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tv   Don Lemon Tonight  CNN  October 27, 2021 12:00am-1:00am PDT

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here's our breaking news tonight. the house committee investigating the january 6th insurrection planning to subpoena john eastman, the lawyer who advised the former president of how to overturn joe biden's victory in the 2020 election. also tonight, negotiations on president biden's social safety net bill at a fever pitch right now. his agenda hanging in the balance as new disagreements threaten a deal between the moderate and progressive demo democrats. the white house wants an agreement before joe biden leaves for europe on thursday. and word tonight that criminal charges are not ruled out in the shooting death of the cinematographer on the set of the alec baldwin movie "rust." joining me now, john harwood and john avlon. good evening to you. john harwood, i've got to get your take on this breaking news. an aide to the january 6th select committee telling cnn they plan to subpoena john eastman, the trump lawyer who drafted ways to overturn the 2020 election. is that significant, and if so,
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how significant is it? >> it's very significant if they can get john eastman to testify and testify truthfully. the problem, of course, is that people close to trump have been attempting to delay, to avoid service, to challenge the right of the committee to compel their testimony. don't know how long they can drag that out, but john eastman was at the center of the effort to thwart the constitution and overturn the will of the american people as expressed in the election last november. we learned from the bob woodward and robert costa book that he came up with this memo and a strategy of trying to get the electoral college to declare a result without some states counting, and then if that proved a problem, then throw it to the house of representatives. it was a crazy scheme. it was ultimately thwarted by mike pence, but it seems to be
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integrally connected to what happened on january 6th. and sussing out what exactly happened on january 6th does, in fact, trace back to the white house, people close to the president, and people like john eastman. we have to figure out how strong those connections are. >> john avlon, i want to turn now to democrats racing to reach a deal on biden's economic agenda. senators manchin and sinema were at the white house tonight. the head of the progressive caucus met with speaker pelosi earlier. negotiations seem to be changing by the minute. how critical do you think are the next 24 hours? >> absolutely critical. i mean the white house has tried to impose another deadline before biden leaves for europe. but they need to pass something soon. you know, you've got elections coming up next week in virginia. you've got the midterms looming. and we're at the place where now we seem to know what some of the bottom lines particularly for senator sinema are, this billionaire's tax as opposed to raising -- and a corporate minimum tax, which are different
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ways to raise revenue to pay for these programs. the white house is doubling down on a fairly generous slice of this bill being directed to the environment. bernie sanders saying, look, some of it's got to cover medicare coverage for hearing and dental. so what everyone's positions are now pretty clear and the question is whether joe biden can draw on the senate and bring everybody to the finish line. democrats need this win. there must be a way to reason together, and it looks like while the devil's always in the details, they're closer than ever. we'll see. >> john harwood, the president hitting the trail tonight for terry mcauliffe. he needs a boost, right, because it's deadlocked in virginia in this governor's race. biden is hammering glenn youngkin for his ties to trump. watch. >> terry's opponent has made all of his private pledges of loyalty to donald trump. but what's really interesting to me, he won't stand next to donald trump now that the
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campaign's on. think about it. he won't allow donald trump to campaign for him in this state, and he's willing to pledge his loyalty to trump in private. why not in public? what's he trying to hide? is there a problem with trump being here? is he embarrassed? >> so is this like -- is he goading trump to weigh in here? what's happening? >> sure, he is. he's obviously frustrated that donald trump hasn't been there. you know, we learned in the california recall that mobilizing democrats against donald trump is not a bad formula when you're not in a presidential election year. and the challenge for democrats in virginia is biden's in a rough patch. politics is increasingly nationalized, so what happens in virginia reflects the national environment. biden's down. they're struggling to pass his agenda. and biden doesn't excite voters
