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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Supreme Court Hears Vaccine Mandate Challenges; Tucker Carlson Takes On Sen. Ted Cruz; Attorneys For Ahmaud Arbery's Killers Say They Will Appeal; No School In Chicago For Third Day; Standoff Could Enter 2nd Week; NPR: Jan. 6 Cmte. Expects To Ask Pence To Voluntarily Appear. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired January 07, 2022 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: President Biden offered condolences to Poitier's family. Our sympathies as well.

Thanks for joining us.

AC 360 with Anderson begins now.



We begin tonight with what might seem like a contradiction even as COVID cases are climbing to levels not seen before, and more than 1,300 people a day are still dying. There is talk in and around the Biden administration about planning for a time when COVID is no longer a pandemic, but still a fact of life.

Listen to the President when asked today whether Americans should prepare to live with COVID forever.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, I don't think COVID is here to stay that having COVID in the environment here and in the world is probably here to stay, but COVID, as we're dealing with it now is not here to stay.

The new normal doesn't have to be. We have so many more tools were developing and continuing to develop that will keep contain COVID and other strains of COVID, the new normal is not going to be what it is now, it's going to be better.


COOPER: Remember, this comes at the end of a period that has seen new cases more than triple since Christmas and hospitalizations climbed sharply and it comes at the end of a week of confusing statements from the C.D.C. and some damage control from the agency. Also with clashes and confrontations, a lot of understandable angst over schools reopening.

Also the Supreme Court hearing oral arguments today on challenges the administration's vaccine mandate for big businesses as well as healthcare workers.

There is a lot for the week, add to it six former advisers to the President are now calling for new measures to move toward this or at least plan for this new normal.

In a piece published yesterday in "The Journal of the American Medical Association," Ezekiel Emanuel, Celine Gounder, and Michael Osterholm write, "Without a strategic plan for the new normal, with endemic COVID-19, more people in the U.S. will unnecessarily experience morbidity and mortality. Health inequities will widen and trillions will be lost from the U.S. economy."

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel served during the transition on the President's COVID-19 Advisory Board. He is also the author of "Which Country has the World's Best Health Care?"

Dr. Emanuel, you and your colleagues laid out in these journal articles, it is really fascinating. You talk about a new normal. What would the new normal look like practically speaking and what needs to happen to get to that point?

DR. EZEKIEL EMANUEL, FORMER MEMBER, BIDEN'S TRANSITION COVID-19 ADVISORY BOARD: Well, the new normal is the way we live with flu, we're going to live with the coronavirus. It is going to be around, people are going to get infected, but hopefully, few people will be hospitalized and even fewer people will die from it and we will be able to go about our lives as we did before.

But COVID is going to be part of the equation, it's just not going to go away. We're not going to get rid of this virus.

COOPER: For instance, will you be wearing a mask out in public in this new normal when it is endemic?

EMANUEL: Most of the time, we will not be wearing a mask, but say there was a flare up and a concentrated high number of cases, then you might don a mask for that short period of time.

COOPER: But you don't think it is something -- I mean, you don't think in the future, everyone is going to want to wear a mask at the gym because it's an indoor space.

EMANUEL: No, in the endemic situation, where COVID is just part of the viral respiratory illnesses we confront, we won't. Part of what will make that happen is that the gym will have much better ventilation than they generally have now.

They will have MERV-13 air filters, they will have HEPA filters, and by the way, the prevalence of COVID in the community will be much lower, so you won't be getting that many people infected.

COOPER: Obviously, testing has been a major issue, particularly during this omicron surge, people can't find at-home rapid tests, PCR tests can take several days to get results, what do you think needs to happen to get testing to a better place? EMANUEL: Well, first of all, what we were discussing in our articles

is not for the immediate time. It's a strategic plan for three to 12 months. But immediately, you know, we created the testing infrastructure, and then when the vaccines came along, everyone thought, well, we're past this and let it go away.

We need to recreate that testing infrastructure, much more PCR testing, much more at-home testing, and a much more coherent strategy for what happens when someone tests positive so that they get the appropriate treatment, whether it's the new oral medications from Pfizer and Merck or a monoclonal antibody, or if they're not eligible for those, they can go on to a research study, and they're advised about how to isolate so as not to infect other people.

We don't have that kind of infrastructure. So, we need to build more testing capacity, more tests authorized, produce more and can create a closer link between testing and treating people.


