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Erin Burnett Outfront

Putin Accuses U.S. Of Trying To Draw Them Into Armed Conflict, Says NATO's Missile Systems Are Threatening Russia; Greg Jacob, Top Aide To Former VP Pence Meets With Jan 6 Committee, Days After Pence's Ex-Chief Of Staff Was Interviewed; Exclusive: Two Trump Exec Orders Drafted To Seize Voting Machines; Trump Endorses Challenger To GOP Rep Who Backed Impeachment; Survey: 55 Percent Of Teachers Say They Will Quit Sooner Than Planned; Beijing Turns Into A Tale Of Two Cities For Winter Olympics; Dem Senator Manchin On Build Back Better: "It's Dead." Aired 7-8p ET

Aired February 01, 2022 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: You're absolutely right. Phil Mattingly over at the White House, thanks very much.

And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM."

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Putin not backing down, warning the U.S. is not listening to his demands and pushing Russia closer to war tonight.

Plus, a second top aide to the former Vice President Mike Pence meeting today with the January 6 Select Committee. Why they believe he's a key witness?

And a troubling new survey tonight finds more than half of teachers in United States plan on leaving their jobs sooner than expected. It's because of COVID. The President of the National Education Association is OUTFRONT. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, Putin breaks his silence speaking for the first time publicly since December. Putin taking questions during a meeting with ironically a NATO country, claiming that the United States has broken its word and is forcing his hand in Ukraine.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through interpreter): There are MK 41 launchers on which tomahawks can be installed. That is these are no longer anti-missile, but strike systems that will cover our territory for thousands of kilometers. Well, isn't that a threat to us?

Let us imagine that Ukraine is a NATO member and is stuffed with weapons and there are state of the art missile systems just like in Poland and Romania, who will stop it from unleashing operations in Crimea, let alone Donbas, a Russia sovereign territory? Let us imagine that Ukraine is a NATO member and ventures such as combat operations, are we supposed to be at war with NATO?


BURNETT: His demands have not changed, tripling down. Of course, Crimea was illegally annexed by Russia, but no one has done much about it, which remains part of the reason Putin thinks he can now control more of Ukraine.

But here's something else that stands out about today's press conference. What you see on that image there, he was side by side with the Prime Minister of Hungary. And here's what stands out about this, despite its strong man increasingly autocratic tendencies, Hungary is part of NATO. And the Prime Minister today said of Russia's demands on NATO said, "The President was very calm and said that Russia's demands for security guarantees are normal and should be the basis for negotiations and I agree with that."

That is the opposite of NATO's position, so a NATO member just at the exact opposite of what NATO said and that is a problem. Because let's just remind everyone what NATO's stance is on Ukraine and that is that NATO has the right to expand there, Putin can't stop that and that NATO is a hurt one all defend deal.


JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: We will, of course, make sure that there is no misunderstanding about NATO's readiness commitment to protect and defend all NATO allies.


BURNETT: That's NATO. If you hurt one, all rise to defend. That's the deal. That's the fundamental heart. And Hungary's Prime Minister then continued saying Hungary is actually able to be both a member of NATO and, in his words, still able to 'maintain excellent contact with Russia'.

Well, Putin has no such relationship with Ukraine. No friendly leader who can glad hand with NATO while getting about with Putin and saying that all of his demands are completely reasonable and let's just go along with them. And it was clear from his words in the press conference today that changing that is still his number one goal.

And to do so, he had a press conference and he put out more propaganda video today, the Defense Ministry announcing a flurry of new military drills, including testing Russian anti-aircraft missile systems, along with advanced obstacle training, shooting exercises. Russia also putting out video just moments ago of a new military field camp built on the border with Poland. The camp equipped with the hospital, classrooms, recreation facilities for soldiers, an indication that Russian troops could be there for a while. And the United States is making it clear that it's not just propaganda

footage and petulance from Putin. Just listen to the Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby speaking hours after Putin finished his press conference, underlining for what seems to be the 100th time that Putin is both ready and able to invade imminently.


JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: We believe that he has enough capability to move now if h wants to. And he continues to add to that capability in those options and he could, depending on what his goal is here and what he wants to do, he could move imminently at any time. But we have seen him provide that kind of sustainment capability with respect to those forces and obviously that does include field hospitals, and doctors, and nurses, and the kinds of things you would need to do to, to be able to medically care for troops in the field.



BURNETT: Putin is clearly prepared for war and it is a war if it happens that according to the Ukrainian President will engulf Europe.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through interpreter): There will be a tragedy in case of powerful escalation against our state. And therefore, I'm being very open, this is not going to be a war of Ukraine and Russia. This is going to be a European war, a full-fledged war, because no one is going to give away territories and people any longer.


BURNETT: Matthew Chance is OUTFRONT live in Kyiv, Ukraine again for us tonight. So Matthew, how are Putin's words today being interpreted in Ukraine?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're not going to be doing much to ease concerns here about the Kremlin's plans. I mean, actually just seeing the Hungarian Prime Minister, the leader of a NATO member and a member of the European Union stand shoulder to shoulder with the Russian president in that way will have reminded the Ukrainians that the Western alliances, the Western institutions that Putin wants the split so much are already divided when it comes to how to deal with Moscow.

But more than that, Vladimir Putin his words, he said that there is no Russian plan to invade Ukraine. Again, remember, it did it in 2014, but what he set out at this news conference was scenarios in which there could be an armed conflict. And so, that's something that would have been alarming here, particularly when you couple it with the fact that Russia continues to build up forces near the Ukrainian border. There are close to 130,000 Russian troops poised potentially on an order to come into this country and the Ukrainians know that very well.

And so there's not much they will have heard today that will have ease their concerns from Moscow. At the same time, the Ukrainian leadership here has been pursuing diplomacy on its own. It's had visits today from the Polish Prime Minister and of Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, they've been in Kyiv today giving their political sort of backing to Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president and military backing as well. And that, I think, for the Ukrainians is symbolically important.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. Matthew Chance from Kyiv again tonight. And OUTFRONT now, retired Colonel Cedric Leighton, former member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Andrea Kendall-Taylor, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Russia, Eurasia at the National Intelligence Council. I appreciate both of you taking the time to be with me tonight.

So, Colonel, you have Putin saying today the goal is to draw us into an armed conflict, that that's the goal of the United States and the West. He stood firm on every single one of his demands about NATO and U.S. removing missile presence and his entire list as we played. What did you take away from what he said today?

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, Erin, I think the main thing is that the reality is, of course, exactly the opposite of this. It is Russia that is drawing everybody else into this conflict with themselves, because of their designs on Ukraine. What I took away from it is the fact that Putin has not changed anything. He is basically rejecting, at least so far, all of the Western positions related to Ukraine.

The fact that Ukraine is considered a country that is at best a candidate for NATO membership is something that he, of course, rejects out of hand. He believes that all of the things that we associate with Western Europe, all of the things that we associate with the expansion of NATO, all of that is a direct threat to Russia. And because of that, he will continue with his movements, his troop movements, plus his asymmetric activities as well.

BURNETT: Right. Right. As you say, as he spoke, the Minister of Defense puts out all those videos, one after the other to put that out, so everyone understands what their actions are.

Andrea, Putin was very clear today that his demands to NATO and the United States have not been met. Here's another thing he said.


PUTIN (through interpreter): It's already clear that the fundamental Russian concerns were ignored. We have not seen adequate consideration for our three key demands regarding NATO expansion. The annunciation of the deployment of strike weapons near the Russian borders, and the return of the bloc's military infrastructure in Europe to the state of 1997 when the Russia NATO Founding Act was signed.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: So Andrea, he's saying the return of the bloc's military

infrastructure in Europe to the state of 1997. I just want to be clear, he said this standing next to a NATO member who said that Russia's security demands were reasonable and he agreed with them. That was quite jarring.



The Biden administration has worked incredibly hard to forge unity and cohesion amongst its allies. That unity is crucial to deterrence. And with Orban traveling to the Kremlin and standing there and calling into question things like the utility of sanctions, that undermines the deterrent message that the United States and its allies are trying to send.

