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CNN This Morning

Snowstorm Hitting Parts of Western New York; Numerous Twitter Employees Quit in Response to Ultimatum from New Owner Elon Musk; Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Announces She Will Not Seek Position in House Democratic Leadership in Next Congress; Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) Interviewed on Legacy of Nancy Pelosi; Biden Grants Immunity For Saudi Crown Prince In Khashoggi Murder; Ticketmaster Cancels Public Sales To Taylor Swift "Eras Tour". Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired November 18, 2022 - 08:00   ET



DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: A lot to get to. I was trying to explain, and I'm going to do it right now. A historic lake-effect snowstorm hitting western New York. It could bury Buffalo in more than five feet of snow. We are on the ground for you.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Also, in Washington, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi passing the torch. She is stepping down after a legendary run as House Speaker. We'll talk about who will replace her, and talk to a Democratic colleague about her legacy and what the party looks like going forward.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: And thanks but no thanks, Twitter employees leaving farewells en masse after Elon Musk's ultimatum to, quote, hardcore work or leave.

LEMON: What a mess there, and what a mess this first story is. The historic lake-effect blizzard bearing down on western New York, including Buffalo.

Yes, that's the sound of thunder, snow and lightning that pounded the city overnight. New York's governor has declared a state of emergency in 11 upstate counties. In all, around 6 million people will be impacted by this major storm. Straight now to CNN's Polo Sandoval on the ground for us in snowy Buffalo this morning. What is it like there?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And you know, Don, if you've never heard that thunderous sound like I did this morning, it certainly will jolt you out of bed, which is what happened to me. In terms of what we're seeing here in the heart of Buffalo, it actually let up for just a second, which is why authorities and those crews on the ground, they're actually trying to get on the roads to make sure that the roads remain clear so that some of those folks who might have to be having to get to work this morning are able to do so.

But in all, though, that travel ban is in place. It was put into place yesterday. It's going to continue at least potentially for the coming hours. That's because so far the official observation at the Buffalo airport has only slightly above a foot, and there is an expectation that we are likely going to be getting several more feet, potentially even challenging the record set back in December of 2001 when we saw a little bit over four-and-a-half in just three days.

And that's really what has officials concerned, and it is also why officials are basically just asking that unless you have to go out on to the streets here in the Buffalo area, that you simply stay home. There is certainly a concern that we're going to continue to see that snow. And so that's why the snowplows are out, people are using those snowblowers to make sure that anybody who does have to get out and about is able to do so. But largely, though, the big recommendation, again, as we send things back to you, stay home because the worst is potentially still ahead, Don. Back to you.

LEMON: So you're in a band and it's eased up a bit, but it is going to come down more. Thank you, Polo. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

HARLOW: Well, this morning, confusion, chaos at Twitter as it appears a mass exodus is under way right now. Many employees are choosing to leave the company there, rejecting the new owner, Elon Musk's ultimatum that people have to work, quote, extremely hardcore or leave. Our Camila Bernal joins us outside of Twitter headquarters in San Francisco. There's a lot of palace intrigue about what's going on, but the reality is these are the lives and livelihoods of thousands of people.

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Poppy, good morning. And people who spent a lot of years at this company tell me I am heartbroken just watching what is going on. Will Elon Musk keep this company going? That's, of course, the question on everyone's mind. Will he be able to keep the talent that he needs in the company to keep it running, or will he be able to bring in new engineers who essentially will start working on day one, even if maybe they don't understand Twitter.

There are so many questions. And it is going to be difficult for Elon Musk, but it is not impossible. We do know that there are many employees that maybe have to stay. The question is, how many are left? Those numbers are still unclear. But again, there are just people who have told me, look, I spent seven years at Twitter and I'm just watching on the sidelines heartbroken and really disappointed. Another employee posting something, saying he is in mourning despite having worked there for so many years. So it's a difficult process for a lot of these employees as they try to navigate the unknown with Elon Musk. Poppy?

