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New Day Saturday

Trump Ally Steve Bannon Indicted For Contempt Of Congress; Mark Meadows Fails To Show Up For Deposition; Biden Pushes Infrastructure Plan As Solution To Rising Prices; Murder Trial Attorney Apologizes For "Black Pastor" Comment; Britney Spears' 13-Year Conservatorship Terminated By Judge. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired November 13, 2021 - 07:00   ET



TYLER MAULDIN, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Over the next 48 hours and in total we could see roughly five inches or more in some areas of the Northeast. That's in terms of the snow and you add a little bit of wind guys that just adds insult to injury.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Tyler Mauldin, appreciate you. Thanks so much for that.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Tyler. Buenos Dias, good morning and welcome to your new day. I'm Boris Sanchez.

WALKER: Good morning to you. I'm Amara Walker in for Christi Paul. The Justice Department indicts Steve Bannon after he defies a subpoena from Congress, what it means for the former Trump advisor and other members of Trump's inner circle.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: American people sent us here to deliver. The American people have said -- sent us here to make the government work, and they sent us here to make a difference in their lives. And I believe we're doing it.


SANCHEZ: President Biden touting his infrastructure deal trying to reassure Americans getting hit hard by surging prices and sky-high inflation. So, is there any relief in sight?

WALKER: And finally, free after 13 years and a pain staking fight, Britney Spears's conservatorship finally ends.

SANCHEZ: We're so grateful to have you this Saturday, November 13th. Thanks for joining us. Good morning, and welcome to your NEW DAY. And good morning to you, Amara, great to have you this weekend.

WALKER: Yes. Good morning. Happy weekend, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Of course, so we begin with the new legal challenges facing Trump ally Steve Bannon, federal grand jury indicting Bannon for contempt of Congress.

WALKER: Now, the charges stem from his failure and refusal to comply with a subpoena from the committee investigating the January 6th insurrection. Bannon is crucial to the investigation. He encouraged Donald Trump to come back to Washington for the rally that turned into a riot. Here is what Bannon said on January 5th, the day before the insurrection. Listen.


STEVE BANNON, FORMER TRUMP ADVISOR: All hell is going to break loose tomorrow. And tomorrow, it's game day. I met so many people to my life said man if I was revolution, I would be, I would be with Washington at Trenton. Well, you know, this is where this is for your time in history.


SANCHEZ: Former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows playing a very similar game as Bannon and Meadows refusing to show up for a deposition yesterday. The January 6th committee has issued 35 subpoenas to individuals and organizations as part of its investigation into the Capitol riot. Several of them are Trump's closest allies from his time at the White House and on the campaign trail. We're going to be watching to see whether former White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, Former Senior Adviser Jason Miller, or Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, show up and cooperate with the committee.

WALKER: All right, so let's get more now on the Bannon indictment from CNN's Zachary Cohen. Zach, so tell us more about what exactly Bannon is charged with.

ZACHARY COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Boris and Amara, things got real for Steve Bannon yesterday in a lot of ways. We were in the courtroom when the grand jury returned its indictment. We have two different counts here. One count is for failing to appear for a deposition. As you mentioned, the other is for refusing to hand over documents that the committee demanded that he do, that he hand over.

And so, now he faces a potential maximum sentence of one year in prison for each count if he's convicted. So, what does this mean and how did we get here? Bannon was subpoenaed in October and really thumbed his nose at the committee. You know, Attorney General Merrick Garland faced a lot of questions, especially in recent days about when he might indict Bannon, the big decision came down yesterday, and now Bannon, his future is uncertain.

SANCHEZ: And Zach, do we know specifically what information committee members want? What like the documents that they're looking for, what they want to ask what they're trying to get from these subpoenas?

COHEN: The committee is interested in Steve Bannon for a variety of reasons. Among them is Bannon's -- they want to know more about Bannon's contact with Trump in the days leading up to January 6, and potentially on that day. They also want to know more about Ben his role in the so-called Willard Hotel War Room, which is where Bannon watched this January 6 riot unfold. So, you know, it'll be -- remains to be seen if they'll get any answers from Bannon, he has been resistant to any cooperation so far. But yesterday's news of the new indictment surely increases those chances.

