tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN November 21, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
> happening now, breaking news. hale to the chief. in a rare statement, the chief justice rebukes the president after the president insulted judges on the ninth circuit court of appeals. tonight the president is firing back. why did the chief justice feel the need to speak out now. expecting more questions. rudy giuliani tells cnn the president's legal team believes it could get more questions from special counsel robert mueller and they might fight answering them. why did rudy giuliani say mueller's questions were like a law school exam while the president said they were easy? george of the jail. after pleading guilty to lying to special counsel, former trump foreign policy george papadopolous says he wants to delay going to jail, claiming he was framed by the mueller team. tonight mueller is weighing in. and snow, rain and automobiles. bad weather could create travel nightmares this thanksgiving with snow, ice and the coldest air of the season potentially snarling traffic and delaying flights. we will have the latest on what is forecast to be the coldest
thanksgiving in more than a century for millions. we want to welcome our viewers here in the united states and around the world. wolf blitzer is off today. i'm jim acosta and you're in "the situation room". ♪ this is cnn breaking news. >> and breaking news tonight. an extraordinary public feud between president trump and the chief justice of the united states. the president is chiding john roberts and urging him to, quote, study after roberts rebuked the president's sharp criticism of the ninth circuit court of appeals. the president slammed the court after a judge temporarily blocked the administration's new policy on migrants seeking asylum. i will talk about that and more with senator hrono and our correspondents, analysts and specialists are standing by. let's go to our cnn senior white house correspondent jeff zeleny. he is in south florida where the president is spending thanksgiving holiday at mar-a-lago resort. jeff, it is a remarkable exchange between the president and the chief justice.
>> reporter: jim, it certainly was. good evening. president trump spent about six hours or so today at the trump international golf course here in west palm beach, but once he got back to mar-a-lago it was clear he was in a fighting mood, going after the supreme court justice who is trying to defend the judiciary. the president said he didn't buy it. he said he believed there are obama judges. president trump in an extraordinary public feud tonight with chief justice john roberts. on the eve of thanksgiving, an an precedented and up seemly exchange that started earlier in the day when the chief justice issued a rare rebuke of the president for criticizing a member of the federal appeals court as an obama judge. we do not have obama judges, trump judges, bush judges or clinton judges, roberts said. he said, what we have is an extraordinary group of judges. that independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for. the president firing back on twitter. sorry, chief justice, but you do
indeed have obama judges and they have a different point of view than the people charged with the safety of our country. it would be great if tninth circuit was, indeed, an independent judiciary. the president went on to ask whether there are opposing views on border and safety advised there and why so many cases are overturned. he added, they are shocking and making our country unsafe. it started as the president left the white house yesterday, blasting the judge's decision for blocking a change in the immigration policy. >> you go to the ninth circuit and it is a disgrace. it was an obama judge. i tell you what, it is not going to happen like this anymore. >> reporter: the supreme court chief justice, appointed by president george w. bush, has been striving to bring civility to the bench. >> we speak for the constitution. that job obviously requires independence from the political branches. >> reporter: it was his statement defending the
judiciary that provoked the response from trump. all of this tonight as the president finally submitted his written questions in the russia investigation. rudy giuliani telling cnn special counsel robert mueller may be far from finished with the president. guilliani, one of the president's lawyers, is bracing for new questions from mueller about potential obstruction of justice, a move he said the trump team would fight. we'll consider them and answer them if necessary, relevant and legal, guilliani telling cnn. if it was something that would be helpful, relevant, not a law school exam. as trump opens his six-day holiday visit to his florida resort, guilliani's comments tonight signal the russia probe and the president's role in it is very much alive, despite repeated attempts to diminish it like yesterday while leaving the white house. >> the written answers to the witch hunt that's been going on forever -- no collusion, no nothing -- they've been finished. >> reporter: guilliani said any questions about trump's transition and actions during his time in office, including whether he obstructed justice
firing fbi director james comey, would violate the president's executive privilege. cnn did learn that the president answered questions about the russian collusion, including what he knew about his son's meeting at trump tower and whether he knew anything about russian hacks when saying this about hillary clinton's e-mails on july 27, 2016. >> russia, if you are listening, i hope you are able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. >> reporter: so even as that russia investigation is still hanging over the president's head here with potential new questions to come from the special counsel's office, the president seems focused on the border again. look at this tweet he sent out shortly after he engaged in that back-and-forth with the chief justice. he says this.