COOPER: The time when it becomes endemic, the time where you talking about, you know, kind of the new normal, when do you see that taking place? And what gets us there? Because I mean, why wouldn't there just be endless new variants that happen a year from now, two years from now, three years from now that you know, and it's this up and down, and we don't know what to expect it? Does the virus just kind of weaken over time?

EMANUEL: Well, first of all we have in flu new variants every year and what do we do? Well, we vaccinate, they're not as deadly. We take precautions.

We have to get to a situation where what we are seeing from coronavirus is not big surges. We need many more people vaccinated in this case. We need additional therapies, not just the couple of oral therapies we currently have. We need to upgrade our air filtration system.

We've got to get the prevalence down and then we'll be able to get to a new normal. It's possible that with omicron, we will get to a new normal towards the middle to end of the year. But we don't know, and we have to plan for various scenarios, including a pessimistic scenario where we have a new variant, a positive scenario where omicron is the sort of last serious variant and it's not going to be out competed, and we can get to the new normal, much more rapidly.

COOPER: Hospitalizations are the highest they've ever been for kids since the start of the pandemic. How concerned should parents of younger kids who aren't old enough to get vaccinated -- how concerned should they be, especially since the U.S. is months away from children under five being eligible?

EMANUEL: Well, look, it is of concern. Partially, this is a result of the fact that they have small, a nasopharynx, so small throat and you know, a little inflammation from the virus probably closes them off and makes breathing and other things hard. And the main thing that you have to do again, is what do we have? We

don't have a vaccine for them, so we have to rely on the public health mitigation measures. We shouldn't take them into public places like restaurants and grocery stores. You should wait for the frequency of cases to come down before lots of socialization.

We should really make sure when we mix with other people that people test, that's not a guarantee, as we know, but it reduces the risk of getting infected.

COOPER: There has been a lot of confusion with you know, changing C.D.C. guidelines, isolation time, masks -- bottom line, if you were advising the President, what should priority number one be right now to get past where we are?

EMANUEL: Well, unfortunately, if you vaccinate today the people who are unvaccinated who account for about 75 percent of the hospitalizations, it is not really going to make a big difference over the next month because they need a second shot and then 14 days after the second shot.

Public health measures that we've mentioned, better air quality, masking, not going into crowded indoor spaces, those are really important measures in order to get past omicron.

What we are suggesting is that is for this immediate moment, but you need to plan today for three months from now, so we're not quite in the same problem. I think one of the problems we have with the testing regime is we didn't plan in June-July for how to properly use at-home tests, mixed with a PCR to make sure that the whole system was operating smoothly, and then connecting it to any potential therapies we had at that time, the monoclonal therapy.

So if we plan today, we won't have a recurrence or shouldn't have a recurrence of these shortages and things in the next few months.

COOPER: Dr. Zeke Emanuel, I really appreciate it. Thank you.

EMANUEL: Thank you.

COOPER: Again, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments today on vaccine mandates.

Joining us now CNN chief legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin and our chief White House correspondent, Kaitlan Collins.

Jeff, you heard the oral arguments, the questions from the Justices today. Where do you think they're leaning?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: It went badly for the Biden administration, not because the lawyers did a bad job, but because there is a project with the conservatives at the Supreme Court, just like there is a project to eliminate abortion rights, there is a project to limit the power of the administrative state, limit the ability of the government to issue regulations under Federal law. That's what was really going on at the Supreme Court, and it did seem that there were five, probably six Justices who were interested in telling the Biden administration, you cannot impose a requirement to vaccinate or have testing with large employers.


COOPER: Kaitlan, was there any reaction from the administration so far?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, obviously hearing how skeptical several of the Justices were when it comes to these arguments that the Justice Department is making is not what they wanted to see play out in these oral arguments.

And Anderson, the White House has said, they are confident in the legal authority for both of these rules, because remember, you've got the one for the private employers that have a hundred or more employees when it comes to those vaccine requirements, and the other one is for healthcare employers who work at places that get funding from Medicare or Medicaid.

And so it kind of broke twofold, Anderson when you were listening to those arguments today, where they seemed much more skeptical if you heard the Justices of the private employer mandate than they did have the one with the Federal funding, given they are healthcare workers, they are working with people who may have -- be immunocompromised, things like that.

