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tv   CNN Newsroom With Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto  CNN  January 5, 2022 7:00am-8:00am PST

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witnessed that day and conversations he had or was privy to in the days leading up to it including with the former president. the committee also revealed how top fox news host sean hannity was sounding the alarm behind the scenes in the days leading up to january 6th and after, of course, very different from what he was saying and has been saying in front of the camera to his viewers. a few hours from now attorney general merrick garland is expected to deliver remarks. he will update the department's efforts to hold those responsible for january 6 accountable. let's begin with the very latest on the january 6th investigation. cnn law enforcement correspond whitney wild. she's been following the story. there are a whole host of revelations from these texts. broadly what it shows is a number of people inside and outside the white house were aware of the effort to overturn the election and reject the
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votes of states, among them sean hannity. what do we know? >> reporter: clearly the committee thinks sean hannity has a direct line, a direct amount of information that would give very colorful detail about what was goings-on within the white house and what was going on in trump's mind in this lead up to january 6th. trump's mindset is a critical fact pattern here that the committee has to establish. that's why they're going to these people who they really think can understand and articulate how the president was thinking, what he was intending to do leading up to january 6. the committee released a list of text messages. here are a few of them we can pull up on a full screen. among them are hannity saying things like this, can he make a statement? ask people to leave the capitol. this is between sean hannity and mark meadows on january 6th. another example of something we've talked a lot about, which is there were tons of people in the trump orbit begging mark meadows to get the former president to do something and he
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just didn't do it for hours on end. among the other things that sean hannity was saying was basically, as of december 31st -- so new year's eve, 2020, he was pointing out to people within the white house that this idea that vice president mike pence could shut down the electoral college vote on january 6th at the capitol was ludicrous. he was trying to warn them that, if they lose the white house counsel's office, they're toast. this is a terrible plan -- path that leads to nowhere. handy trying to sound the alarm here. clearly, jim, the committee thinks he has concrete information that they can share. at this point they're not subpoenaing sean hannity. they're just asking him for a voluntary interview. meanwhile, they're also going after another big fish, one of the biggest fish, that is former vice president mike pence. bennie thompson, the chairman of the house select committee, making clear to cnn they would like to speak to him, again, in a voluntary capacity. again, jim, they're zeroing in
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on the people who know trump best. >> the idea not so ludicrous in that more than 100 gop lawmakers voted to reject the votes of states, to reject them. remarkable. whitney wild, thanks very much. as attorney general merrick garland is set to update the department's criminal probe into the sex, cnn is learning more about what is still an ongoing hunt for this person, the person who planted pipe bombs at both the republican and democratic headquarters in washington the night before january 6th. cnn senior justice correspond evan perez. evan, it's been a year, they still don't have someone. is there progress? >> over the past year, jim, this has been an extreme law enforcement operation to arrest more than 700 people. these two priorities remain for the fbi, finding the person who placed these bombs outside the rnc and dnc headquarters just a couple blocks from the u.s.
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capitol. those were found just before the assault on the capitol, and finding about 250 people who they believe assaulted police in that violent ransacking of the capitol. i sat down with stephen dontano, the assistant director of the washington field office to talk about these priorities. >> we've seen the videos, the hooded sweatshirt, the face mask, the backpack, the nike shoes. are you surprised that none of this has yielded a tip that brought this forward? >> in prior co individual times in any neighborhood i think in the country, if you saw an individual hooded, masked, glasses, gloves on, it would have been a red flag for any individual walking around that day. in this case it wasn't because of the environment that we're living in during covid times. >> one of the things we wonder is why the bombs didn't go off? >> the bombs could have gone off. they just didn't go off. in this area where the bombs
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were placed, if they did go off, they could have caused serious harm or death. >> jim, later today we'll hear from the attorney general. we don't expect he's going to talk about any specific cases, but i think one of the things that he wants to do is address some of the criticism of himself and the justice department about what exactly is going on behind the scenes to try to hold people accountable in the trump administration. perhaps the former president himself for what is essentially what people consider -- what was essentially a quecoup attempt o january 6th. we're going to hear some words about defending democracy, but we don't expect he'll go into too many details about these specific cases. >> rube ginn gallego says garland was extremely week for not prosecuting the ring leaders. evan perez, thanks very much. >> thank you. we're joined by former
