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VA Governor Cites "Mental Health Crisis" After Two Mass Shootings In Two Weeks; DOJ Seeks Former VP Pence's Testimony In January 6 Criminal Probe; Congress And DOJ Investigating Taylor Swift Ticket Debacle. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired November 23, 2022 - 21:00   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: The news continues. So, let's hand it over to Kasie Hunt and CNN TONIGHT.


KASIE HUNT, CNN HOST: John, thank you so much. And happy Thanksgiving to you.

BERMAN: Thank you.

HUNT: I am Kasie Hunt. And this is CNN TONIGHT.

Thanksgiving Eve, and here we are, yet again, covering another mass shooting, in America. It's heartbreaking that more families, tonight, are grieving loved ones, taken away by gun violence.

Six were murdered. Four people were injured, at Walmart, last night, in Chesapeake, Virginia. We now know the identities of five of them, Lorenzo Gamble, Brian Pendleton, Kellie Pyle, Randall Blevins, and Tyneka Johnson. A sixth has only been identified as a 16-year-old male. 16-years-old!

Police say the gunman was 31-year-old employee Andre Bing, an overnight shift team leader.

This is video, of Bing, from 2016, recorded by a former Walmart worker. Police believe Bing took his own life, and was dead upon their arrival. Coworkers say Bing exhibited odd and threatening behavior, in the past.

Here is one harrowing account, from someone, who miraculously survived the attack.


JESSIE WILCZEWSKI, WALMART EMPLOYEE WHO WAS IN BREAK ROOM WHEN SHOOTER OPENED FIRE: He's got his hands (ph) like that. And at first, it didn't even look real. It didn't register as real. It -- the only thing that made it real was the vibrations, hitting your chest, and the ringing, from the gun, going off. And it just kept going and going, going. And I got under the table.

The sound of the droplets, the dit-dit-dit-dit-dit-dit-dit-dit-dit (ph) replays, and replays, and replays, and replays, replays of how much blood was coming off the different chairs. It was making a rhythm, and it was one of the most disturbing things. I will -- I think will never let go of that.


HUNT: How could you let go of it?

Dozens were inside Walmart, when bullets started flying. Police say that the shooter had a pistol.

This customer described what he was witnessing, in real-time, on social media.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is a body of a person they just brought out in the shopping cart. Oh, God (inaudible) I can't tell it really looks like there are at least three or four people, bodies on the ground.


HUNT: This was the second mass shooting, in Virginia, in two weeks. Three UVA football players were killed on campus, November 13. Something Governor Glenn Youngkin noted earlier, but the Republican didn't refer to them as acts of gun violence.


GOV. GLENN YOUNGKIN (R-VA): One of the things that the First Lady and I, along with the Lieutenant Governor, and the Attorney General, and the General Assembly have been focused on taking up is this mental health crisis that we see ourselves in today.


HUNT: Youngkin, as you saw there, just said it was America's mental health crisis that needed to be addressed.

President Biden, however, called for more congressional action, on guns, today, as he did, after the attack, in Colorado, Saturday.

That suspect, accused of shooting up an LGBTQ nightclub, he appeared -- they appeared in court today, for the first time, via video link, from jail. Anderson Lee Aldrich remains held without bond. A neighbor of Aldrich tells CNN the suspect was proud of all the weapons they owned.

And that is where we start, tonight, with another conversation, about weapons in America, a subject that deeply divides our country.

With us, CNN Senior Political Analyst, Kirsten Powers. Also, CNN Contributor, Stephen Gutowski, Founder of The Reload, a publication that focuses on gun policy and politics in America. And former RNC Communications Director, Doug Heye.

Thank you all for being here tonight.

It is really depressing that we are sitting here, on the day before Thanksgiving, and this is the conversation that we are having, yet again, in this country.

And Doug, I just -- it gets to the point, where you want to look away, because living in it is so hard. But there's five more families, out there, who have someone that's not going to be sitting down, at the Thanksgiving dinner table. I mean, are we so fatigued about this that nothing can ever be done? I mean, where are we?



And this happens so often, and so many other horrific things happening, the police attacks, on minorities, for instance that we almost lose track of which happened, which time, to which person, and it makes it harder, I think, collectively, for there to be action.

We had some legislation that passed, last year, which I think was -- earlier this year, which was hard to get done.

HUNT: Yes.

HEYE: And a lot of people didn't think it would. Clearly, it didn't do enough, because the one thing, we see, in all of these cases, is we talk about how somebody fell through the cracks. And clearly, there are too many cracks, and they need to be fixed.

HUNT: So Stephen, I mean, you run a publication that really focuses on gun policies, gun rights, in America. I commend it to people, who are interested, in looking at this, in a serious way, as we, as a country, try to grapple with what this means.

Obviously, and I think you've pointed this out, there are differences among, you know, different reasons why any of these people ended up in possession of firearms. But at the same time, it seems hard to argue. I mean, this doesn't happen in other countries, other well-off countries, across the globe. Why does it happen here?