You seemed much more sympathetic from those Justices, certainly, the liberal Justices on the Court today, but I think it really remains to be seen, and I think the White House listening to those arguments could hear the skepticism when it came to what the justices were saying, the questions that they were asking about these two arguments.

COOPER: Jeff, I noticed one thing that Justice Kagan said stood out to you, and I want to play that for our viewers.


JUSTICE ELENA KAGAN, U.S. SUPREME COURT: Well, all the Secretary is doing here is to say to providers, you know what, like basically the one thing you can't do is to kill your patients. So you have to get -- you have to get vaccinated so that you're not transmitting the disease that can kill elderly Medicare patients, that can kill sick Medicaid patients.


COOPER: Why was that significant to you?

TOOBIN: Well, I mean, it was just so blunt, and it was just an example of how the three liberals, Kagan, Sotomayor, and Breyer were saying, look, we are in a crisis. This is why we have a Federal government.

The federal government is paying Medicare and Medicaid to all these hospitals, and they want to make sure that the hospitals don't kill their patients. What could possibly be wrong with that?

And that's an argument, frankly, I found pretty persuasive, but I think you know, the intensity of the conservative opposition to Federal power here, and the belief that power should go to States and that the Federal government should be limited, is really strong, even in the context of when the government is paying the bill.

It is true. I think, as Kaitlan pointed out, they were slightly more sympathetic to the, you know, when the government pays, they can make rules as opposed to they can just make rules for all the large employers, but it was an uphill battle for the Biden administration today, and I wouldn't have high hopes if I were them.

COOPER: And is there any sense you have on how quickly a ruling might come?

TOOBIN: Well, you know, one of the more remarkable things was Samuel Alito, who was very hostile to the to the Biden administration said, well, you know, some of this starts -- some of the requirements start on Monday. Shouldn't we issue an order today, and the Supreme Court almost never does something the day of an argument and it looks like they are not going to do something today.

But that was just indicative, I thought, of how quickly the conservatives want to work, want to move in this area. They haven't moved tonight, but I would anticipate we hear something in a matter certainly, if weeks, if not days from the Supreme Court.

COOPER: And Kaitlan, if the vaccine mandates were struck down either completely or in part, what's the next step for the administration?

COLLINS: I think it's a really tough one for them, Anderson, because this is one of the most aggressive steps that you saw President Biden take when it came to that period in September when the delta wave had swept across the U.S., and there was this sense of frustration where people were just we're not getting vaccinated. The unvaccinated are staying so, they were being stubborn in the President's eyes.

And so he took this step that he said he did not want to take and I should note, it did take the White House quite some time, the administration, to draft this rule. It is one that comes for those private employers and I followed this process pretty closely, so two months because they knew it was going to face some legal resistance.

They knew Republican States and Republican officials were going to file lawsuits against this, but they've been watching this really closely. A lot has hinged on this, even questions of are you going to change the definition of what it means to be fully vaccinated?

You've heard from the Chief of Staff, Ron Klain say they are waiting to see what happened with these arguments first, actually, given of course, what the definition is, the legal wording of all of this. They are watching this so closely.

So a lot does hinge on this. And of course, as Jeffrey was noting, when it comes to that mandate for private employers, it seemed really skeptical for the administration.

COOPER: Kaitlan Collins, Jeff Toobin, appreciate it.

Next, Senator Ted Cruz groveling at the feet of a cable TV entertainer, being forced to eat his words about the Capitol insurrection. What it says about him -- I mean, that's one thing. What it says about his party and the country is another and we'll talk about it, keeping them honest.


And later, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot joins us to talk about her confrontation with teachers union over in-person learning, which erupted this week in the country's third largest school system now has the attention of the White House.


COOPER: President Biden today accepted House Speaker Pelosi's invitation to give the State of the Union address on the first of March. It'll be the latest in the year by any President since 1934, but in so many ways, we've already been reckoning with the State of the Union.

Now in a moment, you're going to see the sheer spectacle of a sitting Republican U.S. Senator, one of the most powerful individuals in the country, representing one of the biggest states in the nation pretty much groveling at the feet of a right-wing cable TV entertainer which certainly reflects the State of the Union.

First, though, how the President summed it up in his remarks on the anniversary of the Capitol insurrection.



