Return to Transcripts main page

The Situation Room

Walmart Gunman's Death Note Revealed; Trump Hosted Holocaust Denier Along With Kanye West At Mar-A-Lago; Team USA Plays England To A Dramatic Draw At World Cup; Shoppers Flock To Black Friday Deals Despite Inflation; Coast Guard Rescues Man Who Went Overboard On Carnival Ship. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired November 25, 2022 - 18:00   ET



ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: Also tonight, we're learning more about former President Donald Trump's problematic dinner with rapper Kanye West in Mar-a-Lago, which also included an outspoken Holocaust denier.

And team USA heading into a do-or-die match in the World Cup after their underdog game against England ended in a dramatic draw.

Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Alex Marquardt and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

We begin this hour with new clues about the mindset of a mass killer as the nation reels from a new round of deadly shootings. Our Brian Todd has new details on the Walmart gunman and the death note that he left behind. Brian, what are you learning?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alex, this information coming to us tonight from city officials in Chesapeake, Virginia. They released contents of a so-called death note that was discovered on the suspect's phone. Much of it was about his grievances with fellow employees.


JESSIE WILCZEWSKI, WALMART EMPLOYEE, SURVIVED SHOOTING: He just had the gun up to my forehead, and it's just really hard.

TODD (voice over): Tonight, chilling new details released by police reveal that the man who killed six Walmart employees bought his weapon that very day. City officials say the shooter had no criminal history and that he legally bought the gun he used, a 9-millimeter handgun.

Officials releasing screenshots of writings found on the gunman's phone. The title, death note. He describes the grievances he had, writing, his associates were laughing and mocking him, saying, they, quote, gave me evil, twisted grins, mocked me and celebrated my downfall the last day. That's why they suffer the same fate as me. In another part, he also writes, quote, I wish I could have saved everyone from myself. My God, forgive me for what I'm going to do. While the gunman spoke of specific people in the note, police say none of them were his victims and the names were redacted for privacy. CNN reached out to Walmart to inquire if the shooter had any complaints against him or had ever been disciplined or demoted. In response, Walmart said, quote, there is nothing that can justify taking innocent lives. One survivor, a fellow employee, told us earlier this week that she had been warned about the gunman.

BRIANA TYLER, WALMART EMPLOYEE, SURVIVED SHOOTING: But I am new but I had heard from the very beginning that he was the one to watch out for.

TODD: The city also released the identity of the youngest victim now identified as 16-year-old Fernando Chavez-Barron. Friend say the teen had just started working at the Walmart and used his first paycheck to buy gifts for his mom.

JOSHUA TREJO-ALVARADO, FRIEND KILLING IN SHOOTING: I spoke (INAUDIBLE) until they -- he was here standing with me.

TODD: With two people still in the hospital, dozens gathered Thursday to pray for the victims. As the community struggles to move forward, this survivor can't stop reliving the terror.

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


TODD (on camera): The mayor of Chesapeake, Rick West, has announced that a vigil for the victims will be held at city park in Chesapeake on Monday evening. Meanwhile, at this time, Walmart still not answering CNN's questions about whether any disciplinary measures had ever been taken against the shooter or if any complaints had ever been made by other employees about him. Alex?

MARQUARDT: All right. Brian Todd, thank you for that report. I appreciate it.

Now, the latest mass shootings are weighing on President Joe Biden over this holiday weekend as he renews calls for a ban on assault weapons.

CNN's Arlette Saenz is with the president in Nantucket. Arlette, we did get a glimpse of President Biden today as he makes these new demands for greater gun control.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Alex. President Biden spent part of the day today here in Nantucket's town, where he attended the annual Christmas tree lighting and visited some shops. But it was on Thanksgiving Day yesterday that the president once again called for Congress to pass a ban on assault weapons.

This is something President Biden has pointed to over and over in the wake of mass shootings but he's also running up against the political reality that the votes don't exist in the current Congress and likely won't exist in the next Congress as Republicans take control of the House to get such a measure passed.