STEPHEN GUTOWSKI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, FOUNDER, THE RELOAD: I mean, I think that's a very valid question, as far as the frequency of these sorts of attacks, in the United States.

In the last couple of decades, this was not a common issue, necessarily, these individuals going out and killing a lot of people, decades ago, in the United States. So, something has changed, perhaps culturally, or otherwise, to lead to this, what we see now. There hasn't been necessarily a huge uptick in the number of public mass killings, with a gun, over the last -- since 2006, according to the Associated Press' (ph) tracker.

But certainly, yes, there's a difference between America, and a lot of other developed countries, in terms of general levels of gun -- of violence overall, as well. There's -- there are significant differences. And I think, there's a lot of factors that go into it, I mean, it's hard to pick one.

HUNT: I mean, is it access to guns? Or is it a cultural thing that has to do with more than just the weapons that people are -- because, I mean, there does seem to be -- I mean, I understand that this very much divides people, including a lot of people, who read your publication, who are on the side of allowing these weapons to be legal.

But the reason why you can kill so many people so fast, and for example, the Colorado shooting, is because people here have access to assault weapons.

GUTOWSKI: I think it's a combination of access to guns, for certain people, who oftentimes, in these situations, have exhibited tendencies, towards violence, or, in the Colorado Springs shooter's case, committed what seemed to be felonies, which should have been prosecuted, and made them ineligible, to own firearms, for life, had he -- had the shooter been convicted.

HUNT: Had they followed through.

GUTOWSKI: Yes. And you do see that, quite often, in these situations. I think it's important to look at them as individual situations, if you're trying to find a policy solution, to the shootings, because while the outcome is horrific, in all of these situations, the details are rather different.

Colorado Springs was somebody, who probably should have been prevented, from owning guns, based on his criminal history, what he had done with the bomb threat, and threatening police and his mother, but wasn't. He used an AR-15 and a handgun.

Whereas, in the Walmart shooting, we don't know yet, the background of that attacker.

HUNT: Right.

GUTOWSKI: And he used a handgun.

Both states had red flag laws, but they weren't implemented. We don't know exactly why, for either situation. Both had universal background checks. Neither had a ban on AR-15s. There's a lot that goes into, I think, the details of these situations, if you're trying to come up, with a policy solution, to solve these issues.

HUNT: Right. But, I mean, I think, Kirsten, as the Democrat, on the table, but as someone, who has -- who understands, and has focused on campaigns, in areas, where Second Amendment rights are not always a cut-and-dry issue? I mean, people are just sick of this. People are so sick of this. And there's no will to change it beyond -- I mean, obviously Chris

Murphy led, as Doug noted, a push, with Republicans, in the Senate, to make some changes, in the wake of the Uvalde shooting. Is there a policy out there that can change what is happening in America? Or is there not?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, USA TODAY COLUMNIST, FORMER CLINTON ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, I mean, one of the things that have changed, in the last couple of decades, is the assault weapons ban, expired. And that is something that Republicans have opposed, when the Democrats have brought it up before.

I don't have any trouble saying that the problem is the guns.

HUNT: Yes.

POWERS: So, mentally-unwell people exist everywhere.

And another big difference, between the United States, and other countries, is they actually have services, for mentally-unwell people. And this is another thing that Republicans always bring up, whenever there's a mass shooting. But never have anything to say about any other time of the year.


While Democrats are trying to pass bills, to expand mental health services, whether it's through expanding Medicaid, whether it's through Obamacare, whether it's through specific mental health services, Republicans are opposing them. So, to sit here, and act like there's nothing we can do? There are so many things that we could do.

I grew up in a house, in Alaska, with dozens of guns. So, it's not as though I don't understand guns, or I didn't grow up around. I mean, everybody, I knew, had a gun, right? Everybody hunted.

And most of those people would often -- I mean, if my father was still alive, and he was sitting here, he would say, "Get rid of the high- power weapons. They're mowing down people." That's what he would say.

HUNT: Yes.

POWERS: It's not -- there is no need for this.

And when I was growing up, we had shot guns. That's what people used. Now, suddenly, everybody thinks they have to be Rambo, and that they have some constitutional right to be Rambo!

Constitutional rights, have limits. They just do. You can't yell "Fire" in a crowded room. And the idea that we could never limit this because, people want to, have it because they like to go to the range, and shoot it, while children are getting gunned down? I'm sorry, I just I can't accept that.

GUTOWSKI: I mean, for me--

HUNT: Very briefly.

GUTOWSKI: Yes, I just think that the shootings, and mass killings, we've seen, over the past week show that it's not just about having AR-15s.

POWERS: It's just the past week. I mean, this is like a game that you guys play.

HUNT: It's over and over.

POWERS: I mean it's like come on! I mean to stick with action--

GUTOWSKI: I mean, in Idaho, there's a--


POWERS: You actually going to -- you're going to say to me that it's -- that mass shooting -- there's no connection between mass shootings, and the fact that somebody doesn't have to reload their -- the gun that they're using?

