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Family Of Memphis Man Who Died Following Traffic Stop View Arrest Video; Officials Give Update On California Mass Shooting; Attorney General Garland Taking Questions Amid Biden Docs Probe; Missouri Bill Bans Critical Race Theory, Trains Teachers In "Patriotism". Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired January 23, 2023 - 15:30   ET



SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN, SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This guy came from bank capital, he's worked at all these big corporation. I'm just glad that Joe Biden has finally come along -- or realizing that bank capital wasn't the evil of that he portrayed at the beginning of 2012 when he was running.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: OK, all right, detour, but OK, take your point. Thank you both. Great to see you.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Missouri lawmakers are considering a new bill that would ban critical race theory in schools. It's not being taught in public schools. They would also require training programs to teach American patriotism, and there's some extra pay connected to that. Details, next.



BLACKWELL: The family of Tyre Nichols -- he's the Memphis man who died after his arrest earlier this month -- well, that family met with city and police officials today to watch the police footage for the first time.

CAMEROTA: The 29-year-old died in the hospital a few days after a confrontation with officers during a traffic stop on January 7th. Five officers were fired last week after a an investigation found they violated policy for use of force, duty to intervene and duty to render aid. CNN's Nick Valencia joins us now. So, Nick, what's the family saying now that they've seen this video?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We have not yet heard from the family, Alisyn and Victor. We're still listening to this press conference. The family attorneys have spoken though, and they're not holding back in their characterization of what they saw on that police video of the arrest of Tyre Nichols. Staying, that it was not just violent but it was savage, and that for three minutes, Tyre Nichols was like a human pinata they said, suffering an unadulterated and unabashed beating. Benjamin Crump who's one of the attorneys for the family, went on to say that the video reminded him of the beating of Rodney King. Just listen to this characterization of what he saw with the family earlier today.


BEN CRUMP, NICHOLAS FAMILY ATTORNEY: Well, we can tell you about the video. It is appalling. It is deplorable. It is heinous. What was your word? Violent?


CRUMP: Violent. It is very troublesome on every level.


VALENCIA: Attorney Crump went on to say that Tyre Nichols' mother, RowVaughn Wells, couldn't get through the first minute of the video. She was just too emotional watching it. They did say that sometime during the video, you actually Tyre Nichols say, what did I do? They did though, make the point that they couldn't really get into the details of what they saw because this is still an active investigation. Not only are the Memphis Police Department investigating, but also the U.S. attorneys as well as the civil rights division for the Department of Justice and the Tennessee bureau of investigation. All of them involved in this.

I was on the phone earlier with the district attorney's office asking them, you know, really what's the holdup, guys? Why not release this video? They did say that they wanted the family to see it first, but there is a plan -- it's not a matter of if -- but when this video is made public. They say sometimes perhaps later this week or perhaps next week, is the plan.

They are also considering charges against the five officers that have since been fired from this incident. Those officers have been named as Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith. Those charges, if any, are announced the district attorney's office tells me they would come later this week. But clearly a lot to get through here, and the family still processing what they saw earlier today. Again, that press conference still happening right now -- Alisyn and Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right, Nick Valencia for us. Thank you, Nick.

CAMEROTA: New today, a former senior FBI official has been charged in an alleged scheme to help a sanctioned Russian oligarch. We have more on that just head.



BLACKWELL: Missouri is the latest state now to consider new laws that would prohibit the teaching of critical race theory in its public schools, K through 12. The bill states among other things that no school employee can teach, quote, that individuals by virtue of their race, ethnicity, color, or national origin, their collective guilts and are inherently responsible for actions committed in the past by others.

We're going to take a pause here. We're who Monterey Park, California for an update on the massacre and investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... across the country, access to those weapons, even when it's lawful, we cannot let mass shot shootings be the norm. Not here in Monterey Park, not in California, not anywhere in the United States of America. And with that, let me introduce my friend and colleague, Los Angeles county supervisor.

HILDA SOLIS, L.A. COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: Thank you for coming here this afternoon. I want to thank the city of Monterey Park, and expressly give my thanks to the public safety personnel, all of our L.A. County mental health, OEM, Office of Emergency Management, including the government's office as well as our friends in the federal government, FBI, and everyone that's been helping us go through this in the last couple of days.

