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CNN Moves Forward After Stunning Resignation Of Jeff Zucker; NFL To Reevaluate Policies Encouraging Hiring Of Minorities Amid Discrimination Lawsuit; Yoga, Mindfulness Part Of Curriculum At One School District. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired February 06, 2022 - 06:00   ET



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Buenos dias. Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. I'm Boris Sanchez.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Boris. I'm Christi Paul.

Listen, U.S. officials are warning that Russia has 70 percent of its military capabilities in place for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. And that could end with -- quote -- "horrific results." How Russia is responding now.

SANCHEZ: Plus, a bizarre break-in. An alleged burglar entering billionaire Michael Bloomberg's Colorado home, kidnapping a housekeeper. Hear what she has to say about the ordeal and what the man may have been after.

PAUL: And podcast host Joe Rogan apologizing after video surfaces of him using racial slurs in a compilation of clips from past shows. His explanation and how Spotify, which streams his show, is responding.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are one of the only schools that have somebody that does yoga and plans mindfulness for us.


SANCHEZ: Plus, how one public school is trying to help improve students' mental health 20 minutes at a time.

PAUL: Well, if you're a Monday through Friday worker, you still have 24 hours off, pretty much. It's Sunday, February 6th. We're so grateful to have you with us. All right. Let's talk, Boris, beginning with the latest signs that Russia may be closer to a decision on invading Ukraine, and here's why. President Vladimir Putin has reportedly assembled 70 percent of the troops and weapons that he would need for a full-scale invasion.

SANCHEZ: Right, Christi, that's according to two U.S. officials familiar with the latest estimates. Russia continues to add forces to the region, almost daily.

Let's go to CNN correspondent Melissa Bell. She's been following developments in Kyiv, Ukraine. Melissa, what do these latest estimates of that Russian troop buildup suggest, 70 percent of what Putin needs to invade, right?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Boris, that's right. These are really the grimmest and most dire assessments that we've had yet from American intelligence. But officials briefing not only lawmakers in the United States but European allies as well on the basis of them suggesting that what we've been seeing is a real buildup on the borders, specifically in Belarus.

I'd like to show you beyond the American assessments some of the latest satellite imagery that we're getting from Maxar that shows some locations just to the north of Ukraine's border with Belarus. So it is the closest border to Kyiv that there is and that is what so concerning about these troop movements. So men, weaponry, ground assault aircraft as well that have been moved southwards and that are now just 50 kilometers from that border.

And that is really the fear here that while the world waits to work out what's exactly is going on in the mind of Vladimir Putin and whether or not he has decided to invade, the point is that right now Russian troops are poised and would be able to do that very quickly. Specifically, according to American intelligence, from that Bela- Russian border they would be able to take Kyiv within a matter of days.

Also, they warn that it would lead to casualties in the tens of thousands and refugee crisis involving up to 5 million Ukrainian refugees. That is how dire the assessments are, even as the French president heads both to Moscow tomorrow and come here to Kyiv on Tuesday to try and talk both to Vladimir Putin and to the Ukrainian president, looking for some room for dialogue. But that window of opportunity, that window for possibility for dialogue to be found is narrowing, as even -- as we watch these troop buildups that get more and more worrying by the day, Christi and Boris.

PAUL: Yes, I want to talk about what the French president, Emmanuel Macron, can do in terms of his influence. When we hear about this massive buildup already, is there really any question that we know what Putin wants to do?

BELL: It is being pushed back upon by Russian officials, day after day. We've been hearing from a tweet from Russia's deputy ambassador to the United Nations, laughing at these latest American assessments. But you're quite right. The point about this buildup is that at some point, it kind of makes no sense to have all of this ability, all of this capability on the borders when you don't intend to do anything about it.

Now it must be said that the assessment from Ukrainian officials, very senior one here, is that the point of this buildup is to rattle NATO, is to divide it, is to challenge it. And, of course, that certainly seems to have been achieved. NATO is definitely paying attention. Emmanuel Macron hoping that he will manage to focus minds on this ever-widening of opportunity for some kind of understand to be found, Christi and Boris.