I also think that Putin himself probably questions whether or not the United States and its allies will stand shoulder to shoulder if push comes to shove. And so unfortunately, I think Orban's message there only reinforces that view for President Putin, so very counterproductive.

BURNETT: So Colonel, let me ask you about that, because Orban knew exactly what he was doing and what he was saying. And the implication is very clear that NATO may do what NATO does, but Hungary will do what Hungary does. But it's still pretty incredible for a country to actually come out and say it. It puts it right out in the open and it opens the door to others. How significant is that?

LEIGHTON: Very significant, Erin. But the big thing here that you keep in mind as key as hungry is to certain things that NATO does, it is not France, it is not Germany, it is not Britain. So those are the key factors when Putin looks at this in that way, because those countries are going to be very important to the cohesiveness of NATO, the smaller countries are important, but the key countries are the big countries. And if they stay together, then Putin has a lot of pressure that he has to deal with and you'll have to calculate differently than he would otherwise calculate.

BURNETT: Which brings me, Andrea, to the question about sanctions that you raised. Obviously, Germany is reliant upon Russia for its gas coming through the pipeline that goes under Ukraine and Germany has so far been loath to support Ukraine in any military way. And today, you heard Orban say he doesn't think sanctions will work. So is he right that sanctions won't work? Obviously, they didn't work in 2014, but those sanctions are, by all accounts, much weaker than those now being considered. Do you think that the sanctions that they're talking about would work now?

KENDALL-TAYLOR: Well, I think, they are a key part of the deterrent package. The Biden administration, I think, is trying to make the choice that Putin faces incredibly clear. On the one hand, the Biden administration has offered a path to talk about things like arms control, conventional arms control, transparency measures, risk reduction. On the other hand, along with allies, they've threatened a severe package of economic sanctions that would really raise the cost.

The key question, of course, is whether or not that's enough to deter Putin on something as vital as Ukraine. There is a very significant asymmetry of interest that Putin exploits. He understands that Russia cares more about Ukraine than the West. But nonetheless, it's very important to continue to go down this path and if they don't end up deterring and Putin takes actions, implementing those sanctions is extremely important to raise the cost to Putin, that things like the export controls to start choking off key sectors of Russia's economy that support this aggressive activity abroad.

So whether or not they deter, that's one question, but they're still the Putin path to raise the costs and to start kind of choking Russia's ability to sustain this aggressive posture.

BURNETT: So Colonel, how long can he wait? The emphasis today from both the videos, but also what you heard Admiral Kirby talking about was that they're really - they're putting in things to stay for a while. It's not just hospitals, it's recreation rooms, it's classrooms, it's sort of - we don't have to move our troops out in March when things start to thaw, we can sit around and wait as long as we need to. How long do you think he is willing to sit there?

LEIGHTON: Well, Putin has a calendar whereas most of us have a watch and that's one thing that I think we have to consider, but in terms of actual logistical sustainment, and I think that the current Russian posture will probably allow them to stay in that position, in an invasion type posture for about 10 days of sustained combat.

Now, of course, he'll move other forces in and do those kinds of things that he needs to do in order to keep that momentum going. But after 10 days, then it gets a bit questionable. It also, of course, depends on how much resistance the Ukrainians afford and that, of course, could change the equation quite a bit, but I give him 10 days at the outset at least.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much. I appreciate your time.

And next, CNN learning Trump's advisors drafted not one but two executive orders to seize voting machines for the 2020 election.

Plus, Trump banking an impressive $122 million. That is what he has just raised and he is using it right now to get revenge on at least one Republican who voted to impeach him.


And tonight, see the incredible lengths China is going to, to keep COVID from making its way inside the Beijing bubble.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here at the media center, a robot serves our food. (END VIDEO CLIP)



BURNETT: Tonight, Greg Jacob, the former chief counsel to Vice President Pence meeting earlier with the January 6 Select Committee. He's now the latest member of the former vice president's inner circle to meet with the Committee. Of course, as you now know, the former chief of staff Marc Short did so as well.

