Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

U.S. Struggles As Hospitalizations Near Record Levels; Supreme Court Ruling On Vaccine Mandates Expected This Weekend; January 6th Committee Eyes Pence Interview Later This Month; Ted Cruz Apologizes For Calling Capitol Riot "Terrorist Attack"; Chaos In Kazakhstan After Protests Lead To Violence; Legendary Actor Sidney Poitier Dies At 94. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired January 08, 2022 - 18:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are not at normal, we're nowhere near normal.

NADIA ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The U.S. racing to keep up with near record hospitalizations in the omicron surge including child hospitalizations, with the pressure now on schools on whether to switch to virtual learning.

MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT (D), CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: I want a deal done this weekend. Our kids need to be back in school.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: One year on, the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th insurrection now looking to hear from former Vice President Mike Pence.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): This is one more public service that needs to be performed by the former Vice President.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And a legendary life remembered.

SIDNEY POITIER, ACTOR: They call me Mr. Tibbs --

CHEN: Actor and activist, Sidney Poitier gone at the age of 94.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A blazing star in the firmament of black artistic excellence.

CHEN: His legacy in Hollywood and beyond.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN HOST: I'm Phil Mattingly in Washington, in for Pamela Brown tonight and you are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

We begin this hour with a sobering reality on the COVID pandemic. That viral blizzard U.S. was warned about, it is here, very clearly. The swift spread of the highly contagious omicron variant has pushed hospitalizations close to the record set almost a year ago, and the number of American children hospitalized with COVID has soar to the highest level of the entire pandemic.

Helping to drive that number, children under five who at this point are still too young to be vaccinated, and many hospitals are facing a staffing crisis because COVID is infecting their personnel. Some states have deployed National Guard troops seen here on your screen in protective gear to help fill the void.

New York is now the latest state to mandate booster shots for healthcare workers. A former member of President Biden's COVID-19 Advisory Board says the nation needs better long term planning.


DR. EZEKIEL EMANUEL, FORMER BIDEN TRANSITION COVID-19 ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER: 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 have mentioned, better air quality, masking, not going into crowded indoor spaces -- those are really important measures in order to get past omicron. You need to plan today for three months from now so we're not caught in the same problem.


MATTINGLY: Now, child hospitalizations hitting record numbers across the country. Many states are wrestling with the benefits and risks of in-person learning. It is an impassioned debate involving parents and teachers, politicians, and lawyers.

CNN's Nadia Romero is here to break it down. And Nadia, you're in Atlanta where students returned to class on Monday after a week of virtual learning.

Look, I know there is palpable anxiety across the country with parents. What's the mood there?

ROMERO: Yes, Phil. They are returning back to in person learning on Monday, as you mentioned here at the Atlanta Public School District, but we are still seeing those rising cases across the State of Georgia.

So the Governor says, hey, no need for contact tracing. It's just too difficult right now. So that's not mandatory anymore, and if you're a Georgia school teacher and you have COVID-19, you're infected with the virus, you can still teach as long as you're asymptomatic and you wear a mask. But the Governor is leaving all of that up to the School District to decide how they want to handle it.

So here at the Atlanta Public Schools, they are back to mandatory testing for their teachers and voluntary testing for students if they have parental consent.

Well, let's head over to Chicago because it is still unclear how they will move forward. They spent the last three days of Wednesday through Friday without having any school at all for some 340,000 Chicago School District students across the city.

Now, the Chicago Teachers Union came out today with a press conference and said, listen, we'll go back to virtual teaching starting on Wednesday, the kids will stay home, but we'll go back to our classrooms and that should give us some time to undergo testing and vaccinations and then we will try to go back to in-person learning.

But the Mayor, Lori Lightfoot said no, no, no, it's in-person learning only. That's the only thing that she would support. She even released this statement very quickly and said: "CTU leadership (so Chicago Teachers Union leadership), you're not listening. The best, safest place for kids to be is in school. Students need to be back in person as soon as possible. That's what parents want. That's what the science supports. We will not relent."

