.

I wasn't able to get together with my extended family last year, but I plan on doing it this afternoon and for Christmas, thankfully, because we're boosted and vaccinated.

But unfortunately, the cases are climbing back up again. We're almost at hundred thousand daily COVID cases.

And just as you mentioned, Jessica, just because people are tired of the pandemic doesn't mean that the pandemic is done with us. Unfortunately, as people travel and get together, more people will fall sick and more people will die.

But today or this evening as we celebrate Thanksgiving, if a lot of people are vaccinated and boostered, you can basically take the masks off.

If a lot of people in the mixed, you don't know the results, you still have to be careful. Maybe make it an outdoor event if you can and get that ventilation.

But it's really important for us to realize the pandemic is not done with us.

DEAN: Yes. Unfortunately. And you're right, I think everybody's so done with it, but it is not done with us.

I want to share some numbers from the CDC right now. The latest prediction, a death toll of up to 822,000 by December 18th. That would be an increase of about 50,000 lives lost. And hospitalizations increasing as much as 12,600 by December 17th. A

20 percent jump from now.

Those are very sobering numbers. What are you biggest concerns as we head into both the winter and then also the holiday season?

MATHEW: You know, about 40 percent of America is still unvaccinated. We have not hit that threshold where we can see cases plummet and stay down for a long period of time.

We always talk about cases. I think it's important for our viewers to also realize, we can't even talk about containing this virus until we get below 5,000 daily cases. And over 1,000 people are dying.

And listen to this statistic, Jessica. Since the vaccines have been rolling out, more Americans have died unvaccinated.


And I think, ultimately -- you know, I don't want to sound like the typical, boring medical analyst on TV, get vaccinated, get boostered.

But I think one thing we really need to consider is to throw a philosophical angle into this. As we celebrate Thanksgiving, where do you want to be in five years?

Do you want to be alive? Do you want to suffer from long COVID? Or do you want to feel like you can dodge COVID-19 without getting vaccinated?

This virus is here to stay. The only way we can convert it to an endemic virus is to get vaccinated and make it more like the flu as opposed to the deadly COVID.

DEAN: Yes. Vaccinations make all the different.

Dr. Saju Mathew, thank you so much for being with us.

MATHEW: Happy Thanksgiving, Jessica.

DEAN: You, too.

Former President Trump's attorneys have a new argument as they attempt to stop the January 6th commission from looking into his presidential records. Now arguing the commission could damage the presidency for good. More on that, next.



DEAN: A new court filing from former President Trump's legal team is making an unusual argument: The January 6th committee, in its legal fight for Trump's White House records, could cause lasting damage to the presidency. Here's part of their filing. Quote, "The appellee's clear disdain for

President Trump is leading them to a course of action that result in permanent damage to the institution of presidency," end quote.

Let's discuss now with the former White House ethics czar, Norm Eisen. He also served as special counsel to the House Judiciary Committee during Trump's first impeachment trial.

Norm, great to see you. Happy Thanksgiving.

Let's talk about President Trump's legal team. They're making the case the January 6th committee could permanently damage the presidency. Do you see any legal merit to that claim?


And the permanent damage to the presidency that was done was when ex- President Trump incited an insurrection on January 6th to attack his own government.

The disclosure that Congress is seeking here has the exact opposite effect, Jessica, of what Trump is arguing in his papers. As is so often the case, the truth is the opposite.

Getting these documents out will advance the interests of the presidency by helping Congress to legislate and prevent this from ever happening again.

DEAN: Right.

And on Tuesday, a federal appeals court plans to hear legal arguments on the Trump administration records, specifically on whether it has the authority to rule on Trump's effort to executive privilege here and essentially block their release.

What do you see coming out of that?

EISEN: Well, we only have one president at a time in the United States.

This case, what will be heard by the D.C. circuit, the appeals court this week, is really about the question about whether a former president can continue to have powers to block Congress from learning information about their time in office.

And I think the law is clear, and the court will rule, no, ex- President Trump can't do that anymore than he could take a portrait of George Washington or the Resolute Desk out of the White House.

He can't control these papers. That's up to Joe Biden. That's the critical issue. And Donald Trump is going to lose, as he's done so many times before in court.

DEAN: And just to give people who are watching kind of a bigger -- big picture view of all this, Norm, how -- how normal is it for this sort of legal activity to be going on?

Obviously, the insurrection we've never seen before. President Trump did a bunch of things we've never seen before.

But in terms of this legal argument that's playing out, what they're trying to do with these records, where does that fall kind of on the spectrum of what we've seen before? Or have we seen anything like this before?

EISEN: Well, in one aspect, it's unprecedented. We've never seen a current president and a former president butt heads like this and disagree over the release of information.

But, you know, just because nobody's ever argued it before doesn't mean it's a good argument, Jessica. There's a reason why no one's ever tried it before. It's a dead loser.

That brings us to the thing we have seen over and over again. And that is Donald Trump bringing bogus frivolous legal arguments to lose a series of court battles but win the war by delaying.

As when I worked on the impeachment, and he stalled his losses in the court cases we brought. That is disturbingly normal.

But it seems he's not getting away with it here. The courts have been moving with lightning speed. Good thing for the sake of accountability and our democracy.


DEAN: Right. And not letting that delay tactic work.

All right, Norm Eisen, thank you so much and happy Thanksgiving.

EISEN: Thanks, Jessica. Happy Thanksgiving.

DEAN: Thank you.

More people are traveling this holiday during any other point during the pandemic. And for those passengers behaving badly, they're about to face harsher penalties for acting out in the skies.