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tv   Erin Burnett Out Front  CNN  January 5, 2022 4:00pm-5:00pm PST

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8:45 eastern to anchor cnn's special live coverage when president biden marks the one-year anniversary of the january 6th assault on the u.s. capitol. the white house says the president will be blunt -- blunt -- in blaming trump. until then, thanks for watching. "erin burnett outfront" starts right now. out front next. the attorney general vowing tonight to go after anyone responsible for the january 6th insurrection. does that include the former president donald trump? plus, the nation's largest medical organization slamming the cdc and its new guidance on isolating after testing positive for covid. they say it could put more people at risk. and a tennis superstar, the world's top-ranked player who says he is opposed to vaccinations, tonight, after landing in australia turned away. no longer allowed to enter. let's go out front.
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good evening, i'm erin burnett. out front tonight, whatever it takes. attorney general merrick garland breaking his silence tonight and making a promise on the eve of january 6th, defending his investigation into the deadly insurrection. >> we understand that there are questions about how long the investigation will take and about what exactly we are doing. our answer is and will continue to be the same answer we would give to -- with respect to any ongoing investigation. as long as it takes and whatever it takes for justice to be done, consistent with the facts and the law. >> this investigation is the largest in fbi history. and it has been slow going. it's taken a year for more than 700 people to have been arrested and the doj still doesn't know where 350 more of them are. most of those 350, seen on video
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committing crimes that day. but they don't know where those people are, a year later. 350 manhunts, at least, still ongoing. and that jarringly large number may be just the tip of the iceberg. >> the justice department remains committed to holding all january 6th perpetrators, at any level, accountable under law whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy. >> it's pretty sig thinnificant right? present that day or not. the unsaid crucial extra words and garland says he is going to hold everyone accountable. so does that mean elected officials who fanned the flames by lying about the election? >> we know that this -- this has really been a stolen election. >> in an election that was stolen as a consequence of illegal last-minute changes to the rules. >> i don't know how you can ever
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convince me president trump didn't actually win this thing based on all the things you see. >> and what about, you know, the biggest fish of them all, trump? and those who whipped up the crowd in the days leading up to on the very day that the crowd stormed the capitol? >> i was the person who came up with the january 6th idea. >> i don't know how this is going to end but if they want a fight, they better believe they've got one. >> all hell is going to break loose tomorrow. >> and we are going to the capitol. we're going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country. >> let's have trial by combat. >> we're coming for you, and we're going to have a good time doing it. >> today is the day american patriots start taking down names and kicking ass! >> according to garland, everyone will be held
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accountable. now, the attorney general was clear he doesn't want anyone tipping the scales of justice, no matter how slowly they turn. something president biden has tiptoed dangerously close to when talking about january 6th. for example, he directly said, quote, i do, when asked if the doj should prosecute people who defy the congressional committee's investigation. and tonight, president biden is taking a clear stand on accountability. listen to the white house press secretary when asked what biden is expected to say on the anniversary tomorrow. . >> i would expect president biden will lay out the significance of what happened at the capitol and the singular responsibility president trump has for the chaos and carnage that we saw. >> jessica schneider begins our coverage tonight out front live in washington. so, you know, jessica, garland has been, you know, mostly silent, not talking at all about this. and yet, on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the insurrection, he spoke out, defended his investigation, detailed it. how different is this from what we've heard from him before?