he said, there are a lot of criminals in the caravan. we will stop them, catch and detain. judicial activism, the president says, by people who know nothing about security and safety of our citizens is putting our country
in great danger. not good. so the president clearly escalating this, trying to bring the judiciary into his ongoing political fight about the border. but, jim, the curious point of this is this. the president has never blasted the supreme court like this. he's always revered the supreme court and, of course, pointed to his two appointments on that court. he just couldn't potentially use that supreme court, need that supreme court with all of these court decisions going against him. that's what made this fight so interesting. never mind, jim, it is on the eve of thanksgiving. >> absolutely. >> of. >> reporter: jim. >> cnn's jeff zeleny. thank you very much. let's bring in laura jarrett, cnn's justice reporter. laura, take us through this spat. as jeff was saying, it is unprecedented and unseemly. why is there happening? >> this never happens. you never see justice roberts speak out like this, and it makes you wonder why now. this is not the first day we have seen trump attack judges, much less the ninth circuit. we all remember his attack on
the so-called judge he had for the judge out in seattle during the travel ban and, of course, who can forget during the campaign trail when he viciously attacked the judge for his mexican heritage when he was over seeing the trump universities. the attack on judges aren't new. the fact that roberts hit back is the part that's fascinating and you wonder why now, but this is a losing battle i think for the president. justice roberts is considered the cream of the crop in the washington judicial circles. yes, conservatives are mad at him. they still talk about what he did on the affordable care act, but members of congress aren't going to like this. >> and the president would like to change the court. he wants to change these courts with judges that he likes, but, you know, he can't -- he can't change the contours greatly of what we're seeing right now. so all he is really left with, i suppose, is lashing out in the way that he's doing. >> right. and he keeps talking. he has talked at length about breaking up the ninth circuit. he can't break up the ninth circuit on his own. you need legislation for that.
he has been talking about that for over a year. we're never going to see anything like that. what he can do, and which he has been extremely effective at, especially with his former white house counsel don mcgahn at the helm, is putting in a number of very conservative, very young circuit court judges, and that obviously will make a huge impact for generations to come, way beyond his presidency. >> is there a risk for the president in picking this fight with the chief justice? you know, i suppose the chief justice, the other justices on the supreme court will put all of this aside when weighing cases that matter to the president. >> perhaps. but you have seen him go after justice ginsburg. i don't know, what has been the fall-out from that, the repercussions? the attacks, i think, again, by monday we may not necessarily be talking about, but in the moment it is extraordinary just to see this kind of war of words, when roberts really never does this and the way he went about defending his fellow judges. he didn't mention trump by name but he didn't have to because everyone knew exactly who he was
talking about. no one talks about obama judges and clinton judges and bush judges except for president trump, at least not out loud. >> it is amazing to see, typically you will see a supreme court justice and his opinion about a president or a president's policy in a supreme court decision, not in a statement coming from a chief justice from the supreme court issued in the way it was today. just an cheered development. laura jarrett, thank you very much. we appreciate it. president's lawyer, rudy giuliani, tells cnn special counsel robert mueller may have more questions for the president, but he says the trump team will fight any questions they think violate executive privilege. cnn national correspondent alex cord is working that story for us. what now, alex? will mueller read trump's answers and that will be the end of it? >> reporter: he reads those answers and we understand from rudy giuliani, who is on president trump's legal team, that the mueller team will respond in about a week to ten days. remember, jim, those questions, this first round of questions are really focused on two
