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Erin Burnett Outfront

Pence Rebukes Trump In Strongest Terms Yet: "Trump Is Wrong"; GOP Censures Cheney, Kinzinger For Serving As Jan 6 Investigators; Putin, Xi Say "No Limits" To Friendship Between The 2 States; Xi's First Meeting With Foreign Leader In Almost 2 Years; Georgia Prosecutor Says Trump Probe Entering New Phase; America Adds 467,000 Jobs In January. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired February 04, 2022 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: I appreciate it very much. We will continue this conversation.

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, Mike Pence takes on Trump telling the world 'President Trump is wrong when he said Pence could overturn the election'. So why now? Why finally today?

Plus, Putin's power move today standing shoulder to shoulder with his Chinese counterpart. What the two are declaring tonight as Russia deploys even more forces to Ukraine.

And the latest jobs report smashing expectations. Has the pandemic lost its grip on the U.S. economy and what about inflation? Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, 'Trump is wrong'. Mike Pence saying those words. Something we have never heard before from him. The former vice president before a crowd of Republicans calling out his former boss, his partner, a man that he, of course, was fiercely loyal to for more than four years.


MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I heard this week that President Trump said I had the right to overturn the election, but President Trump is wrong. I had no right to overturn the election. The presidency belongs to the American people and the American people alone. And frankly, there is no idea more on America than the notion than any one person could choose the American president. Under the Constitution, I had no right to change the outcome of our election.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: The outcome, accepting it and saying the words, Trump is

wrong. And Pence then took it further, because he made it clear that Trump's words, these lies about the election are putting the entire American democracy and constitution at risk.


PENCE: Men and women, if we lose faith in the Constitution, we won't just lose elections. We'll lose our country.


BURNETT: Pretty powerful words coming from the former vice president. Clearly he's tired of Trump using every opportunity he gets to go after Pence for failing to object and overturn a free and fair election.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mike Pence, I will tell you right now, I'm not hearing good story.

I only wish that my friend, Mike Pence, had that additional courage to send the results back to the legislatures.

It was very sad when Mike Pence gave those votes over.

I think Mike has been very badly hurt by what took place with respect to January 6th. I think he's been mortally wounded, frankly, because I see the reaction he's getting from people. They say, "Why didn't you just hand it back to the legislators? Why didn't he do it?"


BURNETT: Well, for a mortally wounded man, he shared a lot of courage today, finally standing up in front of a sea of Republicans and saying the truth. But today or this week, Trump took it even further. In a statement he wrote, "The Unselect Committee should be investigating why Mike Pence did not send back the votes for recertification or approval, in that it has now been shown that he clearly had the right to do so." Again, of course, he had no such right.

What Pence did today is a big deal. Now we haven't heard from Trump yet, by the way, apparently he is hosting a DJ party at Mar-A-Lago tonight. But some are saying why did it take 394 days since January 6th for Pence to come out and say those four words, "President Trump is wrong"? And that is a fair question. It's a fair criticism.

Because as obvious as it is, what he said as obvious as we know all those things are, for Pence, it also means that he could be giving up something huge. He's already traveled to New Hampshire. He probably threw away any chance that he thought that he had to be president by saying what he said today, because he took Trump on, on the one thing that defines Trump right now to the world and who is loyal voter base.

Trump, keep in mind, is a man that 69 percent of Republicans want to run for office again. So when Pence said what he said today, that kind of may kill Pence's political future. But keep in mind that it was Trump and Trump's words that put Pence's life at risk. He had to be rushed out of the Senate chamber with his family to safety on January 6th, while a mob was hunting him down and chanting for his death.


CROWD: Hang Mike Pence. Hang Mike Pence. Hang Mike Pence. Hang Mike Pence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mike Pence is a (inaudible) traitor.




CROWD: Bring him out.


BURNETT: And today, Pence reminded his party again that January 6th was not just a group of tourists gathering to roam the halls of the Capitol when things went awry. No.



