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

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gerrymandering as a whole and likely keep the map in place for the entire election cycle as the supreme court will not take up the case until the fall. so let's begin there with cnn chief legal analyst jeffrey toobin and cnn political commentator errol louis. if you're to follow what chief justice roberts' opinion states, it's that the lower court followed the law. if that was in case true, why did the majority rule the way it did? >> because this looks like yet another example of the five very conservative justices on the court getting ready to change the law, like they're getting ready to change the law on abortion, but what's so important about this case is that it's not just about one congressional seat in alabama. it's about how the voting rights act which is the key law that's supposed to prevent discrimination on the basis of race in all election-related
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matters, how that is interpreted for literally generations, since 1965, the supreme court has said you cannot draw district lines, you cannot gerrymander to disadvantage african-american voters, and what the district court held in this case is that what's the raepublicans in alabama did. what the supreme court did yesterday even without hearing an argument said, no, no, we'll reinstate the alabama republicans plan for the time being until we hear this case on the merits which, of course, means in the 2022 elections, those laws will be in place. what the district court said will disadvantage blacks will be in play, but that's what the majority is doing and even john roberts is against it. >> errol louis, so already in the shelby case, section five of the voting rights act,
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essentially turned out that provided some federal oversight of communities that make decisions like this, section two, by the way, you guys know this better than me, is the one that allows no law to discriminate on the basis of color. that's where this is going here, right? do you view this as jeffrey does, to the courts leaning toward signaling that section two is going to be gone too? >> oh, sure. this is an act of the court. no mistake about it. this is a five vote majority in favor of rapidly unraveling minority voting rights. there's just no question about it. consider this, jim. the three judge panel that approved the voting plan that would have created appointed by donald trump. i mean, this is not any way radical or unusual to have a lower court. they've been doing this since
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the 1980s as approve a voting plan that reasonably tries to correct some of the political excesses that go on at the local level. now you have a state that's 27% black and they have exactly one district out of seven as far as black voters go in alabama. by every standard the court has upheld, that would be on its face suspicious and after extensive discovery at the local level, they found that it was unlawful. this court has said, nope, they're going to change the law, they're going to let it go through. it's going to have implications all over the country. >> jeffrey, what do you make of justice kavanaugh's argument that this is in fact related to the election, the upcoming primary election there and it's just too close to an election date. do you think they would have stayed the case had this been perhaps six months ago? how much weight are you putting on the upcoming election factor in itself? >> i don't think this is an issue about timing.
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this is an issue about an agenda, and the agenda is to nullify the voting rights act and the really chilling thing about this is that the author of the opinion which demolished most of the voting rights act, section five which is the, allows the federal government to review voting rights, that was john roberts, and what we saw here is that the court went too far and too quickly, even for john roberts. that tells you how quickly the court is moving in any rightward direction. >> errol, as i can understand it, part of roberts' argument here is that by doing this, the court is overriding its own pr precedent here. i've watched a lot of nominations for nominees including those who respect the
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precedent but with the roe v. wade cases, were they misleading? have they changed their minds? is the law different? what do you see? >> i think it was always clear that even as candidates, you could sort of tell, if you looked at their background, their answers which were kind of deliberate in some cases, a bit of a smirk, you can see that they do have an agenda. it's completely consistent with the groups that appointed them. there is a minority rule agenda that spans several decades now where there are republicans, there are conservatives that are saying, listen, we're going to be outnumbered in every way that counts. however, we can fight a rear guard battle if we appoint enough of these activist judges to the high court and that's exactly what we see happening. >> errol louis, jeffrey toobin. this is a court to watch, no
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question. thanks so much. >> thank you. the other big story, uncertainty about russia's next move as the kremlin denies reports the president putin committed to no new military initiatives in eastern europe after french officials reported putin made that commitment to the french president on monday and after russia announced this morning that it will pull troops from neighboring belarus after the completion of joint military exercises. >> moments ago, i spoke with a source familiar with the biden administration's reaction to these latest comments by putin and macron. they say this. the facts of the situation have not materially changed. they note, there is still more than 100,000 russian forces on ukraine's border. the administration does continue to speak with the french, i'm told, but ultimately, notes once again, it is up to putin as to whether he invades. the administration is skeptical of these comments from france and russia. joining us now, andrea kendall