But I also want to be reminded that there are some special things to be thankful for. The community has come together. Many people are coming forward to provide initial support to many of our AAPI residents. Many who are right now in solace and witnessing things that are unheard of. We know that we have a lot of healing to do. The L.A. County will be here, our mental health services are here on the ground, Office of Emergency Management, as well as our Red Cross, as well as our other secondary agencies. And again, I want to thank the city of Monterey Park.


This senior center here stands as a symbol of welcoming for all immigrants. And that's how I came to learn this community, welcoming everyone. And it continues to be resilient. It continually will be doing that as we begin to heal, and we have much more to do.

We also have some heroes. The young man that now many of us know helped to stop further shootings from occurring in Alhambra, that young man is a hero in the San Gabriel Valley, representing Alhambra. Those are things that we should also reflect on. In spite of someone's senseless motivations to try to kill people or shoot people, this individual did what many would probably never be able to do or imagine. But he saved so many more lives. So, let's also think about that as we go through this process.

Let us also through the next few days, remember the families that have lost loved ones as well as those that are recovering right now. And I thank all our emergency medical staff, our teams, our hospitals, everyone that has played a big role in this whole -- this whole activity that has been occurring right before our very own eyes. So, thank you with that. I'll bring it back to --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you want to do it in Spanish?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anybody in our group here? I know this is kind of impromptu, so --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can say some words in Spanish.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK and then I'll have Matt talk about the center itself.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There you go. Just briefly in Spanish, and then he'll hear more from the experts here on the center behind.

CAMEROTA: There to the officials in Monterey Park, talking in their first press conference after this tragedy there, and we just heard from the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, Hilda Solis, who was saying that while this is an awful tragedy, there are obviously still bright lights. There was a hero there, and he needs to be celebrated.

BLACKWELL: Yes, certainly, what he did, to eventually very likely save lives there at this second location. It's nothing short of heroic. Let's go to Washington now. Attorney General Merrick Garland taking questions. Let's listen.

MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: The role of the Justice Department is to apply the facts and law in each case into reach appropriate decisions in a nonpartisan and neutral way without regard to the subjects. That is what we've done in each of these cases and that is what we'll continue to do.

BLACKWELL: All right. We have Harry Litman back with us. Harry, you have been a utility player throughout this show. Harry, we heard from the former national security adviser, John Bolton, this morning on "CNN THIS MORNING" who said the Biden mishandling of the documents makes it less likely that there will be charges filed against former President Trump. What's your view of that, how these may play into or against one another, and what you hear from the AG Garland there?

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Yes, so, it's a really big and vexing question. I know how it should play, and I know how Garland wants it to play, and he is the boss of the department which is, zero impact. And you can imagine, Victor, the way this should actually, unroll is Smith will provide a recommendation to Garland. Probably Garland will take it. Hur will provide a recommendation to Garland and as my last utility appearance, I was suggesting there's no criminal there, there, and unless we find out more. And probably Garland will take it.

They are in separate offices. They are separate people, so I think there's a kind of political sort of cloud that maybe brings them together in the public mind, the media's mind, the House Republican conference's mind. I don't see though, that it's necessary and indeed, I think Garland will try very hard to make it not the case that they somehow bleed together. And the process in place now for these separate special counsels really should facilitate that separate inquiry.

BLACKWELL: All right. Harry Litman, thank you.

We're learning more about the victims of Saturday night's mass shooting at a dance hall in California, now 11 dead from that shooting. More on that and the latest on the investigations next.



Let's go to Missouri now. The latest state to consider new laws that would prohibit the teaching of critical race theory in its public schools. Phil Murray is the president of the Missouri National Education Association, which opposes the bill. Phil, good to have you. Now we know, we have said this many times, that critical race theory is not being taught in grade schools across the country in public schools. Your group opposes the bill. Explain why.

PHIL MURRAY, PRESIDENT, MISSOURI NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION: Well, I think the first thing you have to understand is that educators do not go this business to become rich or to become famous. We go into help kids grow and to be the very best that they can be.

And so, I think it's very important to understand that, you know, educators, we're really working for our kids and their best interests. When I was an educator of public school, one of the first things I told my students is that history is a series of stories and they're told by different people. And is very important to take the time to really understand all the different perspectives when you live to untap it.


