Return to Transcripts main page

CNN TONIGHT

Wearing A Mask Isn't Trump's Fashion; Trump Claims Huge Voter Fraud In Mail-in Voting; With All 50 States Partially Reopened, Health Experts Say It Is Critical To Avoid Super Spreading Events; Thousands Of Crew Members Are Stranded On Cruise Ships, Isolation Taking A Heavy Toll; State Police Search Home Of Suspects In Arbery Killing. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired May 20, 2020 - 23:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[23:00:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.

Eleven p.m. here on the East Coast. We've got the latest on the coronavirus pandemic.

There are now more than 1.5 million cases of the coronavirus in the United States and more than 93,000 deaths in this country. There are now nearly five million confirmed cases of coronavirus around the world. More than 300,000 deaths.

And here's a sobering statistic. The World Health Organization reports that today saw the largest single day increase in cases since the outbreak began.

As of today, all 50 states are now partially reopened. Connecticut, the final state to begin lifting some of its restrictions allowing retail shops and restaurants to get back in business. But health experts still caution it may be too soon in some areas of the country.

Seventeen states are seeing an upward trend in cases, and President Trump saying today that he thinks the director of the CDC, Dr. Robert Redford -- Redfield, excuse me, is doing a very good job. But sources tell CNN Redfield's fate at the agency is in question as Trump looks for people to blame.

I want to bring in now CNN White House correspondent John Harwood and our resident fact checker Daniel Dale. Good evening. John, more than 93,000 people have now died from coronavirus in this country, but instead of focusing on the pandemic, President Trump is back to his old playbook of attacking political enemies, distracting. Why is he lashing out when he should be buckling down?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Don, I think it's pretty clear that he feels the walls closing in on him. It is true that trends in the pandemic have improved, and we're seeing the kind of direction we want to moving down that curve, generally speaking, and testing is up and positivity is down, all that sort of stuff. But 93,000 people have lost their lives. The economy which was good at

the start of the year when he was running for re-election is now a wreck. Most Americans poll show think he has done a poor job. They don't believe the things that he says.

And so, he is lashing out with this crazy libel against Joe Scarborough, our colleague at MSNBC, these crazy lies that he told today about voting procedures in Michigan which happens to be a state that he needs to win in the election.

So, it's pretty clear that he's not entirely rational. He's not particularly healthy mentally. He's not healthy politically, and he's feeling a lot of pressure.

LEMON: Yes, does this behavior all come down to the election and these polls that are showing that Joe Biden is on top?

HARWOOD: I don't think it all comes down to the election because I think a lot of this is about Donald Trump's psyche and how he needs to feel about himself and how he feels when he feels rejection from others.

But it is plain, Quinnipiac had a poll out today that showed Joe Biden ahead by 11 points, 50 to 39. That is a large margin in presidential politics. It showed that Americans are more likely to say that Joe Biden cares about average people, that he has good leadership skills. And Donald Trump is just on the short side in battleground states and nationally. And so that adds to his distress.

LEMON: Daniel Dale, President Trump started out the day tweeting that Michigan's secretary of state broke the law by sending millions of ballots to voters. He kept going with the claim that at an event this afternoon. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: When you send out 7.7 million mail-in ballots, there's forgeries. There's frankly duplication, where they print ballots on the same kind of paper with the same kind of machinery and you can't tell the difference. And they send in thousands and thousands of fake ballots. And I'll tell you what, this nation can't be going down that path because it's a very dangerous path to go down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: What are the facts here?

DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: Don, it's not an exaggeration to say that a very high percentage of the things President Trump has said on the subject of voter fraud since the election in 2016 have been wrong. And this stuff today was just wrong.

I'm going to rattle off a bunch of facts very quickly about this particular claim. Number one, Michigan secretary of state did not send out actual ballots to Michigan voters. It was an absentee ballot application to all 7.7 million registered voters.

[23:04:57]

Number two, this is not illegal under Michigan law or federal law. Number three, Republican secretaries of state in states like Georgia and Iowa and others did the exact same thing or very similar.