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particularly much. and so what joe biden would like to have and what terry mcauliffe would like to have would be a more active and vibrant presence by donald trump as a boogeyman to get democrats out. it's a very close race. the relative skill of the campaigns at getting their people out and energizing them is going to decide the result, and donald trump is an asset for the democrats that they're not able to exploit as much as they would like. >> yeah. so let's go to the media market there. what's happening, right, john avlon? glenn youngkin releasing this new ad that features a virginia parent. her name is laura murphy, who tried to ban tony morrison's pull itser prize winning novel beloved from her school. >> when my son show med his reading assignment, my heart sunk. it was some of the most explicit material you can imagine. they passed bills requiring
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schools to notify parents when explicit content was assigned. but then governor terry mcauliffe vetoed it twice. he doesn't think parents should have a say. he said that. he shut us out. >> so, yeah. >> i mean, look, "beloved"? i mean there's been a movie about "beloved." the book is -- you know, toni morrison is a pulitzer prize winner. >> a nobel prize winner. >> this is a book about slavery. the truth is explicit. huckleberry finn, the n-word is in there. i don't know what's going on. >> sure you do know what's going on. look, not for nothing, the name "beloved" and toni morrison are never mentioned. neither is the fact that it was assigned to her son almost a decade ago in an a.p. senior english class. if it's rough stuff, it's because the horrors of slavery are real as well. this is literature. it's not trash. but it's designed to make people
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afraid, and it draws on this -- you know, crt panic and its associated stuff. this, i think, could create a blowback because i think once people realize what they're actually talking about, you know, toni morrison, "beloved," in a senior english class? it doesn't ring true, but it's about the culture war wedge issues that republicans think they can win on as long as they walk that line, distance themselves from donald trump in public and playing the culture war card, which can resonate with a lot of swing voters. so we'll see. terry mcauliffe always runs like he's behind. the problem is 10 out of the last 11 elections, the virginia governor's race goes from the opposition party to the president who is just elected. so it's an uphill climb. but this is a little bit of a desperate play. it's a culture war play. we'll see if voters see it for what it is. >> a senior in high school. >> don, also it just so happens that that kid who was so traumatized by toni morrison's
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pulitzer prize winning novel happens to have grown up to a national republican committee. >> he got over it. >> i guess, you know, they want "fun with dick and jane." see dick run. run, dick, run. hey, that's -- i mean, come on, people. >> snowflake, anyone? >> oh, my gosh, talk about snowflakes. imagine, imagine how the kids of color feel when they have to read stuff about slavery. okay. bye-bye. see you guys. thank you. >> take care, don. lawmakers huddling tonight on capitol hill with democrats under mounting pressure to get something passed. details still being worked out on key sticking points. they include medicare expansion and support for families. i want to bring in democratic congressman ro khanna. congressman, thank you. here we are. good evening. senators manchin and sinema at the white house tonight to
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negotiate on biden's agenda. there's also frantic energy to cut a deal on capitol hill. but there's still some details that need to be finalized. we see that. do you feel any closer to an agreement tonight? >> don, i do. we had a meeting with the progressive caucus executive board this evening. it ran late, and everyone there wants a deal. >> how soon? >> i think it's possible to have a deal this week. the key is that we need some of the priorities in there, the medicare expansion. that is a huge issue for senator sanders, for many progressives. making sure that we have robust climate provisions. but there's a willingness to compromise. there's an understanding that we need a deal this week. >> okay. i had larry sabato on last night, and he said the democrats as a whole, meaning in washington, didn't understand how this is being perceived around the country and that the sort of nitpicking and infighting wasn't helping,
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especially virginia, not helping the midterm, not helping other folks who may be up for election, and that the democrats don't see the big picture. they don't see the forest for the trees. do you understand what he's saying? do you agree with that? >> i agree that the infighting hasn't helped. but the forest here are the american people. are we going to actually get them child care? are we going to actually get universal preschool? are we actually going to get seniors, the dental, the vision, the hearing that we've promised? so we're not going to say, okay, we're not going to have any fights, but we're just going to foresake the american people and forget our campaign promises. but i agree the time has come to compromise, get it done and deliver on as much as the agenda as we can. >> so speaker nancy pelosi met with progressive caucus chair pramila jayapal today, but there's still disagreement over whether a framework on spending is enough to have a vote on infrastructure. listen to this.
