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Dem Lawmaker Calls On Rep. John Conyers To Resign; Explosion Detected Near Missing Argentine Sub's Last Location; Reshaping Florida Politics; Beyond The Call Of Duty. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired November 24, 2017 - 07:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[07:30:00] REP. KATHLEEN RICE (D), NEW YORK, MEMBER, HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: It shouldn't be.

And that's why I support the bill that Jackie Speier is putting forward in the Congress that would say guess what, if you have an allegation made against you and you want to settle it because you believe that there is -- it's credible and you want it to go away, dig into your own pocket. Don't dig into the taxpayers' pockets.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Well, whether it's credible or not, in your opinion, I shouldn't pay for it unless it's seen as being in the extension of your official duties, which I don't know how harassment would be.

The bigger question is whether or not you should be allowed to settle them at all because as a public official do you think the voters have a right to know -- the citizens have a right to know about these allegations because you're public, not private?

RICE: I do, I do. And this is all about -- look, there's a reason why six percent -- Congress as a whole, as a body has a six percent approval rating, Chris. I don't think you can get much lower than that.

There is a feeling, I think, in the general public that people in Washington and the bubble that is Washington, D.C. think that the rules that apply to regular people, not politicians, don't apply to them and it's because everything that we do is shrouded in secrecy. There's no transparency and there needs to be.

We are -- when we are elected we are -- what is placed in us is a public trust that I think we should honor, and when allegations like this come out and you find out about these payments and taxpayer money here, this just leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

CUOMO: Yes.

RICE: And we are -- if we -- look, I believe that Washington -- Congress is facing an existential question right now. How are we going to answer that question? Are we going to say yes, we are just like everyone else and we should be held accountable just like everyone else, or are we going to continue to say that Washington operates under its own set of rules? Look, one could argue that Donald Trump got elected -- one of the reasons is because people are sick of the way we were doing business in Washington. And, you know, that's a sentiment that's real --

CUOMO: Yes.

RICE: -- and I understand that. We have this moment right now --

CUOMO: You understand it. You're from Nassau County.

RICE: Yes.

CUOMO: You know, you were the Nassau County D.A. There are a lot of people who voted for Trump out there for exactly that reason. They do believe --

RICE: Yes, I know.

CUOMO: -- in the swamp. Whether he's cleaning it --

RICE: Yes.

CUOMO: -- or whether he's added more alligators to it, you know, is up to your personal opinion.

But you pivoted to the president. Let me ask you something while I have you.

This morning, he's tweeting about one of his favorite culture conflicts which is what's going on in the NFL during games. And we did see again yesterday that there were players who used that moment to express feelings by kneeling or whatever their particular display is.

What do you make of this issue and his take on it?

RICE: I -- look, I can't explain the tweets. I mean, they're -- they are -- this is his form of communication and that's fine.

But I personally think that what we have to do at this moment in time is allow people to exercise their rights in any way that they see fit that is appropriate under the law. And whether you're in the NFL or you are a woman accusing a very powerful man of harassment, you should be heard.

I get what the president is trying to do and he has enormous power to sway certain -- you know, public opinion on certain issues, but I personally think that people should be able to express -- this is what makes this country so great. This is why we fight so hard to maintain the democracy that we have. That people are -- would die to live under.

And, you know -- but I can't explain Donald Trump's tweets on this issue or very many others, to be honest with you.

CUOMO: So, Congressman (sic), this is not going to be a quick fight, what you're trying to change in terms of culture or transparency when it comes to this kind of behavior anywhere, let alone in Washington, D.C.

We are not going to leave the story. The low fruit -- that which must change and can change is what happens with these settlements, whether it's their existence, their financing, or the nature of their disclosure. If you are on that, we will stay and cover it, and be in touch with you.

Thank you for joining us, especially the day after Thanksgiving. Always good to see you.

RICE: Thank you, Chris. Good to see you.