issues. the first was don jr.'s meeting in trump tower with the russian lawyer to try to dig up dirt on hillary clinton. the second was president trump himself calling on the russians to dig up hillary clinton's 30,000 e-mails. so rudy giuliani has said that there could be more questions coming. the big question really, jim, is whether this will -- another round of questions would focus on obstruction of justice, because that would pertain to the period of time since president trump became president, which rudy giuliani and his legal team argue is protected by executive privilege. what happens then, robert mueller could try to subpoena the president for a sit-down in-person interview, which the president for a long time said he would be willing to do. now he and his legal team say that they don't want to do. remember, robert mueller is not working independently. he falls under the attorney general's office under the department of justice. even if he were to subpoena the president, that would then need to be approved by deputy attorney general rod rosenstein and the now acting-attorney
general matt whitaker who has shown in the past his disapproval of the mueller probe. jim. >> also today, alex, a fascinating development, mule per's team asked a judge not to delay george papadopolous's jail time scheduled to start monday. where does it stand? >> remember, papadopolous was sentenced to 14 days in jail as part of a plea deal. he could have gotten up to 16 months. at the time of his sentencing he was contrite and sorry. he is now fighting back. he is due to turn himself in on monday to a federal correctional facility in wisconsin, and the basis of his argument is that there is a challenge in a different -- in a separate court to the actual legitimacy of the mueller probe overall. now, the mueller team has responded, saying there shouldn't be any sort of delay. the quote from his office was the defendant received what he bargained for in that plea deal. as i mentioned, when he was sentenced papadopolous was contrite and sorry.
very publicly his tune has changed and he has lashed out. he called this the biggest case of entrapment. he said that he was framed, that there was government misconduct and that he now wants to renegative to-renegative on the plea deal. jim. >> let's get more on all of this from democratic senator mazy hrono. happy thanksgiving. >> thank you, jim. >> let's begin with this remarkable statement. i'm sure it jumped out to you all the way in honolulu to see the chief justice, john roberts, rebuke the president of the united states. what did you make of that today? >> i was very delighted he finally took a position in defense of the independence of the courts, which, by the way, the president has no interest in an independent court. he wants a republican court and he has been working very hard to place all of his
ideologically-motivated republicans that are by the federalist society and the heritage foundation on the courts. >> and this isn't -- >> so i'm really glad that the chief justice came out and finally said, wait a minute, the courts are an independent branch of government, we have checks and balances. >> and this isn't the first time the president has attacked the federal court system. why do you think the chief justice chose to speak out now and what about the sense that, well, you know, yes, the president can make political comments all the time but that -- that the supreme court doesn't always put out statements like this? it is unusual to see a chief justice respond in this way. >> well, these are not normal times and we don't have a president who acts normally, so i don't think we can expect the judiciary and chief justice to also act normally. i'm very glad he came out to remind everybody that the judiciary is an independent branch of government. in fact, they are pretty much the last resort for people with
complaints and cases that they would like to have treated fairly. >> but let me ask you this because you were there as brett kavanaugh, now the newest supreme court justice, tangled with democrats on the judiciary committee during his confirmation hearing this year. >> yes. >> we all remember that explosive hearing, and there were so many explosive exchanges, when now justice cou kavanaugh aired hess personality feelings and they smacked a lot of people as being very partisan. do you worry the judicial branch is becoming overly politicized? is in a concern there? >> clearly i have a concern about the court packing that is going on, and judge kavanaugh in his hearings made it very plain he is a political operative. he also had said that -- that the sitting president should be immune from either criminal or civil proceedings, and that's music to trump's ears. he just cares about his own protection. so i'm very concerned about the court packing that's going on.
