tv CNN Newsroom CNN November 25, 2021 9:00am-10:00am PST
. hi, everyone. happy thanksgiving. we are beginning this hour with the convictions in the ahmaud arbery murder trial. travis and gregory mcmichael, father and son, as well as their neighbor, now face the possibility of life in prison as they await sentencing. there will also be another trial in february as they face federal hate crime charges. 12 jurors found that all three were guilty of the murder of
ahmaud arbery, a black jogger, who they chased and shot dead. they said the verdict was based on facts and proved the jury system works. georgia's governor said he hoped the verdict would lead to what he hoped a was a path of healing and reconciliation. joe biden said it was the justice system doing its job. ryan young has been following every step of this trial. the verdicts are no. what's next for these men? >> happy thanksgiving, alex. the sentencing has to go forward and the judge had to make the final decision, but when you talk about the people who have spoken about this case, brian kemp, and what's changed here. there's now a hate crime law and they got rid of the citizen's arrest law that was in the state for so long, but take a look at this image of the men being walked out of court. so surreal yesterday. as they were being walked to the car to go to jail, there were so many people cheering about the
fact they were found guilty. when you think about this for the family and they went for months not knowing if this would move forward then all of a sudden, the gbi comes in and this prosecution moves forward, you can understand why family members were happy and satisfied about yesterday's verdict. >> this is the second thanksgiving my family and i will share without him, but this is the first thanksgiving that we can look at that empty chair and say we finally got justice for you. it's like a bittersweet moment. he's not here, but i know he's in heaven. very, very thankful we got justice for him. >> alex, you have to think about her emotions and the fact she kept her composure so long. being there for the whole step of the time. a lot of people looking forward to what the federal government does. it will be interesting to see what the sentencing is handed down by the judge in the coming
weeks. >> thanks for being there on this holiday. happy thanksgiving to you. joining me now are two former federal prosecutors. thank you so much. happy thanksgiving to you. >> happy thanksgiving. >> jennifer, prosecutors have said they're going to seek life in prison without parole for all three of these men. considering that they're convicted on multiple murder charges, how certain is that sentence when the judge decides it and what factors go into that decision? >> well, under georgia law, the judge is constrained here. the only decision is to grant them the possibility of parole after 30 years. he has no choices to the life sentence piece of it. so i think the judge will consider the evidence. obviously he was there the entire time. he knows the case as well as anyone and think about whether they deserve the chance at parole in 30 years. particularly the two, greg
mcmichael and bryan, who was not convicted of the malice murder like travis, the gunman. so i think he'll consider it particularly with respect to those two, but he's the expert. we'll have to see what he decides. >> there was so much focus of course on race in this trail. three white men now convicted of killing a young black man. yesterday, the lead prosecutor was on cnn. take a listen to what she said about the jury and having faith in this jury despite the fact that it was made up of 11 white j jurors and just one black juror. >> after we picked jury, we looked at them and realized that we had very, very smart, very intelligent, honest jurors who were going to do their job, which was to seek the truth. we felt putting up our case, it didn't matter whether they were black or white. that putting up our case, that this jury would hear the truth, see the evidence and do the right thing and come back with the correct verdict, which we
felt they did today. >> elliot, linda there saying that it didn't really matter what race the jurors were. do you agree with her? >> that's a very complicated question. does it matter what race the jurors are? no. of course people of all races can be fair when they adjudicate, hold someone else in judgment. the bigger issue is how is it possible to strikevi virtually l of the black jurors from the panel and end up with it being 11 white and one black. it seems there was then a deliberate attempt just looking at the stats and numbers by the defense attorneys to get black jurors off here. so i think the question that we've all fixated on is can white people be fair when holding black, other white defendants in judgment and that's maybe not the right question. it's why did these attorneys and how, and how does the system
allow attorneys to be so deliberate, almost surgical, in striking black jurors. thankfully a positive outcome was reached here, but i think that's the more troubling issue. >> one of the most expected developments after the verdict was the defense lawyers said they would appeal and have expressed some level of optimism in that endeavor. jennifer, do you see any chance of success there? >> i don't see anything obvious. they can appeal based on legal errors made by the judge, issues with jury selection. there are all sorts of things they can appeal. they can even appeal saying that the evidence was insufficient to convict. so nothing jumps out at me. i thought the judge was good here. he made his rulings properly, at least as far as i saw. i didn't see any big issues with the jury. the sufficiency of the evidence,
