Return to Transcripts main page

CNN This Morning

Flights Canceled, Roads Blocked As Powerful Winter Storm Hits NY; A.G. Garland Appoints Special Counsel In Trump Criminal Probes; Jeffries Launches Bid For Dem Leader After Pelosi Steps Down; Taylor Swift Ticket Meltdown Sparks Outage About Ticketmaster's Power; DeKalb County Giving Away 5,000 Boxes Of Food Ahead Of Thanksgiving; FIFA President Launches Tirade Over Criticism Of Qatar. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired November 19, 2022 - 08:00   ET



KATE BENNETT, CNNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: He turns 80 on Sunday of course, making him the only octogenarian in the White House in the presidency in American history. So big first lots of celebrations happening at the White House. But I think we're going to see some pictures later on today. Of course, everyone looking forward to what is the bride going to wear? What are the flowers look like? What was the menu, all these exciting things that people really get into and they're curious about happening at the White House today with this big event? Back to you guys.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Going to be a great day. The next hour of "CNN THIS MORNING," starts right now.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to "CNN THIS MORNING." I'm Amara Walker.

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

Right now, millions are under alert as a massive lake effect snowstorm slams into parts of New York, dumping more than five feet of snow and some of the hardest hit area. (INAUDIBLE) is lead the very latest on this crippling storm.

WALKER: Plus, there's plenty of blood -- bad blood to go around after the Taylor Swift ticketing debacle. Now Ticketmaster are facing major backlash.

SAVIDGE: And Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she will not run for leadership. Now Democrats are getting ready to usher in a new wave of change on Capitol Hill. Will tell you who's in the running to be her successor.

WALKER: And soccer fans gear up for kickoff at the World Cup but of course not without controversy. We're going to take you to Doha lives for the latest.

Good morning, everyone. It is Saturday, November 19th. I'm really cold just looking at the pictures of the snow the slide, like shivering. Thanks for so much for waking up with us. And Martin, thank you for being with us this morning.

SAVIDGE: It is a pleasure. Great to be with you.

WALKER: Well, let's begin in western New York where millions of people are getting slammed by a massive lake effect snowstorm. Snowfall totals are nearing listen to this, six feet in the town of natural bridge and five and a half feet in the town of Orchard Park. But more areas have seen just over an inch of snow.

SAVIDGE: It looks beautiful but unfortunately the winter storm has been blamed for at least two deaths. Officials say that two people died after suffering cardiac arrest while shoveling or blowing snow.


DAN NEAVERTH, COMM., ERIE CO. DEPT. HOMELAND SECURITY & EMERGENCY MGMT.: If you're going to be outside and you're going to be shoveling, if you're going to be doing some type of strenuous activity out there because of this heavy snow. Please know your limitations. Better yet know your neighbors and those that can help you or just wait it out.


SAVIDGE: This is an area that's familiar with heavy snowfall, but even so officials are taking no chances and state of emergencies in place for 11 counties there and Erie County has issued a combination of travel bans and travel advisories just to try to keep people out the roads. The storm has forced airlines to cancel flights, it's knocked out power to thousands of customers and the region's bracing for even more.

WALKER: Yes, so it's not over yet clearly. CNN's Gloria Pazmino joining us now from Buffalo. Gloria, first off, how miserable are you, I guess you're not miserable enough yet. And what are the warnings officials are giving?

GLORIA PAZMINO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Amara, Martin. Let me tell you, I have been out here since yesterday and I have been sort of fascinating watching what the storm has been doing. Early this morning around four o'clock, I could barely see out my window. Now that the sun is up, you can really see just how much snow has been dropped here in the downtown area of Buffalo. The southern part of the area, the southern towns were pummeled by the storm yesterday and overnight. We got a lot of the action as well.