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assistant u.s. assistant generally elie honig and special agent pete lakata. i wonder if i can begin with the investigation into the person who left the pipe bombs. we know the resources the fbi has here. are you surprised they haven't been able to make more progress on this investigation in the years since january 6th? >> good morning, jim. i am actually. that device was immediately sent to the fbi laboratory for forensic examination and exploitation. the fact there hasn't been any evidence gleaned from both of those devices with regard to latent prints, dna, hairs and fibers, the device construction, is very surprising. with all respect to the lab, it has nothing to do with their capabilities. it's just not as easy as people think. the fact that it's taken this long means they've exhausted a lot of their resources with
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regard to forensic evaluation or there just isn't anything significant with regard to latents or dna that's comparable. you're relying on cctv and potential witnesses or accomplices that finally want to report on this individual. >> may also speak to someone who is skilled, right, at avoiding leaving those kinds of clues. elie honig, i want to talk about the other broader investigation here, and that is the straight-up effort to overturn the election. the sum total of what we're learning from the committee before releasing its report that strikes me is the number of people who were in touch with the white house by text. sean hannity among them, but he's not alone. republican members of congress who seem to be aware of what the plan was, to straight-up reject the electoral votes from swing states. we're a year later. why no consequences legally for those people? >> well, it's a great question, jim. it's one i'm going to be thinking about when we watch the
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attorney general give his speech later today. by the way, i'll tell you four hours in advance what merrick garland is going to say. he will say we will follow the facts and the law and pursue it as high as it may good. that's good. he should say that. those words are fine, but i have not seen it yet in merrick garland and doj's actions. i'm much more interested in actions than words. first of all, they prosecuted 700-plus people who stormed the capitol. all people who physically stormed the capitol, but four different federal judges have criticized the doj for being too lenient, giving misdemeanor when they should be felonies. the chief judge in d.c. said doj has been schizophrenic and baffling. the second point is where is the meaningful investigation of the leaders. yes, of course the people who stormed the capitol have to be prosecuted, but how about the people behind it, the people who came up with this idea, came up with the idea to try to steal
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the election, to try to obstruct congress. i've seen nothing from doj on that. >> by the way, some of them are still bragging about it. peter navarro is basically describing on television what the plan was. i want to, pete licata, speak about another threat, and that's just what january 6th revealed about the threat of right wing extremism in this country. to be clear, let's acknowledge the progress. more than 700 people facing criminal charges and more than 70 sentenced already. but where does that threat stand today, a year later? is it still a clear and present danger in your view, perhaps greater? >> there's always a threat of extremism on both sides. the left, the anarchist side and the far right. those threats always exist. they're always going to exist in this country. honestly, in my over 20 years in the fbi, the tide has always turned depending on who the administration is at that time. obviously we have a democratic administration. there's always a surge in right
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wing politics and far right extremism. when we had republican administrations, there's a surge in left wing extremism as well. >> pete, to be fair, january 6th was unique in its violent attack on the capitol in the midst of the political process here. does that reveal something different? the fbi, by the way, your former employer, has identified right wing extremism as the principle domestic terror threat in this country. >> that's correct. that's currently it. i'm not denying it. i'm saying there's extremism on both tides. domestic terrorism regardless of side is always going to be a major threat to the political process and to the safety and security of the civilians of the country. >> elie honig, you've been a former federal prosecutor. you've read the fbi reports, how they identify where the primary domestic terror threat is coming from. do you agree this is a both-sides problem? >> no, i don't agree at all, all respect to agent licata and the work he's done.
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what's different is the power base. where this was coming from was inside the white house. look at the texts from sean hannity involving the white house chief of staff mark meadows. that's what's different here. you're always going to have people committing acts of extremism, of course. but this is different. this one came from the power center, this one came from the white house. this resulted in an attack on the capitol. that's fundamentally different from anything we've seen before and hopefully anything we see going forward. >> elie honig, pete licata, thanks very much to both of you. >> thank you. >> thank you. we're following other breaking news, this out of philadelphia, sad news. a deadly fire broke out this morning and the death toll shocking here. cnn's brynn gingras has been hon tour monitoring it form us. where do things stand. >> my colleague mark morales was able to confirm with a source, 13 people killed in the fire.