BIDEN: Are we going to be a nation that accepts political violence as a norm? Or are we going to be a nation where we allow partisan election officials to overturn the legally expressed will of the people.

Are we going to be a nation that lives not by the light of the truth under the shadow of lies? You can't love your country only when you win. You can't obey the law only when it is convenient.

You can't be patriotic when you embrace and enable lies.


COOPER: And the President went on to say that autocrats are betting that this country will become more like theirs. But he said, that's not who we are and given the substance of his own remarks and the climate surrounding that, maybe the answer is yes, it is, at least for a substantial number of people in the country, especially within, sadly to say, the Republican Party. And in that spirit tonight, I give you Senator Ted Cruz, assuming the

position last night before FOX entertainer, Tucker Carlson, who had already raked him over the coals the night before.

Senator Cruz's alleged sin was having the gumption or whatever you want to call it having dared on Wednesday to refer to the assault on the Capitol as a terrorist attack. something it turns out, he has done 17 times before. But you know what they say about 18 times. Actually, they don't say anything about 18 times, but Tucker Carlson noticed it this time, perhaps, and that was enough to trigger this whacked out spectacle.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: You never use words carelessly, and yet you call this a terror attack, when by no definition was it a terror attack? That's a lie. You told that lie on purpose and I'm wondering why you did.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Well, Tucker, thank you for having me on.

CARLSON: Of course.

CRUZ: When you weren't aired your episode last night. I sent you a text shortly thereafter and said, listen, I'd like to go on because the way I phrased things yesterday, it was sloppy, and it was frankly dumb.

CARLSON: I don't buy that. Whoa, whoa, whoa. I don't buy that. Look, I've known you a long time since before you went to the Senate. You're a Supreme Court contender. You take words as seriously as any man who has ever served in the Senate. And every word -- you repeated that phrase, I do not believe that you used that accidentally. I just don't.

CRUZ: So Tucker, as a result of my sloppy phrasing, it has caused a lot of people to misunderstand what I meant. Let me tell you what I meant to say.

I wasn't saying that the thousands of peaceful protesters supporting Donald Trump are somehow terrorists. I wasn't saying the millions of patriots across the country supporting President Trump are terrorists, and that is what a lot of people have misunderstood that comment.

CARLSON: But wait a second, but even -- hold on, what you just said doesn't make sense.

CRUZ: So Tucker, let me answer you directly. The reason I used that word for a decade, I have referred to people who violently assault police officers as terrorists I've done so over and over and over again, if you look at all the assaults we've seen across the country, I've called that terrorism over and over again.

That being said, Tucker, I agree with you, it was a mistake to say that yesterday and the reason is what you just said, which is we've now had a year of Democrats and the media twisting words and trying to say that all of us are terrorists.


CARLSON: There he is, backs in the corner. Tucker is doing -- giving him that quizzical look he practices so hard and then he's had to -- he did the twist hoping that by blaming the media, blaming Democrats, Carlson would get back on his side. It didn't work.

According to CNN's Daniel Dale, Ted Cruz has called the Capitol assault a terrorist attack at least 17 previous times in official written statements and tweets and remarks at Senate hearings and in interviews. But the issue is in his hypocrisy, really, only his abject subordination of himself.

A sitting U.S. senator, one of only a hundred. Someone with actual influence on a former presidential candidate nonetheless, groveling at the feet of Tucker Carlson, which is quite a come down after groveling at the feet of the actual President, but totally in character all the same.

Remember, when candidate Trump insulted his wife's looks?


CRUZ: I don't get angry often, but you mess with my wife, you mess with my kids, that will do it every time. Donald, you're a sniveling coward, leave Heidi the hell alone.


COOPER: How many times do you think he practiced that one? Probably a lot.

The former President also insinuated that Cruz's father was involved in President Kennedy's assassination, among other false claims and insults. And remember, recently, he said that running for President and losing was like the greatest experience of his life, the most fun he has had in years? I don't think that's probably that fun for his wife.

For a brief period, Senator Cruz stood firm, then he crumbled. A year ago, he was leading the effort to overturn the election on January 6th, but last February, he was fully supine.


CRUZ: And you know what, there are a whole lot of voices in Washington that want to just erase the last four years, want to go back to the world before and they look at Donald J. Trump and they look at the millions and millions of people inspired, who went to battle fighting alongside President Trump and they're terrified.