But yesterday, he spoke to reporters and talked about his frustration when it comes to the sale of some semiautomatic weapons and his desire to pass more gun legislation.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: The idea we still allow semiautomatic weapons to be purchased is sick, just sick. It has no, no social value, zero, none, not a single solitary rationale for it except for profit for the gun manufacturers.


REPORTER: Can you do anything about gun laws during a lame duck, sir?

BIDEN: I'm going to try.

REPORTER: What will you try and do?

BIDEN: I'm going to try to get rid of assault weapons.

REPORTER: During the lame duck?

BIDEN: Whenever -- I got to make that assessment as I get in and start counting the votes.


SAENZ: So, the president saying there that he needs to assess and count the votes to see if he would be able to pass an assault weapons ban. But the House passed one over the summer in the Senate and then it stalled -- in the House, and then it stalled once it made its way over to the Senate.

Now, it does come as polls have shown Americans do want to see stricter gun laws in this country. And also in the wake of that shooting in Colorado last weekend, President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden spent part of their thanksgiving holiday on the phone with the two owners of Club Q, that LGBTQ nightclub where the shooting took place, that Biden expressed his condolences to the owners as yet another mass shooting has unfolded in this country.

MARQUARDT: An uphill fight for the president as time runs out. Arlette Saenz traveling with the president in Nantucket, thank you very much.

Let's get more on all of this with CNN Senior Law Enforcement Analyst Charles Ramirez, CNN Senior Political Analyst Ryan Lizza and CNN Contributor Jennifer Mascia. Thank you all for joining me this evening. We have lots to discuss.

Chief Ramsey, I want to start with you and at the Walmart. Chesapeake authorities now releasing this so-called death note, we just heard our Brian Todd reading some of that. The shooter detailed his grievances. He references God and Satan. When you hear what's in that note, what stands out to you?

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I mean, clearly, he had mental health issues. There's no question about that. There was some degree of planning or at least thought that went into this since he wrote the note. But what's most disturbing, and not most disturbing, but certainly one of the most disturbing parts of this entire story is the fact he was able to buy a gun in the morning and use it to kill people in the evening. I mean, there's no waiting period in Virginia. People get their hands on these guns just too easily. And that's a problem that's got to be fixed. And that, to me, is very, very disturbing.

MARQUARDT: Jennifer, to that point, Virginia doesn't have a waiting period law. How effective are waiting periods when they are instituted?

JENNIFER MASCIA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Waiting periods are, you know, thought to give people a cooling-off period. If somebody buys a gun with the need to use it immediately, the thought is that this is an impulsive buy, that it could be fueled by anger or some kind of life crisis. The idea with a waiting period is that if you wait a few days, maybe that crisis will blow over. And waiting periods are actually really helpful when someone is suicidal.

Unfortunately, very few states have them. There are also gun owner licensing laws that function as a waiting period but fewer than ten states have them.

MARQUARDT: And, Ryan, the president clearly very fired up, very angry about these shootings, now pushing for an assault weapons ban with very little time left before the next Congress. For the past two years, Democrats have controlled both the House and the Senate. So, why couldn't he get this done?

RYAN LIZZA, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean, few people have been involved on this issue as Joe Biden, if you think about it, right, was instrumental in the 1994 crime bill, which had an assault weapons ban in it and that expired after ten years. And Congress has not been able to get it passed ever since 2005, I guess, is when it expired.

And then, of course, in the Obama administration, as vice president, as we really saw mass shootings start to rise, you know, he was part of that effort with Obama that just was desperate to get gun safety legislation passed, and didn't accomplish too much in those eight years.

You know, he's had one of the rare victories on this issue, on the Democratic side, as president last year. I think the assault weapons ban, a lot will depend, just to throw out crude politics of this, is what people think it will do to the chances of Raphael Warnock in the Georgia runoff on December 3rd. Now, Warnock has beat an NRA-endorsed candidate last time. He is where most Democrats are on gun issues. It's not like he's sort of Joe Manchin or as conservative as some of the most conservative Democrats. But I think it will depend between now and that race how Democrats think pushing any gun measures in the Senate will affect his election chances.