PENCE: Again, those simple words, lives were lost, not minimizing it. And again, you think, gosh, it's so simple. Keep in mind that the vast majority of elected Republican Party won't say anything like what Pence said today. And in fact, the party that Pence has been a member of for decades today censured the two Republicans who are trying to get to the bottom of that dark day by serving on the January 6 Select Committee; Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney, punished by their own party today, which even today is completely whitewashing the deadly assault.

According to the RNC resolution, "Representatives Cheney and Kinzinger," I'm quoting, "are participating in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse." Ordinary citizens engaged in political discourse, people died. To be clear, Kinzinger and Cheney are participating in a thorough investigation into what happened in the days leading up to and on the day of January 6th. It's pretty stunning.

People have talked to that Committee, Democrats and Republicans have said here on this show, to me how professional and thorough and fair the questions are for both sides of the aisle. And this January 6th, crisis is fracturing the Republican Party. Sen. Mitt Romney tweeting today, "Shame falls on a party that would censure persons of conscience, who seek truth in the face of vitriol."

Honor attaches to Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for seeking truth, even when doing so comes at great personal cost. Well, Pence clearly willing to pay that price as well now, he has seen Republicans including Trump turn on him just for doing his job.

Our political reporter, Steve Contorno, is OUTFRONT live in Lake Buena Vista where Pence spoke not long ago. And Steve, you were inside that room where Pence's remarks today, Republican audience saying something that the vast majority of Republicans don't want to hear, tell me what it was like in that room.

STEVE CONTORNO, CNN REPORTER: Erin, a hush really came over the room as former Vice President Mike Pence began to describe the events of January 6th. There was an expectation going in that he was going to have to address head on the President's remarks that he could overturn the election. But I don't think anyone expected him to, essentially, call out his former boss by name and say Trump is wrong.

Several people actually walked out when he started to go down that road, that line of thinking, although I will say it was an overall friendly crowd. These were lawyers for the Federalist Society. It's a group that Pence has been close with for years. This wasn't like when I saw Pence speak a year ago and people actually booed and call them a trader, just 10 minutes from here. So much more polite audience tonight. At the same time, I will point out Gov. DeSantis of Florida, a very popular Republican, he spoke about 90 minutes after Mike Pence and Erin, he had a very enthusiastic reception from the audience.

BURNETT: Wow. So it's more toleration or politeness, and as you say, some walking out on Pence, although polite. But the energy and enthusiasm for DeSantis had no such message. All right. Thank you very much. I really appreciate your time. Of course, you were there in the room.

And I want to go now to John Kasich, a former Republican Governor of Ohio and a former Republican Congressman, along with former Republican Congressman, Francis Rooney. I appreciate both of you.

Gov. Kasich, let me start with you. Pence comes out and says, "President Trump is wrong." He has not used those words directly since January 6th. He used them today. He was firm. He was clear. He was bold and he elaborated. Why now?

JOHN KASICH, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: First of all, Erin, I don't think was that big a deal myself. I mean, what was he supposed to do? He's been attacked and he said, look, I couldn't overturn it because of the Constitution.

But Erin, here's the question ,,,


KASICH: ... Donald Trump accelerated the division in this country. It's now down at school board meetings. It's in our families. Where was Mike Pence for four years? I'm disappointed that there was no time when he stood up against a lot of the crazy stuff that Donald Trump was doing. In other words ...

BURNETT: So your view is it's nice but it's too late to really essentially matter? KASICH: Well, it's not so much too late. There's never too late for

anybody. But what I would tell you is I'm very disappointed, because I think he should have publicly challenged Trump when things were going on. Just remember Charlottesville, the attacks on immigrants. I believe he should have said something.

Now, people say that's not conventional. Well, either was Donald Trump. So I think he should have done something. And finally, one little definition of courage, courage is not standing up for something when you might have something to gain. Courage is standing up when you have nothing to gain. And frankly there are more and more Republicans standing up against Donald Trump and I think you're going to gain some ground by doing it.


BURNETT: So let me ask you about that, Congressman, okay? Trump hasn't yet responded, as I said, he is actually DJ-ing a party at Mar- A-Lago tonight. I wasn't joking. I think some people might have thought I was being facetious. I actually wasn't. He's on the invitation.

