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Schumer to Hold Test Vote on Voting Rights Bill Tuesday; GOP Crushes Manchin's Hopes for Voting Rights Compromise; Cruz: Critical Race Theory "Every Bit as Racist" as KKK; Combating "Re-Entry Syndrome" As Nation Returns to Normal; Unprecedented Hot, Dry Conditions Grip Western U.S.; Motown Museum Gets $5 Million From MacKenzie Scott. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired June 18, 2021 - 15:30   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Then what is he doing this for?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well look, I think this is the early stages of what is going to be, a multiact play. But it is a clarifying moment. The fact that Manchin came further than most people expected in the direction that Democrats wanted to see of creating a national floor of voting rights.

Putting limits on the ability of red states to gerrymander themselves into control of Congress. And kind of took a step toward Democrats, allows the party to unify behind a proposal that will, as you know, inevitably draw a Republican filibuster.

We've heard on a call that Manchin gave earlier this week that was leaked to "The Intercept" that he is struggling with the -- with the prospects that Republicans will unify again and to block this as they did the January 6th commission. And the help of Democrats continues to be that if, in fact, on issue after issue Republicans refuse to kind of move in any direction toward compromise, that ultimately he will agree at least on the issues of democracy to create some kind of carve-out for the filibuster. There's no guarantee it's going to happen.

But the fact that they have a proposal that the party can largely unify behind -- even though there's aspects of it that are difficult for Democrats, like national voter i.d. -- moves the ball in that direction. And many more twists yet to come on this, Victor. But I think by-and-large for voting rights advocates this is a better outcome than they expected heading into next week.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: I mean, it has been interesting to see Joe Manchin work his own way through the five stages of grief on bipartisanship. (INAUDIBLE) this is exercise is.

BLACKWELL: Where does this end? CAMEROTA: Right. But I know you wanted to bring this up --

BLACKWELL: Ted Cruz at the Faith and Freedom Forum, he makes a comparison to Critical Race Theory. Let's listen to what he said here.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Critical Race Theory says every white person is a racist. Critical Race Theory says America's fundamentally racist and irredeemably racist. Critical Race Theory seeks to turn us against each other and if someone has a different color skin, seeks to make us hate that person. And let me tell you right now, Critical Race Theory is bigoted, it is a lie, and it is every bit as racist as the Klansmen in white sheets.



ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's remarkable that not one word of what he said about Critical Race Theory is true. He either hasn't read it or is deliberately speaking pretty much the opposite of what that somewhat abstract legal theory attempts to get you to think about in a legal and academic context.

You know, look, this demonstrates I think that you have the far right that has hijacked the term. They've turned it into whatever it is they choose to make it, and now he's comparing some legal scholars who have been sort of banging away at hidden biases in the legal system. they've been doing this for a couple of decades. He's now comparing that to the terrorists of the Ku Klux Klan.

If this is what people choose to believe, then the argument is completely lost. You can't argue with a Ted Cruz over something like this because he is completely inventing a strawman that he then sort of burns down to the delight of the crowd. I don't know what to make of it. If that's what politics has become, I can only compare it to what we all know to be backlash politics. Meaning civil rights takes an advance and then there's a counter movement, and the counter movement is vicious and it's loud, and it's ignorant. And Senator Cruz is all of those things.


BLACKWELL: Errol Louis, Ron Brownstein --

CAMEROTA: Yes, quickly Ron.

BLACKWELL: Go ahead.

BROWNSTEIN: Real quick. The belief that racism doesn't exist is now one of the animating unifying principles of the Republican coalition. If it wasn't for Critical Race Theory, it would be something else. Three quarters of Republicans say discrimination against whites is now as big a problem as discrimination against minorities. Politicians like Cruz are always looking for ways to stoke that emotion. And literally if it wasn't Critical Race Theory there would be something else in that space, in that speech.

CAMEROTA: You're right. It would be crazy that they would claim something like the insurrection didn't happen.