GUTOWSKI: I mean, Colorado has--

POWERS: I mean, you can't seriously be saying that.

GUTOWSKI: Colorado has a ban on--


POWERS: Right. But if the guns weren't allowed to -- if people weren't allowed to own these guns, then -- the people didn't have access to these guns? These shootings would not occur.

HUNT: Well, and I think that number of 2006 that you raised, I think, underscores that, because there was a before and after, for when the assault weapons ban expired.


HUNT: And we saw a marked change in the number of shootings in the wake of that expiration.



HUNT: Stephen Gutowski, thank you very much, for bringing your expertise, today, to the table.

Kirsten and Doug are going to stick around.

Ahead here, Mike Pence won't cooperate with the January 6 committee. But will the former Vice President testify, in the criminal investigation, into the Capitol attack? The Feds are asking!

A prediction, from former White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, next.



HUNT: Prosecutors at the Department of Justice want to hear from former Vice President Mike Pence. The DOJ has reached out to Pence's team. They want him to testify, as part of the January 6 criminal probe.

A source tells CNN that Pence is open to testifying, at least to some extent. We know the former VP has refused to talk to the House Select Committee, investigating the same thing. But it appears the distinction between a legislative investigation, and a criminal one, could make a real difference, for Pence.

In quite a few recent media appearances, and meetings with Republican donors, Pence has tried to thread the needle, criticizing the events of January 6, while trying to maintain some support, from former President Trump's base. Testifying may make that even harder, given how much the former President has portrayed cooperation with the DOJ as a litmus test for loyalty.

My next guest knows what loyalty to Trump means, in this Republican Party.

Former acting White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, thanks so much, for joining me, sir.


HUNT: So, how do you think that the former Vice President cooperating with a special counsel, I mean, how does that change the potential 2024 landscape, from a political perspective? And does it change the criminal landscape, for the former President?

MULVANEY: Two different questions. I think it does change the criminal landscape, a little bit. Mike Pence is a very credible guy. There's no question about it.

And your introduction, you hit the nail, right on the head. He does see a difference between the January 6 committee, a legislative sort of a political show trial, and the investigation, a criminal investigation, by the Department of Justice. Mike would take that type of inquiry extraordinarily seriously. So, it would not surprise me.

I'm reading some of the same things that you are that he's indicating that he's hinting that he's going to testify, or is willing to at least talk to the Department of Justice. That would change things, I think, for Donald Trump, criminally, just because Mike Pence, again, on the very, very inside, talking to the President, on the day of the riots.

Again, I don't know if there's any evidence yet that the President did anything criminal, on that particular day. But if there is? Mike Pence might be the source of some of that evidence.

So, it's a big deal, I think, for the Vice President of the United States, to talk to the Department of Justice, about the former President of the United States. And does it change the political landscape?

HUNT: Absolutely.

MULVANEY: Does it change the political landscape? Probably not. Mike is going to sort of -- that threading the needle is absolutely right. And he's going to have a difficult time, sort of trying to appeal to part of the Trump base, and still separate himself, from Donald Trump. So, I don't think it changes the politics, but it may change the investigation.

HUNT: So, Democrats in Congress, just sticking with Trump, for a second, are going to get hold of the former President's taxes. We learned that from the Supreme Court, this week.

I want to show people what you said, while you were acting Chief of Staff, in the White House, and I'll ask you about it. Watch.


BILL HEMMER, "AMERICA'S NEWSROOM" CO-ANCHOR, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: To be clear, you believe Democrats will never see the President's tax returns?

MULVANEY: Oh, no, never, nor should they. Keep in mind that that's an issue that was already litigated, during the election. Voters knew the President could have given his tax returns. They knew that he didn't, and they elected him anyway.


HUNT: So, what do you say now? The Supreme Court, which of course includes several Donald Trump nominees unanimously said--


HUNT: --"Treasury, hand them over!"

MULVANEY: Yes. And I haven't read the opinion. So, I don't have the insight of what the reasoning was. I still--

HUNT: It's two lines long. You don't need to read really anything. They basically said, "Sorry, you don't have an argument. Treasury, hand them over!"

MULVANEY: Yes. And I still think that's the wrong decision.


Keep in mind, the only reason that Congress is entitled to get that kind of thing is in its lawmaking capacity. It is not an investigative body, regularly. It can do oversight. But the reason it collects information is for the purposes of making law.

And I guess they convinced the Supreme Court that that's what this was, even though to the casual observer, and even non-casual observer, from the outside, it looks like it's part of a political investigation, not a legislative investigation. But again, not the first time I've been wrong.

Will it provide probably -- I mean, I have no idea what's in the tax returns. Nobody does, other than Trump, and his team. Will it provide probably a wealth of information that Democrats can use, against Donald Trump, politically? Absolutely. My guess is that's why Trump didn't want to turn it over in the first place.