HARLOW: And no one can go to the office? We're hearing they're closed, temporarily, locked up. Is that just in San Francisco, is that around the world? What do people do who opted to stay?

BERNAL: That is all of Twitter offices, including the headquarters here in San Francisco. There was an e-mail that went out to all employees, it was obtained by CNN, where it described closing the offices for today. It will be back open on Monday. My colleague, Oliver Darcy, spoke to Twitter employees who said there were many of them posting goodbye messages on the company's channel. So again, it's unclear how many people have left, but those that are choosing to stay or maybe have to stay will return to the offices on Monday to probably a very different office here in San Francisco and across the country. Poppy?


HARLOW: Camila Bernal, thank you for your reporting from San Francisco. Kaitlan?

COLLINS: All right, if you missed this yesterday, it was a pivotal day in Washington. After an historic run as one of the longest serving Democratic leaders in the House, Nancy Pelosi is stepping down from her leadership role.


NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA) HOUSE SPEAKER: I will not seek reelection to Democratic leadership in the next Congress. For me, the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic Caucus that I so deeply respect.


COLLINS: Almost the entire Democratic Caucus was in the room for those comments. There was a huge standing ovation after Pelosi announced that she's going to continue to serve in Congress but is no longer going to be in leadership. But of course, seeing her make that announcement only makes many in Washington, even Republicans who admit that she has a grasp on her caucus like few others do, note that she has had some incredibly notable moments during her time in leadership.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are a member of the House of Representatives.


NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA) HOUSE SPEAKER: For our daughters and our granddaughter, today we have broken the marble ceiling.

The American people have lost confidence in the president's policy. We will give his proposal a fair hearing, and in our hearings we will establish the ground truth of what is happening in Iraq.

But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in away from the fog of the controversy.

We believe that this act that was passed tonight was an all-American act, honoring our founders' vows to the future, and honoring our commitment to the future by making it a healthier one and a fiscally sound one.

Mr. President, please don't characterize the strength that I bring to this group as the leader of the House Democrats who just won a big victory.

I pray for the president all the time, and I tell him that. I pray for his safety and that of his family. Now we have to pray for his health, but this was a very serious meltdown on the part of the president.


PELOSI: If he comes, I want to punch him out. I've been waiting for this, for trespassing on the Capitol grounds. I'm going to punch him out and I'm going to go to jail, and I'm going to be happy.

We will not allow China to isolate Taiwan. And they may keep them from going there, but they're not keeping us from going to Taiwan.


LEMON: So let's talk about what's next. In terms of what's next for Democrats, CNN's Chris Wallace asks Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez about the future of her party's leadership. Here's what she said.


REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ, (D-NY): This is a discussion, frankly, not just about the speaker but, frankly, the speaker and the whole suite of leadership which is responsible for much of the decision making.

CHRIS WALLACE, CNN ANCHOR: Three 80-year-olds.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: And I do believe that we need to have not just generational shifts but potentially substantive shifts as well. I think that, and I hope that what we've seen, whether people think it's too left or too right or up or down or whatever it may be, that we shift in a direction where the leadership of the Democratic Party is less reliant on large and corporate donors and sponsorship, because that does have a shaping effect of our legislative priorities.


LEMON: And just to be clear, that interview was conducted before the Congressman, the House Speaker made her announcement yesterday.

Now, this morning, Congresswoman Katherine Clark announced her bid for the House Minority Whip, the number two position in the Democratic Caucus, a day after Nancy Pelosi and her two top lieutenants said that they would step down.

So there's lots to discuss this morning. Joining us now, Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell of Michigan. Good morning to you. Thank you so much. It was also reading Katherine Clark on the teleprompter, I have to say, because that's my mom's name and I know she's watching right now, so it's a whole weird thing going. So Congresswoman, thank you so much. I really appreciate you joining us. Listen, a lot has been talked about, what led to this decision, especially considering what happened with Nancy Pelosi's husband. And she spoke with our Anderson Cooper just two weeks ago right after that happened. Here's what she had to say, then I'll get your reaction.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Have you made a decision in your mind, whatever that decision might be?

NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA) HOUSE SPEAKER: I have to say my decision will be affected by what happened in the last week or two.

COOPER: Will your decision be impacted by the attack in any way?


COOPER: It will?



LEMON: Do you think that was a key factor for her in making her decision?


REP. DEBBIE DINGELL, (D-MI): Good morning, Don. I think there were probably many factors that went into this decision. I've known Nancy Pelosi a very long time. We are probably both women of the House. I was married to the longest serving -- I've been on both sides of Nancy Pelosi, and I also -- and it's much better being on the winning side of Nancy than being on the other side, let me tell you.


DINGELL: But I also know in the very human moments of Nancy Pelosi, she is -- she's tough, she's strong, she's determined, she takes no prisoners, she's courageous, but she's also empathetic and compassionate. And I can remember when John was dying, she called a few days before to make sure I was OK. When I was feeling overwhelmed, she said toughen up, this is a time you got to make decisions.


DINGELL: And that's -- but she cares. You'll see the pictures of her with -- I mean, and she did it with a loving way, but that's what she knows how to do. And, by the way, she knows how to listen to everybody, to hear the different perspectives and be able to bring something home and land it. But she never stopped being a mother, she never stopped being a friend, she never stopped being a spouse. This is a woman that had multiple balls in the air and embraced every role she had and did them well.

LEMON: I just have one more question for you. President Biden said that she's the most consequential speaker in history. Do you agree with that?

DINGELL: Well, first of all, she's the first woman to ever be speaker, and she will go down as one of the most historical figures in this country. Some historians may not agree, but when you look at what she has gotten accomplished and the number of bills she has done, working through wars and getting the Affordable Care Act. That's a bill I've watched people try it get done since they passed Social Security. My father-in-law introduced the first bill in 1940. She actually delivered and got it done after Medicare was passed in 65. You can go through what she's done with Joe Biden and gotten it all done. And she helped change the face of the Congress. As she said yesterday, there were barely any Democratic women in the Congress when she was elected, and there are 90 plus now. so she's made a real difference in many different ways.

HARLOW: We should remind people, you took office when your now late husband retired after 60 years of service. And so hearing her say that to you in that moment as you were losing him must have been incredibly meaningful. And you've talked about her as someone, you've called her a giant of history who opened the doors wider for all of us. And what I'm struck by and I think is important for a lot of women around America that might want to hear this morning, she didn't come to Congress until she was 47. She had five kids. And I think a reminder to all of us who might be trying to do it all at once with kids, there are chapters, right. And she had this extraordinary chapter after raising her kids.

DINGELL: She does. But I'm going to tell you something else. As women, I worked for General Motors for three decades. When I interviewed for the job, they said to me why would a woman want to work here? And we always feel like we have to be better than anybody else. Nancy, Nancy has taught us, you and you know what women bring? And she's the leader of it, you can juggle multiple balls in the air. You don't have to make a choice. We all think we have to be perfect. She did. She probably was perfect in many ways. But she taught us that we could embrace all of who we were. I mean, anyone that knows Nancy knows she never, ever wasn't a grandmother or a mother or any -- she never ran away. She embraced that.

HARLOW: I think we have a photo of her two times when she was standing there with the gavel with all of these kids around. Do we have that, guys? That's just an amazing photo I was hoping we could see, all around her, her grandchildren and others and others and others. Yes.

DINGELL: And I can remember when I was -- I tried to embrace and learn and follow, her and I'm pretty tough with the younger women, but you didn't even -- if you were going to be a mother, some of you guys -- Don, you never had to deal with this.


LEMON: A mom? OK.

DINGELL: You got judged, oh, she might have a baby. I can remember when I had a family member that was president of a bank and said to me, you know, Deb, I'd really like to hire more women, but they get pregnant. Nancy brought us through that period, and it has really opened the doors wider for women everywhere. And we cannot forget that.