And it's not just here in Atlanta or in Chicago, but if we go to the Bay Area, on Friday teachers there held a sickout where they called in sick to protest what they claim was a lack of resources being provided to them by their School Districts.

Listen to one of the teachers who organized that sickout to speak about what he says is necessary for them to feel safe to come back to the classroom.



HARLEY LITZELMAN, OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA TEACHER, SICKOUT ORGANIZER: We're not going to march ourselves into a known deathtrap. We're not going to continue to spread COVID to our students or bring COVID home to our families.

If the only language that people in power understand is us withholding our labor, because that is ultimately what they depend on, then that's the language will speak.


ROMERO: And that is the tool they've been using to demand more testing, more mask, and for school districts in the Bay Area to really take a look at how they can better equip themselves during these critical staffing shortages.

Phil, we can go to New York City as well, where there is a battle with some teachers unions and some 30 New York lawmakers, they want remote learning, but the city's mayor, there in New York City just like the mayor in Chicago, he only supports in-person learning.

Phil, this battle will continue. MATTINGLY: There is no question about that and it is tough sometimes to remember, kids are in the middle of this battle. Nadia Romero, thanks for the great reporting, as always, and I'll talk to a Chicago parent who wants her daughter back in school in our 8:00 PM hour tonight.

Right now, I want to bring in Dr. Jonathan Reiner. He is a Professor of Medicine and surgery at George Washington University. Dr. Reiner, President Biden said yesterday that COVID is not here to stay, but a growing number of medical experts, including some of the President's own advisers disagree and basically says the public needs to accept living with COVID.

Look, there is gray area here. It is not a black and white, necessarily answer, but which side do you fall on in terms of what the pandemic is going to look like in the weeks and months ahead for average Americans?

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, for the next several weeks, it is going to look bad in many American cities. New York -- 40 hospitals in New York just cancelled elective procedures. The D.C. Hospital Association, where I work has asked the D.C. government for permission for hospitals to enact crisis standards of care, and that is coming to every city in the United States. It is going to come in a wave from north to south in this country.

It is going to last hopefully, not much more than a few weeks, but it is going to be -- it is going to be a tough January into the first part of February. And then hopefully, it will clear quickly.

But the country should understand that the virus is not going to go away, the pandemic is going to go away. And going forward, we're going to have to start to think about having low level of COVID the same way we have low levels of influenza -- well, we have high levels of influenza every year, but we're going to have to face you know, this notion that this is going to be a background in our society, and we're going to have to learn how to live with it.

We will have probably yearly updates on vaccines. We will have different ways to test for it, better therapeutics. So we are going to live with this virus indefinitely, but the pandemic itself, the health emergency that we're in now, is going to eventually go away, hopefully, in the next several weeks.

MATTINGLY: And it seems, Dr. Reiner that there is some dissonance here and the idea of, you know, there is a clear pivot and messaging towards, you know, living with the pandemic -- not the pandemic, living with COVID, kind of to what you're talking about is more of an influenza, and in a more macro sense, but in a micro sense, in this moment in time, the next couple of weeks are going to be very difficult. And the messaging here from the Federal government has led to a lot of public confusion.

I think, there is no probably better case than the C.D.C.'s changes to its isolation guidance. As a doctor, how frustrating has that been kind of watching the messaging play out? REINER: Super frustrating, so across the street from my hospital, which is located in in Foggy Bottom section of D.C. is a bar, it's a nice bar and I walk out of this hospital, which is packed with folks who are trying to recover from COVID and there are people in the bar across the street, drinking as if nothing is going on, and you see that all over major American cities.

I understand, you know, we've heard the mayor of New York, basically, you know, today try and say, Look, New York is open for business. We want people to come back, we want them to fill the restaurants and our hotels near hospitals are packed.

So there is this dissonance and what I want to hear is American leaders, local and national, tell the public the truth and here is the truth. The truth is, this is going to be a very difficult several weeks, and we need you to do your part.

