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Fate of Thanksgiving Day Balloons; CNN Weather Outlook; Trump Angers China; Spencer's Criticism of Trump; Trump Distances Himself from Giuliani; No Evidence of FBI Spying. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired November 28, 2019 - 07:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gesture of respect to threaten China with sanctions.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world.



Alisyn is off. Snoopy is not. Nor is Erica Hill, who joins me this morning.

HILL: No, and we're both very excited about astronaut Snoopy this year.

BERMAN: Yes, astronaut Snoopy is one of the best Snoopy's, although I did like cowboy Snoopy. I'm just saying.

HILL: I don't remember cowboy Snoopy.

BERMAN: Cowboy Snoopy was cool.


BERMAN: All right.

HILL: I'll give you that.

BERMAN: So we're all watching the wind speeds this morning because the strength of the wind will determine whether or not the balloons fly in two hours for the Thanksgiving Day Parade. If the winds are above 23 miles per hour or gusts higher than 34 miles per hour, then the city will be forced to ground the balloons, and that's not happened in 48 years. We are keeping our fingers crossed as parade officials will make their decision next hour. We will bring you that decision the second it comes in. We're also going to give you a forecast on the parade route in just moments.

HILL: Also this morning, China is vowing to retaliate after President Trump signed two bills into law supporting human rights and pro- democracy activists in Hong Kong. And, of course, a big question this morning is how that could impact trade talks with China.

Meantime, tensions are building between the president and senior military officers who say they're troubled by Mr. Trump's intervention in three war crimes cases and concerned about the behavior of the commander in chief.

All of this as fired Navy Secretary Richard Spencer is out with a scathing new op-ed in which he writes the president has, quote, very little understanding of what it means to be governed by a uniformed set of rules and practices. We'll have more on that ahead.

But we do begin on the parade route. CNN's Miguel Marquez is live there for us in New York City.

All right, last hour it was calm. How's the wind situation now?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I got to say, I'm feeling pretty confident right now that we are going to be -- stop with that turkey thing. Gobble, gobble, gobble. That's my turkey thing. Sorry.

Look, Tom Turkey is here. Same as your turkey there. The winds are calm. And what's giving me even more hope, all these guys in these very colorful uniforms here, these are the balloon handlers. There's are actually the Snoopy handlers here. Look how cool they are. And there's the man of the hour, astronaut Snoopy. That's the 40th iteration of Snoopy in the 93 years this parade has been going. Incredible the long lasting nature of the Peanuts characters.

They will make the decision on whether the balloons fly just minutes before they step off at 9:00 a.m. Eastern. I got to say, I am shocked at how calm it is right now. The wind howled for much of the night where I live. By the time I got here, though, it had calmed down quite a bit. As long as it doesn't get over that 23 miles per hour or gusting up to 34 miles per hour, they just want to avoid what happened here in '97 where one of the balloons hit a lamp post not to far from here and debris came down and critically injured a woman. And they are trying to keep anything like that from happening this time.

They can keep the balloons very close to the ground. They have done that in the past. And that may be the case today. But right now it's looking pretty good. But we are still waiting a final decision.


HILL: All right. As we wait for that, we also want to take a look at the forecast. Not just for the parade, but also we've got a preview of another big winter storm that could cause more headaches over the weekend.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers has the Thanksgiving forecast.

Good morning.


Last hour I showed you the European model, saying wind gusts to 31. So I just switched it around here to show you the American model. It says wind gusts to 37. So apparently the European want us to fly the balloons and the American model says no.

We will see. There's a lot of wind out there. Don't get me wrong, it is howling over the Poconos and the Allegany's and through West Virginia. The winds are 40 to 50 miles per hour. We're just down in this hole in Manhattan that's giving us a little bit of an extra effect of a blocking effect. So that's great.

Now, the next storm you talked about, it's in California right now and it's going to move to up into Nevada and lots of snow into Oregon and all the way into Utah and Colorado. That's great if you're skiing. But, unfortunately, this storm is going to get to the northeast coast by Sunday.

