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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Migrant Boat Capsizes In The English Channel Killing At Least 27 People; Trump's Influence Looms Over McCarthy's Bid For Speaker; WHO: Europe Faces 700K More COVID Deaths By March. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired November 25, 2021 - 05:30   ET



MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The turkey, the parade, the entire 2 1/2-mile route is all back. Fifteen giant balloons -- a bunch of new ones, including Baby Yoda, which everyone's very excited to see. And 10 bands, 28 floats, thousands -- a cast of thousands and thousands. Three hundred pounds of glitter.

Police have everything set. The route is ready. People are already lining up getting ready to see this thing. They're sleeping out on the sides. It is expected to be a massive crowd all the way down to Herald Square where it will end.

And just, you know, people feeling really good this morning. A happy Thanksgiving is everything -- is what people are yelling at us as we're walking up the street here to get in position for this live shot. So, a lot of excitement that this parade is back and the world, the U.S., and New York City is starting to get back to normal -- Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: You know, I usually don't like crowd events, to be honest, but I have to say I've lived in New York long enough and that is one of the best things to do in New York is to be there, to see the parade go by with all the people. Everyone's always so happy.

Does it seem like it's -- the wind is pretty good there? I mean, sometimes it can be windy and that is a little treacherous. But it looks like the weather's pretty good, yes?

MARQUEZ: That's always the big report -- is the wind going to keep the balloons from flying? It is a perfect day, it looks like. There's not a -- there's not even a breeze right now, so it looks like all the balloons will be just fine. It looks like it's going to be a sunny day -- just a spectacular day for a parade.

And it couldn't come soon enough because a lot of people I think are feeling a little low about where everything is. It's been fits and starts to get through this pandemic after two years of doing little more than pandemic stories. It is an absolute joy to be out here with Tom Turkey and all the balloons, and the NYPD, and thousands and thousands of New Yorkers and people from around the world to watch this parade kick off.

Back to you.

ROMANS: Miguel, maybe the most important question I will ask today -- tell me, which do you prefer, pumpkin, apple, or pecan? What kind of pie guy are you?

MARQUEZ: Pumpkin. Absolutely, pumpkin --

ROMANS: All right.

MARQUEZ: -- with lots of cream -- lots of whipped cream.

ROMANS: All right. For the record, I've got it down. Thank you. Nice to see you. Have a great day.

MARQUEZ: Got it.

ROMANS: The parade balloons will be flying high --

MARQUEZ: Happy Thanksgiving.

ROMANS: You, too. Happy Thanksgiving.

OK, so the parade balloons will be flying high. Will the weather cooperate? Here is meteorologist Derek Van Dam.


DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST (on camera): Good morning, Christine, and happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Plenty to be thankful for today, including a quiet day of weather for traveling to and from family.

Just a few light rain showers from St. Louis to Chicago, reaching the east coast by Friday morning. So, perhaps traveling home from family or friends, the I-95 corridor could experience a few wet spots from D.C. to New York, as well as Boston.

But this cold front is actually going to set the stage for cooler weather and the potential for more impactful weather conditions by the end of the weekend and the early parts of next week as a clipper system drops south from the Great Lakes to the mid-Atlantic. That could bring us our first measurable snowfall for many of the east coast cities.

Let's talk Thursday's Thanksgiving Day forecast. Forty-three for Chicago, 65 for Atlanta. The nation's capital at 57. You'll stay dry.

And guess what? It looks like ideal conditions, in fact, for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade going off without a weather hitch in New York City.

Back to you.


ROMANS: All right. Thank you so much for that, Derek. Now to a tragedy in the English Channel. At least 27 people drowned in the frigid waters off the French coast after an inflatable boat carrying migrants bound for Britain capsized. It is one of the deadliest incidents ever on this dangerous route. Five smugglers now under arrest.

We have team coverage this morning, starting with Cyril Vanier in Calais, France near where that boat sank. Cyril, President Emmanuel Macron says France will not let the channel become a graveyard. Tell us more.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Look, I want to paint a picture for you and set the scene here. I'm standing on the northern French coast. Just over there is the English Channel. We're meters away from the sea.

Twenty-seven nautical miles on the other side -- that's about 50 kilometers -- is Dover or the English coast. That is the Eldorado. That is where the migrants are trying to go in search of a better life. And the jumping-off point is this stretch of coastline, some 150 to 200 kilometers. They use inflatable boats.

We just got here to try and understand what it is they go through and look at what we found. This is a spot that we randomly chose and we found one of the boats that the migrants use. And these are dotted along the shoreline we're told. You see right there is a police car involved in the overall effort to patrol this coastline.


