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Pressure Intensifies for Governor Northam to Step Down; Trump Hints At Border Wall Announcement During State of the Union; Countdown to Super Bowl LIII; Actor Jussie Smollett Sends Defiant Message After Chicago Attack; Dozens Protest Federal Prison Without Heat, Power in New York. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired February 3, 2019 - 07:00   ET


[07:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is completely tone deaf.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Republicans and Democrats, not one really thinks that he has any serious chance of surviving this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has just formally invited President Trump to deliver the State of the Union Address.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Listen closely to the State of the Union. I think you'll find it very exciting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say something to us!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A heated protest outside MDC, demanding to know why inmates inside are freezing.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.


BLACKWELL: Good Sunday morning to you.

After a bizarre, a very bizarre press conference that saw Virginia Governor Ralph Northam trying to plain, there are more people calling for his resignation than they were the day before.

Now, at first, remember, Northam admitted that he was in that racist 1984 yearbook. Now, he is denying that. It was the way he chose to deny it though that just has not been sitting well with people. Look at this.


GOV. RALPH NORTHAM (D), VIRGINIA: When I was confronted with the images yesterday, I was appalled that they appeared on my page, but I believe then and now, that I am not either of the people in that photo. I am not and will not excuse the content of the photo. It was offensive, racist, and despicable.

Why did I -- why did I dress up?


Yes. I didn't realize at the time that it was as offensive as I have since learned and knowing that, what I know now, I wouldn't have done it, but, at the time, I did not realize it.

I did participate in a dance contest in San Antonio in which I darkened my face as part of a Michael Jackson costume. I had the shoes. I had a glove. And I used just a little bit of shoe accomplish to put under my -- or on my cheeks and the reason I used a very a little bit but I don't know if anybody has ever tried that, but you cannot get shoe polish off.

REPORTER: Are you still able to moonwalk?

NORTHAM: My wife says inappropriate circumstances. I was the president of the VMI Honor Court. Our code there is a cadet shall not lie, cheat, steal or tolerate those who do. That's the most meaningful thing to me in my life. I tell the truth. I'm telling the truth today.


PAUL: So, after that, there were even more elected officials who went on the record and said Northam needs to resign.

BLACKWELL: Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine have privately encouraged Northam to step down. A Democrat with knowledge of those talks tells CNN that after that press conference, they said their patience was done.

Let's go now to CNN politics reporter Dan Merica in Richmond, Virginia.

I don't know. Maybe, Dan, you know, of high profile Democrats who are coming out to support this governor?

DAN MERICA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: The list is small, if any, really, at this point.

What the governor need going into yesterday's press conference was to stem the tide of calls for his resignation and on that count, he spectacularly failed, because after that -- after the press conference, you had a series of high profile Democrats including Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, Bobby Scott, Doug Wilder, the first African- American governor of the commonwealth of Virginia, as well as Mark Herring, all of whom said it was time for him to resign.

I want to read to you the statement that Warner, Kaine, and Scott put out, which is really, really poignant. They said: After we watched his press conference today, we called Governor Northam to tell him we no longer believe he can effectively serve as governor and that he must resign.

It's worth noting this came after conversations with Northam. They watched the press conference. They talked to him and then they came to that position. At this point, for many Virginia Democrats, there is no path forward

for the governor and the only person who hasn't expressed a call for his resignation is his lieutenant governor, 39-year-old Justin Fairfax, an African-American lieutenant here in the commonwealth, he is popular with progressives. He released a statement after, it was very pointed, he condemned the photo, but he did not outright call for the governor's resignation. That maybe the only thing that Northam can hang his hat on at this point, Victor and Christi.

PAUL: All righty. So, let's talk about the Democrats nationally. How are they moving forward with this? What is the plan?

MERICA: I mean, throughout Friday and Saturday, there were a cascade of calls for him to resign from people who are running for president in 2020, from high profile Democrats, from a whole host of operatives who have a history with the governor. It's very clear that the Democratic establishment believes Governor Northam should step down. And yesterday's press conference just reaffirmed that.