Now cleanup has started. You could see a crew down there, but they are really just trying to keep up with things here because as you said, this storm is not quite over. Somewhat clear right now, but because of the way the storm is behaving, it's going to be coming in and out in bands. And that is where it's key to remind people that they need to stay off the roads. It may seem like it's clear enough to go out there. But officials are asking people here in the area to stay home. Several people had to be rescued from their vehicles overnight. The city -- the county here where we are in Erie County is issuing more than 300 tickets to motorists who did not obey the driving ban had to be rescued. Several vehicles were abandoned. And as you mentioned, unfortunately two people have died as a result of the storm.

So be very careful. This is very heavy, solid. It's packed with ice underneath. It's extremely hard to lift. So, if you're going to go out there, know your limitations. And if you don't really need to be out there just wait it out, stay home let the professionals take care of it, and try to enjoy the beauty of it, but do so safely.


SAVIDGE: Very good advice. Gloria Pazmino, thank you very much for being out there in it for us.

We want to bring in now the mayor of Buffalo, that's Byron Brown. And Mayor, thank you very much for joining us this morning.

Let me ask you a simple question. How are you, your city and your citizens holding up?

BYRON BROWN, MAYOR, BUFFALO NY: We're holding up Martin. This is not the typical snowfall for the City of Buffalo at least say that first of all, or for our region. This is a very heavy snowstorm. But we are battling it. We've been out since the storm hit on Thursday. In fact, even before that, we were pre-salting [ph] our streets. We got hit very heavily in the southern portion of the City of Buffalo, South Buffalo Keizer town, over four feet of snow, other parts of the city where the snow band shifted north last night, we got hit with between one to two feet of snow. So, we've got crews working the mains and secondaries.

And in the southern portion of the city, we have crews that are actually lifting snow out and moving snow, because there's no place to plow it right now.

WALKER: Just so much snow we're talking about here. And we also heard from our reporter, Mayor, on the ground that you know, the snow is wet, which means it's heavy, which means that if it piles up on a roof, or on powerlines, that could spell danger.

BROWN: It really could the snow has come down very fast, very wet, very heavy. Last night, the snow was falling at a rate of two to three inches per hour. And as your reporter said, that can make driving very treacherous. Visibility very, very low. Fortunately, we have a break right now, where it's not snowing giving our plowing crews the opportunity to get in plow, snow and other areas. The ability to take snow out with high lifts and dump trucks so that we can open up our residential streets as well.

SAVIDGE: You know, a lot of communities when you get feet of snow they would be paralyzed for a week or more. I'm sure you're accustomed to dealing with heavy snow falls. How long do you think this will take to clear?

BROWN: We are a testament to dealing with heavy snow falls in the city of Buffalo. But it's still important to note that this is far beyond the typical snowfall in the city of Buffalo much more than we usually get. We're hoping that the snow will taper off and end completely sometime early Sunday. And that we will get back to a full sense of normalcy in the city Monday or Tuesday. That is the hope, but we'll see what Mother Nature has in store for us.

WALKER: Currently the snowplows cannot keep up. Where are you able to put the snow right now?

SAVIDGE: Yes, that's a good (INAUDIBLE).

BROWN: We have a snow fighting plan in the city of Buffalo and we have designated areas where snow can be dumped when we have to haul it out. We're now hauling snow to those areas, which will give us the ability to open up the southern portion of the city that has been hit very hard. Over four feet of snow in that area. We're asking people to stay off the roads the driving ban has been in effect in the city of Buffalo the entire city since 7:00 a.m. this morning, to give emergency vehicles the opportunity to do their work, police, fire ambulance and our crews to get to mains secondaries and begin to open up our residential streets.

So, we're hoping to get back to a sense of normalcy Monday or Tuesday. But this has been a very unpredictable storm, with the snow bands moving back and forth north to south, mostly hovering over the southern portion of our community.

WALKER: It's time to hunker down. Mayor Byron Brown, thank you so much for speaking with us this morning. We wish you the best and please stay safe.

CNN meteorologist --

BROWN: Thank you.

