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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

3 Million People Expected To Line Macy's Thanksgiving Parade Route; DOJ Prosecutors Seek Pence Testimony In January 6 Criminal Probe; Authorities Sift Through 1,000 Tips In Deadly Idaho Stabbings. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired November 24, 2022 - 05:30   ET




WHITNEY WILD, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to EARLY START -- 5:33 past the hour now. I'm Whitney Wild in for Christine Romans.

The excitement is building on the streets of New York City for the 96th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. The event steps off in just a few hours on the Upper West Side and then it will march its way down toward Herald Square.

CNN's Brynn Gingras is live along the parade route. Brynn, what do people want to see?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean, Whitney, there are people already lined up ready to see this parade and it's still several hours away. I want to just give you a quick look of this line of people that have already kind of staked their spot waiting for this parade start again, which is actually going to start earlier, Whitney, this year -- 8:45 -- because there's more balloons. How exciting is that?

Let me pull over this woman right here. Hi.


GINGRAS: What's your name?

LESLIE: My name is Leslie.

GINGRAS: You must be thrilled because you're here this early.

LESLIE: We're so excited. Yes, we're so excited.

GINGRAS: Is this a tradition? What brings you here?

LESLIE: Absolutely. So, we've actually -- this is our fifth year that we're doing it. We live right around the block and we came out super early this year -- 4:15 -- and we're so excited. We do it every year.

[05:35:03] GINGRAS: You've got your friends --

LESLIE: My sister-in-law.

GINGRAS: -- you sister-in-law, you've got your puppy. You've got --

LESLIE: Yes. This is her first year.

GINGRAS: -- good company.

LESLIE: And neighbors. We have the greatest neighbors -- yes -- all around.

GINGRAS: What are you most excited after all these years of doing it to see this year?

LESLIE: This year? Well, we saw the balloon inflation last night, which was awesome. And then just the energy. Everybody is so excited. Once it gets started -- oh, it's going to be so much fun -- yes.

GINGRAS: I mean, the inflation and now the parade. You are like a diehard Thanksgiving Day --

LESLIE: We are, yes.

GINGRAS: I mean, you can see the excitement. You can also feel it, Whitney. I am getting excited. And again, it's going to start earlier this year and there are more balloons, which makes this even more exciting this year, Whitney.

WILD: Brynn Gingras live along the route with a front-row seat. Thank you so much for this morning's report --


WILD: -- and talking to all those folks in the crowd.

All right. This morning, election results are in from Alaska. CNN projecting that Democratic Congresswoman Mary Peltola will defeat Sarah Palin again for the state's at-large House seat. Peltola beat Palin in August in a special election that would have filled out the rest of the late GOP Congressman Don Young's term.

Palin is the former governor of Alaska. Again, she was the 2008 vice presidential nominee. She was pushing really hard for a political comeback but just couldn't make it happen.

CNN is also projecting that Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski will be reelected. She was facing challenges by another Republican as well as a Democrat.

Prosecutors with the Justice Department are reaching out to former Vice President Mike Pence asking him to testify in the criminal probe of the January 6 Capitol riot. CNN learning that the former vice president is open to the idea.

Let's bring in Daniel Lippman. He is a White House reporter at POLITICO.

So, Daniel, the first question is just what is at stake if former Vice President Mike Pence testifies? You know, there -- it seems that there might be some political capital at stake considering he's considering running for a 2024 bid to be the GOP nominee. What do you think -- what do you think he'd gain and what do you think he'd lose by possibly testifying?

DANIEL LIPPMAN, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, POLITICO (via Webex by Cisco): Well, his own safety was at risk, and so he is much more likely to want to participate in a probe that sees if there was any laws that were broken by President Trump. He has unique knowledge. There was a call at 11:20 a.m. on January 6 where Trump was very mad at him for his role in not overturning the election.

And so, this is pretty extraordinary that you have a former vice president considering a testimony with another branch of government that is checking in to see if there were laws broken.