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it's a very hectic scene still in philadelphia. what we've learned so far is that calls for this fire came in about 6:40 this morning. the fire was able to be extinguished 50 minutes later according to the fire department, which you can imagine, is an incredible feat considering how cold the temperatures are outside. that's a three-story home converted into several ame amendments /* apartments and 13 people were killed. what we're learning from the fire department and the police departments still on the scene, they haven't been able to get into the building to try to figure out what may have started this or any more details. however, we are waiting on a news conference from the fire department to give us finer details. as you said, tragic news coming out of philadelphia this morning about this fire. as soon as we get more information, we'll pass that on to you. >> brynn gingras, sad story, thanks so much. still to come this hour, a late night union vote leads to
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canceled classes in the nation's third largest school district. we're going to be live in chicago as teachers there say they are now locked out of their remote platforms. the uncertainty of the pandemic partnered with the sudden school changes taking a major toll on mental health. cnn speaking to families struggling to find balance. maybe it will sound familiar to those watching. a new push for voting rights. swing vote senator joe manchin may just have stopped that effort before it even begins. it's not your average chocolate bar. it's kinder bueno! smooth milk chocolate, crispy wafer, creamy hazelnut filling. it's kinder bueno. at vanguard, you're more than just an investor, you're an owner with access to financial advice, tools and a personalized plan that helps you build a future for those you love. vanguard. become an owner.
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tens of thousands of children in chicago are not in their classrooms today as the third largest school district in the country went back to remote learning. overnight the chicago teachers union voted to teach virtually citing concerns over the fast-spreading omicron variant. that prompted district officials to cancel classes today. of course, it conflicts with what the surgeon general is saying, that masking and ventilation makes them safe. cnn national correspondent omar jimenez has more on this. you have more information that even as they're trying remote learning, that the teachers have been locked out of their remote platforms, that's on purpose? >> reporter: that's right, jim. the chicago teachers union is reporting they're hearing from their teachers that they've tried to log into the remote teaching platforms have been
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locked out. it's a possibility we knew could happen as the school district has threatened this in the past under similar circumstances. when we reached out about this, they didn't specifically confirm it, but did reiterate this is a work stoppage and referred us to the statement we received last night, that teachers will not be paid for this, that they called this vote to go all virtual by the teachers an unfortunate decision, and they now worry for the well-being of students. part of what the chicago teachers union has been asking for in this, is they say the current measures in place for in-person teaching are not safe enough, especially amid record number of covid-19 cases among students, staff and the city of chicago over recent weeks. they want more access to testing, a greater portion of the student population to be vaccinated. it's around a third right now, though the rates for teachers are much higher, and leadership at the chicago teachers union has said that this is their only
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option, they feel, to carry on safely. take a listen. >> we've been failed by the mayor, failed by the public health office. and teachers, and school staff has decided the only thing we can control is whether we go into the buildings. >> reporter: now, over the last year the school system has received more than a billion dollars in federal money to help address covid in school and in the surrounding community. the school district has maintained it's worked, that being in person in class is safe, and that the majority of this transmission of covid is not happening in classrooms, but instead in the surrounding communities, and the leadership at the school district side has said any district-wide move to remote learning just isn't practical, like what we're looking at right now. what they've suggested is doing school-level metrics for remote learning, for example, 50% of the student population has to