WALKER: All right, Zachary Cohen. Really a big development. We will continue to follow this morning. Thank you so much for your reporting. All right. Let's get reaction now to the Bannon indictment from Capitol Hill.

SANCHEZ: CNN Congressional Reporter Daniella Diaz joins us now live. Daniella, what are you hearing from lawmakers and what could this potentially mean for Mark Meadows?


DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Boris, Amara, lawmakers especially the ones on this committee were very quick to react after the indictment came down on Steve Bannon yesterday saying that this sends an incredibly strong message to any other witnesses that the committee calls on that refused to comply with the committee's investigation.

Of course, you mentioned Mark Meadows. Yesterday, he was supposed to have a deposition with the committee at 10:00 a.m. but he did not appear. He was also asked to turn over very key documents that he did not turn over. And as a result, you know, the Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson saw this coming Thursday night and move forward with possibly referring Mark Meadows for also criminal contempt, which is what happened with Steve Bannon.

So, it seems that Steve Bannon might not be the only witness who goes through this process. Now, I want to talk a little bit about how the committee reacted. Chairman Bennie Thompson and Vice Chairwoman Liz Cheney issued a statement after the indictment yesterday of Steve Bannon, this is what they said: "Steve Bannon indictment should send a clear message to anyone who thinks they can ignore the Select Committee or try to stonewall our investigation. No one is above the law. We will not hesitate to use the tools at our disposal to get the information we need."

Now other members of the committee also reacted, namely: Adam Schiff, this is what he said in a tweet, "A grand jury just indicted Steve Bannon for contempt of Congress. Let this send a message to all those with knowledge of the attack on our democracy. The day's defying subpoenas with impunity are over. We will expose those responsible for January 6th, no one is above the law."

Now, the bottom line here is that there are a lot of Republicans in Congress, Republicans across the country, namely, of course, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, that call this investigation a scam, because the two Republicans that were appointed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, two moderate Republicans who are strong critics of former President Donald Trump.

But this really shows and sends a strong message to any witnesses that were refused to comply with the committee's subpoenas that if they don't comply, they have the process of the judicial system process behind them. And something like what happened to Steve Bannon yesterday could happen for any other witness who refuses to comply with the committee's investigation. So, the bottom line here is, this is a very strong message to those other Trump allies who might not cooperate.

SANCHEZ: Daniela Diaz reporting from Capitol Hill, thanks so much. Let's bring in CNN Legal Analyst Elliott Williams. He's here to break down what this all means for Steve Bannon and the January 6th Committee. Elliott served as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Obama administration. He's also a Former Federal Prosecutor. Elliott, as always, thanks so much for getting up bright and early for us.

Bannon is expected to self-surrender on Monday, given the basic facts of the case, he refused to appear he refused to hand over documents. If you were on his defense team, what would you mount as a defense? What can keep him from getting convicted?

ELLIOTT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I mean, to be clear, as a defendant, he's not he doesn't need to mount a defense, it's his right to not bring anything, you know, do not rebutt the charges at all. Look, you know what, this was a very interesting case to start with, because he's got the weakest argument of any witness here.

Number one, he wasn't a government employee at the time. Number two, he's a purely political aide to the President. And number three, as you played the clip at the beginning of the segment, Boris, you know, a number of the statements here were on a podcast, not even a conversation with the President. So, it's not a particularly strong case.

Now, the question is, is he mounting a legal strategy or sort of a broader political or communications or social one? And, you know, he's succeeded there, right, by making himself a martyr, in a sense, and some defendants may choose to do that.

It appears that that's the case here. But no, this is not as a straight up legal matter. This is not a great case for this defendant. You know, it'll take some time to, to go through the process. But no, he does not have a particularly strong legal argument.

