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Western New York Slammed with More Than 5 Feet Of Snow; Garland Names Jack Smith Special Counsel For Trump Criminal Probes; Vice President Harris Meets with Chinese President Xi; Power Restored Across Ukraine After Russian Missile Attacks; FIFA President Defends Alcohol Ban at World Cup Stadiums. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired November 19, 2022 - 06:00   ET




AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone and welcome to CNN this morning. I'm Amara Walker.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Martin Savidge in for Boris Sanchez. Right now, millions under alert is a massive lake effect snow storms slams into parts of New York jumping more than five feet of snow in some target areas. Let the latest forecast.

WALKER: Plus, chilling new details emerge out of the investigation into the killings of four Idaho college students. We're going to tell you what police are revealing about the moments before their deaths.

SAVIDGE: And former President Trump hits back after the Justice Department appointed special counsel to two federal investigations, what it means for his possible legal troubles.

WALKER: And soccer fans gear up for a kickoff at the World Cup, but it is not without controversy and we're going to have the latest on the games ahead.

Welcome everyone, it is Saturday, November 19. Thank you so much for waking up with us and Marti, thank you so much for waking up with us as well. It's good to see you.

SAVIDGE: Good to be with you. Great to be with all of you as well. You like snow?

WALKER: I do because I've only lived in it for a couple of years, but I can't imagine living in a lot of snow because you, you know a very well.

SAVIDGE: I do know it and I used to think it couldn't steal enough but Buffalo it snows enough.

WALKER: Yes. And speaking of Buffalo that's where we begin this morning in western New York where millions of people are getting slammed by a massive lake effect snowstorm, more than five and a half feet of snow covered the town of Orchard Park near Buffalo and more areas have seen just over an inch of snow.

SAVIDGE: The winter storm has been blamed for at least two deaths official say the two people died after suffering cardiac arrest while shoveling or blowing snow. In an area that's familiar with heavy snowfall officials are still taking no chances the state of emergency is in place for 11 counties there and Erie County issued a combination of travel bans and travel advisories to keep people off the roads.

The storm has forced airlines to cancel flights it's knocked on power to thousands of customers. And the region is actually bracing for even more.

WALKER: Talk about a white outright, CNN Gloria Pazmino joining us now from Buffalo. Hey there, Gloria. People up there they're used to the cold and a lot of snow, but this snowfall is historic, right?

GLORIA PAZMINO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Amara. Good morning, Martin. As you said the people of Buffalo are used to conditions like this here. You can see just how deep the snow is here. But this is already a historic weather event here in Buffalo overnight. Several inches of snow have fallen on the downtown area which is where we are. The Southtowns got pummeled at yesterday and those conditions have just been rapidly shifting hour to hour.

You mentioned Orchard Park, home of the Buffalo Bills. The stadium looks like a bowl of sugar, it is filled with snow. The game that was scheduled for tomorrow has been moved to Detroit and officials here asking residents to take this very seriously. This is a very dangerous storm. It is extremely cold out and this is that kind of heavy, wet packed in snow as you mentioned. Two people sadly passing away as a result of the storm and officials asking residents here to stay off the road overnight.

Several people had to be rescued here in Erie County, which has instituted travel bans and are asking people to just stay at home for as long as possible while the storm passes so that those cleanup crews can get out there and start clearing the roads. But it's going to be several more hours if not days before things can start getting back to normal here conditions again, shifting very quickly. A lot of snow and very difficult conditions out here.

SAVIDGE: All right, Gloria Pazmino, thank you very much for giving us a look at the snow that is piling up still in Buffalo. CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar is live in the CNN Weather Center. And Allison the area we know is bracing for more snow. You know one of the interesting things in the video there was he saw a front-end loaders. That snow is so heavy they can't really plow it. They actually have to move it and get it out of there.


ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, and one thing I will point out and we were talking about this this morning is that, you know, usually you'll take all of that snow and put it say in like shopping mall or, or shopping plaza parking lots. But with Black Friday coming up the areas around Buffalo they've had to find alternate places to put a lot of that snow because they don't want to block people from being able to get to the shopping plazas later this week.

So having to kind of be creative, because we're not just talking a few inches here, you're talking feet of snow. And yes, there's even more on top of it.

Look at all of these areas that are still expecting snow. It's not just New York, it's also areas of Ohio, Pennsylvania, even Michigan, also looking at additional snow, some of those heavy bands still just to the north of Buffalo right now. So they're getting a little bit of a break. But we expect that snow to shift back into Buffalo again by tonight.

Here's what it looks like. Again, this is the city of Buffalo right here in the foreground. This is that wall of snow coming in. So again, right where the camera is, it's not snowing, but maybe about a mile or two away. It's just coming down in blankets at that point. Buffalo itself picking up just about 14 inches of snow that set a daily record for yesterday.

But here's the thing, this was that line. And you can see again, just how little it moves. But that little movement makes a huge difference in terms of totals, 14 inches in Buffalo to over 60 inches for places like Hamburg, Blasdell, and Orchard Park, which already is just sitting at about 66 inches of snow.

Now for those of you who aren't familiar with where those are and about here's those bull's eyes. OK, basically stretching from Buffalo down to Erie, and then the area around Watertown, that's where we had our highest focus points of that snow.

But we also have more snow expected for areas of Wisconsin, Michigan, again, across portions of upstate New York as well. Yes, we could be looking at, Martin and Amara, an up to an additional two feet of snow on top of what we've already had.

WALKER: Yes, that's paralyzing.

SAVIDGE: Yes, they covered this November they had in 2014. It's like a conveyor belt of snow just falling them.

WALKER: That's incredible. And just remarkable images as well. Thank you so much, Allison Chinchar.

So joining us now is Joe Raab. He is the Director of Environment, Health and Safety at the University of Buffalo. Good morning to you, Joe, thank you so much for joining us.

You know, first off, you know, there are people who live in Buffalo who may obviously are quite used to the snow. This is historic, as we've been saying. But there are also students who just moved to Buffalo, this might be their first snowstorm and they don't know what winters are like there. What are you doing to help them through this massive snowstorm?

JOE RAAB, DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF BUFFALO, ENVIRONMENT, HEALTH AND SAFETY: Yes, so a part of my job at UB is to look at storms before they're going to happen and to evaluate the storm and make sure that we're ready for it. And we do a lot of preparations before the storm. We have over 30,000 students at UB. And about 6,000 of them are in our dormitories, in our residence halls.

So, we have to make sure that we have critical staffing levels that we have the dining halls available. We try to open libraries as much as possible. We did end up canceling classes and activities for Friday and Saturday. So we're trying to do as much as we can to make life enjoyable for the students who are in the dormitories.

They have to study because a lot of examinations still have to take place before the end of the semester, our fall break starts just in a couple days here. We have Monday and Tuesday left of classes and then the students will be off after that.

WALKER: Well, at least they have no other excuse but to stay indoors and study. Right. And I like Martin described it. I mean, we both understand and have been through a lot of snowstorms in our lives. And it is like a conveyor belt the way that the snow does come down. So subsequently there is a driving ban as I understand it, correct?

RAAB: Correct. Yes, the driving ban is mostly for the southern county -- southern part of the county. There's a driving advisory in the northern areas of the county. And most of our campuses are more toward the northern end. But there is a ban and we tried to respect that ban, especially when planning that was part of our decision making for canceling the classes and activities for the past couple of days.

WALKER: And what about food and other essentials for those 6,000 students in the dorms? Are they do they have access to that?

RAAB: They do. Yes, our dining facilities are open. We have a dining and shops unit that actually prepares for these types of things. And they make sure that they have multiple days of food and supplies for the students. So, we try to keep things as normal as possible even when these types of events happen. And we know we're in for at least a few of these events every year in Buffalo.

WALKER: And best of luck to you, Joe Raab thank you so much for keeping us updated.