MARQUARDT: Yes, that's an important point, an important part of the political discussion.

Jennifer, Republicans, of course, set to take control of the House. So, what options does the president have with Congress divided to push more gun violence reform?

MASCIA: Well, even with the slight majority in the Senate, we all know that's not enough to overcome a filibuster.


President Biden has allocated an unprecedented amount of federal funding to community gun violence prevention. And community leaders actually want him to do more. They want to see him establish an office of gun violence prevention in the White House that shows that it's a priority. But other than that, there is not much he can do.

I see now he's focusing on assault weapons but most shootings are perpetrated with handguns. And implementing the kind of background checks that have kept gun violence at bay in so many other countries isn't really part of the political equation right now.

MARQUARDT: Yes, the gun used at the Walmart was a 9 millimeter pistol.

The statistics are just staggering. There have been more than 600 mass shootings in this country in this year alone. Chief Ramsey, are you frustrated with the inaction from lawmakers, which then puts this nearly impossible burden on law enforcement to stop these attacks?

RAMSEY: Well, I mean, I've passed the point of frustration years ago. I don't expect them to do anything. I have no faith in our Congress really moving forward with any kind of significant gun reform. I mean, we're talking about assault weapons here in terms of mass shootings. Assault weapons are used on the streets of our cities every single day.

It is not unusual to go to a crime scene and find 30, 40 shell casings or more on the ground, each one representing a bullet that's flying down a street in an urban area. I mean, what are we doing? The gun violence is just incredible and I doubt if anybody is even tracking that to note just how many times assault weapons are used on the streets of our cities, and nothing is done about it. People complain, people talk about it. This time next week, we'll be talking about something else. We don't stay focused on the issue long enough to do anything about it.

So, I really -- I mean, what the president said, he's right. I think they should be banned. But will anything happen? Absolutely not.

MARQUARDT: All right, folks, we have to leave it there. Charles Ramsey, Ryan Lizza, Jennifer Mascia, thank you so much for your thoughts on this incredibly important subject. I appreciate it. Have a good night.

And just ahead, we will go live to Ukraine at a desperate moment for many residents suffering from power outages caused by Russian attacks here in THE SITUATION ROOM.



MARQUARDT: Tonight, many Ukrainians are in the dark, without power or heat, as temperatures across the country fall and the war rages on.

Our Senior International Correspondent Sam Kiley is on the ground in a very dark Zaporizhzhia in Eastern Ukraine. Sam, we have seen wave after wave of Russian missiles targeting critical infrastructure. How bad, how widespread are these blackouts?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they've been extremely bad in the last 48 hours, Alex, with up to 10 million people affected. The government saying that 6 million people will be affected at the moment, and they are hoping to get something up to normal service returning.

But what that means nowadays in Ukraine is four to six hours of scheduled power cuts for many people each day. In other words, they are managing to generate what they need to keep the country's wheels turning but nothing excessive or nothing in excess of that.

They are able to get, they hope, by the weekend, enough heating, power, and above all, water pumping around the city because the water systems rely on electricity to keep the civilian population barely getting by, I would say.

I mean, the conditions here are not yet full-scale winter. It's not the minus 10, 15 degrees centigrade that we can expect to see later on in December, January and February. And that is the period that is going to cause most concern.

And it is for that reason that the Ukrainians are saying they want better air defenses, they want to be able to get the sort of state-of- the-art air defenses available to NATO and other western partners and allies, such as what the Israelis have in terms of iron dome and similar systems because they want to be able to keep their skies clear of these swarms of cruise missiles, especially, but also the more primitive Shahed-136s that they got from Iran, both of which are able ultimately to get through. If they put enough in the air, the Russians do get some of these through and cause the targeting of the humanitarian situation to continue to decline, Alex.

MARQUARDT: And, Sam, we just saw the dramatic retreat of Russian forces from the city of Kherson, the residents of the city survived the months-long Russian occupation but they are still being targeted by these Russian forces.

KILEY: They're certainly being targeted. And I think we can anticipate and certainly the government now, local authorities, military authorities are anticipating an even greater level of targeting from just across the other side of the Dnipro River where the Russians have retreated to. They are bombarding now Kherson City, killed seven about 36 hours ago in a series of rocket and missile strikes.

