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More than Six Feet Of Snow Paralyzes Parts Of Western NY; Interview With New York Governor Kathy Hochul; A.G. Garland Names Special Counsel To Oversee Trump Probes; President Biden's Granddaughter Marries At White House; DOJ Launches Investigation Into Ticketmaster, Live Nation; House Dems Eye A New Generation Of Leaders; Thanksgiving Dinner Will Cost 20 Percent More This Year. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired November 19, 2022 - 11:00   ET




FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

And we begin this hour in western New York state where a deadly snowstorm has dumped more than six feet of snow in some areas. An historic amount for a region that is used to major winter storms.

The extreme snowfall creating whiteout conditions and making travel nearly impossible. Driving bans and states of emergencies are in place to keep people off the roads. And the NFL is moving this weekend's game between the Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills to Detroit as snow blanketed Highmark Stadium. The Bills hoping to travel out today.

CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar is tracking this dangerous storm. But l Let's begin with CNN's Gloria Pazmino in Buffalo. So Gloria, what are you seeing out there? All I see is a lot of snow and your coat.

GLORIA PAZMINO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well Fred, this is now a Josh Allen-sized snow. Six feet of snow in Orchard Park, home of the Buffalo Bills. As you said, they had to move the game to Detroit.

I'm downtown Buffalo and I just want to show you just how much accumulation, even just from the cleanup that's been taking place over the last several hours. You can see those benches over there are completely covered. The fire hydrant here barely visible, certainly not accessible. And the place is really desolate.

That's the way officials want it right now. They are really asking people to stay off these roads so that they can do their jobs.

Listen to the local Erie County emergency commissioner asking people to stay off the road and explaining why that's so important right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DANIEL NEAVERTH, ERIE COUNTY DEPT. OF HOMELAND SECURITY & EMERGENCY SERVICES: Make sure that you are not the reason why ambulances or fire apparatus or the plows can't get through. Stay off the roads. It's Saturday. There is absolutely no reason to be out there today.

The only people that need to be out there are public safety individuals. So stay off the roads.


PAZMINO: Now, we have been trying to stay close to our home base so we can also be out of the way. You know, right now you see snowplows are on the road and just look at how desolate downtown Buffalo is and that wind is just picking up, blowing up that powdery snow.

It's been sort of fascinating to be out here the last several hours and watch the weather change back and forth. It's sunny then it gets cloudy, then more snow falls. Fascinating to watch but also extremely dangerous.

So do stay indoors if you can if you don't have a need to go out right now. Let the professionals take care of it. Wait it out. It's going to be at least until next week when things can start to get back to normal, Fred.

WHITFIELD: And then Gloria, we prefaced your report with there are driving bans but I just saw someone drive behind you. so is it just an issue of that person or others who are first responders are allowed to be on the road? What is this driving ban all about?

PAZMINO: Yes, first responders are people who do have to get to work, who may work, you know, either in the hospitals or the essential services.

But last night Fred, several people had to be rescued. People were also fined for being on the road when they should not have, and several vehicles abandoned. So if you don't need to go out there, stay home.

WHITFIELD: All right. As we see another car just creeping behind you but making it through, nonetheless.

Gloria Pazmino, thanks so much.

Allison Chinchar, to you in the weather center. So more than six feet of snow in some areas and the Buffalo Bills are flying out today, at least that's the schedule?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, you'd think six feet would be plenty. We don't need any more but Mother Nature has other plans.

There is still a lot of snow falling. And it's not just in New York. It's also Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin. You've got all of those states that surround the Great Lakes that are dealing with that lake-effect snow right now. Downtown Buffalo getting a little bit of a break right now. Same thing

with downtown Waterton because that wind has shifted. But it's going to shift back again later today. So those towns are going to start to see additional snow on top of what they have already had later on today.

So far Buffalo the daily record for today 16 inches is what we have had so far. That's nearly double what the previous record was. Now the three-day storm total is over 30 inches in Buffalo specifically but you go just a few miles away -- yes, 77 inches in Orchard Park. Hamburg, a natural bridge, also over 72 inches of snow.


