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Supreme Court Allows Congress to See Trump's Tax Returns; Holiday Travel Expected to be Near Pre-Pandemic Volume; Russian Missile Strikes Target Critical Kyiv Infrastructure. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired November 23, 2022 - 10:30   ET



JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: The House Ways and Means Committee says it hopes to get former President Donald Trump's tax returns by next week. This comes after the Supreme Court cleared the way for their release to the committee and the Treasury Department says it will comply and turn over those documents.

Joining me now to discuss, Paul Rosenzweig, former senior counsel for the Whitewater investigation, and Ron Brownstein, senior editor for "The Atlantic."

Good to have you both, sir, gentlemen. Paul, so, finally, six years later, the committee has access by a court, but the Democrats are going to lose their majority next month. What happens with this stuff? You know, Paul, I mean, do they get it in time to do anything with these returns?

PAUL ROSENZWEIG, FORMER SENIOR COUNSEL, WHITEWATER INVESTIGATION: Well, if you're talking about real legislation and real oversight, obviously not. They've got, you know, 40 days left, 20 which is probably out for Christmas and Thanksgiving. I'm guessing, though, that they may release some or all of it as part of a final report.

The real story here, of course, is that Donald Trump has weaponized the judicial system in a way that allows for six years of delay to be effective and to frustrate legitimate interests of Congress, as well as political interests of Congress, and I think it's going to be really interesting to see how that plays out in the coming Congress as the Democrats run the same playbook against the Republican investigators.

SCIUTTO: Ron, I wonder if you agree. We have Margaret Talev on last hour and she, you know, devil's advocate argument, you can say, saying actually, well, 40, 50 days is a fair amount of time. You know, they might find something from this.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, I agree with Paul. I mean, they are -- certainly they're going to make a great deal of this information public in one way or another. And it becomes just one more on the incredible kind of list of legal challenges that are accumulating before Trump, you know, as he launches his second presidential campaign. I think, you know, when you look across the board in all the challenges he faced, I think there's a consistent question.

Are Republican voters, especially after the results of the midterms and so many of his endorsed candidates lost, are they going to look at all this and say he is too damaged to be our nominee again, or is he going to be able to basically kind of play the victim card, as he said in his announcement, which I'm a victim, and cause them to rally around him in response to these kinds of investigations.


SCIUTTO: Paul Rosenzweig, on the legal side, not the political side, does having a special counsel matter in terms of the pace and outcome of these investigations?

ROSENZWEIG: Well, as an initial matter, it may slow down a bit. I mean, after all Mr. Smith has to get up to speed on a big brawling case that he's not familiar with. But in the longer term, medium to long term, I think it speeds it up. It involves dedicated resources, a single-focus investigation. You know, we all multitask in our lives. A special counsel doesn't have to. Sometimes that makes him monomaniacal but often it also makes him more receptive and responsive and quicker to the end of the game.

SCIUTTO: Ron, what's the bottom line going to be for his run for president, as you say? I mean, the open question is, does it give him political mojo, in effect? He can play the victim card, or is it more likely to add to the sense that he's too much trouble, in effect, for voters, which by the way, you know, seemed to be reflected in the midterm results?

BROWNSTEIN: Right. And my answer would be both, I think, simultaneously. I mean, there's no question that at the elite level of the Republican Party, the conclusion about the election is that Trump is a toxic brand outside of the core conservative state. I mean, we really saw a bifurcated results where Republicans in the red states that voted for Trump, did find, you know, the backlash against abortion did not materialize, abortion restrictions did not materialize in places like Texas and Florida, and some of the other states that restricted it.

But when you go beyond that, when you look at blue-leaning or even purple states, there was an emphatic rejection of candidates kind of cut in the mold of Trump or with his imprimatur, and, you know, with three quarters of voters think the economy was in bad shape, that is an unequivocal I think message from the electorate and it has been heard by Republican donors and other elected officials.

Now whether the base has heard it is another question. And in particular, what we saw in 2016 was that Donald Trump's hold on non- college Republicans was enormous. And no one was really able to dent that. Meanwhile, the other half of the party, the college Republicans, college-educated Republicans splintered among multiple candidates, and there remains the risk to the elites who don't want him as the nominee that exactly that kind of scenario can unfold again. SCIUTTO: Yes. Paul Rosenzweig, Ron Brownstein, thanks so much to both

of you.