We were there a few days ago. There was incoming thumps constantly all day long. And that level of bombardment is increasing to the extent that they're trying to accelerate voluntary evacuation of civilians from that city and they've also begun the evacuation of one of the major hospitals there for fear that patients could be targeted as a result of this Russian bombardment.

MARQUARDT: All right. Sam Kiley, thank you for all of your remarkable reporting. I really appreciate it. Sam Kiley in Zaporizhzhia.

Now, let's go to Russia where President Vladimir Putin is acknowledging the deadly death toll of his forces in Ukraine. He met with the mothers of Russian soldiers who have been fighting there and also dying there.

CNN Senior International Correspondent Fred Pleitgen has more on that meeting from Moscow.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Russian president meeting those he knows are a backbone of the combat effort in Ukraine, soldiers' mothers, many of whom have lost their sons.

NINA PSCHENICHKINA, MOTHER OF RUSSIAN SOLDIER: My heart bleeds and my soul freezes.


Dark memories cloud my mind. I cry and cry, and I hear my son saying that we will see each other one day.

PLEITGEN: Putin eager to show empathy.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: I want you to know that I personally, the entire leadership of the country, we share your pain. We understand that nothing can replace the loss of a son, a child, especially for a mother.

PLEITGEN: As the war in Ukraine, what Russia calls the special military operation, drags on and casualties mount, an increasing number of wives and mothers are calling on Russia's president to help their husbands and sons. Valentina Melnikova heads the Russian Soldiers' Mothers Committee and says her group and many others were not invited to meet the president. VALENTINA MELNIKOVA, HEAD OF RUSSIAN SOLDIERS' MOTHERS COMMITTEE: Why didn't they take these women who recorded the videos? How many of them are there? 50 people. Well, bring them Moscow. Put them in the hall not close to Putin. No, they didn't want to. They wanted to handpick others.

PLEITGEN: The Russian military says it has mobilized more than 300,000 Russians from September to November. But complaints have been mounting from old rusty weapons to a lack of food and poor housing conditions, as this video uploaded to social media purports to show.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: this is how we live, no command, no offices, nothing. Here, you can see how guys settled, fixed up the window, we have no supply or provisions, no food. They said survive on your own, it's up to you.

MELNIKOVA: Well, the logistics turned out to be completely unprepared for what has been happening for nine months. The frontline is long. There are a lot of units. There are a lot of people there. And the army should do this. They should feed, clothe and provide medical care.

PLEITGEN: Russia doesn't regularly update its casualty figures but it's clear many families are grieving. This a ceremony for fallen soldiers in the Irkutsk region.

IGOR KOBZEV, GOVERNOR, IRKUTSK REGION: They are true heroes. They did it in the interest of our state, in interest of all of us, of our fatherland.

PLEITGEN: And the Russian president knows more mothers and wives will have to sacrifice as there seems no end in sight to the war in Ukraine.


PLEITGEN: Alex, we also saw the very combative side of Vladimir Putin today as well. On the one hand, he said that Russia used to live by others' ruled but that that was now changing, obviously, saying that Russia used to live by the west's rules.

He also said that, right now, Russia was on a path, as he put it, purging and reinvention. And he said that he believes that right now the war in Ukraine was not actually against Ukrainians but against those financing and resupplying them. Obviously, Vladimir Putin clearly believes that he's in a full-on confrontation with the west and certainly, at least today, showed absolutely no signs of backing down, Alex.

MARQUARDT: And he knows what a powerful force mothers can be. Fred Pleitgen in Moscow, thank you very much for that report.

Coming up, a Holocaust denier and an erratic celebrity dine with 2024 presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump. His attempt to downplay the dinner, that's coming up next here in THE SITUATION ROOM. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


MARQUARDT: Tonight, we are getting a new window into former President Donald Trump's willingness to associate with highly controversial figures just days after he announced his 2024 run for the White House.