WALKER: -- Allison Chinchar is following all of this from the CNN Weather Center of course. So, look, it's not yet over. You heard the mayor say that he's hoping it to clear by Monday or Tuesday. What are they in for between now and then?


ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Right so you're going to have at least a few more rounds to go through in that timeline. So, here's a look at where it's snowing right now. And yes, it's just to the north of Buffalo, just to the north of Watertown, but we also have other areas that are getting hit hard right now because of that wind shift. So again, we're getting a little bit of a break, but it is going to come back down into Buffalo, come back down into Watertown. We anticipate that later this evening right after dinnertime and will continue through the overnight hours, and it's going to look a lot like this.

Now this video was taken yesterday in Buffalo, you can see it's not snowing where the camera itself is located, but just about a mile or two off in the distance. That snow is coming down in blankets. And as we mentioned, two three even as high as five inches an hour at times in the last 24 to 36 hours. Yesterday Buffalo topped out at just about 14 inches. That was a daily record for the city. But if you go just a few miles away in several different directions, you're talking Natural Bridge, getting to almost six feet of snow.

Orchard Park, Blasdell, Hamburg, all topping out at over 60 inches of snow. For those of you who don't know where those locations are on a map? You can see a lot of it focuses on that northern Watertown region. Also, around Buffalo stretching down through Erie, Pennsylvania. Those were really the target points for the last couple of days here in terms of the snow and they're the same areas that are going to continue to see snow in the next 24 to 48 hours. But also, areas along other lakes it's not just like Erie or Lake Ontario you also have Lake Superior, Lake Michigan they're also going to be experiencing some lake effect snow as we go through the day on Sunday.

In all, you're looking at most areas picking up at least an extra half a foot up to about 12 inches. But again, one key thing to note Martin and Amara, some of these areas could still pick up an extra two feet on top of the four to six feet that has already fallen.

SAVIDGE: Yes, I grew up with lake effect snow in Cleveland, so it's just stunning the difference you're going to have within a few miles. And the other thing is thundersnow, that to me always still gets me. They have incredibly intense thunderstorms sometimes embedded within these blizzards.


SAVIDGE: Really is striking for them.

WALKER: How spectacular but also bit frightening. Allison Chinchar, appreciate you. Thank you.

SAVIDGE: U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed veteran attorney Jack Smith as special prosecutor to oversee the federal investigations into Trump's role leading to the January 6 insurrection, and also injured those classified documents that were found at Mar-a-Lago.

WALKER: And sources tell CNN that federal prosecutors have sent out several new subpoenas related to both investigations in recent days.

CNN's Evan Perez is joining us this morning to talk more about this. Good to see you, Evan. So, let's --


WALKER: -- let's first talk about the significance of this. And you know, why the DOJ felt that this was the right time to appoint a special counsel?

PEREZ: Well, look, this is not a very common thing that the Justice Department they do -- they're very reluctant to appoint special counsels. But this is all really triggered by the fact that the former president declared just a few days ago that he is running for the presidency one more time and, you know, for the former president, but at least people around him, one of his motivations, they said was the fact that he thought certainly that by declaring it would make it less likely for the Justice Department to bring charges. Instead, when it is triggered this unusual appointment of a special counsel, Jack Smith is being brought in to oversee two investigations. And but this appointment by the by Merrick Garland, the Attorney General makes clear, Amara and Martin is that not only is Donald Trump under investigation for these classified documents retrieved by the FBI, in that very unusual, very, very historic, frankly, search of Mar-a-Lago back in August, but he's also front and center of this investigation, looking into the effort to impede the transfer of power. That is another investigation that the Justice Department really hasn't said that much about publicly. But we know now, certainly by this appointment, and the fact that Jack Smith is going to be overseeing it, that the former president is at the center of that.

SAVIDGE: So, Evan, you know, how's the former president and his legal team responding to all of this?