CHINCHOR: But more is on the way. As we talked about it, once that wind shifts again later today you are going to start to see more of those snow bands pick up.

And Fred, one other thing is, we are looking at accumulations now of an additional 20 plus inches on top of what we've already had.

WHITFIELD: That is just unbelievable amounts of snow and there is more.

All right. Thanks so much, Allison Chinchar and Gloria Pazmino. We'll check back with you because there is more coming.

All right. New York Governor Kathy Hochul joining us right now on the phone.

Governor, good morning to you. So glad you could be with us.

So I mean this is an incredible amount of snow. Talk to me about your concerns from your vantage point.

GOV. KATHY HOCHUL (D-NY) (via telephone): Well, this is something I have seen before as the first governor from Buffalo since Grover Cleveland. I have a lot of experience dealing with these storms. I'm from Hamburg. That's my hometown.

But even with that history and that context this is one for the record books, the most amount of snow to fall in a 24-hour period, probably in state history. And we will have the actual numbers soon.

But we have been preparing for this and I think that's the answer to why we are not in a deeper crisis situation right now. We don't have significant loss of life. We don't have people stranded on roads because we knew from experience, you pre-position the trucks early, you salt the roads early, you close the roads in advance of the storm instead of waiting until people are stranded on the roads.

So this has been managed very well with coordination from the county, state, localities. It's been incredible effort around the clock.

But we are not out of the woods yet because as you said, the storm is coming back again, even though there is a brief lull right now. WHITFIELD: Right. And amazing that there is more on the way.

All right. So your hometown, Hamburg, then you know that town well. What are its vulnerabilities?

HOCHUL: Well, people in their homes. I mean we have seniors in their homes. Literally I got a text from a former neighbor who said she has got six feet of snow in her driveway, the plow just came through and dumped another four feet on top of that.

And this is an individual who does not have the ability to plow out her own driveway. So we have word about people being in their homes without food. We are doing door-to-door checks.

Also, roof collapses. If you hear any noises, get out of your home immediately because we are seeing the weight of that snow is collapsing roofs as well as carbon monoxide poisoning concerns us where people have their vents covered up by the snow and that could lead to a life-threatening situation as well.

And we have been working on getting the trucks off the road. We have had violators of our driving ban and as a result we had 70 tractor- trailers stranded overnight.

Again this was preventable. They violated our ban. But that made us have resources have to go rescue them, get them to warming stations and get them off the roads.

So whenever -- when people are cooperating and I would say the vast majority of people in west New York and upwards of Waterton have been doing everything they need to do. And they've been working, you know, they know how to do this and a lot of it is just staying home and being patient for the next 24 to 36 hours.

WHITFIELD: Yes, as you mentioned, that driving ban still in place. Even during our live shot with Gloria Pazmino there, we saw that there were cars driving. Don't know the circumstances if they were first responders in their personal cars.

But you mentioned, you know, with these prepositioned trucks that has really helped you all avert a lot of other, you know, problems that would come from this amount of snow. But then how are emergency preparedness crews being utilized right now?

HOCHUL: Well, they are literally clearing snow as we speak. I mean we have areas where the major roads are getting cleared. But the secondary roads, the neighborhoods have to be cleared next as well as making sure -- the number one priority is making sure that every ambulance or emergency response vehicle can get to where they need to go. That's what you deal with first in an emergency.

So we focused on that but truly by being so proactive we have prevented what you see in other states where you have the miles and miles-long jam-up on the freeway where people are stranded. We know that could happen. It happened when I first became lieutenant governor eight years ago. This is literally eight years to the date from when we had a last

major storm and we had people stranded not for hours, but for days. You know, people literally loss of life in their vehicles.

So having lived through that, I said we're shutting the roads down before the first snowfall and we will not let that happen. So we have averted that.

But we are not out of woods yet. I want to make sure everybody knows that I'm now -- we're not spiking the football, as a Buffalo Bills fan here -- we're not spiking the football until this is all gone by tomorrow evening.