Let's bring in CNN National Political Reporter Maeve Reston. Maeve, we have Trump hosting rapper Kanye West, or Yey, at Mar-a-Lago down in Florida, as well as an outspoken Holocaust denier. What more do we know about this dinner?

MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: So, this started bubbling up, Alex, on social media when Yey was posting about his meeting with Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago this week. He was spotted at an airport, walking through an airport, with Nick Fuentes, who, as you noted, is a Holocaust denier. He has been condemned by the Anti- Defamation League for anti-Semitic comments, his white nationalist rhetoric.

But Kanye basically put up a video saying that the three of them had had dinner along with others at Mar-a-Lago and he claimed that Trump had been impressed with Fuentes. We saw the former president push back on this today on his Truth Social platform, and I'll just read you what he said. He said this past week, Kanye West called me to have dinner at Mar-a-Lago. Shortly thereafter, he unexpectedly showed up with three of his friends whom I knew nothing about. We had dinner on Tuesday evening with many members present on the back patio. The dinner was quick and uneventful. They then left for the airport.

And Trump, just a short time ago, also posted again on Truth Social, saying that, essentially, that there was no anti-Semitism expressed at this dinner, and adding that he didn't know Nick Fuentes. But, of course, we have seen this pattern from the former president before when he is associated with controversial figures. He tries to distance himself from them. And, of course, at the bottom of all of this, he is hosting Kanye West at Mar-a-Lago, his private club, someone who has recently been engulfed in controversy over his own anti-Semitic remarks.


So, it's pretty hard to imagine that the former president missed all of that, Alex.

MARQUARDT: All right. Maeve, stay with us. I want to bring in two others to this discussion, CNN Senior Media Reporter Oliver Darcy and our Senior Law Enforcement Analyst Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director. Guys, thank you both for joining us.

Oliver, let's put aside for a second the fact that apparently people can just show up to dinner with a former president and he didn't know about it. But this isn't -- Nick Fuentes isn't just anyone. He is a very well known white nationalist, Holocaust denier. To Maeve's point about a pattern, do you think that Trump is trying to have it both ways when he associates with people like Fuentes and then kind of puts out a half-hearted apology?

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Yes. I think it stretches credibility to say that he didn't know who this was. I mean, Nick Fuentes is a pretty prominent individual in the far-right fever swamp that Donald Trump frequents these days.

And so I find it hard to believe that he or his advisers didn't know ahead of time who this was and I also find it hard to believe during dinner that it didn't become quite clear how radical Fuentes is. I mean, this is a very vocal person when it comes to expressing extremist ideology. He was out there praising the Taliban, for instance, for taking over Afghanistan, saying it was a positive development in the world because he finds their Christian conservative world view to be something to aspire to.

So, even if he didn't know who he was prior to dinner, I'm sure he got a good sense of who he was during dinner. And take Kanye West with a grain of salt but Kanye West is out there saying that he was very impressed with his views.

And, outside of all of that, he has one of these things, right? He could get on Truth Social right now and condemn Nick Fuentes. Instead, he's really just downplaying this dinner. So, I think that kind of says it all, doesn't it?

MARQUARDT: Yes. And I should correct myself. It wasn't an apology. It was some sort of explanation that the former president doesn't really apologize.

Andrew, in terms of the danger here, how worrying is it, do you think, that the former president is really elevating people like this when especially when this threat of domestic violent extremism, we know, is so high?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, it's a great question. And I think you have to go back a little bit to understand that for decades in this country, people who held and espoused the sorts of views that Nick Fuentes does kind of existed in a nonexistent political backwater, right? You couldn't go out publicly and say these sorts of things. I mean, you could, you have the right to do that, but you're pretty quickly denounced.

The reason they're so prominent now is because people like Donald Trump and other political leaders in this country have done things, like met with people like this or responded to their invitations to speak at conferences or met with them and accepted them as dinner guests in their home, the private club of Mar-a-Lago. Those sorts of actions validate these people and validate their views in a way that allows this toxic spread to grow.