And so a great day to drive tomorrow. Saturday, great. But then all of a sudden, it gets cold enough to ice and snow by Sunday afternoon. Keep watching that forecast if you're driving across the northeast for Sunday or even flying out of the Northeast on Sunday as millions and millions of people will be.


BERMAN: Or not.

HILL: Yes.

BERMAN: Or not based on the forecast.

HILL: Depending, yes.

BERMAN: Depending what happens.

MYERS: That's right.

BERMAN: Chad, thanks so much for being with us.

MYERS: You bet.

BERMAN: There is breaking news. President Trump has signed this bill which puts new sanctions on China having to do with the protests in Hong Kong. We're going to talk about that in just a moment.

First, let's bring in CNN political correspondent Abby Phillip and CNN political analyst Maggie Haberman. She's a White House correspondent for "The New York Times."

I said we'll talk about Hong Kong in just a minute because, Maggie, you have sources everywhere. Are you talking to anyone close to Snoopy?


I mean how are the balloons feeling? I mean sources familiar with Snoopy's thinking, what is he thinking about the parade this morning?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think Snoopy is keeping his opinion a close hold as to whether he's going to be able to actually fly at 9:00.

BERMAN: We're waiting to see his tweets. Really, the tweets are a window into Snoopy's thinking.

HABERMAN: It's true. It's -- sometimes. Not always, but sometimes you can know what Snoopy is thinking when Snoopy tweets. That's right.

BERMAN: All right, a much more serious matter now.

HABERMAN: Glad we did that. Thank you. I really -- no, that was good. I appreciate it.

BERMAN: You know, I had to try. I had to try.

HILL: And let us know if you hear anything too. I mean, you know.

HABERMAN: No, no, I'll be here -- I'll be here some of the day.

BERMAN: The president signed the bill, which imposed sanctions on China having to do with the protests in Hong Kong. This was passed by Congress with near unanimity. Seems to me he didn't have much of a choice whether to sign it. He was sort of forced into it. The president has expressed concerns it will get in the way of his trade negotiations with China.

What's the current thinking, if you don't have Snoopy's thinking, but what's the current thinking inside the White House on this measure and what it might do to the negotiation?

HABERMAN: As you said, he -- the president was in something of a box on this. He had to sign this. This was -- had near unanimous support in Congress. The idea that he is being soft on a basic human rights concern is the kind of thing that the public can understand and that they did not want to see play out in the coming months. You are seeing this White House basically taking potential issues off the field for him, and this is one. They're just plucking it away.

The president is concerned and, you know, the president tends to view these trade discussions as zero sum. And anything that could impact them negatively, he likes to get rid of. But I think the pressure was just too much. I think you did see a lot of people around the president not really sure where he was going to go, afraid of getting too far ahead of him before he actually signed it. But I think, at the end of the day, the feeling was this was just not sustainable.

HILL: As Christine Romans pointed out last hour, there may have been some work within the White House here to do this on the day before a holiday.


HILL: Not affect the markets. That's all smart.


HILL: But what's fascinating, too, is, after we get word from the White House, then we get a separate statement from the president, which really undercuts a lot of what we've just seen.

HABERMAN: Right. Right.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And it doesn't -- the statement, frankly, doesn't make a whole lot of sense. He says that he signed the bill out of respect for President Xi --

HILL: For President Xi --

PHILLIP: And out of respect for China, hoping that both sides will come to the table and work this out peacefully. But, obviously, the Chinese do not see this bill as respectful. They've really rejected that notion all together.

But the president is trying to extend a hand to say to Xi Jinping, I don't really mean it in some ways. That's kind of the effect of a signing statement like that. And it follows a pattern for President Trump on the issue of trade. He has been really hesitant to go too hard on issues like what's going on in Hong Kong. But also on these Uighur Muslim camps in parts of China that have been, you know, condemned throughout the world.

Vice President Pence has been one of the few people in this administration to talk explicitly about that. And only this year -- we are two years into the Trump administration, and years into the establishment of these camps. So the president has always been hesitant, even while other parts of his administration want to speak more loudly on human rights issues. And it's because he wants to keep all his options on the table to get that trade deal.