And they want him to go away. Let me tell you this right now, Donald J. Trump ain't going anywhere. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: So yes, Ted Cruz has the spine of a cantaloupe. Now, remember the time that he blamed his daughters as the reason that he was quickly trying to get on a plane to Mexico for a vacation during the state's power crisis?


CRUZ: Yesterday, my daughters asked if they could take a trip with some friends, and Heidi and I agreed, so I flew down with them last night.


COOPER: Yes, it wasn't the case. His smarmy hypocrisy, it is not really the issue here. I mean, it's interesting to look at. And we've seen it time and time again. But the real issue is why? I mean, the answer -- why would he be so docile to Tucker Carlson? And the reason is because at the end of the day, the power of the Republican Party is now at the fringes. That's where the energy is, energy that the Ted Cruz's of the world are betting will drive voters to the polls where a year ago drove mobs to storm the very institution that Senator Cruz is supposed to serve.

Here now some of the numbers behind all of this, CNN senior data reporter, Harry Enten.

Harry, I mean, it was -- yes, I mean, I was almost going to say I feel bad for Cruz, but I mean, he is so smarmy and hypocritical. It's hard to. I don't take glee in his sweaty, you know, failures. But is there any data to shed light on why Cruz might be so quick to backpedal on himself?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN POLITICS SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Yes, I mean, there is. I mean, remember six years ago, which feels like so long ago, even though it was only six years ago, the very conservative Republicans love Ted Cruz. He actually beat Donald Trump amongst them in the Republican primary 42 percent to 36 percent.

But then you jump forward to the general elections of 2016 and 2020, and the very conservative Republicans -- look at this. In 2016, Trump got 97 percent of their vote; in 2020, he got 99 percent of their vote, you don't have to be a mathematician and that's pretty much nearly unanimous.

Donald Trump is in charge of this Republican Party and that is what's going on with Ted Cruz.

COOPER: So for any would be 2024 Republican presidential contender, how important to very conservative voters is some sort of perceived allegiance to the former President? I mean, that would seem to be critical.

ENTEN: It's extremely important. In fact, we asked that question essentially in our poll back in September, is supporting Trump an important part of being a Republican?

Among very conservative Republicans, look at this, 60 percent said very important, 22 percent said, somewhat important, so important in any way is north of 80 percent, and when it comes to say, the election of 2020, obviously, Donald Trump has put out that garbage that it was somehow a fraud, which obviously isn't true.

Did Biden legitimately win enough votes to win the presidency? Among very conservative Republicans, 87 percent said no; 67 percent said no, there is solid evidence he did not.

Now, I don't know what the heck they're seeing. Solid evidence? What are they? Nuts? But 67 percent believe it.

COOPER: I was also just fascinated that, you know, Ted Cruz has Tucker Carlson's, I guess, his cell phone number, just like, you know, Ingraham, and all of them had the President's number and Mark Meadows's number and it's all their own codes on this.

In the appearance on FOX, Cruz was obviously adding to the disinformation about the attack on January 6th. Can you talk a little bit about how many Republicans actually believe those lies?

ENTEN: Yes, I mean, look, if you ask Republican voters essentially, you know, do you believe what happened in January 6th was extremely or very violent. Overall, across everybody at 64 percent, but only 39 percent of Republicans believe that. But then I think you can go even deeper to get to the real fringes of the Republican Party and the Trump voters and you essentially, yes.

Was there pretty much any violence that was committed? Or did everyone act peacefully? And look at that? Yes, vast majority of Trump voters say that there were some injured police officers at 72 percent, but 23 percent, a substantial portion of Trump voters said that everyone acted peacefully.

I don't know what they need to see. The proof is right there in the pudding, yet a quarter of them somehow do not believe that they were in fact, some violent folks on January 6th.

COOPER: And just lastly, looking ahead to 2024 where do things stand between the former President and Senator Cruz.

ENTEN: Yes, Donald Trump is in a very good position. He's at north of 50 percent of the Republican vote right now, by my estimate. Look at Ted Cruz. He is just at three percent, but perhaps if he texts Tucker Carlson some more, maybe he can get his way up to say four or five percent.

COOPER: Wow. Harry Enten, appreciate it. Thank you.

ENTEN: Thank you, sir.