BLACKWELL: Ron, Errol, thank you both. And be sure to watch CNN special report "ASSAULT ON DEMOCRACY," this weekend. Drew Griffin talks with the people who were in Washington on January 6th. And he offers new insight on what happened that day. That's Sunday night at 9:00 right here on CNN.

Still ahead, the CDC changes its for cruises and the EU is relaxing its travel restrictions. But a lot of people just are not feeling ready to go back out into the world, understandably. I'll speak with a psychiatrist about COVID re-entry syndrome.



BLACKWELL: As things continue to get back to normal, a lot of people are anxious about getting back to pre-pandemic life. It's called re- entry syndrome. Now traditionally, psychologists reserve the term for soldiers returning from a war zone or prisoners being released back home. But my next guest says that re-entry syndrome is something we are all grappling with in one way or another.

Carmine Pariante is a professor of psychiatry at Kings College in London. Professor, thanks for being with us.


Before we get to re-entry syndrome, I just hear my friends and my colleagues say that I can't wait until we get life back to the way it was. That we can go back to who we were. The truth is that after a year of being isolated and rethinking our lives and all of that, you say that we are not the same. We cannot go back there, right?

CARMINE PARIANTE, PROFESSOR OF PSYCHIATRY, KINGS COLLEGE, LONDON: Well, absolutely. So re-entry syndrome is used to kind of describe a situation where we are no longer the people that we used to be before COVID. And the society around us is not the same society that we used to know before COVID. So we are say, not prepared or some of us have lost the skills or we just have to slowly gain the skills again.

BLACKWELL: So what's the syndrome here? Because it sounds a little intimidating when you think we all have this syndrome, we're all walking around with. What is it?

PARIANTE: No, absolutely. And I think, you know, the syndrome kind of defines it almost like a medical problem which, of course, it is not for majority of people. I think most of us will just simply feel some discomfort, some uneasiness, and some anxiety in doing things that before were quite simple for us to do, go to crowded place, meet friends, socialize.

Perhaps even do things like, you know, small talking and having the conversation, having physical intimacy. So things that were part of our normal kind of repertoire of experience of course is something that many of us have not been able to do for a long time. And so we feel some discomfort at the beginning. And -- which we will be able to overcome with some time.


PARIANTE: But I think the importance of using the syndrome is, the word syndrome, is for some of us it's not going to be so easy. It's not going to be some kind of general discomfort. So there are people that perhaps already had mental health difficulties before the pandemic started or may have developed mental health difficulties during the pandemic, and for these people, of course, being at home in some cases had some kind of protective effect. And now they have to kind of phase again the world outside.

For these people it's going to be more difficult. They may experience actually significant levels of anxiety, fear of being socially awkward, or actually fear of being, you know, infected by the virus. And in general just not being comfortable in the society as they used to be.

BLACKWELL: So what do you do? Do you wait for to pass? Do you get treatment? Do you reach out to speak to someone?

PARIANTE: Again, all of this is possible. I think most of us, most people just simply have to face the little discomfort and accept that it will be difficult at the beginning, and will go, you know, will just get better with time. And so my first kind of recommendation is that, you know, nobody should stay at home anymore just because they feel uncomfortable. They should, you know, gently, kindly, with kindness toward themselves force themselves to do the things they used to do.

People who are suffering from mental health difficulties, who are experiencing perhaps a relapse in their anxiety, then of course they should be seeking help. Most of us they just simply not give up.

BLACKWELL: Well some people aren't as gentle and kind with the request to return to the crowds. I want you to listen to the CEO of Morgan Stanley here speaking to members of his industry, some workers there, about returning to the office.


JAMES GORMAN, CEO, MORGAN STANLEY: If you can go to a restaurant in New York City, you can come into the office. And we want you in the office.


BLACKWELL (on camera): So OK, from a physical maybe spatial perspective, sure. But psychologically, socially, is that a fair comparison?