BERMAN: There's another development late last night and this had to do with former Navy Secretary Richard Spencer, who wrote an op-ed in "The Washington Post," once again criticizing the president's decisions and actions regarding Eddie Gallagher. That's the Navy SEAL who was convicted of posing with a dead ISIS fighter. The president basically didn't demote him or overturned the demotion, made sure he got his Navy trident.

Richard Spencer did a resignation letter that was critical of the president, did an interview that was critical of the president and now did this op-ed that's critical of the president. He writes, this was a shocking and unprecedented intervention in a low level review. It was also a reminder that the president has very little understanding of what it means to be in the military, to fight ethically, or to be governed by a uniform set of rules and practices.

This is a scathing letter, Maggie.


BERMAN: Did the White House, did the president expect to get this level in this length of opposition from Spencer?

HABERMAN: No, because, generally speaking, what you have seen, in terms of the most extensive opposition in a couple of -- for a couple of reasons has been, Jim Mattis, who resigned -- it was -- he made -- his letter was like benign compared to what Spencer did. But Mattis let his concerns be known with president.

What you heard Spencer say just now is what you have heard a number of people say privately or, you know, under the name anonymous in a book, right? But so you have Spencer putting his name to really blistering criticism that we have all heard from a number of people around the president, whether they are at the Pentagon or not, but that he just does not understand the way the military works. He does not understand why military discipline is done the way it is and why the president has traditionally been hands off on it.

To see Spencer putting his name to this, while repeatedly admitting that he made an error in terms of giving the president ammunition against -- or giving Esper, the secretary of defense, ammunition against him by trying to have this kind of private conversation with the White House Counsel related to the Gallagher case, he is taking that off the table by acknowledging he shouldn't have done it.


And that, I think, makes his criticism come through more clearly.

PHILLIP: He also points out, and I thought it was really extraordinary, that the whole thing started before the trial even began.

HILL: Yes.


PHILLIP: And that the president called him directly. So --

HILL: Twice.

PHILLIP: Twice. So, you know, he points that out to -- to say that this thing has been irregular from the very beginning. The president went outside of the chain of command from the very beginning, going directly to the Navy secretary to intervene in this case. And he makes the point that as a senior military officer himself, he tries to stay out of these things. So to have the president putting his hand in a case before it even goes to trial was extraordinary. And I think that gives you a window into why he thought he needed to speak up in this moment. It's that important.

HILL: Right. It's also remarkable that he does -- just this one last detail where he says, you know, then I sent the president is note, right, because he had reached out to me --


HILL: And I said, you know, I said, stay out of this. And then it's I think the next day that he hears from Pat Cipollone, who says, oh, yes, by the way, this is exactly what we're going to do and we are going to restore his rank of chief, which almost felt like a, you tell me to stay out of it, I'll show you exactly how I'm going to do it.

HABERMAN: It is a reminder that we have seen this president get involved in any number of things that are -- should be left away from a president. And we've seen this over and over again, which is also why when the White House gets very angry at reports about the president interfering in a number of procedures or a number of actions, the denials become hard to believe in the face of on the record statements like this.

BERMAN: All right, guys, stick around. A lot more to discuss.

HILL: A lot more, including President Trump and his allies who, as we know, spent years pushing a conspiracy theory that the FBI had spied on his campaign. Well, it turns out -- I hope you're sitting down -- it's not true. New details from what the Justice Department inspector general found, next.



HILL: New questions this morning about Rudy Giuliani's involvement in U.S. foreign policy as new reporting says he sought business and big money from Ukraine at the same time he was pushing for an investigation for some of those officials to investigate President Trump's political rival, of course, Joe Biden.

Back with us, Abby Phillip, Maggie Haberman.

As we look at all of this when it comes to Rudy Giuliani, it would seem it's another instance of it really doesn't look good and it certainly doesn't smell good. But the question too is, what -- what's the impact on -- on the president when we've heard repeatedly, you know, Rudy's his guy, even though the president's distancing himself. He said three times in the call with Zelensky, you know, get on a call with Rudy Giuliani.

HABERMAN: It's funny, I actually wonder if the president knew that this was going around when he gave an interview to Bill O'Reilly the other night where he said, look, Rudy's got a lot of other clients. You know, I think he was going to take a trip to Ukraine, and then he canceled it, but he's got a lot of clients, not just me. This actually supports that. And I -- it was the first thing I thought of that interview when we had this story.