COOPER: Coming up, breaking news. The three men who chased and murdered Ahmaud Arbery while he was jogging had been sentenced to life in prison. CNN's Ryan Young joins us next with the latest. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


COOPER: There's breaking news, the three white men convicted of murdering 25-yearold jogger Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia have been sentenced to life in prison with two having no choice of parole. Father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael and their neighbor William Roddie Bryan were found guilty in November on multiple murder accounts as well as other charges for Arbery's death in 2020.

CNN national correspondent Ryan Young tonight has details.


TIMOTHY WALMSLEY, JUDGE, SUPREME COURT, CHATHAM COUNTY, GA: Today the defendants are being held accountable for their actions.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two of the three men convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery sentence to spend the rest of their lives in prison. Travis and Gregory McMichael received life without the possibility of parole.

WALMSLEY: After Ahmaud Arbery fell to make Michaels turn their backs to get a disturbing image and they walked away. This was a killing, it was callous.

YOUNG (voice-over): William Bryan Jr. sentenced to serve life with the possibility of parole after 30 years.

WALMSLEY: He had grave concerns that what had occurred should not have occurred. And I think that does make Mr. Bryan's situation a little bit different. However, Mr. Bryan has been convicted of felony murder.

YOUNG (voice-over): Before reading the sentences, Judge Walmsley, pause for one minute.

WALMSLEY: What I saw get a concept of time. And so, what I'm going to do is I'm going to sit silently for one minute. I kept coming back to the terror that must have been in the mind of the young man running through Scintilla shores.

YOUNG (voice-over): And the court heard powerful statements from Ahmaud Arbery's family.

WANDA COOPER-JONES, AHMAUD ARBERY'S MOTHER: I laid you to rest. I told you I love you and someday somehow I will get you justice.


YOUNG (voice-over): His mother spoke directly to her son and to the men responsible for his death.

COOPER-JONES: These men have chose to lie and attack my son and his surviving family. They each have no remorse and do not deserve any leniency. This wasn't a case of mistaken identity or mistaken fact. They chose -- they chose to target my son when they couldn't sufficiently scare him or intimidate him, they killed him.

YOUNG (voice-over): Taking aim at a defense attorneys comments during the trial.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His long, dirty, toenails.

YOUNG (voice-over): About her son's toenails.

COOPER-JONES: I wish he would have cut and cleaned his toenails before he went out for that jog that day. I guess he would have if he knew he would be murdered.

YOUNG (voice-over): Arbery's family was clear they wanted the maximum sentence possible.

MARCUS ARBERY, AHMAUD ARBERY'S FATHER: When I found that we got to live with his death the rest of our life. We'll never see Ahmaud again. So I feel they should stay behind the bars rest of their lives containing him (INAUDIBLE).

JASMINE ARBERY, AHMAUD ARBERY'S SISTER: The loss of a mine has devastated me and my family. Some accident that the man that killed him been given the maximum sentence available to the court.

YOUNG (voice-over): Last November the McMichaels and Bryan were convicted of murder after chasing 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery in their vehicles while he jogging this Satilla Shores neighborhood, killing him after they thought they saw Auberry inside an unfinished home on February 23rd, 2020.

It took two and a half months before arrests were made after video Bryan took the murder was released and went viral.


COOPER: Ryan, what's the status of the federal hate crime charges against Arbery's murderers?

YOUNG: Well, we learned today Anderson that apparently federal prosecutors went to Wanda Cooper-Jones and asked her about a plea deal apparently that was offered to the three defendants and was for 30 years and they turned it down because they thought this would happen today in court in terms of getting that life. And you think about this family Anderson, that's been through so very much. It was an emotional day in court. And I don't believe that a lot of people thought the judge was going to sum things up the way he did. That moment of silence in that court, his description of that chase and what happened afterwards. And the body language of all three men was something that stuck with a lot of people.

But let's not forget, it's Wanda Cooper-Jones, that mother who decided that there was no way her son could have been involved and what initially was said that video that was released really changed all of this for everyone across the nation because when you see this video, you understand the stress that man was under as he was running for his life. COOPER: Yes.

YOUNG: Anderson?

COOPER: Ryan Young appreciate the reporting. Thank you.

Coming up, Chicago's Mayor joins me live with the latest in the fate of the city schools after no classes for the last three days. How much longer will the standoff over Omicron concerns go on with other cities keeping in purses classes -- in-person classes going? That's next.