WILD: The Washington Post is reporting that former and current staffers on the January 6 committee have expressed concern about Congresswoman Liz Cheney. They're really concerned that this final report is going to focus way too much on Trump and possibly leave out some of the other findings.

As you know, we've been covering here at CNN there are multiple groups that make up this January 6 committee. They've been investigating things like the law enforcement response, the fundraising.

So what are your thoughts on the staffers' frustration without outgoing Congresswoman Cheney, and do you think that any of that is going to change how this final report looks?

LIPPMAN: Yes, I think they're probably going public. Fifteen current and former staffers of the committee saying that it's outrageous that all their hard work -- they left prestigious jobs to work on this committee -- might be overshadowed by Liz Cheney's focus on just Trump. And there are a lot of different components to what happened on January 6. And so, they want for history's sake and also to prevent future attacks to not have that type of investigative work left in the dustbin, basically.

And so, they are concerned that given that Liz Cheney is another person who is wanting to run for president, that she is using this report as a political vehicle. And they want to make sure that does not -- that is not one of the reasons why she is leaving out the non- Trump stuff in this report.

WILD: You have some new reporting this morning that people who attended the January 6 protests also attended Trump's 2024 campaign launch at Mar-a-Lago last week. So, just walk us through the guest list and what you know.

LIPPMAN: Yes. So, my colleague Chris Cadelago and I found at least six people who were at the Mar-a-Lago announcement last week were also present in D.C. on January 6. And so, you had one of the organizers of Stop the Steal who was there

in Mar-a-Lago. You had a person who was with a far-right group that broke into Pelosi's office, who had worked for Glenn Beck's media outlet. He was there. And they were even designated as -- one of them was designated as a special guest -- a Front Row Joe -- since they go to so many of these Trump events.


And I talked to some of these folks and they said that it was important to show up at both events. One of -- one of them even said that he wishes he had kind of almost had the courage to go into the Capitol on January 6 but didn't -- you know, couldn't take that risk because he knew it would be violent.

So this shows that Trump is not distancing himself from these fringe characters. These people would not be welcome at any other Republican primary contender's events.

WILD: Yes. Some of that loyalty just totally unwavering.


Daniel Lippman, thank you.

LIPPMAN: Thanks, Whitney.

WILD: Police say there will be a very heavy law enforcement presence around the University of Idaho after the holiday break. People in that area are still understandably really on edge after more than a week -- excuse me, after more than a week of no answers after four students were stabbed to death in their home. So far, the investigation has yielded more than 1,000 tips but still no suspects.

CNN's Natasha Chen has more detail.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): During an afternoon press conference, Moscow police did not share a whole lot of new details about this case. There is still no suspect named or arrested. They are still looking for the murder weapon.

They did say, however, that a man who was called multiple times in those early-morning hours when these four students were killed -- he has been added to the list of people who are cleared from consideration of being a possible suspect.

So now that list includes the two surviving roommates, the people who talked to 911 dispatch, a person who was seen standing near two of the victims at a food truck, a driver who took those two victims home. All those people are not considered connected to this crime as possible suspects at this time.

The police also talked about the large number of pieces of evidence that they've collected, 4,000 photos that they've taken, 3D scans of the site. They've interviewed 150 people, and they are chasing down more than 1,000 leads. They've also received a number of videos from the public after they asked for surveillance footage for the public to upload to an online portal.

Given that there is still no suspect in custody, however, they did talk about the remaining threat to the community as this college town is very concerned about public safety at this point. This small college town of 25,000-26,000 people had not seen a murder between 2016 and 2021.

Here is what the captain of the police department said.

CAPT. ROGER LANIER, MOSCOW, IDAHO POLICE DEPARTMENT: And in some ways, this took our innocence. I would tell students that you need to stay with a friend. I know that the university staff is looking at different options to increase some of the safety on campus and providing certain options to students. So, yes, going forward there is a lot of things that maybe we wish we would have done before but we need to start doing now.