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taylor, for russia, eurasia at the national intelligence council. what is your reading here? macron puts a rosy view on conversations, putin throws some cold water on that and the white house says they're skeptical. where do you stand? >> i think i'm standing with the white house on this one. in large part, i don't think we saw anything in the joint press conference between president putin and president macron yesterday to suggest that there's any sort of breakthrough on the horizon and if anything, i think we saw a putin that was actually quite defiant in that press conference. he reiterated his view that crimea and ukraine, called into question the fact that nato is an offensive alliance and threats targeted at ukraine. so again, i think there's not a lot of room for optimism and the facts on the ground still do remain the same. the security environment is deteriorating, and so that really, that picture stands in
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sharp contrast to what i think the french are portraying. >> i agree with you, andrea. i was a bit puzzled to see macron's response this morning and his assessment of their over five hour conversation because from what we saw from putin yesterday, he was ryiled up. he seemed very angry. that leads me to, what happens next? obviously, avoiding war in more conversation is a good thing but at this point, is it getting convoluted? ge germany, scholz is going to ukraine. how many more meetings are possible before we see any sort of resolution, any sort of deescalation? >> i think we're in a hail mary territory and so i actually think it's good, the more leaders that are talking to putin putin, the better. test the proposition whether there's some sort of agreement that falls short of putin's objectives that he could take
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and walk away with and the ukrainians and nato member states could be happy with. that's the proposition that i think the united states and european leaders need to continue to test because the stakes are just so high. the fact though that russian forces continue to build on the border, we're ticking through a number of concerning military indicators that suggest that an invasion could be coming soon. there's ample reason to be pessimist ikic and i think that why we hear the biden administration reiterating they're really ready for anything because the facts suggest we're moving in a pretty concerning direction. >> one of putin's comments regarding france, rather, this is putin's spokesman, demetri peskov regarding france, paris is not the leader there. in this bloc, a very different country is in charge. what deals can we talk about? basically saying mr. macron, you don't lead this alliance but in
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fact, the u.s. president does. a bit of a swipe there. did macron's peace mission, if we can call it that, fail in this case? >> well, we do know that the russians have a preference for dealing with the united states. that's something that putin takes great pride in, he wants to portray himself as that global statesman sitting at the table, kind of on par with the united states. that's the conversation that putin really wants to have. you know, it's hard to say if macron's peace mission has failed. the door to diplomacy is not closed, but again, i can agree and align myself with the view that russia is using diplomacy to buy time as it continues to prepare its forces for what seems to be and what could be a sizable invasion of ukraine. >> a lot of people reading the tea leaves yesterday noticing that putin not once but twice referred to macron and the informal instead of format and i don't think he would have done that with president biden but one thing that i did notice from
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macron that caught my attention was that he said this crisis was not going to be resolved anytime soon. it may take months. given the amount of troops we see surrounding the country, how sustainable could it really be for the kremlin to keep so many 100,000 if not more troops in place for months? >> i think that's one of the key questions is, you know, you're exactly what you're saying. how long can they maintain this heightened state of readiness? again, putin here is the master of actional ity. they could maintain this posture for a while with a slow grind scenario to hurt ukraine's economy, wear down the nerves. that is plausible. i think that contradicts with what we see happen militarily which does, again suggest, he's
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poised for a military operation. >> in the meantime, giving putin all the attention he's craving, one world leader after another coming to heat wmeet with him, long tables, i might add. andrea kendall taylor, thank you so much. >> thank you. up next, a cnn exclusive. the prosecutor investigating donald trump's efforts to overturn the election in georgia speaks one on one with cnn. >> are you worried that former president trump could somehow be able to avoid, delay what's going on with your investigation? >> what she's revealing about that key question in the investigation. plus, pressures mounting on the white house and cdc. more states, red and blue, drop mask mandates in schools. hear from a health care worker and mother of four who says, in her view, it's time to stop masking children. nfl lawsuit alleging racial discrimination prompts meeting with roger goodell and civil rights leaders, changes to what's known as the rooney rule.