I mean, the fact that he defended or he backtracked on the fact that was in the photo, in his yearbook and tried to defend that photo by saying he remembered another time he appeared in black face that really rankled a number of people and frankly was just in many -- in the eyes of many tone deaf.

[07:05:15] So, they are very clear -- the Democratic establishment across the country are clear, they believe Northam should go. These are folks who helped Northam get elected in 2017 when he routed his Republican opponent here in the commonwealth of Virginia. But what really matters now are the people here in Richmond, the folks who have longstanding relationships with the governor. I listed five of those that now believe he should be resigned. Justin Fairfax is the only one who hasn't called for that. That really is the pressure point at this point.

The other issue is Northam's team hasn't really laid out what he does next. He said he wanted to start a conversation how to overcome this. At this point, they are not saying how that conversation will begin, Victor and Christi.

PAUL: All righty. Dan Merica, thank you so much for the update.

BLACKWELL: With us now, CNN political commentator Errol Louis, political anchor at Spectrum News, and Cornell Brooks, former president and CEO of the NAACP, now a professor at Harvard.

Gentlemen, welcome back.

Errol, let me start with you.

Let's put this picture back up, because at the center of what we heard from the governor at this news conference, it's still this question of why on Friday night would he admit and apologize for being one of these two men when he didn't think he was? That just does not make sense. ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, he has introduced that,

Victor, an entirely different kind of question which is this person stable and reliable? Can we get a straight account of what seemed to be pretty basic facts and information? You know, to believe what he has now said that he never saw the book, that those were not him, that he never submitted those photos or anything like that. And, of course, reporters are now chasing down the people who made the yearbook.

But for us to believe that, you have to conclude that some horrible prank was played on Governor Northam 35 years ago and he never knew about it until this week. That just seems a little bit too much to swallow and that might be why the last remaining holdout high ranking Democrats have contacted him to say, forget it, this just doesn't work for us.

BLACKWELL: And it happened twice, because there's also the nickname in the other yearbook he said I understand how they got the nickname of goose because when I was going to puberty, my voice would go into different octave or crack, but cone man, I don't really know where that one came from.

Let me come to you, Cornell, because it wasn't just about if I knew then what I know now, it's kind of how he was explaining what he knows now, reverting to, oh, well I have black friends and I asked about one of them about black face and someone asked can you still moonwalk and he was looking around as if he was about to break into a dance and his wife had to stop him.

Listen to this explanation of his black face as Michael Jackson in Texas, not in that yearbook, he claims.


NORTHAM: I really do believe that both of them are wrong, but there is a contrast seen between the black face and someone standing there in a Ku Klux Klan outfit and me dressed up in a Michael Jackson costume for a dance contest.


BLACKWELL: So, he says one black face is not the same as the other black face. What do you see?

CORNELL BROOKS, FORMER PRESIDENT & CEO, NAACP: The governor insults our intelligence in order to explain having insulted our conscience. The fact of the matter is black face is categorically offensive. And for him to say he is one of two people in a photo, a person who is in generic black face as it were and someone who was in a Klan uniform and then subsequently he says he wasn't in that photograph but appeared in black face elsewhere.

The reality is he cannot continue to insult the intelligence of the voters while asking forgiveness for having insulted the racial conscience of the commonwealth. He has not demonstrated the character, the candor, the sensitivity to continuing governing as the governor of the commonwealth of Virginia and he has to resign.

BLACKWELL: So, let's look ahead then because there's opinion piece in "The Washington Post," Cornell, I'm going to stay with you with this, that puts the onus on the lieutenant governor, Justin Fairfax, in which they say: The solution to the Northam crisis, Justin Fairfax must speak out. Fairfax, a descendant of slaves, could decide Northam is worth forgiving, and that the insensitive lout in that medical school yearbook photograph is not the man who sits in the governor's chair today.

He could also call for the Northam to go, a bow to political reality that no Virginia Democrat, particularly post-Charlottesville, can be seen posing in an ugly racist photograph no matter how old.