And this is what people like Nick Fuentes thrive on. He needs that sort of highly visible validation and acceptance by the absolute highest level of political leadership, in this case, in the Republican Party anyway, he uses that to engender new supporters, new viewers, new readers of his materials. That's how they get their views out to a wider audience. That's how they recruit more people and supporters. And that's why we're in the situation today where domestic extremist violence is at levels we have never seen before because these things that used to be relegated to the backwaters are now accepted and discussed right on social media and on regular media by people like that.

MARQUARDT: Yes, it's just mainstreaming hate, it's as simple as that.

Oliver, at the same time, we've got Twitter, of course, taken over by Elon Musk, more far-right voices have been allowed back onto the platform. What is the latest there?

DARCY: Yes. Well, Nick Fuentes is actually one of those people who has been banned from the platform and seemingly one of those people that would be covered under this general amnesty that Elon Musk says will occur next week for people who haven't broken the law but who have been banned from the platform. So, I think you might be seeing Twitter get a lot more chaotic when you talk about people used to being confined to dark corners of the web. Twitter is a place that platforms some of those people. And they were eventually banned, but now it seems that Musk is going to allow them back onto the platform and give them voice.

MARQUARDT: Really, we have a couple moments left, but, Andrew, to you again about the potential dangers there of these types of people being on this more mainstream platform, how worried are you about these changes?


MCCABE: You know, all of that, Alex, conveys that sort of legitimacy and validation and gives them a megaphone to attract more viewers and more supporters. And the snowball continues running downhill. It's a very dangerous situation.

MARQUARDT: It is indeed. Andrew McCabe, Oliver Darcy, Maeve Reston, thanks, as always, for your time and expertise, I really appreciate it.

All right, just ahead, a game watched around the world, how Team USA pulled off a dramatic draw against England in the World Cup. Stay with us.


MARQUARDT: No goal, a dramatic tie at the World Cup soccer match between the U.S. and England today.


England's captain, Harry Kane, admitting that it was not our best performance, he said, while U.S. players said they weren't too disappointed with the final 0-0 score.

Let's bring in CNN Sports Analyst Christine Brennan to break down this match and other stories swirling around Qatar's first World Cup. Christine, I want to talk first about that highly watched dramatic U.S./England game. A lot of close calls, a lot of opportunities for the U.S. to score, they weren't able to. But do you think this team, which is quite young, showed promise against England, who -- they were much more heavily favored.

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Absolutely, Alex. If anything can be a victory when it's a 0-0 tie, this was it. The U.S. has to feel really good about this. And I think American sports fans are sophisticated enough about soccer to understand that something like a 0-0 draw can actually be a good thing. That's the case for the United States, an incredibly young team.

England is one of the favorites to win the whole thing. England obviously one of the dominant powers in men's soccer, U.S. is not. And for the U.S. to play so well, to have chances actually to win, frankly, the United States controlled play for a lot of that match and could have won it.

And Christian Pulisic, of course, the star of the U.S. team, getting so close to a goal, hitting the crossfire in the 33rd minute, there were opportunities, Alex, for the United States. And the hope is for this young American team, they can build on that. They can build on that excitement and enthusiasm in their final match in the group, which, of course, is Tuesday against Iran.

MARQUARDT: Yes, and that will be the last game in the group. So, how critical is it that the U.S. win that game to advance?

BRENNAN: It's everything. If the U.S. wins, they move on. If the U.S. doesn't win, they don't move on. So, it's about as simple as it can get. The United States needs a victory, not a tie, and certainly not a loss. And that's doable. Iran is obviously -- is playing well, but the United States also is playing well. And after one bad half against Wales, the United States had a 1-0 lead and then Wales tied it in the first match they played, the U.S. is really looking good.

And so if, in fact, they can beat Iran on Tuesday, they move on to the round of 16, to the knockout phase, two teams out of Group B in this case, two teams move on, two teams will go home. If the U.S. wins, they move on.

MARQUARDT: Iran had a really good day. They actually won 2-0 against Wales, scoring both those goals after the 90th minute. But a lot of the attention, Christine, when it comes to Iran, is focused on the protest against the Iranian regime.