It is, though - you heard the Governor pointing out - more and more people are getting on that camp of the Republican Party. I still would emphasize, though, it's still really few when you look at elected Republicans who are willing to actually come out and say that and it's sort of the same few, plus some being added. Now that Pence says this, does it change anybody's mind? Does it move anybody, Congressmen, or no?

FRANCIS ROONEY, (R) FORMER CONGRESSMAN FROM FLORIDA: I think the Governor made a very good point and Bill Kristol made a really good point on your show this afternoon. Let's see what Pence does and that he's been forceful enough to, at least, say the obvious. Let's see if he's willing to say I'm not going to support Trump, because nobody seems to want to do that.

The party of the Governor and me and Mitt Romney doesn't exist to us anymore. We're like orphans out in the woods somewhere. Trump has hijacked the whole thing and we've either got to get it back or it needs to disappear.

BURNETT: So let me ask you about that Governor. Does Pence open the door to others and, by the way, to what the Congressman is saying, Susan Collins, the Senator, Cornyn, Thune, none of them when asked directly in recent days would say that they would not support Trump to be the nominee.

Collins, of course, had actually voted for impeachment and still wouldn't say it.

KASICH: Look, I think people like Larry Hogan, you saw where Asa Hutchinson has said he didn't whether Trump's running or not, there are a number of them that are getting sharper elbows. And the reason it's happening, first of all, Francis Rooney is an incredible guy. I couldn't believe he ran for Congress. I remember talking to him saying, "What the heck's wrong with you."

ROONEY: You said that to me.

KASICH: But he did it anyway and he saw what it was like down there. But Erin, what's happening is, I believe and including the censure of these two; Cheney and Kinzinger, I think the Trump people are becoming a little bit more desperate. They're getting angrier and angrier.

And so no, I think it makes it smart politically to begin to distance yourself from Donald Trump and he did it on the basis of I didn't have the power. But there are going to be more and more people who are going to be openly critical of him and take him on because I think the Congressman is right. It's an effort to save the party and sometimes we get caught up in the numbers.

You mark my words, he's losing influence and you're going to see more people taking him on. He is losing influence. It is happening and you just - watch this in my prediction, it's going to ...

BURNETT: We will mark your - I am, I'm going to mark your words, I'm going to watch this day.

KASICH: Mark it down, Erin. Mark it down.

BURNETT: So Congressman, let me ask you - so the Governor is saying that the censure today was perhaps a sign of desperation. I want to read, Congressman, again from the resolution censuring Cheney and Kinzinger from the GOP. It says, "Representatives Cheney and Kinzinger are participating in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse."

They're referring to the January 6 Committee looking into what happened on that day. What in the world do you say when you see that? That's the words coming from the GOP today?

ROONEY: I would say that is nascent totalitarianism. That is group speak monolithic adherence to a person or an ideal and I would urge all those people to read The Road to Serfdom, and see what happens when you abjure all principles and succumb to temporary short-term expedient adherence to someone like Trump.

BURNETT: Governor?

KASICH: I mean, that was about as good as it gets. That was poetic.

BURNETT: Yes, it was.

KASICH: Look, the bottom line is - think about this - they're trying to shut these people up, because they're standing on principle, condemning January 6th and even think about - Mitt Romney's out. He's condemning what the committee did. If the party keeps doing this, there will be a time, if they keep doing this, and they don't come to their senses.

There will be a time when a kid will read in a history book about something called the Republican Party and that kid's going to say, well, whatever happened to that party. And somebody will say, well, it used to exist, but it doesn't exist anymore because they had nothing that they stood, for a party - look, I'm not desperate. We're going to get there. It's going to take time with the help of people like Francis Rooney.

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

KASICH: Thanks, Erin.

ROONEY: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, Putin turning to the Chinese, locking up support as he weighs pulling the trigger on a Ukrainian invasion. A stunning Joint Statement tonight to the world.

Plus, the investigation into Trump's efforts to overturn Georgia's 2020 election entering a new phase tonight. The DA revealing a special grand jury will be seeing a lot of activity in coming months.

And the steps one school district is taking to help students still suffering so much through this pandemic.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We found that they come back, a lot of times (inaudible) prior to the pandemic.