And if I were the President, I would suggest to the country that you know something, if you can work from home for the next several weeks, you should work from home. We're not going to enact, you know mandates for you to stay home, but in a public health emergency like this, maybe stay at home, work from home if you can.


REINER: We're not asking the public to do anything difficult now. So, you know, if you go into parts of Florida, it's like the pandemic has never existed.

MATTINGLY: Yes, there is just -- it is a very different -- depending on where you are in the country in terms of what this moment represents.

Now, we have a couple of viewer questions for you before you go. You're always one of the best in kind of explaining the realities of the moment. One person asked, "My immediate family is fully vaccinated with the exception of our four-year-old son, should we limit our public outings for the sake of my son? I'm afraid of catching COVID? I haven't had it yet?"

REINER: Yes, I think it is best for children not to get COVID. Now, the overwhelming truth is that most little kids will do fine should they contract the virus, but a small percentage of children will get really, really sick and there is long COVID that will affect children as well.

So if you had your choice, you would want your children not to get infected and if the only member of your house is a four-year-old, yes, you should limit what I call your viral footprint.

You know, don't go to the store every day, you know, go maybe once a week to the store to do your shopping. You know, avoid eating out. I'm not eating in a restaurant until this quiets down. Don't go into a bar. Wear an N95 masks or KN95 mask or KF94 mask wherever you go and put a good mask on your child when your child has to go out. MATTINGLY: One final question from a viewer, and this is what I hear a lot from people talking about the kind of pivot to normal life in the middle of COVID. This question is about long haul COVID particularly as it pertains to the omicron variant.

The person writes: "Do people who survive omicron also get long haul? What do we know so far about long haul in omicron patients?"

REINER: Well, since omicron has only really been a variant circulating for several weeks, we don't really have a good handle on long haul symptoms, symptoms that last for weeks or many months. But there is every reason to believe that people who do recover from omicron will be at risk of having long haul symptoms.

We know that this variant appears to be more mild, but this is COVID, and if you are unvaccinated, it's not clear to -- as clear to me -- that this is a mild infection. You can still die from omicron.

Many people will die from omicron, and I expect that we will see long COVID symptoms in people who have been infected with this particular variant.

MATTINGLY: No question about it, Dr. Jonathan Reiner, as always, my friend thanks so much.

REINER: My pleasure, Phil.

MATTINGLY: All right, still ahead tonight, I'll talk to a Chicago mom whose daughter is one of 300,000 students currently missing school as the district and the teachers union fight, why she wants her daughter in class.

Plus, the January 6 Committee wants to hear from former Vice President Mike Pence. But would he testify? I'll ask his former spokeswoman, coming up.

But first, at any moment, the Supreme Court could decide if the Biden administration can force large businesses and healthcare workers to get the COVID vaccine. Law Professor Kim Wehle will help us understand what's at stake.



MATTINGLY: We're still waiting for the Supreme Court's ruling on President Biden's vaccine mandates. Now, the conservative leaning Court appears poised to reject them for large businesses, but could still be open to a mandate for healthcare workers.

I want to bring in Kim Wehle. She is a Law Professor at the University of Baltimore and the author of "How to Read the Constitution and Why."

Kim, we're expecting this ruling this weekend, it could be at any moment. How unusual is this kind of timeline we're looking at right now? KIM WEHLE, LAW PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF BALTIMORE: Well, it's unusual except in light of what the Court has been doing in the last year or so which is what we call the shadow docket that is not even having oral argument and briefing.

So it's good news that the court is slowing down, it is kind of midnight rulings without, you know fully hearing it out with the parties. But this is very unusual to have the Court take something on an expedited basis.

Normally, you have to file a petition for certain and wait until the next term, which is really in the fall, as we're sitting to await huge decisions in June like around abortion. So this conservative Court has been very, very active, Phil, in ways that historically the Supreme Court has done and stepping into, frankly, what some would say are the roles of the other branches of government.