RAAB: Thank you. Thank you.


SAVIDGE: Just days after former President Trump announced his third White House run, the Department of Justice appointed Jack Smith as special prosecutor to oversee the federal investigations into his role leading up to the January 6 insurrection and into those classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago.

Special Counsel Smith has held positions in law enforcement across the U.S. and on the world stage. Most recently, he worked at the International Criminal Court at The Hague, where he investigated and prosecuted war crimes. CNN's Evan Perez has more. EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Amara and Martin, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed war crimes prosecutor Jack Smith to serve as special counsel to oversee two criminal investigations related to Donald Trump. The decision was triggered in part by the former president's decision in recent days to declare a third run for as a presidential candidate.

Smith most recently worked as a prosecutor in The Hague, overseeing Kosovo war crimes. He'll take over investigation stemming from the alleged mishandling of classified documents which the FBI retrieved in a search from Trump's Mar-a-Lago home, as well as portions of the January 6 investigation dealing with Trump's efforts to impede the transfer of power after the 2020 election.

Garland said that the important appointment was intended to show that the investigations will be done with independence.


MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Based on recent developments, including the former president's announcement that he is a candidate for president in the next election, and the sitting President stated intention to be a candidate as well. I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint a special counsel. Such an employee -- an appointment underscores the department's commitment to both independence and accountability in particularly sensitive matters.


PEREZ: Smith is expected to set up an office separate from the Justice Department with prosecution teams and FBI agents currently handling the investigation reporting directly to him. In a statement, Smith said 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 whatever -- to whatever outcome the facts and the law dictate. A spokesman for Trump attack the appointment as a political stunt. Amara, Martin.

WALKER: All right, Ivan, thank you so much for that. New details this morning into the investigation of that brutal stabbing of four University of Idaho students as police are continuing to search for the killer this morning. Authorities say the college students were likely asleep before they were attacked and that each person was stabbed multiple times likely from the same weapon.

SAVIDGE: Such a horrible story, but according to the coroner, stab wounds on the hands of at least one of the victims appears to be defensive. That indicates a possible struggle. CNN's Veronica Miracle has the latest on the investigation.


VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Video of three of the University of Idaho stabbing victims posted on Kaylee Goncalves's TikTok account shows the roommates all pretending to be each other giving a glimpse of their friendship and their lives together in the three story house just weeks before they were brutally murdered.

On the night of the murders, Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle were at the Sigma Chi fraternity at the University of Idaho between 8:00 and 9:00 pm. Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalvess visited a local sports bar from 10:00 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. then a food truck around 1:40 am. Police releasing a map showing those exact locations for the first time hoping new leads will break the case.

AARON SNELLL, IDAHO STATE POLICE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: We believe that releasing information about the location of the victims throughout the night might generate some information that we can follow up on.

MIRACLE: Police say all of the victims were home by 1:45am. Their bodies found on the second and third floors of the home. Is the first floor where the roommates were sleeping?

SNELL: Yes, we have now identified where the roommates were.

MIRACLE: But the biggest question is who killed them and why? There are still no suspects.

SNELL: We still contend that this was targeted. We cannot divulge the information of why we believe that or how that is integral to this investigation.

MIRACLE: Police are clarifying why they're not releasing more information about the victim's roommates who were at home during the attacks.

SNELL: In a case someone may potentially be a victim, they may be a witness or they may be a suspect. In this case, we don't know what the roommates are exactly at this time.

MIRACLE: Zana Kernodle is father saying he talked to his daughter the night she died.

JEFFREY KERODLE, FATHER OF XANA KERNODLE: I heard from here just before we went out. I think midnight is the last time I heard from her and she was fine. They were just hanging out at home.


MIRACLE: Her father too distraught to be interviewed on camera, saying he has learned that his daughter had defensive wounds showing she thought her attacker.

KERODLE: Bruises, you know, maybe occurred by the knife, or whatever. She's a tough kid. Whatever she wanted to do, she knew she could do it.