SANCHEZ: Difficult to expect understanding when Vladimir Putin's ambitions involve re-taking Ukraine. Melissa Bell, live from Kyiv. Thank you so much.

Turning now to the United States and Wisconsin, there was a shooting at an apartment complex that left two people dead and another injured. This happened yesterday morning in Brown Deer that's near Milwaukee. There's dramatic video of officers running away from the scene. You can see one of them carrying a child. The officers say that as soon as they arrived on the scene a suspect opened fire.


CHIEF PETER NIMMER, BROWN DEER POLICE: Our officers were dispatched for shots fired call. Upon our arrival to the scene our officers were fired upon from the second floor balcony. Our officers set up a perimeter. We requested mutual aid from multiple agencies in the North Shore, the Milwaukee Police Department, the North Shore Fire Department, Milwaukee Fire Department, as well.


PAUL: Now, no officers were hurt, but the suspect, who has been identified as a 26-year-old man, is also dead after an apparent self- inflicted gunshot wound. Now the relationships between the suspects and the victims are still unclear. Authorities do believe this incident stemmed from a domestic dispute. We know the victims are a 23-year-old woman and a 31-year-old man. Police plan to release their names later today.

SANCHEZ: So this is an odd story. A man is accused of breaking into Michael Bloomberg's ranch in Colorado, kidnapping an employee there, and terrorizing her at gunpoint. Right now he's in custody, facing both state and federal charges.

PAUL: Now the woman is safe, I want to tell you, first and foremost, and she tells investigators that her kidnapper was heavily armed and wanted to know information about the former New York mayor's daughter. CNN's Camila Bernal has more.

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Boris, Christi, we now know that the man accused of kidnapping one of Michael Bloomberg's employees was identified as Joseph Beecher. And the information that we have is coming from an arrest warrant and from a criminal complaint filed in federal court.

And according to those documents, Beecher allegedly rammed through the gates of this ranch belonging to Michael Bloomberg in Rio Blanco County in Colorado. According to those documents, he found that employee inside, who later told authorities that he was heavily armed and that he told her that he would shoot her face off.

He also told this employee, according to the documents that he wanted to create an international scene. He was also asking for the daughters of Michael Bloomberg by name. Once he found out that the daughters were not at the ranch, according to these documents, he then made this employee, who was not named in any of the court filings, to get into her truck and drive him around. They ended up in Wyoming. And authorities were able track them through her iPad. Thankfully, she was OK.

Now, he is facing a number of charges, including a federal kidnapping charge. And we know his first court appearance is on Tuesday, but the documents did not specify who his attorney is at the moment.

We did hear, though, from Michael Bloomberg's spokesperson, who said that they're thankful to law enforcement for bringing back that employee or that victim to her family -- Boris, Christi.

PAUL: Thank you so much. Listen, jury selection begins tomorrow in the federal trial for the three men involved in killing Ahmaud Arbery.

SANCHEZ: Travis and Gregory McMichael and Roddie Bryan were all found guilty of murdering the 25-year-old jogger in a state trial last year and now they face federal hate crime charges. CNN's Ryan Young has more from Brunswick, Georgia.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Boris and Christi, good morning. There are a lot of questions surrounding this case. Of course, the three men who were accused in this crime have already been convicted in state court. Now, in federal court, two of the men, the McMichaels, had decided to plead guilty because they had received a plea deal. That plea deal was rejected so they pulled back their guilty plea.

So now you're going to have opening -- in terms of them trying to find a jury to seat, but they're going to know that there was a plea deal that was almost enacted. So it's going to be interesting to see how they pull that part off.

For the Ahmaud Arbery family, they want justice. And Marcus Arbery was outside on Friday talking about what he wanted to see in this case.


MARCUS ARBERY, FATHER OF AHMAUD ARBERY: I've just want one word to say. All we want is 100 percent justice for the Arbery family. That's all we're looking for. God be to glory.