COLLINS: Congresswoman, while we have you here, we're talking about the historic role of Pelosi and that announcement yesterday. We also got news out of Washington overnight from the White House side, which is that the Biden administration has decided to grant immunity to the Saudi crown prince.


This is about a U.S. legal case. And basically, they're saying that that he's exempt for it, that he has immunity from it. And of the case was related to the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which we should note, the administration has said he ordered, can you think of a good reason that the Saudi Crown Prince should have immunity in this case?

DINGELL: I was so -- I'm going to be very blunt. I was stunned when I read it this morning. And I have already -- was texting my staff very early about trying to understand what the issues were. So, I think -- I think it's very complicated. But I am very disturbed by some of the things we say. So, I want to -- before I go off on one of my -- whatever, I really do want to understand the issues and have asked to get the details of what this finding is. So --

COLLINS: I know this is --

DINGELL: -- or why they're doing it.

COLLINS: This is important to you. You know, you've talked about his murder a lot. You once said human rights and freedom of expression must always be a priority for the United States of America. And so, I guess the question is, you know, the State Department told our colleague, Alex Marquardt, this was purely a legal decision. But don't you think the State Department and the White House could have intervened on policy grounds to prevent this exception for someone who they believe is responsible for so grisly of a murder of someone who was just writing about the truth, and was executed -- or living out the First Amendment?

DINGELL: You know, we've got -- I want to understand what the legal grounds are. And you know, I get very -- look, I have had a student that was headed for the University of Michigan that was arrested at the airport several years ago, that was beheaded for participating in -- I have another man from Michigan right now that has been detained. These -- and then we can talk about the war in Yemen, and what is happening there. I'm very disturbed by all of these things. I try to be thoughtful. I try to have my facts, but I am -- I can't turn my head. I need to understand what these are. And these are human rights violations. And I mean, we know that somebody was murdered, so I'm obviously not comfortable this morning. And I want to understand why they did what they did.

COLLINS: You say you want to understand it. So far, do you know of any legal grounds where this makes sense to you?

DINGELL: I haven't read it. So, I'm not going to -- I'm one that has learned, at this point in my life, let's find out what the facts are.


DINGELL: I know a lot of people don't believe in facts these days, but I want to see what --

COLLINS: We definitely do. So, we appreciate that.

DINGELL: Yes. So, I want to --

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: You're reading my mind with the facts. And so, I think it's -- yes, it's the right thing to do.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Congressman Dingell, thank you for that. And you are welcome to come back if you do want to talk about that more. We always enjoy having you. Thanks very much.

COLLINS: Yes, thank you so much.

LEMON: Good to see you.

DINGELL: Thank you. It's good to see all three of you.

LEMON: Thank you very much. Appreciate it. One day I might be a mom. You never know.

PARLOW: I meant -- I meant parent.


PARLOW: If you are -- thank you, Congresswoman. If you are looking to buy a ticket to Taylor Swift's Tour, you might be out of luck.

LEMON: Let your mom see, right?

PARLOW: Kaitlan, did you get tickets yet?


PARLOW: Nope. All right.

LEMON: Kaitlan is a huge Swiftie.


HARLOW: We'll talk about why Ticketmaster had to cancel today's public ticket sale, next.

COLLINS: I -- the level of theory over this is enormous.



COLLINS: This morning, there is even more bad blood between Taylor Swift fans and Ticketmaster. The online ticketing giant has now canceled public sales which are supposed to happen today for Swift's Eras Tour, saying that there are, quote, extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient ticket inventory to meet that demand. The abrupt change comes after the fiasco that happened on Tuesday when fans flooded the internet with complaints as a result of the Ticketmaster Web site crashing or freezing, meaning they were unable to purchase tickets during the presale despite having a code.

The feud between artists, fans, and Ticketmaster has been I knew it's been going on for decades. 1994, let's take you back. Pearl Jam took on Ticketmaster, testifying before Congress.


EDDIE VEDDER, VOCALIST OF PEARL JAM: It's not a T.V. studio. Josh, turn these lights out. It's a fucking rock concert. Ready? Do stand up.