PEREZ: Predictable, right. The former president says that he is not going to participate. That's one of the things he said last night in a very long, rambling speech at Mar-a-Lago. His appointment -- his spokesman, and his lawyers have a very has a very have various reactions. One of them says that this is a political stunt by the Justice Department has spokesman but some of his lawyers also point out that the former president is understandably very upset about this because what this means is that this investigation is not wrapping up very soon it's probably going to be something that's going to hang over him for a while.


WALKER: And tell us more about special counsel Jack Smith, who is he and he's got quite the CV.

SAVIDGE: He does.

PEREZ: Yes, he does. Look, the Department looked far and wide that we're trying to figure out a person who could sustain or who could survive, frankly, the partisan scrutiny that we're about -- that he's about to get. And they landed on a war crimes prosecutor. He's coming back from the Hague, where he's been overseeing prosecutions related to war crimes in Kosovo.

And before that, he has decades working in the Justice Department. He was running the public integrity, public corruption, prosecutions at the Justice Department. Previously, he was a U.S. attorney, or an Assistant U.S. Attorney in in Tennessee. And he also has some passed in New York at the New York DAs office in Manhattan, DAs office.

So, there's a lot of experience he has. And at least from the Justice Department's perspective, they believe he has no partisan leanings, and so can oversee this investigation. It's very obviously politically sensitive investigation in these times.

WALKER: Quite a notable development. Evan Perez, appreciate you joining us this morning. Thanks so much.

SAVIDGE: Good to see you.

WALKER: And as the University of Idaho mourns the loss of four students killed last weekend in a brutal stabbing off campus. New details are emerging as the search continues for a suspect. Now the coroner says the students were likely asleep before being attacked, and that each person was stabbed multiple times likely from the same weapon and that some of the victims had defensive wounds indicating there was possibly a struggle.

SAVIDGE: Police also say that the night of the stabbing two of the victims used a private party their words to get a ride home from a food truck, not an Uber driver as was previously believed. Investigators also note that there was no signs of forced entry into that home that the two surviving roommates or the male scene in the food truck surveillance video are not involved in the crime.

WALKER: Well, ahead this hour, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries launching a bid for Democratic leadership as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces that she's stepping down. What it means for the future of the party.

Plus, a website meltdown score sky high prices and just complete chaos to snag Taylor Swift concert tickets. And now Ticketmaster is under scrutiny and yes facing major backlash.

Also, we're just a day away from the World Cup, but there's no shortage of controversy surrounding the games now FIFAs President lashing out at critics.



SAVIDGE: Speaker Nancy Pelosi's announcement that she'll step down from leadership ushers in a whole new potential generation and change for Democrats. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries launches a historic bid to succeed Pelosi could make him the first black person to lead a party in Congress.

WALKER: Yes, meantime, as Republicans move into the majority, their agenda is coming into view with an announcement that they tend to -- intend to investigate President Biden and his family's business dealings among many other things.

Here with us to discuss now is Republican strategist Brian Robinson, and Democratic strategist Howard Franklin. Welcome to you both gentlemen. And --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, thank you.

WALKER: -- good morning. So glad that you guys can all make it in here.

So, let's start with Nancy Pelosi, you know, she, you know, made her announcement that she'll be stepping down from the speakership position, although she'll stay in Congress. But talk to me Howard first about her legacy and I mean she did talk about in her speech there that, you know, she wants to usher in the next generation. We know Hakeem Jeffries is, you know, jockeying for that position. Tell us how this transition is going to look like and you know, about a little bit about her legacy as well.

HOWARD FRANKLIN, DEMOCRAT STRATEGIST: Yes, 35 years in Congress, 20 years at the helm of Democratic leadership. And I would say that this transition is going to look a lot like the time she's been in Congress. You know, it might have been difficult, but she makes it look so easy. You know, never having last floor votes when they've taken a position and really just being one of the most stellar operators in Washington, D.C. I think a lot of her former colleagues, members of the Senate now, folks who have been in the house who served alongside her have said, you know, just how impactful she's been and how much she's really overseeing really important information or really important legislation that's come through the last 20 years of kind of the political tumult that we're all dealing with it.

