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Heavy Security for Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade; Video Captures North Korean Soldier's Daring Escape; Former Gymnastics Doctor Pleads Guilty to Molestation Charges. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired November 23, 2017 - 06:30   ET



[06:30:51] ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Heavy security in place here in New York ahead of the 91st Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. The day, of course, is all about fun, though. Balloons had to soar high above the city in just a matter of hours.

CNN's Jason Carroll is there live along the parade route where I'm sure it's already a little bit busy, Jason.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is getting busy. Some 200,000 people expected to line the parade route. Some of them already starting to line the route as you can see here. But as you were talking about, increased police presence expected at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, just as the city just had a terrorist attack several weeks ago.

In lieu of that, NYPD saying they will have police at every single block along the parade route. Counterterrorism unit is going to be out in force as well. We're going to be seeing them at every block along the route as well, as long as cement vehicles to prevent unauthorized vehicles from coming into or out of the parade route.

But a lot of folks coming out here aren't thinking about that. What they are thinking about is coming out, having a good time, being with family and friends. Coming all the way from Arkansas.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's right. Arkansas. Little Rock and Newport, Arkansas --

CARROLL: Well, welcome, Arkansas.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. We are so happy to be here.

CARROLL: And what do you think of our sorry so far?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We love it, we love it. Our son is going to school here, so we're visiting him and --

CARROLL: Well, we welcome you. And you came all the way from 71st Street around the block.


CARROLL: You got one of the best seats in the house.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. We live just around the corner and have never been.

CARROLL: Wait, you live around the corner and you've never been?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, we've always watched it not from the front row. So, this year, we wanted to get here early.

CARROLL: Well, welcome. Thank you so much for coming.

You know, a lot of folks coming out to see the balloons, to see the parade, to see the bands. Thank you very, very much. And Minnesota, thank you, Minnesota. We'll get you in next time. I love Minnesota.

But you guys, a lot of folks coming out just to enjoy the day. Yes, heightened security, but yes, a chance to be with family and be thankful. Back to you.

HILL: Very nice. New balloons this year, too.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: There are. What are they?

HILL: Olaf.

CUOMO: Olaf --

HILL: You're not as hot on Olaf. I still love Olaf.

CUOMO: No, you -- look, you're on the right side of this. When it came --

HILL: I want to be in the right side of Olaf.

CUOMO: I was like, that Olaf is kind of a dope. But the kids condemned. He's a big deal. I get it. He deserves a balloon.

HILL: Right. There's also the Grinch. Maybe that's one of your style.

CUOMO: Oh, yes, clearly. You know me so well.

Now, the president called by Erica Hill and others earlier to give us a positive message. We need it, and he did it.

Here's his first tweet that we've seen today.

Happy Thanksgiving. Your country is starting to do really well. Jobs coming back, highest stock market ever, military getting really strong. We will build the wall. V.A. taking care of our vets. Great Supreme Court justice. Record cut in regs. Lowest unemployment in 17 years.

Did he match the mandate laid out by E. Hill earlier?

HILL: I believe that the president there laid out a number of things he's thankful for. Yes.

CUOMO: All right. So, how about thankfulness for the weather? Is Mother Nature going to cooperate for the parade today for what you have planned?

CNN meteorologist Chad Everett Myers has the forecast. Happy Thanksgiving, as always.

Thankful for you, my brother.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: And thankful for you.

You know, 36 and partly cloudy. Everybody should be thankful today. Not even a wind chill factor. The balloons are going to fly. We always talk about it over 20 miles per hour, the balloons can't fly. Winds are going to be 4. So, perfect.

Thirty-six, 38 degrees during parade time. The only real problem across the entire country is the Florida. You'll have a lot of rain, still travelling, people still driving around. Even this morning, there are still cars on the road going places. You could tell their minivans were stocked and full stop. So, I know people are still traveling.

But the West is hot, the East is cool, 87 in L.A. Get that on Thanksgiving Day. Otherwise, 44, Chicago, partly cloudy skies, mostly sunny in D.C., will go 48 -- Erica.

HILL: All right, Chad. We'll take it. Thank you. Happy Thanksgiving.

MYERS: To you.

HILL: We are learning about life inside North Korea from the soldier who made that daring escape under fire from his former comrades.

[06:35:01] That is next.


CUOMO: Boy, if you haven't seen this video, you should be watching it right now. Truly dramatic. It's going all over the world.

What you see on your screen highlighted is a North Korean soldier trying to escape across the border into South Korea, literally running for his life. He was shot several times trying to get across. The soldier is now in the hospital. Doctors say his condition is giving us a glimpse of what life is like in North Korea.

Joining us now is Gordon Chang. He's a columnist for "The Daily Beast". He's also the author of "Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes on the World".

Happy Thanksgiving to you.

GORDON CHANG, COLUMNIST, THE DAILY BEAST: Happy Thanksgiving. CUOMO: Thank you for helping us so often understand what's going on.

What do you take from this video, the conditions and the implications?