BURNETT: Tonight, China's show of solidarity with Russia as the Winter Olympic Games began. President Xi Jinping meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing. The two leaders making clear to the world that they stand together. Their joint statement says, "Friendship between the two states has no limits."

Those words sending a clear message to the United States and the fact that these talks we're having right now were face-to-face is very significant and meaningful. You may not realize this, but it is the first time that Xi, the president of China, has met in-person with a foreign leader in nearly two years. That honor goes to Vladimir Putin.

And Putin is looking for support as he threatens to invade Ukraine. Xi has his eyes on Taiwan with a clear endorsement from Putin. And their joint statement saying that Russia, "Confirms that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China, and opposes any forms of independence of Taiwan."

And China making it clear today it believes that Taiwan just like Ukraine is not a country. The leader of the Global Times, a paper controlled by the Chinese government, tweeting of the Olympic Games, "Welcome team Chinese Taipei, not team 'Taiwan', to the opening ceremony."


Get used to it is what they're saying. And for Putin's part, he's looking to China to help deal with U.S. and possible sanctions. He's now secured a new contract to supply 100 million tons of oil to China. Oil is Russia's biggest import. It would be the crucial target for US sanctions.

Matthew Chance is OUTFRONT live from Kyiv, Ukraine tonight. And Matthew, as this meeting happens for Putin, a crucial one for him, what are you hearing from Ukrainian officials as they see Putin get the very clear backing from President Xi, both financially and the implication is and perhaps other ways as well?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Diplomatically, for instance, there was a whole load of agreement between President Xi and President Putin about how NATO should not expand and specifically that Ukraine should never be allowed to join the Western military alliance.

And so, yeah, I imagine that Ukrainian officials were watching that meeting, playing out in front of them with some degree of horror. They certainly haven't issued a public statement. I tried to get one earlier this evening and officials told me that there wasn't a policy in Ukraine, a statement, public statement they could make, no policy when it came to China supporting Russia in that way when it came to Ukraine's NATO membership.

But remember, Ukraine is in a pretty difficult position when it comes to China. China is an important investor in Ukraine. It doesn't want to kind of anger the Chinese administration by criticizing it so out right. But there was a stark illustration on our television screens watching President Putin, watching President Xi together, walking together in that way.

This difference between autocratic governments that are working together and the democracies that are confronting them, and Ukraine very much sees itself as a democracy, as an outpost of democracy. It's an imperfect one, but it very much wants to be on that side of the equation and it is watching with horror what is happening with Russia and with China on the other side, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. Matthew Chance, as I said, from Kyiv.

I mean, pretty incredible, I mean, just how clear they were today. The President of China supporting very clearly that Ukraine is not an independent country. And yet Ukraine quiet because of the power of Chinese money, we see it around the world.

OUTFRONT now Paul Kolbe, he served in the CIA for 25 years and he worked in Russia as Putin rose to power. He now directs the intelligence project at Harvard. So Paul, when you look at what happened today, there are optics and there is his reality. What do you think Putin achieved in this meeting with Xi?

PAUL KOLBE, FORMER CHIEF, CHIA'S CENTRAL EURASIA DIVISION: Look, the optics are really important. They showcase their relationship as much as they showcase the Olympic athletes today. The Putin-Xi personal relationship is very strong. They've met more than any other leaders. But it also showcases the state of relations between the countries, the diplomatic, the military and the economic relationship, all of which are going more tight, more close and more important. They show it as much of anything that while they may not have other alliances like NATO, that they have each other.

BURNETT: And some are saying the Beijing Olympics - I think it's fascinating, as you point out that today, this most important day with them on the Olympics, that they showcased this meeting as much or more than the Olympics itself, which is pretty stunning. But the Olympics themselves are relevant to Vladimir Putin as well. He was at the opening ceremony today. He was actually also there, of course, as you're well aware, in 2008.

And while he was there, he gave the green light for the Russian invasion of Georgia. Now, I understand that could be obviously complete coincidence. I'm not trying to imply that that's exactly what's going to happen, but nonetheless, certainly it's on the top of Putin's mind. What do you think he's planning?

