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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  February 4, 2022 6:00pm-7:00pm PST

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he tried not showing. finally with the help of his doctor it came to be, that his symptoms were all signs of ibs-c. and that's why he said yess to adding linzess. linzess is not a laxative. it helps you have more frequent and complete bowel movements, and is proven to help relieve overall abdominal symptoms belly pain, discomfort, and bloating. do not give linzess to children less than two. 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. learn how abbvie and ironwood could help you save on linzess. good evening again. topping this hour, what does it
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say about one of this country's two major political parties that it is considered news when a leading figure in that party stands up and simply tells the truth. here's former vice president mike pence speaking to the federalist society today in orlando. >> january 6 was a dark day in the history of the united states capitol. lives were lost and many were injured. but thanks to the courageous action of the capitol police and federal law enforcement, the violence was quelled, the capitol was secured, and we reconvened the congress that very same day to finish our work under the constitution of the united states and the laws of this country. >> not exactly a rousing ovation there for the applause line. then again it's the man from mar-a-lago, not the man today in orlando, who speaks for the
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party. he's been busy dangling pardons for the people who made january 6 such a dark day. and the republican party censured two of its members for taking part in the investigation today, accusing the two of, quote, participating in a democrat led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse, end quote. that's what they called it. legitimate political discourse. that's what that guy was engaged in according to them. ronen mcdaniel tried to scuttle away from that twisted characterization, but that is the language they all voted on. today mike pence is the outlier. his boss who says the january 6 committee should be investigating pence, he's the main stream. he'll be talking about that shortly. first randi kaye who talked with the people who heard mike pence speak today. >> reporter: would you like to hear mike pence push back on donald trump about his -- his false claims that pence had the
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right to overturn the election result? >> no. i'm looking forward to hearing the former president speak about what real american leadership looks like? >> but does the former vice president have a duty to push back against these false claims? >> no, he's not. he's a private citizen. i don't think he has a duty to do that, no. >> reporter: shortly before vice president mike pence took the stage at the florida chapters conference in orlando, members weighed in on whether pence should address the recent attacks from his former boss. >> i don't know that this is the time or place for that kind of conversation. >> reporter: this week the former president donald trump lied once again saying pence had the authority to reject the 2020 election results. so, will pence respond? >> i think he's too much of a man with great demeanor, civility, to address that openly in the public until it's the proper time. >> reporter: before pence spoke, some here didn't see a need for pence to address his decision to certify the vote because they
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agree, trump lost, period. >> joe biden won the election, so i don't -- you know, i don't know what more i can say. i mean, joe biden won the election. the role of the vice president in that is very ceremonial. it counted the electoral ballots. the members of congress voted to certify. joe biden won the election. >> i don't think he needs to address it. right, wrong, or indifferent, we lost in 2020. >> do you not want to hear pence correct the record that trump is falsely claiming he could overturn the election. >> i think pence probably feels -- i don't want to speak for pence. but i think pence probably feels that the record does not need to be corrected. otherwise he would correct it. >> then came the former vice president's speech. >> i heard this week that president trump said i had the right to over turn the election. president trump is wrong. i had no right to overturn the election. the presidency belongs to the american people and the american people alone. >> reporter: we went back out to the group after the speech to
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see how it was received. >> i was pleasantly surprised at how he handled it. i thought he did a great job. i think it's time to move on from the 2020 election and look forward to 2024. >> i think he's made it clear, the vice president has, that he has a difference of opinion with the president and the president's team over what the duties of the vice president required on january 6. >> were you happy to hear him address it? >> well, i think he needed to address it. this is a great audience. these are constitutional scholars here. you're speaking to a very educated group. >> i think mike pence did the right thing. i think mike pence should have done what he felt was right, and it sounds like he did what he felt was right. >> how do you think that comment will sit with former president donald trump being called wrong? >> probably not well. but i guess we'll have to wait and see what he says. >> former vice president pence also talked about his hope for republicans to win the white house in 2024 today.