WHITFIELD: Yes. Speaking of which, do you think the Bills are getting out today, they are scheduled to fly out today, and with the forecast the way it is, what are you hearing?

HOCHUL: You know, it's interesting. If you look at the pictures of the Bills' stadium, many of the players live in the close vicinity of Hamburg and Orchard Park and they have not been able to get over and practice, obviously.


HOCHUL: But there is an incredible effort underway from all the fans and the team to make sure that they can get on a plane this afternoon, early this evening. The airport is open right now. The area of the airport Cheektowaga (ph) and that is clear.

So we fully anticipate that they will be there for kickoff 1:00 tomorrow and heading off to a great victory.

WHITFIELD: All right. New York Governor Kathy Hochul, thank you so much. All the best to you, all New Yorkers -- everyone who is enduring this record-breaking snowfall.

Thanks so much. Be safe.

HOCHUL: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Meantime, potentially stormy days ahead on another front. Just days after Donald Trump announced that he is running for president in 2024, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has also made an announcement that he is appointing a special counsel to oversee the ongoing federal investigations into the former president. Trump is lashing out at the announcement calling it an abuse of power.

Jack Smith, the former head of the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section, will lead the department's probe into the former president's possible mishandling of classified documents and key parts of its January 6th case.


MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Based on recent developments, including the former president's announcement that he is a candidate for president in the next election, and the sitting president's stated intention to be a candidate as well, I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint a special counsel.

Such an appointment underscores the department's commitment to both independence and accountability in particularly sensitive matters.


WHITFIELD: CNN's Evan Perez is following these developments for us. Evan, good to see you. So what do you know about this special counsel?


Well look, the Justice Department spent weeks looking at potential candidates to do -- to do this job and they arrived at a war crimes prosecutor. Jack Smith has spent the last couple of years in the Hague prosecuting Kosovo war crime cases.

And so now, he is coming back to Washington. He's going to be running these two teams of prosecutors that are doing these two Trump investigations.

And look, he has a long history in the department. Started out as a district attorney -- assistant district attorney in Manhattan, but has worked in the department including as you mentioned running public corruption cases out of Washington, D.C., as well as an assistant U.S. Attorney in Tennessee.

But he comes with a reputation for being non-partisan and that's one of the things that the attorney general was looking for because you have, obviously Fred, two very politically-sensitive investigations. One of them looking into the alleged mishandling of classified documents that were retrieved by the FBI in that search at Mar-a-Lago. And in the second one the effort by the former president and people around him to prevent the transfer of power after the 2020 election.

WHITFIELD: And then Evan, Jack Smith was not in attendance because he was nursing an injury?

PEREZ: Yes. It's a strange thing. But we were expecting him to be there and then it appears he had a knee surgery because he fell from a -- or had a bicycle accident. Again, he has been living in the Netherlands the last few years, Fred. And you know, now he is running these two big investigations and we don't know how long, how much longer this will take now.

WHITFIELD: All right. Evan Perez, thanks so much from Washington.

PEREZ: Thanks.

WHITFIELD: All right. Coming up, wedding bells at the White House. President Biden's granddaughter is getting married on the South Lawn this morning. What we know about the ceremony and the celebrations next.

Plus, ticket disaster. The Justice Department has launched an antitrust investigation into Ticketmaster after its botched presale of Taylor Swift tickets. We'll discuss straight ahead.



WHITFIELD: All right. Just moments ago the wedding of Naomi Biden officially began at the White House. Naomi is the president's oldest granddaughter and the daughter of son Hunter.

It's the 19th wedding in the history of the White House but it's the first one taking place on the South Lawn.

CNN's Kate Bennett is live for us at the White House. So Kate, I know it's going to be a magical beautiful affair because, I mean, you know, you got the backdrop of the White House and inside, too.

So the Biden administration has, you know, kept a tight lip on this event, but what do you know?

KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I tell you what. I do know right now that the bride and groom are probably walking out to "Bitter Sweet Symphony" by the Verve because I can hear it playing from the South Lawn. So maybe that was the walkout song.

Yes, 39 degrees here in Washington and on the South Lawn the guests assembled this morning to witness the wedding of Naomi Biden and her fiance Peter Neal.

This is, of course, as you said, the 19th wedding in history to take place at the White House.

The president and the first lady are very close with their grandchildren, obviously, especially Naomi. And I'm hearing that the first lady had a lot to do with the planning of this wedding.

Last night there was a rehearsal dinner just across the street from the White House at the Renwick Gallery where the bride and groom to be celebrated, I'm told.

Today after the ceremony which is as we can hear happening right now, guests will go inside the White House where there will be a small reception, luncheon just for the wedding party and family. And then later this evening, guests will return to the White House for what I'm hearing will be a big black tie blowout reception with dessert and dancing.

The bride and groom live in Washington. They are actually living in the White House and have been for the last several months. They are both lawyers here in Washington.

WHITFIELD: And of course, Kate, the burning question for me, the one thing I love most about weddings, is the cake. What do we know about that cake?

BENNETT: Well, you know, they haven't released any details. I will say this. From past White House weddings -- Tricia Nixon, both of the Johnson girls -- anyone who gets married here typically has a multitier wedding cake. We're talking five, six feet tall. That will likely be the case.


BENNETT: Even though the Biden family is paying for every aspect of this wedding -- it is not taxpayer funded -- they do have the benefit of being able to use the White House kitchen staff, the White House pastry staff.

Clearly, some of the best in the world when it comes to events and organizing and planning. Actually, Naomi Biden's wedding planner, a man named Bryan Rafanelli, is very familiar with the White House events. He did seven state dinners for the Obama administration. So I'm sure it's going to be a lovely affair.

WHITFIELD: Oh yes. It sounds great. And I'm sure there will also be a big nod for the president because it is his birthday this weekend after all as well, right?

BENNETT: Turns 80 tomorrow.

WHITFIELD: Exactly. Happy birthday. And happy nuptials all in one weekend.

All right. Kate Bennett, thank you so much.


WHITFIELD: All right. Now to the growing scrutiny surrounding Ticketmaster. CNN is learning the U.S. Justice Department is investigating whether the company has a monopoly in the industry. This after the company's Web site drama this week involving tickets for Taylor Swift's upcoming tour.

More than 2 million presale tickets sold in a single day causing a near meltdown of the site leaving some fans with no tickets at all, but very frustrated. Days later Ticketmaster then abruptly canceled public sales for Swift's concert saying the demand far exceeded the supply.

Swift addressed the fiasco calling it an excruciating ordeal and saying she was assured Ticketmaster could handle the demand. Ticketmaster apologized to Swift and her fans in a blog post on Friday. Is that enough though?

Joining me to discuss is author and cultural commentator C.J. Farley. C.J., it's been a long time. You have interviewed Taylor Swift a number of times, and so you know, I wonder just how humiliated, you know, she is by all of this.

Oh, no. Do you not hear me? C.J. Farley? Are we having audio problems?


WHITFIELD: Ok. Great, you can hear me. Hi, good to see you again. All right. So you have interviewed Taylor Swift a number of times. She

says this is excruciating. How mortified is she over all of this?

FARLEY: Well, you know, she released a statement on Instagram just talking about her frustration about what's been going on. And I remember years ago, you know, being backstage with her on one of her tours. I was just struck by her attention to detail about the duets she wanted to do that night and the staging.

I remember backstage, she even had glass cases with some of her old touring dresses, just almost as in a museum.

And she is someone who is a stickler for detail so a big screw-up like this is something that I'm sure gets under her skin and that she is going to do everything possible to make right.

I mean she is a master at not only music but marketing, too, and branding. And so this is right in her wheelhouse to make it right.

WHITFIELD: That is so right. I mean, you know, I was just going to say, you know, that she is a unique artist, I mean, who is so adept at marketing, her music and her magnetism.