HUNT: Yes, no, I mean, that does make sense.

I mean, you've said that you want someone else, to be the Republican nominee, in 2024. But is there realistically, right now, anyone out there that you think is setting the stage to actually be able to beat him in a nominating contest?

MULVANEY: Sure. I think a bunch of folks could beat him head-to-head. I think Ron DeSantis could beat him head-to-head. I think Tim Scott could beat him head-to-head.

In a head-to-head race, Donald Trump is going to -- I mean, if Donald Trump pulls 35 percent, he's going to lose in a head-to-head race. If I run against you, and I get 35 percent, I'm going to lose. If I run against you, and everybody else in the studio, I'm going to win with my 35 percent. And primaries are basically winner-take-all.

So, in a head-to-head competition, I do think it can be beat. But in a five-on-one, a six-on-one type of race, which is the way, I think, it's shaking out, I think, he's the presumptive Republican nominee.

And I think he loses in 2024, because he makes it a referendum on himself. It's not Donald Trump versus Joe Biden, or whomever. It's not Republican versus Democrat. It's Donald Trump versus Donald Trump. And one of the people that can beat Donald Trump is Donald Trump. That's exactly what happened in 2020.

HUNT: Right. So, I mean, what's your message, to all these Republicans, who seem so eager, to jump into the race, and make this a very large field that as you point out, gives Donald Trump, potentially, the strategic advantage that he needs to become the nominee? I mean, do they need to check their egos, put it aside, and get out of the way, to make -- to pick somebody else?

MULVANEY: Yes. I mean, there's no united anti-Trump front, in the Republican Party, nor should that be. If folks want to run, and think they have a chance to run, they should win -- my advice -- excuse me, they should run.

My advice to them would be, define, yourself. Don't go in as a pro- Trump candidate, who sort of criticizes him, on January 6. Don't go in as an anti-Trump candidate. Go in as your own man, or your own woman. That's really the only chance you've got. Take Donald Trump on head-to-head as you being you, not as you trying

to define yourself in terms of Donald Trump. I do think that there's a couple candidates, who can do that, again, DeSantis being one of them.

HUNT: Are you ready to personally jump on board, with any one of the colleagues that are -- or former colleagues of yours, or people you've been hearing from? Are you ready to say, "I'll support you, Ron DeSantis, in the primary?"

MULVANEY: No. I mean, I'm in an unusual position. I'm friends with all these folks.

Mike Pompeo and I served together. Nikki Haley was my Governor, and served in the Legislature with me. Tim Scott was in the Legislature with me. He's a close friend. Ron DeSantis was in the House with me. And Mike Pence and I were in the, you know, served together.

So no, they're all friends of mine. I wish them very well, if they decide to run. My guess is every single one of those people that I just mentioned, will either give a real serious look to running or in fact, run. So it's going to be probably, again, just like it was in 2016, a very crowded Republican field.

HUNT: Yes. So, before I let you go, I got to ask you about what's up next, for Kevin McCarthy, because you obviously, a founding member of the Freedom Caucus, you all basically ran John Boehner, out of Washington.

Now, McCarthy is facing a situation, where at least four or five of his members have said they don't want to vote for him, to be Speaker. We are looking potentially at a very challenging period, for him, to even get the gavel, let alone actually govern the country.

Do you think McCarthy is going to be Speaker of the House? And can he manage the Conference, if he does?

MULVANEY: Yes, and yes, although the second yes is a little bit more difficult, because managing that group is going to be difficult.

But keep in mind. It's a little bit different than it was in 2000. I think it was 2015, when John Boehner left, because we knew in the Freedom Caucus, that there were other people, who could effectively be the Speaker.

We thought Kevin McCarthy was one of those people at the time. It turned out that wasn't the case. But we knew Paul Ryan was a candidate. And believe it or not, this doesn't get a lot of attention. Trey Gowdy actually probably had the votes to be Speaker as well, if he chose to run.

I'm not sure if there's anybody else in the House, who could get the votes. Keep in mind, right now, with a slim margin, let's say there's a five-vote margin, any group of six House members could prevent Kevin McCarthy, from being Speaker. By the same token, Kevin McCarthy, and five other of his friends, could prevent anybody else from being Speaker. And that's the dynamic that I think was lost on a lot of people.


Do I think Kevin is going to be the Speaker? Yes, because I think he's the only one who can actually get 218 votes. Will he have to give up a lot to the MAGA wing of the party, to the Freedom Caucus? Yes, he will. But I do think he'll be Speaker. And I'll think he'd be as effective as anybody else will be in very trying times in the House.

HUNT: I guess we're about to find out!


HUNT: Mick Mulvaney, thank you very much for your time tonight, sir, really appreciate it.

MULVANEY: Thanks, Kasie. Happy Thanksgiving.

HUNT: You too.

And coming up, even more controversies, surrounding Georgia U.S. Senate candidate, Herschel Walker, what CNN's KFILE just dug up out of his tax records. Will the revelation hurt Walker, in his upcoming runoff race? That's next.