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do the people you spoke with want to see pence run for president? >> anderson, everyone we spoke with said they do think mike pence should run for president. remember, this is florida, and this was the florida chapter of the federalist society. so, of course a lot of people there also saying they would like to see florida governor ron desantis jump into the race for the white house as well. regarding pence, everyone there said they were very happy to see him standing up to donald trump. they do think that the two men will figure out their differences at some point and put on a united front for the party, which folks told us is very important, of course. but what's key here is that even if donald trump makes a play for the white house again, most everyone we spoke with said that that should not hold mike pence back. they think he should still jump into the race, anderson. >> appreciate it. let' i want to play what former vice president pence said today
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again. listen, for the viewers. >> january 6 was a dark day in the history of the united states capitol. lives were lost and many were injured. but thanks to the courageous action of the capitol police and federal law enforcement, the violence was quelled, the capitol was secure, and we reconvened the congress that very same day to finish our work under the constitution of the united states and the laws of this country. >> what do you make, paul, of what pence said and the response? >> well, it's -- the federalist society claims to be committed to -- these are their words. i looked up their website. the principles of limited government embodied in our constitution. well, the constitution's absolutely clear, the woman randi interviewed is right, the
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vice president is only ceremonial. there's not any question. it's as if neil degrasse tyson were speaking to a group of astrophysicists and said donald trump is wrong. the moon is not made of green cheese. it's made of rock. and they said, i'm not sure. it's preposterous. i'm sure randi found some principled constitutionalist there. they claim to all be. i was disappointed frankly they didn't carry him around on their shoulders for saving the constitution because that's what that whole group claims to be about. i'm beginning to wonder if they really are. >> do you think the former vice president made the right call, publicly rebuking the former president, just saying he was wrong? did he have a choice? >> i do actually. his speech was terrific. his words were terrific. his actions on january 6 were right on and in accordance with the law of america and what happened on election day. he's played this correctly i think all the way through.
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as a political matter, this is the campaign mike pence is going to have to run. he's obviously running. donald trump i think is obviously running. and mike pence and donald trump are going to have a great debate about whether the republican party is going to see it the way donald trump did or the way mike pence did. and so i would look at this speech today frankly as something of a kickoff of that debate. i assume trump will have something to say when he finally hears the pence clip. but this is what he and i assume governor chris christie, who looks like he is running as well, are going to argue. it's essentially this, i stood by donald trump every step of the way, but come january 6 we had to part ways because the constitution mandated it. and that's where we are as a party. i thought pence was great today and i'm glad he gave the speech he did. >> we've seen this back and forth between trump and pence this week. the ball i guess is in trump's court, if you want to use that analogy. does pence -- i mean, in this republican party, do you think pence has a shot? >> look, i defer to scott. he knows this party far better
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than i do. i would note that a year ago, three or four weeks after the insurrection of mike pence who i don't agree with politically, but i know him. i've known him a long time. he has profound and deep and christian faith and he went to a christian conservative group called faith freedom coalition, and he was booed. and one guy yelled out, traitor. now, if the christians prefer donald trump, who can't name a single book in the bible, to mike pence, i think that tells you something. if the constitutionalists are at best very lukewarm and kind of silent in supporting the guy who helped save the constitution and instead for the insurrectionist -- in other words, i think it looks like a rout. i think the people who should be most committed to mike pence, seem to not be backing him at all, think donald trump has so perverted and polluted the republican party it may be beyond salvation. >> scott, i wonder what you made of the rnc resolution censuring
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congressm congressman kinzing ger and congresswoman cheney, claiming the january 6 committee is going after ordinary americans who are engaged in legitimate political discourse. >> here we are sitting in the greatest political environment of my adulthood for republicans in terms of trying to take back the house and the senate in november. and really i think heading towards 2024. and we have all these issues and all these amazing things to talk about. and at the rnc, which i've been a delegate to the last several conventions. i'm a proud republican and will be voting republican in the future and have in my life. here we are today changing the conversation. let's re-litigate january 6th. let's tell people they didn't really see what they saw on tv. let's relitigate the 2020 election. this is a recipe for failure. we have all of this environment, all of these issues, all of this forward looking we could be
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doing. by the way, this is a party that could not be bothered to write a platform in 2020. and now we've spent more time writing this resolution than we spent on writing a policy platform in the last presidential election. it is not legitimate. >> scott, when you say it like that -- >> to crash into the capitol -- it sounds ridiculous because it is ridiculous. you cannot crash the capitol, defile the house and the senate, and attack the police. that's not legitimate. i know chairwoman mcdaniel put out a statement saying there's a difference between the people protesting versus the rioters at the capitol. that's not what the resolution says, and if that's what they meant, that's what they should have put in there. this is an unforced error that hurts the republican party in its attempt to get back into power. and it's deeply, deeply disappointing it happened today. this phrase, legitimate political discourse, will be hung around every candidates' neck for the next two cycles.