WALKER: The ability to keep all those factions, right?

FRANKLIN: (INAUDIBLE), that's right.

WALKER: And the Democratic Party together

FRANKLIN: That's right.


SAVIDGE: Brian, let me ask you this. So, you know, we had a contentious election, the Republicans getting power in the House, and the first thing they announced for these investigations, rather than sort of focusing on the agenda that is to deal with the economy, deal with crime, and deal with the border. Is that the right move?

BRIAN ROBINSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I would have come out right out of the gate talking about inflation and crime. The stuff that Republicans across the country ran out. Now, look, here's what's going to happen, though, there is this built-up demand amongst the Republican base amongst the voters to get revenge to some degree. And there is this angst amongst Republicans that the entire Trump administration was just one investigation after another, many of which that they saw as completely phony, just, you know, witch hunts, to use the word that Trump uses.

So, I think that they're meeting what their voters are demanding to some degree with this. But look, we've got to capture the middle in this country if we are going to get more than two or three seat majority in the future. And you do that by taming inflation, and being serious on issues like crime, being serious on issues like how do we confront the challenge that China presents over the next generation.

WALKER: But I guess focusing on investigating instead of legislating is really the only lever that they'll have at this point, right? Because they won't -- the Republicans won't be able to advance much legislation if they do get it together beyond the House.

[08:25:06] ROBINSON: That's a great point, Amara, it just doesn't agree this is a pragmatic approach as hard as that is to believe. Because no, they're not going to pass legislation that's really going to address inflation. Because here's the issue with addressing inflation. There's no easy answer. Anything that fixes it is going to be hard to get you and probably will induce a recession. Nobody ever ran for Congress promising to induce a recession. But investigations are something you can do, because all you need is a gavel. And the Republicans will have all the gavels.


SAVIDGE: Brian real quick. And we'll go back and forth here. But Brian, let me ask you this. So, Donald Trump announces he's going to run in 2024, no real surprise, I suppose. But already we're seeing not the support that he had seen previously, especially among donors. Is that a concern?

ROBINSON: I think it's a concern for Donald Trump.


ROBINSON: I think it's a sign of a healthy party, that we're having this debate two years out, and looking at who the future may be. You know, the Democrats are going through that transition, they'll be the Republicans are going through it as well. Moving from someone who would be would also be an octogenarian, by the time that they, they took office the next time to looking at a new generation, Ron DeSantis, Glenn Youngkin, but many others. Right here in Georgia, Brian Kemp just had a huge victory over a nationally known Stacey Abrams. He's got to be in the conversation.

So, you know, Republicans have a lot of talent coming up. And you're seeing not only Republican officeholders, but groups like Club for Growth, who have been strong Trump supporters, undermining him greatly showing that DeSantis has beaten trumpet all of these states that are electorally important.

WALKER: And, Howard, what did the next couple of years look for the Democrats now that they don't have control of both chambers? And I was always saying, obviously, with the slim majority of the last couple of years, but are they going to have to rely on President Biden and executive orders or what's next?

FRANKLIN: That's a great question. I don't know that the Democrats have quite figured that out. I think your earlier question about what the Democratic leadership in Congress looks like and the amount of youth and diversities being brought to it, I think, a lot, you know, a lot different than the Republicans so far, where you hear a lot about investigations and impeachment. You are going to hear from this new democratic minority in Congress, how do we fix some of these issues around immigration and inflation, et cetera. So, I think you do have a new generation of problem solvers who are going to lean into those challenges.

I think they will have President Biden's back I think you will see, you know, kind of a failing of leadership not just at all coming from the White House and a single person but we don't know exactly whether or not there's going to be an appetite between the Senate Democratically held and the House Republican controlled in terms of any, you know, any legislation that the two can agree on.