HUNT: Ever since Herschel Walker launched his U.S. Senate campaign, in Georgia, he has phased out accusations, of being a carpetbagger.

Sure, Walker was born and raised in the Peach State. And we have to note he was a Heisman Trophy-winning Georgia Bulldog, which is probably the most important thing, to voters, in this kind of bucket.

But critics have pointed out that he has lived in Texas, for the past two decades. Now, less than two weeks out, from an election that will decide whether Democrats get a firmer grip on power, in the Senate, there are new revelations tonight that may back those accusations up.


According to records, recently uncovered by CNN's KFILE, the former football star is set to get a tax break, on his Texas home, a tax break that is reportedly valued at $3 million, a tax break that is only reserved, for Texas residents.

Now, while this raises some legal questions, clearly, about whether he's following Texas tax law, Walker's bear (ph) problem, at least in this moment, may be the political fallout, just 13 days out from the runoff.

Kirsten Powers, and Doug Heye, are back with me.

I also want to welcome Jackie Kucinich, to the conversation.

Doug, you are the Republican, sitting at this table. Does this matter? How bad is this for the Republican candidate?

HEYE: Yes and no. Look, the homestead exemption is something that so many senators have gone through.

When I worked for Richard Burr, in 2005, a reporter called us, and said, "Why is your boss getting this homestead exemption, from the District of Columbia?" And it was panic time, for us until we realized about 15 others were, at the same time, including Ted Kennedy. But--

HUNT: Right. But he's not a senator yet. He doesn't live in D.C., yet.

HEYE: Yes, right.

HUNT: He's -- the question is like he lives in--

HEYE: So, that's part of -- that's part of the problem.

HUNT: He says he lives in Georgia.

Also, we should note, I just want to briefly correct the read that we just did. It's the house is worth $3 million, not the tax break. Continue.

HEYE: But this gets to why it's a problem. It speaks to something that he has a problem with voters with. And is it going to change anybody's mind? No. But it sure causes a distraction, for a candidate, who doesn't need any more distractions.

JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE DAILY BEAST: I was going to say, this is the only thing that was facing Herschel Walker and his quest for the Senate? Perhaps, it would have more of an impact.

But there's just so much to unpack that had -- between abuse allegations, like allegations of paying for abortions, all of the things that Herschel Walker has dealt with this entire campaign.

It is a fairness issue, when we talk about a tax exemption that you may or may not, should or should not be getting. But, at this stage of the game, where the margins are going to be so thin, I do wonder if that's going to move the needle.

HUNT: So, Kirsten, I mean, if you're the -- if you're running the Walker campaign, or the Warnock campaign, I mean, who would you rather be, right now? Because, I mean, to Jackie's point, this is one thing of many that has dogged Herschel Walker's campaign, to the point, where he ran far behind the Republican gubernatorial nominee, Brian Kemp. I mean, if he had kept up with him, in the election--


HUNT: --just a couple weeks ago, he would be the senator-elect, right now. He's not, because there were a lot of Republicans, who just couldn't stomach voting for him.

This does seem like yet another thing. I mean, when you're talking about a turnout-based election, where people are just like, "Really? Again?"

POWERS: Yes. Well--

HUNT: But maybe that analysis is off. What's your take?

POWERS: No, I think that's right, because I think the biggest issue is does this, does it depress turnout is one question. We won't know the answer until after people vote. But I think we would be safe in saying it's not going to enthuse people, right?

HUNT: Right.

POWERS: So, it's not going to lead people, who are kind of like, already not really sure. And then, this, and it kind of just adds to the list of things that makes them not excited.

And so, you're not going to have the Republicans that were turning out to vote for Kemp, turning out, necessarily, for a special election, right? Because they're not -- you have to be pretty enthusiastic, to be voting, in a special election. So, I think that it's just another data point against him. And that's not what he needs, right now.

HUNT: Kemp himself has just found an enthusiasm, for Herschel Walker--


HUNT: --after having -- not having so much before (ph).

KUCINICH: New-found! I mean, oh my Gosh! Look at that!

HUNT: Yes.

HEYE: Yes.

KUCINICH: After not having campaigned with him--

HEYE: Right.

KUCINICH: --the entire 2022 election.

HUNT: Well, and I was going to ask you about that, too, Doug. And I don't know if we have any of the pictures, from the recent -- I was amused that there was a Fox News interview that had Walker, Cruz and Lindsey Graham, in a three box--


HEYE: Yes.

HUNT: --together, which is, as someone, who works on television, it can be awkward to be in a two box, let alone a -- yes, there it is.

HEYE: Yes. This is -- this is awkward, yes.


HUNT: And there it is, right? And there they are, like Cruz is talking. He's sitting there in the middle.

KUCINICH: Yes, it's cozy.

HUNT: Is this like, what's the strategy for Cruz and Graham here to go down? I mean, I get they're trying to do what they can to help him win. But, I mean, is this -- what's the plan here?