But I want to go back on the boat because this is what people are entrusting to get them safely over to the other side. You would not put your children on this. And the reason I mention children is because three children died in yesterday's tragic event.

But look at this. There's some wooden boarding -- wooden floor for the boat. There's some pretty shoddy taping. I'm not sure if that means that the boat had any kind of leaks. I don't know. But this is what we're talking about. In yesterday's tragic event, 34 people, the French Interior minister tells us, got on a boat very much like this one.

Now, the smugglers, who charged several thousand euros per migrant that they put on the boat -- of course, they don't care if people make it alive. So, they are known to overload those boats, and those boats sit very low on the water.

These seas can get very choppy. This is a windy waterway -- a windy stretch between France and England. It is extremely dangerous and this is what people are entrusting their lives with.

Look, this -- you see this big gash here? This is because when law enforcement finds these boats that sometimes are buried into the sand, they want to -- they want to decommission them so to speak. So, they are the ones who have cut this up to make sure it can't be used again. And during the rest of the day, law enforcement will be going around these dunes. Look at this. If a group of 30 migrants were just on the other side of this dune right now, I couldn't tell you because you can't see them. So, this is very, very favorable terrain for the migrants to hide in and that is exactly what they do. We just spoke to a policeman who told us just yesterday 13 migrants were found hiding in one of these dunes.

So, what they do is the smugglers bring them here, they bury the boats. And then when the time is right and the weather is right, they inflate the boat, put the migrants on it, and send them off. The smugglers, by the way -- they don't risk their lives. They just send the migrants.

That's the story. That's what we know. And this is what's happening right along this 200-kilometer stretch of French coastline.

ROMANS: Cyril, amazing. Thank you for that reporting.

You say we wouldn't put our children on that boat. Imagine the desperation -- what you're leaving and what you're trying to get to -- to actually take that risk to put your family on one of those boats. It's just remarkable about the plight of so many of these migrant families.

Thank you for that.

CNN's Nic Robertson is in Dover, England on the other side of the channel. Nic, the U.K. has debated toughening its maritime border for years. What's the reaction to this tragedy?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: There is a real sense of frustration. Politically, the government is under huge pressure to solve this migrant issue. They partly got to power saying that they could control this illegal migration that's happening here. I mean, look at the numbers. They're quite startling.

Where Cyril is, just yesterday, the French police managed to stop about 670 migrants getting out to the sea. Even so, 255 of them, according to French officials, made it out into the channel and are believed to have made it here to the U.K.

A couple of weeks ago, 1,000 migrants arrived in one day. There's a real spike going on at the moment. Twenty-five -- more than 25,000 migrants have made it into the U.K. from France over this past year, triple the number of last year.

So, the prime minister is under political pressure to do something about it. He called an emergency cabinet meeting of his government last night. He spoke about the tragedy. He's saying it's important that the two governments work together.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: And it also shows how vital it is that we now step up our efforts to break the business model of the gangsters who are sending people to sea in this way. I say to our partners across the channel, now is the time for us all to step up, to work together. To do everything we can to break these gangs who are literally getting away with murder.


ROBERTSON: And you're seeing and you're hearing some the finger- pointing that's already going on. Boris Johnson was essentially pointing the finger at the French, saying we've made offers to help but the French aren't accepting. The French interior minister has said that the British are offering minimal support.

I spoke with a local lawmaker here today and I said, you know, why isn't your government -- and she's part of Boris Johnson's government -- why has your government been so slow to deal with this migrant issue that's happening? And she said it's not our fault. She pointed to the French and said the French police are just watching these migrants go out to sea and not stopping them.

So, you get a sense of the finger-pointing and tensions here. Despite President Macron, Boris Johnson said we should work together. There is a real element of a lack of trust and animosity on this and a number of other issues between the British and French right now.

ROMANS: Nic, where are these migrants coming from? They are citizens of what nations?


ROBERTSON: On this particular crossing where 27 died, they are believed to be of Somali and Iraqi origin. Typically, many from North Africa, many from countries in the Middle East -- Syria, Iraq; often Afghanistan as well.

The U.K. has really become a real focus for many of these migrants either because they've got family here. They think they can get better support here.

You know, the British are trying to sort of redesign their asylum system here for -- on immigration. They haven't done it yet.

But of the 100,000 migrants that made it into Europe so far this year, according to the UNHCR, we know that one-quarter of them have tried and made it into the U.K. The U.K. is an attractive place, it appears, for the migrants to try to get to.

