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Special Counsel Taking over Probes into Trump's 1/6 Mar-a-Lago Documents; Heavy Snowfall Shuts Down Roads, Cancel Flights; Concerns over Twitter's Future Grow Amid Employee Mass Exodus. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired November 19, 2022 - 18:00   ET



MERRICK GARLAND, US ATTORNEY GENERAL: I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint a Special Counsel.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This horrendous abuse of power is the latest today, a long series of witch hunts.

GEORGE CONWAY, CONSERVATIVE ATTORNEY: I think what is driving this as much as anything is the fact that they have a very, very strong case in the Mar-a-Lago documents investigation.

JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's a cautious move intended to ensure that there is an independent person in charge of the investigations, and really should be pleased in the sense that it's not going to be a political decision.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The future of Twitter is uncertain after a mass exodus of staffers has depleted the company of key personnel really needed to run the social media website.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Elon Musk has a history of being an extremely demanding boss.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Elon Musk is sort of grasping for straws trying to find anyone in the building that can help him move the company forward.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A little deep. Oh, my God. This is crazy. I promise you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Between 45 to 52 inches of snow falling very fast. We're expecting another 10 to 12 inches of snow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Make sure that you're not the reason why ambulances or fire apparatus or the plows can't get through. Stay off the roads.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Hello, I'm Brianna Keilar, in for Pamela Brown and you are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Two criminal probes involving former President Donald Trump are now in the hands of a Special Counsel. Veteran prosecutor Jack Smith has been appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland to oversee them. The investigations will center on Trump's actions regarding the

January 6 attack and the sensitive government documents that were found at Mar-a-Lago months after Trump left office.

No surprise, Trump is infuriated by Garland's decision. He lashed out last night from his Mar-a-Lago estate.


TRUMP: This horrendous abuse of power is the latest in a long series of witch hunts. They want to do bad things to the greatest movement in the history of our country, but in particular, bad things to me.


KEILAR: CNN's senior crime and justice reporter, Katelyn Polantz is with us with the latest here.

Katelyn, what happens next?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE SENIOR REPORTER: Well, first, Jack Smith is Special Counsel. He is going to have to get back to the United States, because for the last several years, he's been in the Netherlands prosecuting war crimes, living there. So, he has got to come back to the States and then, he'll hit the ground running.

He is going to set up an office. He already has prosecutors, FBI agents, working well into both of these cases, January 6 and Mar-a- Lago, and then we know from previous Special Counsel, there will be a behind the scenes confidential commissioning of him from the Attorney General, exactly what crimes he is going to be investigating was laid out in the Mueller investigation, and then we expect that to happen hereto, those would be confidential.

And then he looks at the facts, right, they continue to pursue facts as a prosecutor does. He will be getting more grand jury activity, more testimony, more documents, talking to those agents and the prosecutors that are working on this on the line level.

And then finally, the big thing that he's going to have to do is make major policy decisions, the likes of which we have never had before questions like, do you indict the former President of the United States, a current candidate? Is there a chargeable case there for Donald Trump?

KEILAR: And here, we find ourselves in the middle already of this next political cycle. Right? So, how quickly does all of this move?

POLANTZ: That's going to be the question every single week now that we have a Special Counsel in place. There might be a small lag initially. We're not going to see indictments, say yesterday or on Monday, but Smith and Attorney General Merrick Garland have both said that they don't really want a time lag. So Smith, in his statement yesterday wrote: "I intend to conduct the assigned investigations and any prosecutions that may result from them independently and in the best traditions of the Department of Justice. The pace of the investigations will not pause or flag under my watch. I will exercise independent judgment and will move the investigations forward expeditiously and thoroughly to whatever outcome the facts and the law dictates."

So the pace here clearly is top of mind. They already have a lot of information gathered here, and so charging decisions will be in probably the near future, not years from now, months.

KEILAR: Really interesting on the timing there. Katelyn Polantz, thank you so much for that.

Former US Attorney Harry Litman is with us now with more on all of this.

So Harry, you have Merrick Garland saying that the appointment of a Special Counsel is due to extraordinary circumstances.


KEILAR: You have Donald Trump, of course, with his announcement that he plans to run again for President. That's how the week started. Does the 2024 election timeline here, does that compress the timeline of this investigation?