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isolate or quarantine. moving forward, the union indicated this vote doesn't just apply to today, but the teachers are planning to refuse in-person learning until january 18th or until both sides can come to an agreement on what safe, in-person classroom instruction looks like, jim. >> omar jimenez, thanks for following this. let's speak with dr. william schaffner from vanderbilt university medical center. always good to have you on. >> good to be with you, jim. >> let me ask you first as a doctor, what you think of what we're seeing in chicago. the fact is most school districts are going back to school. the mayor said you've got to go back. the surgeon general says with mitigation, masking, ventilation, et cetera, it's safe for kids to go back to school, especially with how many people are vaccinated. is it a mistake? >> i would think schools could open really at very, very low
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risk if everybody does everything. you can't just rely on one thing. the first is that every adult having anything to do with the school building should be vaccinated. the second thing is, we need to get, obviously, the students vaccinated. where are these parents? why haven't they brought children in for vaccination age 5 and up? they're all eligible. and then wearing masks, good ventilation, doing social distancing to the degree that you can, good hand hygiene and environmental sanitation. if you put each of those things together, you ear in pretty good shape. >> okay. let's talk now about the new cdc covid-19 isolation guidance. they moved it from ten days to five days. by the way, as we were discussing last hour, this fol follows the science here. if you look at the graph, your transmissibility declines very quickly after that first positive test. the confusion is, not just that time change, but whether you need a test, a negative test to
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get out. now they're basically saying you don't need it, but if you can find one, do it. i know what they're trying to do here, trying to get as many people tested amidst a shortage of testing. would it be better to leave this aside and say no need to test? >> i think many of us in public health would put the testing requirements aside. you have to interpret the importance of the test. the fancy, best test, the pcr, it can remain positive for a very long time and you're perfectly fine. what the test is doing is detecting remnants, pieces of the virus, but you're no longer contagious. so if you get a positive pcr test, that can result in more confusion than help. that's why the cdc has been cautious about that. let's stick with the time
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elements and wearing the masmask, and we'll be in the best shape. >> let me ask you a bigger-picture question. you're not the first doctor to note that those pcrs can pick up remnants, dead cells, long after you're actually transmissible. do we need to look attesting differently, more broadly? >> well, you know, all of us in medicine know every test has to be used very carefully, and you have to interpret it with caution. i think that's where we are. both the rapid test and the pcr are wonderful tests. they can be useful, but the results have to be interpreted with a degree of care. beyond that, i'll talk for an hour about the tests. >> i hear you. by the way, one lesson of all this is people aren't comfortable with any uncertainty whatsoever. the fact is, the pandemic comes with uncertainty. we're learning as we go. we're on january 5th today.
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other countries that have experienced omicron, south africa and elsewhere peaked and peaked early, and then burned out early. for folks looking for relief to get to the other side of this latest surge, what's your best guess? what's the data show as to when we get past that peak? >> we were a much broader country, a larger country. it's much more diverse than, for example, south africa. i think obviously the peak has gone up, but i think it will come down more slowly here in the united states as omicron gets out into our rural areas, but by early february, i'm cautiously optimistic that we may get ahead of this if there's no new variant that shows up somewhere in the world. >> i'm not going to start talking about that, dr. schaffner, because i've got to sleep at night. we'll look forward to early february in the meantime. dr. william schaffner, thanks so much. >> thank you. coming up next, nearly 150
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mayors from across the country are urging congress to take action on voting rights. my next guest, a republican, signed that letter which argues our very democracy is at stake. you'll want to watatch this comg up. pepper jack cheese, and smokey baja chipotle sauce. save big. order through the app. ♪ ♪ inner voice (kombucha brewer): as a new small business owner, i find it useful to dramatically stare out of the window... that no one knows i'm secretly terrified inside. inner voice (sneaker shop owner): i'm using hand gestures and pointing... no one can tell i'm unsure about my business finances. inner voice (furniture maker): i'm constantly nodding... ...because i know everything about furniture... ...but with the business side... ...i'm feeling a little lost. quickbooks can help. an easy way to get paid, pay your staff and know where your business stands. new business? no problem. yeah. success starts with intuit quickbooks.