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>> the idea mcdaniel came out and said we're not talk about those that attacked the capitol. the january 6 committee is interested on the attack on the capitol. when they come out with a statement saying the it km tee is going after ordinary americans who are having legitimate political discourse, that is who they're talking about, the people attacking the capitol. >> right. and chairwoman mcdaniel called it an insurrection on the day or the day after the insurrection. she knows better. rona ronnie mcdaniel, used to be a real republican. just like some of those people at faith and freedom who booed mike pence, just like some of those so-called federalist who wouldn't stand up for the constitution today when pence said he defended the constitution, the chairwoman of the party inaccurately saying that insurrectionists were somehow peaceful protesters or that you point out the january 6 committee is targeting peaceful protesters. of course they're not. i just -- i just find it frankly
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depressing that i'm living in a time when the republican party in a rout prefers donald trump to liz cheney. or even mike pence for that matter. but i think it is all about power. scott may be right. it may hurt them in the election. it may not. i think they seem to not care as much about elections as they do about power by any means necessary. and i think it's chilling. >> scott, do you think -- what about -- i can follow up with you on the pence. do you think mike pence has a shot at, you know, winning the republican nomination for president? >> you know, i actually think he has a muted chance. i mean, i think he's going to run. i think hees going to be well thought of by a lot of people. but i think the odds of him getting the nomination aren't as high as someone like ron desantis. i think if trump is to be beaten in a primary, it's going to be by someone who is going to be viewed as pure on a lot of issues but also not having, you know, publicly rebuked president
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trump. and desantis is pure on a lot of the covid issues, pure on the florida ethos and conservatism that goes on down there. and he's been able to stay out of this fray. i think mike pence's voice is vital. i think it will be a part of the primary. but the beneficiary of it politically will be someone who wasn't involved on january 6th. that could be someone like desantis. we'll see. there's a lot of runway between now and then. and if trump doesn't run, maybe that changes the calculation. my assumption is he's running. if it's a heads up debate between trump and pence, my assumption is trump would win that debate. there are people in the mix that would boomerang around to their benefit. >> thank you so much. coming up next, more on the somewhat insane notion that a staunch conservative named cheney should be an outcast in the republican party. what a seasoned reporter with inside knowledge of her goals and a former republican colleague have to say about her future.