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>> what we've said consistently and we've been really clear about this is we want to vote both bills. we're willing to, if there's agreement on the senate moving forward and the president has an ironclad commitment from all 50 senators, we will vote both of them out of the house. >> congresswoman jayapal just said that a framework agreement is not enough to vote for the -- >> i think it is. >> so are the progressives echoing the need for a firm commitment. where do you stand? >> i think this is a lot of conflict over proceduralism. here's what i think will happen. there will be a deal announced. we'll all go to the white house, those who are invited. i don't know if i'll be invited, but we'll go to the white house. we'll see we have a deal. that is i think what the message will be. it takes a week to write the language into a bill to get a vote. but the key in my view is the president before he goes to glasgow needs a deal on the climate provisions, and he will have that as long as we can come
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to an agreement. i think that's what's going to matter to the american people, not whether the vote is in a week from now or two weeks from now. that depends on how long it's going to take to put it into text. what i want is a win behind the president. >> you said, you know, you kind of chuckled and said, i don't know if i'll be invited. but the thing is would you like to be invited, and what would you say if you do go or if you had the opportunity? >> well, i've been fortunate to be invited to two meetings with the president, and i would go and say, this is an historic achievement, that the president has really done something extraordinary to deliver this much for working americans with only 50 votes in the senate and only a three-seat house majority. and he's delivered because of his experience. and when i've seen him in these small groups, he's on top of all the details. he's engaged. he knows what every lawmaker wants. he's actually a very impressive legislator, and he will deserve a lot of credit for getting this done. >> congressman ro khanna, thank you. i appreciate your time. >> thank you.
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one comment on toni morrison because i'm so outraged by that. what, are they going to ban melville next and faulkner and hawthorne? it's such anti-intellectualism. toni morrison is one of the great american authors. they're the ones going after our heroes. i just had to get that in. >> i'm glad you said that. do you understand that message, though, congressman, since you brought that up? that message seems to be working. obviously it's penetrating. look at youngkin, his standing in the polls, and he is running on that message. >> i mean i think when people see the facts that they're going after toni morrison, i read one of her novels in seventh grade, and it so inspired me. she is literally one of the great american writers. forget whether she's black, white, anything. she's just a brilliant writer. and for all of the republican rhetoric, don't go after our heroes, don't knock down our statues, i mean that's what they're doing. they're taking out one of the great writers. we just need to get the facts out there, and i think most americans aren't that anti-intellectual, and they will really resent going after a
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nobel prize winner who people have described as just one of the great writers of world literature. >> congressman, thank you. appreciate it. >> thank you. more breaking news tonight. word that criminal charges have not been ruled out in the death of cinematographer halyna hutchins, who was shot by alec baldwin on the set of the movie "rust" in new mexico. the santa fe district attorney telling cnn the incident remains under active investigation. we're learning that the autopsy for hutchins could take weeks. the state medical examiner's office saying it won't release information about the projectile that killed her until the autopsy report is final. more tonight from cnn's lucy kafanov. >> reporter: this may be the last image of 42-year-old halyna hutchins alive, on-set with alec baldwin while filming the movie "rust," posted on social media by a crew member. filming now halted indefinitely according to a letter from the production team obtained by cnn as chilling details emerge about what may have happened in the
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hours leading to the fatal shooting. >> two people accidentally shot on a movie set by a prop gun. we need help immediately. >> reporter: one of the actors on rust, ian hudson, opening up about frightening moments on-set. >> when the rounds were released, when they shot at me, i actually did feel the blanks hitting my face and my body, and i could feel the wind from the shotgun, you know, being discharged. it was heavy. it was strong, and i would talk to my fellow cast members afterwards, and we all agreed how intense that was and how scary and real it was. >> reporter: this as the wrap, citing a source with knowledge of the set, reporting that hours before the cinematographer was killed, some crew members used guns with live ammunition for target practice to pass the time. >> there's this pastime that crew members sometimes do.