MATTINGLY: Yes, it's been a shift and a noticeable one. When it comes to what the Supreme Court will be weighing in on specifically, there are really kind of two mandates here. There is the OSHA rule for large employers, but there is another one from CMS targeting workers at healthcare facilities that receive Federal funding.

Can you explain why these two mandates are being treated differently here?

WEHLE: Well, it comes down to legislative power. That is, the Congress was given under Article I of the Constitution, the power to make laws, but for over a hundred years, Congress has created statutes that basically hand off that power to what we call Federal agencies.

So we've got two handoffs of what I call -- I tell my students as a legislative baton -- we've got OSHA's handoff in the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and then we've got the Social Security Act that handed off power to H.H.S. to regulate people or entities that receive Medicare and Medicaid dollars.

So in both instances, Congress gives agencies power to make laws. We call them regulations, and Biden exercised that power as President, as the head of agencies under these two separate statutes.

So it's those handoffs of power from Congress that normal make laws to agencies that the Supreme Court is now reviewing where the agencies not only properly exercise that power, but whether I think subtly down the road, we're going to have this Court revisit whether Congress can hand off that power ever.


WEHLE: And that's been held -- upheld since FDR, basically, and that is a big deal because more laws are made, Phil, at the Federal level by agencies through regulations, than by Congress, and we know this Congress these days is so dysfunctional and broken, it is probably a good thing that there are other parts of the government that are regulating things, because otherwise, it would be a bit of a free for all economically and otherwise. MATTINGLY: Yes, it would be a seismic shift, though, if there was a shift that it seems like this court is heading in that direction. You have a great piece in "The Atlantic" tied to some of these points, too.

One last question I want to get to, Chief Justice John Roberts was a little bit difficult to read, hinted that maybe he could support the OSHA mandate, maybe not for large employers, but that would still leave the liberal Judges even if he did go that route, one vote short. Do they have any chance of swaying any other just Justice when it comes to that OSHA mandate?

WEHLE: You know, very hard to tell. The arguments were all over the place, I should say. If you look at the scope of the mandate in OSHA, it is broad enough, in my view, to cover the vaccine. What Justice Roberts was uncomfortable with was, you know, OSHA exercising this kind of power, period, because it's a vaccine.

So we might feel a little more comfortable with, you know, H.H.S. doing it for Medicare and Medicaid, for hospitals, things like that. But he is basically saying, listen, vaccines and workplace safety, I'm not so sure. Progressives were saying, listen, workplace safety, people regulate -- are regulated in terms of their air, you know, if you can wear hard hats, ladders, all those things.

So, I don't know. It sounds like they might tinker with the OSHA mandate, uphold the Medicare-Medicaid mandate, but because there is not in my mind, the law is pretty established that Congress can do this so far. It's anyone's guess what these really I think, relatively radical Justices now on the Supreme Court are going to do when it comes to the scope of the Constitution itself.

And I say that very carefully, but unfortunately, I think that is where we are with constitutional law, we just don't know where we're heading now.

MATTINGLY: Yes, and that's a great question. We're going to be on high alert pretty much from here until we hear something.

Kim Wehle, thanks, as always.

WEHLE: Thank you.

MATTINGLY: All right, the January 6 mob chanted about hanging him. Now, the January 6 Committee wants to talk to him, ask Mike Pence about the pressure campaign that fueled that mob. New reporting on where that request stands.

Plus, I'll ask Pence's former Press Secretary if she thinks he would talk, coming up, next.



MATTINGLY: The January 6 Committee investigating the attack on the Capitol could soon ask former Vice President Mike Pence to appear voluntarily. The panel's Chairman, Bennie Thompson telling NPR, quote: "I think you could expect that before the month is out." CNN's Annie Grayer joins us now with the latest.

And Annie, this seemed pretty definitive. How significant in your eye's is this development.

ANNIE GRAYER, CNN REPORTER: This is a really significant development, Phil. The Chairman told us that the Committee wants to hear directly from Mike Pence, and here is why. Pence as you mentioned certified the 2020 presidential election despite a really intense pressure campaign from Trump and his allies to not do so.