COOPER: Tonight, the White House says it's in touch with Chicago's mayor and Illinois' governor in hopes of reopening Chicago schools despite the Omicron surge. Chicago's largest school district in the nation with classes in limbo because of a standoff between the teachers union and the mayor who will join us in a moment.

Now, the union is insisting on virtual learning while the mayor's demanding school stay open. That's meant no school for three days. Tonight, the Union accused the mayor of turning down an offer for thousands of so-called shield tests which are saliva based along with PPE.


TENNILE EVANS, CHICAGO TEACHERS UNION ORGANIZER: We've been fighting for resources for months. Our teachers are ready to work. They've been ready to work. They've been ready to work remotely under safe conditions. Our members have called COVID. Our students have called COVID. They're catching COVID all over the world. That's a surge. It's not just the surge here in Chicago.


COOPER: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot joins me tonight. Appreciate you being with us.

So where do things stand right now? I mean will teachers and students be in school on Monday?

LORI LIGHTFOOT (D) MAYOR, CHICAGO: Well, I think we've made significant progress over the last few days. But I want to deal done this weekend. Our kids need back -- be back in school, schools are safe. There's been no question about that. We have as all school systems across our city across our, our state in our nation when there's a need to shut down a classroom or even a school because of a surge, we've been doing that. And we've been doing that all year long. So, this is an unnecessary and illegal work stoppage. And I've drawn the line, we are not going to remote for the whole system. It's completely unnecessary.

Look, I get that people are scared. This Omicron surge is real. And we're doing everything that we can across our city to mitigate it. An answer to all of these questions is vaccine, vaccine, vaccine. And I wish the CTU leadership would work with us. But we need our kids back in school, not only because the schools are safe, but having them in out of school, and certainly in remote has been catastrophic for their learning, or social emotional welfare as well as it very difficult economic consequences for our families.

We are a school system where 70% of the kids or more are qualify for free reduced lunch. That means we got a lot of single parent household, a lot of moms working multiple jobs who cannot afford to miss work. We need our kids back in school.

COOPER: What specifically at this point, I mean, are the teachers demanding that is something that's, you know, you think not something that you can do?

LIGHTFOOT: Well, remote learning, for any period of time is off the table from a system wide standpoint. As I said when we've needed it, we can strategically target those resources and pivot if necessary. And the difference between now and a year ago was obviously we have vaccines for a huge swath of our school based population.

I think that the issues that are on the table as I understand them we can narrow the divide and get a deal done and I'm pushing my team to make sure that we are working around the clock to get that done. But there's no reason why we can't get a deal done this weekend and get our kids back in school. But it's got to be goodwill on both sides. And I'm hoping that the productivity that we've seen over the last two days will continue through the weekend. And we're going to be able to announce a deal to get our kids back in school.


COOPER: The White House says they've been in touch with both you and the governor to quote, assess your needs. Governor Pritzker told Bloomberg News, he asked the White House for help of testing. What of your conversation with state and federal authorities been like and what is specifically the issue on testing that could help?

LIGHTFOOT: Well, look, we we've been in contact with the White House during the very beginning of this, about to update them and let them know what the conditions were on the ground here to ask for more testing. The Governor and I have had multiple conversations. So, we're in a good, I think, a place with both our Governor and the White House. But fundamentally, Anderson, as you know, there is a shortage of testing nationwide, we're going to provide as much testing as we possibly can.

But recognizing that right now, across the country, there's a shortage of tests. But even working within those constraints and we put on a table, I think, a testing regime that will address a lot of the union's concerns. We had, I think, very productive dialogue today around testing and other issues, which is why I'm confident that if there is goodwill on both sides, we can get a deal done.

COOPER: Why do you think I mean school districts in New York City, Washington, D.C. have been able to move forward with in-person learning, your city hasn't?

LIGHTFOOT: Well, we're the only school system in our city, CPS that hasn't, that has shut down and isn't doing in-person learning. Every other school system, archdiocese, private schools, and so forth are all doing in-person learning without interruption.

Look, I don't want to get into the politics of this. But unfortunately, some people like to politicize the pandemic. And that's not just something that happens on one side of the political divide. And unfortunately, that's what's playing out here. But I'm determined. I'm resolute, I've said enough is enough. And we're going to get our kids back to in-person learning.

COOPER: Mayor Lori Lightfoot, appreciate it. Thanks very much.