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we've been talking tonight about the state of the republican party and the former vice president's remarks today taking on the former president redeemed it somewhat. the perspective now from jeff zeleny and former virginia republican congresswoman barbara comstock. >> congresswoman, you've known representative cheney for decades. you continue to campaign and fund raise for her. with all the animus against her, what is she focused on right now. is she bothered by all these attacks? >> first and foremost, she's focused on her district in wyoming, which she's always been. she's been a national security leader. and if you follow her on social media or just her appearances in things, she's very engaged on national security issues as well as western issues that impact her state. and then she's dealing with the
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important work of the january 6 committee. so, i know she feels -- and i agree with her -- that this is important for history and she is much, i think in the model of margaret smith who stood up to joe mccarthy and by being just one of the few who did brought her colleagues around -- it went with six people from margaret smith to 67 with joe mccarthy and history is on their side and they are willing to take these tough positions. >> jeff, in this unprecedented time for congresswoman cheney, would her narrow focus on january 6, on the investigation and just the animus being directed against her, do you think it hurts her political fortunes? s as of now it probably does hurt her fortune, but her primary isn't until august. this is a huge test facing the republican party. what will the primary electorate be thinking come august? there was a huge sea change this afternoon when former vice
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president mike pence came out and said, donald trump was wrong. so, will that become sort of main stream thought in the party? probably not. but there definitely are many indications here that the lock step nature in which a lot of republicans were following the former president may be breaking apart a bit. but, you know, as i've been speaking to advisers to the congresswoman, she's not backing away from this at all. this is her message. her message going into her primary fight here the constitution, is what president trump, his assault on the constitution, as she sees it. so, the january 6th work is what she is running on. now, it's not necessarily all she's running on. of course she's a deep conservative. she voted with the former president more than 90% of the time. she's a very big national security hog, as we all know. so, the question is, how this, you know, conversation in the party develops over the summer. one thing she's not doing is running away from her day job and january 6. this is her message.
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it's a test to see what republicans in wyoming think of it. >> congresswoman, do you think it amounts to much in the scheme of things of where the republican party sadly is right now? >> well, i do think the walls are closing in on donald trump. i think people are moving away from him slowly. they're still afrachltd listen, that committee was an embarrassment that they all sat there quietly in a voiced vote and wouldn't stand up and challenge this. and the few who did come out, i commend them. but it's kind of like dorothy when they poured the water, you know, on the wicked witch. you know, everyone is standing there until she did it. so, that's -- that's what's going on here. but his grip is slipping because there are competent conservatives out there who are focused on people and the kitchen table issues, not the trump grievances of the past that are going to divide the party, divide the country, and will not allow republicans to
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win again if he's on the ballot. >> jeff, in republican primaries, you can't be a rational, middle of the road, centered republican. you have to believe in the big lie. you have to be a trumpian. i mean, in the primaries just to get to the general, don't you? >> if past is prologue, that is true. and one other thing that the republican national committee did they did an arcane thing called the rule 11. what that means is the rnc will be extraordinarily sending money back to wyoming to campaign against liz cheney. that has only been used when there's an effective candidate running against a rogue candidate. this is the reverse. the republican national committee which is run by supporters of the former president will be actively campaigning against liz cheney. this is going to be very difficult in a primary electorate. there are many independent minded people in wyoming. the cheney brand say strong one. this will be a true testament.
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if this were to happen right now, she would almost certainly probably not win. i want to hedge this because we don't know what will happen over the coming months. the primary's not until the middle of august. but this is a challenge. one thing she cannot do -- you'll remember back in alaska. lisa murkowski lost her primary race and ran as an independent. that cannot happen in wyoming. if you lose a primary, you can't run as an independent in the general in wyoming. if she loses, do not expect she will give up this fight. this could very much be a center piece of a campaign for 2024. again, that's hard to imagine that that would be a popular view inside the party. but she has made this part of her mission now. it's more than a brand. it's her mission. we will see if it works. this is the big test for the republican party without a doubt. >> imagine if there was a national thing called a sore loser law. appreciate it. coming up, a verdict against attorney michael avenatti, who