[07:10:00] What's your take on this onus now on Justin Fairfax to decide what happens?

BROOKS: With all due respect to "The Washington Post," I respectfully disagree. Why are we placing the responsibility for determining what the governor should do in terms of resigning on the lieutenant governor, an African-American? The fact of the matter is Justin Fairfax did not appear in black face. He did not appear in a Klan uniform.

It may well be that the lieutenant governor is declining to call for his resignation because he would, in fact, be elevated as governor. So, it may be a measure of the lieutenant governor's restraint that they are seeing, not his willingness to call for what is blatantly apparently should be done. Namely, the governor has to resign.

We should not place responsibility on the lieutenant governor. It's clear what the governor needs to do.

BLACKWELL: Errol, when we were together this time yesterday, I asked if the governor would survive until Friday. You didn't think he'd make it to Monday. We heard from the governor yesterday saying he's not going anywhere.

Are you sticking with that?

LOUIS: I think I probably will, to be honest with you. I mean, look, what he is going to discover is his ability to act as the chief executive, to shepherd the legislature through a pretty tough budget season. This is a time of year where they have to make some important choices. And there is absolutely no way that's going to happen.

I mean, you know, who is going to sit with him, who is going to work with him and who is going to form alliances with him? The business of the state is simply not going to get done. So, he may be the last one to figure this out, Victor, but his administration is grinding to a halt.

Now, you know, look, there could be some kind of crazy spectacle, you know? We know what will happen when the late night comedians get a hold of this. The footage you showed looks like a "Saturday Night Live" skit, you know? His ability to lead that state, I just can't see it happening. But,

you know, stranger things have happened so I guess we will see.

BLACKWELL: Yes, we'll see how long he stays in the job. Cornell Brooks, always good to have you. Thank you for being with us.

Errol, stick around. We have much more to talk about, including the "STATE OF THE UNION." Former Governor Terry McAuliffe and Senator Richard Shelby will be Jake Tapper's guests on "STATE OF THE UNION". That's later this morning at 9:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

PAUL: Yes, and that's what we're talking about, State of the Union on Tuesday. President Trump, the president telling reporters there will be, quote, a big announcement. What we are learning about what is going to happen there.

Stay close.


[07:16:47] BLACKWELL: President Trump will address the nation on Tuesday. The State of the Union Address comes just ten days before a potential second government shutdown.

PAUL: Of course, lawmakers are looking to deliver the president a spending bill that avoid another shutdown, but Friday, President Trump, he kind of fueled this speculation that he may bypass Congress altogether, possibly declaring a national emergency for his border wall.

CNN White House reporter Sarah Westwood joining us now.

What are you learning, Sarah, about what we will see Tuesday night?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Victor and Christi, we are learning we may expect to hear a more optimistic tone from President Trump than we are used to hearing from him. The White House says the theme of the speech will be choosing greatness and senior White House official used words like optimism and bipartisanship to describe the speech which is expected to touch on everything from trade to immigration to national security.

But, of course, Trump will be delivering it to a divided Congress against the backdrop of these deadlocked budget talks that Trump has described as a waste of time. He has been lowering expectations that will see any kind of breakthrough from this conference committee. So he has been returning to these threats to declare a national emergency, to try to access federal funds that way and, Friday, he hinted that we may see some kind of announcement in the State of Union Address. Take a listen.


REPORTER: Mr. President, have you privately decided whether or not you will declare a national emergency?

TRUMP: Privately? What is in my mind? I'm certainly thinking about it.

REPORTER: You're thinking --

TRUMP: I think there's a good chance that we'll have to do that.

REPORTER: Are you saying that you will -- that we should be prepared for you to announce, at the State of the Union, what you are going to do?

TRUMP: Well, I'm saying listen closely to the State of the Union. I think you'll find it very exciting.


WESTWOOD: Now, Trump, of course, expressed reluctance to declare a national emergency during the 35-day shutdown but increasingly, he's suggesting he fully expects to declare a national emergency on February 15th when funding runs drive. Now, we inspect him to invite guests to the State of the Union that compliment the topics he is going to talk about. The White House will be announcing that tomorrow.