HEYE: There's this whole a lot of Republican Senate Conference, internal politicking. We've seen this play out over the past couple weeks, with the NRSC, sometimes fighting with Team McConnell. And McConnell's team has put a lot of money in on this.

But everybody wants to be next to Herschel, to demonstrate, we're doing what we can, to build this, if not majority, at least save it to get from getting to 51, where Democrats will have a lot more leverage, on committees.

POWERS: But how would them being on TV, send that message?

HEYE: It's all about appearances!

KUCINICH: I mean, what--

POWERS: But it seems like the message they're sending is "Don't worry. He's just going to do what we say," right? It's like "We're always by his side, like we never leave his side," to the point that we -- I mean, who has ever done this? What person running for the Senate has ever sat, gone chaperoned, on television?

KUCINICH: But I did--

HUNT: I'm never going to be -- I cannot recall seeing it before. Yes, but, it doesn't mean--

KUCINICH: But to Doug's point, I think, this is about--

HUNT: --it's never happened.


HUNT: But I can't remember it.

KUCINICH: Graham and Cruz, and their positioning in -- within the--

HEYE: Exactly.

KUCINICH: --Republican Conference--


KUCINICH: --as who is doing the most to try--

HEYE: Yes.

HUNT: Yes.

KUCINICH: --and pull Herschel Walker--

HUNT: Yes.

KUCINICH: --over the finish line and--

HEYE: The goalposts, you could say.

HUNT: But it does demonstrate--

KUCINICH: Yes, the goalposts, if you will.

HUNT: To Kirsten's point, the challenge, the unique challenges, of the Herschel Walker candidacy that he is sitting on Fox News, with two senators next to him.

Let me play a little bit of what Cruz had to say. We saw him talking. But let's listen to the argument that he's making, for why Georgia voters should make a point, to get out and vote for Walker in the runoff.



SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Chuck Schumer has told you he doesn't want Herschel Walker to win. He doesn't want a 50-50 Senate. Why is that? Because in a 50-50 Senate, the committees are even, which, slows him down.

If Raphael Warnock wins, Schumer can expedite, confirming radical judges, to take away your free speech rights, your religious liberty rights, your Second Amendment rights.


HUNT: So, what he's talking about, basically, and Doug alluded to this, is that there is actually a significant difference, between a 50-50 Senate, where the parties have to work together, to figure out how to control key committees, and make critical decisions, and a 51- 49 Senate, where Democrats don't have to bother working with Republicans, on any of that.

And, I mean, Kirsten, this is the argument that we're hearing, from Republicans, and I think we're going to hear it throughout 2024, is talking about your individual rights, I mean.

And Democrats, I think, actually, due to the results of the midterms show, they did a pretty good job, flipping that argument on its head, trying to say to people, especially around things like abortion, "It's actually Republicans, who want to take that away."

But is that what this is about, at the end of the day?

POWERS: Well, I mean, I think if you supported individual rights, you would support women's right to control their bodies. I mean, that seems pretty basic. So, I don't think it's a great argument, the idea that Democrats are somehow trying to take away your individual rights, when they're the ones that are out, making sure that women can make decisions, about literally what happens to their own body, and not be barred, from going to another state, or told what kind of medications they can receive in the mail.

And so, I think that that's -- I just -- I don't think that that's an argument that's going to resonate with anybody outside of the people, that are already voting for Republicans.

HUNT: One, abortion, as we know, has already played a significant role, across the country, in this race, in particular, especially because the Georgia Supreme Court just reinstated a six-week ban, in the State of Georgia.

All right, Kirsten Powers, Jackie Kucinich, Doug Heye, thank you guys all for being here. On this Thanksgiving Eve, I especially appreciate your time.

POWERS: Thank you.

HUNT: Meanwhile, Taylor Swift is furious at Ticketmaster. She is not alone. I'm pretty sure, all the rest of us, are also, after the debacle, over fans trying to buy seats, for her new concert tour.

We've got a member of Congress here, who will not shake it off, when it comes to questions, over whether the behemoth of ticket sales deserves its own breakup. That's next.



HUNT: Taylor Swift struggles with herself in the lead single to her new album.



TAYLOR SWIFT, AMERICAN SINGER-SONGWRITER: It's me, hi, I'm the problem, it's me At tea time, everybody agrees.


HUNT: But even though she's cut the number one album in the country, the self-proclaimed anti-hero has some new bad blood. After all, the same singer, who accuses Congressmen, of covert narcissism, has them lining up, to join her, in her fight against the owner of Ticketmaster.

A Senate Antitrust Panel will hold a hearing. And the Department of Justice is investigating, after the debacle that was Swift's concert ticket sales last week. Between site crashes, people waiting online, for hours, and absolutely outrageous prices, Swifties, as her fans are known, are demanding a hard look, at the 2010 merger, between Ticketmaster and Live Nation.

That includes my next guest, Democratic congressman, David Cicilline.