And she took on Spotify back in the day, remember. She challenged the former president through her music. I mean she knows her power, yet she couldn't even anticipate or head off this kind of ticket mess because of her popularity largely.

So she hasn't toured since 2018. This whole debacle left many fans empty-handed. So what, if anything, can she do?

FARLEY: Well, here is the thing. You know, her growth as an artist is really incredible not only, of course, esthetically in terms of the music, the touring and it gets more mature and more interesting each time around but also in terms of the kind of money she has brought in.

I mean every one of her tours has a been big, but each one has made more money than the tour before it. And her last tour brought in over $350 -- around $350 million.

So we can anticipate this will be even bigger. They can't keep up with the demand for these ticket sales. And part of the reason why is because I think coming out of COVID, people want to get together again. They want to celebrate. They want to connect with other people.

But there are only certain people, certain acts, certain events they are willing to take that risk for. And a Taylor Swift concert is one of them because they see her not only as representing maybe their youth but also the present as well.

And you want to connect with other fans that have the kind of background that you have and have the same kind of shared history and the shared love of songs. And it's just a great ritual to go to a Taylor Swift concert and catch up with her and her music and her life and other fans.

So there is so much demand for her music because of this and it's hard for, I think, companies to keep up with.

WHITFIELD: Right. Her image is so positive. So it's clear why so many people would want to be there, you know, in her magic, in any arena.


WHITFIELD: So Ticketmaster, you know, is owned by concert promoter Live Nation, essentially making this the only game in town for ticket sales. So I wonder is this a frustration that is industrywide among many artists, even if, you know, their ticket sales didn't do, you know, kind of break the system like Taylor Swift's did, I wonder if so many artists are feeling this same kind of level of frustration.

FARLEY: Well, Taylor Swift is on another level from other artists, other than like Beyonce and a few other massive sort of genre defining artists. So her problems are kind of unique to her.

Certainly frustration against ticket sellers and ticket buyers, they've been something that has been in the industry for a long time. You know, back in the 90s, of course, Pearl Jam conducted a big crusade against Ticketmaster because of their frustration with the way tickets were sold and then sometimes resold and repriced when they were trying to keep their tickets at a certain level.

And now decades later, Taylor Swift is leading this battle to try to make sure the ticket situation is squared away.

We're also hearing voices out of Congress saying hey, this merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation has resulted in a monopoly and that's a problem. We've got to sort things out to make sure there's true competition, to make sure that innovation and that the market is able to respond to customers in a way that makes sense.

So I think we're going to see this debate continue. I think this is only one flashpoint. Certainly Taylor Swift is unique in the scale of the tickets she sells and the kind of music that she makes and in the love that fans have for her and her music and her live shows which I have seen a number of times. They're terrific. It's worth waiting for.

WHITFIELD: I hope to be able to grab a ticket to one of her tours one day. Maybe not this one but maybe the next. They have to work out all this mess. I'd love to see it, too.

C.J. Farley, thank you so much. Good to see you.

FARLEY: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right House Democrats are eyeing a new generation of leaders after Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces that she will not seek re-election as head of the caucus. A look at the future of the party next.



WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back.

House Democrats are preparing for a new generation of leaders after Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she is stepping down from her leadership role after two decades. All eyes now on her likely successor, New York Congressman Hakeem Jeffries.

CNN's Eva McKend has the details on this historic generational change.


EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: After nearly a decade on Capitol Hill, Brooklyn-bred attorney Hakeem Jeffries on track to make history as House Democrats appear likely to select him as the first black American to lead a party in Congress.

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): Democrats deliver for everyday Americans. We get stuff done. We put people over politics.

MCKEND: At 52, Jeffries' ascension marks a generational change from 82-year-old outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

JEFFRIES: We are going to work hard for lower taxes --

MCKEND: Jeffries became Democratic Caucus chair in 2019 and has long been known for his advocacy around affordable housing and criminal justice reform. Working across the aisle in 2019 to get the First Step Act passed.

