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"Full House" Star And Comedian Bob Saget Dies At Age 65; Bronx Apartment Fire Leaves 17 Dead, Including Eight Children; Djokovic Vows To Play In Australian Open After Legal Victory. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired January 10, 2022 - 13:00   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: So, he's happy. He's happy to keep John Thune on hand.

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Busy news day. Stick with us. Erica Hill picks up right now.

ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: Good afternoon. I'm Erica Hill in for Ana Cabrera.

The loss of America's most well-known, most loved TV dads leaving many in shock. Actor and comedian Bob Saget was found unresponsive in his hotel room yesterday. He was just 65. Best known for his role as Danny Tanner on "Full House" where he gave out advice for eight seasons and even some that we could use today.

Here he was on loss.


BOB SAGET, ACTOR: Talking about it, that's what helps me. Talking about the memories. That's what keeps her in your heart.


HILL: Saget, of course, was also a familiar face to fans of "America's Funniest Home Videos," a show he hosted making him a fixture in your living rooms in the 1990s. And with younger fans grew up, they likely discovered that a lovable sitcom dad that they knee had a very funny side. Nothing like Danny Tanner jokes, Saget's routines were hugely successful. Not anything that we could play for you on daytime TV but you may have caught some of those moments. Maybe his cameos on "Half Baked" or his recurring role on "Entourage."

It was that range that offered Saget such unique longevity and consistent praise from fans and fellow entertainers.

His former "Full House" co-star John Stamos tweeting in response to Saget's death: I am broken. I am gutted. I'm in complete and utter shock. I'll never ever have a friend like him. I love you so much, Bobby. CNN's Stephanie Elam now joining us now with more.

So, just a day before, Steph, he had actually been performing. Do we know any more at this hour about the circumstances surrounding his death?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We know some details. Obviously, Erica, is just surprising everyone. Sixty-five is just way too young for anyone to be gone. We know that he was happy, that he was back on the road. He was doing comedy shows. In fact, he posted about it, and just to show you what his last Instagram post said in part.

He wrote in part that I had no idea. I did a two-hour set tonight. I'm bag in comedy like when I was 26. I guess I'm finding my new voice and love me everything moment of it.

He ends up saying that he's addicted to this and that he's just really very much enjoying it. And what we know is based only some of the 911 calls that we heard when a security officer found him, that there was no pulse and he wasn't breathing. We know that as far as a police department is concerned there in Orange County, Florida, there is nothing that looks suspicious. There's no drugs, none of that, but we still don't know that.

Obviously it's shocking for people, including the "Full House" co- stars. And just to show you more, I know we saw John Stamos and what he said. But take a look at the statement from Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. Obviously, the Olsen twins who are on the show.

Bob was the most loving, compassionate and generous man. We are deeply saddened that he's no longer with us, but know that he will continue to be by our side to gracefully be with us the way he always has. We are thinking about his wife and family and are sending our condolences.

And then also Dave Coulier who played Joey on "Full House" posting as well, saying, I'll never let go, brother. Love you, with a heart emoji. He also posted my heart is broken. I love you, Bob, your forever brother Dave.

So, you can see here that people are just feeling this loss and especially since Bob Saget was very much a part of the people's childhoods because they are watching "Full House". You know, one of America's favorite dads who used his village to help raise his family. And so, in San Francisco, people also flocking to the "Full House" home to pay their respect for Bob Saget as well.

So love for this comedian who really did run the range and gamut just pouring out from all over the world today from the comedian who is gone far, far, too soon. But at least he was doing what he loved doing.

HILL: Yeah. As you pointed out in an Instagram post, loving every moment of it, he wrote.

Stephanie, thank you. Also joining us now, one of Bob Saget's longtime friends, legendary

comedian Gilbert Gottfried.

Really appreciate you taking the time to join us. My condolences, first and foremost, and never easy to lose a friend especially when it's so sudden and you're grieving so publicly with so many others, that can make it a lot harder.

I was struck by, you know, what Stephanie Elam, my colleague, just pointed out in that post where he wrote, I'm finding my new voice and loving every moment of it.

He was absolutely loving being out there performing again. Why did that mean so much to him?

GILBERT GOTTFRIED, COMEDIAN, LONGTIME FRIEND OF BOB SAGET: Yeah. Well, so much seemed like I think he got married again recently, so he found a new wife.


And now he -- I guess he really loved what he was doing. He loved -- and he was looking forward to working more places and, you know, having a direct relation with the audience. And, yeah, he seemed very excited about it.