Up next --

LIGHTFOOT: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: -- breaking news and investigation on the January 6 instruction last year, a new reporting on the Select Committee's interest in former Vice President Pence and the former president's daughter Ivanka. Be right back.



COOPER: Breaking news tonight in the January 6 probe. NPR reports that the House Select Committee is expected to ask former Vice President Mike Pence to voluntarily appear before the panel. Chairman Bennie Thompson said the request could come as soon as this month. NPR also reports the Thompson's not ruling out requests for information from the president's daughter Ivanka, who was a White House senior advisor. Thompson says the committee's information that she tried to get her father to call off the riot several times that day, but the panel doesn't have all the answers it's seeking.

Joining me tonight is Chris Krebs, he led the Department of Homeland Security cybersecurity agency in the last administration, he was fired after rejecting the former president's baseless claims of widespread voter fraud.

Chris, good to have you back. What do you make of this reporting by NPR how given that we there's been reporting the former Vice President's top aides have been cooperating. How crucial could hearing from the Vice President himself be for the committee?

CHRISTOPHER KREBS, FMR TOP CYBERSECURITY OFFICIAL, DHS: Well, I think it's an indication that we could be nearing the final stages of an investigation. Now, I'm not a former Department of Justice, you know, attorney or anything like that. But I do know that the committee staff is built on top of a number of experienced U.S. attorneys.

And so, I think they're laddering up, they started with the kind of the ground troops in there working up the organization to understand what led to not just the terrible events of January 6 at the Capitol and the assault on the Capitol, but what was going on behind the scenes, what was going on with the coordination to object to the certification of the various states.

So that, you know, I think they're taking a multi layered approach to this, but it tells me if they're, if they're, you know, looking to have a conversation with the former Vice President and the family of the former president, that, you know, that that's the those are the crown jewels in any investigation.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, the idea, I mean, NPR, reporting, the talk talks about the committee being open to Ivanka Trump voluntarily appearing before the committee. It seems hard to imagine that she actually would do that for a whole host of reasons.

KREBS: Yes, but look, I mean, either rejecting the subpoena and litigating or taking Fifth Amendment, you know, those are, those are indications in and of themselves. So I, again, I -- they're uncovering every stone that they come across, and it would only be natural, particularly given the amount of pressure that was put on the former Vice President, that he would be, they would look to have a conversation with and hoping to, you know, you know, go towards his patriotic side and get him to share what he knows.

COOPER: I want to ask you about the former Trump White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham's comments to CNN, she says that a group of former Trump officials are talking about getting together to try to talk about ways you're thinking about ways to strategize about ways to stop him from winning a second term. Have you been approached by anyone involved with that group? And would you be interested in or do you think it doesn't make sense?

KREBS: Well, I mean, I think it's probably premature to say that there's a formal group established or any sort of structure in place. But look, we're all fellow travelers here that were a part of the last administration and are gravely concerned with his continued influence over that's the former president continued influence over the party. And for me it's not just at the federal level here in DC because I do think we tend to live in a D.C. bubble.


But I am great. And I've talked to you about this before, but I'm gravely concerned of what's happening out in state capitals. I mean, you see what some of the Secretary of State candidates that may be in a position to certify or not certify it legitimate election outcome in '24. That's, that's got to be part of the strategy as well.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, that is really extraordinary when you think about because it's not something a lot of people pay attention to, you know, people's eyes kind of glaze over when you start to get that granular and state level government, but it's incredibly important who, who's actually at the leverage, who's actually organizing elections, you know, making decisions about what is -- what is true, what's not.

KREBS: I mean, think about it, right, Brad Raffensperger, down in, down in Georgia, had he not been in place in 2020. And he's getting primaried from his right, by Jody Hice, a current congressman, United States congressman.

So I think we're in for a bumpy ride here and we can't lose focus. And just concentrate on what's happening here in D.C. We've got to be looking out across the across the country, and you're right, you know, people start to get exhausted. This stuff's been going on for a while. And unfortunately, there's a lot more room to run in front of us.

COOPER: Yes. Chris Krebs, good talking to you. Thank you.

KREBS: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: Ahead, New York City's new mayor joins me, he's pushing back to get people working in offices as part of the growing movement for society to learn to live with COVID. Is the idea realistic? Is it safe? We'll talk to him about that next.