MIRACLE: The county coroner confirmed to CNN that some of the students likely had defensive stab wounds to the hands. And there were no signs of sexual assault or an issue of drugs or alcohol.

But each student had looked for something. CATHY MABBUTT, LATAH COUNTY CORONER: That's correct. That's really the main thing that I saw was a lot of done.

MIRACLE: The victims' friends and co-workers say now they just want to honor their memories.

IRELAND DUNNING, CO-WORKER OF VICTIMS: They just brought light to the room that they were in, they were always positive.

MIRACLE (on camera): Police say there were no signs of forced entry into the home. And now Xana Kernodle's father telling our affiliate that in order to get inside the house, you either have to know the door code to get in through the front or go through the sliding glass door in the back. So he presumed that whoever did this knew how to get inside the home. Veronica Miracle, CNN, Moscow, Idaho.


WALKER: Just a horrific story that we will stay on top of. All right. Still ahead, as Republicans deal with the fallout of the midterms, all eyes are on Georgia as Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker get ready for a runoff election.

SAVIDGE: Plus, Ukraine braces for harsh winter as Russia continues to take in the country's infrastructure. We're laying on the ground and kid with the latest. Plus, from gas to food to, yes, everything in between Americans across the country have been getting hit with high prices for months. Now, there could be some signs of relief in sight. We'll talk about that just ahead.



WALKER: The Republicans narrow House majority is posing new obstacles for the party. Kevin McCarthy is facing a challenge from hardline conservatives in his bid to because speaker in the fallout over the GOP's midterm, really lackluster performance, that infighting threatens to spill over into Georgia where all eyes are on the Senate runoff between Democrat -- Democratic senator Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker.

SAVIDGE: Today, Governor Brian Kemp will hit the campaign trail to boost Walker before voters head to the polls which of course will be next month. Meantime, state Democrats and Warnock's campaign scored a victory when a judge overturned a restriction that would have prevented early voting from taking place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Joining us now to share her insights on what is a crucial and pivotal races politics reporter for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Shannon McCaffrey. Good morning to you.

SHANNON MCCAFFREY, POLITICS REPORTER, ATLANTA JOURNAL CONSTITUTION: Good morning. SAVIDGE: So, let's talk about this race. And I want to start off with something I asked you just a minute ago, which was, you know, now that the Senate has already been decided, does that take a lot of the pressure off this and who benefits?

MCCAFFREY: Well, yes, it absolutely takes the pressure off. And I think who benefits is an open question. I mean, the Warnock folks are hoping that this will motivate their people to come back out and to all to give them a bit of a margin to give them a bit of breathing room. I mean, we've seen that Biden's agenda really passed by very, very close margins, he had to get every single Democrat on board.

So having, you know, an extra so to speak, would be very helpful for him as to get his agenda moving forward. You know, and Republicans are thinking that, you know, it's it -- as we've seen, Democrats have been difficult to pull together. So having one more Republican there would help. But it's a bit of a toss-up. I mean, it really just depends on how you look at it. I think conventional wisdom would say Warnock but, you know, both sides can make their case on that.

WALKER: I guess it isn't surprising, I guess that Brian Kemp, the governor here in Georgia, who easily won reelection is now campaigning with Herschel Walker, even though he kept his distance --

SAVIDGE: He did.

WALKER: -- you know, during the midterms. Right. So, how -- I mean, so clearly in about phase, how big of a boost this is going to give to Herschel Walker?

MCCAFFREY: I think it will provide a significant boost to him. I mean, we saw Brian Kemp perform really, really well in the midterms. He really crushed Stacey Abrams, much more, I think, than many people thought he would going into the race. And so I think he gives Walker a certain seal of approval with his voters. I mean, it was one of the most interesting things we saw come out of the midterms was there were about 200,000 voters in Georgia, who voted for Brian Kemp, but did not vote for Herschel Walker.