Number four, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, told reporters on Monday on a conference call that she doesn't have an issue with secretaries of state sending out absentee ballot applications.

And number five, as I've said before, voter fraud in this country is exceedingly rare. Now experts say it may be slightly more common with mail voting than in-person voting but we're talking about a tiny fraction.

So, again, the president's words on the subject of voter fraud are consistently wrong and extremely wrong and they were again today.

LEMON: OK, Daniel, I want you to check out what else the president said about Michigan today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We're going to help Michigan. Michigan is a great state. I've gotten tremendous business to go to Michigan. Michigan is one of the reasons I ran. I was honored in Michigan long before I thought about -- I was honored as the man of the year in Michigan at a big event and I got up and I remember so well -- I spoke probably five, six years before I even thought about running for president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DALE: I know.

LEMON: Is this happening? My God.

DALE: This is --

LEMON: Is there any --but is there any truth to that?

DALE: No. This is one of my favorite Trump lies out of all the thousands of Trump lies. He was never named Michigan man of the year. He's been saying this for more than three years now. I've sadly spent a bunch of time looking into it.

A former Republican congressman called me up earlier this year -- or maybe it was last year, I forget -- and explain to me what he thought happened. There was a 2013 Republican dinner Trump was invited to before he was in politics. He did give a speech. He was given a plaque of some sort but he was not given any award, it was like thank you for speaking at our event.

So, no, he has never been named Michigan man of the year although he's saying this over and over and over still. LEMON: Bless his heart. OK. Thank you both. I appreciate it.

President Trump has so far refused to wear a mask in public. And today, Vice President Mike Pence visited a crowded hamburger restaurant in Florida, there he is, not wearing a mask or practicing social distancing.

So, let's discuss now with Dr. Jonathan Reiner, director the Cardiac Catherization Program at Georgia Washington University Hospital. Good evening, doctor.

Good to see you.

JONATHAN REINER, DIRECTOR OF CARDIAC CATHERIZATION PROGRAM, GEORGIA WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: Hi, Don.

LEMON: So, when you see these images, these are leaders, right, setting examples. The vice president and Governor Ron DeSantis not wearing masks at a crowded Florida restaurant. What do you think?

REINER: I think he forgets who he works for. Do you remember that 2004 movie "Miracle?" It was about the 1980 miracle in ice hockey team. There's a scene in the movie where Herb Brooks, the coach, has them skate back and forth because none of the players can answer the simple question of who do you play for until finally Michael Eruzione says the United States of America.

So, if you ask Mike Pence who he works for, he's going to say, I would guess, Donald Trump. He works for me. He works for you. He works for my family. When I see him in a restaurant not wearing a mask, a crowded restaurant not wearing a mask, he tells me he does not work for me. Because if he worked for me, he would be wearing a mask to show every other American that that's how you save lives in this country.

LEMON: Thank you. Doctor, when the president unveiled the Space Force flag, no one wore a mask. When he met earlier this month with World War II veterans, our greatest generation, no mask. Wearing a mask is the simplest thing that we can do to protect each other, and yet these leaders refuse to set that example. Why won't they?

REINER: I don't know. Maybe he thinks in some misinformed way that it's a sign of weakness. No, I posted a picture online today of my team standing really proudly in the hallway of the hospital, all of us wearing masks. And we wear them to protect each other, right? We wear them outside to protect our communities.

And really the dumb thing is also what the president doesn't realize is that the mask actually will protect him too. And actually, if he was my patient, I would have him wear an N95 mask because it's important that he not get sick. I don't want him to get sick. I desperately don't want him to get sick.

He should be protecting himself. His doc should be protecting him. He should be wearing an N95 mask. He should have limited visitors. He should be doing most of his meetings by video conferencing. He and the vice president should never be together. They need to protect each other.

[23:09:59]

Instead there's this stupid, you know, sort of, faux macho I don't need to wear a mask, I'm not going to get sick, the virus is not real, it's going away, when it gets warming everything is going to go away.