BROWNSTEIN: OK. Happy Thanksgiving.

SCIUTTO: Happy Thanksgiving.

Still ahead, to that point, as millions Thanksgiving travelers hit the road today, how much will it cost to fill their gas tanks? GasBuddy's Patrick De Haan is here to share what he's seeing at pumps across the country. News you could use. That's coming up.



SCIUTTO: The biggest shopping day of the year, Black Friday, just days ago away. While the economy has lowered consumer confidence, overall spending is still strong.

CNN business and politics reporter Vanessa Yurkevich spoke with some shoppers about how they plan to spend this year.


DENISE SALLETTE, HOLIDAY SHOPPER: I've had to cut back on shopping because things are too expensive. I mean, I do have three girls, they're not little, you know, they're bigger, but they do understand that, you know, times are hard right now and it's just me being a single mom.

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Has that impacted the way you're going to spend this holiday season?

CYNTHIA PENDLETON, HOLIDAY SHOPPER: For me, not really because I try not to over-spend anyways, so even before this is going on, I try not to exceed what I can do.


SCIUTTO: According to the National Retail Federation, while online sales are expected to increase this year, a return to in-store shopping will make up a larger portion of all holiday retail sales.

You will have a lot of company if you're hitting the road this Thanksgiving, or already hit the road. AAA estimates nearly 49 million Americans are driving more than 50 miles to their holiday destination this year despite rising inflation and gas prices.

For more perspective, we're speaking to Patrick De Haan, he's the head of Petroleum Analysis for GasBuddy, and he joins me now live.

Patrick, good to have you on. PATRICK DE HAAN, HEAD OF PETROLEUM ANALYSIS, GASBUDDY: Good morning.

Good to be with you.

SCIUTTO: All right. So first of all, tell us where the data stands? AAA says regular unleaded gas, $3.61 per gallon, a bit up from this time last year, $3.40. We're trending downward?

DE HAAN: Yes, we are certainly closing the gap very quickly last year. The national average is now just under $3.59 in the latest live data that we have. Prices now up 17 cents from last year, but more importantly, as we progress into Thanksgiving, priced have plummeted 15 cents a gallon in the last week with several states seeing decreases in excess of 20 cents a gallon over the last week, so a pretty big decline, but overall Thanksgiving is still relatively pricey compared to where we've been in prior years.

SCIUTTO: Let's talk about diesel. You've been keeping a particularly close eye on that this after FOX News host Tucker Carlson fearmongered in effect and said that the country was going to run out of diesel three, four weeks ago. What does the data actually tell you? Are we running out of diesel?

DE HAAN: Well, things remain relatively tight. I would not use the word shortage. Most Americans go to a diesel pump, 99 percent of them, and find diesel. The problem is prices do remain high. But the data just out from the Energy Information Administration shows that last week again diesel and heating oil, what we call distillate inventories, were up again.


So good news there. The situation is easing, 47 out of the nation's 50 states are seeing diesel prices lower than where they were a week ago. And certainly compared to six months ago, diesel prices in some states down 50 to 60 cents a gallon. So good news on both fronts, gasoline and diesel prices seeing relief.

SCIUTTO: All right. So tell us advice. You know, there are going to be some traffic jams out there, particularly on major metro areas as you expect. How do you suggest drivers stretch their fuel supply, and maybe where should they look to buy gas as they're taking these trips this year?

DE HAAN: Well, certainly if you're on the road for more than, say, a couple of hours, use that cruise control, maybe throttle it back a mile an hour or two. That can help save the equivalent of 35 to 50 cents a gallon. Anyone crossing a state line should be hyper sensitive to the fact that gas prices can change significantly just by crossing a state line. Prices between two states drastically different.

Shop around, take the 20 seconds, use an app like GasBuddy or Google or Waze, and don't be in a rush to fill your tank. Prices will continue coming down at a pretty brisk pace. So if you're staying closer to home, don't feel the need to go pounce on gas prices falling. It's going to get better yet. SCIUTTO: Yes. I always wait until I'm out of D.C. until I find gas

when I'm going on a road trip. Just quickly, you know, there is more travel this year. It's going to be one of the biggest and really back up the levels before the pandemic. Are you surprised so many drivers on the road despite relatively gas prices?