CUOMO: All right, be well -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: The search for Black Friday bargains and just what are the best deals, the hottest items for you today? Christine Romans up next with tips so you can complete that holiday wish list.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:38:08] HILL: Bargain hunters hitting the stores early on this Black Friday in search of the best deals. Not everyone, though, wants to brave the crowds, opting instead to shop online. I'm actually there with you. Plenty of competition for your hard-earned money this year which, hopefully, could mean a good deal.

Chief business correspondent Christine Romans is with us.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: There are some real deals and there are some that, you know, are not worth your time, so let's be honest about that.

Twenty seventeen has been really brutal for retail. Bankruptcies, a record number of store closures -- 6,000, 7,000 store closures, and shoppers are moving online.

Amazon the clear winner there. Amazon, did you know, now accounts for 43 percent of online retail sales?

But bad news for stores is good news for you. Retailers want a piece of your money -- the estimated trillion you're going to spend this holiday season. And today, Black Friday is crucial.

Abode's been tracking all this for us, the steals and deals. Abode reports, on average, savings of 12 percent on jewelry, 18 percent on appliances, 24 percent on T.V.s and tablets. That is a good deal.

In fact, electronics are the most wanted gifts this year. Things like home assistants, game consoles, wireless sound systems.

Big discounts on iPhones. Walmart has the best deal there that we've seen, at least, offering a $300 gift card when you buy an iPhone X.

Now, if you've been waiting on buying a smart voice assistant, Amazon's selling its Echo -- the speaker for $80. That's down from $100.

But doorbuster deals, frequently they sell out fast so be realistic. And even online deals have stop and start times so check the timing.

Plus, it is worth waiting for these items. Ready? Toys, laptops, and shoes. They will all be cheaper on Cyber Monday.

Make a list, check it twice, don't blow your budget. Sixteen percent of you are still paying off last year's holiday gifts, which is bad, not good. I don't recommend it.

HILL: Christine, thanks.

CUOMO: We know you've got the consumer in mind and we appreciate that.

ROMANS: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right.

So, how's the weather looking today for your holiday shopping, if you're not going to listen to Christine?

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers has your forecast. How's it looking? And I hope turkey day was good for you, brother.

[07:40:02] CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It was, sir. I had one plate, then maybe another one.

It is cold out there. It is cold. I know it says 38 in New York but that's downtown where all the buildings are. It's 21 in Morristown right now so things are cool all across the Northeast.

This weather is brought to you Humana. Start with healthy.

Now, it warms up a little bit tomorrow. We get a slightly better day tomorrow in New York City but then we're back down into the cool air for Sunday.

So we'll call it cool but, you know, 50 and sunshine in New York City or D.C. or Baltimore, nobody's complaining about that. So we'll just take it for what it is, a cold morning, a nice afternoon.

Cold again by Sunday as the next cold front comes in. And still dreadfully hot out west where in L.A. today it will be 81.

So we go -- we go 50, 55, and then back to 45 for New York City, and the same kind of deal down here for the southeast as well -- guys.

Happy day after Thanksgiving.

HILL: Happy day after to you, Chad. Thanks.

MYERS: You're welcome.

HILL: We have Puerto Rico still reeling from Hurricane Maria. Thousands are fleeing the island for Florida and it could alter the swing state's political landscape. We'll take a closer look, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:45:25] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

HILL: Breaking news in the Middle East. Egyptian state television reporting a terrorist attack at a mosque has killed 54 and injured at least 75 people.

This happened during morning prayers in Egypt's northern Sinai Province. A state-run Website saying gunmen waited outside the mosque and then opened fire on worshippers as they were fleeing. There are dozens of ambulances on the scene racing the wounded to nearby hospitals.

We will have a live report from the region coming up in our next hour.

CUOMO: And as always, be careful with those numbers because they're going to change.

The Argentine Navy says it has detected a sound. However, that sound is consistent with an explosion at the last known location of a missing submarine that was carrying 44 crew members.

CNN's Barbara Starr live at the Pentagon with more.