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it's called plinking, and they go out into the rural areas and shoot at beer cans. this is with live ammunition. >> reporter: cnn has not been able to confirm the report. in a statement, the producers of "rust" said they were not made aware of any official complaints concerning weapon or prop safety on-set and will be conducting an internal review of procedures while production is shut down. according to the report, run of the guns used was later handed 20 actor alec baldwin who was rehearsing for a scene. court documents obtained by cnn show ammunition was found on the set and seized by the santa fe county sheriff's office. authorities seized three revolvers, nine spent shell casings, ammo and 14 swabs of suspected blood. court documents don't reveal the type of ammunition, whether it was live or blanks. according to an affidavit for a search warrant, dave halls, the assistant director of the film, grabbed one of three prop guns that were prepared by the film's armorer, hannah gutierrez. >> live ammo has no place on a motion picture or television studio set. it has no place on a set
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anywhere at any time. >> reporter: neither halls nor gutierrez responded to a cnn request for comment. a veteran prop master tells the "l.a. times" he turned down a job on the movie "rust," saying the film was an accident waiting to happen. neil zoromski speaking to nbc news this morning. >> i turned the job opportunity down on "rust" because i felt it was completely unsafe. i impressed upon them that there were great concerns about that, and they really -- didn't really respond to my concerns about that. >> reporter: lucy kafanov, cnn, santa fe, new mexico. >> lucy, thank you very much. we've got a lot more to come on this. who's responsible for what happened to halyna hutchins on the set of alec baldwin's movie, and what has to change to make sure nothing like this ever happens again. rapid wrinkle repair® smooths the look of fine lines in 1-week, deep wrinkles in 4. so you can kiss wrinkles goodbye! neutrogena® i had to start looking into loans. within two days of me contacting opploans
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cinematographer halyna hutchins on the set of alec baldwin's movie "rust," saying the incident remains under active investigation. nischelle, thank you for joining us again on this very important story. one of the crew members from "rust" posted what he says is the last photo of halyna hutchins alive. you can see her in the pom pom hat right near the camera. we have the arrow right there. take us through what you're seeing in this picture. what do you know about it? >> well, basically it's showing either, you know, a rehearsal of a scene. we see alec baldwin in the picture as well. we believe the director, joel souza, also in this photo. we see some sort of rehearsal or some sort of scene about to be shot. it does look like there is yet another person that's interacting with alec, and i don't know who that person is. we don't know when this photo was taken, but, yes, that crew member does say that they believe this is the last photo
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taken of halyna hutchins alive. but, yeah, it just looks like a typical day on-set, which we know that, you know, last week, it was anything but typical. >> yeah. court documents are revealing that there was, nischelle, ammunition lying around the set. last night sharon waxman from told us they are reporting crew members were shooting at targets the morning halyna was shot. >> right. >> what does that all say to you about how this set was being managed? >> well, if that is, in fact, the case, what it's saying is the set was being mismanaged. i have talked to so many people in this business that work on procedural dramas, cop dramas, tv shows, movies, and they have all said the same thing. there is no reason for live ammunition to be on a set. there's just no reason for it. and no one has ever said anything different.
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so if, in fact, this is the case that these weapons are being used for plinking and for target practice and there was some sort of mishap where the gun wasn't emptied properly and there was live ammunition left there, i cannot even imagine the neglect there. but, you know, don, we have obtained at "entertainment tonight," a new letter from the "rust" production team to its crew members tonight saying they have hired an outside legal team to come in and conduct an investigation along with the osha investigation that's going on. they did indicate to the crew they believe that it's too soon to really be discussing, you know, their feeling is that. but they do know they need to get this information sooner rather than later. so this outside firm, jenner and block, is going to be doing an investigation along with them to see what they turn up, and they said their findings, they're going to abide by this company's findings. >> so "rust" has hired an
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outside investigating team to do its own independent investigation? >> absolutely. >> news from nischelle turner at "entertainment tonight." i want to play this interview from one of the actors from tmz and get your response to it. here it is. >> as a new actor, you know, i don't want to cause trouble. i don't want to, you know, make an issue about things. i just want to do as well as i can and get the footage that they want. so i held my tongue for a lot of it. but some of the other actors who had worked on a lot more sets than i have as principal characters, they were double and triple-checking our weapons after the armorer gave them to us, whether they were cold or hot. >> look, he also feels -- he said that he could feel blanks hitting his face and chest when
