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Workers Recount Terror During Virginia Walmart Shooting; Colorado Springs Suspect Ordered Held Without Bond After First Court Appearance; Nearly 55 Million Expected to Travel Over Thanksgiving Weekend; Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Kicks Off in New York City; DOJ Wants to Question Mike Pence in January 6th Criminal Probe. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired November 24, 2022 - 09:00   ET



LEMON: That's me and Kaitlan.

HARLOW: This is what mama leaves. When I leave, the kids party.

LEMON: We had such a great time. It was Kaitlan's first time at -- you guys cut that video up early. Don't do this, the boss must -- take that down. She had never been to MSG.

HARLOW: She was so great. She's got moves. I think she schooled you.


HARLOW: And "Uptown Girl" is her favorite song. And so she got to hear it live from Billy Joel. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

LEMON: Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone. Thanks for joining us. Be safe. Eat too much, watch too much football. Just do it all today, and just be grateful and happy.

HARLOW: We're grateful for you. "NEWSROOM" is now.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, and a very happy Thanksgiving to you. I'm Jim Sciutto. A lot to get to this morning on this special edition of NEWSROOM.

Millions of Americans will gather today with families and loved ones for the holiday. Part of that tradition includes the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade which is kicking off right now in New York City. We're going to have live updates in just minutes.

But first, this Thanksgiving will be a difficult one for so many families who've lost loved ones yet again to senseless gun violence just over the course of this past week. In a span of days a tragic spate of mass shootings from Colorado to Virginia has taken the lives of at least 11 people. This morning we're learning new details about the terrifying moments inside that Chesapeake, Virginia, Walmart. Overnight the community held a vigil to remember those killed there. And in Colorado, the suspect accused of opening fire inside an LGBTQ

nightclub now being held without bond. A neighbor is revealing more about Anderson Lee Aldrich's troubled past, saying the suspect expressed hateful attitudes towards the gay community.

Let's begin this hour with new details surrounding the deadly Walmart shooting. I know it's hard to keep track. CNN national correspondent Dianne Gallagher has the latest.


DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Harrowing stories of survival after another mass shooting.

JESSIE WILCZEWSKI, WALMART EMPLOYEE WHO WITNESSED SHOOTING: The only thing that made it real was the vibrations hitting your chest and the ringing from the gun going off. And it just kept going and going, going.

GALLAGHER: Jessie Wilczewski, a new employee at the Chesapeake, Virginia, Walmart, hid under a table until she came face-to-face with the shooter.

WILCZEWSKI: He just had the gun up to my forehead. And -- this is really hard. He told me to go home.

GALLAGHER: The city of Chesapeake identifying the shooter as 31-year- old Andre Bing. Walmart confirms he was an overnight team lead. According to employees, Bing entered the breakroom just as employees were clocking in to start their shifts.

KEVIN C. HARPER, WALMART SHOOTING WITNESS: Just left by the breakroom. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) came in there, started capping people up in there; started shooting.

GALLAGHER: Investigators were seen searching the alleged shooter's home, and police say the gunman was armed with several magazines and a pistol.

Briana Tyler witnessed the shooting and says there were around 15 to 20 people in the breakroom when the shooter entered.

BRIANA TYLER, WALMART EMPLOYEE WHO WITNESSED THE SHOOTING: He didn't say a word. He didn't point at anyone. He didn't look at anyone specific. He just had a blank stare on his face. And he just literally just looked around the room and just shot. And there were people just dropping to the floor.

GALLAGHER: Six employees were shot and killed, including a 16-year- old. Police believe the gunman died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is the body of a person they just brought out in a shopping cart. GALLAGHER: According to police, two employees were found dead in the

breakroom. Another victim was found in the front of the store. And three victims were taken to local hospitals but later died. Six others were injured.

Twenty-four-year-old survivor Jalon Jones was in the breakroom and shot multiple times, including in his back, his mother told CNN affiliate WTKR.