SAVIDGE: Real quick, both of you. Who's going to win the Walker -- Herschel Walker, Raphael Warnock?

FRANKLIN: I'm betting on Reverend Senator Raphael Warnock. I think just the dynamics have really shifted in his favor since the election he was a top vote getter on -- in the general election. But I think also just the lack of fervor for control from Republicans for the Senate, I think takes a lot of the steam out of the Walker camp.

SAVIDG: Brian, you agree with that or you probably or you see a different

ROBINSON: Traditionally in Georgia, let me dance around it this way. Traditionally, in Georgia, the second-place finisher wins the runoff. We've seen that over and over and over again including with Governor Kemp and his primary back in 2018. It's hard to beat an incumbent Warnock to talented candidate, but Herschel Walker has got 40 years of being beloved in the state by Bulldogs like me, so don't ever count him out.

WALKER: We'll see if there's a Trump effect or a Kemp effect if one will win out over the other. Brian and Howard, appreciate you both joining us this morning.

SAVIDGE: Yes, great to (INAUDIBLE).

WALKER: Thank you so much.

All right. Up next, Taylor Swift is breaking her silence over the Ticketmaster sales fiasco. It comes as we learn about the Department of Justice investigation into the company. Will discuss ahead.




SAVIDGE: That is so appropriate because there is bad luck definitely between Taylor Swift fans and Ticketmaster after that chaotic sale of tickets for Swift's latest tour.

WALKER: Is that Martin bobbing his head and singing to the song? Is that really -- and I'm kidding he's doing that.

SAVIDGE: And if you don't know about the story, I don't know what rock you've been under. But sales for these singer's new eras tour began Tuesday but the heavy demand bogged down the ticketing site, infuriating fans who could not get tickets. In an Instagram post with blame, Ticketmaster for the rocky rollout -- I get it -- noting that there were a multitude of reasons why people had such a hard time getting those tickets. Well, now fans, lawmakers and authorities are calling for Ticketmaster to be investigated, criticizing the company's control of the live music industry.

And joining me now to talk more about that is Diana Moss, who is president of the American Antitrust Institute. Good morning to you and thank you very much for joining us.

DIANA MOSS, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN ANTITRUST INSTITUTE: Good morning. It is hard to overstate how infuriated fans of Taylor Swift are to this. But there is no question that politics are now starting to get involved and Tennessee's Jonathan Skrmetti is just one of several state attorneys general who said that they're going to look into the matter whether consumer protection laws were violated after Ticketmaster botched the rollout of the concert tickets. So, you know, are these issues that can be addressed at a state level do you think?

MOSS: I think they are. I think we're in a catalyzing moment here where the music public has fully appreciated the power of the Live Nation Ticketmaster monopoly. And, you know, this goes back 10 years to the merger in 2010 which was really a failure of antitrust enforcement to have led that through.


So now we're doing a lot of damage control, frankly, and clean up. And that will carve out a role for the state attorney general's but also the Department of Justice, and potentially private antitrust suits.

SAVIDGE: So, I'm in a quandary here. How much of this is just a technological breakdown, because you had a talent that everyone just wants to go see the show and the system was overwhelmed. And how much of this really reflects on the monopoly aspect, which seems to be the point that Congress wants to investigate or states want to investigate?

MOSS: Good question. I think it's some of both, right? There was an incredible demand for Taylor Swift concert tickets. But one thing we can say is the crash of the Ticketmaster platform is really symptomatic of what we see with firms with tremendous market power, right?

Monopolies don't have much incentive to innovate, to provide high quality service to fans, they have lots of incentives to protect their market power and to exploit their market power. And Ticketmaster does that on their platform. And, you know, their platform is sort of a combination, a toxic cocktail of preventing fans from getting tickets on the resale markets, of offering up Ticketmaster ticketing services first before any other competitors.