i'm very concerned that with both justices gorsuch and kavanaugh, particularly kavanaugh who is a political operative on the court, i worry about the independent of the court. i'm glad that chief justice roberts has come out to say and to remind everybody how the court is supposed to operate. >> let's turn to the russia investigation. president trump has turned over written responses to special counsel robert mueller. do you think these written answers are useful without the opportunity to follow up? are you disappointed that they are now just dealing with written responses? >> of course i am. when i was practicing law you also want to actually question the witness, but it is what it is and it just raises further concerns for me about any efforts on acting aga whitaker to stymie the mueller investigation. so it points out several things. first, as you know, i am party
to a lawsuit to have the courts make a clear determination that officers such as an attorney general acting or otherwise needs to be confirmed by the senate. that is very clear. the second thing is that the mueller investigation needs to continue and, therefore, mitch o'connell should bring the bipartisan bill that was passed out of the judiciary committee on the floor of the senate so that special counsel, which includes mueller, can be protected from political firings, et cetera. >> let me ask you this because the president's personal attorney, rudy giuliani, you probably saw this, suggested president trump himself would decide whether or not to answer these additional questions that are expected to come from the special counsel's office. if the president refuses, what happens then? >> i think that it raises a constitutional question as to whether or not the president can refuse. claiming what? executive privilege?
i don't know because i -- the calling the president -- the executive privilege is one that probably the courts need to clarify. so everything that this president does is motivated by a concern to protect himself, and i think that we are heading toward a constitutional crisis on any number of levels including, of course, his appointment of whitaker as acting attorney general. >> and, of course, if it heads to a constitutional crisis he may need to rely on some of the justices on the supreme court. senator hrono, thank you for coming on. wishing those in hawaii a happy thanksgiving. >> happy thanksgiving thanksgiving. aloha. . we will get more on the stunning feud between president trump and chief justice john roberts. plus, the president hoping to weaponize the justice department and use it against james comey and hillary clinton. we will talk about that with former u.s. attorney and cnn senior legal analyst fareed
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liberty mutual insurance. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ we are following breaking news. president trump in a shooking wore of words with chief justice john roberts after roberts defended the ninth circuit court of appeals which the president sharply criticized. tonight the president tweeted at roberts and said he needed to, quote, study the numbers and he insisted judges are biassed depending on which judge appointed them. let's talk about that with cnn legal analyst preet bharara. let me read you, first of all, what chief justice roberts
wrote. let's show you the statement. we do not have obama judges or trump judges, bush judges or clinton judges. what we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them. that independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for. how did this grab you when you saw a statement came from the chief justice of the supreme court rebuking the president on this? >> so it is pretty stunning. i don't use the word stunning a lot on cnn or elsewhere. you know, judges don't really speak outside the courtroom. they're not supposed to and they get in trouble for doing so, and it also, i think, undermines, you know, the weightiness of their position, and the supreme court especially so. then even on the supreme court, justice roberts is one of the less outspoken people. generally speaking, the court speaks through its opinions and justice roberts because he's the chief also issues something of an annual report every year. he will usually talk about some issue related to the workload of judges around the country or the
pay scale of judges around the country. i'm curious to see what he writes about this january 1st, and maybe it will be about this issue. justice roberts, pretty extraordinary because, a, he is a fairly, if i can use the colloquial term, a mellow guy. he believes in institutions, but he also had an opportunity to know he had an opportunity to issue the statement, knowing that this president when pushed or rebuked or criticized from any source, no matter how hal lowed whether it is the pope or the supreme court justice of the united states, he is going to comment back and he did on twitter. now i think you will see justice roberts sort of be silent, having made his point and defending his brother and a sister judges around the country, which i think was a powerful message to them as well. >> giving the mellowness of the chief justice that you mentioned and the fact they don't do this often from the high court, your sense is that chief justice roberts must have felt it was so critical he had to speak out? >> i think so.
