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Bob Woodward is Interviewed about January 6th; Cari Champion is Interviewed about Antonio Brown; Andrea Arriaga Borges is Interviewed about Covid; Brian Hamilton and Nadia Popovici are Interviewed about Lifesaving Note. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired January 03, 2022 - 08:30   ET



BOB WOODWARD, AUTHOR, "PERIL": Maybe the committee has answered that. Maybe reporters have. I know it's being worked on. Who is the operational commander of what happened on January 6th? It just didn't come out of thin air, it didn't come out of the little pieces that we know. Somebody had to get 1,000 people to do the same thing at the same time. That's extraordinary.

So, much to be done, but the aggressive and comprehensive stance this committee has taken is the soundest course any investigation can pursue.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, a lot of people -- a lot of Americans, Bob, have their minds made up about what happened on January 6th and who is to blame.

What do you see this committee needing to do in order to communicate its findings and maybe even get through to some people?

WOODWARD: Well, it's hard these days to take the partisan tinge out of anything. They have a chance, as has been pointed out by Liz Cheney, the Republican. It is a bipartisan committee and things like this rest on evidence, not on politics. And I think historically we find in this country, and this goes back 50 years to Watergate, once the tapes were released and it was clear to Republicans what Nixon had done, they abandoned him and turned on him, and Nixon resigned.

I'm not saying -- as we know, Trump's not in office. Big question, what is the political course he has chosen, if he has chosen one? Will this committee's work have any impact?

What's great about this country is that we can have the reporting, we can have this committee operating, we can have Trump having his say, his supporters having their say and we're going to see.

And you had some -- a doctor on talking about the virus, I thought made an excellent point, get out of the prediction game.

KEILAR: Get out of the prediction game.

Bob, thank you so much.

WOODWARD: Thank you.

KEILAR: Of course, we'll be keeping our eyes open to see what is going on so that we can get out of the prediction game here.

Just ahead, a mom who spent two months in a coma, emerging with a message about her change of heart.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Also, what was going on here? What led to Antonio Brown just storming off the field, taking his uniform off, and what's the NFL's role in allowing all of this to happen, the conditions that let it happen.

Plus, a live look at Washington, where a snowstorm has completely shut down the federal government.



BERMAN: What's going on with now former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Antonio Brown? The wide receiver took off his jersey, his pads, before throwing his undershirt and gloves into the stands right in the middle of the game with the Jets yesterday. A game the Bucs did later rally to win.

This is just the latest incident for Brown, who was suspended last month for turning in a fake vaccination card.

Joining us now is Cari Champion, she's a former ESPN anchor and host of the podcast "Naked with Cari Champion."

Look, Antonio Brown has been a mess for years. And so when we saw that yesterday, you know, I couldn't believe what I was watching in the sense that I've never seen a player do this.

On the other hand, it was like, oh, this is the end of the Antonio Brown saga that maybe we should all have seen coming.

CARI CHAMPION, HOST, "NAKED WITH CARI CHAMPION": Yes. You know, that's -- that's a great way to put it.

We have -- and by the way of background, you just mentioned it, we've watched him do a lot of thing to blow up his career and he's been given chance after chance. He wanted out of, you know, Pittsburgh in 2019.

He went to the Raiders. He played not one game for them. He left.

He went to the Patriots. He played one game for the Patriots. He was suspended on and off for a lot of -- a series of legal issues.

And then Tom wants him to play, as if I know Tom, Tom Brady, T.B., wants him to play for him in Tampa. They bring him on, and they really support him from what it looks like.

We're hearing that Bruce Arians, the head coach, asked him to go into the game and he refused. And the coach said, get out. Now, I'm pretty sure he didn't mean leave at that moment, and it also was very costly. He was some eight catches away from a bonus that could have added up to about $1 million. A couple of other things were missing there.

But this leads me to a bigger issue here. Antonio has been this way, and they have given him chance after chance, and he clearly is in need of some sort of help. There's no discipline in place for this kind of thing (ph).

BERMAN: I mean that's what I'm getting at here. And, look, you know, I don't know what's going on with him exactly. I only know what I see here. And he seems to be, and I don't want to make him a victim necessarily either because he has done things that we know are just flat out wrong. On the other hand, he clearly, to me, needs help. And I just wonder if the NFL, if these various teams that just want to win, have let him down.

CHAMPION: That's a great question. When this happened yesterday, I was watching it, and I -- and, just like you, have never seen anything like it. I don't believe we ever will. Let's hope not. But I did say, everyone knew inside of that locker room in the league that he needs some sort of help. You can't force someone to help themselves if they don't. And I'm saying help in the sense of, maybe you should sit and talk to someone, right?