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER US ATTORNEY: Well, look, that fact was already out there, but it is his candidacy that presents the extraordinary circumstances that made Garland move. There's a lot here that is important to understand.

This isn't just Garland giving his kind of instinct of what is best to do. There are regulations that he applied. And he said, I think, I see extraordinary circumstances. I think I see it's in the public interest.

So, that part of the interest is, as you suggest, that all of this has to be completed, if it is going to last within a couple years. I do think as Katelyn suggested, one of the two cases that are now under Smith's purview, the Mar-a-Lago is quite far along, which by the way, is very different for a Special Counsel investigation. They normally come in at the beginning, bring their own team into place, et cetera.

This guy will begin sort of at the 10-yard line and get up to speed as they approach the actual decision whether to indict or not.

KEILAR: So when Trump, Harry, says he won't partake in the investigation, is it that simple? I mean, what does that mean to you?

LITMAN: It means nothing. It's sort of a vain kind of Trump boast, but of course, he will partake if he is indicted, he'll be in Court. If he has to testify, he can take the fifth, but he has no special ability to decline, to partake in a criminal investigation by the United States against him. So, it's really an idle boast, I think.

KEILAR: These Special Counsel probes are independent -- and probes plural -- to remind people, probes plural, they are independent of what the January 6 Committee is investigating. They're independent of the ongoing grand jury probes in Atlanta and New York.

Do those interact, though, at all with the Special Counsel?

LITMAN: The short answer is yes. They arranged it sort of in an ad hoc way, but it is already clear that the January 6 Committee now that its work is nearing an end, will be sharing with DOJ and some of that will be very important. Some of that will be evidence, they couldn't easily have duplicated, but they have a lot of original evidence that they've developed in the grand jury as well, again, particularly with Mar-a-Lago where just given prosecutorial events and my sense of how these things go, they are really nearing a decision within the next couple of months.

KEILAR: We've been hearing some Republicans who are backing Donald Trump. They are asking why is there no Special Counsel investigating Hunter Biden, for example, but then you actually have others like Chris Christie, and Governor Chris Sununu who are saying things like this.


CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: We keep losing and losing and losing and the fact of the matter is, the reason we're losing is because Donald Trump has put himself before everybody else.

GOV. CHRIS SUNUNU (R-NH): I got a great policy for the Republican Party. Let's stop supporting crazy unelectable candidates in our primaries and start getting behind winners that can close the deal in November.


KEILAR: Harry, do you think that Donald Trump's diminished, I guess, political position affects him at all legally?

LITMAN: The short answer is no, it affects him sort of politically, and he does seem diminished in the field to me. That will be one of the many factors that are just irrelevant now to Jack Smith. Big shock Donald Trump, diminished Donald Trump. He is just a defendant and it comes down to the facts and the law.

It would also, for Merrick Garland, but this is a step as Jen Rodgers was saying at the outset, to just reassure people that it is impartial. You have somebody making a judgment who has no political connection to Biden, whatsoever.

It is ironic that Trump takes this as an outrage and that many House Republicans are assailing it. This is what you do to try to give greater assurance, but it kind of shows there is nothing DOJ can do that Republicans won't I think be criticizing in the next couple of years.

KEILAR: You heard what Katelyn is reporting about the charging decisions and actually how quickly they could be made. What do you think is the soonest that we can see decisions made here? LITMAN: Well, January 6, is not very soon. It's sprawling many

different cases. Mar-a-Lago is really well developed and you can tell by the people they put in the grand jury, they are close. The soonest, six weeks. I mean, it's really -- it could be quite near completion. There are a few things they need to do and we will take the step of going from Smith to Garland.

But I think it will be sooner rather than later, six weeks, two months seems about right to me.


KEILAR: That is very quick.

Harry, always great to have you. Thank you so much.

LITMAN: Thank you, Brianna.

KEILAR: Parts of Upstate New York including Buffalo are bracing for even more snow after seeing almost six feet already. This historic amount prompting New York's Governor to call in the National Guard to assist and it has caused whiteout conditions making travel nearly impossible.

Driving bans and states of emergency are in place to keep people off the roads. The NFL moved this weekend's game between the Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills to Detroit as the relentless snowfall completely buried Highmark Stadium.

CNN's Polo Sandoval is on scene in Buffalo.