That pressure campaign, who was involved, how deep it goes is a very significant investigative thread for the Committee. In addition, Pence was at the Capitol on January 6th, and witnessed the violence that took place that day and he was in the White House privy to a lot of important conversations leading up to January 6, that's important to the Committee's investigation.

Listen to what Democratic Rep, Adam Schiff, who is a member on this panel had to say about Pence and the importance of his testimony.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): He would have I think, very undoubtedly relevant testimony for us about that pressure campaign. No one would be in a better position really to speak to it than he would. All of the efforts to get him to violate his constitutional duty, to count the votes and instead, reject votes without basis, and so we hope that he will be willing to do so.


GRAYER: So the Chairman of the Committee tells us that the committee will be meeting later this week to discuss the next steps with getting Pence to voluntarily come and speak with them.

It is important to note that this is a voluntary request. This is not a legally binding subpoena, which is what the Committee has done with some of the other witnesses they want to hear from. We are expecting the voluntary ask to Pence to happen soon. But you know, that is still something that the Committee is working out.

In the meantime, sources tell us that multiple Pence aides have been cooperating with the Committee and providing really significant insight into the Committee's investigation -- Phil.

MATTINGLY: Yes, something to keep a close eye on.

And Annie Grayer, you've broken a ton of news on this story. I know you will. Thanks so much.

All right, for more, I want to bring in former White House Director of Strategic Communications under President Trump, Alyssa Farah Griffin. She also served as Vice President Pence, spokeswoman. Alyssa, one of the interesting things and Annie hit on this, a lot of people in the former Vice President's orbit have spoken to the committee voluntarily, and one of the things I've been trying to figure out is will the Vice President talk to them voluntarily? And I don't necessarily have a great read on it.

So I'm glad you're here to tell us exactly what is going to happen, but what is your sense of things? Do you think that your former boss, Vice President Mike Pence would do this voluntarily with the Committee?


ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So Phil, it's great to be with you and I will preface this by saying this is my analysis based on - I've not talked with the former Vice President about this issue, but knowing him and having worked for him for several years, I anticipate that he'll cooperate with the Committee in some capacity.

However, this is an important distinction. This is a voluntary request. His former chief of staff, Marc Short, agreed to cooperate with the Committee when he was subpoenaed. If there's something you should know about Pence world, it is that they are by the book kind of institutionalist by nature.

So I think if he were to receive a subpoena, he would absolutely comply. He believes in the oversight role that Congress has on the executive branch. I'm a little less - a little more skeptical that you wouldn't in a volunteer capacity. Listen, we just went through the anniversary of January 6th and it's very clear where most of the Republican Party in the Republican base is on this issue, where he to go in a voluntary capacity I think it could be perceived as he's trying to help the Committee, whereas I think he wants to do what he's obligated to under the Constitution, contribute to the oversight role, but I think they're more likely to get information from him with the subpoena.

MATTINGLY: Yes. And I think you make a great point on the by the book. And that would also, I assume, apply to executive privilege issues as well, which I think the former Vice President will be very cognizant of.

One thing I want to ask you, you've spoken to the Committee already, at least in some capacity, what can you tell us about that conversation with them?

GRIFFIN: Yes. I spoke voluntarily with the Republicans on the Committee and I volunteered if it would be helpful to speak to the full Committee. But again, I had left the White House long before January 6th.

I will say this, they're taking a very deliberative approach in how they do this. They're taking the time to do the hard work of fact finding and piecing together what happened in those weeks leading up to January 6th, who was involved, what conversations were had, so that when they bring in kind of the big ticket, individuals or subpoena those individuals, they already know most of the information, it's really just a matter of filling in gaps.

And one more thing I would note on Pence, I would pour a little bit of cold water on the notion that bringing him before the Committee would be this sort of big smoking gun moment. And as I mentioned, Marc Short's already sat down with the Committee. Virtually every conversation I could imagine he would have had with the former president as well as those around him, Marc Short would have been present for. That's just how Pence world operates.