KOLBE: Well, I think most people would argue that Putin is not going to embarrass Xi by attacking during the Olympics. But I think that would be making a virtue of necessity. I think most people would also argue that Russia, while they have a massive forces in place, they have much of what they need, they may still need a little bit more time before they're able to invade successfully. But also, I think it's important that it appears that a little more time is being left for diplomacy to play out.

BURNETT: Which I know is obviously the hope and end goal here for all. One final question for you, Paul, in terms of the importance of the deals that were announced. They are significant. The U.S. has said that it's not going to put combat troops in Ukraine and so is NATO. So for that to be true, either Vladimir Putin is going to get what he wants eventually or the sanctions are going to work. And right now China is making it clear it will do a lot, a lot to help Vladimir Putin evade those sanctions. How significant is that influence?


KOLBE: Well, look, the economic deals, I think, are important at the margin, but they just reflect what's already the trend of Russia becoming a supplier state of hydrocarbons to China. China needs hydrocarbons despite their green pledges and they had some green pledges today, ironically, in the face of these gas and oil deals. And Russia needs customers to sell their - what will eventually become a resource of declining value as the energy green transition takes place. Europe faces a tough winter though if Russia decides to throttle back its gas exports.

BURNETT: That's the thing. I know it takes time, but once you start sending it all to China, that's well definitionally less for Germany and Europe. Thank you so much, Paul. I appreciate your time and your perspective.

KOLBE: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, the Georgia DA investigating Trump's efforts to overturn the state's election speaking tonight, revealing new details about the focus of a probe and you're going to hear from her next.

And President Biden says America is back to work after surprising new numbers on the economy. But what do those numbers really show about inflation?



BURNETT: Tonight, the prosecutor considering criminal charges against former President Trump for his efforts to overturn Georgia's 2020 presidential election says her investigation is now entering a new phase.


FANI WILLIS, GEORGIA PROSECUTOR: We realize we're coming to a place that there are enough people that will require a subpoena for us to speak to or for us to be able to get information.


BURNETT: Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis in an interview with "The Atlanta Journal Constitution" said she expects the recently approved special grand jury will see a lot of activity in June and July. Now, this investigation is one of three ongoing criminal probes surrounding Trump which could, of course, the probes possibly lead to criminal charges against the former president. This probe surrounding around the former president's demand that the Georgia Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, quote, find 11,780 votes, just one more than they lost by, to flip the state in Trump's favor.

OUTFRONT now, Tamar Hallerman, the reporter at "The Atlanta Journal Constitution" who spoke with Willis, and Elie Honig, former federal prosecutor and our senior legal analyst.

So, Tamar, let me start with you. Willis has been tight-lipped about her investigation. Right at the very beginning, I remember she did an interview on television and that was it, really hadn't -- went quiet immediately. So, have been quiet for a very long time.

She agreed to speak with you. She did reveal some of our investigation is focusing on, which is hugely important. What did she tell you?

TAMAR HALLERMAN, SENIOR REPORTER, THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION: She acknowledged that the investigation is entering into a news race. For the last year, as you mentioned, you know, she kind of announced that she was working to former President Trump and his allies, didn't say much. He told me that her prosecutors have spent the last year kind of reading up on everything that is out there talking to witnesses who are willing to talk without a subpoena.

But she mentioned that she really has hit a wall in terms of folks who are really willing to talk to her without a subpoena. So, a couple of weeks ago, she requested and was granted a special purpose granary, which is a very rarely used to here in Georgia. So, on May 2nd, she'll begin calling jurors. And she also requested security from the FBI, after former President Trump at a rally, mentioned, told his supporters to protest in cities like Atlanta, if prosecutors go after him too hard.

BURNETT: So, Elie, it's pretty amazing. So, Tamar's reporting, right? The grand jury is going to be seated in May, very rare to have such a thing because they've hit a wall on subpoenas. That grand jury has the power to do that.

So, we're also told, Tamar, that the grand jury is going to see a lot of activity in June and July, right? So, if you seat the grand jury in May, she expects that activity in June and July. So, that moves quickly.

