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Today, Court Hearing on Special Master for Mar-a-Lago Documents; Storms, Snow Could Cause Problems for Travelers This Week; Saudi Arabia Stuns Messia and Argentina in World Cup Upset. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired November 22, 2022 - 10:30   ET



MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: If you put it together, $27 million is potentially what Iger is going to be making. That would make him one of the highest paid executives in Hollywood.

But, look, he has his got work cut out for him despite the stock jump yesterday. Disney is still down almost 40 percent this year. Jim, that would be Disney's worst year since 1974.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Wow. It is been a rough run, no question. Matt Egan, thanks so much.

All right, later today, a federal appeals court will hear arguments on whether to remove the special master who is still reviewing materials the FBI seized during its search of former President Trump's Mar-a- Lago estate. Many of those items classified. Federal Judge Raymond Dearie was appointed special master, you'll remember, in September, tasked with removing privileged material that may have been seized in that search.

Elie Honig, CNN Senior Legal Analyst, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, joins me now.

Elie, he's been there for a couple of months now. I mean, what is taking him so long to go through this? Is there an endgame here?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Jim, there are thousands of documents that the special master is in the process of going through. This appeal that will be argued today is actually second appeal. There already was one where DOJ basically argued about one, about the classified documents, the 100 or so classified documents that were seized at Mar-a-Lago. DOJ argued successfully that those should not have to go through the special master.

Today's appeal relates to all the rest of the documents, about 22,000 remaining. And as you note, though, timing really matters here because this may be a moot issue. By the time the court of appeals hears today's argument and rules on it, the special master may be almost done or nearly done or entirely with his review. But there is a bigger legal point at issue here for DOJ. SCIUTTO: All right. So now we have a special counsel, Jack Smith, overseeing all the various criminal investigation into Trump, including not just the Mar-a-Lago documents but also interference with the 2020 election. How do they interact? I mean, how do they work together and does that appointment change any of those ongoing investigations?

HONIG: Well, one of the things that is interesting is, in its brief, in DOJ brief in the appeal today about the special master, they do drop a footnote saying the special counsel, the new prosecutor here, Jack Smith, has reviewed the arguments and approves of them. And so that is really our first tangible indicator that the special counsel, Jack Smith, is already getting up to speed.

Speed matters here. This special counsel has said up and down he's not going to waste any time. And, look, you're taking this sort driver's wheel away from the attorney general. He's handing it over to Jack Smith. We know Merrick Garland tends to move slowly, and we'll see. It looks like Jack Smith understands the need to be expeditious here.

SCIUTTO: Okay. Senator Lindsey Graham expected to testify in front of a grand jury in another investigation, this one, the one in Georgia, about Trump's attempts to interfere in the election there. How much do you expect him to actually be forthcoming here, be forced to answer?

HONIG: Well, I can't speak as to Lindsey Graham's forthcoming-ness. However, he went to court and argued that he should not have to testify at all. He mostly lost those court decisions. The court said you are protected as a sitting senator under what we call the speech and debate clause, meaning you do not have to testify about your legislative work. However, the federal court said, your coordination with the Trump campaign, your efforts to reach out to state and local officials in Georgia, none of those count as, quote/unquote, legislative. So, you do have to testify about those things.

So, Lindsey Graham will have to go in front of the grand jury. He will have to answer at least many, perhaps most of the questions that he's asked. And if they disagree if a question calls within the scope of legislative, the court has said you can come back to us and we'll give you a ruling.

SCIUTTO: All right. Final investigation I'm going to talk about, trial, this is the trial of the alleged leaders of the Oath Keepers. All five have now pleaded not guilty. Jury deliberations begin today. In your view, has the prosecution proved its case?

HONIG: From what I've seen, they have, Jim. And let's keep in mind, of course, juries are inherently human, they are inherently unpredictable. We don't know what juries will do. And the charge here, seditious conspiracy, is quite rare. However, if you look at what charge means, it means an agreement, a conspiracy to use force to interfere with a lawful function of government. Here, the lawful function of government was the counting of the electoral ballots by Congress. And if you look at the evidence here, most powerfully, the defendant's own words, their own encrypted conversations, clearly, they're planning to use force. They talk about amassing firearms and attack tactics. So, we'll see what the jury does.

Just keep an eye on this, Jim. I know juries love to make decisions before weekends and especially before holiday weekends. We're coming up on Thanksgiving. So, it wouldn't at all surprise me to see a verdict today or tomorrow.

SCIUTTO: You made that prediction before in other trials, you and I have covered. You have got a good track record. We'll see if it holds.

HONIG: It is always right, even (INAUDIBLE), Jim.

SCIUTTO: I hear you.

Well, the Pennsylvania woman accused of barging into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office during the January 6 insurrection, she has been convicted on multiple counts.


Riley Williams found guilty of six of the eight counts she faced, including assaulting or resisting an officer. The jury could not come to a unanimous decision on the charge of obstructing the certification of the electoral college, which carried a maximum sentence of 20 years. This is the first time a jury has not convicted a January 6 Capitol defendant of each counts they were charged with.