(END VIDEO CLIP) YOUNG: And you can understand the family still wants justice in this case. In fact, there are thoughts that in the federal case, there will be things that come out that didn't happen in terms of evidence, that didn't come out in the state case. So we might get more information what surrounded this shooting.


Outside of that, talking to community leaders in the Brunswick area, they believe that first case went very well in terms of the trial, and they want to make sure the community stays calm. They're talking to all the stakeholders, especially the church leaders in this community to make them understand how this process will go forward, especially with this being federal court, so there'll be no video cameras inside the courtroom like there was last time. Boris and Christi.

SANCHEZ: Ryan Young from Brunswick, Georgia, thank you so much.

Let's dig deeper now with Michael Moore. He's a former U.S. attorney for the middle district of Georgia. Michael, appreciate you getting up bright and early for us. Appreciate your perspective. So, both Travis and Gregory McMichael withdrew their guilty pleas last week in this federal trial. Help our viewers understand what exactly happened and what implications that may have on this trial.

MICHAEL MOORE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA: Well, I mean, essentially, they put in a plea that appeared to be the main sticking point was where they would spend their time in jail. As you know, they've been convicted and sentenced to life without parole. They would serve that in a state prison. But here, it's saying that the deal was struck that they would spend about 30 or at least 30 years in a federal system.

And that didn't seem to be to the judge's satisfaction, which is, of course, her right, as the sentencing judge. And so she said, I'm not going to accept that nor am I going to be bound by this. You can keep your plea in place, but you're letting me now as a judge make the ultimate decision on the terms of the sentence.

And so they obviously said after that, we're going to withdrawal and we're just going to go ahead and go to trial. I mean, and if you think about it, you know, what did they have to lose? I mean, if they've already been convicted and sentenced to life without parole in the McMichaels case, and Mr. Bryan, of course, to life in prison, in the state system, they'll appeal those convictions.

But here, a 30-year sentence to them essentially meant life in prison, too. And so if they're going to spend their time in the state system and then have to serve their federal time, which would typically be the requirements, since they were convicted first in the state court, then they decide to move ahead and sort of roll the dice with this trial.

SANCHEZ: So in the state trial, you'll recall prosecutors methodically pieced together a timeline of events that led to Ahmaud Arbery's murder. There is additional information though that's going to be presented to the jury in this federal case. Walk us through what the federal jury might see that's different from what the state court saw.

MOORE: This is a different case really completely. I mean, the question of the murder is not there anymore. I mean, that's on tape. And state prosecutors made a decision to move forward without trying to get into too much evidence of motivation. They did not look for racial motivation or present that type of evidence to the jury.

This case hinges on whether or not that racial motivation was part of the reason that Mr. Arbery was killed. And so we'll hear things, I'm sure, and we don't know all of this yet, because it's not in the public domain, but we'll hear -- we know about some texts that are out there that are disgusting and comments that were made in the past and perhaps some things that are, you know, dealing with whether or not there was the confederate flag on the truck and we'll hear about that. And, again, what the prosecutor having to do now in the federal case is show that this racial motivation was the motive behind the killing.

SANCHEZ: And, Michael, obviously, race played a controversial role in jury selection in the state case. There was a back and forth between the prosecutors and the defense. One defense attorney making very insensitive remarks. And there was pushback over questions about potential jurors' views on race. The judge ultimately allowing the trial to proceed with only one Black juror, even vocally lamenting that. Do you expect a similar dynamic in this federal trial?

MOORE: You know, I understand the judge sought now a broader jury pool, the more people to ask about that's going to be tough if you think about it. To find somebody who has not heard about the case, and that's not the standard, but whether or not they form some opinion about the case. And I think that causes -- that's part of the question here. And were those problems, those racial elements and things of jury selection and how the jury was made up, you know, is that going to be an issue that may cause some problems for the state case on appeal? I don't know. But it's certainly something to think about.