sure, there was plenty of evidence in the way the jury assigned relative culpability with their verdicts demonstrates they carefully viewed the evidence. i don't see anything here. we'll have to see what their papers say, but it seems like an uphill battle to me. >> no matter what happens with these state charges, they still face federal hate crime charges for a trial that's due to take place in february. and those charges in the federal case also could carry a potential sentence of life in prison. elliot, what do you expect in that federal case? >> there's a lot of, you talked about race earlier. a lot of information simply didn't come out at this trial. that was a deliberate decision by the prosecutors to not bring up that travis used the n-word at the scene of the crime and his text messages and internet history suggested racial bias. that can come up in a federal
civil rights trial. it's the same facts, but they're really not. it's a totally different matter. and you know, prosecutors make decisions all the time as to what to bring into court. what kinds of things to raise and essentially where to go in front of the jury. this seemed like a deliberate attempt by these prosecutors to keep race out of it. leave the questions of racial bias to the federal jury. so and we'll see much more then. in some respects, it's a fuller picture of what happened on that day. >> yeah, a decision that was questioned by many watching the trial. arbery's mother was on cnn this morning reflecting now on the verdict yesterday. take a listen to a little bit of what she had to say. >> make a change, he's about the hate crime law in georgia. he caused that citizen's arrest law to be repelled and i want people to think of him as change. he lost his life, but didn't
lose his life in vain. >> jennifer, that murder was caught on tape. we saw it on video. how important do you think that video was to this case? what it have happened at all without it? >> that's hard to say. it certainly didn't happen without it for some time and in fact, we have a prosecutor under indictment herself for obstructing the case. i think it's fair to say that without a videotape, it's very, very unlikely that we would have seen this case brought. it's crucial. oftentimes nowadays with the cameras around, much more is being captured than ever before. here on a rural road, that wasn't the case. it was due to mr. bryan and his cell phone. you're right. without the tape, we would have nothing, so it's a good thing we did. >> so much more on this saga still to come. we know you'll be watching closely. elliot, jennifer, thank you and happy thanksgiving. >> thank you.
developing now, president biden and first lady jill biden just wrapped up a visit to a u.s. coast guard station, visiting service members in nantucket where they're spending their thanksgiving. the first couple thanking those coasties for their service. jeff zellny is life with the first family in nantucket. jeff, this is a family tradition. going back decades, but they skipped it last year and now they're back. >> alex, it is a family tradition for the bidens, but this is the first time that joe biden has been on nantucket as commander in chief and we are just seeing those images coming in right now from a visit that the president and first lady had to u.s. coast guard brant station. it's based here on nantucket island just off the coast of massachusetts. and the president had a virtual conversation with members of the military. all six branches. army, navy, air force, marines, space force, as well as the coast guards. he talked to service members
around the world thanking them for their service and as he was leaving, he was asked what he was thankful and he turn to the members of the coast guard and said people like you around the world then ticked through a lot of places he's visited from the south china sea to afghanistan to iraq. so really thanking the troops here, but beyond that, this is largely a holiday for the president and his family. he arrived late tuesday evening. scheduled to leave on sunday. so some down time for the president. really the halftime here of the final month of his first year in office. of course on the heels of the infrastructure bill which has been signed into law, when he gets back to washington next week, the build back better agenda still has so much work to do to corral democrats. so a break on a sunny, beautiful day in nantucket. >> another thing the president has to be thankful for is a clean bill of health. we've learned president biden had a benign, potentially precancerous lesion removed during his colonoscopy this
month. what else do we know? >> we did learn that late last evening in a bit of an unusual thanksgiving eve letter. his physician said there was a precancerous lesion that was removed, routine and regular. similar to one removed in 2008. so he said it's routine surveillance there. the next one coming in seven to ten years, so certainly does not seem to be anything for the president to worry about. but always a bit unusual when the white house releases a statement like this on the eve of a holiday. >> a beautiful place to spend thanksgiving. happy thanksgiving to you, jeff, and the rest of the cnn team up there. >> and to you. a federal crackdown on bad behavior in the skies. attorney general merrick garland issued a memo directing federal prosecutors to prioritize cases involving violence on flights. this move coming amid a sharp increase, a wave, really, of assaults against airline workers. it also comes as the country
goes into this peak holiday travel season which is already setting records. pete is watching all of this live at reagan national airport. pete, in the past few days, we've been talking about lots of big numbers that were being predicted for today, going into the weekend. how's it all playing out? >> well, the big headline here is that things have been relatively smooth given this big onslaught of people coming back to air travel. 2.3 million people screened just yesterday. that is a new record of the pandemic. the highest number we've seen since march of 2020. double what we saw this time last year. 88% of what where he saw back in 2019 before the pandemic, but those numbers really underscore just how important this push by the department of justice really is when it comes to these unruly, ugly, violent pass enges on board planes. the faa cannot press criminal charges against these passengers. it can only bring civil fines. just look at the numbers.