You'll remember before their first game, the Iranian team did not sing their national anthem. That was seen as a protest. Do you think these players are feeling not just the sports pressure but the geopolitical pressure and everything that comes with that?

BRENNAN: They certainly are, Alex. And actually the players have acquitted themselves very well not singing the anthem. This time, they did sing their anthem. But they have been very supportive of the protesters back in Iran. And that takes a lot of courage knowing what could happen to them when they go back home.

There have been protests. There have been altercations between fans on both sides of the issue in Iran. That's been going on outside of the stadiums during the World Cup. So, this is a team that is trying to focus on football and soccer in the midst of an incredibly tumultuous time in their country. And they are taking the side of women and women's rights. And they're speaking out. And in this case they did, of course, not sing that national anthem. That was a big move by them. This time they did. But, again, the issues seem to be permeating the stadium. And this is a team of young men that certainly understand what those issues are.

MARQUARDT: And Qatar, the host country, has been very proud of their tournament. But now they've been eliminated from their own tournament. How much of a disappointment is that?

BRENNAN: It's disappointing because, obviously, as the host nation, you want to keep moving on, but not surprising. That would have been, in many ways, a tall order for them to continue on, Alex. And with all of the issues involving Qatar, including, of course, human rights abuses, LGBTQ rights, the migrant workers who died while they were building these stadiums, it would have been a good story for Qatar to move on from the sports aspect and kind of maybe have the spotlight move away from some of those very important issues. Now that they're going to be out of the tournament, those issues, again, will I think flare up again, as they should. This is something we must discuss as journalists, and, of course, we will, even as the tournament moves on without the host nation.

MARQUARDT: And they were really only in the tournament because they were the host nation. They likely would not have qualified.

Christine Brennan, thank you so much for answering all those questions. I appreciate it.

BRENNAN: Alex, thank you.

MARQUARDT: Coming up, inflation isn't raining on everyone's parade.


We'll take you to one of the busiest holiday shopping areas next. And we'll update you on the holiday travel forecast.

Plus, how did a man go from drinks with his sister to missing from a cruise ship? We have the story behind the Coast Guard's dramatic rescue. That's next.


MARQUARDT: Americans are paying more this year for groceries, gas, and electricity. But inflation hasn't stopped shoppers from spending money this holiday season.

CNN's Alison Kosik is in New York.


ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Alex. The crowd outside Macy's in the heart of New York City not letting up on this Black Friday.


You know, you look at the long holiday shopping weekend. It is expected to bring in record number of shoppers from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday; 166 million people are expected to go out and spend.

Black Friday is expected to be, though, one of the biggest shopping days of the year, bringing out 115 million shoppers just on one day. More than half expected to shop in the stores. But don't be fooled. Even on Thanksgiving when people were eating their Thanksgiving turkeys, they spent $5.2 billion in one day. That is incredible.

Inflation, though, it is really the elephant in the room for many shoppers. It is cutting into their spending power. Shoppers spending power. So, they're having to navigate and sort of have a strategy of how they're going to spend.

A lot of shoppers that I talked with said that they're really sticking to their budgets and paying more and more attention to those discounts and deals to try to navigate what gifts to buy. Still, the national retail federation is upbeat about how this holiday shopping season will turn out. They expect Americans to spend 8 percent more than last year, adding up to $940 billion to $960 billion spent in November and December.

Alex, back to you.


MARQUARDT: Our thanks to Alison Kosik for that report.

Now, despite higher gas prices than last year, millions of Americans are hitting the road this week.

Meteorologist Jennifer Gray is live in the CNN Weather Center.

Jennifer, so far the travel to go home was quite easy. But how is the weather going to hold up for the return trip?

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, it looks like things are going to really intensify over the weekend. If you traveled today, consider yourself lucky because things will get worse as the weekend goes on. We have some heavy rain now and even snow, could see up to a foot of snow across western portions of Texas, some portions of New Mexico. We have a blizzard warning in effect for West Texas, imagine that.