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a warning to former president donald trump subpoenas are coming from georgia's fulton county d.a. that a criminal th investigation will not be del
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delayed. >> saying trump can't be prosecuted for potential time in office. more. >> reporter: the area district attorney investigating donald trump says as soon as she has a special grand jury seated in may, she'll start firing off subpoenas. >> most of them will probably start to come in a heavier flow for lack of a better word in june. certainly some in may. >> reporter: bonnie willis said she isn't worried about slowing the probe in the effort to overturn the election results in 2020. >> are you worried former president trump could avoid, delay what's going on with your investigation? >> no. >> why is that? what gives you that confidence? >> this is a criminal investigation. we're not here playing a game. i plan to use the power of the law. we are all citizens. mr. trump, just as every other american citizen is entitled to dignity, entitled to be treated fairly, treated fairly in this jurisdiction but i plan to do my job and my job is to make sure that we get the evidence that gives us the truth.
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i'm not concerned at all about gu games to delay this. >> reporter: the argument he can't be prosecuted for actions while president will protect him in georgia. >> i don't think that protection will prevent a prosecution if that becomes necessary in this state case. >> reporter: already met twice about plans to move the investigation forward. >> for instance, last calendar year, i assured them what i knew, we would not bring forward an indictment in the year. i met them in the end of 2021 to tell they will i would meet moving forward, not necessarily with an indictment but the next step of an investigation. >> reporter: wil lis launched hr investigation after an hour long recording went public with brad ra . >> i just want to find 11,780
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votes which is one more than we have, because we won the state. >> reporter: the request for the grand jury had reasonable probability of criminal disruptions around the 2020 election. >> listening to that phone call but the benefit of having talked to a lot of witnesses and probably read more on this than most people would like to. >> reporter: digging into trump's actions as well as those of his allies including former attorney rudy giuliani, former chief of staff mark meadows and south carolina governor lindsey graham, may witness as part of the probe. >> issuing subpoenas to a lot of people and not all of them are going to welcome our invitation to come speak with us. >> reporter: hopes to make a charging decision by end of 2022. we sat down with wil lis in an atlanta hotel, security threat at the fulton county courthouse. already on high alert after trump took aim at her and others
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in a rally. >> i hope we have the biggest protest we have ever had in washington, dc, in new york, in atlanta. >> reporter: after those comments, asked the fbi for help with security deficiencies and sharing intelligence on potential threats. >> i don't want to pretend like i didn't hear what i heard. it would be crazy for me to not pay attention to that, so i wanted to make sure they were also paying attention. >> reporter: we also asked the district attorney when she's planning on talking to brad, the georgia secretary of state, really at the center of this whose call with donald trump set it all off. she knows what it's like to be in the middle of a campaign as brad's in the middle of reelection. she's not going to try to get him talk before the grand jury before the may primary but not certainly going to hold off until the november midterms. >> thank you so much. jeffrey toobin is back with us. jeffrey, you know the law.
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president's on tape. he's saying, he's a sitting president with all the powers of the office. he's saying to georgia's premier election official, secretary of state, find me the votes. one more than necessary to overturn the state and by the way, now we know that this was part of a broader mosaic of trump attempt to overturn the election. what does the law say? what is the legal standard to establish that was potentially criminal interference as opposed to just donald trump talking? >> georgia has a law that really directly addresses this whole issue which basically says it is a crime to encourage election fraud and the central issue in this is whether the president, the now former president intended to have fraud committed. the defense in this case will be, if there is a case, i was just acting in good faith, i
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wanted all the votes counted because i really believed i won. i acted in good faith. the question is, does this phone call and all the other evidence show that it was not a good faith attempt to count all the votes but actually to encourage fraud? that's the heart of this case. >> to pick up on that. for over a year, we now have heard that phone call where the former president was asking to find that specific amount of votes but what we heard from bonnie willis here is she said she has read more and seen more than others have yet. what is the likelihood that some new information will be brought out to the public eye throughout this investigation? >> you know, that really jumped out at me in sara's report. that comment from the district attorney which is, there's more than just the tape. and i think, you know, the audio tape is definitely incriminating, but i think some people believe that you just