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>> he sort of alluded to it, erin. you know, this was really a much more forceful attorney general than we have heard in previous public remarks and it is really the first time merrick garland is revealing that the justice department could, in fact, go after the former president or his allies who spread those false election fraud claims. and stoked those flames that led to the insurrection. now, to be sure, the attorney general did speak very carefully. he didn't reveal any details about possible ongoing investigations or who investigators might be looking at. but his comments basically amounted to, look, be patient. our investigators are looking at this and there could be more to come here. you know, this was essentially garland pushing back on all of his critics who had said maybe the doj isn't moving fast enough or maybe the doj isn't targeting the right people. the attorney general pushed back on that, and he touted a lot of the statistics here, erin, from the investigation. he talked about the fact that 700 -- more than 700 people have
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been reacted so far. a number of them have been prosecuted. saying they have had 145 defendants plead guilty and said those people who pleaded guilty so far, mostly to misdemeanors, saying that's the prosecutorial resources could be conserved so they could eventually focus on more serious perpetrators here. erin, at the end here, garland said the actions we have taken, thus far, will not be our last. and that was really the final words from this attorney general saying that more will come but they are going to do it in their own way, way that he always says they will do it, adhering to the facts and law here, erin. but more to come that's for sure. >> interesting, of course, for people who were there or not there that day. i mean, obviously, not saying he is saying anything specific there but as you point out, there isn't a single word that was said that wasn't said without purpose today. and so, those stand out as well. thank you so much, jessica. covering this. i want to go to donald ayer, now, former deputy attorney general under president george h.w. bush and elie honig.
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so, don, let me start with you because you have raised the alarm about the justice department. it was concerned that they don't appear to be investigating trump or other high-level officials for their roles in the insurrection. so today, you hear the attorney general say that he, quote, remains committed to holding all january 6th perpetrators at any level accountable under law, whether they were present that day or were, otherwise, criminally responsible. in the context of every word in that prepared statement being chosen with such care and specificity, did garland reassure you today or not? >> he did. he did. i thought it was a very strong statement, and i thought he was really clear, and you -- you played back the key parts of it. they're basically looking hard and going to put all the resources necessary into investigating, at every level up to the top and ultimately the judgment that's got to be made is going to have to be, as he said, a judgment based on the
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facts that they are able to develop. um, i think there -- there is an important background to this that is -- i think one has to grasp to answer the question why are we only hearing this now? and i think a part of the answer is that when he came into office -- attorney general garland -- based the experience of the trump administration, particularly under attorney general barr, where he had abused the processes of the department very greatly by misusing the department for political reasons. his job, one, coming in was to restore trust by restoring the practices of the department, which include, generally speaking, not commenting at all on investigations. so, we really haven't heard very much from him about this investigation up until now, and it's not surprising, in general, that we wouldn't. i think a lot of us were of the
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view six or seven months ago that it was really a tough call, whether it would be wise in terms of the national harmony and everything else to consider a prosecution of former president. and i think where all of us are now is that there is a great sense of urgency and i think he captured it today. there is a great sense of urgency in achieving accountability and an accountability that goes, if possible, all the way to the top or at least as far as you can get. >> so obviously, it is an optimistic and positive view of what you heard. elie, i feel like you heard something a little bit different? >> yeah, erin, if i would have heard this speech today when merrick garland took office in march of 2021, ten months ago, i would have said great. he said all the right things. he gave some important aggressive signals that you pointed out earlier in the show. however, the problem is we are now a year out from january 6th. we're ten months out from merrick garland taking office and the actions have not matched that rhetoric.
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and i want to be specific here. two things. first of all, of those 700 cases the doj has prosecuted, they have come in light and don't take it from me. three different federal judges, obama appointees and trump appointee in d.c. have criticized doj for being quote schizophrenic for taking a quote backwardly lenient approach to these cases. number one. number two is i have seen no indicators that merrick garland is meaningfully going after the real power sources here. no subpoenas aimed at those people. no grand jury impaneled to go after those people. certainly, no charges aimed at those people and nobody in position really to flip at that level of power. so, words are great. words matter. but action matters more to me and i am not seeing that. >> so, don, let me ask about that because the pace of the investigation has been slow, right? we talk about 350 people on camera committing vie olent offenses against the government they still haven't found. just one dpachl. but they have gotten a lot of stuff, right? let me go through what i have.
