tv CNN Newsroom With Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto CNN November 24, 2021 7:00am-8:00am PST
i'm jim sciutto. >> i'm erica hill. the jury deliberating for a second day in the trial of three men accused of killing ahmaud arbery. travis mcmichael, greg mcmichael and neighbor william roddi bryan. the jury just requested to review and just reviewed three -- just wanted to see a piece of video evidence and a 9 911 call. >> a shocking moment in that courtroom to see video repeatedly of the shooting death of ahmaud arbery. let's begin in brunswick, georgia, cnn national correspondent sara sidner outside the courthouse. what are you hearing from others perhaps trying to judge the significance of this moment here with the jury requesting this particular evidence? >> reporter: the one thing that
you can say when you have a jury that is asking for evidence is that they are doing their job. they are trying to go over the evidence. they're trying to look through it and be conscientious. and these are, if you looked at that video which i know is extremely difficult to watch, especially over and over again, but it is their job to try and determine what happened there. all perceptions aside, you have the video, you can go over the video and you can discuss all of the evidence including the video. obviously this video of the incident itself, of the killing of ahmaud arbery is pivotal in this case. and they also wanted to hear that 911 call. what did he say to police? did he say something like we're trying to make a citizen's arrest, we've seen him do x, y,
z. the prosecution has been very pointed, if you will, on the law, on what a citizen's arrest is. part of the law is that you have either had to see the crime as it's being committed, so that you know who to go after or that someone was fleeing from a crime and you were able to see someone do a felony and you chase after that person. they had not seen him commit any crime, the prosecution has said over and over in front of this jury, but the defense has said that, once this all happened, once the gun came into play, once there was a fight over this gun, that the defendant, travis mcmichael, was simply defending himself, afraid that ahmaud arbery was going to take his shotgun and use it against him. that's where we are right now. we're just waiting for their decision. >> sara sidner with the latest for us there in brunswick.
also with us, white collar criminal defense attorney sayer sa azharry, criminal defense attorney and former federal prosecutor. i want to start with the video we just saw, disturbing video. we only showed it to you once. we're not going to play it again, as jim pointed out, but that was the moment that ahmaud arbery was shot and killed. as you see him stumble at the end, the request to see that specific video -- they were asked if they wanted the video at half speed. the jury said no, they wanted to see the original video. that moment is key here. why? >> that moment is definitely key because you're seeing the death of ahmaud arbery. my question would be are they focusing on this video because they want to see what travis mcmichael was doing or at what position was william rod die
bryan. we'll learn more based on what is the followup note that the jury sent to the judge. >> sai rah, i wonder how you view this, and again, it's a difficult position to put you in because you're trying to guess what's inside the mind of 12 jurors. in your experience, when folks ask for this -- page pate maemt the point a few moments ago that some of the wrnss in the trial, expert witnesses that the video in their view showed self-defense. you do have a possibility where some people look at the same video and come away with different conclusions. >> jim, you're asking me to read tea leaves. good morning. like bernarda said, there could be so many possibilities because there are so many issues. what we do know is the juries are paying attention. we saw this in rittenhouse, where they asked to see the
video frame by frame. this is a very different jury composition. the idea here is they're potentially looking for self-defense. the defendant, travis, testified that for the first time, he added facts before the jury that arbery was trying to grab his gun and that arbery struck him with the gun. these are issues the jury needs to decide. i think the fact that they listened to the 911 call was really key here, because the idea is that, you know, greg mcmichael said -- they said what's the emergency. he said a black man is running down the street. that's what really this case is all about. i think the jurors were trying to listen to see whether there was any mention made of we're trying to effect a citizen's arrest. remember, jim, you can't get to self-defense, that analysis unless you establish a valid citizen's arrest. >> in terms of that citizen's arrest, this was the point -- a point of convention as jim