So you know, Polo, this is a city that knows how to handle snow and knows how to play football in the snow for sure, but this is a lot even for Buffalo. Tell us how things are going there.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, highlight underline the word relentless. This is just a storm that just clobbered this whole area. Buffalo didn't see as much snow with the communities south of here saw, Brianna, which was about six and a half feet, but nonetheless, it was an overwhelming volume of snow.

So, what we've seen for the last couple of hours, they're trying to make sure that the streets are clear. There is still a little bit of snow in the forecast overnight, but certainly nothing according to meteorologists that would further hamper vehicles' ability to actually move around here.

Where we are, if you're looking out from the distance, that's the iconic City Hall near the center of Buffalo, and then where we are, there also is a light rail system that they've been working here to clear out. The hope is in the coming hours, perhaps tomorrow, they can get those trains back up and running again for those people who need to be moving around tomorrow because there is now a travel advisory for most of Buffalo, which means that though the travel is not recommended, they are still able to do so. It's south of here that that travel ban is still in place, which means

essential travel only, but all in all, as you here from New York Governor Kathy Hochul, really a good response overall that we've seen by State, local, and Federal officials basically coming together to try to avoid a situation like what happened in 2014 during a snowstorm, a deadly one, but it seems that for the most part, you know, there were some issues, folks heeded those warnings.


GOV. KATHY HOCHUL (D-NY): This is the effort we brought together, bringing resources, people equipment from all over the State of New York, and because we are so preemptive in this strike, we were able to avert many tragedies and we know that from having gone through countless snowstorms, not all of this magnitude, but many very serious in the past.


SANDOVAL: And she would know, right? She is a Buffalo native.

Now Governor Hochul also, with that Emergency Declaration days ago, that provided more flexibility for State authorities to work with the locals as well, including deploying the National Guard.

We had dozens of National Guardsmen that were deployed out there to assist dialysis patients, for example today, to get to their appointments. But now, with those -- some of those travel restrictions lifted in most of Buffalo, now people are free to travel though the big recommendation, especially as the Buffalo Bills take on the Cleveland Browns in Detroit tomorrow, stay warm, stay indoors, and root on your Bills.

KEILAR: Yes, and stay off those roads. I mean, they just don't look that great behind you.

Polo, I hope you've stocked up on your hand warmers. It is great to see you this evening. Thanks for the report.

SANDOVAL: They are right here.

KEILAR: So all right, he is already there.

So some new developments in this spat between Ticketmaster and Taylor Swift fans, why the Justice Department is now getting involved plus more turmoil at Twitter as employees are just walking out in droves after rejecting that hardcore environment that Elon Musk has demanded, why some former workers say the site could soon shut down.

And the seismic shift on Capitol Hill as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she will not seek a party leadership post next year. Her former Chief of Staff joining us for more on her legacy and what this means for Democrats going forward.



KEILAR: There is more trouble for Ticketmaster.

The Justice Department is launching an antitrust investigation into its parent company, Live Nation, to investigate whether they have a monopoly on concert ticket sales. This follows the debacle that we've seen over the last week over sales for Taylor Swift's upcoming concert tour where countless fans got shut out after the site crashed. However, reports say the DOJ's probe began months before this latest incident involving Taylor Swift tickets.

It's also been, and I'm sure you've noticed, if you're on, it a terrible week for Twitter. Thousands of employees left the company rather than commit to the hardcore work environment that Elon Musk is demanding. That's the word he used "hardcore."

The mass exodus has left many Twitter users wondering if the social media platform can survive.

Joining us now to talk about this is Sara Fischer. She is a media reporter for AXIOS. And Sara, you have critical engineers who are said to be quitting in droves. I mean, these are the people who keep it running. Are the lights going to be on? If I click on something, am I going to go where I'm supposed to go?

SARA FISCHER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Yes, well, that's the question everyone is asking themselves, especially hardcore Twitter fans and I think the answer is that it's not going to get turned off tomorrow, Brianna. But you're going to see over time, a lot of growing pains.

Maybe the site isn't loading as fast as it used to, maybe if you report an issue, harassment or hate speech, it's not addressed as quickly and that is because the people who are responsible for responding to those reports, they're just not going to be there anymore.

The staff was 7,500. It got cut down to 3,700 with those layoffs, and now, as those reports suggests, over a thousand people have resigned from the company. That's bringing the workforce down cut 60 percent in less than a few weeks. I mean, of course, it is going to be a chaotic time.