probably what is also true is it has been building for a while. in the opening segment on the program at the top of the hour, there was a correspondent who listed various other instances where the president attacked judges by name. i'm personally friends with a lot of judges. there are currently people who are judges who used to work with me and they will tell you it is not a pleasant thing when you do the job and follow the law -- these are republican appointed and democratic appointed, to have to worry that the president is going to tweet at you, that your family and children will be attacked and ridiculed and mocked and assaulted in words at least because the president of the united states has a different megaphone from everyone else in the country. yeah, of course, from time to time people criticize the judgments courts made. i have done it. i was a united states attorney for seven-and-a-half years and we didn't like what a court did. but there's a difference between
respectful disagreement that you deal with in a sponsor an appeal versus on twitter trying to school someone with language that doesn't have the kind of decorum that kellyanne conway and other people say should be deserved in the white house. you know something about that from, you know, the recent tussle. >> i do. but let me ask you this. we saw a very partisan display from the newest supreme court justice brett kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings last month. it seems that the president is trying to inject his pro-wrestling style that he brings to the congress and all of these different venues, that he is injecting it now into the judicial system. is it true that judges are not always impartial? is the president putting his finger on something of a point here? >> look, judges are people. they don't get placed on a pedestal. i don't think they should. but generally speaking, the judges, in particular the ones on the federal bench and even the subset of judges on the
federal bench on the supreme court, generally speaking are very highly regarded, are very professional. i know that the hearing you talked about, but generally speaking those judges are held in very high regard. is it possible from time to time judges, like other people, like prosecutors, like journalists, like police officers, like defense lawyers, sometimes have a bias that they should deal with and try to suppress? i'm sure that happens from time to time. the problem though is i think in this case you have a president of the united states, as i said, has an outsized megaphone and is trying to denigrate any and every institution or representative from every and any institution who dares to criticize him, or dares to uphold and stand up for its institutional power. he doesn't believe in checks and balances. he has been attacking the fourth estate, which you are a part of. he has been attacking members of congress by name. he has been attacking judiciary also and members of his law enforcement team, whether it was the fbi director before, the fbi
director now, the attorney general then, and we'll see what happens to his relationship with the current attorney general. but the problem with the president overstating the amount of politicization there is on the court undermines everyone's belief and faith in the judicial process. >> preet bharara, i hope it is no too cold there in new york for you to enjoy thanksgiving. >> not yet. just ahead, will the put answer more questions? his lawyer says maybe not. we will get the latest forecast. (vo) this is not a video game. this is not a screensaver. this is the destruction of a cancer cell by the body's own immune system, thanks to medicine that didn't exist until now. and today can save your life.
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m ♪ breaking news tonight. president trump firing back at chief justice john roberts after roberts took the rare step of rebuking the president for criticizing the ninth circuit court of appeals. let's get more with our correspondents, analysts, experts. laura coates, let me play some of the sound from the president that started all of this -- he has criticized the ninth circuit before but he did it again yesterday. here is what he said. >> they file it in what is called the ninth circuit. this was an obama judge. i will tell you what, it is not going to happen like this anymore. everybody that wants to sue the united states, they file their case -- in almost, they file their case in the ninth circuit and it means an automatic loss no matter what you do, no matter how good your case is, and the ninth circuit is really something we have to take a look at because it -- because it is
not fair. >> and then the chief justice today with just this amazing response. you just never see this from a chief justice. we do not have obama judges, bush judges or trump judges or clinton judges. we have judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them. that independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for. i don't think i have heard a chief justice rebuking someone this way. there's the impression that the president of the united states seems to have that it is not three coequal branchs of government, it is a constantly david and goliath game. chief justice reminded him that they're both goe lliath. the ninth circuit has been criticized for being too large or it is too liberal.
think about this. the statement from roberts made is different from what society sotomayor said. we are objective people here. the president doesn't address that. he addresses this instance for some reason and has to say the president is disillusioned to think the supreme court or any other judge is supposed to do what he would like. they have to do what is right by law. >> jackie, do you think it is a good idea for the chief justice to allow the president to pull him into the wrestling ring here? that's what he is doing here. >> he is trying. i don't think -- i can't remember seeing roberts in a tweet with the president. >> right, but i feel like he felt like he needed -- this is a president who has defied norms, who is pushing the limits and trying to push limits in the judiciary. look how he views the justice department and how he's trying to intervene there.