Here I don't know that we'll necessarily have that. I mean, you'll have a jury that's selected from throughout the district. And I expect that the lawyers will spend great deal of time talking about, you know, your feelings about race, you know, what you may have heard about the case. And I expect you'll probably see a more diverse jury pool. That's not uncommon in federal juries.

SANCHEZ: We will be watching it closely and we hope you'll be nearby to lend us your expertise. Michael Moore, thank you so much for the time.

MOORE: Glad to be with you all.

PAUL: Well, the man who fatally shot four people with an assault-style rifle at a waffle house in 2018 was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.


On Friday, Travis Reinking was found guilty of 16 counts, including eight counts of first-degree murder. The jury heard from relatives of the four people who were killed and Reinking showed no emotion as the jury's sentence was announced yesterday. Now, a criminal court judge will decide in May whether sentencing on the remaining charges will be consecutive or concurrent.

Still ahead, Prince Andrew is going under oath as part of a civil trial against him. We'll have some details for you.

SANCHEZ: Plus, Joe Rogan once again apologizing after a video surfaces showing him using the N-word in multiple shows over the years. His explanation and what this means for Spotify whose stock price already slumped because of the podcaster. We'll be right back.


SANCHEZ: We want to update you on a story we first told you about yesterday morning.


Police in Virginia have arrested a suspect in the deadly shooting at a hookah lounge near the campus of Virginia Tech. Twenty-four year old Jamel Flint is charged with first-degree murder and several counts of attempted murder.

PAUL: Investigators say Flint killed 18-year-old Isiah Robinson, injured four others Friday night at a bar. Virginia Tech was placed on lockdown for several hours after that shooting and one of the injured is a student from the school.

Well, Britain's Prince Andrew has agreed to make a statement under oath in the civil lawsuit that's filed against him by Virginia Giuffre.

SANCHEZ: Yes. Giuffre claims that she was trafficked by convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and forced to performed sex acts on the Duke of York when she was just 17 years old. Prince Andrew denied the allegations and has moved multiple times to have the suit dismissed.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth used the historic milestone of her Platinum Jubilee to redefine the future of the monarchy.

PAUL: Yes, 70 years ago today -- 70 years ago she became queen and now she's weighing in on who should be Britain's next queen. CNN royal correspondent Max Foster with us live from Buckingham Palace. Max, always good to see you.

So this year of celebration kicked off with this major nod. And I'm wondering how it's being received there to Charles, Charles's wife, Camilla, because we know how revered Diana was.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So we were expecting a jubilee message from the queen. We don't normally hear much around the actual jubilee, which is today, because it also marks the day her father died. So she tends to spend it quietly.

This was a real bombshell. So Charles had been pushing for a long time for Camilla to be able to use the title of queen when he becomes king. It's only the sitting monarch that can really declare that. So, you know, what we were expecting was that Charles would announce it when he becomes king. But there's a huge amount of divisiveness around Camilla, of course, many people still blame her for the separation of Charles and Diana. Diana fans will never forgive her. She's still this controversial figure.

So I think that Charles really wanted Queen Elizabeth to give her seal of approval for that, and she's done so in a really spectacular way. And I think the hope is that the public will also support it because the queen has thrown her support behind it. But for the queen, this is really about the future of the monarchy, giving it more stability. And the future will be Charles and he wants Camilla crowned next to him. And that's what's going to happen now. So it's pretty extraordinary in royal terms.

PAUL: Camilla has been received, though, from -- I mean, there are people in that region that do acknowledge and love her, yes?

FOSTER: Well, it's interesting. You know, I think, obviously, there's a huge amount of love for Diana. I think, although young people don't really know who Diana is, so it's a generational gap there. I have to say, on social media, all of the commentary is quite negative. You know, "I don't want Camilla as queen." But I think this was a nonnegotiable thing for Prince Charles, if he's going to become king, he wants her next to him.

So the best way of making that as palatable as possible is for Queen Elizabeth to endorse it. And that's what he's got. So we'll see how that all plays out.