Jacob has been of significant interest to the Committee because he played a key role pushing back on efforts to persuade Trump - Pence, I'm sorry, to not certify the election. And it all comes as CNN is reporting tonight that former President Trump's advisors drafted two versions of an executive order to seize voting machines. The time to draft two versions and Paula Reid is OUTFRONT.

So Paula, tell me about this and what more you're learning about Greg Jacob and his testimony to the Committee.

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, Jacob's appearance before the Committee today shows that even though the committee has had really a tough time getting some Trump allies to cooperate, they really are making inroads in Pence's world to better understand what was happening at the White House in and around January 6.

Now is Pence's general counsel, Jacob played a critical role in countering this pressure campaign, this effort to persuade Pence not to certify the Electoral results. Now, Jacob is obviously always been a sought after witness by the Committee.


But he became more prominent after it was revealed that conservative lawyer, Johnny Smith, who is advising Trump, sent Jacob an email during the riot, blaming Pence for the violence at the Capitol. In his interview, of course, comes as CNN has reported, Pence's former chief of staff, Marc Short was interviewed last week, and Erin, all of this begs the question that whether pence himself will cooperate with the Committee.

And all this comes amid our new reporting that Trump allies drafted two executive orders to seize voting machines after the election, one version, tasking the Pentagon with seizing machines and a second version instructing the Department of Homeland Security to carry out the same task, even though according to our reporting, a top DHS official told Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, the DHS didn't have that power. And while neither memo was issued this new reporting, Erin, it shows the length that Trump advisors were willing to go to as part of their broader effort to undermine the election results.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Paula. And I want to bring in now Matthew Travis. He served in the Trump

administration as Deputy Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which, of course, was the lead federal agency responsible for election security. And Gloria Borger, our Chief Political Analyst.

So Matt, let me start with you. We're now on where Paula finished, two draft executive orders to seize voting machines. First they try the Pentagon, then they try the DHS. Clearly there were a lot of efforts being made. Is there any possible way to get this done? Is there any way that this wasn't, at this point, looking at this unintended coup for all intents and purposes or is it possible that Trump truly believed all of this stuff about the voting machines?

MATTHEW TRAVIS, FORMER CISA DEPUTY DIRECTOR UNDER TRUMP: Erin, good to be with you again. I think he must have believed a lot of it to go this far to have the executive orders drafted. Though I haven't seen the DHS version, but if it's anything like the DOD one, calling it a harebrained plan, it's probably being too kind.

It's absurd, but it's also sinister. It's absurd, because on the face of it, it's unconstitutional. Article 1 Section 4 gives the authority over federal elections to the state. And in terms of authority, listen, most Americans don't realize how many law enforcement authorities and regulatory authorities the Department of Homeland Security has, but it doesn't have this, not even close.

When I was at CISA, we were looking to strengthen election security of the election infrastructure. We would have to get consent, we would have to get permission from those state officials to do vulnerability assessments or malware scanning. And to think that we need permission for that, but then we barge in and seize the machines is laughable. It would never have been carried out.

But also I think it's also sinister in that you take the Department of Homeland Security, which is filled with professional responsible patriotic security and emergency management professionals, and to weaponize it for political purposes, is (inaudible) all DHS employees and (inaudible) alumni.

BURNETT: Right. And I actually want to ask you about that in a moment, because I know there's something significant here, should trump run and win again.

Gloria, first, though, to you, The New York Times has details on just how involved Trump himself was in these executive orders that he asked former Attorney General Bill Barr, whether the Justice Department could seize voting machines. He directed Rudy Giuliani to call the DHS to say, oh, could the DHS do it and then obviously that became a subsequent draft order.

So it isn't as if this was all happening because Trump believes and people were doing it, he was actively driving every step of this.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. And that's very important and that is exactly what the January 6 Committee is going to look at. What was the President's intent here? We tend to look at January 6, we say there was the insurrection.

What we need to go back to is right after the election and look at exactly what then President Trump was doing, what he was directing, what questions he was asking, what he was telling people to do and what was his intent, which was to overturn a free and fair election and that's what the Committee is going to get to.