But other lawmakers are indicating already how they plan to observe the tradition of bringing guests who symbolize their cherished issues. For example, Democratic Senator Kamala Harris. She'll be bringing in an air traffic controller who was furloughed during this latest shutdown. Republican Senator John Cornyn bringing a Border Patrol sector chief. So we will see a broad range of guests at the State of the Union Address on Tuesday, Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: Sarah Westwood for us there in West Palm Beach, thanks so much.

PAUL: Back with us now, CNN political commentator Errol Louis.

Errol, good morning to you. Thank you so much for sticking around.

Is it safe to say that one of the things most people will be looking for, you included, will not just be what the president says at the podium but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her facial expressions sitting right behind him?

LOUIS: Well, there are facial expressions and then the planned and somewhat orchestrated actions of the Democratic majority of the House that she now leads. Will they stand? Will they applaud? Occasionally, you see booing or other kinds of signs of displeasure?

You know, what the Democrats do in that chamber will be something everyone will be watching.

[07:20:02] And, you know, it's probably too soon for them to act triumphant over the fact that they did not cave over the shutdown, nor over the funding of the wall but, you know, the fight is going to be going on probably in that chamber as the speech is being delivered, especially if the president takes the extraordinary step as being telegraphed that he might declare a national emergency during the speech.

PAUL: You know, he said, we just heard there, he said, listen closely to State of the Union, I think you'll find it exciting. Does that mean there is going to be some hidden meaning or something?

LOUIS: Oh, no. That is game show Donald Trump.


LOUIS: You know, there is always the cliff hanger, the tease, you know, comeback after the next commercial break. That is just the way he talks and thinks, frankly. I don't know that there's any strategy there at all.

He defaults to that when it's not clear where he wants to go, but he wants to make sure you're going to be on the hook to watch whatever it is he does next.

PAUL: So, we know that he will be talking about bipartisanship, about infrastructure, health care. He essentially, I understand, is going to try to get Congress to ratify the U.S./Mexico and Canadian free trade agreement, trade with China will be on the discussions, but immigration will be the one that a lot of people are watching and I want to make a point here.

Sarah talked about who is going to be in the audience. We know New Jersey Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman is bringing Victorina Morales (ph). She's an undocumented worker who was recently fired from the Trump National Golf Course.

We also have congressman from California, Jimmy Gomez. He tweeted this on Friday. Sandra Diaz, a formerly undocumented worker who was hired by the Trump Golf Course will be my guests on State of the Union. Trump calls immigrants murderers and rapists but he wants them to clean his hotels and golf resorts. Hypocrisy at his worse.

What does that tweet tell you about the state of mind of some of these people who are going to go into the state of the union?

LOUIS: Well, look. What it tells you, among other things, it's a reminder frankly that of the 40 seats that were flipped by Democrats, many of them were flipped on a promise and as a result of campaigns, promising to really stick it to the president. There is a really angry mood among the Democratic base and, you know, both that tweet, the fact they are bringing in people who had been fired by the Trump Organization, that they want to sort of point to what they are calling hypocrisy and really trying to stick it to the president, that's kind of the mood the Democrats are in.

You know, there is political talk about whether or not they are going to overplay their hand and so forth, but for many of these people, they are going up to that line, you know? Clearly, there is a line that can be crossed where it just becomes unseemly and unhelpful. But there are a lot of Democrats who are willing to walk up to that line.

PAUL: You don't expect them to cross it? LOUIS: Well, you never know.

PAUL: Depends on what he says?

LOUIS: It depends on what district they ran in, you know? Look. Rashida Tlaib out of Detroit who dropped obscenities and promised to, you know, impeach MF-er. Well, you know what, that worked in her district, I don't think she suffered any ill effects.

There's a part of the Democratic base out there that is really, really angry and some Democratic representatives who are saying, I want to channel every bit of that anger.

PAUL: Oh, wow.