KEILAR: Talk about the timing here because the World Cup. That is something that is really going to potentially create chaos here.

FISCHER: Chaos. So, the World Cup is always one of the biggest, most popular events on Twitter. In 2018, we saw there was about 150 billion impressions around the World Cup on Twitter. It's also a truly global event. So, it's not just traffic here from people inside the US, like what we see during the elections.

All over the world, you're going to see people using hashtags, engaging on Twitter to find out real-time information, and so this platform is going to really be tested under its new owner, Elon Musk this upcoming week.

KEILAR: And then you also have -- it is sort of like editorial decisions that he is making, right, about who has access. You have him reinstating several accounts that had been suspended by Twitter, including Jordan Peterson, Kathy Griffin, the Babylon Bee. Twitter still says that decision on Donald Trump, though, is pending at this point in time. Do we know anything about that?

FISCHER: We don't know anything about it, but I will say this, Facebook needs to make its decision about whether or not it brings Donald Trump back on in January.

And so, it wouldn't surprise me if Elon Musk is kicking that can down the road to see how Facebook handles it and then he can respond. Why? Because it lifts that content decision, that burden off of his shoulders at a time when there's enormous scrutiny on him already.

KEILAR: The White House also is calling on Twitter to ensure the safety of user data. So, that sort of on top of all of this. Make sure that this is secure. Is that a priority to Elon Musk, does it seem?

FISCHER: It's an interesting question. Elon Musk says he wants to get into subscriptions. He thinks that's a better business model for Twitter than advertising and part of the reason is, advertising, there are a lot of risk in terms of data and data privacy.

In order to target ads, you have to use some sort of user data. Now, Twitter's Chief Information Security Officer and the person who backfilled them have both left, which has drawn scrutiny from the EU around data privacy. So, I think Elon is aware that this is a problem, but I don't think it's his first business priority to solve it.

KEILAR: So if I am just a Twitter user going on Twitter here in the middle of the World Cup, what might I see that I wouldn't see before that is going to tell me okay, this isn't right. Things are going wrong here.

FISCHER: Well, first of all, Elon has already made a lot of adjustments. The one that you'll see is the verified accounts, he stopped his verification program, then he brought it back. But now some of them do say official on them.

So hopefully, if you're a user, following official accounts can help you decide what's good information and bad. But if something is going wrong, this is what it would look like, theoretically, perhaps things would load a little bit slower. Perhaps if you tried to report an issue, like harassment or something along those lines, it's not being responded to as quickly.

And then the other thing is that last week, there were reports that the two-factor authentication that's used to help identify you when you log out, that that wasn't up and running. And so if you sign out of your account, it might have been harder to get in. Those are all the types of problems that you see under a new regime with less people.

But my hope, Brianna, is that this week, people can enjoy the World Cup, enjoy the service and that there aren't many issues.

KEILAR: Twitter survives. Yes or no?

FISCHER: Yes, but it's going to be a bumpy road.

KEILAR: Bumpy road ahead.

All right, we will hold on to our hats and glasses as we get ready for this.

Sara Fischer, great to have you. Thank you.

FISCHER: Thank you.

KEILAR: It is the end of an era in Washington. Nancy Pelosi preparing to step down from Democratic Party leadership. She has been one of the party's leaders for more than 20 years.

Her one time Chief of Staff will join us next with insights on Pelosi's long career.



KEILAR: So as Nancy Pelosi is going to step away from Democratic leadership in the House, Congress is really bracing for a seismic shift. No matter which Republican takes over next as Speaker or which Democrat eventually steps in to the leadership role in that party, Speaker Pelosi has left an imprint that is going to be very hard to match.

She was first elected to the House in 1987 as a California Congresswoman breaking barrier after barrier to advance up the rungs of leadership, the first woman elected Minority Whip in 2001, the first woman elected Minority Leader the following year. She became the first woman ever to serve as Speaker of the House in 2007, a job to which she was reelected in 2019.

Joining us now, we have Nadeam Elshami. He is the former Chief of Staff to Nancy Pelosi.

You know, Nadeam, actually it sort of takes me back because when I first -- I was like a Congressional correspondent, you were up there working for Nancy Pelosi and then you eventually became Chief of Staff and it really does feel like the end of an era.