But to get from where we started, a year ago, more than a year ago, to now, was actually not a very short period of time. The state the obvious, what is the timeline suggest to you?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yeah, Erin, I know firsthand a criminal investigations take time, but not this much. It is impossible for me to reconcile the galactically slow pace of this investigation, with the seriousness of the potential crimes. I've seen prosecutors having to deal with very high stakes potential charges, in cases as complex, maybe more complex than this. Get it done in weeks, maybe months.

But here we are, already more than a year out, and just now, the D.A.'s getting to the ramp up phase, just now. We're going to get a gradual receding in three more months now. You're going to need a grand jury from day one in a case like this.

So, ultimately, I don't know what conclusions to draw other than these. One, the D.A. does not have the evidence that she needs right now to indict. And two, they're not bringing the urgency to this case that it requires.

BURNETT: Tamar, did she give you any kind of answers to those questions, or any feel that you got from the conversation?

HALLERMAN: You know, not really. I saw should have sent a ton about the scope of the investigation, beyond mentioning the call that she had with the secretary, that former President Trump had with Secretary Raffensperger. There's another call that Senator Lindsey Graham plays to him. We know she is looking at the abrupt resignation of former U.S. attorney, BJay Pak, and also some testimony that Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani here in Georgia, that was filled with a lot of claims that were later proven to be false.


HALLERMAN: So, yeah. So, it's kind of unclear. We don't even know how many more witnesses she needs to talk to. But she did mention that was a substantial number who was requesting a subpoena, and that includes secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, who would presumably be a star witness in this case.


BURNETT: Absolutely. Now, Trump described, as recently and other Black prosecutors investigating him, including Letitia Jones here in New York, as quote, radical, vicious, and racist. And in Tamar's conversation with Willis, she told you, Tamar, about those brutal attacks she faced. And here is part of her conversation with Tamar.


WILLIS: I've gotten more racist comments in the last year than I had in the entire 49 years up to this year. I get called in very regularly. It is really silly to me that they believe that by pulling those kind of insult, that it's going to impact the way that we do our investigations.


BURNETT: She tells you those attacks have increased, since Trump called her racist, tomorrow?

HALLERMAN: Yeah, absolutely, and she has mentioned that recently, having to increase the amount of security she's had both at home and at the office. And within this last week, she's written the FBI, asking for increased security for the federal court house. In downtown Atlanta, which is of course they are city hall, the state capitol, the court house, and our big universities.

So, she's mentioned she's taking these threats very seriously.

BURNETT: Elie, how unusual is the situation?

HONIG: Well, fortunately, it is unusual to see a situation where a prosecutor or a judge needs security, but I have seen it. But let me tell you the scenarios where I have seen it, terrorism cases, and mafia cases. And now, this, and I think that is quite a bit about the approach to Donald Trump is taking here.

Look, a person does have the right to criticize the prosecutor. I've been criticized, that's fine. A person does have the right to criticize an investigation.

However, lines are crossed here. There is the racist dog whistle that Donald Trump has sounded, I think. And when he calls on his supporters to basically engage in civil unrest, if he's indicted, now is more dangerous unacceptable territory. And, of course, there is precedent for what happened when he has called for that before.

BURNETT: Thank you, both, very much. And next, the latest job report, defying expectations, showing the

quick math here. Double the highest expectation of what economists thought. It was a pretty stunning number. What does it say about the U.S. economy?

And inside look at the toll pandemic has taken on children, and what once school district in America is doing to help them now.


REPORTER: It was hard to be online for so long?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I failed all my classes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Like, I failed sixth grade year.




BURNETT: Tonight, President Biden celebrating January significantly better than expected jobs report. The U.S. economy added 467,000 new jobs last month. It's a very big number, and it's double by this estimate that was out there.

And it wasn't just in January, the Labor Department also looking back at November and December, when you've seen all those hits from omicron, and announced massive provisions for what's actually happened. Revising up the number of jobs in those months, they said 709,000 more jobs added than thought.

Obviously, those are pretty stunning numbers, no matter how you look at it. And, of course, it was something that Biden pounded the table about today.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have the tools to save lives, and to keep businesses open, and keep schools open. Keep workers on the job, and sustain this economic comeback.