SANCHEZ: And of course, the battle over executive privilege looms over potential cases against Mark Meadows and Jeffrey Clark, because they have the argument that they were in positions at the time where they could exert executive privilege, or rather, the President could exert executive privilege over his communications with them. Bannon was out of the White House in 2017. So, if you're Mark Meadows or one of his attorneys, how concerning is this for you?

WILLIAMS: Now, to be clear, Mark Meadows is in a slightly different position as, as you said, Boris, as the former White House Chief of Staff. And not all communications with the president are created equal and I will be candid that Mark Meadows just has a better case than most. Now, he did not do himself any favors legally by just refusing to show up. The other person you identified there: Jeffrey Clark came in, provide, provided about an hour of perfunctory answers but still complied with the subpoena and it's going to be very hard to charge someone like that with defying a subpoena.


You know, if he came in, in the first place, the law requires you to respond, it doesn't require you to respond in a way that the public or that Congress agrees with. So, I, you know, I think you'd be hard pressed to charge Jeffrey Clark. Again, Meadows is a different case, because he does, or at least the President will have, the foreign president will have a stronger privilege claim with respect to conversations with Mark Meadows, but he didn't come in. And so, on account of that fact, that's open defiance of the subpoena. And that's just a tougher call for the Justice Department to have to make.

SANCHEZ: So, Democrats have been vocal recently in wanting the Justice Department to be more proactive in enforcing the ability of Congress to conduct these kinds of investigations to make these subpoenas carry weight. Sources, though, say that the department of justice officials at DOJ didn't think that this was such a simple choice. What is the whole process tell you about Merrick Garland as Attorney General and the way that he's been running the Justice Department?

WILLIAMS: Yes. So, a couple things. One, as somebody I have worked at both Congress and the Justice Department, and a lot of people don't know that Congress doesn't just name post offices, they are an investigative body and their subpoenas ought to carry weight. And it is important that the Justice Department stepped in to enforce them when they've been violated.

But sort of, as I said earlier, not every case is going to be created equal. And it's just not going to be efficient or wise for the Justice Department to charge every single individual who violates a subpoena or doesn't come in because, you know, like I said, in the Jeffrey Clark example, sometimes people come in and don't answer a lot. Sometimes people give some documents, but not others.

It will be interesting over the course of this to see if witnesses continue to just not show up in the manner, frankly, that the former President directed his senior staff to do going back to his time, his presidency. If you remember, there was the line, we're going to fight all the subpoenas, which, which was itself unprecedented for a president to take that kind of posture with respect to Congress.

SANCHEZ: We got to leave the conversation there. Elliot Williams, appreciate sharing part of your weekend with us.

WILLIAMS: Thanks, as always, Boris. It's early, but thanks for coming in.

SANCHEZ: Always great to have you. Thanks, Elliott.

WALKER: President Biden has laid out his plan to lower consumer prices, but does it add up? We'll talk about that after the break.

Plus, a record number of Americans are quitting their jobs. What is behind the surge of resignations? That story ahead later this hour.



WALKER: So, President Biden will sign his infrastructure bill into law on Monday, which is a major accomplishment for his political agenda. But with prices rising across the U.S., the White House is walking a fine line. The cost of living has risen over six percent in just the last 12 months, and that is the highest rate in over 30 years. Also, the Biden administration is struggling to celebrate its accomplishment without seeming insensitive.

Joining us now to discuss congress -- is Congressional Reporter for Politico, Nicholas Wu. Good morning to you. Good to see you. Let's talk about inflation. Because obviously, that is something that all of us are feeling and experiencing every day. We have to, you know, get gas or go to the story. Is that becoming a political liability for President Biden?

NICHOLAS WU, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, POLITICO: At least there's a lot of Republicans that are trying to message on it right now. Inflation is a huge liability for Democrats, Americans are paying more for everything from rent to gas. And with Thanksgiving coming up in a couple weeks, people are going to be paying more for a lot of, you know, household essentials, even the price of Turkey.