But as far as airport delays go, it looks like the big cities are being spared right now. Looks like travel is going to be fairly easy until we get into more with heavy rain pushes into places like Dallas and Houston, and then into the Mississippi River Valley. All of this rain on Sunday is going to head into the Ohio Valley into the northeast, Eastern Seaboard, New England. So we will see delays there.

For Saturday, the bulk of the delays will be across the south for that very heavy rain that's falling. An then as we move into Sunday, we pick up more delays and even more lengthy delays in some of the bigger cities, New York City, Boston, New York could see some delays as we move into Sunday.

So that's as far as the airports go. But the roads are going to be rough as well, especially in the Deep South, the Mississippi River Valley where all of this heavy rain is falling if you are traveling by car, look out for those wet roads, Alex. It could be a bit dangerous traveling home, especially as we get into Saturday into Sunday.

MARQUARDT: So, come Monday, we could be talking about a lot of travel troubles.

Jennifer Gray in the CNN weather center, thank you very much.

GRAY: Thanks.

MARQUARDT: Now, ahead, the extraordinary rescue of a man who went overboard from a cruise ship, surviving around 15 hours floating at sea. And we have new video of him while he was still in the water fighting to stay alive.

Stay with us.



MARQUARDT: Tonight, the U.S. Coast Guard has released new video from its rescue of a man who went overboard from a cruise ship and survived for as long as 15 hours in the water.

CNN's Nick Valencia has been following this story and has all the new developments.

Nick, this is just an incredible story. I mean, really just amazing that this guy is still alive after spending all that time in the water. What more do we know about what happened?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we have a lot questions, Alex. We don't know exactly how he went overboard or what he did to survive the hours that he was in the water. But the U.S. Coast Guard tells CNN that the water where he was found was around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and that could have potentially helped keep him alive for the hours he was floating in the Gulf of Mexico.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it kind of blows normalcy out of the water here.

VALENCIA (voice-over): A miraculous Thanksgiving rescue at sea after a Carnival cruise ship passenger went overboard. The passenger, seen here waving at a Coast Guard helicopter hovering

over him while he fights to stay above water. The cruise company said the 28-year-old man was reported missing Thursday around noon. He had last been seen around 11:00 p.m. Wednesday by his sister leaving a bar on board the ship, which had left New Orleans bound for Cozumel, Mexico.

LT. SETH GROSS, U.S. COAST GUARD: At any point from 11:00 p.m. on Wednesday on, he could've entered the waterway. So he realistically could have been in the water for 15-plus hours before we were able to successfully rescue him.

VALENCIA: Since so much time had passed since he was last seen, the rescue operation was particularly challenging.

GROSS: Understanding, you know, we did have a big time delay. The longer that somebody is in the water, the greater the search area is going to be. So, time is certainly at the essence.

VALENCIA: Ultimately, the crew above aboard a cargo vessel located him about 20 miles south of Southwest Pass, Louisiana, where the Coast Guard was able to helicopter in and hoist the man out of the water to safety. He's in the hospital undergoing medical evaluation and is reportedly in stable condition.

GROSS: He was able to identify his name, confirmed that he was the individual that fell overboard. He was showing signs of hypothermia, shock, dehydration.

VALENCIA: Carnival Cruise Line expressing their gratitude in a statement reading, we greatly appreciate the efforts of all, most especially the U.S. Coast Guard and the mariner who spotted the guest in the water.

GROSS: The will to live in something that you need to account for in every search and rescue case.

VALENCIA: This man's will to survive, leaving even those who rescue him in awe.

GROSS: This is, like I said, one of the longest that I have heard about and just one of those Thanksgiving miracles.


VALENCIA (on camera): Earlier, we checked in with a coast guard and this afternoon they told us that the family was not able to immediately get off the vessel. We don't know exactly their whereabouts right now, or if they have been able to reunite with their loved one. But the man is listed in stable condition and recovering at a hospital in New Orleans with an incredible story to tell.

MARQUARDT: Just amazing, can't wait to hear from him.


MARQUARDT: Thanks so much. Appreciate it.

VALENCIA: You got it.

MARQUARDT: I'm Alex Marquardt in THE SITUATION ROOM. Thank you so much for watching tonight.