[06:40:00] CHANG: Well, first of all, the North Korean army doesn't seem they can shoot straight. Yes, of course, they put --

CUOMO: Thank God.

CHANG: -- put five bullets anymore. But nonetheless, under normal conditions, they should have killed him.

You can see that their actions are uncoordinated. They're looking for leadership. You have a guy falling down.

I mean, this is an army which should be much better trained. Remember, North Korea's best soldiers are along the demilitarized zone. And the best soldiers of the best are in the joint security area where this occurred.

So, this is really -- it's unimpressive performance on the part of the North Koreans.

CUOMO: Well, lucky for this man what you are saying is true. On who knows what would happen otherwise. What you saw with respect to the line, you say that this is a reflection of a misperception of what an armistice is about in this situation. Explain.

CHANG: Yes. First of all, there are three violations of the armistice. The North Koreans fire increase the military demarcation line which divides North and South Korea. One of their soldiers actually goes into South Korea.

But there's a bigger issue here and that is the North Koreans, at least the three times last decade renounced the armistice. As late as September 25 of this year, the North Korean foreign minister in New York says something inconsistent with the armistice. He says they can shoot down American planes in international airspace, completely inconsistent.

So, the North Koreans are not observing the armistice and we say it's in existence. There is no armistice as of legal matter, because our position is untenable. What we have on our part is unilateral declaration that we will follow rules that the North Koreans aren't following. And we can see it from the video.

CUOMO: All right. Now, it's Thanksgiving. I don't know if I should bring this up but it's pretty compelling.

So, one of the things they find with this soldier when they start looking at him is this incredibly disgusting presence of parasitic worms. One of them was literally like ridiculously long. If you want to see it, it's on the screen right now.

But I've got to tell you, I've never seen anything like this before. This is something we try to scare our kids about. Like if you swallow gum, what happens. But what does that indicate to you what they found inside this guy?

CHANG: Yes, one of those tapeworms was 11 inches long. The thing here is that the drought in North Korea is probably worse than we think, because here you have a soldier who should be well-fed because he is in the joint security area. But he's malnourished. He's got these parasites, dozens of parasites in his intestines.

This indicates that the military is probably not as strong as we think and the drought is much worse than people have estimated. And it shows essentially that a North Korea weaker than we think.

Also, the other thing about this video is why did we release it the first time that this has been released, of the video of a defection? I think it's because for the first time we have a White House now that wants to undermine North Korea, because it shows, first of all, the violations. But it also shows the North Koreans in a really unimpressive display of military action.

CUOMO: So, Thanksgiving. A day of reflection, obviously. Where do you think things are heading in terms of what's going on with North Korea and the United States and what we hope is a burgeoning alliance against their threatening and menacing behavior?

CHANG: Yes, I think, you know, within nine months or so, we're going to see President Trump's strangulation campaign really start top work. We've already got stories that junior officials in Pyongyang who are part of the favorite class of the regime are not getting their rations from a special distribution channel. That is absolutely stunning.

We know that the North Koreans are accelerating their loyalty payments, which are basically informal taxes. That shows they've got cash flow problems.

You know, President Trump just started this campaign a few months. I think it's actually starting to work. So, within maybe, you know, the middle of next year, the North Koreans are going to be desperate. That's also the same time, Chris, that they're probably going to perfect both their missiles and their nukes.

So, you have those two events occurring at the same time: North Koreans becoming confident in their arsenal and becoming desperate because we have shut off all money to North Koreans.

CUOMO: Gordon, thank you very much. Happy Thanksgiving to you.

CHANG: Happy Thanksgiving, Chris.

CUOMO: Erica?

HILL: And, Chris, a disgraced gymnastics doctor pleading guilty to molestation charges. One of his victims, a former gymnast, sharing her story, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [06:48:48] HILL: A former USA gymnastics team doctor, Larry Nassar, pleading guilty to seven counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct, admitting to using his authority to sexually abuse underage girls.


LARRY NASSAR, FORMER USA GYMNASTICS DOCTOR: For all of those involved, I'm so horribly sorry that this was like a match that turned into a forest fire out of control. And I pray the rosary every day for forgiveness. I want them to heal. I want this community to heal. I have no animosity towards anyone. I just want healing. It's time.


HILL: Joining me now, Rachael Denhollander, who is a former gymnast and also the first woman to come forward to say she was abused by Nassar.

Rachel, it's good to have you back with us this morning. When you hear those words from Larry Nassar, he wants you to heal.

What do you think about all those things he just said?

RACHAEL DENHOLLANDER, ACCUSES DR. LARRY NASSAR OF SEXUAL ASSAULT: You know, I think it really reveals Larry's psychological state if you listen to the full, quote/unquote, apology. What Larry was really doing is to shifting focus back on himself, attempting to make it look like he had done something very grandiose, very noble, to plea guilty so the community can move forward.

Larry is a consummate manipulator.

[06:50:01] He is a consummate narcissist. And I don't think that apology reveals anything but his psychological state.