And so, despite a lot of economic indices, looking pretty good for the Biden administration, better stock market, lowering unemployment numbers, and the like. Inflation is something that Americans will feel every single day. And, you know, as the Biden administration talks up spending billions of more dollars on its social spending priorities, this could be a real issue for them.

WALKER: I mean, what more can he do? I know, you know, weeks ago, he addressed the supply chain issue, which is obviously a contributing to these high prices and the things that we're by increasing the number of hours, I think 24/7 at some of the ports, including the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and also trying to find a way to find more of these truck drivers. Is he doing enough? Or are Americans seeing that?

WU: You know, what I've heard from the White House so far on this. And what we've seen from Democrats is that as they see it, passing the infrastructure bill and the bill back better social spending plan will be what can they can do to address inflation. And you know, whether or not that will be enough to address it remains to be seen. I mean, Biden has not even signed the infrastructure bill into law yet. And the Build Back Better Bill is still a ways' off from becoming law. And so, they'll point it out for now, but that remains to be seen whether you know, any of these actions, or even leaning on the ports to move faster will be enough to bring down prices heading into the holiday season.

WALK: Yes, I mean, Nicholas, it feels like there's so many dark clouds kind of hanging over the White House right now, right? I mean, Biden should be doing a victory lap regarding the bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that, as you said, he's going to sign on Monday. But you know, when it comes to his accomplishments, is the White House doing enough selling it to voters, especially with the midterms, you know, coming around next year?

WU: It's a very fine line, the White House test to walk right now on this since on the one hand, yes, they wanted to have this big bipartisan win on the infrastructure bill. And you know, what they what they see as a coming bigger win on the social spending package yet at the same time, yes, you have all these warning signs about inflation.

You have some economists saying that passing these big pieces of spending legislation will make inflation worse, at least in the short term. And so, it It's going to be a very difficult task for the White House ahead to sell these wins and give Democrats something that they can use as a winning message going into the midterms next year, while at the same time telling ordinary Americans that you know, things will get better and that, you know, inflation potentially could come down.


WALKER: And regarding the Steve Bannon indictment, I know Nicholas, you just wrote a piece about that on political and that the contempt of Congress charges are rarely brought and they almost never lead to conviction, although many of the legal minds we've been speaking with this morning believe that conviction will happen. But tell me more about why you think this indictment against Steve Bannon could be risky for the Democrats?

WU: Well, as we saw a big backlash from Republicans yesterday in response to this indictment, you know, you had top Republicans like Jim Jordan and Elise Stefanik say that, you know, basically when the shoes on the other foot, when Republicans take the house and potentially the White House, they would be more than happy to call Democrats in and top Democratic White House officials in to testify on, you know, what Republicans see is things that need to be investigated.

And so, there is this risk, at least as, as some Democrats see it of, you know, having gone too far crossing the Rubicon here and congressional investigations, but from what I've heard from, you know, folks close to the committee is that basically, this will be a way to force testimony potentially from other people who might not have been cooperative otherwise, having this real threat of being held in criminal contempt and being indicted for it, as a, as a real stick in a way to force people to come forward.

WALKER: Yes. I.E. Mark Meadows, the former White House Chief of Staff, curious to see how he reacts to that. Nicholas Wu, appreciate your time. Thank you so much.

SANCHEZ: President Biden is set to hold a virtual summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping amid rising tension between the United States and China. The two leaders are expected to discuss key issues such as Taiwan, trade, and human rights. The meeting will be President Biden's first with Xi since he became president in January. Biden had hoped for an in-person summit with Xi even a bilateral meeting at the G20. But the Chinese leader has not left China in nearly two years.

Well, this week, we heard more shocking comments from a defense attorney in the trial of three white men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery. He asked the judge not to allow any more black pastors to sit with the victim's family in the courtroom. How the judge responded and why that lawyer is now apologizing, next.