So I don't anticipate there's much new information they would get from Pence. That said, it's a very worthy initiative to try to have him speak to the Committee as well.

MATTINGLY: Yes. You're talking about the past fear, a little bit on the future, if you don't mind, listen to what your old White House colleagues, Stephanie Grisham, said this week about she and what she and some other former Trump staffers are planning to do.


STEPHANIE GRISHAM, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Next week, a group of former Trump staff are going to come together, administration officials are going to come together and we're going to talk about how we can formally do some things to try and stop him and also the extremism, that kind of violence and rhetoric that has been talked about continues to divide our country.


MATTINGLY: Is being a part of that group or what they're intending to do something that would be of interest to you?

GRIFFIN: So I'm going to have a conversation kind of in a listening capacity to see what that group has in the works. But my opinion is this, the battlefield is the voters. If you want to defeat Trumpism, you have to win hearts and minds. You have to have conversations within the existing infrastructure of the Republican Party.

So honestly, my focus is going to be helping good, smart incumbent Republicans who are facing Trumpist primaries, getting involved in those races where it makes sense. So I'd be curious to see what they want to do. I've seen there have been a lot of efforts of this nature, some more successful than others.

But I mean, the battlefield is the voters, it's changing hearts and minds and showing that there's an alternative to him. There's no secret sauce to Donald Trump, a generic Republican could do a lot of what he was able to do in office. So we'll see where the group goes.

But I think there's a lot of smart efforts underway and smart Republicans, by the way, coming out to support incumbents who are facing primary challenges from Trump. So Larry Hogan sitting the campaign trail to support incumbents. Vice President Pence, by the way, has committed to backing incumbents through the RGA.

So this is already shaking out in the midterms and there's going to be a lot more of this ahead.

MATTINGLY: That actually brings me to the last question I want to ask you, on January 6th, the anniversary of it, you tweeted, "On 1/6, Trump abdicated his leadership as POTUS through his incitement than an action when a violent mob descended on the Capitol. He proved himself forever unworthy of the office he once held."

You also noted that and I'm paraphrasing here, but basically, if Republicans can't see that and can't acknowledge that, then there's bigger problems here. It's why I want to ask, I've got friends and some family members who don't view January 6, even though they were texting me on January 6 when I was in the Capitol, asking if I was okay.


They don't view it as this big moment or this big problem. There's a disconnect there inside the party. How do you explain that disconnect?

GRIFFIN: Well, I think there's been a concerted effort by the former president and those around him to spend the last year downplaying it. And this equating it to sort of the social justice protests that we saw last year, which is very different from, but I think there's been kind of a steady drumbeat that this wasn't quite as bad and then going even further to try to make the insurrectionist some sort of victims and that started to resonate with folks.

And to give credit to some of the Republicans who are like, listen, my gas prices are up, inflation's affecting the bills that I'm paying. I get why they're focused on those issues more, but what I would always say to somebody is our democracy came to the brink. And thank God, by the way, for Vice President Mike Pence, because a lesser man or woman may have given in to the former president and Lord knows where we would be today if that were the case.

So it was a highly significant moment. I think there's an education gap. I think there's a lot that needs to be done to kind of explain to the public why it was so significant. But you're going against a very loud platform that is Donald Trump.

MATTINGLY: Yes. And it just feels like that explanation has been tuned out to a large degree, the last year or so. Alyssa Farah Griffin, as always, thank you so much for your time.

GRIFFIN: Thank you, Phil.

MATTINGLY: And we'll be right back.



MATTINGLY: In a strange twist this week, Sen. Ted Cruz is apologizing profusely, not for saying something wrong but for actually telling the truth, something he has said repeatedly. During a Senate hearing on Wednesday, the Texas Republican called the January 6 insurrection a 'violent terrorist attack' and right-wing reaction was swift and harsh.