I don't think there are going to be people out with pitchforks here in the U.K. saying, "We don't want Camilla as queen." I just don't think that she has the same sort of support that Diana would have had. But this is all part of the long-term rehabilitation of Camilla's image. That's something that the whole monarchy has bought into, so it's a significant moment there.

And we've seen how titles really do matter in the royal family. You know, Andrew has been -- had his HRH taken away as have Meghan and Harry, and Camilla has been elevated. So this is the future of the monarchy.

PAUL: Yes, very good point. And there's time, I suppose, for people to get used to the idea. Max Foster, always good to see you. Thank you, sir.

SANCHEZ: Coming up, New York Mayor Eric Adams apologizing, we'll explain why, and why he says New Yorkers should expect more from him, that's next.



SANCHEZ: New York Mayor Eric Adams has issued an apology after video surfaced of him using a racial slur while speaking about White police officers at a private event in 2019. Listen to this.


MAYOR ERIC ADAMS (D-NY): Every day the police department, I kicked those crackers' (EXPLETIVE DELETED), man. I was unbelievable in the police department with 100 Blacks in law enforcement.


SANCHEZ: Mayor Adams has said that the comments were in reference to the racism that he faced within the New York Police Department. In his apology, he said that New Yorkers should expect more from him. Listen.


ADAMS: Definitely apologize. Inappropriate -- inappropriate comments should not have been used. Someone asked me a question using that comment and playing on that word. I responded in that comment. But clearly, it's a comment that should not be used and I apologize not only to those who heard it but to New Yorkers because they should expect more from me and that was inappropriate.


SANCHEZ: We should note, before entering politics Mayor Adams served as an officer in the NYPD for 22 years.

PAUL: Well, podcast host Joe Rogan is also apologizing for a video of himself repeatedly using the N-word. It was spread all over social media.

SANCHEZ: Yes, the video is an edited compilation of different podcast episodes with Rogan using that word more than 20 times. Singer India Arie shared the video on social media after announcing that she wanted her music pulled from Spotify because of Rogan's language around race. In his apology, Rogan said that his words were taken out of context.


SANCHEZ: Joining us now to discuss is CNN Chief Media Correspondent and the anchor of "RELIABLE SOURCES," Brian Stelter. Brian, good Sunday morning to you. How is Spotify responding to this latest controversy?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Right now, by ducking and hoping this all blows over. But we will see whether it does or not. As you said, Rogan apologized yesterday, after this video compilation started to make the rounds.

In this video compilation, you hear him using the N-word again and again and again on different podcast episodes that he made several years ago. Most of these are a decade old. These are not from when he was working with Spotify, having an exclusive distribution deal with Spotify.

So, the company is saying, you know, this was -- well, they're not saying anything on the record, they're not commenting. But they are acknowledging that there were concerns with some of these episodes, and Rogan had them removed over the weekend.

Whether that's enough, whether his apology is enough, I think is the question now. As India Arie said, Rogan shouldn't even be uttering the words. She said, "Don't even say it under any context. Don't say it. That's where I stand. I've always stood there." She also acknowledged that, you know, videos when they can be compiled in this way, they can have a certain meaning.

So, this is all about fundamentally, is Rogan's anti-vaccine rhetoric, his controversial guests with untrue statements about COVID. That's controversy from last month then triggered this new controversy this month. And we will see as Spotify ends up taking any action against Rogan or just keeping them in place.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: All right. I'm going to roll transparent here. Tough week at CNN with President Jeff Zucker resigning. What do we know here?

STELTER: That's right. This is probably one of the toughest weeks in CNN history for the staff, For the anchors, for producers, for reporters because lookers removal was so suddenly. He was forced out on Wednesday because he admitted that he had not disclosed a relationship with his longtime lieutenant, Allison Gollust.

Gollust has been a top executive at CNN here for many years. And because Zucker and Gollust were in a romantic relationship and didn't disclose it right away, Zuckerberg was forced out of his job, is really been a shattering week for CNN, in some ways, because of a lack of leadership all of a sudden.