pointed out earlier between the prosecution and the defense specifically in their closing arguments and specifically yesterday in their rebuttal in terms of the way the state was talking about the law in the rebuttal. the defense objecting multiple times on that as they ended up going back and forth with the judge on the actual language, how it was being presented. bernarda, not all of that was heard by the jury. some of it was. they could hear the objections. how does that tend to sit with the jury, if they're hearing the attorneys from both sides squabble over that interpretation of the law? >> the jury is going to be forced to make their own interpretation based on the black letter law that the judge instructed them. remember, what the judge said, that is the law that they have to follow. that is the law that they have to apply the facts to. so the question would be, because they know it's a crucial issue, especially since the defense was strategic and effective, the exact time it was being defined and interpreted by
the prosecutor. it may boil down to that the jury may accept the interpretation on the attorney they find the most credible because in the end when we're looking at this video, the video does not lie. they're going to have to apply inferences, their common sense and just look at the totality of what took place to determine whether there was a citizen's arrest. i'm curious, though, why they asked to view this video because, if you find that there was no citizen's arrest, then you don't get to self-defense because you can't ave. rail yourself with self-defense if you're committing a felony. >> in rittenhouse the same argument was made. someone brings a loaded weapon to an altercation or situation and then says their fear that someone else is going to take the loaded weapon away from them and harm them is their argument for self-defense. i'm curious how the law sees
that. >> right. the law in wisconsin and georgia are very similar in that respect. if you are the first aggressor, if you have provoked the incident or you're committing felonies, which all these things fit here, then you don't get to claim self-defense. here we don't just have the loaded weapon. we also have two trucks, jim. we have two trucks that were used to trap arbery before he was shot and killed. i found interesting, with respect to him being unarmed, how the prosecutor really highlighted his appearance. much like the defense attorneys stooped really low and used arbery's appearance to vilify him, the defense attorney got up and said, those baggy shorts he was wearing actually showed the defendants he didn't have a weapon. he didn't even have a wallet or cell phone. that was clever to nail down that he was unarmed. you're the one with the gun and you're claiming self-defense?
please. >> we'll keep watching. sara azharry, bernarda villalona, please stay with us. we're continuing to follow the trial this entire hour. there are other stories we're following including six people now dead after an suv rammed into a crowded christmas parade in waukesha, wisconsin. here is the latest victim, 8 years old, jackson sparks. he died after undergoing brain surgery, spending days in the hospital fighting for his life. his brother tucker is expected to be discharged from the hospital soon. he suffered a fractured skull. >> the suspect, darrell brooks, now likely to face a sixth ound t count of first degree homicide. he remains in jail on $5 million bail. >> it's extraordinarily high, but it's an extraordinarily big case. it's an extraordinarily serious case with an extraordinary
history of this gentleman, of fleeing, of hurting people, of not following court orders. >> cnn's adrian broad is joining us from waukesha. there's new video capturing the moments before his arrest, adrian. >> reporter: yes. minutes before brooks was arrested, he showed up at a resident's home, rang the doorbell and asked that person to call an uber, told the person he was homeless. the 24-year-old said he was inside his home watching sunday football and he let brooks in, and this is what happened. zblt he was pretty flustered. i gave him a jacket, made him a sandwich and just watched over to make sure everything was okay. he said the uber or lyft would
be there in a few minutes. the next minute, five minutes goes by. i'm getting nervous. the uber showed up maybe a minute after he was in cuffs. i just think about sometimes if he had gotten in that car what could have happened. >> reporter: as he thinks about what could have happened, many of you listening at home may be wondering, why did he invite this stranger into his home. rider told us minutes before brooks showed up, his family shared with him a pastor's sermon that called on the community and called on people to help the homeless. so that's what he did. keep in mind brooks, when he rang that doorbell and knocked on the door told rider he was homeless. so brooks experienced the kindness of a stranger. we've also seen kindness on display at this tribute behind me. there are six crosses here in memory of the six people who died. each cross holds a heart and people have been leaving messages on those hearts.