It's nonsense. But it would be just humorous if it wasn't damaging the country. It's setting an incredibly bad example. That's how you put the virus down. That's how you get back to normal is by wearing a mask. If you want to open the country, and I know he desperately wants to open the country, he wants the economy to get better, tell people to wear a damn mask.

LEMON: Maybe he forgets who he works for as well. Maybe he thinks he still works for himself. I don't know.

REINER: Yes.

LEMON: Yes. I want you to listen to why President Trump said back in April on why he won't wear a mask. Here you go.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I just don't want to wear one myself. It's a recommendation. They recommend it. I'm feeling good. I just -- I don't know, somehow sitting in the Oval Office behind that beautiful Resolute desk, the great Resolute desk, I think wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens, I don't know, somehow I don't see it for myself. I just -- I just don't.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, when people ask why wearing a mask seems to have become political, right, that's why. So, but there are Republican leaders like Governors Mike DeWine, Larry Hogan who are willing to set the example. Remind our viewers why wearing a mask can save lives again, please.

REINER: Yes, because about 40 percent of the people who test positive for coronavirus when you test large populations are asymptomatic. So, that's one reason. Much of the virus is transmitted from person to person in supermarkets and subway trains and in casual encounters from an asymptomatic person to another asymptomatic person.

So, if you wear a mask, you can dramatically reduce that kind of transmission. Also, you know, in people who do become symptomatic with the virus, they become contagious about two and a half days before they become symptomatic.

So, again, wearing a mask prevents you from passing on the virus, helps reduce that risk days before you become symptomatic, days before you know you're sick.

If you look in many of the Asian countries that have done a really good job in quashing this virus, everyone in the country wears a mask. This is not a sign of weakness.

There was a nonsense article in the Federalist last week which basically said wearing a mask is a sign of weakness. It's the opposite. It's a sign of strength. Heroes wear masks.

LEMON: Yes. Well, this is where -- again, that's why it's become political. It's science and facts no longer matter. It's everything is political now. OK.

REINER: And the more people shout about it, the more stubborn he gets. Let's see if he wears it when he visits Ford tomorrow.

LEMON: Thank you very much. I appreciate it, doctor.

REINER: My pleasure.

LEMON: As of today --

(CROSSTALK)

REINER: My pleasure.

LEMON: As of today, all 50 states have partially reopened, but they have 50 different plans.

Erica Hill has the story now.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A 50-state experiment now in full swing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JONATHAN RESSLER, OWNER, ARCHIE MOORE'S RESTAURANT: It's been a rough time. Two months without, you know, normal operation is not easy in the restaurant business when there are such thin margins.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Restaurants offering outdoor dining in Connecticut. Hair salons originally slated to reopen today now on hold until June 1st.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of us here today, we did which was necessary and what was called for us to do, and just, the rug got pulled out from underneath us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Salons in Miami Beach can open today, but beaches remain closed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR DAN GELBER (D), MIAMI BEACH: One thing we don't want to do is rush so fast that we create a spike in the virus.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: In-person car sales now allowed in New Jersey. Los Angeles County setting a goal of reopening on July 4th as Alaska declares everything will be open Friday morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. MIKE DUNLEAVY (R-AK): We now have the knowledge of this virus. We all know how it operates. So, it's going to be up to us as individuals to deal with it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Alaska is one of 18 states seeing an uptick in new cases over the past week, along with Kentucky.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. ANDY BESHEAR (D-KY): We're humble enough to know that it's possible we make a decision that we've got to pull back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: The Missouri School Board Association releasing a draft plan for K-12 schools. Suggestions include a delayed start and blend of in- person and virtual learning noting there cannot be one plan for all schools.

The CDC also releasing long-awaited guidance for schools and business, though not for religious institutions despite a separate CDC report detailing the spread of the virus at an Arkansas church.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EDWARD BECK, CNN RELIGIOUS COMMENTATOR: All the congregants have been affected -- infected with the virus, so I think we really have to be smart about this.