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5,000 subpoenas and search warrants. 2,000 devices have been seized. 20,000 hours of video footage have been gone through. and yet, no subpoenas or any witnesses that we have heard about against trump or anyone high up in that inner circle. does that worry you, donald? >> well, i think it -- it -- i think it's -- it's probably the case because we probably would have heard, had there been such subpoenas, that they had in fact been issued. we don't know that for sure but there has been an enormous amount of work, um, in the cases that they've had now. i think i agree with elie that it would, in hindsight now, have been better if they had gotten started sooner on focusing on the people at the top. and i -- again, i say that not really knowing because we have no right to know and no way to know just what's been going on. but i think we wrote that in "the new york times" column thatwe did that it didn't seem that was
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happening. what i take heart in now is this attorney general, who i know a little bit myself, personally, and i know him to be a person of great integrity. and he is now told us, in no uncertain terms, what his commitment is. and i take him at his word. and i think we are going to be seeing things. i think you're right. i think, elie, we have to look and see what does happen now? but i am optimistic that things are going to be happening now because he's told us, in no uncertain terms, and he is not a man who would lie. >> no, i mean, elie, i guess what i am saying is how much do you read into, um, you know, holding anyone accountable whether they were there or not? you know, whether they were violent or not? right, i mean, it almost sounds like you know, you read between the lines, he is saying don't worry, there are -- i am going to be holding people accountable who weren't actually smashing windows. >> yeah. i think that's the signal he is trying do to give us but again, i have seen no indication that he is going that way and i think it's important to say this. i take no question about merrick garland's integrity.
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he has done a good job restoring doj's truthfulness and integrity. he is a very accomplished prosecutor and judge. i think, however, the problem is the good thing merrick garland is doing is he is keeping politics out of prosecution. that is so key and that is a reversal from what was happening under donald trump and william barr. however, i think he is too timid act act any case, even if it needs to be brought if there might be any political implication whatsoever. and if you are too timid about that, you are not doing your job. >> no and in this case, right, it gets to the heart of the entire thing, right, the political process. both, i thank you so much for your perspective. and next, a grim new prediction tonight from the cdc now forecasting up to 84,000 people dying from covid in the next four weeks. and we are in 2022, so once omicron burns through the u.s., are we done with the deadly disease or no? plus, breaking news. chicago's mayor and ceo of the city's public schools are about to speak live. the mayor wants those schools back open. the powerful teachers union has voted to keep them closed.
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the crosshairs because today the american medical association blasting the cdc and its decision to not require a negative test in its updated guidance on isolating after covid infection. the ama saying in a statement, quote, the new recommendations on quarantine and isolation are not only confusing but are risking further spread of the virus. out front now, dr. ashish jha, dean of brown university's school of public health and dr. robert wok ter, chair of the university of california san francisco department of medicine. always appreciate having both you on and bef a lot to talk about. so, dr. jha, let me start with you. the american medical association slamming the cdc in a press release, publicly, is a big deal, right? it's a -- it's a direct shot. are they right? >> yeah, thanks for having me back. you know, i -- i think the cdc guidance is confusing and i have been very, very clear from -- for many, many weeks that a negative test should be a really essential part of ending isolation. i think cdc's in a tough spot
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because there aren't enough tests and they are trying to find alternative ways of moving forward. i think they should just be very clear that part of their guidance is really driven by the fact that we don't have enough testing available. >> so, it's interesting, doctor, is when that was put to the cdc director, she denied it. she said the decision did not have this testing requirement doesn't have anything to do with the shortage of tests in the united states. here's what she said is the reason. >> we have to -- not to have the rapid test for isolation because, um, we actually don't know how our rapid tests perform and how well they predict whether you are transmissible during the end of disease. >> so, doctor, says we don't have idea if the tests are any good. that might actually be worse. >> yeah, i wish they'd share that with the rest of us because at least all the data that i have seen says that the tests actually perform quite well for that use, and that use being someone who's been infectious and you are talking about day five and to see whether they
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still have enough virus to trigger a positive test. there is a little bit of concern with omicron that the first day or so of infection, the tests sometimes are falsely negative. and that is a concern. close family relative who had some illness today and i tested him and he was negative. and i told him we still have to assume you might be infectious. let's test again tomorrow. but no good evidence that i have seen, at least, that -- that the test on day five doesn't do exactly what you want it to be doing at that point, which is to say that you have a level of infection that's below which you can -- you can infect another person. also, important to emphasize that whatever the guidance is, you need to go wear a mask for at least the next five days to be absolutely secure. >> dr. jha, do you think maybe the real reason is that they are just under incredible pressure economically, right, to have people not being out and they want to just get them back in as quickly as they can? >> think it is he a broader issue here, erin, which is there is no doubt the first five days is when people are most contagious. also no doubt that a lot of