DE HAAN: You know, it is a surprise, but Americans have very rich traditions when it comes to these holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas as well. So not too much of a surprise to see a very resilient populace that just wants to get back to normal. And that's what we're seeing this year. It doesn't really compare to 2019 when we had a combination of low prices and of course pre-COVID, but we're starting to get back to normal and see those holiday travels and lower prices may mean more holiday spending as well.

SCIUTTO: Patrick De Haan, thanks so much.

DE HAAN: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: Well, a new low in Russia's war in Ukraine. A newborn baby killed in a Russian strike on a maternity ward. That according to Ukraine's first lady who vows to, quote, "never forget, never forgive." You see the aftermath there. We're going to be live in Ukraine, next.



SCIUTTO: Air raid sirens have been sounding for hours now in Ukraine, as Russia launched a new barrage of attacks. The mayor of Kyiv says more than 30 missiles shot toward the city, 21 taken down by Ukrainian air defenses. Still, at least three people have been killed including a 17-year-old girl.

The water supply in Kyiv has now been suspended. Every region of Ukraine in experiencing power outages. To the southeast in Zaporizhzhia, an unthinkable attack on a maternity ward. This is what's left of the building now. A newborn baby, just two days old, was killed. The woman who was in labor and a doctor were wounded.

CNN's Matthew Chance joins us now from Odessa, in the south.

Matthew, there were earlier reports the entire Odessa region was without power? I mean, this is a deliberate campaign by Russia to inflict pain really on the Ukrainian population. What are you seeing down there?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it seems to be a deliberate campaign. And, you know, frankly, Jim, it appears to be quite successful. I mean, look, this is the city behind me. It's -- when we've lit up some of the building here, but basically there's no power in the city. People have generators, of course diesel generators and they're using those to put on their lights and to do some cooking. But, you know, it is pitch black in the streets as you walk around Odessa, one of the biggest cities in Ukraine. And so that's just astonishing and it's of course causing enormous

hardship for the people who live here. And that hardship, you can see it across the country. I mean, with Russia continuing to barrage infrastructure facilities across the country. We saw it in Kyiv region earlier today, around the capital with a number of people killed, I think it was three people that were killed in that attack as various installations were targeted.

We saw it in Zaporizhzhia as well, in central Ukraine, with that horrific attack which hit a maternity clinic, and that newborn baby, a couple days old, killed outright. The mother of the child, the doctor as well in the clinic were pulled alive form the rubble, but that horrific incident, you know, by no means isolated, I don't think. Yes, there are so many people that have been killed, tens of thousands of people killed in this conflict. But it is yet another poignant reminder of just how brutal this war continues to be -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: And this is deliberate as the winter sets in there because yes, it's a lot harder to live when you don't have power, you may not have heat, water, power. How is it for the people there you've interacted with and for you and your team to spend time in that country in the midst of the car and not have those basic services?

CHANCE: Yes. I mean, it's getting a lot harder. I mean, it was almost horrible, you know, when it wasn't winter, but within the past few days, or the last week or so, temperatures in Ukraine have really started to plunge. It gets very cold here, you know, somewhere in the region of minus 20 degrees Celsius. Forgive me I don't know if that's in Fahrenheit, but it's cold, and of course as of this time when they need all this power, they just haven't got it.


It's making life for ordinary Ukrainians absolutely intolerable. And it's set to get worse as the winter deepens -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: And that seems to be the intention. Matthew Chance, stay safe there, you and your team. Thanks so much.

Now to the World Cup. The German national team took a moment before their match to protest Qatar's poor record on human rights and FIFA's ban on the One Love armband which are designed to promote diversity and inclusion. The players, as you can see there, put their hands over the mouths, signaling they've been silenced. The German Football Federation released a statement saying, quote, "It wasn't about making a political statement. Human rights are nonnegotiable. Denies us the armband is the same as denying us a voice."

A strong stand there for the German national team.

Thanks so much to all of you for joining us today. I'm Jim Sciutto. "AT THIS HOUR" starts right after a quick break.