HILL: What did, I mean, longtime friends, what did you like about him as a fellow comedian but as a person? You know, for those who didn't know him personally.

GOTTFRIED: Well, I -- one thing -- one way that I think we got along was rather than get into anything sensitive or serious or -- it would always turn just completely filthy and obscene and sick, and -- and it was kind of like when "The Aristocrats" came out people were saying, oh, can you believe that Saget that way and people who knew him said, yeah. We can't believe he talked any other way.

HILL: This is the guy we knew, right?

GOTTFRIED: Yeah, yeah. That's it. So, there was no touchy feeling in our conversations. It would get pretty sick.

HILL: Things you can't repeat obviously here. You mentioned "The Aristocrats," for folks who aren't familiar with it, that was actually a documentary about dirty jokes.

He was really able though I think in many ways to straddle these worlds, right? Some people were surprised when they grew up if they were big fans of Tanners and "Full House" to see oh, he's really salty but he had such an incredible following in both worlds, and it would seem to me that, again, from the outside, he wasn't really trying to play one or the other. He was just being who he was and it seemed like fans should take from that whatever worked for them.

GOTTFRIED: Yeah. I'm sure a lot of people who went to see his shows were like expecting Danny Tanner and were quite shocked at he gave them. But, yeah. No. He was -- he was funny enough and talented enough for all the audiences.

HILL: He was funny, but, you know, I've been struck, too, by in how many reflections that people have post that had I've been reading about just how kind he was and how he would -- he was there to help other people. How important was that to him?

GOTTFRIED: Yeah. He seemed like -- I've heard stories of him going out of his way to help people and also, you know, you've had some quotes from the other people on this show, and I think -- I think he rarely saw him as their family. Especially the Olsen twins. I think he really saw them as his kids, because, you know, he knew them from when they were babies and, you know, they saw each other every day for years, so -- so, yeah, there was definitely a kind-hearted soul there.

HILL: Gilbert Gottfried, I'm sorry for your personal loss but thank you for your time of sharing a little bit more of a man who you knew who so many people loved. Thank you.

GOTTFRIED: Thank you.

HILL: Here in New York City, officials just updated the death toll from the horrific fire that ripped through a Bronx apartment building. The mayor moments ago actually had to revise it had down. Seventeen lives lost, we're told, nine adults and eight children. The initial reports were that 19 people had died, nine children among them.

CNN's Shimon Prokupecz is live at the scene at the fire for us this hour.

Shimon, what more did we hear from the mayor and other officials this afternoon?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Right, and the fire commissioner updating us on the number saying some good news here. But keep in mind that there are still many, many people, including many kids, children that are fighting for their lives. So they are hoping the numbers don't go up, but there is the very likelihood that that is a chance and that could happen.

Certainly one of the things that investigators are looking at is the door and whether there was a malfunction. Remember, after the residents of the fire apartment fled the apartment, the door stayed open which then allowed smoke to take over the entire building, especially the upper floors, the commissioner making a point that the 15th floor of this building, there was so much smoke up on that floor that it was completely inhabitable.


You could not even get on that floor and then obviously this building goes up to 19 floors, so it was on every floor of this building. There was smoke, choking many of the victims who were trying to escape and now obviously the focus is on this community. This building in particular is like a community of its own.

Many of the people who live here are from Gambia. They have been here for many, many years but they are close, very, very close family. They all know each other and so that is what they are focusing on for now -- trying to give these families some comfort, some relief, homes to live in and just trying to get them true such a difficult, difficult time.

And when you walk through the community there's a mosque where not many are gathering and you can see the pain that they are in. And the pain stretches, you know, all the way across the world now with many of the Gambian officials trying to figure out who died in these fires and their connection to many of the people who live in Gambia.

So there's still a lot to learn here certainly about the victims and obviously the investigation into what happened and why that door did not shut, Erica.

HILL: It's heartbreaking. It really is.

Shimon, appreciate the update. Thank you.

The world top tennis player Novak Djokovic scored a big win in the scandal over his vaccine status and visa officials in Australia, but Australia's top immigration officials still have the power to deport him. So what happens now?

Plus, a standoff between the Chicago teacher's union and city officials means no school for the fourth day for hundreds of thousands of students. There's no school, not online, not in person. Parents scrambling for help. We're going to speak to a teacher.

And the U.S. and Russia just wrapping up a high-stakes meeting in Geneva. Moscow, of course, making that demand of NATO allies and the U.S. is warning it's ready to take decisive action if Russia invades Ukraine. Where do we stand?