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people are just not doing ten days of isolation, right? they are just skipping out. >> yep. >> so, cdc wants to get more people isolating for the first tiefb days and for a majority of people is probably not as important. so they are trying to find a way to get people back safely to their kids, their lives, to school, to work. i think that is a good goal. the question is how do you do it safely? >> so, doctor, let me ask you this in the context of the kcdc new prediction. right? so they are now predicting 84,000 people are going to die in the united states in the next four weeks. i remember the last time we were putting out these predictions from the cdc, right ? it was before vaccines were widely available. tripling the number who are dying now. and numbers we have not seen since before there were vaccines. of course, now we have widely available, effective vaccines. but i know you believe that as awful as this is, it burns through in six to eight weeks. so then, my question to you, doctor, is this. between vaccination, infection, and sadly death, are we then done with covid as a deadly
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disease in six to eight weeks? >> it's impossible to know, and any of us who have been in the prediction business over the last couple years have been burned enough by delta, by omicron, by not as many people getting vaccinated as we thought would happen. but i think we have to take our best shot and our best shot today is that the next month is going to be awful. that people should try to do everything they can to be careful and -- and thoughtful about their activities and their masking. i don't buy the idea that we are all going to get omicron, and -- and, therefore, just give up trying. i think that's wrong. but in a month or six weeks or eight weeks -- hard to know -- if we follow the pattern that south africa has followed. if we follow what london appears to be showing us, they are starting to come down in cases. it is, i think, likelier than not that we will have burned through the population with omicron. a lot of vaccinated people will have had breakthrough infections. they will have essentially the equivalent of a booster and probably more importantly, the
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unvaccinated people who made i think a very bad choice will get their immunity the hard way, will get it through an infection. if you combine those things and the fact that omicron is, in general, somewhat milder an illness than delta, you have the vast, vast majority of the people having some measure of immunity. you have a virus that still will be hanging around that is more mild. you will have enough testing. you will have more supply of some of the medicines that are available, particularly paxlovid, the pfizer pill, which will lower the probability of severe outcome. and we may find ourselves -- and i think are likelier than not to find ourselves -- in a pretty good place. how long it lasts is anybody's guess. a lot of that depends on bl we have a new variant. >> so, and obviously, i know there is talk about that now one in france, there will be one in other places. there are questions about that. but, you know, you said something i think that's important. you said don't give up trying. that you shouldn't just say we are all going to get it because i think we all know a hlot of people starting to feel that way
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and they are just fatigued. so, dr. jha, to that context, should we do? i want to ask about schools, right? that debate happening across the country and the vast majority of k to 12 public schools are open and staying so and committed to staying so. the latest count from a data company, though, has 4,561 public schools not open. dr. jha, i know you think that option shouldn't be on the table anymore. tell me why. >> yeah, because we have learned a lot, erin, about how to keep school safe. the debate has always been kind of just open schools or not? that is not really he the right question. the question is how do we keep schools open and keep them safe? we know how to do that. masking of kids. asking teachers and stoof be vaccinated, kids to be vaccinated. improvements in ventilation. there have been over $100 billion from the federal government has gone to states and schools to improve ventilation so money is no longer the major issue. at this point, if schools haven't done those things, that's really on school administrations, superintendents, political leaders. but we have all the tools to make schools safe for kids and
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teachers and that's why we need to keep schools open. >> doctor, how do you see it? >> yeah, i don't have small kids so -- and i have great sympathy for parents dealing with this now. it is an incredibly tricky situation. i guess, the question i -- i virtually always agree but on this one, absolutely schools could put themselves into a position to keep everybody safe. the question is as he mentions not all of them have. and if they haven't, they are probably not going to figure out how to do it in the next two or three weeks in terms of vaccinations and maybe -- maybe they can pull off the ventilation and obviously everybody could wear a mask. they may not be able to access enough tests. so, i absolutely agree that the decisions we made a year ago to close the schools down were very harmful. that we need to be -- do everything we can to try to keep the schools open but i am a little worried that we are kind of locked into that position. for some schools, the right decision if this virus is blasting through their community and they are not in that kind of position where they have done
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all these things, for some schools, the right decision probably is to -- to go virtual for a few weeks. and i am influenced by the fact that i really do think a month from now, we are going to be in a very different place. >> thank you, both, very much. i appreciate your time. and we are standing by, right now, live for a press conference from the mayor of chicago. she wants chicago kids back in the schools. the powerful teachers union has voted to go remote. a representative from the teacher's union and a parent are next. plus, a one-time loyal member of trump's inner circle answering questions tonight, right now, from the january 6th committee.