All right. Errol Louis, always appreciate you taking time for us, sir. Thank you.

LOUIS: Thank you.

PAUL: And please join us for President Trump's State of the Union Address to the nation. Special live coverage for you starting Tuesday night at 8:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.

BLACKWELL: Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard officially launched her 2020 presidential campaign.


REP. TULSI GABBARD (D), HAWAII: And is in this spirit that, today, I announce my candidacy for president of the United States of America.


I will bring this soldier' principle to the White House -- restoring the values of dignity, honor, and respect to the presidency, and, above all else, love for our people and love for our country.


BLACKWELL: Gabbard drew on her service as you heard there in the National Guard has got her bid for the White House. She has highlighted healthcare access, criminal justice reform, climate change as key platform issues for her presidential run.

She told the crowd she was running against powerful, self-serving politicians and greedy corporations, vowing to restore dignity and honor and respect to the presidency. Gabbard joins a growing list of Democrats competing for office in 2020.

PAUL: A cancer survivor going to the Super Bowl with a former NFL player. How a challenge won her tickets to the big game.

[07:25:03] We are talking to them in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLACKWELL: Eleven hours and about 10 seconds now until kickoff of Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta.

[07:30:04] Andy Scholes has more from outside of Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Getting close, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we're getting close, Victor. That's right.

You know, Super Bowl LIII is going to make history for the largest age gap ever between the two coaches. Rams head coach Sean McVay, 33 years old, the youngest coach to ever lead a team to the Super Bowl. Bill Belichick, meanwhile, twice his age. He is 66!

But don't let the age gap fool you. These two coaches are much more alike than they are different. Both grew up around the game of football. Bill Belichick's spending much time with dad who was a scout for Navy. McVay meanwhile got to be around the San Francisco 49ers as his grandfather was a front office executive for the team.

And both saying, you know, those childhood experiences taught them a lot about being a leader.


BILL BELICHICK, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS HEAD COACH: Through those experiences, I think I learned things and again, I was very fortunate to be, you know, around a great navy program at a time when it was, you know, one of top programs in the country. In the end, my dad taught me it's always about being unselfish and doing what is best for the team. That's why he played football, but I think those are good influences and I'm very fortunate that I had those.

SEAN MCVAY, LOS ANGELES RAMS HEAD COACH: Things that occurred without his influence on really this league. It's such a small network and I'm not naive to think you wouldn't get these opportunities if it wasn't for the legacy that my grandfather was able to establish by working hard and treating people the right way and always considering people first.


SCHOLES: These two coaches, despite the age difference, have a clear mutual admiration for each other. They met at the scouting combine a year ago and this season, they even exchanged texts after almost every game. And tonight, they will be shaking hands after Super Bowl LIII.

Now, Tony Romo is calling his first Super Bowl for CBS later today. Fans have just been mesmerized by the way he's able to predict what's going to happen on the field before it does. Many joking that Romo is from future.

Well, earlier this week, I caught up with Romo and I asked him, how does he do it? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TONY ROMO, CBS SPORTS ANALYST: You just try to look at plays, plays, mannerisms, everything and you just try to hopefully make it fun for the viewers at home and passion comes out and you're trying to show that passion to people at home, and, you know, you study something long enough in your life, hopeful you get lucky once in a while.

SCHOLES: With your ability to see what is happening on the field, many people think you have a future in coaching. Will we ever see Coach Romo in the Super Bowl?

ROMO: Not any time soon. But I'm sure at some point in the future I'll want to do that part of it, but just not right now. Just like the way where life is and I have young boys and I want to spend time with them.


SCHOLES: Now, there are always fun of bets you can make on the Super Bowl and one involves Romo. Check this out -- how many plays will he predict right in the Super Bowl? Over/under is 7 1/2. That is a lot of plays.

Another fun beat also involves the national anthem. How long will Gladys Knight take? They set the clock at a minute and 49 seconds, likely over.

And then, of course, you got what color of Gatorade will be poured on the winning coach? Clear or water, the favorite. Purple, guys, pays 12 to 1. If you can't wait until after the game to put some action on it, you can always bet heads or tails. That is the easiest one you can do.