So the next day on the one year anniversary of the Capitol riot Cruz went on air with Fox's Tucker Carlson to pretty much beg for forgiveness.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): The way I phrase things yesterday, it was sloppy and it was frankly dumb.


CRUZ: And as a result it ...

CARLSON: Whoa, whoa, whoa, I don't buy that. Look, I've known you a long time since before you went to the Senate.

CRUZ: 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's what a lot of people have misunderstood that comment. I was focused ...

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

CRUZ: I was talking about people who commit violence against cops and you and I both agree, if you commit violence against cops, you should go to jail.


MATTINGLY: That whole interview was something else. Our Daniel Dale is following this story for us. And Daniel, Cruz blames sloppy wording for his comment. But this is not even close to the first time Cruz has described the insurrection as a terrorist act, is that right?

DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: You're right, not even close. I did some research after he made that sloppy claim. This was actually the 18th time or at least the 18th time that Senator Cruz had described the capital riot as a terrorist attack or broadly described rioters as terrorists.

So again, 17 previous occasions on which he used the language that he claimed was sloppy when he used it at least the 18th time. Now, he used this language in basically every possible forum. He did it in an official written statement. The day after the assault in the Capitol. He did it in another written statement more than a month after the assault on the Capitol. He did it in a third official written statement more than four months after the assault.

He also did it in a whole bunch of interviews, listen to some comments he made to local Texas television stations the day after the riot.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CRUZ: Well, what happened yesterday in Washington was horrific. It was a terrorist attack on the United States Capitol. It was despicable. It's a dark day in our nation's history when terrorists can assault the citadel democracy.

I do think it's really cynical for them to be trying to take advantage of what was a tragic event that occurred yesterday in Washington. The terrorist attack on the Capitol was despicable.


DALE: Sen. Cruz also used this terrorist attack language in a Senate committee meeting in June. Now, I spoke to or I interacted with Sen. Cruz's office, they told me that the premise of my story was 'false'. They said, of course, Sen. Cruz has in the past called people who attacked police officers terrorists.

But as you heard here, that's not what he was doing in all these instances. He was far more broadly using that language to describe capital rioters, whether or not they assaulted officers. Sen. Cruz's spokesperson also told me the real mistake he made was not distinguishing between peaceful protesters and those people who committed physical violence.

So okay, fair enough, but I think it's clear to you, to me, to people who watch Carlson show, Sen. Cruz was very much trying to create the impression that this was like a one-time inadvertent error, a one-time mistake and Phil that is very clearly not the truth.

MATTINGLY: Yes. When that clip went viral with conservatives, I watched it and didn't think anything of it. It just seemed like something he'd said in the past. It turns out, according to Daniel Dale, it was. Daniel Dale, thanks so much for your reporting.

DALE: Thank you.

MATTINGLY: All right. Coming up next, a violent crackdown and talks with Russia's Vladimir Putin on how to 'restore order'. The latest on the deadly protests rocking the nation of Kazakhstan coming up next.




MATTINGLY: It started out as a massive protest of a rising fuel prices. It quickly expanded to a wider display of discontent with the government. But the demonstrations in Kazakhstan took a violent turn as protesters clashed with police and the military. Soon after the country saw a nationwide internet blackout, the government resigned in a state of emergency, so Russian back troops moved in.

CNN Senior National Correspondent Matthew Chance joins me now from Moscow. Matthew, we're told Russian President Putin, the Kazakh president talked today about how to 'restore order' in Kazakhstan. What more do you know about that conversation?


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's been a readout from the Kremlin side and it says that basically the two leaders discussed the efforts that have been undertaken so far to stabilize the situation inside Kazakhstan. Obviously, there have been a couple of thousand Russian troops deployed there on the request of the Kazakh authorities.

Paratroopers deployed to the area, we believe near the airport, but also near other key installations as well to back up the Kazakh security forces to try and sort of bring a sort of semblance of control back to the streets there after the week of incredibly violent clashes, protests that we witnessed on the streets, particularly in the main city, Almaty.