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he was shot at in some of the scenes. can you speak to the pressure that this unsafe environment puts on people? feeling thankful that he's got a big break, right? but a lot of them may be too sq scared to speak of. >> this was an independent film. it was not attached to a studio yet, but it had names. alec baldwin. frances fisher. so there were working actors on this movie. so you can understand if there's a young actor that gets a break, they just want to try to make a name in this business, and they might be quiet to a lot of things that some other more experienced veteran actors should speak to. i have not heard any of those other actors really speak to that. we've heard crew members talk about walking out. we've heard crew members talk about environments that they believe are unsafe. but we have not heard any other actors. that's shocking. i hadn't heard that sound, don,
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and that's shocking if, in fact, that is the case, that this actor was in these situations and in these scenes like this and felt that unsafe on this project. >> nischelle turner, always appreciate having you and your perspective. also thank you for the news about the letter that you guys got. thank you so much. >> sure. take this. so the man allegedly shot by kyle rittenhouse in kenosha, we, can't be called victims in the upcoming trial. that is according to judge bruce schroeder. but calling them rioters and looters, that apparently is just fine with the judge. >> let the evidence show what the evidence shows, and if the evidence shows that any or more than one of these people were engaged in arson, rioting, or looting, then i'm not going to tell the defense they can't call them that. >> so the judge laying out the ground rules in a pretrial
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hearing monday. prosecutors understandably pushed back. schroeder offered this defense. >> the word "victim" is a loaded word. i think "alleged victim" is a cousin to it. >> so "victim" is a loaded word but "rioter" and "looter," not loaded? judge schroeder says it is a long held belief of his that attorneys avoid the word "victim." but the choice of what can and can't be said at trial really raising some eyebrows. rittenhouse faces charges that he killed anthony m. huber and joseph rosenbaum and wounded gage grosscroots during protests that followed the shooting of jacob blake in wisconsin. two people are dead here, so why can't the prosecution call them
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victims? the question is where is the justice in that? ultimately, it will be up to a jury to decide and select begins on november 1st. the former president's covid coordinator testifying today, saying that he put elections above people's health to the detriment of some 130,000 lives. stay with us. with letsgetchecked, you can. it's virtual care with home health testing and more. all from the comfort of... here. letsgetchecked. care can be this good. tony here from taking to the streets to talk about credit. can you repair your credit yourself? yes. -great. how? uhhh.. how long does credit repair take? i don't know, like 10 years. what? are you insane? what's a good credit score? go. 600. maybe if you're trying to pay thousands extra in interest rates. cut the confusion, get started with a free credit evaluation
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and is proven to help relieve overall abdominal symptoms belly pain,discomfort, and bloating. do not give linzess to children less than six and it should not be given to children six to less than 18, it may harm them. do not take linzess if you have a bowel blockage. get immediate help if you develop unusual or severe stomach pain, especially with bloody or black stools. the most common side effect is diarrhea, sometimes severe. if it's severe, stop taking linzess and call your doctor right away. other side effects include gas, stomach area pain, and swelling. could your story also be about ibs-c? talk to your doctor and say yess to linzess. dr. deborah birx, the former president's coronavirus response coordinator was asked today by the subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis whether he did everything in his power to
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slow the spread and save lives. her answer an unequivocal no. joining me now, andy slavitt, the author of "preventable: the in in inside story." andy, thank you. so good to see you. dr. birx told the committee that 130,000 lives could have been saved if the trump administration had implemented measures like mask mandates, increased testing, and reduced indoor dining and family gatherings. where would we be today if the trump white house simply listened to the science? >> well, many more people would be alive today. i think she's right about that. and it wouldn't have been asking a lot of the president. what he would have had to do was, number one, tell the public the truth as soon as he knew it. if he'd warned people in january as soon as he knew that a deadly pandemic was coming, many more people could have been prepared. if he'd worn a mask and if he'd listened to his scientists and
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not fired the scientists or diminished the scientists like birx who were trying to, in fact, reduce the spread, a lot of lives would have been saved. so it's really a tragedy of 2020. >> well, birx also testified in the fall of 2020 that white house officials' narrow focus on re-election distracted them from the pandemic. trump was focused on the big lie. what did losing this time mean for the overall fight against covid? i mean that was a very critical time. >> well, i'll give you one example. jared kushner said to me in the book that you referred to, "prev "preventable," that the president was going to take credit for opening up the economy in april, and then he was going to leave it to the governors to take the blame if and when things went poorly. and as far as i was concerned, when he told me that -- and i'm sure that birx was aware of this
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as well, having talked to her -- at that point in time, he was pretty much washing his hands of the pandemic and saying that anything bad that happened wasn't his fault. as you look through that summer and that fall, he hardly paid the pandemic any attention, including when he, himself, got sick. so it really was usurping, just giving up his responsibility that he'd been elected to just protect the american public. >> the fda's vaccine advisory board voted 17-0 with one abstention to recommend emergency use authorization for pfizer's covid vaccine for children 5 to 11 years old. the fda is expected to take up that recommendation. and this means that as soon as next week, around 28 million kids ages 5 to 11 could be eligible. vaccinating kids that age, is that the last hurdle to get out of this pandemic? >> i don't know if it's the last hurdle, but it's a day that we've been waiting for for a long, long time. many, many parents are going to