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open to some modest changes in the senate's filibuster rules. he made it clear he's not in favor of making changes along party lines, which puts the democrats' renewed push to pass voting rights by a simple majority in doubt. >> let me just say, to being open to a rules change that would create a nuclear option, it's very, very difficult. it's a heavy lift. >> cnn's manu raju is on capitol hill following this for some time. knows a bit of the ins and outs of senator joe manchin. the changes he's saying he might be open to really is about attendance, is it not, in terms of how many senators are in attendance rather than just saying you need 50 votes. >> yeah. it's a very modest change he is open to. right now it requires 60 votes to overcome a filibuster. he's saying how about we do two-thirds of those who are
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actually present. so if there are 90 senators there voting, it wouldn't be a 60-vote threshold, but 60% of that. the question is will that be enough to change anything. most certainly not. he's looking at aiming the filibuster to open debate. opening debate is one aspect here. you can also filibuster to end debate. he's not open to the idea of ending debate. he's open to the idea of changing the vote along straight party lines. in order to change the rules there are multiple ways to do it. you can either get bipartisan support to do it, that requires 60 senators. that's not going to happen, or they can go with the nuclear option requiring 50 votes. if one breaks ranks, whether it's joe manchin order stikerst
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sinema. but getting to the point where they can pass a voting rights bill which is proposed by republicans for a variety of reasons, mainly because it would amount to a federal takeover of elections is a very heavy lift. they don't have the votes to do it under the current order, don't have the votes to change the rules. that's leaving the democrats in a position here that they're simply talking about what is possible. if they can't find anything, they can get manchin on board, a vote will happen before january 1 17th, chuck schumer says to change the rules. given the votes, that means taking it to the voters. >> manu raju, thanks very much. this week, 146 mayors, both democrats and republicans, sent a letter to the senate urging swift action on voting rights legislation. according to the brennan center for justice, 19 states have
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passed more than 30 laws that make it harder for you to cast a ballot. this happened in the last year. one of the mayors who signed that is elizabeth couch, the republican mayor of burnsville, minnesota, also the former president of the u.s. conference of mayors. thanks for taking the time this morning. >> thank you, jim. thank you for the invitation to speak on your show. >> this is a unique moment here because people tend to think of voting rights at least in the current context of being a democratic issue with universal republican opposition. this letter shows that's not true. 146 mayors, republicans and democrats. you sent them to both chuck schumer and mitch mcconnell. what's been the response so far to this letter? >> it's been very positive. for mayors, we look at what happens in our community, and our constituents are both republicans and democrats. we want to make sure that our constituents have the right through our constitution to
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exercise their civic duty to vote on election day. so for us, it is about common sense. it is about accessing that ability to be a good citizen of the united states. >> it used to be a bipartisan issue. these voting rights legislations, laws, used to get passed with large bipartisan majorities. not today. as you know, senator manchin told reporters he's open to some modest changes to the senate's filibuster rules, possibly not enough to move this kind of legislation. do you have hope of any path forward, or do you think this is basically dead in the water right now? >> i think when i listen to him, he talks about a preference. so there is hope. my hope is that in 2022 we turn the page and we look at being
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kind and compassionate and to understand that we need to have these rights that are given to us through our constitution available to all american citizens, and we know because it's in our city halls, where elections take place. all of the lawsuits for the 2020 election were dismissed. so what does that tell you? that tells you that it is working. and if there are things we can do better, of course we can do better. so let's turn the page. let's look at how we can do this in a compassionate, caring way that really allows all of our citizens the right to vote. >> you're a republican. there is a view among republicans, for some republicans this is a democratic power grab. that's how it's been described by folks as high up as mitch
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mcconnell. explain why you think the gop and gop voters should be in favor of legislation like this? >> this legislation is for everybody. it is about giving everyone the right to vote. if any candidate, republican or democrat who is running for office, make your case for the people and let the people then vote whether you are eligible to represent them or not. so it's not a partisan issue. it's a constitutional issue. the right of every american citizen to exercise their civic duty. this is about our democracy. >> 19 states, as you know, have passed some 34 laws, who, according to the ben nan center,
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an obvious reading of those laws, don't make it easier to vote, but make it harder to vote. has that damaged the right to vote in the last year? >> well, you know, in 2020 we saw a turnout. but people, our citizens, have the courage and they're not fearful about getting out and voting. that's what's really wonderful about what's happening in our society and in our country, is that people are exercising their civic duty. that's what we want them to do. we want them to have the right to vote. we want them to say, you know, i'm an american and i have a voice. this is where their voices are heard. it's during an election. >> well, it should be a bipartisan issue, has been in the past. and we see in this letter a bipartisan effort. mayor elizabeth kautz, thanks for joining us this morning. >> thank you, jim. have a great day. >> you, too. from virtual learning to