ROMANS: Amazing. All right. Nic Robertson, thank you so much for that. Great reporting.

We'll be right back.



ROMANS: Former President Trump still casting a large shadow in Washington -- in particular, over Kevin McCarthy's bid to become the next speaker if Republicans take back the House.

Daniella Diaz live on Capitol Hill with some new CNN reporting this Thanksgiving morning. Nice to see you. Take us through it, Daniella.

DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN REPORTER: Christine, yes, we have new reporting that there is a small minority in Trump's orbit that is circulating the idea that Trump could make a play to win the speaker's gavel if, of course, the House wins the majority in the 2022 midterms.

Now, while this is, of course, a wild rumor that's circulating, this is still possible. Because technically, the Speaker of the House does not have to be a member of Congress if the majority of the House votes to elect them. So, this could happen. However, really, what this shows is a couple of things, right? It shows Trump is still the majority player in the Republican Party and still has a dominating influence over what the Republican Party does.

And there's a couple of ways this could play out. It could play out where Trump endorses McCarthy, who has long wanted the speaker's gavel. And that would offer, of course, McCarthy the boost for the speaker's gavel. Or, Trump could remain neutral, which could also potentially help McCarthy. Or, secretly, privately, Trump could go against McCarthy and hurt his chances toward the speaker's gavel.

Now, this is a whole math game. McCarthy wants to be speaker. He needs 218 votes in the House to be elected speaker.

But, of course, remember there is the Marjorie Taylor Greenes of the House, the Matt Gaetz's of the House that listen to Trump. Even some members that are more subtle than them. And they could really hurt his chances if Trump plays a role in McCarthy taking the speaker's gavel.

Of course, all of this if Republicans take the majority in the 2022 midterms. But yes, that's basically how it might play out considering the fact that Trump still plays a large role in the party.

ROMANS: Daniella Diaz covering politics for us on Thanksgiving.

Quick question -- breaking news. What is your favorite pie? Pumpkin, pecan, apple?

DIAZ: Pecan. Always pecan, Christine. I'm from Texas.

ROMANS: All right.

DIAZ: I'm a Texas girl.

ROMANS: Texas girl with her pecan pie.

All right, nice to see you this morning. Happy Thanksgiving.

DIAZ: Happy Thanksgiving.

ROMANS: Thanks for getting up early for us.

All right, Europe now bracing for another deadly surge as some nations go back into lockdown. The World Health Organization says the continent could see another 700,000 COVID cases -- COVID deaths, rather, by March, which would increase the current death toll by about half.

CNN's Phil Black joins us from London. You know, Phil, the WHO says ICUs could hit high or extreme stress levels across much of the continent. Tell us more.

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Christine, good morning.

It's a really challenging time for Europe at the moment. The cold weather is here. People are indoors. The Delta variant is spreading rapidly.

And on top of that, vaccine coverage is really patchy. It's less than 70 percent across the continent and much lower in some countries and some specific regions. There is huge variation.

On top of that, there is also concern about diminishing immunity among those who have been vaccinated. And so, that is why the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control is really worried about what it calls this immunity gap -- a huge number of people that are still vulnerable to infection and potentially, serious disease.

So, it is calling on countries to ramp up their existing vaccination programs to try and get those shots into people's arms. To expand their booster programs quickly to include all adults but especially, the vulnerable.

But it also acknowledges that alone will not be enough such is the rate of spread. Figures are spiking so quickly that it knows you cannot close the immunity gap through vaccines alone. You can't get shots into arms fast enough. So, it is calling for tougher action as well -- more restrictions.

It's why we are already seeing countries go that way. Austria is already in something close to lockdown. Italy is tightening up its health pass system. We're expecting more restrictions to be announced by France today as well.

The overall picture strongly suggests that you will not be able to ease pressure on hospitals this winter in Europe purely through light restrictions and gently moving ahead with vaccines.

That is why a German health minister gave a very blunt prediction this week. He suggested that everyone in his country will, by the end of winter, either be vaccinated, recovered from COVID, or will have died from COVID -- Christine.

ROMANS: Vaccinated, recovered, or dead. That really puts it starkly.

Phil Black, thank you so much for that this morning.

All right. The resurgence in COVID cases across Europe fueling fear the E.U.'s economic recovery might backslide. And, so far, the effect has been limited but all the new restrictions Phil just mentioned are prompting concern from economists. Many are forecasting slower growth in the fourth quarter.


The European Commission says consumer confidence fell markedly in November. And IHS Markit reports business expectations for future economic output deteriorated this month to the lowest level since January.