This was the news that we hoping for but we weren't hoping for it to have this kind of implication.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. That's right. Really, our hearts go out to the Argentine military families this morning as they face this holiday season.

There is word about what may have happened. What we know now is that an international sensor network actually run by experts who monitor for nuclear testing, picked up an acoustic reading in the ocean about five hours after the last communication from the submarine in the area where it was operating. That was on November 15th.

You see that acoustic signal representation right there. What they picked up after they analyzed it was a short, sharp reading. You see that spike in the sound reading.

And when they analyzed it, what they have come up with, they say, is that this short, sharp, violent acoustic event perhaps most likely consistent with an explosion. It's not a natural event. It's not an undersea earthquake, undersea volcanic activity, and it was five hours later in the very area where there was a last known communication from the submarine -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Barbara. Thank you very much. Difficult news but important to get it out.

So, a South African appeals court has more than doubled the murder sentence for Oscar Pistorius. Prosecutors argued his previous sentence of six years for the fatal shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was too lenient back in 2013. The court increasing the Pistorius sentence to 13 years, five months.

The Steenkamp family says the ruling is quote, "justice for Reeva. She can now rest in peace."

HILL: A Michigan sheriff's deputy killed in the line of duty when police say a fleeing suspect deliberately ran him down with his vehicle. Deputy Eric Overall had just put down tire-flattening sticks to slow down the suspect's vehicle when he was struck.

The suspect is in custody and does stand to face murder charges.

A GoFundMe account has been created to help the deputy's family.

CUOMO: A Texas woman is accused of sending homemade explosives to then-President Obama and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. This was back in 2016.

Federal prosecutors have charged Julia Poff with six counts. She's accused of sending mail bombs to President Obama, Gov. Abbott, and the Social Security Administration.

The White House package was detected during screening but Gov. Abbott actually opened his package. It was an explosive. Luckily, obviously, it didn't go off.

HILL: Which is remarkable the fact that it didn't explode.

CUOMO: Listen, and they deal with a lot --

HILL: Yes.

CUOMO: -- of this so he got very lucky. Thank God for that. And she's got heavy charges coming her way.

HILL: Yes, absolutely.

Meantime, more than two months after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, nearly half of that island still does not have power.

Since October, about 170,000 residents have left Puerto Rico and come to Florida where they will likely change that state's political landscape, potentially, forever.

CNN's Athena Jones has more on that story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LINDA GONZALES (through translator Jones): Linda Gonzales says starting her life over in Florida is like being reborn as an orphan.

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She was forced to flee Lares, Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria destroyed her home.

LINDA GONZALES (through translator Jones): Gonzales says she lost everything overnight. JONES: She and her son joined a wave of evacuees, arriving in Orlando

three weeks ago. Some 170,000 Puerto Ricans have landed in Florida since October third, according to state officials. And while not all of them will put down roots here, many will.

[07:50:05] Some are comparing it to the 1980 Mariel boatlift from Cuba when 125,000 immigrants landed in South Florida, reshaping state politics as a powerful voting bloc.

The tide of Puerto Ricans has already surpassed the boatlift and shows no signs of letting up. And unlike Cubans, Puerto Ricans, the vast majority of whom lean Democratic, are already citizens. They can vote right away as long as they register.

Florida is a perennial swing state. Trump won here by just over 100,000 votes and Barack Obama won twice, eight years after a flash finish and subsequent recount handed the state to George W. Bush in 2000.

This historic influx of Puerto Ricans could shift the political calculus.

MICHAEL MCDONALD, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA: That group could be pivotal in a swing state. And so, their impact and their effect on statewide elections, both for governor, U.S. Senate, and of course, for president could be very dramatic.

JONES: But political science professor Michael McDonald says white retirees from the Midwest and the northeast, many of whom lean Republican, are also pouring into the state, likely keeping statewide elections close for now.

President Trump toured the devastation two weeks after the hurricane.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico and that's fine. We saved a lot of lives.