JEFFRIES: A coalition of the unusual suspects -- Democrats and Republicans, the left and the right, progressives and conservatives -- partnering with Jared Kushner, Donald Trump and the administration to strike a serious blow against the mass incarceration epidemic.

MCKEND: But it was his role as an impeachment manager during former President Donald Trump's first impeachment trial that was among Jeffries' most high-profile posts highlighting his background as a lawyer and his penchant for weaving in the legacy of hip hop.

JEFFRIES: That is why we are here, Mr. Sekulow. And if you don't know, now you know.

One of my constituents said aren't you the congressman that shouted out Biggie Smalls on the House floor too years ago? I said yes, that was me. He said, and now I hear that you are the number five Democrat in the House of Representatives? How did that happen?

The only way that I could respond is by quoting the Biggie Smalls lyric which is you never thought that hip hop would take it this far. And so I think that Biggie Smalls, Jay-Z, in many ways, you know, capture sort of the aspirational aspect of the American dream.

MCKEND: A former long time staffer suggests Jeffries will pose a formidable challenge to Republicans.

MICHAEL HARDAWAY, FORMER JEFFRIES COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: He has a mind like a computer. He is absolutely brilliant. And so he remembers every single detail of everything. For all of his speeches, we never write the speeches out. We put together the substance and he could just go and speak for 45 minutes.

MCKEND: And argues he is the right man for this moment.

HARDAWAY: In 2015, I said to him, I said, you are going to be the next speaker of the House because the reality of our party is that we have this old-fashion that was destined to leave at some point and it came with the guy that could best articulate what we stood for. And we now live in an era where that matters more than most other things.

MCKEND: But Jeffries will have to contend with the left wing of the party who view him as part of the establishment and he is poised to take the mantle with a Democratic minority.


MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, FRIEND OF HAKEEM JEFFRIES: The great philosopher Grace Jones (ph) said I may not be perfect but I'm perfect for you. So for those who claim he is not progressive enough, there are far less progressive people who could stand in his stead and try to occupy his space. He is as progressive a figure as is capable of securing the broad base of the Democratic Party in order to represent them.

MCKEND: In a letter to his colleagues, Jeffries pledged to ensure rank and file Democrats have more power in the legislative process. House Democrats though won't hold their leadership elections until after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Eva McKend, CNN -- Washington.


WHITFIELD: All right. Let's talk more about all this. With me now Ron Brownstein, a CNN senior political analyst and a senior editor for "The Atlanta". Good to see you, Ron.


WHITFIELD: All right. So Nancy Pelosi -- I mean she has led Democrats in the House for two decades. I mean what changes do you expect under a new House Democratic Caucus leadership?

BROWNSTEIN: Well first, I mean, this generational transition in the Democratic Party was way overdue. I mean, you know Joe Biden turns 80 tomorrow. Pelosi, Schumer -- the leadership of the party are all in their 70s and 80s. And it is now a party that is unequivocally dependent on younger voters.

I mean in 2024 for the first time ever Millennials and Gen-Z combined will almost certainly outvote the Baby Boomer and older generations. And as we saw again in the midterm elections, there is a stark age divide in the electorate.

Democrats are very dependent on those younger voters and they simply did not have leadership that in any way have lived their experiences. So I think that is the single most important thing.

The other important thing here though is, as Eva was saying, he is a centrist. And the reality is that when you look at where the Republicans won their narrow majority in the House, it was to a large extent in center left districts, you know, in New York, California, New Jersey and elsewhere that Joe Biden won.

So I think the message is pretty clear that Democrats have to find a moderate path back to the majority through those places in 2024 if they are going to get it.

WHITFIELD: And at this point, I mean, it seems as though the Democrats seem really unified. They are behind this new generation, you know, of leaders.

But unified is not the word you would describe for the GOP right now, even, you know, Kevin McCarthy perhaps was a little presumptuous that he was easily going to become House speaker. So do you see Republicans ultimately coming together or the need for them to come together in order to even pass an agenda? Or do you see gridlock ahead?