5300 reports of unruly passengers by flight crews to the faa just this year alone. the faa has instituted enforcement action in 266 of those cases and it's referred 37 of those most extreme cases to the department of justice and those passengers are the ones who could face up to 25 years in prison. merrick garland says quote, passengers who assault, intimidate violence do more than harm those employees. they prevent the performance of krit cal duties for safe air travel. one thing we have to be thankful for are the flight attendants who have been on the front lines of this issue and the federal mask mandate. this is not over and we'll see how this pans out as more people come back to air travel. we're only at the start. >> that's how bad it's gotten.
the justice department needs to take action. pete at dca. happy thanksgiving. now to wisconsin where three more children who were injured in that deadly christmas parade incident are out of the hospital. they're going to be with their families for thanksgiving. that's the good news. ten kids are still at children's hospital of wisconsin. the hospital is saying that five are in critical condition. two in fair condition and three in good condition. of course our thoughts are with them and with their families on this holiday. six people were killed and dozens hurt after an suv rammed through a crowded parade on sunday. the driver faces five counts of first degree intentional homicide and more charges are expected. coming up, inflation, high gas prices and sinking poll numbers. president biden is fighting an uphill battle for messaging on the economy and he's likely trying very much to avoid a
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we all have the strength to see what's possible. it's up to us to unlock it. tonal. be your strongest. this week, there's been some good economic news you may not have noticed. weekly jobless claims hit their lowest point in decades. economists say it is proof the economy is rebounding after 20 months of pandemic disruption, but the biden white house is struggling to connect that story to what you pay for gas and groceries every single day and it's a reason that some like our next guest, are invoking a presidential comparison that democratic presidents look to avoid at all costs. jimmy carter. for some perspective, let's bring in tim neftali. thanks so much for your time and happy thanksgiving. >> happy thanksgiving to you,
alex. should we start with the good or bad news? >> the good news that many might not be aware of then how it plays into that carter comparison. we've got over 5 million jobs since biden took office that were created. the unemployment rate under 5%, but despite that, only 30% of americans think that the economy is doing well according to a new poll. so is biden having a difficult time getting that message out? >> oh, he's having a very difficult time. getting the message out. let's just talk about the differences between now and the carter era. the first big difference is in the carter era following the ford era, we had something called stagflation. we've had both inflation, high inflation, and we had high unemployment. we're not seeing that right now. unemployment is dropping. when carter became president, unemployment was over 6%. now it's just over 4% and it's continuing to drop. that's a big difference.