KIMBERLY SHUPE, SURVIVOR JALON JONES' MOTHER: He was on a ventilator. He wasn't able to breathe on his own from the gunshot wounds he sustained. But now he's talking. He's just glad to be alive.


GALLAGHER: Now, look, in talking to survivors, employees and former employees of this Walmart, they all described as the shooter as having exhibited either odd or even threatening behavior in the past saying, Jim, that he often seemed to relish in having power over them in his position. Some described him as mean or paranoid or simply standoffish.

Now, look, we have asked Walmart if there were any sort of complaints that were filed against him, any reports on the shooter's behavior in the past. They've not answered those questions at this time, Jim. Authorities say they're still investigating a motive.

SCIUTTO: Dianne Gallagher, thank you.

That's a mass shooting in Chesapeake, Virginia, now to Colorado Springs, the one targeting an LGBTQ nightclub. The "Denver Post" editorial board has penned an op-ed titled, quote "We're Looking at You, Lauren Boebert. Stop the Intolerance."


It accuses the Colorado congresswoman of feeding a, quote, "narrative of hate and intolerance," and not caring where those words can lead. Boebert has been criticized for her past comments about the LGBTQ. She's attacked inclusive classroom practices, mocked the nation's first transgender Senate appointed official. Boebert responded to the "Post" editorial saying it was, quote, "disgusting" to try to blame the shooting on her and it was, quote, "completely false" to say she's attacked the LGBTQ community.

Back in Colorado Springs, the suspect in that shooting, Anderson Aldrich, now being held without bond following their first court appearance. Formal charges are expected next month.

CNN's Nick Watt is in Colorado Springs. And Nick, I understand you spoke to the suspect's neighbor. I wonder, did they see any signs of this? What did they say?

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes, Jim, not just a neighbor, a pretty close friend. They bonded over video games, spent hours playing games together. And one thing that this young man, Xavier Kraus, told me, he said that the suspect is not someone I would have around my gay friends. Apparently the suspect did have occasional outbursts of anger. Some of them, at least one of them, directed at the gay community.

The suspect used slurs to describe gay people but also had outbursts against other races, also. And, you know, Xavier Kraus is a 23-year- old young man with a job. And he said what really struck him was the kind of differences between his life and the suspect's life. Kraus lived in an apartment with his girlfriend. He has a job across the hallway. The suspect, 22 years old, similar age, lived there with his mom -- their mom and didn't appear to have any direction in life.

Apparently the suspect, very smart, but very alone. Few other contacts. And you know, we saw during the appearance yesterday by video link from the jail cell behind me, the suspect was slumped, slurring, bruised head. And, you know, we've now also seen the mug shots which show just how beaten this suspect was. So that's just take us back to that night.

Remember Rich Fierro, the army veteran hero, took the suspect down and then the suspect was kicked repeatedly in the head by a young naval officer, Thomas James, and a transwoman whose name we don't know. And we can see just how beaten the suspect was in that picture -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: Yes. No question. Nick Watt, thanks so much.

Well, with millions of Americans traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday, airports have it mostly under control, you'll be happy to hear, with very few cancellations so far. TSA screened nearly 2.5 million people at airports just yesterday. That's near a record for travel since the beginning of the pandemic.

From air travel to roads, even the big parade, we have it covered this morning. Let's begin with CNN aviation correspondent Pete Muntean. He's at the Reagan National Airport.

So, Pete, how are the holiday crowds moving this morning?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: The crowds are moving pretty good today, Jim. And they've been big over the last few days, 2.46 million people screened at airports nationwide just yesterday by the TSA. What's so interesting about that is that number only about 6 percent off from where we were back in 2019 before the pandemic. We're pretty close to a pandemic-era air travel record, although not quite.

The good news here is that things have been relatively smooth for passengers and airlines after they had really big cancellation problems over the summertime. 50,000 flights canceled in total. But just check FlightAware, just today so far, there have been only 28 flights canceled, 60 flights canceled yesterday.