[23:15:01]

And I think it should have included the guidelines for all groups that gather and including religious ones.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Rhode Island announcing in-person worship can begin at next weekend at 25 percent capacity. Indiana's state parks, summer day camps, and baseball fields will open across much of the state this Friday.

Ford resuming production at a Chicago facility today while temporarily closing its truck plant in Dearborn, Michigan after an employee there tested positive for the virus.

In New York City, still weeks away from reopening, new UV lights will help disinfect subway cars and buses, a crucial step in getting millions of New Yorkers back to work safely.

Erica Hill, CNN, New York.

LEMON: Erica, thanks for that.

In the middle of this deadly pandemic with Americans dying every day, the president is focused on making false accusations of voter fraud against states trying to make it easier for people to vote by mail without risking their health. Our fact check, next.

[23:20:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: The president falsely accusing Michigan and Nevada of voter fraud for taking steps to make it easier for people to vote my mail during this pandemic.

Joining me now is CNN's Chief Legal Analyst, Jeffrey Toobin. Jeffrey, it's been a month of Sundays. How are you holding up, sir?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: I'm all right, Don. You know, I've been so proud, you know, I haven't been on much because there hasn't been, you know, there hasn't been a big legal story but I'm so proud to watch CNN the past couple of months and see, you know, what a great job you all have done.

LEMON: Thank you. Thank you. And we miss seeing you. So, thank you very much.

Let's talk about this. Jeffrey, there is no evidence to back up any of the president's claims of voter fraud. For, I mean, for somebody who constantly tells us how popular he is, the president seems pretty scared of that being tested with free and fair voting.

TOOBIN: Well, you know, one of the basic principles of the Republican Party for the past couple of decades has been to make it harder for people to vote. You know, limit absentee ballots, limit early voting. You know, trying to get, especially African-Americans, poor people, people who are, you know, more casual voters who don't always turn out, getting them not to vote.

So, you know, what happened today with this ridiculous tweet by the president about Michigan, it's bad but it's part of a larger pattern of trying to limit turnout to help republicans win.

LEMON: I want you to take a listen to what the president said just this afternoon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Common sense would tell you that it's a massive manipulation can take place, massive. They, and you do, you have cases of fraudulent ballots where they actually print them and they give them to people to sign, maybe the same person signs them with different writing, different pens, I don't know. A lot of things can happen. Now, if you can, you should go and vote. Voting is an honor. It

shouldn't be something where they send you a pile of stuff and you send it back. Another thing that happens, a lot of people in certain districts, this is historically. A lot of people in certain district don't ever get their ballot. They keep going where's my vote? Where's my ballot?

Then election day passes and they forget about it. And that can happen in the thousands. I'm not saying it does. But it can. It probably has.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: I mean, you don't have to be a legal expert to know voting is not an honor. It's a right. So, shouldn't governments make that as easy as possible?

TOOBIN: Well, and especially now. Don, look out the window. We're in the middle of a pandemic. Who wants to line up at a polling place, you know, with a crowd of people, and you know, wait sometimes an hour, sometimes two hours to vote? It's insane.

I mean, the opportunity to plan in advance so that people could vote by mail is -- it's common sense. And, you know, this is not a new idea. Washington, Oregon, Colorado, they've all been doing this for years. No fraud problems. High turnout. I mean, it is a basic Democratic right to vote. And to make people risk their lives to do it is insane.

LEMON: Well, you referred to this just a bit ago. Why does the president seem so sure that if more people voted that he would lose?

TOOBIN: Well, you know, there have been various studies of this. And it's not necessarily true. I mean, he may be wrong in his hypothesis. He may be actually thinking that more people voting will hurt him. It may not.

But, you know, that's not the point. The point is that we live in a democracy. A democracy depends on the consent of the governed-on voters voting. So, anything that we can do to make it easier, especially in a pandemic, it just seems like common sense to me.