But other economists note European businesses and consumers have learned to cope with COVID and the economic impact has diminished with each new wave of cases. Experts say a lot will depend on how the situation unfolds in Germany -- of course, Europe's biggest economic engine.

All right. LeBron James had a pair of unruly fans ejected in his first game back after being suspended.

Coy Wire this morning with the Thanksgiving Bleacher Report. Hey, there.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Happy Thanksgiving, Christine.

The Lakers superstar back in the lineup against the Indiana Pacers last night after serving the first suspension of his career. He scored a season-high of 39 points, leading his team to a 124-116 overtime win.

But about halfway through the extra period, a pair of Indiana fans sitting courtside said something to LeBron that did not sit well with him. He brought the referee over to the sideline and pointed out the fans. After a brief discussion with arena officials, the man and woman were escorted out of their seats.

Now, LeBron didn't say what the fans said to him. You can see the woman here still taunting on her way out. He did tell reporters, though -- LeBron said after the game that behavior like that is not acceptable.


LEBRON JAMES, LOS ANGELES LAKERS FORWARD: It's a difference between cheering for your home faithful and not wanting your opponents to be successful. And then there's moments where it goes outside the line with obscene gestures and words that shouldn't be tolerated in our game from nobody. And I would never say it to a fan, and a fan should never say it to a player.


WIRE: All right, let's go on to the Minnesota Vikings, who say that their defensive end Everson Griffen is now safe and getting the care he needs after posting a now-deleted series of videos on social media claiming an intruder was trying to kill him.

Deputies and mental health professionals went to Griffen's home early yesterday morning after he called 911. Griffen told dispatchers he had fired a weapon but no one was injured. Officials say that no intruder was located and the 33-year-old initially refused to leave his house but eventually came out peacefully.


RICK SPIELMAN, GENERAL MANAGER, MINNESOTA VIKINGS: Their family is our family and it's important at this moment that we respect the health, the safety, and the well-being of everyone that is involved in this situation. And I know he's receiving the care and the support he needs, along with his family.


WIRE: The four-time Pro Bowler played his first 10 NFL seasons in Minnesota. He spent with the Cowboys in the Lions last season before returning to the Vikings.

Finally, the Alabama Crimson Tide is third in the latest college football playoff rankings, but some fans still aren't happy. A caller on head coach Nick Saban's radio show asked why his team isn't winning games by a big enough margin. Saban's response, epic.


NICK SABAN, ALABAMA HEAD COACH: I mean, come on. Give me a break. This is not professional football. These guys aren't getting paid to play here.

They're representing you all. You should be proud and happy to support them and appreciate what they do and have some gratitude.

And you know what else? Nobody wants the win worse than they do. Not me, not you -- I don't care what kind of fan you are. Nobody wants the win more than the players that play -- nobody. And nobody feels worse than they do when they lose -- nobody.

So, for all you self-absorbed folks out there that can't look past your own self to appreciate what other people are doing.


WIRE: Oh, my goodness.

Speaking of gratitude, I'm grateful for you, Christine.

Something tells me Saban's players are going to be a little pumped up to play their -- Auburn. They're big rivals in the Iron Bowl this weekend.

ROMANS: I am grateful for you and everything you do. And I cannot wait for Kaitlan Collins to co-anchor "NEW DAY" this morning to hear what she thinks about those self-absorbed Alabama fans -- a superfan, herself.

Nice to see you -- thanks.

WIRE: You, too. Thanks.

ROMANS: Have a great day with your family.

Finally, this morning, we want to celebrate the men and women in our military home for the holidays. About 150 Iowa National Guard members arrived in Des Moines to hugs and kisses after a 9-month deployment. Their families are so relieved they're back home, including a woman who gave birth while her husband was gone.


REPORTER: And he has not seen his father until this moment?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. This is the first time.

REPORTER: And what's going through your mind?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of emotions.

REPORTER: You've been waiting for this day, I imagine.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm overwhelmed. He's home, finally. I'm just -- the most amazing thing.



ROMANS: Good on all of them.

Thank you for joining us. Thanks to all of our first responders, our veterans, all of those people who work in the hospitals, everyone who is working today. Thank you so much for all you do for us every day of the year.

I'm Christine Romans. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. "NEW DAY" is next.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. It is Thursday, November 25th. I'm John Berman.

Brianna is off this morning. Chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins is here. Happy Thanksgiving to you.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Happy Thanksgiving, John.

BERMAN: The reward for all the hard work and reporting you do at the White House is you get to work this holiday morning. I'm grateful that you're here, so thank you.

COLLINS: Of course.