I spoke to - still very patchy, difficult to get information out there, because the internet is patchy. We're still not allowed in sight. But I spoke to a contact in our Almaty a couple of hours ago and she told me that there was relative order on the streets now, there were deserted, but there weren't those protests that had ravaged the area over the past week, that there were sporadic gunshots being heard, she said, on occasion near checkpoints that have been set up by the Kazakh security forces.

But that relative stability has come at a very high price, Phil, because there have been dozens of people that have been killed according to officials. They're not just protesters, but also the security forces killed by rampaging mobs during the worst of the protests. Also, nearly 4,000 people have been detained by the security forces and we don't know what's become of them, they will be processed and what will happen to them.

And then in addition to that, you have that invitation that was put out sort of last week to the Russians and to other allies of Kazakhstan to send in troops to backup their security forces. Now, as I said, there are about two and a half thousand foreign troops, most of them are Russians on the ground in Kazakhstan, providing security outside key installations and helping to impose a degree of security on the streets of that country.

MATTINGLY: Yes. It's a fascinating story, a dangerous story on so many levels. Several U.S. officials this weekend tell me start paying attention to this, this is more significant than people here at least seem to realize at the moment. Matthew Chance from Moscow, as always, great reporting. Thank you.

A trailblazer, an actor and an Oscar winner, Sidney Poitier was all of these and so much more next how and what he did off camera made such a difference in people's lives.


[18:57:14] MATTINGLY: Legend is a word that gets tossed around pretty freely in Hollywood really in all walks of life. But tonight fans are remembering a man who truly earned that distinction. Sidney Poitier was born in Miami in 1927. Grew up in the Bahamas until the theater called his name.

One of his early films was Blackboard Jungle in 1955, just nine years later, he won the Oscar for Best Actor in Lilies of the Field. Among his standout roles was Walter Lee Younger in A Raisin in the Sun. Poitier originated the role on Broadway before starring in the 1961 film.


WALTER LEE YOUNGER, SIDNEY POITIER: I mean, I watched so many things that sometimes I think they're going to drive me crazy. See, I'm 35 years old and I got nothing. I ain't going to be nothing, Mama. Just look at me. Look at me.

LENA YOUNGER: I'm looking at you. And you are good looking boy. You've got a job, a fine wife and some kids.

W. YOUNGER: Mama, a job? No, I open and close car doors all day. I drive a man around in his limousine and I say, "Yes, sir." And, "No, sir." And, "Shall I take the drive, sir?" Mama, that ain't no kind of job. That ain't nothing at all. I don't know if I can make you understand.

L. YOUNGER: Understand what, baby?

W. YOUNGER: Well, sometimes it's like I can see my future stretched out in front of me, my whole future of big, blank, empty space, full of nothing, just hanging at the end of my bed just waiting for me, Mama. But it don't have to be.


MATTINGLY: Just remarkably talented sentence. CNN's Natasha Chen is in Los Angeles as fans remember and celebrate his life. And Natasha, Sidney Poitier was in so many memorable films, including ones where he actually worked behind the camera.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Phil, he was an actor and director and writer and activist. And when you mentioned that Academy Award he won, just a year before that, he participated in the March on Washington. If you can imagine in that era as someone who perhaps had success that was very hard to come by, it would be much easier perhaps to protect that career and just sit at home. But that's not what he did.

He talked about making choices, smart choices about the roles he played on screen. But the choice to be politically active in the public sphere was not necessarily a safe one. We talked to the NAACP Hollywood Bureau about Poitier's legacy. We asked about the senior vice president's favorite moments in his films. You'll hear you'll hear from him on that. But first, hear from Poitier himself receiving an Image Award in 2001, talking about how much the NAACP offered such needed encouragement through the years.


SIDNEY POITIER: That same encouragement resounded through the years and was always on hand to inspire us all, to stand firm, hold our ground and refuse to be moved whenever the question of survival was at stake.