what people are focusing on, however, is the fact that we have a, more than a 6% inflation rate, which we haven't had since the first years of the reagan administration and that's unbly worrying a lot of people because what we don't know is whether it's going to plateau at 6% and then start to go down as the pandemic ends or we're going to see a return to the very high inflation that prevented carter from being re-elected in 1980. >> when president trump was in office, we got used to his approval rating staying pretty flat at 40 and change, but we have seen some real fluctuation with president biden. we're now over 300 days into his presidency and his rating now is under water. so what do you think it would take for biden to get that back up? >> well, understandably, we americans are in a sour mood. we're really tough on our presidents. and the pandemic is wearing down
a lot of our patience. and so i think it would be very difficult to be president of the united states regardless of which party you were from at this point in time. look. if inflation plateaus at six then starts to come down, if we see the supply chain issues resolved in the early part of 2022, if we find that there is not another variant like you know, like the d variant, and not only do we have more people vaccinated, but we find that infection rates and hospitalization rates are going down, then i think the american people will start to appreciate the president of the united states because when americans feel good about themselves and their future and about their ability to feed their families, they reward presidents. so if those conditions obtain, 2022 should be very good for joe biden. one thing that we faces that
carter didn't is that he's dealing with a pandemic. when you think about carter, carter's challenges were different. the inflation rate was somewhat similar in '77 and early 1978, but everything was different. it's the pandemic that makes joe biden's problems unique. >> is that why you say we're at a fork in the road like in 1979? >> yes. i think we're at a fork in the road. now, if there's a structural reason and by the way, i'm not an economist, but i read them, i understand what they're saying usually. they're debating it. if we're at the point at a take off point as we were in early 1978 and we go from 6% to 14%, then you're going to see our interest rates go up and a recession, but you know what? what happened in 1978? an islamic revolution in iran and we had a second major oil prices. so joe biden is fortunate enough and we are all fortunate enough to avoid some kind of international crisis that shoots
up prices this coming year, we should not see the spike in inflation rates that happen in '79 and doomed the carter presidency. >> all right. well, president biden at a real cross roads here. tim neftali, presidential historian, thank you as so muchd happy thanksgiving. coming up, it's america's second covid thanksgiving. but what a difference a year makes. what you need to know if you're gathering today and the warning signs that we're watching now as cases creep up despite the mass availability of vaccines. that's coming up.
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for the second year in a row, americans are celebrated thanksgiving during a pandemic, but this year, vaccines and treatments are giving families much more comfort to come together. at the same time, there are rising case numbers and ho hospitalizations which are a reminder this virus is still very much with us. joining us now, dr. rheiner, professor of medicine at george washington university. thank you so much for joining us on thanksgiving. >> thanks for having me, alex. >> when you look at thevaccinat rates, almost 60% of americans are vaccinated. it could be much higher given the supply we have, but that's what it is.
covid cases, rates, hospitalizations are rising. are you among those predicting another surge, a coming surge? and what would that look like? >> well, things certainly are so much better this thanksgiving than last. last thanksgiving, zero americans were fully vaccinated. and this thanksgiving, 200 million americans are fully vaccinated so we've given about 400 million shots in this country. an enormous achievement, but you're right. 40% of this country is not fully vaccinated. and even the folks who are fully vaccinated, only 19% are boosted, so for those reasons, there's a lot of opportunity for this virus to infect folks in the next several weeks, so i think we are going to see a fifth surge in this country. what i really want people to understand is that if you are
not vaccinated, you are almost certain to get this virus. so you can choose to get vaccinated or you can roll the dice when you get infected and it's not too late to get vaccinated. >> and not only are the unvaccinated helping this virus to continue spreading and killing people, but it's also affecting others with other diseases and afflictions. hospitals starting to feel the strain yet again. in michigan for example, they are leading the nation in covid hos hospitalizations and they're calling in emergency help. what are you seeing in your hospital and how does it impact hospitals that are trying to deal with other things at the very same time as this pandemic? >> right. so even before the pandemic, hospitals around the united states faced a nursing shortage. and the people that run hospitals are trained nurses and they are irreplaceable. and what's happened during the pandemic through both attrition