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after 16 hours of deliberations, a federal jury in new york has found michael avenatti guilty of wire fraud and aggravated for stealing from his client stormy daniels. what insight do you have on the jury's decision? >> the jury's been deliberating for the past three days and for 16 days in total. there was a little bit of an unusual twist this morning. the jury came back to the judge. they said they had a note. and the judge read the note to the jury. in essence, the jury wrote that one of the jurors, a female, was no longer deliberating, that was acting on her feelings and emotions and was not looking at the evidence. one line in that note is the jury said to the judge, please, underlining that, help us move
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fwaerd. not going on any evidence. all emotions and does not understand this job of a jury. so, the judge brought the jury back into the courtroom. he told them that they took a oath to deliberate. he reminded them of that oath and sent them back to deliberate. two hours after that, they returned with an unanimous verdict. the count is a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory sentence of two years. no matter what michael avenatti is sentenced, he will be sentenced to a minimum of two years in prison for this. this was about him defrauding stormy daniels, stealing from her book deal. avenatti in this case chose to represent himself, which was unusual, and he decided not to testify in this case. but the jury heard from stormy daniels. she was the star witness. she testified avenatti hold her he would never take a penny from her and the government showed
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text messages, bank statements showing that avenatti redirected money to an account he controlled. he lied to her repeatedly about it. anderson? >> and he spoke to a reporter shortly after the verdict. what did he say? >> it was not that long after the verdict was read and the courtroom cleared out that avenatti made his way outside. then he spoke to jurors about his reaction to this verdict. let's take a listen. >> i am very disappointed in the jury's verdict. i look forward to a full adjudication of all of the issues on appeal. thank you. >> anderson, i also asked avenatti about his decision to represent himself and to not testify. i asked him if he had any regrets. he told me not at all, i was true to myself. >> and he's facing other charges, isn't he? >> yeah, i mean, this was of course one big moment for him, a big conviction. but he was already convicted in
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2020 of attempting to extort nike for more than $20 million. in that case, he was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison. and he has not yet started serving that sentence. also he has been charged in california by prosecutors there with additional fraud charges, bank fraud, tax fraud, and also for stealing nearly $5 million from other clients. so, there's a lot still ahead for avenatti. coming up the back-to-back scandals erupting in the nfl. i'll talk with one of the former head coaches accusing his former team of taking money to tank games and a pattern of racial discrimination by nfl teams when it comes to black coaches. imagine getting $150,000 dollars... for one year of epic adventures... in a new dodge hellcat... and you don't even have to quit your day job. you just need to show
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to lose games in order to get a higher draft pick. jackson coached the team until october 2018. he'll join me in a moment. in an interview, he says quote, unequivocally hugh jackson was never paid to lose games. that's an absolute falsehood. i cannot think of any individual i spent time trying to help be successful as hugh jackson. the claim after brian flores sued his old team, claiming they tried to offer him money to lose games as well. flores is also suing the nfl claiming racial discrimination when he tried to get coaching jobs on other teams. reverend al sharpton and civil rights groups are asking for a meeting with roger goodell. coach jackson, appreciate you being with us. for the record, were you ever offered money to purposely lose games? >> no, i was never offered money like brian had mentioned.
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i think this is a totally different situation but has some similarities. we will talk about incentivizing a four-year plan that led to the team not being able to play as well, that, you know, people benefitted off of that. that's different. but at the same time it has some of the same similarities to it. >> you're saying there was incentive to have the youngest players, things that might end up making a team lose in order -- so, you're saying there were incentives in place. they weren't on paper tore have the team lose, but you're saying they would have had that effect. and that's why you tweeted out that the owner was happy you kept losing. >> yeah, because it's a plan. i mean, at the end of the day, the four-year plan did not have anything about winning in the first two years. and i think sports people, football people, know that . and people who do anything within their contract understand
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that everything you do is for winning or for your value. so, there's nothing that anybody would do to put themselves in a situation where they wouldn't win. >> do you have any evidence of what you're alleging about this four-year plan and incentives for things that would make the team lose? >> absolutely i do. and those things will come to light at the right time, you know? >> what does that mean? when is the right time? you're making these allegations pretty serious. >> yeah, pretty soon here. oh, yeah, it's very serious. and i'm not -- again, everything that i'm saying -- and i've gone on record and i'll say it again. i can back it up 100%. you know, i'm going to. you know, i just think people get a little confused about my timing because i've been fighting this since 2016. and i'm still fighting this for the same reasons. just to stop the abuse of power by the nfl and team owners and to stop the very targeted racist tactics of the nfl and team owners. i mean, this has got to stop.