And so he needs to help Herschel Walker get some of those voters back out --

WALKER: In the suburbs.

MCCAFFREY: In the suburbs. Yes. And in rural areas, too. But it's notable that today, there'll be in Cobb County, you know, which is one of the most important suburbs in the Atlanta area.

SAVIDGE: So this is that kind of split ticket scenario we were talking about. Is it possible that some of those who, you know, divided their vote between Republican a Democrat and Republican governor may not even bother showing up or not even voting?

MCCAFFREY: And that's the big fear among Republicans, right? So I mean, runoffs are all about turnout. Very few voters are persuadable at this point, you're not really going to change hearts and minds, really, you've just got to get your people back out. And so what they're trying to do is motivate some of those people to come out on behalf justice Herschel Walker, which is a hard sell.

WALKER: So you were just saying the camp effect may be positive for Walker. But what about the Trump effect? I do want to play a new ad that Senator Warnock just put out against Walker, take a look.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: We must all work very hard for a gentleman and a great person named Herschel Walker, a fabulous human being. He was an incredible athlete, he'll be an even better Senator get out and vote for Herschel Walker.


WALKER: So it's quite a simple ad, right. Stop Donald Trump, stop Herschel Walker clearly making that connection. Warnock is making a referendum, right, on Trump with this ad. Is that going to be effective?

MCCAFFREY: He sure trying to. I mean, they turn that ad around so fast after Trump made his announcement on Tuesday was on the airwaves almost immediately.


You know, I think, again, when you're looking at turnout, right, if you're looking just at just those sort of hardcore voters who are going to come back out again for a runoff in December, you know, they are going to be influenced by this because you're either talking about hardcore Democrats who are going to be very, very turned off by Trump, you know, or independents who may, you know, may be on the fence, but once they see Trump, they're going to go, oh, no, I can't, I can't do that.

So they're definitely trying to remind folks of that connection, and especially after the results Tuesday where Donald Trump didn't do very well, you know, most of his endorse candidates lost. It also links him to that sort of losing side of things that, you know, just didn't do well for Donald Trump on Tuesday.

SAVIDGE: Do you expect Trump to go on the campaign trail?

MCCAFFREY: You know, that's like the million dollar question. I think before Tuesday, I might have said that was more likely, I think after Tuesday, it's very unlikely.

SAVIDGE: OK. All right. Shannon McCaffrey, always good to see you. Thank you very much for joining us this morning.

WALKER: Thank you for joining us.

MCCAFFREY: Thank you.

WALKER: Appreciate your time. Well, Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was a rising star in the Democratic Party when she was shot at a political event in 2011. Well, a new CNN film tells her inspiring comeback story. Here's a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a former member of Congress here Gabby Giffords, who's going to give a brief message. Ms. Giffords.

GABBY GIFFORDS, FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Thank you for inviting me here today. Speaking is difficult, but I need to say something important, violence is a big problem. Too many children are dying. Too many children. We must do something.


WALKER: Be sure to watch "Gabby Giffords Won't Back Down" airs tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. only on CNN. Back after this.



SAVIDGE: Vice President Kamala Harris speaking for the first time as vice president with China's President Xi today. Harris and Xi had a brief meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Bangkok.

WALKER: In a tweet, the Vice President said she spoke to Xi about maintaining open lines of communication between the two countries, reiterating President Biden's message from earlier this week when he met with the Chinese leader.

Now, Chinese state media reporting President Xi told Harris he hoped the U.S. and China could bring their relations back on a, quote, "healthy and stable track."

SAVIDGE: In Ukraine today, energy officials say that they have restored power to much of the country, but there are many regions that are still facing emergency shutdowns in limited supply. That is after Russian missile attacks knocked out power for over 10 million people.

WALKER: CNN's Nic Robertson is live in Kyiv for us. Hi, there, Nic. What can you -- what can you tell us about the latest?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, it's an improvement over Thursday. Thursday, of course, as missile strikes induced a number across the country, a number of instant outages. And what energy officials here are saying is that they've managed to bring the country sort of back into balance, regain control of the system of energy around the country.