HILL: You came forward quite courageously I would say and have since then a number of people have come forward as well. You've also been very clear in calling out others who you've believed enabled Larry Nasser. And you did more of that yesterday, speaking after his plea deal, speaking specifically about what you feel the culture was that enabled this.

Give us a sense, why you think this was able to happen to so many people for so long?

DENHOLLANDER: You know, it's really the same old story. It's the same story you see at Penn State. It's the same story you see in the Catholic Church. It's people in authority who are surrounding the abuser, who respond to victim's disclosure of abuse by silencing the victims, who ignore red flags, who just utterly fail the children under their protection.

And you really do see both of these dynamics at USA Gymnastics and at Michigan State University. As far as USA Gymnastics is concerned, this is much, much deeper than Larry Nassar. The entire lesson Larry was able to be out of cover was because the "Indianapolis Star" published an explosive report that details USA Gymnastics' abhorrent failure in reporting sexual abuse. We had a policy of not reporting. They had very files on 54 abusive coaches over a 10-year period.

Steve Penny, the then-president of USA Gymnastics, even testified under oath and defended this policy of not reporting saying he wanted to, quote/unquote, avoid a witch-hunt. And USAG has stuck by their policy and they continue to defend it, and you don't see any different dynamic at MSU.

HILL: We should point out a response. USA Gymnastics has said and I'm pulling this, because I have to be quite honest, my eyes are failing me here, we're committed to further developing a culture that has safe spot as a top priority throughout the organization.

That's what we're hearing from them.

From Michigan state. The plea deal and conviction of Larry Nassar represents another step towards justice for the victims. We have heard now from Gabby Douglas most recently this week. We've heard from Aly Raisman.

Aly Raisman tweeting out, talking about his plea deal, and frankly saying she's beyond disgusted that a decorated and Olympic and USA gymnastics doctor was able to prey upon so many over such a long period of time. Until we fully understand the flaws in the system that allowed this happen in the first place, and enable to continue to for decades, we can't be confident it won't happen again, which is exactly what you have spoken to, Rachel.

And yet, as you point out, parents entrust their children from a very young age. And you were one of them, as were all these other gymnasts were hearing from, and the parents can't always be there.

So, what do you see that could actually change? Is it simply having more parents around? Is it changing the way things are handled and reported? How much more needs to change?

DENHOLLANDER: You know, there is 100-page report that details things USAG should have done differently. And with MSU, you see these examples over and over again too. You had athletes coming forward in 1997, in early 2000s. In 2014, who were saying, this is what Larry is doing. Something is wrong.

And each and every time, MSU officials assure these young girls, no, no, this is medical treatment. And so, you see the overall attitude toward sexual assault at MSU.

And when I came forward, the dean of the college of osteopathy actually mocked my statements. He sent an email to the provost to MSU, laughing about how my testimony was the cherry on the cake of his day. And he immediately sent an e-mail back to Larry saying, good luck. I'm on your side.

So, that's the attitude you really see in MSU towards sexual assault. And, you know, both organizations said we're going forward. We want to be a safe place.

But until they can acknowledge what they have done wrong, I have no hope that they are really moving forward.

In regards to that USAG report that details 100 pages worth of things they should have done differently, you know, these recommendations are very common sense. One of them is just simply to report child abuse, to have a mandatory reporting policy. If you are on a board of directors for an athlete and child-focused organization, and you have to pay an investigator to come in and tell you that you need to report the sexual abuse of little children, you have no business being on that board.

HILL: I couldn't say it better myself.

Rachael, we appreciate you speaking out this morning. Appreciate everything you have done to bring this story to light. We'll continue to stay on it as well. Thank you.


CUOMO: Important interview. Can't lose sights of those kind of stories.

HILL: She is an incredibly brave woman.

CUOMO: Yes, well done, well done. Thankful for people like that.

HILL: Absolutely.

CUOMO: On a day like today.

HILL: On this Thanksgiving Day.

CUOMO: All right. We have a lot of big stories, including a Texas congressman saying that he is the victim of revenge porn, an explicit photo of him now on social media. Who put it there? Why they put it there and his plans to fight back.

HILL: And as Chris pointed out, it is Thanksgiving, but it wouldn't be Thanksgiving, or wouldn't be complete anyway if not for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.


CUOMO: Angry bird. I wonder if the bird walking across your screen should be angry or at least scared.



CUOMO: An unnamed woman tells the "Washington Post" that Congressman Joe Barton threatened to go to the Capitol police if she exposed lewd images he sent her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Barton has apologized, but also raised the possibility that he's the victim of revenge porn.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president setting a tone providing some of those old classic fights on social media. Perhaps it was an attempt to change the suspect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He gets his feelings out on Twitter. A lot of Americans agree with him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This country has been divided by fear and hatred in this last year. At times, I think the president himself is guilty of that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Doors open for holiday shopping in just hours. Can retailers end 2017 on a high note?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Black Friday is certainly not dead. It is definitely changing.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.


CUOMO: Good morning and happy Thanksgiving. Welcome to a special holiday edition of NEW DAY.