But, in reality, I think that it raises all kind of questions about Rudy Giuliani's conflicts as he was trying to seek dirt on Joe Biden from a bunch of people in Ukraine, while also potentially monetizing it. There's no -- this is obviously something prosecutors are looking at. His explanation on it repeatedly has been, I thought about it but then I didn't do it. And we will -- we will see if that holds.

BERMAN: We have that sound that Maggie was talking about through the magic of television, where you can hear the president basically say --

HABERMAN: Is this -- this this television? I'm sorry, I got very confused.

BERMAN: This is television.

Watch this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, I knew he was going to go to Ukraine and I think he canceled the trip. But, you know, Rudy has other clients other than me. I'm one person that he represents --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you didn't -- you didn't direct him to go there on your behalf? You didn't --

TRUMP: No, but -- no.


BERMAN: Abby, I love the fact that you suggest one tell that the president's uncomfortable is he's not speaking in complete thoughts on sentences. He's just stringing a bunch of words together.

PHILLIP: No, he's just sort of -- and usually they're kind of like buzz words that he knows he needs to get out there.


PHILLIP: But what's interesting about this all to me is the way that it really mirrors what happened with the president and Michael Cohen. A lot of the same language where he -- he suggests that he had absolutely no idea what his lawyer was up to, that, you know, Michael Cohen and Rudy Giuliani, they're just -- they're working for other people. They're -- they're -- you know, they're doing their own thing and yet he has some pretty specific knowledge. He knew that Giuliani had canceled a trip to Ukraine. He mentioned -- he makes sure to mention that in the interview.

So I would say to all of this, stay tuned. There's still a lot that we don't know about this situation. But as our friend Alisyn Camerota would say, follow the money. And there seems to have been quite a lot of money that was in the form of almost promissory notes. And Giuliani himself says that he believes that it looked bad. He knew that it looked bad at the time and -- and that's one of the reasons that he says he didn't follow through on it. But the president's clearly trying to distance himself from his attorney.

I think this starts to matter because Giuliani has been claiming attorney/client privilege as one of the reasons why he can't talk about the conversations that he's had with the president. Well, if he wasn't working on behalf of the president, some people are going to have some questions about whether that kind of privilege exists and whether or not there's a real reason for him not to talk about what he was really doing in Ukraine.

BERMAN: Look, Republicans behind the scenes on Capitol Hill are practically begging the White House to cut Giuliani loose, right?


BERMAN: I mean they have no love for him and they think he makes the president look bad and he makes their job defending the president very difficult.

HABERMAN: Well, there's a new revelation almost every day at this point, right? And so when they --what they're hoping for in the Senate among Republicans is that they're going to head into a trial and that there won't be new information, new witnesses, new things that keep popping up.


And they find themselves batting these things back, one after the other. It does make their job much harder. To the extent that the public actually understands this. And, again, I always come back to that, but how much of this is actually breaking through to voters. I think it remains to be seen.

PHILLIP: Yes, this stuff is really complicated. I mean I think that's what this really excellent story in "The Times" reveals. There was a lot of stuff going on. Giuliani was working or attempting to work with quite a few people. It's hard to keep it all together. But, for the Democrats, one of the things that they probably need to do is focus on what's clear here, which is that the White House is arguing the president was very concerned about corruption, and yet, on the other hand, the people working for the president were working with a lot of corrupt people. So that dichotomy continues to exist. And it really suggests that a lot of the explanations don't really make a lot of sense, even to people who are not paying that close attention.

BERMAN: On the subject of really interesting stories in "The New York Times," Adam Goldman in "The Times" last night reported that the Justice Department inspector general report, which is due out December 9th, is going to find that there was no spying. There was no Obama presidency administration ever to spy on the Trump campaign. Specifically no evidence the FBI tried to put undercover agents or informants inside the Trump campaign.

It will say no evidence that the wiretaps on Carter Page were politically motivated. There were omissions and errors on the Page wiretap application, but that's different than what the president and his allies have been saying, and saying a lot for nearly two years.