But that said, there are still thousands upon thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions who do not have regular electricity at the moment. There are still in 17 regions of the country, people are going without electricity for four or eight hours at a time, during periods of blackouts. What we heard from one energy official say was that the country needs

a period of about 10 to 12 days to be able to repair the electrical power grid to the point that it can resist Russia's continuing air strikes on it. Because what Russia is doing is a war of attrition here. It takes out one bit of the grid, then a couple of days later, comes back and takes out more.

So on Thursday, that knocked 10 million people instantaneously off power. They have the possibility of that power back, but the reality is, of course, that so many people don't have electricity in their homes, and we've been seeing that in parts of the country where people are preparing for Winter, they're trying to get wood, they're trying to get wood substitutes so that they've got some in to heat their homes.

Gas is a rare commodity here. A few people have it in some areas of the country, but the further away you get from the bigger cities and the closer you get to the front lines in the east, the more desperate the situation becomes. We were in the city of Kramatorsk, and there you see lines of 2,000 pensioners, mostly pensioners or the poor lining up to get free bread handouts.

They get two loaves of bread for a week. So, not much food there for them. And in their homes, they're trying to find places to shelter, in bunkers, in their gardens or indeed in basements of buildings. And we spoke to one old lady, a pensioner, she said that she was born into the war in World War II. And she was afraid that she was going to die in this war.

Because all she has to heat the basement of the apartment building she's in, that she shares with dozens of other people is one tiny heat room. I said to her, well, what happens when the electricity goes off? And she said well, we just put another coat on, put a blanket around us and go to bed. This is how people are trying to get through the Winter here.


So all these strikes on the electrical grid, the fact that it's not up and running properly, it's really affecting the weakest and the older members of society here the most. And many regional government officials worried there could be a death toll for the older population just because of the cold.

WALKER: I'm so glad you're talking about that because often times we're talking about the big picture, the military strategy on both sides, and you know, what we're -- what you're emphasizing is the daily life. It's a struggle. Food, electricity, gas, and we can see it's Winter there. Snow behind you. Appreciate your reporting, Nic Robertson, thank you very much for that.

All right, joining me now to discuss all of this is CNN military analyst, retired Major General "Spider" Marks. Good to see you again this morning, sir. So, first off, just give us the big picture here in terms of the state of this conflict especially in light of just, you know, days ago, Ukrainians did declare victory when they were able to retake Kherson. How do things stand now?

JAMES SPIDER MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, Amara, thanks. What Nic -- If I can. What Nic just described is what over -- is really overarching this fight. Look, warfare is a human endeavor that affects all aspects of society, and he described that so incredibly well. And so, this is the brutality. This is the nature of warfare.

So back to your question, look, the Ukrainians are doing magnificently at a tactical level. Their engagements with the Russians have really demonstrated their creativity, their ability to adapt, their ability to really out-think the Russians. The Russians are very stodgy, very hierarchical, and they have really one thing that they do well, and that is launch artillery.

The Ukrainians are doing magnificently, and they -- and Russians departed Kherson. It was a foolish move on their part to take Kherson because they were isolated on the other side of the Dnipro River. And you can't supply it, you can reinforce it across, you can't conduct operations from there, and they realized that they were at great risk.

So they came back across the river. That doesn't mean that Kherson is back entirely in Ukrainian hands. I could see where that would be contested again going forward. So the nature of this fight is just moving forward, and the biggest conditions right now that the Ukrainians have to deal with, and as described by Nic is certainly the weather.

But also, the victories that they are achieving right now are setting the conditions for what might be a negotiated settlement, not a fully negotiated settlement, but at least maybe a ceasefire in the near term that then gets an opportunity to grow and establish itself so that there might be -- might be a little bit of trust.

There would have to be a third party involved obviously to monitor that, but there might be some trust between warring partners or at least, they can cut down on the killing. That's the main effort right now, and Ukraine is in a good position to move forward with the discussions like that.