CHEN: Both the media and the community, including families of victims, are rather frustrated at the lack of details that have come out about this case. The police explained that there is much that they cannot say because they feel they need to protect the integrity of the investigation.

The family of Kaylee Goncalves spoke to CNN and said that they felt a lot of rumors were being floated around and police have had to dispel a number of them. So far, for example, saying that a rumor about Kaylee Goncalves having a stalker. They cannot verify or identify a stalker at this time, but they say they continue to look into all tips that are coming in.

Back to you.


WILD: Natasha Chen, thank you.

Coming up, new fallout from that ugly brawl after last month's Michigan-Michigan State football game. Plus --




WILD: Ah, beautiful. Elton John kicking off the holiday season at Saks Fifth Avenue. All that, next.


JOHN: Singing "Your Song."





STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, CBS "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": Thanksgiving -- it's a special time when we gather with family and friends to share our gratitude through America's traditional expression of love, the food coma.

JIMMY FALLON, HOST, NBC "THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON": That's right. Thanksgiving is almost here and nobody is more in the spirit than local news anchors. Let's see how they're celebrating.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gobble, gobble, gobble.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gobble, gobble, gobble.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gobble, gobble.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gobble, gobble, gobble.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble -- huh?

SETH MEYERS, HOST, NBC "LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS": The White House has released a so-called menu of accomplishments that supporters can use to talk up President Biden around the Thanksgiving table. And that way your parents won't even have to ask if you're still single.


WILD: All right, there you have it -- the advice from the late-night hosts.

But for the regular people who are not as hilarious and can't use comedy to just kind of get out of things, the question is how are you going to survive Thanksgiving dinner when politics is looming so large? Where are the safe zones to talk about with family? What you do definitely not talk about.

Let's bring in Pete Dominick, comedian, and host of the "Stand UP! with Pete Dominick." Like I said, Pete, you're hilarious so you could probably get out of any social jam. But for the rest of us regular people who get anxious when something's getting tense, what do we do?

PETE DOMINICK, COMEDIAN AND HOST OF STAND UP! WITH PETE DOMINICK (via Webex by Cisco): Hey, Whitney. Happy Thanksgiving to you and everybody watching.

Yes, humor is always a great tool. But make no mistake, I am human. I get into plenty of trouble with my family and friends as well.

I mean, my dad -- I told my dad last night that I was coming on here to talk about how to get along with your family. And he said you're going to talk about how to get along with your family, which was slightly triggering for me.

But the point is ego is the problem. Avoidance is the answer. My brand -- yes, it's stand up -- stand up for something. But you don't always have to stand up to everyone and everything. If someone starts talking about something divisive you can avoid it. You can even just ask them questions. You don't have to tell them what they want to hear but you don't have to start a fight.


I say avoidance is a great idea on a day like this to avoid conflict.

WILD: So how do you do that? What do you say?

DOMINICK: You can play their game. Change the subject. If someone's coming over -- let's say it's your uncle John and he's coming over, and he's always problematic. Play to his strengths. If he likes to watch racecar driving, if he likes to work on engines -- whatever his hobbies and interests are, you just start asking him about those things. Get him off -- you take him down a primrose path on the things that they like to talk about.

Mislead them. Bring them over here. Give them a piece of pie. You can go into their lane and talk about what they want to talk about that's something different and something neutral.

And we can also argue about whether or not World Cup soccer is amazing, which I think it is in my case. Argue about the little things, not the big things.


So what's on your list of conversation starters at the Thanksgiving dinner table?

DOMINICK: Well, honestly, we -- in my family, and I think families across the country, we really have a lot to be grateful for given everything that's happened in the last few years with the pandemic and politics, and everything else. We're going to talk about -- a lot about our accomplishments. We're going to talk about the past.

We love to joke and bust each other's chops about our childhood -- about our past. In my family, that's what we're always going to do. So we come up with memories, we come up with games, we come up with activities -- things to focus on.