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be excited to do this. one of the big differences between this vaccine delivery and the delivery of vaccines to adults is that 25,000 pediatricians, most of the pediatricians in the country, will be able to administer those vaccines and, importantly, answer questions that we know parents have. we know many parents are eager to vaccinate their kids and many kids are going to get vaccinated. others have questions, legitimately so. they want to understand the risks. they want to understand the benefits. and they should ask away. only they should not ask of facebook. they should ask of their pediatricians. >> i'm wondering if you're worried about vaccine hesitancy for that age group. this is a poll from the kaiser family foundation. it shows that around a third of parents of 5 to 11-year-old kids will vaccinate their kids as soon as it becomes available. >> yeah. well, look, when it comes to our kids, we want to be understandably cautious. many people are willing to vaccinate themselves with a little less information, but
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they want to make sure they understand the risk benefits. parents have the simple question, is the benefit of giving this vaccine reducing the long-term side effects, reducing the risk of hospitalization worth whatever risk we're taking? and there are very rare side effects. so it's important that parents understand the full picture, that they get to ask those questions. i'm okay with the fact that only a third of the people have gotten those questions answered so far. what i do hope is that the other two-thirds seeks answers to those questions from reliable places. pediatricians are used to answering those types of questions, giving those vaccines out, and i think they'll find that the evidence suggests that under almost every circumstance, it makes sense to vaccinate their kids. >> let me get your reaction to this. it's in massachusetts. hopkinton high school is going to drop their mask mandate for a three-week trial period for vaccinated students and staff. they're able to do it because of overall vaccinate rate in their schools, like 80%, right, or
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more? is that a good idea? >> well, look, we'll find out in three weeks. and i don't mind to be flip about it. but as cases drop, we are going to be able to relax some of our precautions. now, when exactly to relax those precautions is really a tough judgment call, and i think that, you know, the school ought to be prepared that if the kids are vaccinated and they do see a rise in cases, to make an adjustment. but i think it sounds like a calculated decision. i don't know more about it. but hopefully, you know, we will be seeing continued progress. they'll be monitoring it closely. >> andy slavitt, thank you. appreciate it. i'll see you soon. a 25-year-old studying to become a doctor disappears. it takes weeks to identify his body, and even longer to determine his cause of death. but now his family is questioning everything. cnn looks into jelani day's death next.
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i would've called yesterday. but... i could've called yesterday. but... i should've called yesterday, but...
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would've, could've, should've. we hear that a lot. hi. i'm jonathan, an insurance professional and manager here at colonial penn life insurance company. sometimes, people put off calling about life insurance. before you know it, another year has passed. and when they do call, they say, "i wish i'd called sooner." call right now for free information on the $9.95 plan. are you between age 50 and 85? you can get whole life insurance with options starting at just $9.95 a month. do i have to answer health questions to get it? there are no health questions. you cannot be turned down for any health reason, past or present. how long does this policy last? our $9.95 plan is permanent protection. can my rate increase later? never. once you're insured, your rate is locked in for life. you can get whole life insurance with options starting at just $9.95 a month. have you thought about life insurance
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tonight the family of jelani day calling on the fbi and the justice department to investigate his death. the body of the 25-year-old grad student was found floating in the illinois river in early september. yesterday a coroner ruled his cause of death as drowning but said that how day went into the river is unknown. his family does not accept any suggestion that jelani day died by suicide. more on this story now from cnn's omar jimenez. >> keep hope alive! >> reporter: it's a call for answers that are far outweighed by questions in the case of jelani day. the la salle county coroner ruling his death a drowning but
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also writing it's still unknown how he got in the river. >> the coroner's report yesterday was an insult to our situation. it assumed there was a kind of suicide plan. >> reporter: reverend jesse jackson was among those in peru, illinois, tuesday, rallying and driving in a processional to raise awareness to demand answers and that federal authorities get more involved. jelani day was last seen on august 24th at a retail store in bloomington, illinois, about 130 miles from chicago. almost 70 miles north is peru, illinois, where his vehicle was found just two days later. from the road, it looks like a dead end. you can still see the remnants of when jelani day's vehicle came through here. plants knocked on their sides. the question, though, is whether he was driving the vehicle when it did. authorities found his car just down this path and off to the left side according to the former attorney for the family. the thing about this location, though, is it isn't in the middle of nowhere.