one message in particular says "i love and miss you, mom. i will continue to keep you proud." >> erica. >> the sixth cross, just a little boit. adrienne broaddus, thanks so much. the latest jobs report showing a huge improvement for americans workers. what it means for employers trying to make hires coming up. also millions of americans, you can be one of them, i know jim is, getting ready to travel to gather for the holidays as covid cases are climbing in the northern and eastern parts of the united states. what can you do to stay safe? we have a few tips. expert bookkeepers who understand your business. intuit quickbooks live bookkeeping. [upbeat music]
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new this morning, the number of weekly jobless claims has fallen below prepandemic levels for the first time last week. in fact, the number, remarkably the lowest since 1969. >> 52 years. this, as we should soon -- hopefully anyway -- gas prices will begin to drop. how realistic is that hope? cnn's matt egan joining us. let's start with last week's jobless claims. 199,000 when adjusted for seasonal swings, that looks like it would be good news for the economy. is it? >> erica and jim, definitely. this is more evidence of how the u.s. is heading into the holiday
season. that is not only the lowest number of the entire pandemic, that's the lowest since 1969 when richard nixon was in the white house. also more context, during the hide of covid that figure stood at 6 million. for months it was at very high levels. there's a lot of other signs right now that the economy is actually doing pretty well. first off, we've got to look at the fact that the unemployment rate is off 4.6%. that's down 15% from the height of covid. people are shopping, retail sales surging at the fastest pace since march and americans are quitting their jobs at record pace because they feel so confident in their ability to get better jobs. yet consumer sentiment is at a ten-year low. americans give the economy very poor marks in polling, and that's because of inflation and high gas prices. that is causing anxiety for millions of americans. it's really overshadowing a lot
of these positives. i think we need to pay more attention to what americans are doing, rather than what they're saying. how much they're shopping, what they're doing in terms of quitting their jobs. big picture, i think americans are saying they hate the economy, but acting like they love it. >> spending a lot of money. gas prices, a lot of folks filling up today and tomorrow. national price $3.40. those 50 million barrels from the strategic petroleum reserve, that's just about 2.5 days consumption in the u.s. what are forecasters saying about if and when we might see the prices go down? >> first some context on where we are. this $3.40 a gallon price, that's the highest for thanksgiving since 2012. that's according to a new government report out just now. you can see how that has played out. that's up 62% from the same point last year when many people were staying home because of covid, also 32% higher than the same point in 2019.
the good news is, yes, there is some help on the way. president biden announcing that 50 million barrel release from the strategic petroleum reserve, the biggest release in u.s. history. china, japan, other countries are apparently joining in on this. just the rumor of international intervention has already lowered oil prices. that, in turn, has put a lid on gas prices. the national average is down by a penny from a week ago. the bad news is none of the experts i'm talking to are expecting a dramatic increase in prices. that's because the president has limited power here. in many ways this feels more like a band-aid than a game-changer. big picture, this is good news the president is taking action, but i don't think it will live up to the hype. >> oil market is global. matt egan, thanks very much. joining us to talk about all the politics, ron brownstein,
senior editor at the atlantic and rachel bade, co-author of politico's "playbook." ron brownstein, explain the disconnect. based on unemployment, based on the size of people's checking accounts, based on economic growth as predicted for the third and fourth quarter, it's a very strong economy. people feel it in inflation. things are more expensive no question. is this an administration messaging problem here? what explains the disconnect and what can biden do about it? >> i don't think it's messaging. i think the answer is pretty straightforward. inflation is the political equivalent of an invasive plant species. we haven't had a lot of bouts of inflation in the u.s., but when we do, they tend the submerge everything else. 48% of americans pick inflation as the biggest problem facing the economy, far more than anything else.
as matt noted, there are a lot of positives behind that. most exists think we're shifting away from services towards goods. that's driving up the prices of durable goods plus energy. most economists still believe this abate some time in the coming year. it's not clear whether that's going to happen fast enough to save democrats in 2022. if this receipts and all the other positives come forward, plus the agenda that biden is on the brink of passing, the picture could look very different down the road. but right now it's inflation. >> right now it's inflation, but to that point, i wonder if there is maybe an element of messaging here, rachel. when it comes to messaging on inflation, republicans are running with it. this is a gift for them. it's great for them heading into an election year. but the white house hasn't really figured out what that message is in terms of how they're doing things. even this move with the strategic reserves, that's
great. as jim pointed out, this is 2.5 days' worth of gas. that's a political move. >> this is a drop in the bucket. going out saying they're juicing the economy by putting out the oil reserves could raise hopes for people. when they see it doesn't really impact anything, that could also almost blow back on democrats. democrats' fundamental problem is their core agenda is focused on the middle class, in terms of making people's lives easier for low and middle-income americans. they're addressing the wrong issue right now. americans time and time again, poll after poll, say they want something to be done about inflation. these bills they're passing right now, yes, long-term they'll help the middle class, but they're not going to do anything in terms of these higher gas prices right now. they're not going to help at the pump, when it comes to the supply chain issues. can people find enough christmas presents for their kids? can they even afford christmas presents for their kids? that's the fundamental problems that democrats face.