NADEAM ELSHAMI, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO NANCY PELOSI: It is. It is really weird. You know, we never wanted this day to end, but watching her give that speech was almost -- we were all relieved, just like, she has accomplished so much. She has reached the pinnacle of politics in this country. So many million people actually have healthcare because of her.

And it was just the right time. She left on top. KEILAR: When you say so many people have healthcare because of her,

that is when I first got to know you, it was as Obamacare was passing through Congress and she twisted arms in her caucus knowing -- people knowing that they actually -- they would lose their jobs over that vote. But she convinced them to take it.

Is that going to be the sort of top of her legacy or what will it be to you?


ELSHAMI: Well, I think ACA, I think the Affordable Care Act is going to be at the top of her legacy. And look, when I was telling you back then on the Hill that, yes, it will pass; yes, it will become law and you asked me how she's going to do it. She just talks to members, right?

We used to have these long meetings in the conference room. She'd have different groups of members coming in and she'd just hear him out talk them out, talk them out and she'll take that pen and standing right up and I think that's when everybody kind of knew that, all right, we've got to come to a decision.

But she knew what the decision was going to be at the end of the day.

KEILAR: She knew where her caucus always was.


KEILAR: She was a - she's been a whip at heart ...


KEILAR: ... right? More than almost I think any member ...

ELSHAMI: She counts votes.

KEILAR: That she can count a vote, she sure can and so now succeeding her and obviously not a speaker, but ...


KEILAR: ... in leadership of Democrats, we expect will be Hakeem Jeffries. Tell us about him how you see him leading the party in the House and how it's going to be different than Pelosi.

ELSHAMI: Yes. Look, he came into Congress when that became chief of staff, for then-Leader Pelosi. And immediately you could tell that he is someone who could connect with his members, but more importantly connect with the outside as well.

He took over the messaging apparatus for Democrats and was able to deliver a clear and concise message. And slowly everybody began talking about him, could he actually one day, go up and become the leader of the party. He became caucus chair and it became clearer and clearer. He was always a great lieutenant, always a great messenger, always part of the team.

Frankly, I think, he's going to have - people say he's going to have a tough time in the minority. You have 214 potentially Democrats, that's a pretty large minority and Republicans are going to barely have the majority and it's guaranteed that they're going to have some defections, all of a sudden, they're going to be looking and if Democrats are united, which I believe they will be uncertain votes, they could actually beat Republicans on certain voters.

KEILAR: The truth about - kind of the sad truth in a way about being in the minority is that you're not governing, so a lot of it is messaging.


KEILAR: You're sort of taking on the majority, which is going to be what he's doing. And his temperament seems very cut out for that. But what about when it does come, eventually you would think, to governing, then what? How was he cut out for that, do you think?

ELSHAMI: Well, I think he's going to be prepared and I'll tell you a couple of reasons why, one; he's going to have the ability to reach out to the speaker, to leader Hoyer to whip Clyburn and seek advice if he wants to, they're not going to interfere, only if he wants to.

But secondly, nothing prepares you for leadership until you're in that room with the three other leaders and the president of the states. You're representing your caucus and having to make those tough decisions. I fully believe that he will be able to do that. But the first time in that room, let me tell you, there's nothing like it.

KEILAR: So when Speaker Pelosi, when she was reelected ...


KEILAR: ... to be speaker, she faced some kind of nominal challenges. But part of that was because you had Democrats who are saying that she needed to step aside and make room for a new generation of leaders. And there were a lot of questions about that. But what we saw during the Trump years, I think, people whether they agree with her politically or not, was that she sort of met the moment ...

ELSHAMI: She did.

KEILAR: ... for Democrats, how much of that is going to be her legacy?

ELSHAMI: It's quite a bit. I think she saved the republic, frankly, being the strongest Democratic, the strongest speaker you could possibly be against Trump. And she did a fantastic job uniting her caucus, and she made the convincing point to voters all across America. Democrats are different than the current Republican Party.

Look, I fully believe what she says when she tells Republicans take back your party, we need a strong Republican Party in this country based on ideas, based on what they truly believe in, not the current one and she wants to have that - go back to the way things were before.

So I think that's a - that's part of - that's going to be part of her legacy and I hope they listen to her.

KEILAR: She had said and I'm - I know that the attack on her husband hit those close to her like you so hard. She had said that the attack on her husband was affecting her calculus as she thought about her next steps and I wonder if you think her decision would have been different if that hadn't happened.