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. Well, I do see gridlock ahead. I mean I think a majority this narrow -- as I said, the Republican majority is dependent on members. I think there are 17 Republicans who won districts that voted for Biden in 2020. And they may not be onboard for what the bulk of the caucus, who are from ruby red places and in many cases, you know, kind of expressed the most extreme views of the coalition want to see.

I think they can come together around a certain degree of investigative, you know, pushing at the Biden administration. But you know, they are talking about investigations. Kevin McCarthy has already agreed to investigations of how the January 6th rioters are being treated or the Mar-a-Lago raid was handled.

And that threatens to further stamp the GOP as the party of Trump precisely as we saw so many blue and purple states recoil against that --


WHITFIELD: Right. It's the antithesis --


WHITFIELD: Yes. The antithesis of the outcome of midterms.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, right. No.

Look, I mean, this is the challenge they face. I mean, there was very much of a split decision because on the one hand what we saw in blue and purple states, places like Michigan and Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona was Republicans underperformed by historic margins what they would have expected.

And you have Democratic gubernatorial candidates like Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan and Josh Shapiro in Pennsylvania win by double digits even though three quarters of their state said the economy was in bad shape.

That really should not be possible in a midterm when your own party holds the White House but it's a measure of how much resistance there was in those places to the Trump era GOP agenda as they understood it and they're going banning abortion.

On the other hand, in the red states, Republicans won -- DeSantis, Abbott, Kemp. And that kind of fervor, I think is going to drive much of the House Caucus even as they face this reality that beyond the borders of kind of the red citadel, this agenda was pretty resoundingly rejected.

WHITFIELD: All right. We will be watching. And you'll be helping us to guide us through it all.

Ron Brownstein, thank you.

BROWNSTEIN: Thanks, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Good to see you.


WHITFIELD: All right.

How about -- are you likely going over the menu right now for Thanksgiving, trying to get ready, trying to figure out what's going to stay, what's going to go because it's all going to cost a lot more? We'll break down the prices next.


WHITFIELD: All right. If you haven't done your shopping for Thanksgiving dinner yet, you are in for some sticker shock. It's going to cost a whopping 20 percent more than it did last year according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. A feast for ten people will cost about $64 this year -- that's a person. That's almost $11 more for the same meal last year.

Let's break this down with Rana Foroohar. She is a CNN global economic analyst and global business columnist and associate editor for the financial times. Good to see you.

That's a mouthful. You've got quite the title.


WHITFIELD: All right. Well, for Thanksgiving everybody wants a big mouthful of, you know, from all the great spread on the table but it's going to cost a whole lot more. So what's to blame? Why is it -- is it still the shipping problem? What's happening?

[11:44:58] FOROOHAR: Well, if you think about it Fredricka, you know, what goes into making a turkey that ends up on your table for Thanksgiving? Those turkeys need feed. There is fuel to run the processing plants. There is fertilizer that goes into the production of the feed for the turkey. There is a lot of things. And the labor costs, of course.

All of those things have been going up really in the last couple of years.

We're still grappling, frankly, with the effects of the war in Ukraine, not just on raising fuel prices, which increases the price of everything pretty much because we all need energy to run businesses and such.

But it also increases the price of all other kinds of commodities. Wheat, grains, all the things that go into the feed that a turkey might eat. And you know, you can magnify that effect for other stuff. Things like stuffing or, you know, other products that might be on your Thanksgiving table.

All of it has to go through a complex supply chain and all those input prices are increasing.

WHITFIELD: Right. We saw that graphic. I mean, stuffing, the number one thing on the table, and it looks like it's got the biggest price increase of 69 percent. You know, more expensive to put on the table.

And then when you look at this, you know, is this kind of a microcosm of the economy? I mean, are we in a recession? Are we close to one? Or is it cooling? Which is it?