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breaking news. chicago's mayor is about to hold a press conference as she is locked in a battle with the teachers union. mayor lori lightfoot going to be speaking at that podium going to appear with the head of chicago public schools. that ceo has maintained that it is safe for kids to return to the classroom. so, this is going to be the first public comments from the mayor and ceo since the teachers union voted against urreturningo in-person learning, leading to the district being forced to cancel school for the day. the patientlies of more than
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340,000 students in chicago are now waiting. it's already nighttime to state the obvious, they are waiting to hear whether their kids will be able to go to school tomorrow. out front now, mike smith. he is a high school history teacher and representative for the chicago teacher's union. so, mike, let me ask you -- i know, obviously, we are going to hear from the mayor and the ceo of the public schools in -- momentarily. there was a meeting today between union and district officials. what did you learn from that? and will there be school in person tomorrow? >> i mean, based on how things are going at this point, the district has decided to cancel school and lock out all the teachers. um, and as a result, cancelled class for students, so students are not even getting an education. right now, we are just wanting basic things. testing. um, that's what we're asking for. can we test every student before they come into the building? um, our district, for some reason, has been unable do that.
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i mean, this is two years now. we have had a lot of time to plan, to get this right. and we're still facing the same old, same old with the people who are running our school district. they can't provide the basic things needed to keep kids, teachers in the building. there's times when i was in the classroom -- one day, i have 20 kids in front of me. the next three weeks, i got seven. i was at a school, um, over christmas break. they have 23 classes in elementary school. over 14 of those classes were out on quarantine. they have tons of money. they have the resources to keep us safe in these buildings but they're not putting it to good use. >> so, i certainly understand your -- your frustration. i mean, look, i -- i'm a parent here in new york. obviously, you know, our -- our school system is the largest in the country. um, dealing with some of those quarantine issues that -- that you are talking about. um, i will say our kids are back in school and they do not have a
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requirement for children to be tested to return into the school building and the schools are open. thus far. um, and -- and safely. why do you not feel it's safe for teachers in chicago to be in classrooms right now, given that, um, i believe your vaccination rate is well north of 90%? >> yeah. i mean, when i was in the classroom myself, it's not a matter of we don't want to be there. it's that we can't stay there. um, and that's the issue. so, for example, there is times in the school building where we have half the staff out. kids are sent into these buildings. we can't find subs. as a result, we have random people covering classes. even right now -- monday, tuesday, there weren't enough people to even hold classes because people were out. they were ushering kids into gyms, into classrooms, kids
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aren't learning. >> so -- so, let me, um, ask you and this is tough because a lot of this, i know, comes from the cdc and their requirements for people having to stay home, right? so, what you are dealing with there is -- is going with federal requirement as opposed to some dits put that may be between your union and -- and public officials like the mayor, who are about to speak. but doctors do say it is safe for kids to be in school in general, right? here is just a few of them. >> all the teachers unions saying we have to delay kids going back to school are wrong. we know what it takes to keep children safe in schools. we need to get our children back at all costs. >> need our children to be in school. >> most importantly, you know, the oesocialization, social development. the kids so sorely missed last year. >> so i know you agree. i mean, you want the kids back, you want to have an education. you are a teacher, i'm sure because you are passionate about teaching. that's what is so amazing about teachers. but you know, when you hear dr. wen say all the teachers unions