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play the tape and donald trump will get convicted. there is absolutely no way a responsible prosecutor would act on the tape alone. but it does appear that based on what the district attorney said, she is proceeding as if this is a full investigation of everything that went on in georgia and a lot of stuff went on in georgia. for example, the question of why and how the u.s. attorney, not the district attorney, the federal prosecutor in atlanta, was forced out of office by the trump administration in the middle of this effort to try to overturn the election. all of that is part of this investigation and it looks like the district attorney as well as his operating in a methodical and fair way to make a fair decision about whether there's a criminal case here. >> jeffrey, is this solely focused on efforts in georgia or
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can the prosecution make an argument that other efforts to overturn the results, again, that have been revealed in a whole host of other investigations around the country are relevant to this case or does this have to be all about georgia? >> i think, certainly, any criminal case will have to be about georgia. the georgia statute speaks only of election fraud within georgia. if there is compelling evidence of a pattern of behavior perhaps they could bring that into a criminal case but frankly, i think ms. willis has her work cut out for her just dealing with georgia. there is, of course, the new york investigation, the federal investigation of january 6th. i don't imagine that ms. willis will find up investigating in any serious way other states because there's plenty to look at here in georgia. >> as we heard from there, making some news we could see subpoenas in may and more this
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summer. jeffrey toobin, thank you as always. we appreciate it. >> all right. still ahead, as states make moves to drop mask hanmandates in some schools, some parents say it can't come soon enough. a mom who's also a doctor. hear what she says about it all. . for insights on when to buy and sell. and proactive alerts on market evenents. that's decision tech. only from fidelity.
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may have noticed a growing number of states roll back covid-19 restrictions as cases and hospitalizations fall across the country. this week, delaware, california, connecticut, new jersey and oregon all announced plans to end the school or indoor mask mandates and it's a notable one because it's a bipartisan move now we're seeing, bianna. >> it's a decision that comes as a relief for some parents. our next guest is a mother of four and an internal medicine specialist. in a new piece and time, she writes, many parts of the u.s. issued mask mandates in 2020 when covid-19 was new and poorly understood. it was sensible to take maximum precautions in chaotic and frightening situation but two years later, we know much more about the virus and how to stop it. joining us now, doctor and mom, jennifer, welcome to the program. i'm interested to your hear opinion.
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we asked, are masks effective for children in schools to prevent or to slow the risk of spread and he says yes. so what evidence are you pointing towards that gives you reason to say now is the time, as a doctor and a mom, that masks aren't necessary in school? >> good morning. thank you for having me here today. i'm coming to this as a very concerned parent and happen to be a physician, and have witnessed firsthand the struggles my children have gone through with masking and children of family and friends. as i said in the article, two years ago, we didn't know much. everyone was frightened. two years into this, we have a significant more knowledge about this virus and how it's transmitted and who is the most at risk for severe complications and it is not our kids. there hasn't been any evidence that has manifested that shows
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that mask mandates in schools are effective or that schools are sites of super spreader events. >> listen, i will grant, we've been covering this story that there are some doctors and some epidemiologists who look at the data and see benefit like dr. paul offit and others who look at the balance of cost and benefits, as you are, they're not worth it. as a parent because i'm a parent as well, a big focus has been, understandably, keeping schools open, right, and i wonder, even if there's some marginal benefits of masking, is it worth it for that greater goal, arguably of keeping schools open, so kids don't have to do remote learning anymore? >> well, as with any medical intervention, you need to weigh the risk versus benefit and what we're not talking about as much is the risk and detriment of
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masking children over six hours a day. children highly reliant on non-verbal feedback, looking at pe people's faces, that's how they develop their social and emotional intelligence skills as well as cognitive skills and there are also occasionally can be physical side effects and there's just these, we need to think about these risks we put our children through every day and need to talk about, and i don't think we even really fully realize the damage that we have done to our children with masking these past two years. i think we're probably just going to see the beginning of it. i do not think that the risk is worth the benefit. >> can you go into a bit more detail about what that damage looks like and the impact that it's had on children, just, if anything anecdotally from what you've seen in your children and what other parents at your school and your friends have