JONES: Gonzales says the federal government should have done more after Maria and she's still hurt that the president said the people of Puerto Rico should do more to help themselves.

GONZALES (through translator Jones): It hurts. We're human beings, she told me. He should not have spoken to us in that way.

JONES: A trained chef, Gonzales plans to say here in Orlando and rebuild her life. It's the sort of dream many of those arriving from the island share.

As for 2020 and casting a ballot for Trump, I asked her would you vote for him to remain in office?

GONZALES: No, no.

JONES: Athena Jones, CNN, Orlando, Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE) CUOMO: A scary scene. A plane crashing on a freeway right in front of you. Take a look at your screen. What would you do in this situation?

We're going to tell you how one man went beyond the call of duty, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:56:41] CUOMO: Imagine this. You're on a busy highway and it looks like a plane is about to crash and hit you on the highway. That actually happened to one off-duty firefighter in California.

CNN's Stephanie Elam tells us how this man jumped into action and went beyond the call of duty.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN MEFFERT, CAPTAIN, AVALON FIRE DEPARTMENT, ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: It happened so fast.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's 9:30 a.m. the Friday before the Fourth of July in Orange County, California. John Meffert is driving southbound near John Wayne Airport on the 405, one of America's busiest highways, at the start of a big getaway weekend.

MEFFERT: My first glimpse is wow, that plane's like really low.

ELAM: A twin-engine Cessna is trying to return to the airport.

FRANK PISANO, PILOT: 297 Mayday, Mayday. I lost my right engine.

MEFFERT: And then, my second glimpse is I think this plane's going to hit me. All I see is like white flash haze. The wing came across the front of my car. I had like one big scrape all across the front with like one dent.

ELAM: But Meffert, who happens to be a captain with the Avalon Fire Department, isn't thinking about that. He immediately starts running toward the plane which has crashed on the highway and is in flames just feet from the runway.

MEFFERT: I didn't think anyone was going to be a survivor in the plane. It wasn't until I saw the passenger -- her head pops up just enough that I'm like there's somebody -- there's somebody alive.

ELAM: Meffert ushers the female passenger to safety before pulling the pilot off the plane.

MEFFERT: Just the two of you?

JANA PISANO, PASSENGER IN PLANE: Yes.

ELAM: Meffert and other drivers tend to the couple. Both are injured but lucid enough to answer questions.

MEFFERT: Just breathe, OK?

J. PISANO: Yes.

MEFFERT: Any back pain?

Both of them were pretty bloody. I was really amazed that there weren't like more injury to them.

ELAM: Frank and Jana Pisano both broke several bones in their backs.

To CNN, Frank said, "John was a hero. He went into a burning plane to save us. He saved my life and my wife's because I know she would have stayed trying to help me."

ELAM (on camera): Do you play that moment over and over again in your head?

MEFFERT: I play out all the what-ifs. The going slower, going faster.

It could have been a different turnout. We just had lots of angels. So I feel very blessed that I was safe and I was able to render care to them.

ELAM (voice-over): An instance of the right place, right time measured in millimeters and seconds.

Stephanie Elam, CNN, Avalon, California.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HILL: It's amazing.

CUOMO: I mean, the story itself is just wacko --

HILL: Right.

CUOMO: -- bizarre, right? I mean, it's something you never expect to see except in a movie.

What I love about men like this hero is he does everything that I would never think to do. I would run -- I would do everything the opposite of what he did, right?

And then you see that there is not some myth of macho, you know. He feels, you know. He's scared --

HILL: Yes.

CUOMO: -- he's worried, you know. He tears up.

That is a human in full --

HILL: Yes.

CUOMO: -- and that's why he is better than I am as a human being. But what a great thing to do to help those people in a moment of

crisis.

HILL: Talk about right place at right time.

CUOMO: Boy, oh boy.

HILL: Remarkable.

We are following a lot of news so let's get to it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's defense team is no longer sharing information with the president's legal team.