However, I think it's also important to recognize the news continues. The news has continued no matter what. And CNN so much bigger than any single executive -- I thought AT&T CEO, John Stankey said it well on Friday. He said, "The best days of CNN are still in front of it."

But this has been a big media controversy. So, on "RELIABLE SOURCES," I'm going to be bringing in a lot of outside voices later today to analyze the situation.

SANCHEZ: And if we had been able to hear from Jeff on that call that morning, he likely would have said the news continues just as you did, Brian. Let's --

STELTER: Right. I think that's what he would have said. And it's not the only immediate controversy of the week. You got Rogan, you got CNN shake-up. And Whoopi Goldberg suspended at ABC. I think the through- line through all of these different stories, these are all fundamentally about leadership and about consequences.

At Spotify, will there be consequences for Joe Rogan? At CNN, there were major consequences for our boss because he didn't follow a company policy. At ABC, Whoopi Goldberg suspended, big consequences for her ignorant comments about the Holocaust. You know, I've seen a lot of people on social media saying Goldberg shouldn't have been suspended or it's gone too far. So, all of these stories are really about leadership tests and about what are the rules of the road at these major companies.

SANCHEZ: Brian Stelter, as always, thanks so much. No shortage of news this week as he said. Make sure to watch Brian on "RELIABLE SOURCES" later this morning at 11:00 a.m. And "STATE OF THE UNION" too with Jake Tapper and Danna Bash, they're going to have Joe Manchin and Lisa Murkowski as well as other guests this morning.

Still plenty more news to get to on NEW DAY. Team USA picking up first medal of the Olympic Games. We'll tell you who won with a live update from China when we come back.



SANCHEZ: Unacceptable. Amid allegations of racial discrimination, that's how NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell described the league's lack of black head coaches. In a memo sent to teams on Saturday, Goodell said the league's policies on diversity and inclusion are simply not working and will have to be re-evaluated, pointing specifically to the sideline.

Goodell says the NFL "must acknowledge that particularly with respect to head coaches, the results have been unacceptable."

Remember on Tuesday, former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed a lawsuit against his old team, as well as against the New York Giants, Denver Broncos, and the NFL itself claiming the league remains rife with racism even as it publicly condemns it. All three teams in the league have denied Flores' allegations.

PAUL: All right, let's talk about the Winter Olympics because Team USA picked up its first medal of the games.

SANCHEZ: Yes. Let's go live to China and Coy Wire. Coy, you were there to see it, a bit of history.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, women's snowboard slopestyle, great energy at the park, good music, incredible course, complete with a replica of the Great Wall of China for these athletes to soar over, Boris, Christi. That is where a 24-year-old pride of Westport, Connecticut Julia Marino puts the United States on the medal table first.

She's finished 11th in Pyeongchang four years ago in her Olympics debut. But this time she pulls off some upsets to take silver. She didn't even like snowboard when she was a kid, but she broke a ski while on vacation and dad wasn't going to rent another pair of skis when they had a perfectly fine snowboard on hand. The rest is history. And now, Julia is an Olympic medalist.

[06:40:15] And how about this? Same event, women's snowboard slopestyle, 20-year- old Zoi Sadowski-Synnott wins New Zealand its first-ever Winter Olympic gold. Headed into her third and final run, she was behind Julian Marino. But Zoi pulled off a high-risk, high-flying run. She scored 92.88 and a gold. And the celebration was perfect. The Silver and Bronze medalists, and then all of the snowboarders, they sprint out eventually tackling her in a piling on, an awesome display of sportsmanship.

Let's go to figure skating where a 15-year-old sensation has stolen the show. Kamila Valeryevna of the Russian Olympic Committee had already broken world records. Now, she becomes the first woman to score more than 90 for a short program at the Olympics with a score of 90.18.