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relayed to you? >> yeah, absolutely. so masking can negatively affect learning and have significant social and emotional harms. for example, my first grader has had to learn to read and write without ever seeing the lower half of his teacher's face and he's never known a normal school experience. he's had to go to school with all these mask and protocols in place and has never gotten to see the reactions or the laughs or the smiles on his peers' faces when he tells a funny story and these are just significantly impacted his experience and how they socially develop and they are missing cues and small social nuances because of covering up of faces. >> yeah. look, i think a lot of parents would agree with you and it's a concern that the doctors have as well and psychologists too. i think the bigger question is just from a practical standpoint, will teachers be
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taking their masks off as much as parents would like to see that happen to benefit their children, there's a lot of factors in play here but this is really an important opinion and perspective to share that i know many of our viewers believe as well. dr. jennifer knips, thank you, we appreciate it. >> thank you very much. a new government report detailing just how bad america's opioid epidemic is getting. since 2019, mexico the dominant source of fentanyl trafficked into the u.s., the height of the pandemic, more than one in ten americans started or increased their substance use creating greater demand for fentanyl. >> so deadly. the commission behind the new report several to reduce opioid trafficking with the dangers of opioids, expanded treatment for opioid abuse and bolstering harm reduction interventions, the head of the dea said fentanyl showing up in every state in the
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country and is leading to an increase in overdoses. >> this starting in 2015, recently here in the united states seen exponential increases in fentanyl which is the most deadly drug. 64,000 of those 100,000 deaths, the overdose deaths attributable to fentanyl. the problem has gotten worse. what we've seen is that there's a number of things that are happening. covid, of course, is one of them, and i think we can't ignore that. the other piece is that fentanyl is now in all 50 states. it's lacing every other drug, whether that's methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, every other drug and it's also being sold in new forms like fake prescription pills so people think they're buying a xanax or adderall or oxycodone and then getting fentanyl, dying in record rates. >> serious crisis facing the country right now and hear the full interview with cnn's kate
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bolduan in the next hour. why house gop leaders played this video of the new england patriots at their conference meeting this morning. what message were they trying to send? we'll be live on capitol hill next. west homes on the market, super fast. so we could finally buy our first "big boi house." big boi house. big boi kitchen! big boi waterfall shower! big boi crawl space. big boi sold sign, big boi logo. realtor.com to each their home. ♪[music]♪ at aetna® we're sfting medicare coverage into high gear with benefits you may be eligible for when you turn 65. benefits that may include a $0 monthly plan premium. telehealth emergency coverage while you travel an over-the-counter allowance plus dental, vision, and hearing because the right medicare plan should help you feel...yeah, like that.
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i didn't know my genetic report could tell me i was prone to harmful blood clots. i travel a ton, so this info was kind of life changing. maybe even lifesaving. ♪do you know what the future holds?♪ . republican candidate vernon jones has ended his bid for georgia governor and is now planning to run for congress instead. >> in announcing his decision, jones threw his support behind former u.s. senator david perdue
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whom former president trump also backed against the incumbent governor brian kemp in the primary. cnn capitol hill reporter melanie with more. we know trump has been trying to clear the field here. does not like kemp because of his wishes to overturn the election results in georgia. do we know what's behind the decision and the congressional seat he plans to run for? >> reporter: this has been in the making for weeks now. met with jones and encouraged him to drop out of the governor's race to say, i will endorse you for congress if you run for a house seat instead intended to close the gap between kemp and perdue because even though vernon jones was struggling in the race, was eating up votes from trump's candidate perdue. vernon jones in the 10th congressional district that is a
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solid red district. it's currently represented by jodie heiss running for secretary of state and members of the freedom caucus behind a different candidate in the race and they're going to be at odds with trump and i'm told a lot of members are not happy about the idea of vernon jones getting in with a trump endorsement but we'll see whether the trump backing here really shakes up the race, it's a crowded field, as i mentioned. >> so understandably now, republican leaders are scrambling trying to find some way to deal with the infighting. that's understandable. what's a bit puzzling is the example they're turning to help alleviate some of that, and the football team, the new england patriots. what more are you learning? >> reporter: that's right. i'm told house minority leader kevin mccarthy played a video clip this morning during the conference meeting that showed a super bowl game for 20 years ago where the rams were introduced individually on the field versus the patriots who were introduced