HILL: Novak Djokovic says he's focused on playing in the Australian Open after scoring a victory in court. A few hours ago, a judge reversed the government's decision to cancel his visa and free Djokovic from detention. The world's number one tennis player was initially denied entry after his COVID vaccine exemption was rejected. That exemption was based on Djokovic having tested positive for COVID last month.

That ruling kicked off a firestorm around the globe. His mother this morning says her son was, quote, fighting for the liberty of choice.

CNN's Paula Hancocks is in Melbourne, Australia.

So, Paula, his mother also spoke at a press conference, one that seemed to end rather abruptly. Where do we stand right now? What happens next?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erica, what we heard in that press conference was the family obviously thanking everybody for helping Djokovic win his freedom once again but it did raise some questions what we learned from that hearing, the fact that there was an affidavit that Djokovic had sworn saying that he was testing positive on December 16th. That was the official date.

And yet we saw him on December 16th and 17th at some public events with maskless, not wearing a mask. He was at a panel discussion on the 16th. He was then at a Tennis Academy event with -- surrounded by young people on the 17th.

And the family was asked about that during that press conference and it's that they would adjourn the press conference and that was the end of the question.

So, clearly, there are many questions that will be asked of Djokovic in the days to come. He wants to now focus on tennis. He wants to focus on the Australian Open to see if he can retain his title. But there are questions whether he was in public when he was infectious.

HILL: Yeah, raising a lot of question.

All right. We'll continue that. Paula Hancocks, live in Melbourne, thank you.

Meantime, in Chicago, it is the fourth day with no school. The teachers union and union officials remain deadlocked, maybe even farther apart we can feel at this point. At issue here, of course, is how to get students and staff safely back into the classroom.

The teachers union wants increased safety and testing protocols and the opportunity to teach from home until the current surge peaks. They vie January 18th at a day to resume in-person learning. City leaders, they just want everybody back in the classroom. Families and students meantime are struggling as they wait for students to start.

Jackson Potter is a high school social studies teacher at Back of the Yards College Prep in Chicago. He's also a trustee of the Chicago Teachers Union executive board. I know you've been I believe 20 years you spent in Chicago public schools.

At this hour, is there any word of progress, any updates on negotiations or even a possible deal?

JACKSON POTTER, HS SOCIAL STUDIES TEACHER, BACK OF THE YARDS COLLEGE PREP: I think that things are progressing and there's been movement around key areas such as contact tracing, testing, ensuring that there's a metric if there's an out-of-control outbreak at a school, that that school that's paused. So I am hopeful but still a lot of work to do.

HILL: So you say you're hopeful. You know, you've likely heard about this petition, Chicago public schools mom organized this petition urging the teachers union to get back in the classroom and reopen schools. She was on CNN earlier today and said the science on safety in schools is clear. Take a listen.


MICHELLE EGAN, CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS PARENT: We saw over the holiday break, we saw teachers going on vacations and visiting families and they absolutely should be doing that, but to return to school three days later and say that they don't feel comfortable being in the classroom when the public health community says it's safe and the rates within the -- within the community of kids is lower than what they face when they go to the grocery store or when they get their nails done or when they're out in just the general community living their lives.


You know, we have to move on. We have to live hour lives with this pandemic. And so, we really want the teachers to get back to work.


HILL: How do you respond to her, Jackson?

POTTER: Yeah. We absolutely want to get back to work, too. In fact, we wanted to work all along and we were locked out of our classrooms. Part of the problem is when we came back from break -- I'll give myself as an example.

I saw five times the number of students in quarantine. This thing was spreading rapidly. Many of my co-workers were starting to call in absent because they got sick with COVID, and it was beginning to break out.

Our students -- I have 1,000 students in school. They all eat lunch without masks together. So the idea that it doesn't spread in schools is even refuted by the state's public health data which shows that school transmission is the top way that COVID is spread.

And then you look at Chicago public schools only data. Just from two days of in person schooling, there were 2,400 identified positive cases of teachers and students, 9,000 in quarantine, and now was expanding exponentially. So, I mean, omicron expands rapidly. We didn't have the mitigations in place to detect it and yet here we are.

So, you talk about not having the mitigation in place. Look, we can we can visualize, right, what could happen at lunch. There can be separation measures as we know. I mean, I see it in my public schools. It's not ideal. I can tell you my sixth grader hates it, but in the way they split kids up and they rotate lunch.