But, generally, there's very little incentive for monopolies to really innovate and to provide high quality of service. But I do think that it is very symptomatic of what we've seen now for 12 years, which is Ticketmaster, going to all lengths to lock music fans, and frankly, artists because their monopoly extends all the way up to the artists level into this massive system, where they have incredible market power and ticketing north of 80 percent. They have incredible market power and concert promotion north of 60 percent and have really engaged in practices for years that restrict the resale market that threaten and harass the independent promoters and venues. And so this is all coming to a head here in revealing what -- how harmful and damaging a monopoly can be.

SAVIDGE: So we got less than a minute left. What's the fix? What do you see? Is it simply, you know, splitting up taking Ticketmaster away from Live Nation which would remove, I guess, some of the verticality here? How -- what's the correction?

MOSS: Well, I think the aim is to inject competition into this sector and an increased choice for fans and for artists to lower those ticket fees, which can be in excess of 25 percent of ticket prices. And it's a two-pronged approach. We absolutely need an antitrust case, brought against Ticketmaster monopolization case, and we need a remedy and preferably a breakup.

DOJ can do that alone. They can do it in conjunction with the states. But we also need a legislative track here to deal with ticketing transparency, and transferability. It's very difficult for fans to engage in the resale markets, which are supposed to be very beneficial --


MOSS: -- and making sure that supply equals demand. So we need this two-pronged approach, legislation and an antitrust case.

SAVIDGE: Unfortunately, I don't think any of that is going to come in time to assuage those Taylor Swift fans, but Diana Moss, it is great to see you this morning and thank you very much for your insight.

MOSS: Thank you.

WALKER: Yes, but glad we're talking about this, that's for sure.

All right, coming up, high food prices have Americans bracing for a costly Thanksgiving this year. Up next, we're going to take you to one community where leaders are stepping up to help put food on the table.



WALKER: So if you're hosting Thanksgiving this year, you now it's going to be quite expensive, right, with historic inflation and rising prices hitting many families. For the first time this holiday season, there's one Metro Atlanta County that's giving away thousands of meals today.

SAVIDGE: Yes. Officials in DeKalb County, Georgia say that they were compelled to act with Thanksgiving less than a week away. And by utilizing funds through the American Rescue Plan, they plan to distribute 5,000 boxes, so 100 percent Georgia grown fruits and vegetables, eggs, chicken and juice. CNN's Nadia Romero is there for us at this with one of the drive-thru sites there and I imagine it's been pretty busy but it's also got to be I would think a good feeling for those who are volunteering and helping.

NADIA ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's a good feeling all around. Good morning, Martin and Amara. We know that there are so many volunteers who have come out early in the morning to help put this location together and there's nothing but smiling faces from the volunteers for the people receiving these boxes.

Take a look. This is Shy Temple CME Church. This church is in Decatur, Georgia. They do this about once a month but of course it's so important this weekend right before Thanksgiving, a line of cars. They've been lined up since 6:30 this morning.


They were supposed to start at 9:00 a.m., but because so many people were lined up, hundreds of cars, they started at about 8:30. There's one line on this side of the drop boxes and then there's another line on the other side. This is what people are able to get. I want you to take a look inside of one of these boxes.

Martin, you mentioned it, money came from American Rescue Plan. And these are all from Georgia Farmers, eggs. We know that egg prices have gone up some 43 percent since January. You have collard greens here, which is a good old southern staple. You've got grapes down here, squash, and zucchini, all of these healthy items so that people can feed their families leading up to Thanksgiving and have a very nice Thanksgiving table.

You're also going to be able to pick up chicken quarters. This came from a Georgia farm and then a box here of snacks for kids because kids are back in school, but kids will be out for the Thanksgiving holiday. They'll need things to eat when they're at home as well.

Now we spoke with people who've been organizing this event. They say they do it once a month. But it's so important because they had a two- pronged problem. First, we had the COVID-19 pandemic already impacting food insecurity, then you had people who were under employed. Now you add inflation, rising costs.