justice roberts i don't think is going to, you know, issue statements about this, i think he's probably going to go back in his robe and his chamber and continue with his job. >> the president does have something of a point, does he not, in that most people recognize there are liberal and conservative justices. i mean on a sort of basic level, kindergarten level, he does have a point here, does he not? >> i'm sorry we are out of kindergarten -- we are at a kindergarten level with the president of the united states. yes, he has a point based on which way judges have traditionally leaned, whether they're on the supreme court or before they got there. i want to make a distifrpgs here. this is not just about bucking a norm. this is not just about the president speaking out against a supreme court decision. i was at the white house in -- i believe it was 2010 when president obama came under a lot of criticism for criticizing a supreme court decision. that's not what the president did here. the president made it about
politics and party. he sewed divisions and undermined the credibility of the supreme court, our independent judiciary. that used to be what vladimir putin did. president trump is doing that today. he is not just breaking norms but undermining our nation security. >> john, what do you think? >> the message from john roberts is exactly right. he should be standing up for the independent judiciary against in attempt by the president as he does with any institution he thinks can threaten to delegitimize it. on the other hand, it is reasonable to look at john roberts record and see whether he is a credible messenger. he has engineered decisions, all of the justices voting against big issues like the shelby county decision, which is probably the reason we are engaged in the year's long fight of obstruction of the ballot
box, was his hollowing out the voting rights act, which was a decision president obama criticized. he is right to be doing it, questioning the president, but his own record kind of, you know, to your point, kind of does suggest he has been voting -- and i wonder if this may be counter productive for the president because by forcing roberts to more explicitly defend the independence of the judiciary, will that make him more reluctant in the future on big issues to have them decided by this 5-4 party line vote? i really wonder if this attack from the president could be counter productive in the way it influences the chief justices decisions going forward. >> on that point, i agree with ron, particularly on picking a timing. why would justice roberts weigh in now. there's been multiple attacks by the administration while he's been president of the united states against members of the ninth circuit, against others, even before he was a candidate and his own university was being sued. why now?
the time and difference is we've had the confirmation hearings and we've had our most very recent, turbulent one, where people are looking at this and saying, is this opportunity by the president of the united states going to shift the pendulum irrevocably and irretrievably towards the conservative and solidify this court. i wonder if the chief justice honors the integrity of the court to say i'm not going to lay lou tribalism to coming side a black robe, and this is his first opportunity to say, excuse me, i want to make sure everyone knows the it not a conservative or liberal leaning court, it is a court. >> he hasn't ruled that way so far though. >> this just came in a few moments ago. the publisher of "the washington post", fred ryan, weighing in on the president's comments yesterday about jamal khashoggi, the journalist who was killed. the cia says by his own government. this is a pretty extraordinary statement made by the publisher
of "the washington post". it says here, a clear and dangerous message has been sent to tyrants around the world. flash enough money in front of the president of the united states and you can literally get away with murder. when officials here in washington abandon the principles that the people elected them to uphold, it is our duty to call attention to it. yes, tough things are said and written about the president. that is scathing. >> it is scathing but well-deserved. on the first point, president trump wears his heart on his sleeve for this presidency, foreign intelligence agencies had to work hard how to manipulate the president. at this point it is clear, you throw money at the president, pump some oil, flatter him and you're on his good side and he will defend you despite anything you have done. what he is pointing out is that the president's statement yesterday was supposedly about putting america first puts america last because it is -- keep in mind, vladimir putin, russia is the third largest producer of oil. it licenses other murderers to
keep murdering because there's no repercussions for doing so. that doesn't make me as an american citizen feel safer. it makes me feel more insecure. >> jackie, it makes governments wonder if they can push the envelope around the world. >> it gives them carte blanche to lie to the president's face. let's not forget vladimir putin, kim jong-un and now mbs have all said, you know, they didn't do whatever the intelligence agencies said they absolutely did and the president has taken the despots' word over the intelligence agencies. yes, it opens the door. we have also heard him say things that are pure sawed ee pop grand au, we've heard him say north korean propaganda and russian propaganda. he's using their words and he's more than happy to. >> go ahead, john. >> like so many things with the president, it comes back quickly to congress. you know, with the latest count that's going on right now, it looks like democrats are going to win 40 seats in the house with 4% unemployment. the principle reason for that
was many voters felt that the congress was too deferential to trump, was not checking or restraining him in any way. this will be a test on the front because you had the letter from corker and menendez to the white house requiring him to specifically respond to the crown prince's culpability. you have opportunities for the congress to weigh in with hearings, to investigate what happened or even to threaten the arms sale. as often, when trump breaks a window the republican congress's response was to sweep up the glass. will that continue to be the case after this election? >> thank you, everybody. the congress is supposed to put a check on the president, but it is the president who has to be the leader of the free world. in a case like this he is telling governments all over the world they can kill journalists. thanks very much. just ahead, millions of americans are facing what could be the coldest thanksgiving in a century. we have a had new information cast coming up in a few moments.
