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Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons, Trump's trade war, and what to binge watch this holiday: The Morning Rundown

Winter storm woes cause holiday travel chaos and threaten to ground Macy's famous balloons.
Image: The Ronald McDonald balloon is kept under a net during the inflation process
Will high winds ground Ronald McDonald during Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade? Eduardo Munoz Alvarez / Getty Images

Good morning NBC News readers.

Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you’ve made it wherever you need to be and that you have a wonderful day with family and friends.

Here’s the scoop on what’s happening today so you can get back to enjoying the day.

Watching the weather: ‘Fingers crossed’ Macy’s parade balloons fly

Winter storms continued to cause holiday headaches across a large part of the country on Thursday, with the National Weather Service warning of a "cornucopia of hazards" from Thanksgiving through the weekend.

Snow in the West and Midwest ahead of the holiday caused hundreds of flight cancellations and stranded cars on a highway linking Northern California and Oregon for hours.

And Thursday isn’t expected to be much better.

"Thanksgiving 2019 will be remembered as a stormy day for many in the West," the service warned.

In New York City, high winds were threatening to stop the famous balloons from flying in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Organizers said it will be a “game-day decision” that will be made Thursday morning.

"I'm keeping my fingers crossed," Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday, adding that the New York City Police Department and the office of emergency management would make the call Thursday morning.

We apologize, this video has expired.

Special Report: Trump’s trade war squeezes the juice out of Maine’s blueberry biz

Not all crops are created equal.

Maine’s iconic and endangered wild blueberry business did not get a trade-war bailout from the Trump administration — although cranberry farmers did.

The trade war’s financial impact on Greg Bridges, a third-generation wild blueberry farmer in Calais, Maine, has been devastating.

“It’s very disheartening when you put your heart and soul into something that’s basically ruined because of trade politics,” Bridges told NBC News.

Greg Bridges shows the difference in the pigment left on his hands from wild blueberries, top, and cultivated blueberries. Wild blueberries have two times the antioxidants and a lot of that is found in the pigment.SARAH RICE / for NBC News

Trump says he didn’t direct Giuliani’s Ukraine efforts. Witnesses say otherwise.

President Donald Trump claimed during an interview with former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly on Tuesday that he did not direct his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to have Ukraine dig up dirt on his political rivals.

"No, I didn't direct him but he's a warrior, Rudy's a warrior,” Trump said.

Asked by O’Reilly what Giuliani was doing in Ukraine on Trump's behalf, the president said: "You have to ask that to Rudy, but Rudy, I don't, I don't even know.”

However, the president’s comments contradict public testimony in the impeachment inquiry from multiple senior diplomats who portrayed Giuliani as the driver behind Trump’s pressure campaign to get Ukraine to investigate the Bidens and the 2016 U.S. election.

Meantime, Giuliani called the president this week to reassure him that he had been joking when he told media outlets he had “insurance” if Trump turned on him in the Ukraine scandal, Giuliani’s lawyer said on Wednesday.

The attorney, Robert Costello, said he insisted his client call the president to emphasize that he had not been serious when he made the comments.

“He shouldn’t joke, he is not a funny guy,” Costello told Reuters.


THINK about it

Thanksgiving dinner conversations about politics can be tense, but history reminds us we're not near civil war, Bill Rivers, a speechwriter for former U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis, writes in an opinion piece.

One fun thing

Thanksgiving weekend can be exhausting. Whether you're traveling, cooking, hosting or a combination of all the above, it can take a lot out of you.

Here are the best TV shows to binge watch once you get some time on the couch.

"The One With All the Thanksgivings," "Friends" Thanksgiving-themed episodes. NBC

Thanks for reading and now go and enjoy the holiday!

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Thanks, Petra