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>> the owner of the cleveland browns, who says that you were never paid to lose, said that you, quote, never accepted blame for one thing. he says that he accepts blames for things he did wrong, that you've never accepted blame for anything you've done. >> can he -- can he share with you the things that he accept that he did wrong in that environment with me? i began contacting jimmy and the nfl in 2016 when i discovered that the ownership and the executive team were not trying to win games. i was assured by jimmy that things would change and they would get things straight. but i told jimmy that what he was doing was very destructive, to not do this because it's going to hurt my career and every other coach that worked with me and every player on the team. and i told him that it would hurt every black coach that would follow me. and i have the documents to prove this. >> you say you tried to bring your concerns to the attention of the nfl and even spoke to nfl
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commissioner roger good el about it. what was that and what did he say? >> the first conversation i had was 2016. he listened. he didn't say -- really he just kind of listened to what my concern and complaint was and he said, you know, if you need me, get back with me. and that was the end of our conversation. >> but if you have evidence, as you say, and you say you've been fighting this since 2016 and you met with roger goodell in 2016, wasn't that the time to bring evidence forward? >> yes. oh, yeah. and it was the time to bring it forward. it was the time even to -- when you finished to continue to bring it forward. and i did that. i went to the nfl, through their process. that is required by their constitution and bylaws to report the fraud. and no investigation occurred. >> but you said you have evidence now that you will reveal at some point when the time is right. if you've been having that since 2016, i mean, that's a long time
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ago. >> well, i had to -- oh, absolutely. but what i had to do was go through the arbitration process with the national football league. so, i tried to do the right thing. i tried to first fight it in-house with jimmy has lan, the owner. i tried to bring it to his attention about what was going on, what i thought was hurting myself as the head coach, hurting the assistant head coaches, hurting the players. and when this kept walking through this process, i had to bring this to the national football league. >> there's obviously a lot of folks on race and the nfl, a lot of discussions about what progress has been made, what progress hasn't. do you believe race played ai part in the way you say you were treated or dealt with? >> absolutely because what i was told -- you know, it was really interesting. what people hear in public is not what's told in private. the conversations that we had in private was, we're going to give you everything we need to win.
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we'll create an environment for this football team to be great. so, in my opinion, that's the road i was traveling. i think people just got to go back to my press conference. and i said, i came here to win. i came here to turn the cleveland program around. and so when you go from that process to look to where we were and where we end up going, to me, that says it all. i don't think any man would stand up in front of the city, the organization, and say i came here to win and then start down this road of 1-31. >> a season where you had 3 wins, 36 losses, that's -- over three seasons -- that -- did that have anything to do with the coaching, or do you take any responsibility for that? or you say this was all part of this plan that the owner was involved with? s oh, absolutely. i mean, as a coach, you always take responsibility for your
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team when you don't play as well. but when you look at the whole fit of this, there is not much more the head coach, the assistant coaches, or anybody could do based on what we were getting to play with. i mean, all people have to do is go in. the best team i had was the team i had when i walked in the door, which was 3-13. they dismembered the team within a month and a half of me being there, and no one ever told me that that was what they were doing. why would -- why would i, as a head coach, who at 8-8 at the raiders after getting fired in that situation, then take a job where i know that they're going to take players off the team that might not give me a chance to win. you would never do that. >> hue jackson, a appreciate your time tonight, and i appreciate the conversation. thank you. i i wish the best. as the nation crosses 900,000 coviding deaths today,
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the pandemic hasn't been easy on students. i'll show you how one school district is implementing new changes to prioritize their students' mental health. ♪ ♪making your way in the world today♪ ♪takes everything you've got♪ ♪ ♪taking a break from all your worries ♪
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a grim milestone today. the u.s. passed more than 900,000 total covid deaths as the nation battles the ongoing pandemic. the stress is felt by everyone including students who have been in school, out of school, learning online and about everything in between. it has taken a toll. according to the chief of safety in denver, colorado interest was a 20% increase in fights when the school year started last fall. educators are sounding the alarm on a mental health crisis among all achievement and socio economic levels among students. the school system is taking a new approach in an effort to help students manage mental health. >> why else do we think it is important to talk about our mood