BURNETT: And, Matt, you also point out here, you mentioned that all these professionals who are they're trying to do their best job. You also, though, are making a point that if Trump runs and wins again, the people who were there that stopped this, maybe some of these people who are now testifying before the committee, they won't be there next time. They're not going to take those jobs and they're not going to be there, these kind of unseen heroes.

TRAVIS: I'm confident Chris Krebs nor I will be appointed in the second Trump term (inaudible), but even Ken Cuccinelli, he's no shrinking violet, our deputy secretary at that time push back. That's what you're worried, if the President was getting that type of advice from those who drafted the CO (ph) at the tail end of his administration, it's unsettling to think the kind of individuals he might appoint at the beginning of a new one and I think that should give all voters pause.

BURNETT: Glory, how far is the Committee getting with Pence's inner circle?


Obviously, now you've got Greg Jacob. But it seems as if they really are getting significant cooperation.

BORGER: Well, look, Marc Short was subpoenaed. He came and testified. Greg Jacob, the former counsel for the Vice President, came and testified. These are people with eyewitness accounts. These are the people who were in that January 4th meeting when Mr. Eastman was saying, Mike Pence can overturn this election. He can decertify this election.

Greg Jacob and Marc Short were with the Vice President on the day of the insurrection, when Eastman was emailing him, Jacob, and saying, this is all your fault. This is all your fault.

So you're getting firsthand accounts here. The big question, I think, remains to be seen, which is will Mike Pence testify? If he does testify, would it be in writing, would it be in-person or do the Pence people believe that this testimony that you're getting from his top aides should stand on its own and be enough without the former vice president.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much. I appreciate your time.


BURNETT: And next, the RNC with major cash advantage tonight. But it's a very different story when you look at three key Senate races and we're going to show you the numbers.

Plus, what could become a crisis for schools across the United States. New survey finds 55 percent of teachers in America plan to leave their jobs sooner than expected. The President of the National Education Association is OUTFRONT tonight.



BURNETT: New tonight, former President Trump endorsing a primary rival for Republican Congressman Tom Rice. You may know the name because Tom Rice was one of the ten House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump over the deadly insurrection.

Just hours after, Trump's team announced the political organizations currently have a war chest of $122 million. This is how they will spend it, righting the wrongs they see.

Trump spokesman saying, in part: There is no question the make America great again MAGA wave is set to crash across the midterms and carry forward all the way through 2024.

OUTFRONT now, Dan Eberhart, a major Republican donor who also recently met with Trump Republicans and Trump circle at Mar-a-Lago.

So, Dan, you haven't been afraid to call out Donald Trump on this show. This is an unprecedented war chest for a former president though and obviously, you so are able to speak to people on that inner circle. What do you think this money means and how significant is it of a haul?

DANA EBERHART, REPUBLICAN DONOR: Well, first, let me set the stage here. The RNC plus the DNC combined have cash on hand of $121 million. Trump has on hand 122 million. So, that shows how formidable he has been raising money from his supporters, with an average contribution of $31. I think it's a formidable war chest.

But as a Republican, it has me worried, that we're going to get caught in this crossfire or friendly fire and that could be disastrous for us in the mid-terms.

BURNETT: Well, I mean, he is using some of this money to take out a lot of the people, people like you want to represent the Republican Party. So there is that specific issue to it, too.

You know, you heard me mention the spokesperson who said, oh, this is going all the way to 2024. You recently said, DeSantis would be a formidable candidate should Trump not run. You said, he was Trump but smarter and more disciplined.

EBERHART: Absolutely.

BURNETT: Now, DeSantis has sounded an awful lot like Trump all the way along, but lately in very specific ways. Here's a few examples.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: We will ban critical race theory in our classrooms.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: We're going after critical race theory.

TRUMP: With the Republicans, there will be no defunding of the police, I can tell you that.

DESANTIS: Florida is a law and order state. We will not allow law enforcement to be defunded.


BURNETT: There is a word echo. There is people like you who I know would vastly prefer DeSantis to be the Republican nominee. But do you think he has any chance of beating Trump, especially when you look at an average donation of $31 a person and Trump alone raising more money than the Republican Party and the Democratic Party combined?.