WALKER: Yes, well, then let's talk more about that because you know, General Mark Milley, the Joint Chiefs of Staff General, you know, he was saying this week that the Ukrainians are in a position of strength at this time, and this is not going to end with a military victory, but some kind of negotiations. And so, the time is now?

MARKS: It is. Set the conditions now. Make sure -- you know, those behind-the-scenes conversations that are taking place at multiple levels between the Secretary of Defense -- the United States Secretary of Defense and his counterpart in Russia is certainly the NATO parties are discussing this.

Take advantage of the victories that Ukraine has right now, and acknowledge their great success, their sovereignty, they haven't lost their independence. Look, Ukraine still remains an independent and sovereign nation, and they stared down this threat from Russia which nobody thought was possible except those who understood the Ukrainians.

That this in fact, was a possible outcome. But they are not -- I don't think they have the momentum to push the Russians back across the border established before 2014. And if you look at the geography of Crimea without getting into all the military tactics, that's a tough target.

There are only a couple of passageways down, it would be very difficult to try to conduct an assault operation, whether it's by sea, by air, by using the passage ways down there. You take that, how do you isolate that? How do you reduce that? How do you get the Russians to depart?

That becomes a very tough nut to crack. You can do it, of course, you can do it. Everything is possible --

WALKER: Hello --

MARKS: But that become very costly.

WALKER: Although, a little piece of optimism there, that there -- this could be an opening first-time kind of attack on both sides. General Spider Marks, we're going to have to leave it there. Thank you so much.

MARKS: Thank you very much.

SAVIDGE: Coming up, as inflation eases, President Biden is praising the nation's economic progress with gas and food prices though still high, just how soon will Americans start to feel this slowdown? We'll talk about that next.



SAVIDGE: President Biden touting a series of good economic headlines in a new meeting with America's top business and union leaders. In a virtual meeting, Friday, the president emphasized new signs that inflation may be easing after months of sky-high prices. CNN's Matt Egan has more for us.

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Amara and Martin, President Biden on Friday touted what he described as quote, "an extraordinary two years of progress with the economy.


Biden however considered it will take time to get inflation back to normal levels. Now, the good news is that inflation is cooling off. The bad news is that it's still way too high. A new report this week showed that wholesale prices jumped 8 percent year-over-year in October. Now, normally, that would not qualify as good news.

But we are not in normal times. This was the slowest pace for wholesale inflation in 15 months, and a big improvement from nearly 12 percent back in March. Now, gas prices is one of the biggest sore spots for consumers, they are once again dropping.

According to AAA, the national average for a regular gas has moved solidly lower over the past week and the past month, but Americans are still feeling sticker shock at the grocery store, and that will be especially painful this Thanksgiving. The average Thanksgiving fees for 10 people will cost just over $60 this year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Now, that is up 20 percent from a year ago and nearly 37 percent from two years ago. The Federal Reserve is fighting inflation by bumping up the cost of borrowing. The goal is to slow demand, giving supply a chance to catch up. Now, these rate hikes have sent mortgage rates skyrocketing.

Though there was a bit of good news on that front this week. The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage has tumbled from 7.1 percent to 6.6 percent in the latest week. That is the biggest one-week drop since 1981. Listen, 6 percent or 7 percent mortgage rates are still relatively high, and this volatility is making it hard for buyers and sellers to know what to do next.

Meanwhile, some cracks may be emerging in the jobs market. Pink slips are flying in the tech world. Tens of thousands of jobs have been cut, Amazon alone is reportedly laying off 10,000 employees, streaming device maker Roku is the latest to announce significant job cuts.

But zooming out, the jobs market still looks healthy overall. Jobless claims unexpectedly dropped in the latest week, demand for workers remains strong. The hope is that inflation will ease off enough to allow the Federal Reserve to stop slamming the brakes on the economy with massive interest rate hikes. That would allow the historic progress in the jobs market to continue. Amara and Martin.