One of her teammates said afterwards, "All the best qualities of a figure skater come together in this fragile girl." She's graceful, she's powerful, and he's pulling off performances that were unthinkable just a few years ago. The Russia Olympics skaters are so good that U.S. skater Karen Chen in this event said, she's not capable of doing what they do.

The two-time Olympian Chen fell on one of her jobs finishing fifth in the short program. Teammate Vincent Joe, he planned to execute five quads but ended up landed only to finishing third. And as a result, Team USA slips to second in the team event behind the Russian Olympic Committee.

But elsewhere on ice, the U.S. women's hockey team dominating the RLC five-zip improving to two and O here in Beijing. Hilary Knight getting the party started for the defending Olympic champs, the first of five different Americans to score.

Next up is Switzerland. It looks like they're on a collision course there, a repeat from last Olympics' final with Canada.

So, Julia Marino will be the first American you see on hand at the medal stand. Congrats to her and her family. She'll be wearing this, Christi and Boris, the Nike medal stand gear. It's sustainable, made with recycled material. It's efficient. They work with the disabled community to design the magnetic buttons and claps and zippers, so the Olympians aren't going to be out there fumbling around. They are keeping warm and looking pretty good. What do you think?

PAUL: It looks fantastic.

SANCHEZ: Stylish.

PAUL: I'm assuming that you're going to be walking around CNN in that.

SANCHEZ: He's not going to take it off for months. Are you kidding?

PAUL: I know.

WIRE: I'm bringing one back for you, Christi. How about that?

SANCHEZ: You're our gold medal stand --

PAUL: Oh, Coy, I love that. Thank you. Yes. Go, USA!

WIRE: Of course. You're a Dolphins fan. I'll save some for you two.

SANCHEZ: I appreciate it, Coy. Thank you.

PAUL: Thanks, Coy. Take care out there.

So, there's a school district that's working to boost students' mental health 20 minutes at a time.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What can you do to help yourself stay calm?

KIDS: Take a belly breath.



PAUL: Yoga, mindfulness, even a game of red light, green light. What this part of the curriculum is doing for kids? Stay close.



SANCHEZ: As the Coronavirus pandemic enters a third year, everyone has been feeling the stress especially students, right? They've been in school, out of school, learning online, everything in between.

PAUL: Yes, it's a hard thing to reconcile all of this particularly for little ones. Educators are sounding the alarm too on this mental health crisis they see brewing across all socio-economic achievements and levels and all among students of all ages.

So, that's why Denver Public Schools launched this new program to help students manage their mental health. CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro has more.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why else do we think it's important to talk about our mood first thing in the morning? Do we say mean words to them?



EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A different kind of bell rang in one Denver Public School recently, a calming sound for students who educators say are still stressed out two years into a global pandemic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good, scholars.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, thank you.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: 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, DENVER CENTER FOR 21ST CENTURY LEARNING: And we found that they come back a lot of the times a shell that form themselves prior to the pandemic. And so, we understand we have to be patient, we have to, you know, persevere.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Schools are where this 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.

KIDS: We're glad you're here today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're glad you're here today.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: The process is different for each age group. For these kindergarteners, red light-green light is a lesson in what to do when emotions boil over.

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

KIDS: Take a belly breath.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Stop, name your feeling and take a belly breath.

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

Show hands. Who likes morning meeting? And Can somebody tell me what do you like about it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What I like about the morning meeting is the good things.

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

JACKIE RIVAS: 3RD GRADE TEACHER, SAMUELS ELEMENTARY: I think waiting is important. So, making sure that they know that they don't just have to share good things. Just making it very open. MCMORRIS-SANTORO: This is called social-emotional learning, or SEL. And it can be controversial.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stop teaching SEL in Badger High School and take emergency action to remove it now.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: In some states, parents' groups which have criticized districts 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 who say, this isn't real school. School should be books and times tables and you know, phonics. Why am I talking about my feelings?

KIM PRICE, DIRECTOR OF SEL, DENVER PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Well, I think it's talking about feelings is a great place to start. But we have to teach people how to interact with each other because I think we really are arming them with life skills to be successful and to talk about what we're going through right now because we have to be ready to learn.