BLACKWELL: I'm going with purple! Purple Gatorade.

SCHOLES: Like those odds?

BLACKWELL: Long shot. If you're putting $2 down, make it worth it. Andy, thanks.

SCHOLES: All right, Victor.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: There are so many stories that come out of the Super Bowl, but this one, you really need to hear. Very special.

Patty Watkins, she is going to be at the Super Bowl with former NFL player Chris Draft. Back in 2014, right before the Super Bowl, she was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. She has fought this as you will see and he inspired her to start raising money for lung cancer research. And so, we are going to talk about this in a moment.

What I want you to know that is Patty found out she had stage IV lung cancer. The doctor literally said you have two days to live. That was five years ago!

That is so fantastic!

They are with us here.

Patty and Chris, thank you for being here. How did that happen? Take us to the day they told you, you've got two days to live?

PATTY WATKINS, CANCER SURVIVOR: Well, I had woken up from -- I had gone into the E.R. with a blood clot in my leg and when I woke up, I was waking up from a surgery that I didn't know I was going to have and thoracic surgeon told me I had stage IV lung cancer and needed to call my kids home and pretty much say good-bye.

PAUL: With every day that went by and you proved them wrong, essentially?

WATKINS: Every day. Every day. And then after I outlived that, my husband had put some generators in at the house to run the oxygen that I was on, I was on the most that you could actually deliver to anybody, and the pulmonologist said you need to find a good hospice. She is not going to come home again.

And so, my doctor at Kennestone, Dr. Steve McCune (ph), he actually sent off for a genetic mutation test, I mean, I'm sorry, a genetic mutation test, and it came back that I had a rare type of lung cancer called Ros1. That is the mutation that was driving my lung cancer.

PAUL: And you now take just a pill, is that right?

WATKINS: Just a pill.

PAUL: Is this still a clinical trial?

WATKINS: It was a clinical trial until November and then the FDA approved it. So, but I do fly out to Austin to see my doctor there, Dr. Alice Shaw.

PAUL: Chris, you have been nodding your head. You are so happy, I know, with this. How did you meet her?

CHRIS DRAFT, CEO, PRESIDENT, CHRIS DRAFT FAMILY FOUNDATION: So, I met Patty at a Livestrong fund-raiser here in Atlanta and I've met survivors all over the country because when my wife passed away from lung cancer, we knew we had to get to know the rest of our survivors. We wanted people to know what is going on. We wanted them to care.

We had to change the face of lung cancer and the key to doing that is making sure you can see people like Patty. And getting to know Patty, recognizing that she is here because research works. So, we need more research. We need more dollars, but Patty being here five years out says research is working.

Now, we need to accelerate it because unfortunately for my wife, it didn't happen and she wasn't able to get on therapy. But we have people that are living longer, living better, and that is all because of research.

PAUL: You are so passionate about this. You met her, I understand, were you rappelling down a building? Is that right?

WATKINS: We were rappelling down Buckhead Tower in Buckhead, Atlanta, 20 stories. I had never done a repel before.

PAUL: This was part -- this was a fund-raiser?

WATKINS: Fund-raiser for research, yes, for cancer.

PAUL: So, how is it that she is getting to go to the Super Bowl.

DRAFT: So, she has earned a right. She has earned a right. So, five years ago we started our lung cancer survivors Super Bowl challenge. And essentially, we said to survivors, say, hey, raise for your cancer center, raise for your organization, and whoever raises the most money, that person is going to the Super Bowl and Patty was at the taste of NFL last night.

Now, today, she is going to the Super Bowl LIII in her hometown at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

PAUL: With you.

DRAFT: Actually, she is going with her husband.


DRAFT: I'm going to be cheering them on and making sure they go.

PAUL: But you're going? Are you not?

DRAFT: I'm not.

PAUL: To this game?

DRAFT: They are going. It's all about them. It's about her and her teammate.

PAUL: This is so near and dear to you.