The superlative on Tuesday, United Airlines canceled zero flights network wide. That includes mainline and regional flights. At American Airlines, they operated 99.9 percent of all of their flights. That was the biggest schedule of any airline that had planned for the Thanksgiving rush. So things have been pretty, pretty good. I just want you to listen now to the head of the airline lobby, Nick Calio of Airlines for America, who says airlines have been on a hiring blitz to get ready for this.


NICK CALIO, CEO, AIRLINES FOR AMERICA: We're feeling good. You know, it's a great thing. It's been three years. Everybody wants to get with their family and friends and we've gone -- the airlines have gone above and beyond to try to get ready for that. They've adjusted their schedules, they've been on hiring binges, putting people in the right places that we hope will be at the right time.


MUNTEAN: The numbers ahead could be pretty big, Jim. On Sunday, we could see a number according to the TSA as high as 2.5 million people at airports nationwide. That could be the highest number we've seen since July 1st when there was a pandemic-era air travel record of 2.49 million people. We're really, really close, Jim. We'll see.


SCIUTTO: Yes. No question. It's good to see. I mean, I remember the dark days of the pandemic. It was a far different picture.

Pete Muntean, at Reagan National, thanks so much.

While it is clear skies for folks on the East Coast, it's turning out to be a rainy Thanksgiving for many in parts of the middle and southern U.S. CNN meteorologist Chad Myers tracking it all for us in the CNN Weather Center.

So tell us who's having a pretty Thanksgiving and maybe a not-so- pretty Thanksgiving.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, New York City is having a very, very nice Thanksgiving with their parade that's going on at this point in time. But I'll tell you what, Jim, the people anywhere from the Show Me State all the way down to the hill country of Texas, those are the people that are now seeing the rain showers, the thunderstorms. And back out to the west, on the colder side of this, there's actually snow coming down. So that could be a little problematic when it comes to driving.

Back to what Pete said, I don't think I've ever heard of an airline never having one cancellation in a day. That was pretty amazing. So good travel today up and down the East Coast. 54 in New York City, 60s all the way up and down the coast. But then the rain comes through tonight and moves away for tomorrow. So there will be some rain that here will eventually get here. But another batch of showers begins to develop across parts of Texas.

Again, a separate system and this is for Saturday night. Most people are going to be driving home on Sunday. And then guess where that goes? Right back up into the northeast again. So wet travel all the way -- all along I-95, I-85, 75, and then across here, the I-10 and the I-40 very, very wet for the next couple of days and even white in a few spots.

So here's your airport delays for Saturday, looking pretty good. A couple of showers down here but minor delays. And then the problem is for Sunday when all of this comes back up here when everybody is trying to get out of New York and into D.C. or into Raleigh, that's when things really begin to slow down.

SCIUTTO: Yes. We'll worry about that later. Chad Myers, thanks so much.

Well, the holidays would not be the same of course without the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Today's big event features celebrity performers, marching bands and of course floats and those familiar gigantic holiday themed balloons, all making their way to Macy's Herald Square.

CNN's Brynn Gingras joins me now live from Central Park, right along the parade route.

So, Brynn, things just getting under way there. I mean, I've been watching that since I was a little kid. I remember the excitement as the big balloons are coming. Tell us what the mood is like today.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jim, listen, the weather is amazing. Chad just talked about it. So it has just drawn people out to this parade. You can see now they are making their way down to Herald Square along this famous parade route. Now we have seen a number of the big balloons walk by. And you can see the little boss or big boss. I can't remember the exact name of that balloon but that one is coming next, and people are just so excited.

We've been talking to people in the crowd, and all over. We talked to some from Arkansas, we got someone from California. People come from all across the country just to witness this tradition.

Where are you from?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm from the Upper West Side.

GINGRAS: Upper West Side. OK, I was just talking about Arkansas and California. But Upper West Side. New York. And you have actually been out here a long time. That's why I'm coming to you, right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We got here like 4:30 this morning, set up shop, and totally worth it. I love this part.