Coming up next, the travel industry is looking a lot different right now than it did at this time last year. We're going to have an inside look at what is now an airline hiring bonanza.



SCIUTTO: Wet weather could make traveling for Thanksgiving a headache for lots of Americans. AAA estimates nearly 55 million people will fly or drive to their holiday destination this week. That is close to pre- pandemic numbers.

CNN Meteorologist Chad Myers joins me now. Chad, we've gotten off to a pretty good start. What is going to happen later in the week?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Getaway Tuesday, getaway Wednesday, it looks really good. Get home Saturday, get home Sunday, maybe not so good. The only real problem we have today is really Pacific Northwest snow, a couple of thunderstorms across parts of Florida.

But this is the snow that is going to come down over the next few days, maybe even down toward the passes, which means getting over to the other side of the cascades could be a little bit tricky at times. But this is the biggest thing for the next couple of days. Then all of a sudden things begin to develop in the plains. Temperatures though for Thanksgiving Day nice and mild, 65 in Atlanta, we haven't seen 65 in seems like weeks. Temperatures across parts of the Midwest, 56 in Chicago, we'll take that.

But here is where it all kind of goes downhill. Here is Friday morning. Notice the rain across the parts of the southeast. And I know people aren't traveling on Friday but some airports could be slow here. And then you look around I-40 around Amarillo and parts of New Mexico. That is a potential snowstorm out there.

Now, the good news is, for the rest of the country, as the storm progresses to the northeast, it doesn't drag the cold air with it. So, because, remember we said 56 in Chicago, it is going to be a rain event for your Saturday and your Sunday rather than a snowstorm coming in across parts of the great lakes.

So, here is Sunday morning, a lot of you probably getting on roads, there will be some wet weather across the northeast, the mid-Atlantic, all the way back to Detroit and Chicago, and then you see the snow still across parts of the Pacific Northwest.

So, a few airport delays possible on Sunday, but, really, it is more of a driving delay possibly on Sunday. As we start to work our way into the end of the weekend, things begin to push offshore. And if you're not really flying or doing anything until Monday, I think most of this is completely over. So, heavy rain across the south, mountain snow across parts of the northwest, that's where we're seeing things right now. But at least for now, Jim, there is a lot of very calm words on this map and that is good news.

SCIUTTO: That is. If I'm hearing you correctly, you're saying stay on vacation. So, just stay there, kind of ride out the bad weather and then everything will be fine.

MYERS: I will write you the note.

SCIUTTO: All right, thank you. Chad Myers, thanks so much.

Well, as Americans head into what is expected to be the busiest holiday travel season since before the pandemic, many major airlines are now on a hiring spree trying to bring in enough workers to avoid another wave of operational meltdowns that you may have experienced over the summer.

CNN Aviation Correspondent Pete Muntean has the story.


PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Airlines have been preparing for the rush at airports with a rush all of their own, hiring thousands of new workers from the front desk to the flight deck. 24-year-old Ellie Gull (ph) is about to follow in her dad's footsteps as a new commercial pilot.

This is probably one of the best times in history to become a pilot. MUNTEAN: Elie is joining Piedmont Airlines, which operates thousands of regional flights for American Airlines. And at the Charlotte Training Center, 400 new pilots have been trained here since June.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have real ambitions to grow the airline, essentially doubled the size of the airline.

MUNTEAN: Seasoned pilots are also in demand. Piedmont just announced a $100,000 signing bonus for new captains.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The opportunities have never been better.

MUNTEAN: New industry numbers show staffing at the major airlines has now exceeded pre-pandemic levels. The hiring blitz comes after airlines struggled this summer, canceling 55,000 flights due in part to staffing shortages.

But hiring is happening beyond just pilots. American Airlines says it has hired 12,000 employees this year companywide. Southwest Airlines says it has hired more than 15,000. And at United Airlines, 2,000 new customer service representatives are helping passengers in new ways called agent on demand. You scan a Q.R. code for a video call. Agents can now connect with a stranded passenger at O'Hare when they're not busy at another airport like Dulles.

DEBBIE REYNOLDS, CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE, UNITED AIRLINES: I think this is going to be a great help especially now that we're having snow everywhere.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want to be there for our customers, support them, make it easy and just make them feel good about the trip and take off some of the stress.

MUNTEAN: Airlines insist they now have the right people in the right places. Now, the pressure is on them to perform.

Are you worried at all?

NICK CALIO, CEO, AIRLINES OF AMERICA: I'm worried about the weather. I always worry about the weather because that is the number one thing that can ruin a flight. I think we're flexible enough now that if there are cancelations or delays, we will be ready to try to get people to where they want to go.



MUNTEAN (on camera): We will see if all of this hiring makes a difference. So far, so good. I just checked Flight Aware, about 80 cancelations in the U.S. yesterday, only about 30 so far today, and that is good news, because today will be one of the busiest in the skies, according to the FAA, 48,000 flights scheduled.