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


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I failed on my classroom. Like, I failed my sixth grade --

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Eighth-grade teacher Jackie Reavis experiences the problems middle schoolers are having firsthand.

AMANDA WINTERS, EIGHTH GRADE TEACHER, DENVER CENTER FOR 21ST CENTURY LEARNING: These girls are in sixth grade when they were last in school before this year. Our sixth graders were in fourth grade when they were less in school. And so, meeting the bar that is kind of expected of a sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, whatever grader, they're being asked to meet both that kind of behavioral and developmental bar and that academic bar. And they miss out on both of them. So it's hard to meet the academic one when you're still trying to figure out how do I stop being a fourth grader?

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




BRANTON: Hi, Evan.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: CNN. Nice to see you. How are you?

BRANTON: I'm Anna, 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're going to do some gratitude and some goal setting for academics, but we're also going to do mindfulness.

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

AMY THOMPTON, STUDENT SUPPORT COORDINATOR: We're going to do some breathing and then we'll do a little meditation or visualization.

Let your breath soften.

And the connection with their peers which they've been missing so much during the pandemic and during remote learning, we want to make sure that we have cushioned it so we have that 20 minutes within there to really focus on the social-emotional piece.


PAUL: In a little bit, we're going to talk to a principal who is talking about what he has seen kids go through at school over the last couple of years and what they and the teachers really need. It's really dark what he has pointed out. So we're going to hear more from him in the next hour. But thank you to Evan McMorris-Santoro for that.

SANCHES: Yes. So, hey, it's going to be a cold start to your week. Don't go anywhere because your forecast is next.



PAUL: So, if you have tried to let the dog out or maybe you thought you're going to go for a run, bundle up, people. Oh, it's going to be cold out there.

SANCHEZ: Second thoughts.

PAUL: Yes.

SANCHEZ: Yes. Let's go to Meteorologist Allison Chinchar. She's live in the CNN Weather Center. Allison, I'd say bundle up, but that may not be enough for some parts.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hey, I had a ski instructor tell me once, there's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. So, yes, there's a way to get around it. You just got to put lots and lots of layers on. And this is going to be one of those mornings to do so because you've got a lot of these areas that are dealing with temperatures already this morning well below the freezing mark, even some areas that aren't necessarily used to cold temperatures like that even this time of year.

You've got Atlanta looking at about 29 right now, Little Rock at 23, even Dallas sitting right around 26. Not that much better even farther north. Chicago looking still the temperature in the teens, same thing for New York. Syracuse looking at those temperatures below zero.

But some of these freeze warnings and hard freeze warnings are still impacting areas of the extreme south, places like Louisiana, areas of Mississippi, and especially Texas. And the good news here at least for Texas, is that this is really going to be the last of the really cold mornings.

Yes, it's still going to be there. You also have wind to contend with to, so some of these wind shows or even several degrees cooler than the actual air temperature is. But we will start to rebound by this afternoon.

In fact, take a look at the high temperatures over the next couple of days across the Deep South. Most of these eventually get within one to two degrees of normal, maybe not today, but certainly by tomorrow and once we get into Tuesday.

We're going to see the same thing across many other areas of the South. We do have this one area of low pressure here that's bringing some rain showers across portions of Florida today and even across Georgia and the Carolinas because that low-pressure system is going to ever so slowly just kind of slide up the East Coast.

Most of the rain guys will be offshore, so we're not really looking at a tremendous amount of flooding, but you could still have some of these areas pick up about an inch of rain before the end of the day to day.

Once it slides up into the Northeast though where it hits those colder temperatures, we could be looking at least a few slick spots tomorrow morning unfortunately for the morning commute from New York farther up to the north, especially though across interior New England, Boris and Christi where you are going to have some of that snow mixing in with the rain.

PAUL: There's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. I'm taking that one to the bank. That was good, Allison. Thank you. Allison Chinchar for us there. The next hour of your NEW DAY starts now.