GINGRAS: Is this a tradition?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Like every other year when I'm in town, I head here, totally worth it. My favorite part.

GINGRAS: What's your favorite part about the actual parade?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The confetti, the clowns and the confetti. I love it.

GINGRAS: Yes. I mean, it's packed with confetti, and balloons, and superstars. And we've already saw Paula Abdul go by. I mean, it's just so exciting to be out here. Like I said, the weather is perfect.

The parade actually got started earlier, Jim, because there are so many balloons this year. So there's more excitement. And again it's going to last here for the next couple of hours. And we'll be here.

SCIUTTO: That's Boss Baby, by the way, Brynn. Just so you know. I've seen that movie about 6,000 times with my kids.

Brynn Gingras, right along the route there.

GINGRAS: Boss Baby. Thank you.

SCIUTTO: There he is. That's quite a balloon.

GINGRAS: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: Coming up next, Justice Department asking former Vice President Mike Pence to testify in its criminal investigation into January 6th. Why this might be different than the House subpoena that he is avoiding.

Plus, former President Trump waking up to yet another lawsuit, this from a woman who has accused him of sexual assault. Details on the new state law that made this suit possible.

And later, seven Michigan State football players now facing charges after a fight with Michigan players in a stadium tunnel. What we're hearing from their attorneys and also from the universities.



SCIUTTO: CNN has learned that the Justice Department is now seeking former Vice President Mike Pence's testimony in its criminal investigation into former President Trump's attempts to stay in power after losing the 2020 election. Pence's team has indicated he is open to discussing a possible agreement with the DOJ to provide at least some testimony.

Joining me now, CNN senior legal affairs correspondent Paula Reid.

Of course, Paula, he refused to give testimony to the January 6th Select Committee. Appears a different approach to the Department of Justice. What do we know?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, you have to have a different approach here, Jim, because of course it's a different entity. A request from the Justice Department is very different than a request from the January 6th Committee. And look, Pence is so unique in his ability to provide insight and evidence about what was happening with the former president and his allies around the election and around the insurrection.

And recently the former vice president, he's become very public about what he saw, what he observed and how he felt about it as he promotes his new memoir. And publicly over the past couple of weeks he's talked about how he believed that a tweet from the former president attacking him was, quote, reckless. He's very critical of how the former president handled the insurrection.

And it was expected, once he was that public with all of those comments, Jim, it was fully expected that prosecutors would have some follow-up questions for him. Now as you noted, he did rebuff a similar request from the January 6th Committee, but some of his aides have spoken not only with lawmakers but also with the Justice Department.


So if he would like to cooperate, really the only thing that could potentially get in the way here is if the former president wanted to try to assert privilege. That is something he's done with other witnesses, though he has been largely unsuccessful. It has succeeded in delaying. And when it comes to these two investigations that the newly appointed special counsel is overseeing, one of the key things here is that they really want to try to move these things along as quickly as possible.

SCIUTTO: A deliberate strategy it seems for Trump's team. Paula Reid, thanks so much.

All right. Let's dig in a little deeper with Paul Callan, he's a former New York City prosecutor.

Paul, Happy Thanksgiving to you. Thanks for joining us today.

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Happy Thanksgiving to you, Jim.

SCIUTTO: So what's the likelihood he testifies here? I mean, as Paula notes, it's different, a subpoena from the Justice Department is different from a subpoena from the January 6th Committee. So do you believe he does eventually give some sort of testimony?

CALLAN: Yes, I think at the very least he's going to cooperate with the Department of Justice and give them sort of an informal, in-house interview. And I think he's going to wind up in front of the grand jury as well. There's a very big difference between testifying and cooperating with the DOJ as opposed to a congressional committee. Remember Pence has said there were profound separation of powers problems that were presented initially because the legislative branch was seeking testimony from the executive branch.