And this is a working-class neighborhood, people have jobs. Some people have a two incomes, mom and dad both working, but still just not enough when they look at their budget. They look at what they want to put on the Thanksgiving table and it's just not adding up. Amara, Martin?

WALKER: I love they're giving chicken to and not turkey because I was just telling, Martin, like who likes turkey anyway. I preferred chicken.

SAVIDGE: But I love collard green. I really do.

WALKER: Me too. SAVIDGE: I love (INAUDIBLE) greens too, the collard greens as well. So thank you so much. That was a delightful sort of show and tell --

WALKER: It was.

SAVIDGE: -- of giving at a wonderful time.

WALKER: Thank you, Nadia.

SAVIDGE: Thank you, Nadia.

WALKER: And I do like collard greens too, especially when it's Dalston butter, it's like the best thing ever.

SAVIDGE: Still to come, there is a new ban on beer sales, oh my goodness, at the World Cup, and it's adding already to what has been controversial games in Qatar. Why FIFA's president is firing back at critics? Next.



WALKER: One day before the kickoff of the World Cup and the president of soccer's governing body is pushing back against criticism of the event. Now this year's World Cup in Qatar has drawn a lot of criticism from LGBTQ advocates concerned about the country's treatment of gay people to outrage over the last-minute decision to ban beer sales at the event.

SAVIDGE: CNN Sports Anchor Amada Davies is live from Qatar for us. And Amanda, you know, it was a, I got to say, a pretty strange press conference from the FIFA president today. What exactly happened?

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN WORLD SPORT: Yes, on the eve, Martin, of one of the most controversial if not the most controversial World Cup in history, you have to say one of the most controversial FIFA press conferences in history and given this organization that is saying quite something, isn't it? This press conference left either even seasoned FIFA watchers with their jaws on the floor as the FIFA president Gianni Infantino gave an incredible monologue that lasted nearly an hour in the build up to the greatest football tournament on the planet, maybe the greatest sporting events on the planet. He barely even mentioned football.

This is a man who just two weeks ago, sent a letter you might remember to all 32 competing federations at this World Cup, asking them to stick to the football not to get involved in morality or politics. And then he proceeded to do just that launching, a staunch defense of this World Cup, trying to hit back at the criticism of the treatment of migrant workers, the members of the LGBTQ plus community.

He spoke about a profoundly unjust criticism and accuses the west of double standards. Have a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GIANNI INFANTINO, FIFA PRESIDENT: Today, I feel gay. Today, I feel disabled. Today, I feel a migrant worker.


DAVIES: He added, I feel cattery. I feel Arab. I feel African. He then went on to say he knows just what it's like to have felt the discrimination because as a child, he had red hair and freckles. I mean, the headline writers are having a field day but the criticism that has been given by the human rights groups is quite something fair square, are saying the comments were as crass as they were clumsy. One president of one of the Football Associations, the Norwegian president has just told me she sees them as dangerous.

SAVIDGE: Yes, the fallout is only just begun. Amanda Davies, thank you so much. We appreciate you being there.

And thank you so much for joining us this morning.

WALKER: Yes, we'll be back in one hour. But for now, Smerconish is up next.

And before we go, Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was a rising star in the Democratic Party when she was shot at a political event in 2011. Now, a new CNN film tells her inspiring comeback story.


WALKER: Watch "Gabby Giffords Won't Back Down" tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. Here's a preview.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, ready?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joining us now is Representative Gabrielle Giffords.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If an idea is a good idea, is a good idea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congresswoman Giffords was the target of the mass shooting.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's beginning several months of rehab.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give me two fingers. All right. Give me five.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are not allowed to quit on me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good news, Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. She was discharged today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The words are there in my brain. I just can't get them out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She laughs at my jokes even when they're bad. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Funny. Looks funny, funny, funny.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gabby Giffords making her way back to the Capitol.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Too many children are dying. We must do something.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nobody could have been more compelling than Gabby was that day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Gabby Giffords Won't Back Down" tomorrow night at 9:00 only on CNN.