ELSHAMI: Honestly, I don't know. But you could tell, Mr. Pelosi is a gentle human being. Everyone knows him. He's so tall and great and he's always been by her side, but he doesn't come to Washington too often.


So yes, it did hit her hard. It did hit her family hard. It did hit many of us who knew him very hard.

But her decision is her decision. She's always been strategic, he know that. So when she decided that this is it, that was it and that speech was wow, for the ages.

KEILAR: Nadeam, it is so great to have you. You're really the person to speak to about this and what it is all going to mean, so thank you for being with us.

ELSHAMI: Thank you so much.

KEILAR: Sorrow in Charlottesville. A community coming together to remember three young men, football players, killed in a horrible shooting. The latest live from the University of Virginia next on CNN NEWSROOM.



KEILAR: Thousands of people turned out for an emotional public memorial today honoring three football players killed at the University of Virginia. Last Sunday, Lavel Davis Jr. and Devin Chandler both wide receivers for UVA and Linebacker, D'Sean Perry, were killed when a student opened fire on a bus returning from a field trip to D.C.

CNN's Joe Johns is joining us now live from the UVA campus in Charlottesville. I mean, Joe, this is a traumatized campus already and they're also dealing with ...


KEILAR: ... with an email threat. JOHNS: Right. And very intense security here this afternoon, Bri. In

fact, we saw tons of police as well as sniffer dogs. We also saw metal detectors. So quite an experience outside this building, and inside, an intense emotional memorial service for those three University of Virginia football players shot to death last Sunday allegedly by another student with a gun.

This was supposed to be a very different experience for the University of Virginia today. This was supposed to be their final home football game against Coastal Carolina, but that was canceled after the shooting. Instead, we had thousands and thousands of friends, supporters, students of the university here at the basketball arena saying goodbye to those three football players without a clear understanding of the motive from police.


TONY ELLIOTT, UVA HEAD FOOTBALL COACH: To my three young kings, I'm eternally grateful for you. Thank you for being the light to the world. You all will continue to shine your lights bright before us in the days ahead.

ELIJAH GAINES, UVA FOOTBALL PLAYER: For everyone in here love every single one of those boys: Lavel, D'Sean and Devin. Definition says love is an intense feeling of deep affection. I definitely had an intense feeling of deep infection to every single one of them.


JOHNS: The suspect in the shootings, 23-year-old Chris Jones, was picked up by the police and now is in the county jail on no bond, Bri?

KEILAR: So you mentioned that they seem to not have anything more on a motive. What have they said about the search for one?

JOHNS: Well, they've made it clear that they'd like to know one, but they haven't said what the motive is and it's very confusing when you just sort of look at the evidence that's out there. The father of the suspect has said he was told by his son that he was being picked on. But who was picking on him was not specified.

It's just not clear what it was that propelled the situation and we are told - we may never know why these students were shot.

KEILAR: Yes. We are at a loss and what a loss as we see those folks remember today. Joe Johns, thank you so much for that report.

We heard a lot about polling in the weeks and days before the midterm election. So now that we have most of the results, how accurate were those polls. Harry Enten will join us live to run the numbers next on CNN NEWSROOM.


[18:47:48] KEILAR: Now that we have most of the final numbers in from the

Midterm Elections, how accurate were the polls? CNN Senior Data Reporter Harry Enten joins us now to run the numbers. So Harry, how did the national polls do when it came to House races?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: They did great. I've been reading these articles that the polls are no good or whatever. But the pundits were no good. The polls were great and you can see it first starting off with the National House Vote right, the generic ballot. If you look at the final average of polls, it was the GOP plus 1.4 points.

Look at where the National House Vote is right now. It's GOP 3.2, that's an error of less than two points and more than that, I think surprising to some folks because everyone was like, oh, the polls underestimated Democrats.

No, if anything they slightly underestimated Republicans. But in historical context, a two point error is absolutely fantastic. And my guess is as more votes get in from California and the Democrats gained some ground, that difference between the final average poll and the House vote will be even closer.

KEILAR: Yes. Look, it's clear the pundits, they have trouble knowing how much they can trust the polls. So this is important to look afterwards and see. How about the Senate and the gubernatorial polls?

ENTEN: Yes. Better than the historical average. So there are basically two ways we can look at this, right? We can look at the average miss, which was 2.3 for the Senate, three points for the governor. The average miss since 1998 was 5.4 points for Senate governor, so this is better polling than historical averages.