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saying we need to delay kids going back to school are wrong. what is your reaction when you hear that from a doctor? >> yeah, i want the doctor to come to our school. i want the doctor to come and see. school today isn't like it was before the pandemic. it's just not the same. and when we say socialization and they need all these things, you are right. but when you drop your kid off, a parent is expecting to have a teacher there that they know to go into a building they trust where everything is working. but today, we drop kids off at some schools. some schools don't have heat. there is rodents in places. the teachers aren't there. they are being taught or a stranger is in front of them. sometimes, security guard. people who weren't qualified to teach kids. so, i agree that we should be in schools if our district, if our mayor was able to provide the fundamental things with all the money -- over $2 billion have gone into the city, she said she spent 100 million -- to provide
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fundamental things, testing, masks, proper ventilation. if they were able to do those things, those doctors are right. i believer those doctors are making those assertions based on those facts. the issue is our schools -- most of 'em don't have those basic things. and this is happening in the communities that are dear to my heart, south and west sides. when you go into these places, there is just not being done. >> mike, i really -- i really appreciate your taking the time and trying to explain, you know, how you feel. and obviously, i know, any minute, we are going to be -- we are going to hear from the mayor and ceo of chicago public schools so we will stand by for that. i thank you very much for taking the time and talking to me. i want to go to ryan griffin now. he has got a 2nd grader and kindergartner in chicago who had to stay home today because of the standstill between the district and the teacher's union. he started the chicago parents collective organization to push for the option of in-person learning. so, ryan, you heard mike. he is a teacher, representative for the union.
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making his case saying he wants to be there but if the kids show up, there -- there aren't necessarily teachers there and the -- you know, you could have someone filling in who has no teaching credentials whatsoever. what's your response? >> yeah, erin, thanks for having me on and, again, as a -- as another parent with three kids, you know how challenging it is at this age. um, the response is simple. i mean, this is the typical rhetoric we hear as parents, right? it's always alarmist. they were talking about things that are simply not even anywhere on the demands of -- of -- of the ctu currently. and so, i think the frustration is the -- the concept of keeping kids at school above all else is there from every public health expert. and instead of being surgical and quarantining scertain class as at certain schools where spread in the community is high, they are closing down 550 -- 550
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schools serving 340,000 students. that is not the right approach. that's putting a sledgehammer and chaos into a big district. >> look, you have a lot -- you have a lot of great points. i mean, i will say, you know, we had the experience where a kid had covid and a whole class was exposed. so, um, my daughter was the only one able to go, you know, with the requirements being fully vaccinated. so now, new york's changed that. right? so, if you are exposed but vaccinated and asymptomatic, you can still go. right? using a scalpel so they can get more kids in. >> i received that e-mail today. our 7-year-old was exposed on monday but he is fully vaccinated and can be in the classroom, and he should be in the classroom. and i am glad you bring up these facts that the teacher's union doesn't acknowledge. over 90% of their staff is fully vaccinated, and they were the first in line to get them. and we are doing our part getting our kids vaccinated. you know, i'm vaxed and boosted. that is the answer.