EBERHART: I think anyone has a chance. If we are being honest, Trump's numbers are formidable. His fundraising ability is formidable. He lost the election. He got more votes than any Republican presidential nominee has. He is a formidable voice, but he definitely still lose.

I think somebody like DeSantis -- DeSantis has $60 million cash on hand, I think he had a formidable name and record to run on. There is a lane for somebody like DeSantis or even a Tom Cotton, a Nikki Haley to get in the race. I also think Trump is a melting ice cube and will be less formidable the closer we get to 2024.

BURNETT: OK. So, you call him a melting ice cube. You have been very clear. Yet you come on and say, top Republicans senators won't rule out supporting Trump if he's the Republican nominee. Senator Cornyn, I will support the nominee of my political party when he was directly asked by our Manu Raju, will you support Trump? John Thune, Manu asked him, will you support him? Well, I've said I'll support our nominee.

That's not what you are saying. They -- he doesn't seem to be melting with them.

EBERHART: Well, I'm not elected. I don't have a party base to pander to. And the fact of the matter is this is like the fable you hear when are you a kid, the emperor has not clothes and everyone is afraid to tell him he has no clothes. This is exactly what's going on.

Trump is absolutely formidable, has absolutely raised a ton of money and no doubt would be the odds on favorite to win a primary. But is there a lane for somebody like Nikki Haley or Governor DeSantis or Senator Tom Cotton to take him down? Absolutely. Remember, when we were talking about this in 2015, none of the talking heads are the kinds of people on your show took Trump seriously at all back then. He comped out everybody and came away with the prize, right?

So I think there is a lot of tape left to play. We could all be surprised once again.

BURNETT: So, Dan, a Republican state senate candidate in Michigan, I don't know if you heard about this, but is -- you know, told people to bring if under to polling places and to do so in order to protect Republican election observers.


Let me just play what he says.


MIKE DETMER (R), MICHIGAN STATE SENATE CANDIDATE: If we can't change the tide, which I believe we can, we need to be prepared to lock and load. So, you ask: "what can we do?" Show up armed.


BURNETT: I mean, Dan, what do you make of this? If you're a top Republican donor, long-time Republican, could you -- I mean, could you believe you're hearing this sort of thing?

EBERHART: I mean, that's absolutely ridiculous and completely not necessary. Look, that's the kind of thing that would happen in a banana republic that shouldn't happen in a George Washington republic. And we all need to condemn that kind of commentary and we need to do a rethink on this, that there is no place in our society in my opinion.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Dan, I appreciate your time. I always am glad to talk to you. Thanks so much.

EBERHART: Thank you for having me.


EBERHART: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, COVID causing teachers to -- well, consider leaving, getting out of teaching. How bad is it? The president of the National Education Association is next.

And Beijing walled off ahead of the Olympics. In fact, the city going so far that robots -- robots, they actually went so far to design robots to make mixed drinks at the bars so you don't have to see another human.



BURNETT: Tonight, new warning signs for schools across the U.S. A survey of teachers finding 55 percent say they will leave their jobs sooner than they've ever planned due to COVID broadly.

Now, that is almost double the number of teachers who said they thought about quitting in July of 2020 when the pandemic had already started, right?

So the numbers have doubled as schools have reopened. And schools are already dealing with major staffing shortages. Eighty percent of teachers say they have heavier work load, jobs remain opened and there is a massive shortage of substitute teachers. Sometimes during omicron in New York City, if you would call the substitute teacher hot line, you are a public school. No one will answer the phone. That's overwhelmed it was.

OUTFRONT now, Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association, which is the largest teacher's union in the country.

So, Becky, you know, you see these results, more than half of teachers plan to leave the profession sooner than they originally planned. That number has doubled since the pandemic at the worst of the pandemic, right? It's now doubled since then.

How worried are you?


Let me begin by saying that we are surrounding our educators and students and community of Ridgefield with all of our support and assistance as they grieve the loss of another student to gun violence.