because of the terrible workload placed on our nurses and also because of shortages around the country, nurses have left hospitals to go to hot spots where they are being rightfully paid a lot of money to do that. but all over the united states now, there are nursing shortages. emergency departments are full of patients. not because the hospital has no more beds, but because the hospitals don't have enough nurses. and this is happening, this is a crisis all around the country made much worse by this pandemic. and the way to keep people out of the emergency departments and to ease this crunch is to have a vaccinated community where this virus is not surging and we're seeing now in places like michigan and minnesota and illinois and massachusetts, we're seeing these really dramatic surges in case loads, flooding hospitals, and at some point, there are not enough
resources to do the kinds of standard things we need to do every day like replace hips and heart valves electively. >> right. the, as you pointsed out at thi time last year, nobody was vaccinated and now, millions are, thankfully. the virus is still here and when people get together for thanksgiving, they're inside, probably windows are closed because it's cold. there's uncertainty about whether others are vaccinated and people are sensitive about asking. what are you and your friends recommending to others? >> we're joining friends where everyone is vaccinated. everyone person attending is multigenerational household where everyone is vaccinated. right now, it's very, very difficult to invite folks to your home who are not vaccinated. and i think what we haven't
spoken enough about is using these rapid antigen tests that you can pick up in a drugstore, trust but verify. make sure everyone is vaccinated and have people test. have them test before they come over. you have a whole group of vaccinated people who have all tested negative, you know, the morning of your event, you have a safe event. i've been to two weddings in the last month. two sets of large events where that's exactly what people did. everyone was vaccinated. everyone was tested. there was no transmission of virus in those events. but when you see people get together and you have vulnerable people and uncertain vaccinate status, it's an opportunity for a superspreader event. >> right. well, doctor, i hope you enjoy that multigenerational dinner later today. wishing you and your family a very happy thanksgiving. thank you. >> thanks so much, alex. same to you. coming up, more than two
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nic robertson is there in dover, england. what are people doing to try to stop people from doing this dangerous journey? >> well, the french have hundreds of border personnel patrolling the beaches of france, but it's hundreds f miles at stake here. the migrants can hide out in the dunes. the smugglers helping give them the locations of these flimsy dingers to find in the dunes and put them together at night and take off in the morning. there's been acrimony between britain and france, said the british aren't doing enough to help the french. the british prime minister said there's an offer to send their own people to france to help patrol the beaches. we heard from president macron today of france saying this is a problem that goes beyond britain and france. that it involves germany, where some of these small, flimsy boats are purchased. that the migrants are also being held by the smugglers in the
netherlands and belgium as well and brought into france at the last minute. the french prime minister has called a summit of those five nations in france over the weekend to try and sort this out. a terrible tragedy. maybe something positive will grow out of it. alex. >> such desperation. thanks very much. now to ethiopia, which has the second biggest population in all of africa and where according to state affiliated media, the prime minister himself is heading to the front lines of the country's year long civil war. >> ethiopian state tv drumming up support for the prime minister's move to the battle front. a nobel peace prize winner now leading the war against the rebel coalition that wants him out of office. the tplf claims to have cut two tons as they advance towards the capitol one year after the
conflict erupted in the north of the country. the prime minister asking ooet y o them to join him at the war front. >> everyone should join the fight. >> he called his decision to go to the battle front as the final fight to save ethiopia from internal and external enemies. he has asked citizens to take up arms and used inflammatory language when rallying supporters to fight. this 55-year-old patrols and is among thousands who have joined defense groups to protect the capital from the tplf. a construction worker by day and a vigilante by night. >> i am now safeguarding my city with a stick, but if it is required they give me a weapon, i'll do the same. there is no way na the tplf will be able to rule ethiopia again.
>> even a legend appear on state media supporting his call to arms. >> this is what's expected of a real leader and when he leads, we need to follow to the front and work from behind, preparing everything it requires. >> as the prospect of a military escalation hangs over ethiopia, germany, uk, france and the u.s. have all asked the citizens to lead the country. a leader who came to power under a term that means coming together, now overseeing a country at risk of falling apart. >> the world knows that ethiopia is a country of great heroes that have shattered their bones, spilled their blood and paid with their lives to establish, keep, and pass over independence. the top u.s. enjoy to the region said both sides feel their on the verge of victory. complicating diplomatic efforts and a negotiated cease fire.