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this is way different than february of 2021. way different. >> so -- so, have you spoken to your kids' teachers about all of this? i mean, i know that there is this, you know, sort of people talk about teachers unions but obviously teachers unions in chicago, what, it's tens of thousands of people. the union doesn't necessarily speak for all of the teachers, you know, right? i mean, you know, you have a vote, maybe a majority of those who voted. but what are you hearing? >> yeah. i mean, we -- we have appealed directly to our teachers because, you know, erin, you have said this. i mean, teachers are one of the most essential people in kids' lives. >> they are. >> and we just wanted to remind them, especially at young school-age developmental ages like my children are at and your children are at, it is absolutely critical to have teachers in the classroom. so, we encouraged and personally we reached out to our teachers just to remind them before this vote how important they are. how important in-person learning was for social and emotional development. i mean, we're ignoring immense
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harm and i am just really thankful that not only public health experts but politicians are waking up to the immense harm that school closures have had on kids, disproportionately in big cities that absolutely need this essential service. >> all right. ryan, i really appreciate your time. and everyone so you know, we are standing by for the mayor of chicago lori lightfoot who has made it clear she wants the schools open and ceo of chicago public schools. so we are going up to update you as soon as they take that podium. thank you, mike shelds as well. next, the january 6th select committee turning its attention to trump's former press secretary. plus, australia tonight ordering tennis superstar novak djokovic, once he landed in the country, they said, sorry, that visa, actually, no good. got to turn around because you are not vaccinated. right now at cvs, get $10 in extrabucks rewards when you spend $30 on select wellness support products. with this offer,
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new tonight, former trump white house press secretary stephanie grisham once a close aide to form-president trump and melania trump just finishing up a meeting with the january 6th
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select committee and speaking to reporters. it comes as the committee is racing against the clock to get to the bottom of who is responsible for the attack one year ago tomorrow. ryan nobles is out front. >> reporter: it is the most sweeping investigation yet into january 6th. one year since the deadly insurrection that came dangerously close to preventing the peaceful transfer of power in america, the house select committee is still figuring out what went wrong and who is responsible. >> there are a lot of things that should have occurred in a more orderly and streamlined fashion that didn't. and i'm convinced that that was, in my opinion, by design. >> reporter: on paper, the committee's mission is straightforward. they want to write the definitive narrative as to what led to january 6th, and what
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happened on that day. they plan to offer up a series of recommendations to prevent it from happening again, and if they discover criminal activity in the course of their investigation, they plan to refer that to the department of justice. it's that potential for finding criminal activity and holding certain individuals accountable, like former-president donald trump, that is getting the most attention. >> i think that -- that there are a number of, as the chairman said, potential criminal statutes at issue here. >> reporter: but finding hard evidence of wrongdoing that would rise to the level of the department of justice filing charges is no easy task. the committee, made up of seven democrats and two republicans, facing a number of obstacles from fighting legal challenges, including trump asking the supreme court to block them from accessing his white house records, to putting to rest the big lie of a stolen election and accusations, yet again, of a political witch hunt. >> it's very clear to the american public this is a sham. >> reporter: many of the committee's targets are either current or former-republican elected leaders tied to trump.
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as a result, the gop has questioned the committee's work from the start. for committee members like representative elaine luria, a democrat who remts a swing district in virginia, that means investigating people she works with every day. >> no one in this investigation is going to be treated differently because of their current position or their former position. >> reporter: with the staff of more than 40 people, the committee has conducted more than 300 interviews. they have collected more than 35,000 documents and issued more than 50 subpoenas. seeking phone records, and even bank records as they follow the money behind the insurrectionists. their work, done largely behind closed doors, in office buildings off the beaten path. >> the goal of this is not to go after a person or a group of people, but rather to understand all of the contributing factors that led to the events and provide recommendations moving forward. >> reporter: and they claim that they are constantly uncovering new evidence, including a timeline of trump's conduct on that day. a body of evidence, they say
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will show trump willfully chose not to quell the violence, despite pleas from his allies and his own children. >> president trump was sitting in the dining room next to the oval office, watching on television, as the capitol was assaulted as the violence occurred. um, we know that that is clearly a supreme dereliction of duty. >> reporter: by late winter, the group hopes to hold prime-time public hearings. they could issue an interim report by summer with a goal of wrapping up their work with a final report in the fall, just before the midterm elections. a necessary deadline because, if republicans take back the house as expected, this committee will likely be shut down. but the committee believes their work rises above partisan politics. they hope that their investigation will provide a clear and sober view of what happened on january 6th. >> in this great country of ours, i'm convinced that sunlight and truth is the best disinfectant when you are dealing with a lie.