And we can also look at the average bias, right, it was one side consistently overestimated. In the Senate, the answer was, no, they weren't, and in the governors' races the Democrats but only slightly - only slightly - this from a historical context was a tremendous year for polls, the polls did really, really well.

KEILAR: Any individual pollster with consistently good polls?

ENTEN: Yes. So look, CNN is one of them, but I'm going to push outside of our organization and just note The New York Times, Siena College poll. Look at their final polls. Look, the largest miss was just 2.6 points. The average miss was just 1.5 points, even better than the average we looked at in the last slide.


The average bias was not - they did not consistently overestimate one side or the other. This was a poll - we saw these polls come out and a lot of people were like - a lot of pundits were like, it seems like the Democrats are doing really well in these numbers. And as you said, people almost were afraid to trust it.

But had they trust those final polls, whether they were from CNN or from The New York Times, Siena College, they would have actually done a very good job of understanding where the electorate was heading.

KEILAR: And were there any pollsters who did poorly?

ENTEN: Yes. Look at the Trafalgar Group, which let me note does not meet CNN standard for publication.

KEILAR: Yikes, look at that.

ENTEN: Look at that, look at that, I don't honestly know what they do. But look at that largest miss, 13.8 points.


ENTEN: I believe that was in Washington. The average Miss was 5.9 points. And the average bias was they consistently - consistently pretty much overestimated the Republican Party. Look at that, the average bias was GOP plus 5.6 points.

And I think there were a lot of people saying, they have some special sauce after they did well in 2020 where they had the election close and a lot of other folks. Nope, maybe it was just that they got lucky. I watch on Twitter and people like, oh, Trafalgar, so great, so great.

We have no idea what they're doing and it turns out that maybe when you don't know what a pollster is doing, that's not necessarily a good thing, because as it shows here, Trafalgar did really, really poorly. It's good to have good methodology. At CNN, we always know the polls that have the best methodology and those are the only polls you put on the air. We would never put Trafalgar on the air.

KEILAR: Yes, we wouldn't and that's important to note, right. Some people say they're good polls, because they're telling them what they want to hear obviously not because what they're actually doing here.

Lastly, of course, we are nearing Thanksgiving and, of course, we love talking about sports with you. Any sports related things that you're grateful for.

ENTEN: Yes, I'm grateful for my Columbia Football Lions. I went up there to Northern Manhattan earlier today. I sat on the press box with a couple of great student journalists up there. They won today, that clinched for them four out of five winning season. That is the first time since the 1930s that they had four to five winning seasons.

Columbia historically has had an awful football program, but they have turned it around with their new coach, Al Bagnoli. They've done tremendous jobs. They whooped (ph) Cornell today. And as someone who went to the games as a kid with my father, he would be so proud and so excited the way they've done. They've done fantastically. Way to go, guys.

KEILAR: All right. Way to go. I'm grateful for them on your behalf, Harry.

ENTEN: Thank you. KEILAR: And I do want to mention to our viewers, you have a podcast

that I think they should check out, Margins of Error. You could also call it margins of terror, Harry, if you wanted to talk about some of these polls we just discussed but you can look at Harry's - you can find Harry's podcast anywhere you find your favorite podcasts or at

People are, of course, coming together ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday to both give and to receive. So we'll show you how people are helping each other out next on CNN NEWSROOM.

Plus, Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was a rising star in the Democratic Party when she was shot at a political event in 2011. A new CNN film tells her inspiring comeback story. Watch Gabby Giffords Won't Back Down tomorrow night at 9 pm.



KEILAR: The Thanksgiving holiday brings families together but it can also bring strangers together. CNN's Nadia Romero shows us one example of people helping those in need this season.


NADIA ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As Americans prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday when they head to the grocery store, they'll notice that food prices are a lot higher now as compared to the beginning of the year. I want to take you to Shy Temple CME Church in Decatur, Georgia right outside the city of Atlanta. It's one of a handful of places handing out up to 5,000 boxes of food.

And I want you to hear from people who were there to help and to receive, take a listen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, your salary is purchasing less, inflation has taken about an unwelcome guest at the Thanksgiving table this year will be high food prices.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm only - I'm a single lady and everything, and when I just go to the store for a few thing, it's almost a hundred dollars. Prices have gone up tremendously.