But the DOJ is part of the executive branch. So that argument doesn't exist anymore. And because he's openly accused Trump of having recklessly endangered not only him but his wife and daughter who were present on Capitol Hill that day, I think he's waived the executive privilege argument as well. So I don't know how he could protect himself against a legitimately issued subpoena to testify in the criminal case. SCIUTTO: OK. So you don't believe he can protect himself. But as Paula

notes, it's possible the president's legal team can assert some sort of privilege claim here. Likely to win on that argument?

CALLAN: I think they're likely not to win because publication of his book has really, you know, let the horse out of the --


CALLAN: Wherever it's confined in Washington.

SCIUTTO: Yes. Out of the barn. Yes, exactly.

CALLAN: Out of the barn. Yes, I guess there are barns in Washington. But in any event, yes, it's waived I think. And also, Trump lawyers should have asserted that earlier against the vice president with respect to publication of the book. They did not. So I think there's a very good argument here that they've waived their right now to assert executive privilege on that issue.

SCIUTTO: It's such a great point. There are so many books have been written by folks who refuse to testify before various committees here.

Now Pence's team has said they'd be willing to testify on some issues. Is Pence's team setting some guardrails around the subjects they will talk about and will not talk about?

CALLAN: Yes. I think they are. And obviously the DOJ will want his cooperation. And I'm sure they'll be willing to sit down at least initially with respect to those limitations. But the real question is, if they really need his testimony to indict Trump, when you think about it, Pence is one of the biggest victims of Trump's actions on January 6th. His family was in endangered.

He personally was endangered because the crowd was calling to hang Pence and interfere with the certification of the presidential election. So he's a very important witness I think in any criminal case that could be brought against Trump.

SCIUTTO: All right. As an experienced prosecutor, what is your gut as to how far along the DOJ investigation is given that they are now seeking the testimony of Mike Pence? Does that give you an indicator that they're in the final stages?

CALLAN: I think they are in the final stages. And of course, you know, out of left field we had a special prosecutor appointed by AG Garland. But I think this special prosecutor is going to come in and really accept the investigation which has occurred to date. Now I have no doubt it's been a very thorough and almost complete investigation. So I think unlike the Mueller investigation which, of course, went on for years, I think we're going to see this thing wrap relatively quickly in terms of them making a determination about whether to indict a former president or not.

SCIUTTO: All right. We'll be watching that closely of course. OK. Another topic here, the former magazine columnist. E. Jean Carroll, she's now suing former President Trump for battery and defamation. This under a new New York law, the Adults Survivors Act as it's known. It allows adults alleging sexual assault to bring claims years after the attack. It's the second she has brought against Trump. As you know, in 2019 she sued him for defamation, not battery.

How significant is this case under the current law? Does she have a case here and are we likely to see resolution soon?

CALLAN: It's very significant under the new law.


She was not -- she claims, by the way, that in the 1990s she was raped and groped by Trump in an elevator at Bergdorf Goodman, you know, which is one of the most prestigious department stores in New York. And she never brought a case within the statute of limitations. However, when Trump became president, he answered a reporter's question about E. Jean Carroll's claims. And some clever lawyers looked at it and said, you know something, the statute of limitations is still alive on defamation.

So we're going to bring up the whole rape case by claiming it's a defamation case. And that case has been going on in the courts for a long time now. What she's doing now with this new law that allows anybody -- it eliminates the statute of limitations in civil claims of sexual assault is to combine the two cases. And I think there's a good chance the judge will go along with combining them all, and she may have a claim that she at least can assert and try to prove in court.

Tough case to prove, though, Jim, because it's ancient. And, you know, it's a one-on-one situation obviously and it's a pretty strange fact pattern, saying, you know, that it occurred in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman. So let's see what happens with it.

SCIUTTO: Well, listen, smart point by you, though, that a case where the president's words might have gotten him in trouble, at least opened this case for adjudication yet again.

Paul Callan, thanks so much.

CALLAN: Thank you, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Well, Ukraine's national power supply company says restoring power is taking longer than before. This after Russia again takes aim at critical infrastructure aiming to punish the Ukrainian civilian population. We're going to have the latest on their efforts to bring some power back. That's coming up.