FOROOHAR: You know, it's a great point that these prices, particularly something like stuffing, is kind of a microcosm of the economy. If you think about what goes into stuffing -- there's grains. Well grain prices are up in part because the Ukraine produced 25 percent of global grain supply and that has been interrupted by war. Fuel prices are up to grow those things. Fertilizer prices are up dramatically. I mean in some cases, for some kinds of fertilizer in triple digits in the last year.

And then think about the packaging. Think about where those -- the plastics come from that go into that packaging. Think about the people that you have to employ to transport those things and all of their costs. So you really start to see just what a complex global economy we live in.

Now, you ask, are we in recession, I don't believe that we are in a recession in the U.S. at this point. Some other parts of the world are. But I think that this coming year we probably are going to see a slowdown.

Let's be clear. Recessions are natural. They happen. You know, we haven't seen one in a while and my hope is that it will still be a soft landing rather than a hard one. But we're probably due for a slowdown.

WHITFIELD: All right. Rana Foroohar, good to see you. Happy Thanksgiving.

FOROOHAR: Happy Thanksgiving to you.

WHITFIELD: All right. We'll be right back.



WHITFIELD: All right. 11 years ago, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head while meeting with constituents in a grocery store parking lot. Well now, the new CNN film, "GABBY GIFFORDS WON'T BACK DOWN", takes viewers inside her relentless fight to recover.


FABI HERSCH (ph), SPEECH THERAPIST: When did you have your stroke or brain injury encephalitis?

DR. TARA NARULA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: The patients in this aphasia group are practicing their language and communication skills.


HERSCH: That was so good. That is a mouthful.

DR. NARULA: Aphasia, difficulty understanding, writing or speaking language can result from multiple types of injury to the brain. One of the members of this special group is former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.

GABBY GIFFORDS, FORMER DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSWOMAN: I'm from Tucson, Arizona, born and raised, shot in my head in 2011.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How about two fingers. All right.

GIFFORDS: I'm getting better. I'm getting better.

DR. NARULA: We met Giffords in Tucson to speak about her efforts to increase awareness about aphasia.

What does aphasia mean to you personally?

GIFFORDS: Aphasia really sucks. The worst is remembering. I just can't get them out. I love to talk. I'm Gabby. And I'm so quiet now.

DR. NARULA: Giffords and speech therapist Fabi Hersch (ph) have worked together closely for almost a decade.

What is therapy like for you?

GIFFORDS: A lot of homework, a lot of homework, a lot of homework.

HERSCH: Whenever I give you the choice of fewer options, less homework, you always ask for more. And so, it really speaks to her determination and hard work.

DR. NARULA: Where do you think that comes from?

HERSCH: Inside. I think that's you. I think it's the two of us.

DR. NARULA: Members of the group each wear a bracelet. Written on the inside, the words "Aphasia, loss of words, not intelligence."

HERSCH: When somebody has a communication difficulty, when they say a word that's incorrect, people often will misconstrue that as the person just not being all there. But it's not. Just because of the injury to the brain.

DR. NARULA: Giffords has made remarkable gains in her ability to speak with therapy twice a week.

Your favorite thing about coming to aphasia group.

GIFFORDS: Hope. Friends. Family. A home.



Almost heaven, West Virginia.


DR. NARULA: She uses singing, too. Phrases with rhythm and melody are often retained when somebody has aphasia, even when spoken language is not.

HERSCH: Blowing like a breeze. Country road --

DR. NARULA: As for her continued recovery --

GIFFORDS: I'm optimistic. It will be a long, hard haul, but I'm optimistic.

DR. NARULA: Is your recovery a process of discovering a new Gabby Giffords or a fight to reclaim the old Gabby Giffords?

GIFFORDS: The new one. Better, stronger, tougher.

DR. NARULA: Dr. Tara Narula, CNN -- Tucson, Arizona.


WHITFIELD: Electric. Wow, be sure to tune in to the all-new CNN Film "GABBY GIFFORDS: WON'T BACK DOWN". Premieres Sunday at 9:00 p.m. only on CNN.

Still ahead, a state of emergency after nearly six feet of snow has pummeled parts of New York. At least two people have died as the potentially historic storm barrels through. The latest.