So I want to give you a taste of some of what they've been repeating.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: Major developments again tonight on the deep state, spying on the Trump campaign.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): To spy on the Trump campaign.

LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS: Spy on the Trump campaign.

RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: I'm shocked to hear that they put a spy in the campaign.

HANNITY: Deep state spying schemes.

HOGAN GIDLEY, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Spy inside the Trump campaign back to the FBI.


GIULIANI: Or maybe two spies.

STEVE DOOCY, FOX NEWS: It looks as if there could have been a second spy.

HANNITY: These spy revelations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Spies in this campaign.

REP. DEVIN NUNES (R-CA): Ran a spy ring.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A spy to infiltrate his campaign.


BERMAN: It really is astounding when you string it all together. And now "The New York Times" is reporting, Maggie, that the inspector general of the Justice Department, inside the Trump administration, is going to find, no, no, what these people have been talking about for two years simply didn't happen.

HABERMAN: Right, so there's two things going on here. One is that, as you say, the backup to this claim that was made, and really it was another thing that we've seen reverse engineered after the president made a statement. The president tweeted Obama spied on my campaign I think after he was -- had a Breitbart article shoved on his desk that related to this. And then you had all of his allies trying to reverse engineer this into a -- into a thing. It clear -- based on this report, did not happen.

But, I think that we have seen over and over again that it's not as if the White House is going to say, oh, you're right, my bad.

HILL: Yes.

HABERMAN: They're going to -- they're going to shift it and they're going to focus on if -- number one, they've got impeachment, which is their big issue right now in terms of suggesting there is some sort of shadowy force out against the president. But there's also the part in that -- in that IG report that's going to focus on the procedural irregularities around the FISA application and around other aspects of the investigation. And that, I think, is where you're going to see them shift their attention to.

PHILLIP: I think Maggie's right, this is not going to be one of those moments where they're like, oh, I'm sorry about all of this.

BERMAN: Has there ever been a moment when they ever said, oh, I'm sorry about all this?

PHILLIP: No, I mean -- so we -- we should be -- I mean I think everybody should be on the lookout for the ways in which this report's going to be twisted to meet the president's needs at any given moment, especially around the time that these House Judiciary Committee hearings are happening. And -- but the report is going to say what it does. And I think the big headline for folks is that even with irregularities, I mean these are human beings put together these applications, not robots. The -- it doesn't change the substance of what was going on in these -- in these reports. And even in the Carter Page FISA application.

BERMAN: Yes. The investigation was properly predicated, which is what some of the reporting has been over the last week.

Maggie Haberman, Abby Phillip, happy Thanksgiving.

HABERMAN: Happy Thanksgiving.

PHILLIP: Happy Thanksgiving.

HILL: Happy Thanksgiving.

BERMAN: Thanks so much for coming in.

So the question of the day on this windy Thanksgiving is this, will Snoopy and the rest of the balloons -- those aren't balloons, those are actually real people in front of a balloon, but will that balloon --

HILL: We don't want them to take off.

BERMAN: Will the balloons be able to take off? It all depends on the winds. We have a live report from the streets of New York ahead.



BERMAN: As the impeachment inquiry heats up in the House, Republicans are working hard to build a defense for President Trump and largely it seems sticking together. Joining me now is Republican presidential candidate, former congressman, Joe Walsh.

Joe, happy Thanksgiving to you. Thank you so much for being with us this morning. You are running against President Trump in the Republican primaries,

where they're letting you. Where they're letting you get on the ballot in certain states. So that's one thing you are running against.

But now you're also, in a certain way, dealing with Republican unity in Congress as this impeachment inquiry continues. There doesn't seem to be a single Republican member of Congress who is splitting from the president. What does that tell you?

JOE WALSH, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hey, John, good to be with you. Happy Thanksgiving.

I was thinking about that all last week. If -- if I were still in the House of Representatives as a Republican, you and I have talked, I would -- I would vote to impeachment this president. It's not a close call. But as you mentioned, the sad news right now is, I would be the only Republican in the House to vote for impeachment.


And, again, it's not a close call.

Look, John, this comes down to Republican voters. Republican politicians are like