All the members of Pearl Jam remember what it's like to be young and not have a lot of money. Although given our proper popularity, we can undoubtedly continue to sell out our concerts with ticket prices at that premium level. We have made a conscious decision that we do not want to put the price of our concerts out of the reach of our fans. Ticketmaster's exclusive agreements with most of the suitable venues and promoters has left most bands without any meaningful alternative for distributing tickets. This absence of any alternative in turn gives Ticketmaster the power to exercise excessive control. The result for our fans has been higher service charges, meaning effectively that they pay higher prices for their tickets.


HARLOW: That was '94. That complaint was quietly dismissed. Ticketmaster has grown. They acquired Live Nation. This summer, Bruce Springsteen fans were in an uproar after ticket prices for some shows jumped more than $5,000 because of dynamic pricing. We'll explain that. Earlier this fall, Blink 182 singer Mark Hoppus tried to purchase tickets to his own tour after hearing fan complaints about Ticketmaster, and he was unsuccessful. All right. Is this a moment of reckoning for Ticketmaster? Let's bring in our chief business correspondent.

LEMON: Wow, there's a lot of people at this table.

HARLOW: Do you feel outnumbered to women? Chief business correspondent/anchor Christine Romans.



HARLOW: And Rahel Solomon, our CNN business correspondent. I'm trying to keep the conversation going here, staying on topic. I mean, I think -- like, it's about time.

ROMANS: It's a pre-sale fail that really got a lot of attention here. These were verified Twitter or Taylor Swift fans who thought they were going in to get their presale ticket, and we're left in long lines. They got -- this happened to you? They had all kinds of --


HARLOW: Did it -- did it happen to Kaitlan? Yes.

ROMANS: -- mixed messages, e-mails. I mean, all these e-mails, it was just -- it was a complete and utter mess. And now, you've got these calls. Like, look, this company is too big. There's not any competition, and they totally screwed up here. The company says, this is because of Taylor Swift, demand for her.

HARLOW: Wait, they're blaming her?

ROMANS: Well, no, they're saying there was such demand for this -- for this event. One of the investors, Liberty Media CEO, said that you could have filled 900 stadiums with the -- with the demand that happened that day.

COLLINS: But this is my question. They knew this. It's not like Taylor Swift became popular yesterday. And this is such a tour that like, because it's the Eras Tour, it's all the different albums, because each one is so different if you're a Taylor Swift fan like me. And so, that's why whenever they announced this one, my sister and I were like, we have to go. And, like, it's not like they didn't know there was going to be this huge demand. I think that's the problem people have.

ROMANS: Moms like me across America are the biggest failures in our household, you know, because my kids are like, what, did you get tickets? Like, no, I didn't get tickets. Well, we get them on StubHub. Like, you cannot get them on StubHub. Look at StubHub. I'm not taking them to MetLife Stadium for $5,000 apiece. I mean, that's ridiculous. 5,744 is the highest on StubHub. So, the bots, I guess, got in here, too. Correct me if I'm wrong, they're not supposed to be there. They got in there, and then the algorithms that buy up seats, and then sell them on the third party. That was -- that was the game.

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It's a great point. I mean, this was such a massive failure, because look, we've spoken to StubHub, for example, yesterday. I gave an interview with (INAUDIBLE) He said that this was not supposed to happen the way it did. I spoke to the TickPick co-founder who's a secondary market and asked, is this surprising to you? I mean, walk me through the dynamics of this. Why did this happen? He said, it is shocking to see the type of failure we saw.

So, I think on the one hand, it was the Taylor Swift effect, because there was so much demand and Ticketmaster has come out to say they've never sold as many tickets as they have in one day. So, wait was part of that. But it was also Ticketmaster is not new to this, right? I mean, Ticketmaster is not new to this. So, how did they not have the systems in place? How did they -- how are they not innovative enough, which is part of the reason why critics are saying, you're too big. ROMANS: And they're not blaming Taylor Swift. They're blaming the demand created by Taylor Smith. She hasn't -- she hasn't been -- what, 2018 is the last time --


LEMON: (INAUDIBLE) Well, it's because she hasn't toured since 2018. But we did have a pandemic, so I mean, that's -- that was the reason.