I'm no psychologist, but I do know that everyone knows he's not OK. And if we can see that, shouldn't the league be doing something? But then there are so many people who have these opinions that say, he doesn't deserve any more chances, he's just being this guy, he's just being -- taking it for granted, he's being a brat, I have no empathy for him. I have mixed emotions about this because I think everyone knew that this was going to happen eventually. How it was going to happen and if it was going to happen to Tom Brady, I don't think we could have predicted that.


CHAMPION: But this kind of outburst, not surprising.

BERMAN: Yes, this can't be about football anymore at a certain point. This has to be about health and well-being.

Look, I want to ask you, on the subject of health, Jamele Hill wrote an interesting piece basically saying that the NFL and NBA have caved to players who didn't want to be vaccinated in their roles (ph). She writes, the resolution of the Nets high profile dispute with Irving is part of a larger problem in professional sports. Confronted with this latest virus surge, the NBA and NFL have essentially waved the white flag, they're easing their health rules.

Your take?

CHAMPION: Yes. Well, they have waved a white flag because they don't have any players. They -- they literally had to wave a white flag because there are no more players. Everyone's on the Covid list. And as you know, I will say this, I'm not going to so much blame the NFL because we're figuring out Covid in real time and people are making up rules as they go and they have to adjust.

The situation is, specifically with Kyrie, the Nets had no more players. They needed some players. They were hobbling together players. They were signing people who have not played for the last two or three years to ten-day contracts because they simply needed a body. And what they were also finding out, as we now know, especially with this latest variant, that you could be boosted and you could have a vaccine and you still get it. And, in my opinion, I feel they were like, at the end of the day, as all businesses are, it's about money and people want to see these players play.

Christmas Day games are not the same. So many people were out because of Covid. So, I mean, they -- I feel like they're just adjusting at the end of the day and we know it's all about the business of it.

BERMAN: Cari Champion, I look forward to getting together with you and our mutual friend Tom Brady in the new year. So, thank you very much for being with us this morning.

CHAMPION: A pleasure.

BERMAN: All right, a mother has a change of heart after Covid put her in a coma. She tells her story, next.

KEILAR: And a fan notices something concerning about a coach's appearance during the game. The discovery may have saved his life.



KEILAR: A mother of five who survived Covid and spent two months in a coma is now speaking out about her close brush with death. Andrea Arriaga Borges was unvaccinated when she contracted the virus and she's with us now.

Andrea, thank you so much for being with us. It is so wonderful to see you. I'm so happy that you are here with us. And I'm just wondering if you can start by telling our viewers what you went through, you were in a coma for two months, and also about your recovery.

ANDREA ARRIAGA BORGES, COVID-19 SURVIVOR, CAME OUT OF COMA AFTER 65 DAYS: I tested positive on May 19th. And within five days, I was in the ER. From there I was in a coma for 65 days. And here I am. I can't believe it.

I spent a total of four and a half months in the hospital. I still got a little bit of raspy voice from having a tracheotomy. I couldn't walk. I lost my motor skills, lost all my muscle, dropped about 35 pounds and came home in a wheelchair, re-learned how to walk again, and basically didn't have water or food, couldn't talk for four months. Here I am.

KEILAR: And you -- it's amazing. And, Andrea, your family thought they were going to lose you, right?

BORGES: Yes, the doctors told my children, my sister, my husband that I had like a 5 percent chance of survival. And even if I did, I'd be in the hospital until at least January. And I came home August 29th.

KEILAR: So I wonder now what is your message about vaccines, as someone who knows about that decision to remain unvaccinated.

BORGES: I was against it. And I just -- I don't want anyone to go through what I went through. And the only thing I can say is, just have that extra layer of protection and get vaccinated. Get the booster. I feel like everyone should have a choice, but at the same times it's about protecting yourself and others.

KEILAR: Can you -- can you take us into your thinking, you know, before you were sick, why -- because I think what so many people watching this will wonder is, why did it take nearly dying to change your mind about vaccines?

BORGES: Well, I was healthy. I had no underlying health issues. I'm not a smoker. I don't have asthma. I didn't have any heart problems, no lung problems, and I did not know that it was going to affect me the way it did. I thought I was going to be sick for four or five days and then be fine. And that's not how it went.

KEILAR: Well, Andrea, I thank you so much for being with us to share your story. I'm so thankful for you and for your family and your five kids that you were here to share this with us.

BORGES: Thank you.

KEILAR: Andrea Arriaga Borges, thank you.

BORGES: Thank you.

KEILAR: Here's what else to watch today.


1:30 p.m. ET, Biden speaks to farmers.

2:00 p.m. ET, White House press briefing.

3:00 p.m. ET, Pelosi gives New Year's update.



BERMAN: All right, happening now, a snow emergency in the nation's capital. Schools, closed. The government, shut down. Live coverage here on CNN.

KEILAR: And, next, what an eagle-eyed hockey fan spotted from the stands that may have helped save a life.