And so, I think that we've kind of got to the point where that's kind of gotten away from what we're supposed to be doing. I think that, you know, it's real important to understand that our kids come from diverse background, they come with lots of different perspectives. And I think they should be having the freedom to ask the questions that they need to ask. And I think educators should have the freedom to be able to give truthful answers to their students when you talk about this freely -- or even current events.

BLACKWELL: It's interesting that you come to history from that perspective. I want you to listen here to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis who is really at the forefront of this codifying anti- critical race theory -- which again, is not being taught in public schools. This is his answer about the decision to block a new advanced placement African American studies course. Here's what he said.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R) FLORIDA: We want to do history. And that's what our standards for black history are. It's just cut and dry history. You learn all the basics. You learn about the great figures. And you know, I view it as American history. I don't view it as separate history. You know, we have history in a lot of different shapes and sizes, people who have participated to make the country great. People that have who stood up when it wasn't easy. And they all deserve to be taught. But abolishing prisons, being taught to high school kids, as if that's somehow a fact. Now that's not appropriate.


BLACKWELL: Abolishing prisons apparently part of the discussion, part of this course. What's your reaction to what you heard there?

MURRAY: History is a series of stories, individuals -- you know, how history affects individuals is different. And I think that it's important to be honest about making sure that you -- it doesn't have to be judgmental. It is the different perspectives of individuals about events that have happened in the past. It's important to learn so that we -- excuse me -- not to repeat the mistakes we made in the past to make this world a very inclusive place for all of our students and they all see themselves in this history of the United States.

BLACKWELL: This bill also calls on the state to develop a training program to, quote, prepare teachers to teach the principles of American civics and patriotism and the teachers who complete that training receive a one-time bonus of $3,000. Bonuses for teachers, sounds like a great thing. What's your thought?

MURRAY: I think that the best use for resources right now is to make sure our schools are fully funded, to make sure that all our kids get the resources they need be successful in our schools. They don't need to be relying on gimmicks. A lot of times some of these programs come along to distract us from what's very important. Our kids deserve the very best that we can give them. Doesn't matter where they're at, whether they're in a classroom in St. Louis or in a small sound like Popular Bluff or even in a smaller town Cuba City, Missouri. They all should have the resources they need to be successful and we should be dealing with gimmicks.

BLACKWELL: Phil Murray, President of the Missouri National Education Association, thank you.

CAMEROTA: Well, three members of the Oath Keepers and a fourth were just convicted of seditious conspiracy. A Washington, D.C. jury found all four defendants guilty for their role in the January 6th attack on the Capitol.

BLACKWELL: Defense attorneys argued the four men were innocent because they were following Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes -- who was also convicted of seditious conspiracy last November. All four defendants will be placed on house arrest until they're sentenced.

A former top FBI official has been indicted in an alleged scheme to help a Russian oligarch. Charles McGonigal was arrested at New York JFK airport on Saturday. The former head of counterintelligence at the FBI's New York field office is accused of working with this man.

CAMEROTA: A Putin ally, Oleg Deripaska, has been sanctioned for interfering with the 2016 presidential election. Prosecutors say McGonigal to dig up dirt on one of the oligarchs rivals. He's also accused of concealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments from a former Albanian intelligence employee. McGonigal pleaded not guilty in court today.

OK, the FDA wants to streamline the process of protecting you against COVID-19.

BLACKWELL: Instead of multiple updated shots every few months, most people would get one vaccine a year, much like the annual flu shot, regardless of whether they were previously vaccinated. The very young, elderly and immune compromised would get two shots once a year. And the vaccines composition would be based on the latest strains that officials determine over the summer. FDA independent vaccine advisers are scheduled to meet Thursday to discuss.

OK, now to one of our favorite stories. This cloud has the internet talking. What are your thoughts -- Victor?

BLACKWELL: No, continue.

CAMEROTA: OK. This video captured it hovering in the sky in Turkey last week. Some say it looks like a UFO. I think you likened it to a Georgia O'Keefe painting.

BLACKWELL: I did not do that.

CAMEROTA: Did you not.


BLACKWELL: No, I didn't. You know, I'm no expert in the field, but maybe not a UFO.

CAMEROTA: Yes, maybe it's a rose, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Sure. So, this phenomenon is called lenticular cloud or lens cloud. It generally forms when air blows across tall structures such as mountains and causes water vapor to condense.

CAMEROTA: There you have.

BLACKWELL: There's your cloud for the day. "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER" starts right now.