PARIANTE: Well, I mean, first of all, you know, we know the re-entry syndrome is worse if you're forced to go into a new situation and is worse if you are not in a supportive environment. So you know, going to a restaurant especially early on will be a choice that all of us wants to do to kind of feel better and meet friends, and you know, going to the restaurant is different than going to the office. Going to the restaurant is an element of, of course, pleasure.

Going to the office may be a choice, maybe not. That needs to be taken into consideration. The more supportive we can be as bosses and, you know, supervisors, friends, mentors, the most supportive and compassionate we can be with the people around us who have difficulties, you know, the sooner they get better.

BLACKWELL: All right, Professor Carmine Pariante, thank you so much for being with us. This is -- this is really rough. We went to two events this week, and I felt it.

CAMEROTA: You felt nervous?

BLACKWELL: I felt the anxiety. Was it obvious?

CAMEROTA: No, it wasn't obvious at all. Because I was shot out of a cannon. I was excited to be at events with other people inside, indoors, in a bar. But I know that not everybody feels that way.

BLACKWELL: Some deep exhales to get through those events, but I made it. I made it.

CAMEROTA: Yes, you did.


All right, still ahead, Jeff Bezos' ex-wife donates billions of dollars to charities, and one of the recipients, the Motown Museum, joins us live to tell us what they're going to do with it.


BLACKWELL: Right now across the West in the U.S., it's a most expansive, extreme drought on record. Four states are in drought conditions. California is one of them.

CAMEROTA: Look at these satellite images. This is of Lake Orville Dam, north of Sacramento, and that is 2019 on the left of your screen versus today. And you can see so much more brown, obviously on the right side of your screen. More than 6,000 farms in California's Central Valley could soon lose water.


And CNN's Stephanie Elam is live from Lake Meade, Nevada. Stephanie we understand that it is expected to reach the lowest levels there ever today.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we're right in that zone of when that's going to happen here since it was filled early on many decades ago. And the highest level when you look at those iconic picture, Alisyn and Victor, of the Hoover Dam, and you see that sort of chocolate brown on the top of the rock and the white on the bottom. That is speaking to just how much the water has fallen.

Some 5.5 trillion gallons of water have been lost over the last couple of decades or so, so much so that you could fit the Empire -- I'm sorry not the Empire State Building, but the Statue of Liberty in that area without the base. That shows you how much it's dropped. And this water behind me, some of these islands you see behind me you shouldn't be able to see because they should be under water.

And this is all part of the massive Colorado River Basin. And it affects seven states. Another one of those stays impacted by this is Utah. That's where I met up with rancher T.J. Atkin, and he says right now all of the reservoirs on his property are completely dry. Take a listen to a little bit of our conversation.


T.J. ATKIN, CATTLE RANCHER: We have about 200 reservoirs, and every one of them is dry right now.

ELAM: Like dry.

ATKIN: Dry, you know, but --

ELAM: Nothing.

ATKIN: We don't have a drop in any one of them, and we've never done that in 85 years.

It's such a large area. I mean, it's almost half of the United States now. And if this goes one more year, it'll have a huge effect on everyone.


ELAM (on camera): And when he says a huge effect on everyone, he means Americans because so much of what we consume, what we eat is grown out here in the west or raised out here in the west. So obviously that is a big concern. Now the other point to listen to here is that scientists do believe climate change is part of this and that we're seeing super high temperatures earlier in the year. Right now it's 112 degrees and that's leading to the drought and those drought conditions are then leading to more high temperatures -- Victor and Alisyn.

BLACKWELL: 112 degrees.

CAMEROTA: 112 degrees.

Oh, my gosh. Stephanie, thank you very much.

ELAM: All week long. All week long.

CAMEROTA: Wow. Thank you for alerting us to that. Just a really disturbing development. OK, we want to introduce you now to CNN hero Shirley Raines. She

provides food, clothes and so much more to people in L.A.'s homeless community.