americans want them to be talking about and doing more about inflation. there's not a lot they can do. that's the reality of the situation and it's going to blow back politically. >> ron brownstein, two difficult questions for you, and you don't have more time to answer them. is biden running in 2024 and is trump running in 2024? >> i think biden is running in 2024 if conditions have improved. if you're in a more neutral environment, i think there will be enormous pressure for him to run from the democratic party because they see trump as an existential threat to the future of democracy. trump, i don't know. i think it was guaranteed from the day of the election that he would leave the impression he's running up until the last moment because it maximizes his influence in the party. he's reluctant to let anybody else replace him in the sun, but also very reluctant to take on a race if he's not confident he's going to win. >> rachel, how much are those two questions handicapping democrats right now?
>> the question about biden has set off a behind the scenes jockeying, with pete buttigieg, is he going to run, and kamala harris, can she win? i think those questions will continue to sort of plague democrats as republicans surge in the polls. i'm skeptical biden will run again personally. we'll have to see. 2024 is a long way away. >> indeed it is. the good news is, thanksgiving is hours away. i hope that's good news for both of you. i hope you both have a happy holiday. still ahead, long lines at the airport as holiday travel nears prepandemic levels. we're watching that, a rise in travelers along with a rise in covid cases in some areas of the u.s. there are things you can do to keep this a safe holiday. we'll go through those aheads.
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this is about the second lull we've had for the day, but throughout the morning things have been much busier than we've seen throughout the pandemic. i've traveled frequently throughout the past two years unlike a lot of the people here at the airport today. a lot of people flying, this is the first time they've been inside of an airport since the pandemic began according to tsa they screened more than 2 million passengers across the country both monday and tuesday. that's about 90% of those 2019 numbers for those same days. they're expecting those numbers to get even larger as the week goes on. today one of the busiest days. though they say the expectation is sunday will be the busiest of all. now, aaa is expecting a roughly 80% increase in travel from last year during the pad ndemic duri thanksgiving weekend. there are concerns about
staffing levels. the rule of thumb is get here earlier than you think you need to and make sure you're patient and bring a mask because they're required in all airports and inside all airplanes. >> dianne gallagher with the latest, and happy thanksgiving. americans seem to be a little less concerned about the risk of holiday gatherings this year. 31% of americans believe gatherings carry a large or moderate risk. a year ago that number was 64%. we also know about half of those who plan to attend a gathering expect they'll be around unvaccinated people or don't know if unvaccinated people will be there or not. joining me to discuss, dr. carlos del rio, the executive associate dean of emery school of medicine in atlanta. unfortunately, vaccines have been made political. for some reason it's become a crazy question to ask people. i'm wondering if people are unsure about the status of folks, or is it like politics
and you shelf the vaccines as a conversation at thanksgiving. >> erica, it's really hard. i think we should be open and say i'm vaccinated, i'm not vaccinated. if you haven't been vaccinated, you can get tested and decrease the risk of transmitting the infection. in fact, if you're going to have a large gathering and have a place where there's a lot of community transmission or people are coming from states with significant transmission, getting tested, even if you're vaccinated, is not a bad idea. >> the cdc puts out these forecasts on an annual basis. this one "today" shows covid deaths and hospitalizations both likely to increase over the next four years. that's on the heels of last week's forecast looking at deaths being stable or uncertain. what does that tell you about where we're headed perhaps post thanksgiving? >> well, the first thing it tells us is this pandemic is not over. i think while many of us wish
this was over, it's still not over. we still need to be careful. we're in a better place than we've been before because we have vaccines and better therapies. the reality is unvaccinated people are still at very high risk of infection. in this country, 56% of people are vaccinated. that means over 40% are still unvaccinated and at high risk of getting infected. if you're going to do something for the holiday season, if you haven't been vaccinated, get vaccinated. it's good for yourself, your family, your community. >> we're also hearing get your booster if you haven't yet. a lot of talk about that. there's also a focus on what's happening overseas. i can't help look at those headlines in europe. i think the vaccination rate in france is more than 75%. there's talk about possible restrictions this morning being brought back. when you see that, what should we be bracing for if anything here in this country?