BURNETT: Joining me now, Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton.

And, Diane, thanks for being with me. Obviously, strong numbers, strong provisions. And we saw them across the board in many different sectors. In places where there has been a real shortage of workers, right? For example, transportation.

As I said, double the highest estimate. Nearly four times the average estimate. You know, as for many years covering these sorts of numbers, it is rare that you see economists get this wrong as they got at this time.

What did everybody miss?

DIANE SWONK, CHIEF ECONOMIST, GRANT THORNTON: Well, we missed a lot of things. And one of the things we missed most was actually the four seasonal a judgment. The jobs are down by 2.8 million, which is not unusual for January. This is a month where you tend to see a lot of workers that were hired for holidays, let go.

This year, we saw those workers not let go at the same pace if they were in the past, across a lot of industries. And that's where we saw a lot of strength. It was after seasonal adjustment, they then look like an increase.

What's important about that, we saw large employers, basically trying to hold on to workers because both of acute labor shortages, and staffing shortages, they were already having, so they held on to those higher. We also need holiday hires to deal with a record number of people, they were absent due to illness during the months. And so, they had those people stay on, to cover those shifts, as those workers were out.

I think we're still going to see another big number in February, but really, March is the number to watch out there, because that is where the economy looking for spring break pickup. And we're going to see much more movement in terms of services. And I think that's really important as well.

BURNETT: Right, obviously, as you point out with a lot of times that you have someone to your end point, that they're out, and then someone else, you know, how much both those jobs exist. It's going to be a big question.

Something else that's good news, wages were up 5.7 percent, nearly 6 percent. Of course, that's great news. I want to just caveat that, though, with of course in the midst of some say could be a wage spiral and a big inflationary problem that ends up eating away at people's ability to thrive. That's obviously the big concern.

So when you look at today's report, how does it make you feel about the inflation problem?

SWONK: I am concerned about the inflation problem, there is no question the Federal Reserve's concern, and they promised to raise rates in March. And today's report, it's going to start that process, no question about it.

And I think will see more than one rate hike between now and June, and I think that's important as well. We're really seeing the Fed now chasing inflation for the first time in decades. Much of our careers, Erin, has been with the Feds sort of preempting and nonexistent inflation, not having to actually tamp inflation down.

And that's a much harder cast to do, what I worry about is that, although I think it's necessary, I do worry the Fed will overshoot. And we could get a much weaker economy than we'd like at the back end of this year.

O'DONNELL: All right, thank you very much, Diane.

And next, and inside look at the steep toll COVID has taken on children across the united state. Most are back to school, but that's almost just the beginning. Anyone with kids know this -- there is a lot to fix.

And Michael Avenatti's trial for fraud and identity theft, takes a bizarre turn today before jurors reach a verdict.



BURNETT: Tonight, devoting 20 minutes a day to mental health. That is one school district's strategy to help students returning to the classroom. Does it work?

Evan McMorris-Santoro is OUTFRONT with tonight's "Inside Look".


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why else do we think it is important to talk about our mood first thing in the morning?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do we say mean words to them? No, right?

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A different kind of bell rang in one Denver public school recently, a calming sound for students who educators say are stressed out two years into the global pandemic. A new district-wide requirement for all students, at least 20 minutes devoted to mental health. Every grade, every classroom, every day.

RENARD SIMMONS, PRINCIPAL, DC 21: We found they come back a lot of the time a shell of their former selves prior to the pandemic. We understand we have to be patient and we have to persevere.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Schools are where the emotional trauma shows up.

CESAR RIVERA, PRINCIPAL, SAMUELS ELEMENTARY: So that human connection piece and being able to respond to one another, just human to human. That was something that some of our kids lost out on.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: The process is different for each age group. For these kindergartens it is a lesson in what to do when emotions boil over.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When we feel this game sometimes, we might feel the strong feelings, OK, like mad if we don't do it the right way or nervous. What can you do to help yourself stay calm?