DRAFT: Absolutely.

PAUL: I can tell.

WATKINS: Speaking of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, lung cancer kills two Mercedes-Benz Stadiums full of people every year and it's the least funded cancer, although it's the number one killer.

PAUL: Because there is not enough people who know about it? We have breast cancer we pay attention to and heart disease we pay attention to.

DRAFT: It's not just the lack of awareness and why it's so important. In our Super Bowl challenge, we allow our survivors to pick a beneficiary. Patty picked the American Cancer Society's National Lung Cancer Roundtable, and that is so important because that sends a message that research matters.

So, historically, American Cancer Society sets prevention and that is why when you see a lack of dollars is all people were told. So, we hope by people watching right now that they realize that research matters because they see Patty and they are excited because it's historic because the American Cancer Society is saying research matters. It changes the world.

PAUL: It does matter. Again, she was given two days to live and that was five years ago. That is so fantastic!

Thank you very much both for being here!

WATKINS: That's why I work so hard for research.

PAUL: Thank you. Thank you for everything you're doing, Chris. We appreciate it.

Happy Super Bowl!

WATKINS: Thank you.

PAUL: I hope have you a good time.


BLACKWELL: "Empire" star Jussie Smollett is back and sounding defiant, after being attacked this week, he says in Chicago. His message to fans, coming up.


[07:43:46] BLACKWELL: Actor Jussie Smollett is back on the stage last night and sounding defiant less than a week after he says he was attacked by two men in Chicago.

PAUL: As CNN's Paul Vercammen reports, Smollett used last night's performance to reconnect with fans and then deliver a message of strength.


PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor and Christi, in this legendary club where Prince, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Alicia Keys have performed before him, Jussie Smollett's team seemed to be that love conquers all and that he had to take the stage so he could conquer hate.

And his fans echoed the same sentiment. He was moving around very well, and the crowd just love that, and many of them after said this was an experience of a lifetime.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was full on, 100 percent. Like, good spirits. I was just amazed. I was so grateful for his comic relief. I was so grateful that he -- he just gave me a ton of strength that I didn't expect to come see.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The emotional, the energy, I mean, look at all of the people that are coming out.

[07:45:01] It's black, white, you know, Asian, it's gays. It's straight. I mean, the whole vibe of the people, we were all there in love.

SMOLLETT: I'm not fully healed yet, but I'm going to and -- and I'm going to stand strong with y'all.

WILSON CRUZ, ACTOR: It's about the fact that young man, after what he went through just did a show for all of us and that is unbelievable. That is who he is. He is the epitome of love.

VERCAMMEN: At times, Jussie was down right funny. He joked before went to the stage for an encore that he didn't want to anger his lawyer, but he said he wanted to clarify a few things. One, he says his ribs were not broken, and, two, he wanted everyone to know that he did fight the expletive back. It was an energized, electric night at Troubadour.

Back to you now -- Christi, Victor.


PAUL: Paul, thank you som uich.

Still to come -- no heat, no power, no hot water for days. These are complaints of more than a thousand inmates and workers at a federal prison in Brooklyn, New York.

The community, you see them there. They have had it. We have an update for you.


PAUL: Take a look at -- want to show you what was going on outside a detention center in New York yesterday.

[07:50:02] And it has been going on for quite some time. A lot of protesters out there. A lot of them. Take a look at that.

As they characterize some of the conditions these inmates are living in as inhumane, and we're talking about more than 1,000 inmates. Now workers and inmates say this Brooklyn facility hasn't had heat, hasn't had power, hasn't had hot water for days.

BLACKWELL: Now, they describe the building as an ice box. Remember, New York saw temperatures as low as 2 degrees last week because of that arctic blast that swept across parts of the country.

CNN correspondent Paula Sandoval is in New York with more details.

OK, Polo, how long have they been without heat, and are any of these resources, utilities, back on now?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It appears they've been without those resources since Thursday, Victor and Christi. Both prisoners and personnel at the Brooklyn federal facility have been in the dark for days. A fix according to federal officials may not happen until tomorrow possibly.