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first thing in the morning? do we say mean words to them? >> no. >> no, right? >> reporter: a different kind of bell rang in one denver public school recently. a calming sound for students educators say are still stressed out two years into the global pandemic. a new districtwide requirement for all students. at least 20 minutes devoted to mental health. every grade, every classroom, every day. >> we found they come back a lot of times a shell of their formerselves prior to the pandemic. we understand we have to be patient and persevere. >> reporter: schools are where the emotional trauma shows up. >> hello. >> good morning. >> so that human connection piece and being able to respond to one another just human to human was something that some of our kids lost out on. >> the process is different for each age group. for these kindergarteners red
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light green light is a lesson in what to do when emotions boil over. >> when we play games like this sometimes we might feel strong feelings like mad. maybe if we don't do it the right way. or nervous. what can you do to help yourself stay calm? >> take a breath. >> stop. name your feeling. take a belly breath. >> reporter: down the hall in third grade show and tell is students sharing what was good and bad about the day before. >> show of hands. who likes morning meeting? can somebody tell me, what do you like about it? >> what i like about the morning meeting is the good things. >> what is the secret to getting a third grader to open up about how they feel? >> i think waiting is important. making sure they know they don't just have to share good things. making it very open. >> reporter: this is called social, emotional learning or s.e.l. it can be controversial. >> stop teaching s.e.l. in the high school and take emergency
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action to remove it now. >> reporter: in some states parents' groups have criticized schools over masking and equity criteria and are angry about s.e.l. and call it a distraction or even indoctrination. what is your response to people who say this isn't real school. school should be books and time tables and phonics? why are we talking about feelings? >> well, i think talking about feelings is a great place to start but we have to teach people how to interact with each other. i think we really are arming them with life skills to be successful and talk about what we're going through right now. we have to be ready to learn. >> reporter: was it hard to be online for so long? >> yes, i hated it. >> reporter: 8th grade teacher amanda winters sees what middle schoolers are going through up close. >> these girls were in sixth grade when last in school. our sixth graders were in fourth grade when last in school.
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meeting the bar expected of a sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, whatever grader, they're being asked to meet that behavioral and developmental bar and that academic bar and they've missed out on both. it is hard to meet the academic one when you are still trying to figure out how do i stop being a fourth grader? >> reporter: it is 1:45 p.m. on a thursday. hi. >> hi. >> reporter: i'm evan. cnn. nice to see you. >> hi. >> reporter: what usually goes on in this room? >> so i teach language arts and english language development but we also do advisory. today we're going to do some gratitude and some goal setting for academics but also do mindfulness. we are one of the only schools that has somebody that does yoga and plans mindfulness for us. >> reporter: we're going to do some breathing and then a little meditation or visualization. let your breath soften. that connection with their peers which they've been missing so
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much during the pandemic and during remote learning. we want to make sure we have cushioned it so we have the 20 minutes to really focus on the social emotional piece. >> reporter: anderson, educators in denver and around the country have told me the most important thing to remember about the current state of the mental health crisis for american students is that it is universal. doesn't matter the age, income bracket, academic achievement level. every student is struggling right now with the upheaval from pandemic school. and the educators tell me that addressing that mental health issue first is the most important thing. that academic achievement can't be addressed until that issue is addressed. before the pandemic social and emotional learning was seen as important by some and a waste of time by others. now these educators tell me it is absolutely crucial. anderson? >> evan, thanks so much. we'll be right back.
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the news continues. let's turn things over to don and don lemon tonight. >> thank you, anderson, very much. so everyone, a personal message i want to deliver at the top of the show. hang on one second. a lot of folks have been watching wondering what's happening. it has been a really tough day today and a tough few days here for us at cnn all week really. i didn't want to talk about it until tonight. so the truth is that we're all heartbroken because we lost our leader here. we lottst the man who of the ba bone, the glue, and the spirit of this company. the man i personally credit with changing my life. a man who believed in me when nobody else did. he is the reason you have a gay black man with two hours of primetime. a show with my name on it. the only anchor of color in primetime and cable news.