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as a team and of course, went on to win that super bowl and many more. listen to a part of that video clip that was played. >> and now, ladies and gentlemen, choosing to be introduced as a team, here are the american football conference champions, the new england pat patriots. >> reporter: so i'm told the message there was play like a team, be united in an effort to win back the majority and the house and this, of course, comes right after the rnc voted to censure adam kinzinger and liz cheney. >> didn't mccarthy take cheney out of her leadership position, and speaking of unity, looking back. melanie, thank you very much. roger goodell met with civil rights leaders days after the
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at the beijing winter games, nathan chen shattering the record in the short program. flawless performance with unprecedented 113.97 points. chen's emotion could be felt from the ice as he punched the air at the end of his program. >> he's in a good position now but got a way to go. four years ago, chen failed to complete any of his jumps in the short program and finished fifth medals medals, not awarded until thursday but thanks to his performance, chen does have a commanding lead, boy, bianna, we need good news. >> glad to see him perform that. civil rights leaders asking to do more from the nfl to ask
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hiring in positions. >> coy wire with more. a meeting with commissioner roger goodell. the record, not great from the groups. did we see any concrete progress? >> reporter: that's the word that so far so good, jim. good morning to you, bianna. meeting came a week after a class action lawsuit filed by brian flores, miami dolphins, suing with organizations for alleged racial discrimination. among those involved naacp derek johnson, the president and ceo of national urban league, and reverend al sharpton, the national action network. they're calling on goodell to replace the rooney rule which requires teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching, general manager and executive jobs. new data this morning, johnson called the meeting a good start. listen.
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>> for a long time. as it relates to head coaches, not what they thought it should be or would be. looking at a few days ago, only one in the league, african-american cultures are, can be successful as any other culture but they have to be provided an opportunity and up until this point, they have not been provided an opportunity. >> over the weekend, goodell released a memo saying the lack of black head coaches in the nfl is, quote, unacceptable. next, houston texans served as the defensive coach and 63-year-old led the bears to the super bowl. his nine years in chicago and served as the bucs head man for two seasons and second minority to be named head coach in this cycle. brian flores was one of the reported finalists for the texans job and in a statement,
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floers' lawyer said flores was happy to see smith hired but added, quote, the only reason not selected was his decision to stand up against racial inequality across the nfl, unquote. brian flores hoping to land another head coaching job, jim and bianna, now all vacancies have been filled. >> and all of this happening, coy, with the super bowl just five days away. >> reporter: yeah, super bowl week long party started. bengals, rams, media on zoom calls for the traditional opening night. and then later in the day, jim and bianna, pep rallies with the fans but rams did it at a high school outside of l.a. and bengals hosted 30,000 fans at paul brown stadium in cincinnati. star quarterback joe burrow has done it all this year, hasn't he, on this super bowl run. joe burr his nickname, joe cool, even the nickname joey franchise and asked which one he likes
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best. listen. >> oh, man. i don't know. i don't know. i have a lot of them. just call me joe. whatever anybody wants to call me is okay with me. >> reporter: super star. jim, bianna, fascinating to think that four wins last season, that's all they had. burrow had a torn acl, here they are, led them back to a super bowl. incredible. >> broadway joe already taken, a few years ago. sorry, bianna. >> i said he wants to be called super bowl winner, that's what he wants to be called. i'll answer that for him. >> coy wire, thank you very much. we'll be right back.
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a quick programming note for you. cnn has a new original series focused on the complicated presidency of lyndon banks johnson. don't miss the premiere of lbj, triumph and tragedy, february 20th at 9:00 p.m. >> if you don't know a lot about him, it's worth watching. thank you for joining us today. i'm jim sciutto. >> i'm bianna golodryga. "at this hour" with kate bolduan starts right now. hello, everyone. i'm kate bolduan. here's what we're watching at this hour. pipeline diplomacy as russia continues to build up troops on the ukraine border. president biden tries to make clear an invasion would come at a real cost. no more masks. several states aren't waiting for the cdc to take the lead as covid cases drop, they're ending mask mandates. one of the deadliest substances on the planet. d. e. a. with a massive new operation to take on

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