WALKER: In South Georgia, a defense attorney in the trial over the killing of black jogger, Ahmaud Arbery, is trying to walk back controversial comments. Attorney Kevin Gough asked the judge to not allow any more black pastors in the gallery, and here's what Gough said in court on Thursday.


KEVIN GOUGH, ATTORNEY: We don't want any more black pastors coming in here or other Jesse Jackson, whoever was in was in here earlier this week sitting with the victim's family trying to influence the jury in this case.


SANCHEZ: Now, he's offering an apology to anyone who might have been "inadvertently offended." CNNs Martin Savidge has the latest from Brunswick, Georgia.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Morning Boris, Morning Amara, it was a much more contrite Attorney Kevin Gough that rose in the courtroom Friday morning. And he offered about one of the most awkward apologies you've ever heard made inside of a courtroom. He essentially said this. He said, if my statements were overly broad, my apologies to anyone who may have been affected. He also said that he's going to be filing a motion with the court later next week.

So, probably we haven't heard the last of Kevin Gough and his concern about too many black pastors. Meanwhile, at the noon recess, there was Jason Sheffield. He is the defense attorney for Travis McMichael. He came out and he just blasted Kevin Gough for his statements, clearly trying to show that there is a lot of separation between whatever Kevin Gough was trying to say and what their defense team believes. Here's Jason Sheffeld.

JASON SHEFFELD, ATTORNEY FOR TRAVIS MCMICHAEL: There's been a lot of reporting on a statement made by Kevin Goff yesterday in court about wanting no more black pastors. That statement was totally asinine. Ridiculous.

SAVIDGE: There was also interesting testimony we heard from Glenn County Police Officer Robert Rash. What he brings with him is body camera footage that comes from February 11, 2020. It's 12 days before the deadly confrontation with Ahmaud Arbery in the Scintilla Shores neighborhood. So, this video shows us police officers outside of the home under construction -- again, but this time at night, and once again, they're looking for an African American male who's been reported inside the home.

But this time the person reporting the sighting is Travis McMichael and Travis McMichael calls up 911 and says he'd seen a black male going inside that house. But he also said it looked like that male was reaching either into his pocket or his waistband. I think he may be armed. This changes everything when it comes to what the neighborhood's feelings were about whoever was going inside of the home under construction, because, because before it was looked upon as an annoyance. Now though, it was clearly being looked upon as a threat.


You know that because in the bodycam footage when the police make entry to search the home under construction, this time, their guns are drawn. Their eyes are looking straight down the gun sights and their flashlights are searching every corner of that house. They find no one.


SAVIDGE (on camera): But we know two weeks later, Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael will grab their own guns and pursue at Ahmaud Arbery, believing that he is armed. And once they've killed him tragically find out, he wasn't. Boris and Amara.

SANCHEZ: Martin Savidge, thank you for that report.

A historic figure is now a signature away from receiving a posthumous full pardon. Homer Plessy was a black shoemaker who first bought -- or rather who bought a first-class ticket on a train in Louisiana back in 1892. And he sat in the whites only section.

When a conductor ordered him to move, Plessy refused and he was arrested and then convicted of violating the Separate Car Act. Plessy's case led to the separate but equal doctrine and a slew of Jim Crow laws regarding segregation of other public places.

The Louisiana Board of Pardons this week voted unanimously in favor of a pardon for Plessy. It now heads to Governor John Bel Edwards' desk where he'll make it official with his signature.

WALKER: All right, just ahead, how loyal fans of Britney Spears helped her win back her freedom.



WALKER: After 13 years and a tumultuous legal battle with her father, Britney Spears' fight to win her freedom has finally come to an end. Supporters of the pop star celebrated outside of the Los Angeles courtroom after a judge granted the singers' request to terminate her conservatorship under which she literally had no control of her life, including her own reproductive rights.

SANCHEZ: Spears says that she plans to take some time off to enjoy herself before sharing her professional plans for the future. CNN's Stephanie Elam has more.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Britney Spears is waking up in control of her own destiny for the first time in 13 years.