An organizer with the American Federation of Government Employees says that prison staff are being forced to work in freezing temperatures. Some, according to a congresswoman who visited the federal lockup recently, says they're wearing coats, scarves to carry out their duties in the dark.

Remember, as you correctly point out, it's been extremely cold throughout the Northeast with temperatures in the teens overnight. Also protesters have been gathering outside the facility since yesterday. They are concerned that people inside have been exposed to what they believe are inhumane conditions.

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, there was a fire in a room that houses electrical equipment that left one of the two buildings partially in the dark.


RHONDA BARNWELL, WORKS IN THE JAIL'S MEDICAL STATION: Dark spots where we are moving inmates, and there's no light. So we're really afraid for the staff member safety, as well as the inmates because there's a lot of areas where we cannot see. Some of the officers got injured today trying to lock inmates back in the cells.


SANDOVAL: All right. So, where do things stand now? Officials say that repairs have been done but crews still have to restore power but a spokesperson for the local utility tells us they're ready to reconnect power once the repairs are completed or released from the bureau of prisons yesterday, it says they have already submitted a ticket to try to get that power restored and it's expected to be completed by Monday, February 4th. That's tomorrow.

Quick background on the facility here. The population about 1,600 people. Inmates include those with serious chronic or medical problems and others with violent or escape-prone individuals so that highlights the need, Christi and Victor, to try to find a solution to this situation happening in Brooklyn right now.

PAUL: Are they able to even have their family visits and I understand the mayor was sending blankets.

What do you know about all that?

SANDOVAL: Yes. No, they can't make any of those visits. That certainly is fueling tension and frustration for many of the family members who have loved ones being held at the detention facility. The Department -- or at least the Bureau of Prison reporting that so far they suspended all visitations at that location until they get the power back up and running. They are asked to follow the website until they can get that solution.

And as you mentioned, New York's mayor saying that he plans to send not just generators but also hand warmers and blankets, a temporary solution to what is a very serious situation there in Brooklyn right now.

PAUL: No doubt about it. Polo Sandoval, thank you so much.

SANDOVAL: You bet.

PAUL: We'll be right back.


[07:57:54] PAUL: So we've all fallen before, right? Maybe hurt ourselves. This week's "Staying Well" features an urban sport called Parkour that helps you build agility and prevent those falls.


AUSTIN GALL, PARKOUR INSTRUCTOR: Parkour is moving quickly and fluidly through space when there's obstacles in your way. Not only challenge your body but also your brain.

Foot on top and then step through the middle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's really an obstacle course. That can improve muscle strength, balance, flexibility, gait.

GALL: A lot of people come into it being exposed to the more extravagant side of it. We first work on being able to balance along a rail or along some beams without falling off and then working on simple things like footwork and jumping.

I think the most important thing is that roll, being able to drop down into a roll to break your fall.

Shuffle. Roll.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Physical activity is one of the prime ways that we can prevent falls. The stronger we are and the greater our reaction time, the better apt we are to fall in a more appropriate way.

CHRIS JAMES, PARKOUR STUDENT: I can do a lot of things I wouldn't think I'd be able to do at 35. How to absorb the fall, how to roll into it so you don't place too much jarring pressure on your joints.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm excited to see how Parkour is going to evolve over the next few years as it's adapted for older adults, because I think there are components important for reducing falls risk.



The biggest sporting event in the U.S. is happening in Atlanta just a few hours from now. The New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams will face off in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the Super Bowl, Super Bowl LIII.

Now, the massive security operation is going on around the clock to keep the fans safe.

PAUL: We're talking about on the ground, in the air, thousands of local, state, federal law enforcement officers patrolling. Authorities have declared a no-fly zone. That includes drones, by the way. The FBI has already confiscated at least six of them and are warning, listen, keep them far from the stadium or you're going to lose it.

Good luck to all of you watching the Super Bowl today. Hope your team wins, whatever it is. Make good memories today.

BLACKWELL: "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts now.