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it's got a ymca on one side, and it's surrounded by homes. jelani day's body was found about a week afterward, just about a mile away off the bank of the illinois river east of the route 251 bridge. his body wouldn't be officially identified until nearly a month later. but around when the body was found, his wallet was discovered about a mile and a half away from the water. still a half mile from the vehicle with a lanyard of his and some clothes found in separate locations as well according to the peru police department. his mother says none of it adds up and that this wasn't an area he was familiar with. >> that he would come all the way -- >> that he would come all the way here, there is plenty of bodies of water in bloomington. we're in peru, a town that jelani doesn't have any friends, no ties to. his car was parked in a wooded area that you wouldn't even know
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how to get to had you not heard about this. >> reporter: when jelani day's body was found in the river, his organs were completely liquid according to the former family attorney after over a week of significant deterioration in the river. the coroner's report said there was no evidence of injury prior to death, including strangulation or assault. >> he doesn't have any skin to determine bruising, so none of this makes sense. you want to tell me that there's no physical trauma done to my child? do i accept that they tell me this is my son? i accept it, but i still need to know why my son is not here anymore because somebody knows. >> reporter: the peru police department writing to cnn in part, there are hundreds of hours of video to look through, numerous follow-ups to conduct. the members of the unit are working tirelessly to find out what happened to jelani day. but not fast enough for a mother left searching for answers.
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>> would you believe that somebody with common sense would come over to peru to do something to themselves? so see it with their own eyes. see why i'm so adamant about finding out what happened to my son. >> cnn's omar jimenez is here now. jelani day's mother says the coroner's report is an insult. so what are they doing about it? omar will tell us next. and get back to your rhythm. feel the power. beat the symptoms fast.
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we have more now on the family of jelani day calling on the fbi and doj to investigate the death of the graduate student. back with me now, cnn's omar jimenez. the question, there are calls for a federal investigation into jelani day's death, right? >> reporter: yeah, don. and those calls are coming from a number of fronts. we heard them today from the family of course, from reverend
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jesse jackson and most recently from congressman bobby rush, who specifically called on attorney general merrick garland and fbi director chris wray to launch a federal investigation into the disappearance and death of jelani day. i want to read a little of the letter that congressman rush sent to attorney general garland and director wray, and he described it as a letter of grave concern and compared it to emmett till saying, as i learn the details of day's case, i was reminded of the lynching of emmett till, whose body was found floating in a river in 1955 and still, decades later, no one has been held legally accountable for his death. of course jelani day was found floating in the illinois river, and his family is asking for accountability. i should mention the fbi did tell me today that they are in contact with the peru police department, providing support when asked for it, don. >> we heard from jelani's mother, carmen day, in your reporting, omar. she says that the county's
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autopsy was insulting. are there other autopsies being performed? >> reporter: yes. so as we understand from carmen and the family, there are at least two other autopsies being performed. both of them hired by the family. when i asked her why a third one, she told me something that some people might find a little disheartening. she said, well, she just didn't know what to believe at points. she's felt like she's lost so much faith in a lot of these systems and that this investigation has been playing out at too slow of a pace for her to get reliable answers. and that's really the spirit of this investigation. carmen, the mother, feels like she is the one that's propelling this investigation forward when she feels like it should be the police departments, the federal government, and others that should be pushing with this investigation forward, don. >> omar him eneneasy, we appreciate that. we'll continue to follow. thanks so much. and thank you for watching, everyone. our coverage continues.
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how long does this policy last? our $9.95 plan is permanent protection. can my rate increase later? never. once you're insured, your rate is locked in for life. you can get whole life insurance with options starting at just $9.95 a month. have you thought about life insurance but put it off? don't regret what you didn't do yesterday. call now and feel great about saying yes today. (announcer) call now and you'll also get this free beneficiary planner.
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to our viewers joining us in the united states and right around the world, i'm isa soares in london. just ahead right here on "cnn newsroom." >> copvid-19 is a very bad acto in children. that's why we need it. >> with the vaccine so many children will be able to presume pre-pandemic life. >> children 5 to 11 seeing the benefits of the pfizer shot outweigh the risks. it i


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