does europe sort of tell the tale of where we could be going? >> yes, absolutely. i think what we're learning is that this virus is incredibly tough to beat and has been over and over difficult at every single turn. in particular, this delta variant is highly, highly transmissible. you get 70, 80% of the population vaccinated, you'll significantly decrease your risk. we're nowhere close to that. i think we have to stop making vaccines political. we really need to get people vaccinated and really need to think about how can we decrease mortality in our country. so far in 2021, more people have died from covid than they did in 2020 despite the fact that we have vaccines. that to me is incredibly sad. >> it is. dr. carlos del rio. i don't want to end on that note. i'll end by wishing you a happy thanksgiving. know that we're grateful for all you're doing not only for your community in atlanta, but all the knowledge and wisdom you share with us here.
>> thank you and map pi thanksgiving to you. >> i second that, erica. still ahead this hour, as tensions build at the ukrainian border with russia, cnn embeds with ukraine's military taking a look at their ramp-up amid fears of a full-on russian invasion. first, here is a look at what else to watch today.
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new this morning, the state department is warning americans of a potentially volatile situation near ukraine's border with russia. this comes in an updated security alert as u.s. concerns, european concerns of an invasion rise. the kremlin calls those concerns hysteria. ukrainian military is racing to upgrade its military fleet. i'm joined by cnn's natasha pour tran and also fred pleitgen who just i'm betted with the ukrainian mill stair.
i'm curious what you saw on the front lines. >> reporter: taking it extremely seriously. you have the one situation in the east of ukraine where the troops have been amassing. we have to keep in mind that alexandra lukashenko a big ally. you have the sea of azaf, there have been standoffs between the russians and ukrainians. we went on patrol with an artillery boat of the ukrainian navy. they understand they would be out gunned but they will stand their ground. at a port town the ukrainians are constructing a newport. they just announced they've accelerated the construction of that port because they need to stage more ships there to be ready if something like an invasion were to happen. of course, one of the things we also saw is some satellite images came out that seemed to show big concentrations of
russian troops in the southeast of russia, another huge concern for the u.s. and its allies and also for the ukrainians as well. just in the past couple hours we're hearing from the ukrainians as they conducted air force exercises. they also say they have worked on a draft law that would soon allow them to quickly draw up up to 200,000 reservists if the situation continues to deteriorate and would, in fact, turn into a real armed conflict. of course, the ukrainians are saying they're taking it seriously, but they don't want it to get that far, jim. >> natasha, we know the biden administration is taking this very seriously as we reported a couple days. the possibility of trasending advisers to the ukraine. are preparations deterring russia at this point? >> they seem to be taking a different tact. they're trying to be very public
with their signaling about warning the russians that the world is watching what you're yoing on ukraine's borders in hopes it will deter them from launching the invasion which some in the administration think could happen sometime in the i representeder. the ukraineians' tone has changed as well after being briefed by americans in the situation there and about russia's intentions. of course, putin has not decided whether or not there's going to be an invasion. that is very unclear at this point what his ultimate goals are going to be. they are sounding the alarm in a way that seems more stark than in the past. this consideration about a military aid package, about potential advisers going to y ukr ukraine, that would be a d dra dramatic escalation by the u.s. in an effort to protect the ukrainians. some feel that could pro vote the russians even further. they hope with the public messages they're sending the the russians, they can do this diplomatically. if not, there are options they
can present. >> there's a debate in the administration because some officials feel that greater moves like, for instance, additional supply of lethal assistance like these anti-tank missiles would further escalate and then that sparks a russian response. before you know it, you find yourself in a conflict. where does that debate stand? >> unclear at this point. the defense department has been pushing for stinger missiles to be sent to ukraine which, of course, are anti aircraft defense systems. some in the administration think that could be very provocative. they don't want to necessarily take that step just yet. that's under debate. the other question under debate is whether or not the defense department could be sending helicopters to ukraine originally destined for afghanistan after the u.s. withdrew. again, that would probably be seen by the russians as a provocation there, so still under debate. right now the administration thinks sending more javelins, sending military advisers to the region could be a way to bolster the ukraineians' defenses