Although but tomorrow could be the busiest in terms of the number of people traveling, Jim. The TSA anticipates 2.5 million people at airports nationwide. That could be a new high we have seen since COVID hit, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Yes. I'm kind of glad I'm not flying. Pete Muntean, thanks so much.

Coming up next, we're going to take you live to the World Cup in Qatar where a massive underdog, Saudi Arabia, just pulled off a big win, big upset against Argentina, one of the favorites and a star player you might have heard of, Lionel Messi.



SCIUTTO: Former Tonight Show Host Jay Leno has now been released from a Los Angeles hospital after a gasoline fire at his garage left serious burns to his face, chest and hands, seeing here with members of his care team at the Grossman Burn Center there. Leno, who is an avid car collector, was working underneath a vehicle when he suffered the burns. The 72-year-old needed two surgeries to treat his injuries. He is, however, expected to make a full recovery. He has got a lot of cars.

Now to what some people are calling one of the most shocking upsets not just in soccer history, at sports history. This morning, the great Lionel Messi and his heavily favored Argentina squad, were stunned by Saudi Arabia at the World Cup in Qatar.

CNN's Don Riddell, he is there live in Doha. Don, I mean, this is remarkable on a bunch of levels. First of all, Argentina was a favorite, Lionel Messi, one of the best players in the world, lots at stake for him, but Saudi Arabia, also the first time a country in the Middle East has done something like this against one of the world powers.

DON RIDDELL, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it was extraordinary. I was at the game, Jim. The atmosphere was just incredible, especially when the Saudis scored those two quick goals in the second half, and, by the way, they were absolutely exceptional goals.

Remember, this is the first World Cup that is being played in the Middle East. It is the first World Cup that's being played in a Muslim country, and the Saudis were not expected to do anything. I was on the train up to the stadium this morning and the Saudi fans were saying, oh, we're going to beat Messi and Argentina 5-0. And I just kind of smiled politely because there was no way that that was going to happen, absolutely no way.

The Argentineans took an early lead, a very early Messi penalty. They had a few goals disallowed for offside. And after the break, it was a completely different story. And for the Saudis to pull this off, it is just remarkable. They've only ever won a handful of World Cup games in the history of them playing in this tournament. None of their players play outside of Saudi Arabia.

So, just think about that. They play in the first and second divisions in Saudi Arabia. They don't have their players playing in the top leagues all over Europe and Major League Soccer in the United States, they just play in Saudi. And they went up against the guys, guys like Lionel Messi, just absolutely extraordinary they pulled it off.

SCIUTTO: No question. As they say, that is why they play the games, right? You never know what's going to happen. Don Riddell, I'm jealous you're there. Enjoy it.

RIDDELL: All right.

SCIUTTO: Coming up next, a rail workers union has now rejected a deal with its bosses raising the prospect once again of a nationwide rail strike. That could have major implications for the supply chain, the economy, your holiday shopping. We'll have an update coming up.



SCIUTTO: As we enter the holiday shopping season, the U.S. could soon face a crippling national freight rail strike. This is rank and file members of the nation's largest rail union rejected a temporary -- a tentative, rather, labor deal with their freight railroad.

CNN Business and Politics Correspondent Vanessa Yurkevich joins me now with more. Vanessa, this is something we've covered over recent weeks, which there have been times when there was no deal, they got a last- minute deal, it seemed like we were over the hump here. How did we get here again and what could that mean for the supply chain?

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Well, it would certainly be a blow to the U.S. supply chain during the holiday season. 30 percent of the nation's freight moves by rail, and you have this fourth, this largest rail union voting down this tentative agreement and now you have four rail unions who have voted it down all together and they are back at the negotiating table today trying to hammer out a deal with these railroad companies to try to avoid a nationwide strike that could happen in two weeks. Three of those unions have agreed to a December 9th strike date and one union has agreed to a December 5th strike date.

And this is important because this is all happening at a time when we are seeing very high inflation and a nationwide rail strike would make everything more expensive for consumers. Earlier this morning, we heard from President Ferguson, he is the head of that union who represents conductors that voted down the agreement yesterday, and he talked about how this is not about the record wages that the rail companies are offering, it is about paid sick time, basic paid sick time that these rank and file members say that they need.

SCIUTTO: We'll see if they could get over it.


JEREMY FERGUSON, DIVISION PRESIDENT, SMART TRANSPORTATION: Times are tough out here right now with all of the cutbacks. Members aren't necessarily voting on the money issues. It is the quality of life and how they're treated. They need respect while they're at work when big corporations cut too deep and they expect everybody else to pick up the pace, it becomes intolerable. You don't have the family time. You don't have the time to get adequate rest, mental rest from being on the road and being at the away from home terminal, all of the issues that we have to deal with when we're keeping America moving 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, nonstop.


YURKEVICH: And, Jim, I think you were starting to talk about how do we get this done. Congress can impose a contract, the two sides can come together and get a deal on their own. But remember, Jim, if just one rail union does not come up with a deal by their deadline, all of the rail unions, all 12 will head out on strike, Jim.


SCIUTTO: We'll see if they can make a deal in time for that deadline.