KIDS: Take a deep breath. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah. Stop and take a belly breath.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Down the hall in third grade, show and tell is students sharing what was good and bad about the day before.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Show of hands, who likes morning meeting? And can somebody tell me, what do you like about it?

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: What do I like about the morning meaning is the good things.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: What is the secret to getting a third grader to open up about how they feel?

ANNA RODRIGUEZ, 3RD GRADE TEACHER, SAMUELS ELEMENTARY: I think waiting is important and making sure they know they don't just have to share good things, just making it very open.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: This is called social emotional learning, SEL, and it can be controversial.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stop teaching SEL in high school and take emergency action to remove it now.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: In some states, parents criticized over masking and equity curricula are also angry about SEL. They call it a distraction from academics, or even indoctrination.

What is your response to people saying this is not real school? Schools should be books and times tables and, you know, phonics. Why am I talking about my feelings?

KIM PRICE, DPS DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING: I think talking about feelings is a great place to start and we have to teach people how to interact with each other and I think we are arming them with life skills to be successful and to talk about what we are going through right now, because we have to be ready to learn.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Was that hard to be online for so long?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I failed all my classes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Like, I failed sixth grade year.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Eighth grade teacher, Amanda Winters, sees what middle schoolers are going through.

JACKIE RIVAS, 8TH GRADE TEACHER, DC 12: These girls were in sixth grade when they were last in school before this year. Our sixth graders were in fourth grade when they were last in school. And so, meeting the bar that is expected of a sixth, seventh, eighth, they are being asked to meet the behavioral and developmental bar and the academic bar and they miss out on both of them. So, it's hard to meet the academic goal when you are figuring out how do I stop being a fourth grader.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: It's 1:45 p.m. on a Thursday.



MCMORRIS-SANTORO: I'm Evan, CNN, nice to see you. How are you?

BRANTON: I'm Anna, of West High School.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: So, what usually goes on in this room?

BRANTON: So, I teach language arts and I teach English language development, but we also do advisory. Today, we are going to do gratitude and some goal setting for academics, but also we're going to do mindfulness.

We are one of the only schools that has someone that does yoga and plans mindfulness for us.

AMY THOMPTON, STUDENT SUPPORT COORDINATOR: We are going to do breathing and we are going to do meditation or visualization. Let your breath soften.

And that connection with their peers which they have been missing so much during the pandemic, during remote learning.

We want to make sure that we cushioned it so we have that 20 minutes within there to really focus on the social emotional piece.


MCMORRIS-SANTORO (on camera): Now, Erin, you got a little piece of that controversy around this in that piece. Parents who are saying this is a waste of time. We shouldn't be doing this. With kids they should be focusing on academics.

You might wonder what the kids say about it. Well, I talked to a lot of them at that Denver public school system. And they love it. Educators tell us they are seeing kids asking for more mental health and asking to talk to counselors and refer their friends to counselors when they are seeing these changes.


So, this stuff is really important, these educators say, the key to unlocking students to get back to academic learning -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Evan, thank you very much.

Just fascinating the way they said it. You know, you perceive yourself the way you are with your peers. Sixth graders perceived themselves as fourth graders, such a difference socially and developmentally.

All right. Thank you so much. I appreciate it. And next, the verdict is in. Michael Avenatti, guilty of stealing from

Stormy Daniels, but not before a bizarre twist in the jury room. That's next.


BURNETT: Michael Avenatti, the former star attorney who took on Donald Trump says that he is very disappointed after a jury found him guilty of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. In short, he stole money from his client, Stormy Daniels.

Daniels, you may remember her, she detailed her affair with Donald Trump in a book and Avenatti negotiated a six-figure advance for Daniel. Avenatti then told her literary agent to put some of money, about $300,000 in an account controlled him, not her, and didn't tell her about it.

So, the proceedings today took a very bizarre turn. Right before the verdict, the jury sent a note to the judge saying, quote, we have one juror who is refusing to look at the evidence and is acting on a feeling. Jurors were brought to the courtroom, instructed to deliberate on the evidence and not be swayed by sympathy and then they reached a verdict quickly thereafter and it was guilty. Sentencing is set for May.

Thanks for joining us. It's time for Anderson.