COLLINS: Yes. Has she weighed in on this?


ROMANS: She has not.

SOLOMON: And I find that really interesting.

ROMANS: That's what -- when she says something, it'll be priceless.

LEMON: It's really -- I can't --

HARLOW: She's waiting for the right --


LEMON: I can't relate because I haven't been to a concert in so long. Like, you know, call me when there's a --

HARLOW: Aren't we going to a concert next week?

LEMON: We're going to Billy Joel.

HARLOW: All of us, we're going to go to Billy Joel.

COLLINS: Billy Joel tickets, don't it mess up (INAUDIBLE)


ROMANS: It's a great -- that's a great show, by the way.

LEMON: Yes. I've gone. That's why we're going back. We're going again, but you know, Diana Ross, or Billy Joel, Elton John. I'm old. You can see where I'm going with this. If Whitney was still around, or Michael Jackson, then I would be going.

ROMANS: There are, say, ears in middle schools across America right now.

LEMON: I know.

ROMANS: High schools and in our office. You know, I mean, it's for Taylor Swift.

COLLINS: Lawmakers, though, are -- it's not just everyone complaining on Twitter and Instagram about this. Lawmakers are also saying, you know, we've been highlighting this problem, David Cicilline, for a long time.

SOLOMON: And they have. And they have. And I think that's a great point, Kaitlan. In fact, I spoke to Diana Moss, she's the president of the American Antitrust Institute. And she said that beyond just the complaining, there are a few things that need to happen here. One, there needs to be an antitrace -- antitrust case opened at the DOJ. And two, legislatively, there are things in terms of policy that could be done, in terms of rules of the road, in terms of ticketing, transparency, in terms of dealing with the bot problem, in terms of just, you know, addressing the resale market. So, I think, look, there is a lot of pent up demand for concerts because of the pandemic. And so, the question is, does Ticketmaster do anything to address this? Because look, I mean, I think Beyonce is supposed to be going to concert at summer.

LEMON: I forgot about Beyonce. I forgot. I mean --

SOLOMON: And you know, the Swifties were a force. The Beyhive.

ROMANS: The Tennessee's Attorney General has opened a probe, so there are -- we do have one attorney general already looking into this.

LEMON: All right. Can I get a word in now?


LEMON: I'm sorry. The guys are laughing. I'm only kidding.

COLLINS: Name a Taylor Swift song.


LEMON: I'm only kidding. Is that -- is that it? OK. I don't know any Taylor Swift songs. I don't know, was that (INAUDIBLE)


COLLINS: Come on, seriously?

HARLOW: We're not going to commercial -- we are not going to commercial until you name a Taylor Swift song.

ROMANS: We are never ever ever getting back together, Don?

LEMON: You never ever ever getting back together. I know that.

COLLINS: But you didn't name the song.

LEMON: Never getting back together.

COLLINS: Can you name a Beyonce song?

SOLOMON: I was shaking. Hey, get off.

LEMON: Are you kidding me? Crazy in Love. That's my favorite.


SOLOMON: (INAUDIBLE) There you go.

LEMON: And the other one, uh-oh, uh-oh, uh-oh, oh, no, no. So, anyway --

COLLINS: You weren't awake before that. You are now.

LEMON: If you like it, put a ring on it.

COLLINS: Christine, Rahel, we will free you from this --

LEMON: Right. Look, there's a lot.

COLLINS: -- American Idol concert that's happening.

LEMON: But they're playing us out. Like a music -- like an awards thing.

COLLINS: For good reason.

LEMON: Donald Trump going to sing Herschel Walker's chances in the Georgia Senate runoff election. It appears Democrats are banking on it.

COLLINS: Topic change.

LEMON: You never ever ever getting back together.