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hopefully, we will provide the proper disinfectant for what's happened on january 6th, so that people will understand it. >> reporter: with the goal of ensuring an attempted coup never happens, again. >> like, if someone tried to do this in the future, are there ways they could still succeed? and we need to safeguard against that. >> reporter: and as an example as to how the former-president donald trump and his his allies continue to throw up roadblocks against this investigation, in just the past few minutes, another lawsuit has been filed. this, by the ceo of mypillow, mike lindell, one of the former president's biggest and most prominent supporters. he is suing to prevent the january 6th select committee from getting access to his phone records. so far, erin, the committee's won all of these court challenges but still these roadblocks continue to be put up. erin. >> ryan, thank you. and next, the top men's tennis player in the world has been very clear he is opposed to
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tonight, novak djokovic, the world's top-ranked men's tennis player has been ordered to leave australia. >> if you are not double vaccinated and you are not an australian resident or citizen, well, you can't come. >> okay. i mean, it's an incredible story and it's actually a dramatic turn of events because djokovic went to australia. he announced he had been granted an exemption to the whole vaccine requirement so that he could play in australia's grand slam. massive backlash in australia and here we are. phil black is out front. >> reporter: as the world's number one tennis player, novak djokovic has hit more than his fair share of aces.
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>> thank you, guys. >> reporter: but the serbian champ's covid-19 vaccination status has put his hopes of a 2022 grand slam out of reach. >> mr. djokovic failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to australia, and visa has been subsequently cancelled so it is a matter for him, whether he wishes to appeal that. but if a visa is cancelled, somebody will have to leave the country. >> reporter: local authorities had originally granted a medical exemption to djokovic to compete in the australian open. and djokovic proudly announced he was traveling down under on social media tuesday. his post inspired outrage from australian citizens, who have faced some of the most severe lockdown, travel, and vaccine protocols of any country since the pandemic began. and it's created an outcry over what some perceive to be special treatment for the sports icon. australia slammed its border shut for nearly 20 months before beginning to ease those restrictions in november. but only after achieving 80%
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vaccination among those 16 and older with some states still requiring mandatory quarantine upon arrival. victorian officials insist he received no special treatment, saying a handful of medical exemptions were granted via an anonymous application process, reviewed by two independent panels. the tennis star traveled to melbourne wednesday on a visa that did not allow vaccine exemptions resulting in his detention in a room by himself at the airport for several hours while border authorities considered his case. djokovic, who already contracted covid-19 once in 2020, has made no secret of his anti-vaccine status. during a facebook live with fellow serbian athletes in april of 2020, djokovic said personally, i am oopposed to vaccination and i wouldn't want to be forced by someone to take
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a vaccine in order to be able to travel. his father is outraged by his son's airport detention telling russian news agency sputnik, the winner of 20 grand slam tournaments had been held captive. the incident threatens to create a diplomatic row with serbian officials demanding answers from the australian government. the australian pm tweeted a forceful defense of the decision to cancel djokovic's visa. making clear that no one will receive special treatment, no matter how famous they are. saying, rules are rules, especially when it comes to our borders. no one is above these rules. our strong border policies have been critical to australia having one of the lowest death rates in the world from covid. we are continuing to be vigilant. erin, we do not know the specific basis on which he sought this medical exemption but his case, whatever it was, was strong enough to convince those two independent expert panels that he should be allowed to play in the tournament. not strong enough to convince australian border officials that he should be allowed to enter the country.
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it means that it is very likely he is going to be put on a plane and sent home at some point in the coming day. it is an undignified episode in the storied career of a player considered to be one of the greatest of all time. erin. >> it -- it sure is. all right. thank you so much. i appreciate it, phil black. an incredible story. and next, we do have breaking news on chicago's schools. ♪ i see trees of green ♪ ♪ red roses too ♪ ♪ i see them bloom for me and you ♪
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breaking news. the ceo of chicago public schools just announcing classes are cancelled tomorrow for a second day. it comes after the teachers union voted against returning to in-person learning. forcing the district to cancel school for the day yesterday. they say notices have gone out to the parents of the more than 340,000 students in the district who now will be home tomorrow. thanks for joining us. "ac 360" starts now. good evening from washington. we are here to mark tomorrow's anniversary of the january 6th attack on the capitol, which we now know was only part of a larger scheme to overturn the outcome for a free and fair presidential election. was, in every way, an assault on democracy. looking at the building behind me in all its magnificence and all that it signifies obt about our democracy, shoul