We know there was some movement over the weekend. You got 91 percent of teachers I believe who are vaccinated within CPS. CPS says they are going to provide KN95 masks for all teachers and students.

How important is all of that? I know mask is really important to you. What sort of a difference would that make in terms of slowing the spread there and allowing for less transmission? Because we know overall when you're masked in schools, transition can be very low. POTTER: Yeah. I think it's very important. Right now the district

provides cloth mask and we know CDC guidance says you need surgical masks or N-59s or KN-59s so my students were coughing and wheezing and sneezing that very first day back. We were all looking at each other, and they had the cloth masks so having that at -- available at the school would be huge. That's why we got the federal money is to purchase things along those lines, and I just want to mention, so it's not always understood.

We're -- a vast majority of black and Latinx district by 90 percent and black families are two times more likely to die from COVID and Latinx families three more times as likely and our vaccination rates among students are fairly low among many schools across the district. So, you know, the rise in pediatric hospitalizations which have reached record highs in the state if a real concern, and many of our students live in multi-generational families.

So, the risk are more high based on our demographics and that needs to be talked about. And those mitigation is so critical. At my school, we had to carry out our own vaccination event because the district refused to.

And, you know, we were able to get 150 of my students vaccinated through those methods that was lifting heaven and earth and not the assistance of the bureaucracy. And that's what needs to change. We really need to do this together. That's why we took this action, was to ensure contact tracing is happening.

Right now, I get notified that a student has COVID. Nobody asks me who they were sitting next to. Nobody calls to see who they eat lunch with. Nobody gives those students tests to determine if they have contracted the virus. So it spreads without detection, and that harms those families that are most vulnerable.

HILL: Jackson Potter, we have to leave it there. But appreciate you taking the time to join us this afternoon and we're going to continue to fully this and hopefully we'll seeing more developments. Thank you.

POTTER: I hope so, thank you.

HILL: Also with us, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed. He's an epidemiologist, former Detroit health commissioner.

Dr. Al-Sayed, always good to see you.

I just want your reaction that we just heard from Jackson Potter, right? So, he's there in a high school. He's been a teacher for 20 years. He's talking about the spread he sees in his school, specifically citing lunchtime when masks are off. The high numbers that he's seen and yet what we're hearing consistently from health officials that schools is the safest place to be.

Which one is it?

DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah, I want to zoom out here because what Mr. Potter shared is very important context. We know schools can be safe from COVID-19 but it requires the masks

that protect people from omicron. They require us to be able to use testing in a way to make sure people aren't coming to school and they're infectious and spreading the virus. And those things aren't here.

So, it's not simply just a conflict between parents and teachers. It's actually a bigger question about why it is that as a society, when we say that our kids are the most important and we want them in our schools, we don't have the means of making sure that they can be safe, that their teachers can be safe as we're sitting at the schools.


And I think that context is really important as we think about the situation.

HILL: To your point on that, right, testing is also key as we learned going back school. Look, testing is a mess right now. It's been a mess from the beginning. But the fact that it is taking days for people to get their test results, schools that have tried to be proactive and do testing with their students, they can't even get the results in time, and then you're look at the contact tracing issues.

This has been an issue from day one. Why are we still in this place?

EL-SAYED: You know, Erica, that is the ultimate question. Why are we still here? We're going two years, going on three years in this pandemic, and we still don't have very basic things like testing or masking guidelines and the access to the kinds of mask that protect people from omicron. This is a broader question.

I mean, to the point here, you think about the fact that everybody knows kids need to be in school. We've seen all of the evidence about the risks of keeping kids out of school, the impact on their mental health. And yet the question becomes -- why aren't we making sure that all of our school districts have the testing and the masking, that they need to do this thing safely.

And so, you know, when we talk about this thing, it's easy to allow it to be this conflict between teachers on one side and parents on the other. But really, all of us kind of agree that our kids should be safe in school and they should be in school. I don't think -- any teacher I've talked to doesn't believe that kids are best off during the days out of school. That's why they're there. That's why they do that work.

But as a society, we haven't equipped them to do that with safety and peace of mind. And so, yeah, it does accentuate that question, why are we still here two years in?

HILL: Dr. El-Sayed, that's all we have time for today, but I look forward to having you back soon. Appreciate it. Thanks.

EL-SAYED: Thank you, Erica. HILL: So can the United States get Russia to stop threatening to

invade Ukraine? A high-stakes meeting between the two sides just wrapping up. We're going to speak with the former director of national intelligence James Clapper. He's here next.