ELAM (voice-over): Judge Brenda Penny going ahead and terminating the conservatorship effective immediately. Now, there will be a couple more court dates just to work out some technicalities and to make sure that her funds go back to her control.

But as of this day, she is now in control of her finances, and in control of her person. Now, her lawyer Mathew Rosengart saying that she remains with some safety nets in place to make sure she's not in a freefall as she takes control of her life just before her 40th birthday.

So, if you think about how long she's lived under this, she could use some help, but she has said that before in court. Also, worth noting that there were no objections to this ruling here by Judge Penny. Her father's lawyers had not object, nor did her mother's lawyers.

Remember, her father was removed as the co-conservator in September. And at that point, he said he wanted the conservatorship to just completely go away. That didn't happen as they were working out the details to protect Britney's assets here.

ELAM (on camera): And if you look back further this summer to July when Britney Spears did testify, calling into the court, she was very, very emotional. In her two testimony, she also said that she thought that this was conservatorship abuse what she was living under.

She said she wanted her father charged with conservatorship abuse, she said that she was forced to be on birth control. She said she was forced to perform all of these really serious allegations that her lawyer, Mathew Rosengart, has says they intend to pursue to make sure that if there were any improprieties, that if Jamie Spears was behind them that he would be taken up and that they would go after him for those moments.

ELAM (voice-over): But, in court today, Rosengart actually saying the time has come today to end the conservatorship. He also thanked the judge for this. Needless to say, all of her supporters, the Free Britney movement out here. Hundreds of people coming out and celebrating when word spread outside the courthouse that Britney was indeed in control of her destiny again.

There was pink confetti thrown, there were performers on a stage in the middle of the road, a lot of jubilation over this move. And then, Britney, herself, taking to Instagram, writing "Good God, I love my fans so much. It's crazy. I think I'm going to cry the rest of the day, best day ever. Praise the Lord. Can I get an amen?" And then after that, she put #FreedBritney.

ELAM (on camera): Boris and Amara.

SANCHEZ: Stephanie Elam, thank you so much for that report.

Still ahead, if you're fired in Iowa for refusing to get the vaccine, you may qualify for unemployment benefits, why businesses are now getting caught in the middle of a legal tug of war.

PAUL: So, welcome to "CNN UNDERSCORED", your guide to the best in tech, health, travel, and a lot more.

Just ahead of the holidays, our team at Underscored has looked at some of the most popular gifts this season and we want to get you in here on the game.

Julian Kheel with us now. He's a senior editor at CNN Underscored. Julian, I know that you have been working hard trying to figure all of this out. And I have to tell you, one of your first picks is a favorite of mine. I saw shoes and I just went, done.

JULIAN KHEEL, CNN UNDERSCORED SENIOR EDITOR: Everybody loves shoes for the holidays, right?

PAUL: Yes.

KHEEL: One of our favorites this year are these Re-Ember slip-ons. These are a collaboration of Teva footwear and Cotopaxi outdoor gear.

KHEEL: And they're really terrific because they have a collapsible heel. So, you can pull them on and off very easily. They're made of recycled materials. These come in 12 different sizes, two different color patterns that are good for men and women. $85 a pair, but a portion of your proceeds go to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Denver and Hollywood.

They call these the sleeping bags for your feet. And we can confirm that our CNN Underscored editor tested these, ended up wearing them for about two weeks straight. So, a really great holiday gift.

PAUL: All right, that's -- that says a lot of (INAUDIBLE) to wear the same thing two weeks straight.

I understand there's a hair dryer on your list as well. But it's pretty pricey, but it's worth it?

KHEEL: It is pricey. You have to have somebody very special in your life to give them this Dyson Supersonic hair dryer.

What's special about it is that not only obviously is a beautifully designed and with a powerful motor, very quiet, but it has a sensor in it that monitors the heat temperature 40 times a second so that your hair doesn't get damaged from the heat. We had three Underscored editors try this out all with different hair types, they all found that it dried their hair half -- in half the time as a normal hair dryer with salon-quality results.