Congressman, thank you so much for being with us tonight.

REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI): My pleasure. Good to see you.

HUNT: Good to see you, too.

It's an unusual topic. But 50 members of the House did send the DOJ a letter, way back in 2010. And they said Live Nation and Ticketmaster never ever ever should have gotten together in the first place. But the Department, under Obama, at the time, approved the merger anyway.

Why do you think pressure from Congress could have a different effect this time?

CICILLINE: Well, you're absolutely right, the merger should never have happened. In fact, we wrote back, in April of last year, asking the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, to look again, at this transaction.

Taken together, Live Nation and Ticketmaster, control over 80 percent of the tickets, in large venues, across the country. That's a monopoly. And what has it -- what it has produced is what monopolies always produce. Higher prices, less quality experience for consumers, less compensation for artists.

So, the Department of Justice really has to look at this transaction, and look at the consent decree that was entered into, after the transaction, to try to protect competition, impose additional conditions, to really restore competition. And if they can't do that, they're looking at unwinding the transaction, because it should have never happened in the first place.

HUNT: Well, the reality too, though, is that the complaints didn't start with the Swifties.


HUNT: I mean, what's the difference here, between this artist, this fan base that -- I mean, I guess it's just blown up so -- so enormously. But I mean, what do you think is the difference between now and when there have been other problems with other artists?

CICILLINE: Well, I mean, there have been a number of examples, where this merger has produced terrible consumer experiences, much higher prices, degraded the quality of the consumer experience, and also less compensation for artists. Adele was another big concert where that happened. But there have been many examples.

And look, this is a problem all throughout our economy. When you have this kind of concentration of the market, they become monopolists, or near monopolists, and they don't have any incentive to innovate their app. They get lazy. They don't have any incentive to worry about doing things well to compete successfully. And they also can increase prices.

So, there's a reason that monopolies are bad for consumers, and workers, in our economy, and why competition is so important. And the absence of competition produces the results that we've seen time and again, with this merger. And it's occurring really, all throughout the economy. We're seeing more and more consolidation, in healthcare, in agriculture, in tech.

And it's good that we have a president now that is the most pro- competition president in my lifetime. And he has great people in the Administration, like Lina Khan, and Jonathan Kanter, and Tim Wu, who have been really strong advocates, obviously--

HUNT: Yes.

CICILLINE: --for strong competition policy. But we need to see action. This is just the most recent example of that kind of concentration.

HUNT: Yes. Well, I mean, and we saw -- we did see an example of the difference that you point to, in the recent the decision not to allow the two major publishing houses to merge.

But back in 2019, you mentioned that consent decree which of course, sets the rules for how these companies have to follow, after they merge.


In 2019, DOJ found that Live Nation, the overall company, broke the rules, of the merger. But they didn't really do anything about it. They just extended rules that were already in place.

Now, Live Nation claims that they follow them now.

Why did they not -- why did they kind of punted back in 2019? And are you confident that DOJ will act differently this time?

CICILLINE: I am confident that DOJ will act differently this time, mostly because of the leadership of the President, and of Jonathan Kanter.

But look, we didn't have great antitrust enforcement, both in Republican and Democratic administrations, for a very long time. And, as a result, we've seen tremendous concentration, in our economy. We've seen mergers like this one, which should never have happened. I think that time is over.

We have a president, who understands what the impact of this kind of concentration is, on working families, and on our economy. We have members at the Administration, who have a lifetime commitment to this work.

And so, I think we're in a very different place. The Congress of the United States, my committee, in the House, Senator Klobuchar's committee, in the Senate, is actively working on these issues. So antitrust is back. Congress is going to continue to play a much bigger role.

But I think we have an Administration that is prepared to really do all that is necessary, to restore competition, not only here, but all throughout our economy. And I think that's what's different today than it was maybe five or 10 years ago.

HUNT: All right, Congressman, David Cicilline, thanks very much for being with us tonight, sir. I really appreciate your time.

CICILLINE: Thank you. Happy Thanksgiving!

HUNT: You too.


HUNT: And to that point, we have something of a palate cleanser coming up. One of America's best chefs will join us, with a different way, to think about Thanksgiving, from the meal to the memories that we make, a celebration of shared culture, next.



HUNT: As we head into this holiday season, we wanted to cap off, tonight, with a bit of what brings us together, in America. Thanksgiving can stir up some nerves, about our differences, political or otherwise, as we gather around a communal table.

But our next guest says he relishes in the sharing of cultures that can be brought out by the holiday. With me now is award-winning restaurateur and chef, Marcus Samuelsson.

Marcus, thank you so much, for being with us, tonight.

CHEF MARCUS SAMUELSSON, AWARD-WINNING CHEF & RESTAURATEUR, ETHIOPIAN- BORN SWEDISH-AMERICAN CHEF, OWNER OF HAV & MAR: Thank you for having me. I just brined the turkey with my son, and we're ready to go off tomorrow, so.