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rising inflation and supply challenges are having an impact on just about everything this holiday season and that includes american farmers, who say they're not benefitting from the most expensive thanksgiving in history. in fact, profits are down and a growing number of farmers are concerned about what's next. cnn's gabe cohn had the story. >> as jim jones finishes the sweet potato harvest on his north carolina farm, skyrocketing costs are slicing through his profits. are you seeing any more money from this inflation? >> no, no, we're actually paying for it. >> the price of fertilizer, fuel, and labor are way up with no ceiling in sight. how did your profit change this year? >> i would say maybe 10, 15%. >> what about looking ahead to next year? >> add that much more to it again. >> inflation may be cooking up the most expensive thanksgiving in history for families. the usda says the average dinner cost is up 5%.
the american farm bureau says it may be as much as 14%. their survey shows price hikes on most products from potatoes to cranberries to turkeys, which are nearing a record high. despite those mark ups at the market, many farmers say the price they receive for their crop isn't going up. so your price is staying the same. >> my price stays the same or a little lower. >> why don't farmers just raise the price of their crops? >> farmers are price takers, not price makers. >> patty is vice president of the national farmer's union. who's making the money from that inflation? >> much more the middleman. >> the usda confirms that in many cases, processors and distributors are the ones passing along their surging costs with materials and ingredients still stuck on cargo ships and a shortage of truckers driving up wages and costs. >> to some extent, we're trying to pay for the uncertainty in the market. >> trey is a michigan economist.
>> we're in the middle of a perfect storm of unique events in agricultural production. i would say buckle up for a while longer of these higher input costs. >> some farms are stocking up on materials in case suppliers run out. others are waiting, hoping prices will drop, all these costs especially labor, are threatening matt's california sweet potato farm. >> we were making, you know, 100 to $150,000 a year in profit. this year, we're probably going to lose 80 to $120,000. we could potentially lose a quarter of a million dollars next year. we would not have enough cash to take into the following year in order to operate for the following year. >> farmers are use to volatility and they're looking for ways to adapt like downsizing or shifting to other crops. >> i ain't going to let it get me down. we survive somehow.
>> as long as these money problems stop piling up. >> we just need to get a fair price for what we're growing. >> gabe cohn, cnn, washington. >> thanks for that report. china is threatening to hit back after the u.s. put a dozen chinese companies on it trade blacklist. the commerce department says those entities weren't acting in the best national security or foreign policy interests of the united states. the chinese for their part say that the decision was arbitrary and unsubstantiated. st steven zhang has more. >> just a little over a week after the summit between president biden and president xi, the two governments seem to be at it again when it comes to their trade disputes. the chinese commerce said on thursday its largely strong protest with the u.s. government over its decision to blacklist chinese companies, calling the
decision unsubstantiated and arbitrary. the foreign ministry saying the u.s. government is again abusing its power and the concept of national security, warning of unspecified countermeasures to quote, unquote, safeguard the rights and interests of chinese companies. this language, almost deja vu of what we used to hear in the height of u.s. china trade war during the trump presidency. what's at issue here is again, the u.s. government accusing chinese companies of using emerging u.s. technologies to help the chinese military in the field of quantum computing, especially when it comes to submarine applications. those capabilities are important and sensitive as tensions remain high and growing especially regarding taiwan. but in the eyes of the beijing leadership here, these later u.s. sanctions again reenforcing this notion of the importance
and urgency of achieving so-called self-reliance when it comes to key technologies as president xi himself had repeatedly said in speeches and meetings during recent months. cnn, beijing. >> thanks for that. during the 1920s, the osage people of oklahoma were some of the richest in the world, but as lisa ling uncovers, that wealth made them a target. discover the horrific plot to steal osage money. watch this is life at sunday here on cnn. thank you very much for joining us today and wishing you all a very happy thanksgiving. jessica dean picks up our coverage right after a quick break. do was made possible by what you don't see. cause when you're not looking, i go to work. ♪ strength isn't a given. it's grown.
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♪ did it work? only pay for what you need ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ spider-man no way home in theaters december 17th hello, and happy thanksgiving. welcome to a special holiday edition of newsroom. this thanksgiving, an answered prayer in one mother's long, painful fight for justice. >> i was overwhelmed with joy because we finally got justice for ahmaud. the word, guilty, was the word i wanted to hear 18 months ago and we finally got that word o