Right now, Dyson is selling it with this gift kit. Gift sets rather. Presentation box: hair, comb, and brush, along with five different attachments. They're easy to put on and off. $430, but beware if you get it, you'll never want to use another hairdryer.

PAUL: All right, I hope not.

OK. So, for things, for those of us, let's say, who have a hard time keeping up with things. That's kind of my way of saying we lose things. How do we find them?

KHEEL: Right. If you lose your keys all the time, you've got to be very happy that Apple has now come out with the air tags. These are tracking devices that you can put on anything. And your phone will show you where it is anywhere in the world and even give you step-by- step directions on how to find it.

Now, this is great to put on your keys or if you're traveling for the holidays. Stick one in your checked baggage, and then you can see where that bag goes when you're on the plane.

$29, they make a great stocking stuffer. You do have to have an iPhone or an Apple device to use them, but really great holiday choice.

PAUL: So, lastly, when we talk about something for the backyard chef, we're often thinking steaks and burgers and tools to help in that capacity. But I love the pizza idea.

KHEEL: Yes, how about pizza? You're in your backyard, you want to make your own pizza. This is the Ooni pizza oven here to my left. And you're going to get two different models of this. There's a 12-inch cooking surface, there's a 16-inch cooking surface. It can use three different fuels, wood, charcoal, or propane.

Wood for the wood fired flavor of your pizza, propane to go faster. You can't -- you have to use this outside. So, if you're in a condo, you can't get it. $799 for the 16-inch, but only $399 for the 12-inch. So, give that to the pizza lover in your life.

PAUL: Good one go -- Julian, thank you so much. Great ideas there. And we need them.

KHEEL: Thank you.

PAUL: We need them.

So, for more on any of these products that you've seen, go to



WALKER: As businesses are struggling to fill positions, a new report shows that a record number of Americans are quitting their jobs. According to the Bureau of labor statistics, 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs in September. That leaves the country with nearly 10- 1/2 million open positions.

Now, during the pandemic, millions of workers have dropped out of the workforce, especially women. As of October, the number of women not working was nearly 3 million higher than it was before COVID.

SANCHEZ: So, there is a new law in Iowa that it put -- puts businesses in the middle of conflicting federal and state vaccination mandates. It's important to remember in the context of this new law that Kim Reynolds, the governor of Iowa, previously criticized the granting of additional unemployment benefits over the course of the pandemic.

WALKER: That's right, but this new law allows unvaccinated workers who are fired to claim those benefits. CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich has more.

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In rural Iowa, Spurgeon Manor is the only elder care facility in Dallas Center, its existence and the staff that work here are critical for the town's aging population.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I loved being here, you know that.

YURKEVICH: But now, two new rules, one federal and one state are making this vital job more complicated.

MAUREEN CAHILL, ADMINISTRATOR, SPURGEON MANOR: We're really are caught in the middle.

YURKEVICH: At health care facilities like this one, new federal guidelines require all staff to be fully vaccinated by January 4th, except for those with approved medical or religious exemptions.

CAHILL: We're 83 percent vaccinated. But there's still 18 of my employees that aren't vaccinated, and I cannot afford to lose one.

YURKEVICH (on camera): If they don't get vaccinated by the deadline, are they fired?

CAHILL: Unless I can find an acceptable accommodation for them, then they can't work with the residents.


YURKEVICH (voice-over): And late last month, Governor Kim Reynolds, who supported ending pandemic unemployment benefits early, signed a new law, granting benefits to fired employees who choose not to get vaccinated. Normally, fired employees are not eligible.

YURKEVICH (on camera): What is the burden that it places on you?

CAHILL: Its higher fees for insurance. And so, that makes our burden harder to provide cares for our residents. YURKEVICH (voice-over): Businesses exclusively fund state unemployment through a payroll tax. With this new state law, they'll pay even more for fired employees.