HUNT: That's great. My husband and I actually did ours, last night, and was turning it with my son, today, which is again, something that we're all sharing. It's the experience that brings us together.

I mean, you were born in Ethiopia, and you were adopted by Swedish parents, then you moved to the United States. And you talk publicly so often about how important it is to share and celebrate different cultures, and how important that's been, in your personal and professional life.

How does that define what Thanksgiving means to you? And what bigger message does it send in these divided times? SAMUELSSON: First of all, I love Thanksgiving. I think it's an amazing holiday, because it is truly for everyone. And we all need, in this tough (ph) time, a moment to actually give thanks and cook and eat and sit around the dinner table, and hopefully enjoy it, and laugh a little bit, right, because it's stressful.

We just came out of pandemic, and coming out of the pandemic, and so on. So, it's really tough times out there, for a lot of people, for a lot of us. So, I just feel for mentally -- mental health, and everything, Thanksgiving, enjoying each other, super-super important.

And then, it's also an opportunity to celebrate your culture. One of the most beautiful things with America is that we are so multi- cultural, right? So in my -- on my Thanksgiving table, tomorrow, yes, there will be turkey. But there will also be some wonderful Doro Wat from Ethiopia. And there will also be some Gravlax from a--

HUNT: I love Doro Wat!

SAMUELSSON: Yes, there will also be some Gravlax, from Sweden, right? So, it's an opportunity to really celebrate your culture.

HUNT: Yes, no, and to share food traditions, and have other people bring things to the table, that's different. I mean, I actually feel, we, here in Washington, D.C., we have such a rich culture of Ethiopian food--


HUNT: --because there are so many people. So, that's not something that I was ever exposed to as a child but something that I eat regularly now, which I really enjoy.

But here's one of the challenges, in these tense times. A lot of people are finding it really hard to afford, to buy the food that they need, for a big Thanksgiving feast at home. And in fact, some people are deciding to go to restaurants, for the big meals, what we understand.

Because I mean, just look at that. 24 percent, the turkey prices are way up. Restaurant inflation has actually been a little bit lower than some of these groceries. Are you expecting more traffic, at your restaurants? I mean, you've been an activist for a long time, against hunger and food insecurity? What's your take on this?

SAMUELSSON: Well, it is very difficult times. And the hospitality community, most restaurants, most my chef friends, we all participate, in different charities, in terms of turkey giving out (ph) and so on.

What my new restaurant, Hav & Mar, because it's brand-new, we decided to be closed for Thanksgiving, because I wanted to give the staff, actually a chance to be with their families. At Red Rooster, we're open, and we're fully booked.

And yes, it is tough times. But I do think a moment like this, at Thanksgiving, is whether you eat at home, whether you eat at a friend's house, whether you go to the restaurant, it is a moment, where we can give thanks, because we all have something that we're super-grateful for.

Of course, pricing has hit restaurants as well. And we're going through it. But I do think this is one of these days that we should enjoy it. Whether you're going to watch the World Cup, or you're got to watch Dallas American (ph) football, American football.

HUNT: Yes. It is an interesting cultural choice, this year, what we're going to watch on TV. I mean, I know, historically, we always -- I've got family from Detroit. So, we typically watch the Lions lose.


HUNT: But you are -- I mean, we know that you're a soccer fan. I mean who -- I assume you're going to be watching the World Cup? Who are you rooting for? I mean, Team USA over here. But that -- I mean that's all Friday but.

SAMUELSSON: Yes. I mean, first of all, I'm--

HUNT: Who do you got?


SAMUELSSON: --I'm very impressed that you know so much about Ethiopian food. So you now, the Ethiopian community in D.C., are going to be very, very touched by that.

HUNT: Kitfo is my go-to, I have to say.

SAMUELSSON: Oh my god!

HUNT: It's my absolute favorite!

SAMUELSSON: Now you're going deep in regional Ethiopian foods. Stop while we're at it. Now we're going (ph) for what? This is great.

I'm definitely going to watch the World Cup. The American kids did great. I thought they almost won the game. But I think (inaudible) I'm very excited about it. And then, I think Brazil is probably the team to be.

But World Cup is always a bunch of upset, right? Isn't it great when Japan beats Germany, or you have Saudi Arabia beating Argentina, with the great Lionel Messi? I mean, this is why you watch the World Cup, right? And this year we're going to do it by eating turkey. Isn't that fantastic?

HUNT: I guess it's fitting that the U.S. Men's Team is actually in the World Cup, this year, but anyway.

SAMUELSSON: Yes, that's right.

HUNT: Well, Chef Marcus Samuelsson, thank you so much, for being with us, tonight, and for sharing a little bit of the warmth and joy that you bring, to celebrating this tradition.

SAMUELSSON: Thank you, and happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

HUNT: Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours as well.

We will be right back.


HUNT: Thank you so much for watching. Our coverage continues now with Alisyn Camerota.

Hi, Alisyn, thank you -- happy Thanksgiving!