without heightening tensions further with russia. >> the goal there, raise the potential cost of the russian evasion so it's not easy. still to come this hour, white nationalists who organized and participated in a violent 2017 shcharlottesville valley tt turned deadly have been ordered to pay more than $26 million in damages. what are the chances the plaintiffs will ever see that money? we'll see you live to charlottesville next. it's walmart's black friday deals for days. score $69 air fryer and get other huge deals this friday instore. shop walmart's black friday deals for days. ♪ ♪ i want y'all to hear from me first. if you wanna be fresh, you gotta refresh,
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the organizers of the 2017 unite the right rally in charlot charlottesville, virginia, have been ordered to pay $26 million in damages after a jury found them liable for the deadly e event. an attorney for the plaintiffs says they are, quote, beyond thrilled with the verdict adding justice was served. cnn's ellie root was there for the trial. the message for the verdict is being messaged a lot as being incredibly important, ellie. >> reporter: the jury was hung on the federal conspiracy claims but not on the virginia state conspiracy claim. on that count the defendants tried to say they didn't know each other or didn't know others were planning on provoking violence, but the jury didn't buy that.
they found every single defendant liable for the conspiracy claim. so what that says is that, if you're organizing in radical politics and you've got a lot of people talking about the violence that they want to do, if you don't say, guys, you can't do, if you're not the wet blanket who calms the conversation, then you could be held responsible. >> could be held responsible. interesting, there's also a lot of talk this morning about whether any of this money will actually be seen. a lot of folks are saying it's unl unlikely. why is that? >> reporter: well, first of all, most of the defendants don't have a lot of money. only defendant richard spencer comes from a large amount of family money. on top of that, on the conspiracy claim, the compensatory damages were quite low, but the punitive damages were really high. the supreme court says that ratio has to be a lot smaller. it's possible that the judge will lower the damages on that claim. and finally, fields is
responsible for half of it. he's in prison for life. it's going to be really hard to get money out of that. >> definitely a certain symbolism there. elle, thank you. after spending 43 years behind bars for a crime he didn't commit, a missouri man is finally free today. kevin strickland left the western missouri correctional center yesterday afternoon. he was convicted in 1978 o of trfal homicide after the lone survivor of the shooting falsely identified him as the shooter. strickland talked about the moments he missed behind bars. among them, his mother's passing. he also talked about the moment he was finally able to visit her grave. >> to know my mother was underneath that dirt and i hadn't got a chance to visit with her in the last years because, due to her diminishing dementia state, it was -- i
revisited those tears i did when they told me i was guilty of a crime i didn't commit. >> according to the national registry of exonerations, strickland's wrongful imprisonment was the longest in missouri history and the fourth longest in american history. thank you for joining us today. i'm erica hill. i hope you enjoy a safe thanksgiving. alex marquardt picks up after this short break. [gaming sounds] [gaming sounds] just think, he'll be driving for real soon. every new chevy equinox comes standard with chevy safety assist, including automatic emergency braking. find new peace of mind. find new roads. chevrolet. ♪ for skin that never holds you back.
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kate bolduan. here is what we're watching "at this hour." verdict watch. jury deliberations begin a second day in the ahmaud arbery trial. will jurors acquit or convict the three men accused of killing him? holiday rush. tens of millions of americans travel this weekend as travel rebounds to prepandemic levels. and thanksgiving safety. coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are surging again. we have tips on how to stay safe as you gather for this holiday. we begin with the jury in the trial of the three men accused of killing ahmaud arbery. they have resumed their deliberations for a second day. a short time ago, that jury which is made up of 11 white people and one black juror asked to see video of the shooting and also to hear the 911 call that one of the of the ds made before arbery was shot. each defendant, travis mcmichael, his father gregory, and neighbor