WALKER: Matt Egan, thank you so much. Well, guess what? We are just a day away from the World Cup. FIFA's President says those criticizing Qatar are hypocrites. More on that next.



WALKER: FIFA's president making a strong defense of its decision to ban alcohol from stadiums on the eve of the Qatar World Cup.

SAVIDGE: Andy Scholes is here with this morning's "BLEACHER REPORT". Good morning to you, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, guys. You know, as it stands right now, this might be one of the least rowdy World Cups we've had in a while --

WALKER: Yes --

SCHOLES: Since, you know, the fans can't drink any alcohol in the stadiums. That decision, it was made yesterday, just two days before the games are to start. FIFA President Gianni Infantino, he said this morning, it was actually a joint decision between FIFA and Qatar, and he said fans, well, they should be fine. They can still drink beer at the ten-plus fan zones.


GIANNI INFANTINO, PRESIDENT, FIFA: I think personally if for three hours a day, you cannot drink a beer, you will survive.


SCHOLES: Now, this tournament, it will be historic. This is the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East, but it's also, you know, mired in controversy with much of the build-up, focusing on human rights from the death of migrant workers and the conditions many have endured in Qatar to LGBTQ in women's rights. But Infantino thinks the West is being hypocritical for criticizing Qatar.


INFANTINO: I think for what we Europeans have been doing in the last 3,000 years around the world, we should be apologizing for the next 3,000 years before starting to give moral lessons. This moral lesson- giving, one-sided, it's just hypocrisy.


SCHOLES: Interesting comments there for sure. Now, play, it does open tomorrow, Qatar is going to host Ecuador, team USA will open play on Monday afternoon as they take on Wales. All right, Virginia's men's basketball team meanwhile playing for the first time since three Cavalier football players were killed on campus six days ago.

Players wore warm-up shirts, honoring Devin Chandler, D'Sean Perry and Lavel Davis Jr. prior to the game in Las Vegas. The 16th-ranked Cavs, they beat the number 5-ranked Baylor Bears, 86-79, and head coach, Tony Bennett honoring the victims afterwards.


TONY BENNETT, HEAD COACH, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA MEN'S TEAM: I want the coaching staff and players to know how much we love them. I really am -- one thing I know about Devin and D'Sean, well, those two men who had a hope in things other than this world. They were strong men of faith, and I believe they're rejoicing right now, and the pain is for the families that are left behind and all those that they touched. But it's not the way it's supposed to be.


SCHOLES: Yes, Virginia's football team won't be playing today, but other ACC programs will wear decals with the three players' numbers on them. The Washington Commanders meanwhile will also wear numbers on their helmets for tomorrow's game in Houston.

All right, and finally, the Bills canceling practice in Buffalo after more than 5.5 feet of snow fell at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park. The Bills, they're expected to fly to Detroit this afternoon after the game was moved to for their game with the Browns tomorrow.

Guys, why they didn't fly out before the storm came is beyond me. They made this decision on Thursday -- I mean, I don't know how they're going to get the players out of their homes.

WALKER: Seriously --


SCHOLES: They're going to have to get the sled dogs out, right? I mean, how --

WALKER: Yes, I imagine --

SCHOLES: Do you get to the airport?

WALKER: Oh, beyond, didn't look like a stadium. I couldn't even recognize that --

SCHOLES: They're just buried in snow there --

WALKER: Yes --

SAVIDGE: Ground zero there --


SAVIDGE: For this one. No doubt about it. All right, Andy, great to see you --

WALKER: Good to see you --

SAVIDGE: This morning --

WALKER: Thank you. All right, coming up, the state of emergency as we speak of snow as parts of Upstate New York are buried by a massive and deadly storm. We'll have a live report on how long these conditions will last. The next hour of CNN this morning starts next.


WALKER: Good morning, everyone, and welcome to CNN this morning, I'm Amara Walker.

SAVIDGE: And I'm Martin Savidge in for Boris Sanchez.