DENISE HILL, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, DRAKE UNIVERSITY: And they don't have a choice in the matter. The state has answered a mandate with another mandate. That is only putting business owners in between.

YURKEVICH: The family-owned farm manufacturing company Sukup has 700 employees, about 50 percent are vaccinated. In line with local county rates, the company said, navigating a federal rule and state law adds one more hurdle in a challenging year.

YURKEVICH (on camera): Supply chain issues, labor shortages, and now, this. What does that feel like?

CHARLES SUKUP, BOARD CHAIRMAN, SUKUP: Oh, it's just a one, two, three punch on things.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Board chairman Charles Sukup, says he wishes vaccine mandates were left the companies themselves.

SUKUP: Every business is being put in between a rock and a hard place, between a mandate that's of one size fits all. And then, you have state rules and regulations that are trying to protect individual rights as well. And businesses in general are getting caught in the squeeze.


YURKEVICH (on camera): Many businesses including Sukup, the farming company who you just heard from can opt to test their employees weekly if they choose not to get vaccinated.

So, the question is, who picks up that bill? Is it the federal government? Is it the state or is it the businesses themselves? Placing another question mark and potentially another financial burden on businesses. Back to you.

SANCHEZ: Vanessa Yurkevich, thank you so much for that report.

Olympic gold medalist Suni Lee is the latest victim of a racist attack. We'll tell you what she confronted after a quick break.

But first, an Iraq war veteran turned his trauma into song. And now, he's helping other veterans do the same in today's "THE HUMAN FACTOR".


JASON MOON, FOUNDER, WARRIOR SONGS: When I close my eyes, I hear a voice from deep inside --

I was in Iraq for 11 months. It was when I got home and tried to reintegrate that I started to notice that I wasn't who I was. I couldn't be in crowds, I was always watching every door. I felt weak. The shame. And I hadn't been able to write songs for almost five years because of all the pain when I started trying to write songs about it.

Child inside me long didn't go.

That's when I start getting e-mails from other veterans going, dude, this is exactly how I feel. And that's when that my healing really begins.

Warrior Songs is a nonprofit that uses the creative arts to help bring healing to veterans. We take a songwriter and we put them with the -- with a veteran. They take the trauma, they transform it into the song.

What happens to the veteran is nothing short of a transformation because they've had a trauma that they couldn't express.

Sea (INAUDIBLE) seven, six, provide support whatever the risk.

We've worked with about 250 veterans in the songwriting, and we've given services to about 50,000 veterans through the free C.D.s. we deploy. When they spoke their truth, it lives on beyond them and it's actually getting into the darkest places.




WALKER: Olympic gold medalist Suni Lee says she was pepper-sprayed in Los Angeles last month.

SANCHEZ: CNN's Brynn Gingras has the details on what happened.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Boris and Amara, Suni Lee says she essentially felt powerless when this racist incident happened to her in L.A. last month.

GINGRAS (voice-over): She is there, filming, dancing with the stars. And she says in this interview that she was out with a group of girlfriends also of Asian descent, waiting for a ride when a car pulled up to them and started saying these racial slurs to them.

In part, saying, go back to where they came from. And Lee says, then, she was pepper-sprayed in the arm before that car took off. And she said in this interview, "I didn't do anything to them. And having the reputation, it's so hard because I didn't want to do anything that could get me in trouble. I just let it happen."

And she says in this interview that she's very much aware of her new celebrity status and how important it is for her to speak up against incidents like this. We know, of course, that she is an Olympic gold medalist competing in those games in Tokyo and she's the first among American to compete in those games. And sadly, this is just another incident against Asian Americans that we have seen really skyrocket during the pandemic, and they continue to go up.

GINGRAS (on camera): According to the group Stop AAPI Hate, 9,000 incidents are reported to that group from March 2020 to June of this year.

Boris and Amara?


SANCHEZ: Brynn Gingras, thank you.

The next hour of NEW DAY starts right now.

Good morning, and welcome to your NEW DAY. I'm Boris Sanchez.