♪ breaking news. a new forecast for what could be the coldest thanksgiving in over a century in parts of the u.s.. cnn meteorologist jennifer gray has the latest for us. jennifer, it looks frigid out there across a big chunk of the country. >> yes, it will be incredibly cold tomorrow morning. in fact, we could break more than 20 record lows for tomorrow morning. so it is going to be a cold one. morning windchills, when you factor in the wind, it is not only going to be cold but windy.
new york city will feel like 7 degrees tomorrow morning. boston will feel like 2 degrees below zero. friday, boston will feel like zero in the morning. syracuse will feel like 7 below. philadelphia will feel like the teens, so, yes, very, very frigid air is going to work its way into the northeast. that's going to last until at least saturday, so a very cold macy's thanksgiving day parade. actual temperatures will be in the teens and 20s, but when you factor in the wind it will feel like 5 degrees when the parade gets going. feeling like 6 by 10:30. we should be at 52 this time of year. high temperature on friday, 26 degrees. we finally start to warm up by the end of the weekend, getting closer to normal, but it is going to be just a frigid, frigid morning for all of the northeast. jim. >> don't like to hear that, but we will have to take it. jennifer gray, thank you very
much. we appreciate it. with the cold weather threatening to snarl holiday travel, we have to check in with our cnn aviation correspondent. she is at reagan international airport outside washington. renee, any big problems now? it seems the cold is not having a big effect at the airport from what we are >> reporter: jim, if you're driving or flying, you're going to see that the roads are packed, as well as many airports because they are expecting record number of travelers. on the roads, we're talking about more than 48 million people, and flying, more than 30 million people, so we are expecting to break records here. i want to go live to our flight tracker. this is from flight aware. this just shows you how many aircraft are flying over the united states at this hour, so you can see there is a heavy amount of traffic. we know that the faa actually worked with the military to clear military air space to make room for all these additional flights.
again, airlines increasing the number of flights, also using larger airplanes to accommodate the large number of travelers. today, we know that this was a high traffic day at many airports across the country, although people were able to get through the checkpoints rather quickly, still volume very high, but the big day we're going to be watching is on sunday. that is what airlines are preparing for now, now that we've pretty much gotten through the day-to-day. su sunday will be the high traffic day and we'll be waiting to see if everything runs smoothly. >> hope some of those folks out there are heading somewhere warm. cnn's renee marsh, thank you very much. up next, a potential challenger to nancy pelosi for house speaker bows out. what role did a controversial letter play in that decision? in. oh really? thank you clients? well jd power did just rank them highest in investor satisfaction with full service brokerage firms...again. and online equity trades are only $4.95... i mean you can't have low cost
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tonight an ohio congresswoman who was considering a challenge to nancy pelosi's bid to be house speaker is taking herself out of the running. her decision comes amid questions about a letter she wrote praising a former judge who now is a suspect in the killing of his ex-wife. brian todd looked into this bizarre case. >> reporter: it is a bizarre case indeed, jim. this congresswoman, marcia fudge, denies that her withdrawal from consideration for house speaker is in any way connected with the former judge's case, but there are serious questions being raised tonight because of that letter she wrote supporting the judge
after he had been involved in a horrific domestic abuse case with his wife. witnesses say the sheer brutality of the attack was jarring. lance mason, a county judge near cleveland, ohio, arrested for beating his wife four years ago. according to court records, mason struck frazier repeatedly in the head, broke a bone near her eye, bit her in the face, and slammed her head on the dashboard of the car they were in. that was in august of 2014. mason pleaded guilty to domestic violence and served less than a year in prison. tonight, fraser is dead, stabbed to death in the driveway of an ohio home on saturday and mason has been arrested in connection with the killing, though he has yet to be charged with her death. >> i need the police immediately. my brother is attacking his ex-wife. >> reporter: among the evidence, this 911 call, a woman who says she is mason's sister tells the dispatcher mason admitted to the crime. >> he stabbed her and he said