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research shows being out of the classroom has had a negative impact on the mental health of students. cnn senior medical correspondent elizabeth cohen has more. >> reporter: like other families, the kitleys in chicago were thrilled their children could go back to school. halfway through the school year there have been bumps in the road, leaving home, going back to school. >> that transition back to school has been difficult, mostly for my youngest child who felt this sense of safety and security from the age of 7 until 8 1/2, and then needing to go back to school. >> it sounds like your daughter got used to having the comfort of having mom and dad around all the time. >> absolutely. and then is expected to just go back to school, from zero to 100, there wasn't a gradual transition. >> kitley, a therapist herself, sees the tension in her
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patients. >> they are feeling increased anxiety around just how to be and communicate with people and build friendships and being able to feel comfortable in their environment. >> have you seen children hit crisis points? >> low self-esteem and low confidence and feeling depressed, and as a coping mechanism, turning to eating disorder behavior or cutting behavior and really not being able to manage the intensity of being back in a school environment. >> reporter: last month the u.s. surgeon general issued this advisory about how the pandemic has had a negative impact on the mental health of children. one study finding youth depression and anxiety doubled. >> i'm still concerned about our children, because there is an epidemic, if you will, of mental health challenges they've been facing. >> reporter: kitley says an
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empowerment group for girls she's founded has helped. when children feel overwhelmed by the transition back to school, she offers them a safe place. >> they'll often come to my office just to get a break from the noise. i was very surprised by that, that they needed to come and get a break from the noise. >> reporter: her advice to parents, remember that if your children seem immature for their age, there's a reason. they missed out on more than a year of development with their peers. >> i mean my 12-year-old, they still act so young. they're more like elementary school kids. >> reporter: missing a year to a year and a half of social interaction for a middle school student, that's a lot. >> it was a lot. >> reporter: and be patient with your child as they transition from one way of life to another. >> their world was turned upside down. as adults, we are able to bounce
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back quicker, usually faster. for them it's going to take a little more time. >> reporter: so another reason to be patient as your children transition back to school is omicron. older children have heard of that. it's yet another thing that could be making them more anxious. jim. >> no question, a lot of conversations necessary. elizabeth cohen, thanks so much. right now the philadelphia fire department is holding a news conference about a dead lie fire there that killed some 13 people. we're going to bring you what we learned from that news conference coming up. but first, here is a look at some of the other events we're watching today.
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we want to get back to the breaking news in philadelphia, and this is a tough one. the fire department holding a news conference now about a fire in a residential building,
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multiple apartments that's killed 13 people, some of them children. cnn's brynn gingras is monitoring it this morning. we're hearing this described as one of the biggest tragedies in the city's history. what do we know? >> jim, the fire official speaking currently is actually having a hard time to even speak. he's getting choked up at moments saying of those 13 people confirmed dead, right now, preliminary information is that seven of them are children. the mayor of philadelphia actually spoke first and made the comment, losing so many kids. obviously this is a gut punch to the entire city of philadelphia. we know the fire marshal is on the scene along with the atf. we're still getting more details about that particular home. what we've learned is it is a multiple story building that was broken up into two separate apartments. we learned that the first floor at eight people inside, again, all preliminary information from the fire department as they're
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still investigating. the second and third floor which was a separate apartment might have had as many as 18 people living inside. we know in addition to the 13 people killed, eight people self-evacuated, and some people were transported to the hospital, too. one of them was a child. we also know a little bit about the smoke detector situation. the fire official saying that there were four smoke detectors found in that building. none of them were working. this is a public housing building in the city of philadelphia. according to the records, smoke detectors were installed both in 2019 and 2020. this is preliminary information we're getting from fire officials and the mayor himself. as you said, this is so tragic here in philadelphia. i want you to hear from the fire official himself in his own words, how he described it. >> the fire was extinguish ed,
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and it was -- it was terrible. most of -- i've been around for 35 years now, and this is probably one of the worst fires i've ever been to. >> you can see the emotion coming from him as he's trying to just give these updates. we also learned that they believe the fire started in the kitchen on the second floor of the building. everyone is still investigating what happened. we'll stay on this for you, jim. >> thanks, brynn gingras, just a heartbreaking story. thanks so much to all of you for joining us. so much news today. i'm jim sciutto. my colleague bianna golodryga picks it up after a short break.
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at are you a christian author with a book that you're ready to share with the world? get published now, call for your free publisher kit today! hello everyone. i'm bianna golodryga in for kate bolduan. here is what we're watching "at this hour." chicago suddenly canceling schools as -- a city-wide tragedy. a deadly fire in philadelphia leaves a staggering death toll, 13 dead. the mayor saying seven children are among the victims. mike pence in the


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