SHIRLEY RAINES, CNN HERO: Good to see y'all. Happy Saturday kid.

RAINES: I address them as kings and queens because that is who they are. You what them to feel beautiful

RAINES: What do you want? Haircut, hair? OK.

RAINES: When they say they are broken, I am, too. How did you get fixed? I'm not. I take Prozac 20 milligrams every day. What the heck? I ain't fixed, child. I ain't fixed at all. I'm not going to lie to you and tell you things are going better now. But what I am going to do is feed you while you are out here. What I am going to do is do you hair. What I am going to do is give you a hug. What I am going to do is encourage you and speak life into you. And that's what I can do.

RAINES: That was Mickey on the line you guys. Give her a hand. Give her a hand. Give her a hand, give her a hand.




CAMEROTA: OK, the Motown Museum, Hitsville USA in Detroit is in the midst of a $50 million campaign to try to expand the place where founder Berry Gordy's musical dreams came to life and that fundraising effort just got a $5 million donation from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

BLACKWELL: You know, she divorced Amazon founder Jeff Bezos two years ago, recently announced she and her new husband are donating nearly $3 billion to hundreds of groups focused on the arts and fighting racial discrimination.

Let's bring in Robin Terry, the CEO and chairwoman of the Motown Museum. Robin, thanks so much for being with us. First, we know you've got a long way to go, but this $5 million. Tell us how you feel about it.

ROBIN TERRY, CHAIRWOMEN AND CEO, MOTOWN MUSEUM: It certainly helps. Well we are over the moon. So Victor and Alisyn, I appreciate you having me on just to share how excited we are about this gift. It was unexpected, and we could not be happier.

CAMEROTA: Tell us how you got the news.

TERRY: A phone call.

CAMEROTA: Tell me what they said and how you responded that MacKenzie -- MacKenzie Scott somehow identified you guys as the, you know, beneficiaries.

TERRY: What I can tell you is that I was surprised. I was extremely grateful. This doesn't happen -- you know, this happens once in a lifetime when somebody does something so generous to support so many organizations across this country who are deserving because they are doing good work. So we felt really honored to get that call.

BLACKWELL: Robin, I'm surprised that it just comes as a call that this -- I thought there was some proposal. Once you hear this a billionaire has given out money, I would imagine she's getting requests. She just called.

TERRY: Well, it was just a phone call, and I will tell you, you know, there were six really wonderful organizations in Michigan who received the same call that I got, and all of us are just, you know, over the moon by that.

CAMEROTA: So how are you going to use your $5 million?

TERRY: Well, what makes, you know, MacKenzie Scott's gift so unique is that it allows us to reinvest in our organizations. It allows me to reinvest in Motown Museum and in our infrastructure and our staff to try and rebound quite frankly from, you know, what was a really challenging year for businesses and cultural institutions in 2020.

So not only will it allow to us do that, but as you mentioned it also allows us to invest in our future. And as we expand and create a, you know, nearly $50,000 square foot campus that will celebrate the rich heritage, music heritage, entrepreneurial heritage of Motown, it certainly helps that also.

BLACKWELL: Wow. We're seeing some of the video now of the plans, and that is beautiful. When you see first the facade of the original and then what's coming behind it. It's fantastic. Listen, Robin Terry, thank you so much for being with us to share a little bit about this great news and what you're going do with the Motown Museum, and congratulations to everybody there.

TERRY: Well, thanks again for having me.

BLACKWELL: Certainly.

CAMEROTA: We need to take a field trip.

BLACKWELL: Yes, you know, I've not been to the Motown Museum. I've got friends from Detroit I've known for a while and I've not been up there. I need to go.

CAMEROTA: Yes, for sure. And that's a great phone call to get. I mean, MacKenzie Scott, look, that's a wonderful, wonderful thing because it comes with no strings attached. She's going to let them decide how they want to use it.

BLACKWELL: I thought there were applications. Apparently they are making calls and dropping off money. Phone line's open. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now. END