Whitney, what about you guys -- your whole CNN team? Do you guys -- I mean, are you having Thanksgiving together? What are you talking about?

WILD: Well, I'm going to my in-laws so -- they're great. I mean, I love my in-laws. I really hit the jackpot with them, OK? They are awesome. So, you know, it's like not really a problem. We just kind of move on.


WILD: But it's tough, I know. Some families are different. Because the problem with families is every time someone says something it carries the weight of every time they said it before and all the times you think they're going to say it again, and that's the challenge.

Pete Dominick, thank you. And, you know, to you, good luck. And you can always say something like is something burning?

DOMINICK: You, too. Have a great time with your in-laws.

WILD: Yes, exactly.

DOMINICK: Tell them you talked about them --

WILD: I will. I will.

DOMINICK: -- and how great they are.

WILD: I hope they're watching. I don't know if they are. But, you know --

DOMINICK: Thanks, Whitney.

WILD: -- a classic "is something burning?" can get you out of anything.

DOMINICK: Exactly.

WILD: All right. Pete Dominick, thank you.

DOMINICK: Happy Thanksgiving.

WILD: Seven Michigan football players have been charged for attacking Michigan -- excuse me, seven Michigan State football players have been charged for attacking Michigan players after their game last month.

Andy Scholes has this morning's Bleacher Report. Andy --


WILD: -- that video is terrible. The story is just -- it's so unsportsmanlike. It's -- you know, it's a huge story but it's not one you ever want to tell.

SCHOLES: Yes. And Whitney, as a Michigan alum, both the Wolverines and the visiting team -- they use that same tunnel to enter and leave the field, which can cause for some heated moments. But a little over three weeks ago we had an ugly scene as Michigan State players attacked two Wolverine players following a Michigan win.

Now, official charges have been filed against seven of those players. Spartans player Khary Crump was charged with felony assault after hitting Michigan's Gemon Green with his helmet. Jacoby Windmon -- he was also shown in the video and has been charged with one count of assault and battery. Five other players have been charged with aggravated assault.

Michigan State's interim president saying in a statement last night that while they don't condone the players' actions they will support them throughout this process.

All right, to the NHL. The New Jersey Devils seeking a club-record 14th straight win. But frustrations boiled over midway through the third period. Erik Haula thought he scored but the refs ruled that he kicked the puck into the net. It was actually the third disallowed goal of the night.

And the fans, at that point, had had it. They started throwing bottles and cans onto the ice. It actually sent the Maple Leafs players back into the locker room for safety reasons.

Haula tried to tell the fans to stop throwing stuff. And he said after the game he actually got hit with a chicken tender.

The Devils ended up losing 2-1, snapping that record-tying win streak.

All right, we've got no NBA games today and that's because Thanksgiving belongs to football. The Lions are going to open up the slate at home against the Bills, followed by an NFC East showdown between the Giants and the Cowboys. Then you've got the Vikings hosting their first-ever Thanksgiving Day game in prime time against the Patriots.

This will actually be the Bills' second game in Detroit in the past five days. Remember, they had to play there on Sunday against the Browns due to that snowstorm.

But Whitney, I'm looking forward to going to stuffing my face and sitting on the couch the rest of the day watching some football.

WILD: All right. Well, when you are doing the morning shift you earned it. Andy Scholes, thank you.

SCHOLES: Appreciate it. All right.

WILD: All right, a huge surprise for the crowd outside Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City.


JOHN: Singing "Your Song."



WILD: Woo. Just off his U.S. tour, Sir Elton John made a surprise appearance at the store's annual window unveiling this week, along with his family. Saks made a $1 million donation to the singer's foundation to help those with HIV and AIDS.

Thank you so much for joining us. I'm Whitney Wild. Have a happy Thanksgiving. Good luck at the dinner table.

"CNN THIS MORNING" starts right after this break.


JOHN: Singing "Your Song."



DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. It's Thursday, November 24. You know what that means.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Happy Thanksgiving.

LEMON: Happy Thanksgiving to you. Kaitlan is off.