BERMAN: All right, time for "The Good Stuff."

A hockey fan credited with a save, even though she was nowhere near the net. The Vancouver Canucks tweeted this on behalf of their assistant equipment manager on New Year's Day. They wrote, your instincts were right and that mole on the back of my neck was a malignant melanoma. And thanks to your persistence it is now gone.


Help us find a real-life hero so I can express my sincerest gratitude. The team not only found that fan, they surprised her with a scholarship for med school.

Joining me now, Brian "Red" Hamilton, the assistant equipment manager for the Vancouver Canucks, and the fan who alerted him to the cancerous mole on the back of his neck, Nadia Popovici.

Nadia, I want to start with you here so people fully understand what was happening.

You were sitting behind the glass, behind the Canucks bench, watching the Canucks team and their staff during the game. And what exactly did you see and what exactly did you do?

NADIA POPOVICI, HOCKEY FAN WHO SPOTTED CANCEROUS MOLE ON HAMILTON: Yes. Yes, thank you so much for having me on in the first place.

Yes, so we're fairly close to the players and the staff members. We're right up on the plexiglass. And, you know, Red just happened to walk by a couple of times. He was actually, you know, far away from me, and that's where he was staying put for the whole game. But, occasionally, he would get to walk in front of me --

BERMAN: Oh, I think we lost Nadia there.

So, I'll finish the story for her.

She saw --

POPOVICI: Oh, can you --

BERMAN: Go ahead -- go ahead, Nadia, what did you see?

POPOVICI: Yes, I'm sorry. He reached for something and the lapel of his jacket fell down a little bit and I could see this mole. It immediately caught my eye. And it just met all the hallmarks for, you know, what I thought skin cancer may look like.

BERMAN: And then you wrote a note on your phone. What did it say and how did you get his attention?

POPOVICI: Yes. Yes. So I knew that he only had a split second to look at my words and, obviously, I was dressed in Kraken. It was totally understandable if he didn't believe me. And so I wrote, the mole on the back of your neck looks like it's possibly cancerous. Please go see a doctor. And I made "mole," "cancer" and "doctor" in bold, red font and -- just so he -- you know, his eye was immediately drawn to it. And I'm so lucky that he was able to see it.

BERMAN: So, Red, that's a pretty strange thing to see on an opposing team's fan's cell phone during a game. So, what did you think when you first saw that?

BRIAN "RED" HAMILTON, FAN SPOTTED CANCEROUS MOLE ON HIS NECK: Yes, I, honestly, didn't know what to think. It really threw me off and I didn't -- I didn't take is very seriously at first. Like, I was like, well, that's really weird because I didn't know I had a mole on the back of my neck. I've never seen the mole. I didn't know it existed.

And so it wasn't until the next day when we had flown home that I asked Jessica if I had a mole on the back of my neck. And she's like, yes, and it's a weird shape. So, then, OK, I went and saw the doctor.

BERMAN: And the doctor told you what?

HAMILTON: The doctor -- so I saw the doctor on Tuesday. And he told me he didn't like it. I don't like the shape of it. I'd like to cut it out. He gave me two options. He said he could cut it out and there might be a little bit of a scar, or I could go see a plastic surgeon and there would be no scar. I said, if we're worried -- if we're this worried about it, let's get it out. I'm not worried about a scar on the back of my neck.

So, on Thursday, before our game, when the doctor came to the arena, he cut it out on Thursday.

BERMAN: And found out that it was cancerous, malignant melanoma. And I know you've got a history of cancer in your family. Your mother's reaction to this?

HAMILTON: Yes, my poor mom. My mom, and I don't know that this has come up. Nadia doesn't know this. I didn't tell her. But my mom has lost two children of cancer, and a granddaughter. So when I told mom it was a little bit scary to tell her, but I tried to keep very positive that this mole was fairly new, because no one had seen it, and that we could hope for the best, which we didn't get the best news, but we got the best of the worst news. So.

BERMAN: Which is that you found it early enough, it was taken out, it was removed.

And you guys got a chance to meet, you know, this -- you guys finally got a chance to meet after they found you, Nadia. And the Canucks and the Kraken got together and they're giving you $10,000 toward medical school. What's that like?

POPOVICI: Oh, my goodness, I mean, if you watched the video where they're announcing that, I almost fell on the floor. I am so unbelievably grateful. The Canucks and the Kraken, and -- they truly -- they don't know what this means to me. It means the world. And to be able to meet Red, which was the most important part of the night, and, you know, talk to his family and now I'm connected with his family, you know, outside of the game, and it's just such a beautiful moment. And I'm just so, so lucky and grateful to have been able to do this (ph) this (ph) together (ph).


BERMAN: Well, look, I know it means the world to you. For Red, it means his life. And so I know that he and his family are super grateful.