she's dead. >> reporter: frazier's murder in ohio might never have garnered any attention in washington, d.c., but tonight, there's a twist in the case involving ohio congresswoman marcia fudge whose name was being floated as a possible challenger to nancy pelosi for speaker of the house. >> it has been heartwarming and humbling to know how many people think that i should do this. >> reporter: so, what does a prominent congresswoman have to do with a man who may soon be charged with murdering his ex-wife? it turns out they've known each other a long time, and in 2015, after the incident where mason smashed his wife's face into the dashboard of their car, fudge wrote this letter of support of his early release. in the letter to the county prosecutor, fudge wrote she'd known mason for more than 20 years, saying the 2014 assault was, quote, totally contrary to everything i know about him and that he had assured me that something like this will never happen again. lance mason, she wrote, is a
good man who made a very bad mistake. >> it's very naive to suggest that what you see a person in public doing is going to reflect necessarily what's happening in the past, and secondly, it was one year after this event. you can never know the level of viciousness would suggest that it was something that she should be exceedingly wary of. >> reporter: late thursday, fudge withdrew her candidacy to be speaker, saying pelosi is addressing concerns fudge had about voting integrity and diversity. pelosi also agreed to give her the chairmanship of a subcommittee dealing with the issue. fudge's office tells cnn her decision to withdraw from the speakership race, quote, was not based on the tragic death of aisha fraser, but those who cover fudge are skeptical. >> no sooner did she get out there than these series of damning headlines came out there and that's not great. it's not great for her candidacy or her political fortune. so sure, they can say what they say, but we can treat it with a grain of salt.
>> reporter: tonight, fudge says her heart breaks for frazier, while back in ohio, her family is grieving the loss of the mother of two and her ex-husband remains in custody, held without bond. we asked congresswoman fudge for an on-camera interview. her office said she was not available. we pressed the congresswoman and her aides on whether the congresswoman actually regrets writing that 2015 letter in support of that former judge mason after the domestic violence incident. they did not answer that question, but the congresswoman did issue a statement saying that the person who committed those crimes is not the lance mason that she is familiar with, but they were horrific crimes and she condemns them. >> and brian, you're learning more about this alleged 2014 incident. what can you tell us? >> reporter: that's right, jim. according to court documents, the former judge basically beat his wife very severely in front of their two young daughters who were sitting in the car. there are horrific details of this case, all of which the congresswoman likely knew about
because she wrote that letter in support of him almost a year after this incident took place, so a lot of this was documented. >> all right, awful, awful story. cnn's brian todd, thank you very much. i'm jim acosta. to all our viewers out there, a very happy thanksgiving. "erin burnett outfront" starts right now "outfront" next, president trump versus the chief justice of the supreme court, justice john roberts rebuking the president for criticizing a judge who ruled against him. tonight, the president, of course, upping the ante. plus trump's lawyer says bob mueller may be coming back with more questions from trump. how worried should the president be? he just submitted his answers yesterday. and trump bowing to the a saudis, thanking them for lower oil prices. wow. the facts don't add up here. has the crown prince completely played the president? let's go "outfront." good evening, i'm erin burnett. "outfront" tonight, president trump attacking the chief ju