I have been traveling all over the country and I have been hearing anecdotally that educators are thinking about leaving their profession. And we at the NEA wanted to gather more information nationally about talk how extensive this crisis was.

We were shocked, honestly, when we saw that number -- 55 percent of educators who reported to us that they plan to leave the profession or retire early, and when you look at our teachers of color, Erin, it's even worse. Sixty-two percent of our black teachers and 59 percent of our Latino teachers are reporting the same.

So this is a national crisis that we must address.

BURNETT: So what are the reasons? I mean, I know when you look at what happened in Chicago, right, with the teacher's union not wanting an in-person school. They were frustrated, didn't think it was safe. So, there are some who had that concern.

There are other teachers in other areas who have different concerns, right? Maybe they want more vaccine mandates or less vaccine mandates or maybe they're frustrated they have to mask in school. Maybe it's the opposite.

It sort of seems like no matter what side of an issue you are on, that could be a reason that you have just had enough. I mean, are you, indeed, seeing all of those reasons?

PRINGLE: We are seeing all of those reasons. And we've all watched as our educators all over this country have stood in the gaps for students for almost now two years. They had just, just listened to the challenge. They have been heroic in their efforts.

But the reality is, that they have been experiencing prolonged and extensive stress asking, being asked to step up to do more than they have ever done increased work loads, substitute shortages, continued shortages among our teachers and they are reporting to us that not only are they losing their preparation time to plan for their students, but they're using their lunchtime as well.

That prolonged stress is leading to that mass exodus that we are seeing across this country.

BURNETT: And, obviously, you know, the impact on teachers. We know there is still this profound and still unknown impact on many children as well. And we still have districts around this country, where kids are not in-person school.

Flint, Michigan, students there have been virtually learning since January 5th. They aren't scheduled to go back until January 7th, which is Monday, right? These are districts that have fallen behind now are getting less in-person schools than other districts, right? The problem becoming exacerbated. Math and reading scores broadly in Michigan have been dropping since 2019 in the 3rd through 7th great.

How much damage are school closures doing?

PRINGLE: You know, Erin, 96 percent of our schools across this country opened back up after our, after Christmas setting and New Year's holidays. They opened back up to in-person learning. We saw within that first week so many of our educators, not that they're educators, but our students --


PRINGLE: -- falling ill because of the omicron variant, 20 percent of our students were out. So, we did see temporary return to virtual learning because of that, because of educator shortages throughout our schools.


We did see that. And we are absolutely concerned. We want to be in person with our students.

So it is absolutely essential, especially right now, that we continue to employ all of those mitigation strategies from vaccinations to making sure we wear masks, social distancing, all of those things to keep our students and our educators safe.

BURNETT: All right. Becky, thank you very much. I appreciate your time tonight.

PRINGLE: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, we'll take you inside Beijing where human contact is highly controlled ahead of the Olympics. It's a completely walled off city. They are now use robots to do everything from completely serving every food you buy to buying drinks.

And Democratic Senator Joe Manchin today saying that the president's Build Back Better bill in Manchin's word is dead. And Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says, oh, not so fast.



BURNETT: Tonight, the Beijing Olympics is becoming a tale of two bubbles. Inside around the clock guards, robots serving food and drinks, daily PCR tests. Outside, no access to the Olympic events or any family members inside.

Selina Wang and David Culver are uniquely positioned. One is inside the bubble and one outside the bubble. And they are both OUTFRONT with tonight's unique inside look.


DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The motto of Beijing's winter games is "together for a shared future". It's a nice sentiment, but daily life in the Chinese capital is far apart from the Olympic enclave within it, and absolutely nothing is shared between the people that inhabit the two worlds. Too great is the risk of omicron for China as it tries to maintain its zero COVID policy.

In the week leading to January 30th, 237 symptomatic infections were reported in the country of 1.4 billion people. Meanwhile, arrivals testing and the daily screening of games participants has already registered around 200 positive results.

The closed Loop System means those Olympic personnel who are visiting from other countries won't be able to freely wander and check out the iconic tourist sites like this one, the Forbidden City. For them, it is truly forbidden.

SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Instead, for athletes, organizers and us journalists, inside the Closed Loop, Beijing has become a series of bubbles. Our hotels, the sporting venues and places like this media center are as much as the city has to offer.

There are even literal walls, security blocking us from freely moving about. We are COVID tested every day outside the hotel.

Technology takes the place of many lost interactions. Here at the media center a robot serves our food and there is a robot bartender mixing and serving our drinks.

Only a limited number of Beijingers have joined our closed loop to look after and transport all of the people connected to the games and they will need to stay separate from family and friends for weeks, quite a sacrifice as the lunar New Year's holiday overlaps with the Olympics.

UNIDENTIFIED KID: Happy New Year, mama. WANG: But as COVID disconnected Beijing from the international event its hosting, it has also disconnected the people here from the rest of their country.

CULVER: And normally, during the Lunar New Year holiday, major cities like Beijing, they're empty. All of the folks who lived here go back to their home provinces.

But this year, because of the outbreaks happening over China, they are asking folks to stay put so you have crowds like this gathering at the more popular spots.

Crowds that won't get to be there as the medals are contested and won. No sporting tickets are on sale. Instead, the government will issue some to a lucky few.

Beijing 2022 is a tale of two cities.

The hosts --

WANG: And their guests, so close -- but so far.

For CNN, I'm Selina Wang inside the Olympic Closed Loop.

CULVER: And I'm David Culver on the outside, Beijing, China.


BURNETT: That is amazing. Not just, you know, the wall but that there is a wall and there is a space and there is another wall. It is unbelievable.

All right. Next, the Build Back Better build is dead. Dead. Dead. Making it very clear. That's what Joe Manchin says, but that's if you talk to him.



BURNETT: New tonight, Democrats divided about the fate of President Biden's sweeping Build Back Better plan after Senator Joe Manchin said this.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): What Build Back Better bill? There is -- I don't know what you are talking about.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You haven't had any talks about that since December?

MANCHIN: No, no, no, no. It's dead.


BURNETT: What Build Back Better bill? I don't know what you are talking about.

The White House wouldn't respond to Senator Manchin directly, but Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is trying to say that, well, dead doesn't mean dead.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): We're fighting hard for Build Back Better. We will be moving forward on Build Back Better. You will see how we do that as we move forward.


BURNETT: Manu Raju is OUTFRONT on Capitol Hill.

Manu, putting aside that there is great potential for a comedic skit, obviously, this is not comedic. This is deep division in the Democratic Party. So, is it dead or is it not dead? What's the answer?

RAJU: Well, for all intents and purposes, it is dead, because in order to get anything through the United States Senate, you need Joe Manchin's support. You need the rest of Manchin's 49 Democratic colleagues on board in order to get something through along straight party lines and that simply is not happening. In fact, Manchin told me today he has not had any talks about this since December 19th. That's the point where Manchin slammed on the brakes, said he could not move forward on this proposal, said there would be significant changes.

But there have been no discussions, because Democrats have shifted their focus elsewhere. Chuck Schumer at the beginning of this year focused on the issue of voting rights. They put that issue on the floor of the Senate. They forced Joe Manchin and Kirsten Sinema to oppose changing the Senate's filibuster rule and essentially blocked that proposal from going forward.

Now, in the aftermath of the sudden announcement by Stephen Breyer to retire from the Supreme Court, the focus will now shift to confirming a Supreme Court nominee. And, Erin, if people can say Washington can talk and chew gum at the same time, often are wrong. It is very hard for Washington to focus on more than one thing at a time.

And the big focus right now is going to be on getting the Supreme Court nominee confirmed. Manchin also told us earlier today that he wants to focus on other issues like dealing with inflation and also avoiding a government shutdown by mid February, so putting this issue even closer and closer to the midterm elections.

And, Erin, that means getting an agreement, if any one can be reached, would happen, we need to get this agreement from House Democrats, from Senate Democrats, Joe Manchin, which makes it all seemed very likely that it is, in fact, dead -- Erin.

BURNETT: Dead means dead.

Manu, thank you very much.

And thanks to all of you.

Anderson starts now.