LEMON: Jeffrey Toobin, good to see you. Stay safe, OK?

TOOBIN: Don, see you, man.

LEMON: All right. See you.

New concerns over super spreading events as the country opens up during this pandemic. We're going to tell you what those super spreading events are and how they can cause the virus to spread like wild fire. Wild fire. That's just ahead.

[23:25:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: The World Health Organization today reporting the largest single day increase in coronavirus cases since the outbreak began. The jump showing how dangerous this virus still is and how it's still spreading.

And with all 50 states now partially reopened, health experts are saying it's critical to avoid super spreading events.

Here to talk about what those are and how to avoid them, Christopher Moore, professor at the Santa Fe Institute, and Dr. Syra Madad, a special pathogens expert. And we are happy to have both of you on this evening. Thank you so much.

Dr. Madad, I'm going to start with you. So, let's talk a look at these examples. Fifty-three cases in Washington State linked to a choir practice, 16 in Chicago tied to one person going to a funeral and a birthday party, more than 190 cases linked to a 29-year-old who visited night clubs in South Korea's capital, and some 2,500 cases linked to a megachurch prayer meeting in France. They all have something in common. They are super spreader events. Dr. Madad?

[23:30:03]

SYRA MADAD, SPECIAL PATHOGENS SPECIALIST: Yes, can you hear me?

LEMON: Yes.

MADAD: Great. So, you know, super spreader events, it's not a new phenomenon. It is something that we have seen in previous infectious disease outbreaks, with SARS and MERS. With the COVID-19, it's actually even more concerning because of the long incubation period associated with the disease.

And so when we say super spreading events, basically what it means is there are -- a small number of individuals are responsible for a larger number of infections. And so the good thing about it and the silver lining is that we know that we can curtail mass gatherings or large gatherings to be able to, you know, lower any of those super spreading events.

LEMON: So, I guess that's why it's so concerning when you do see all those people lined up at beaches or piled into places, because they can spread. I mean, when you look at 2,500 cases linked to a megachurch and -- that is crazy. Sixteen cases, 190 cases linked to someone who visited a night club. That's a lot.

Cris, let me bring you in because you have crunched some of the math on super spreader simulations. Just how bad can things get?

CRISTOPHER MOORE, PROFESSOR, SCIENCE BOARD, SANTA FE INSTITUTE: Well, there is a number called "R-zero" or "R-naught" that a lot of people use as a kind of rough overall measure of how fast an epidemic spreads. You know, if you get infected, then -- if you're lucky, you won't infect anyone else. But by chance, you might infect a couple of people and they might infect a couple of people and so on. The average number of people you infect at each stage of the process is called "R-naught." But that's only an average. And so, you know, we're hoping to get that number down below one through measures like social distancing.

But it's important to realize that even if it's one, if it's -- even if it's down to .8, what that means is that on average, each case will turn into five cases total in that lineage. If it's .9, then each case will turn into 10 on average.

So, what I think we're seeing is that in meat processing plants, in long-term care facilities, in prisons, in that chorus rehearsal you mentioned, in that setting where people are together unable to socially distance, they're working close quarters, they're sharing the same air, the disease seems amazingly effective at spreading.

So, coming out of the chorus rehearsal, 60 people attended that rehearsal, 45 of them came out of there positive. So over the course of that rehearsal, one case presumably turned into 45. Then those people go out in the community and it magnifies. So, at the Smithfield plant, they started with 200 odd cases. And then they went home to their families, out in the community, and it bloomed into 900.

So, as the doctor says, one thing we need to do is stop seeding our communities with this large number of initial cases in addition to trying to tamp down the rate at which it spreads once it's out there.

LEMON: So, Dr. Madad, I want you -- CNN's Randi Kaye took part in an experiment that involved a substance that shows up under a black light. And it shows what happened when a dummy -- it coughed at a restaurant table. It spread the substance all over the place. I mean, imagine that magnified in a crowded stadium. It seems incredibly hard to protect yourself even when you're wearing a mask.

MADAD: Well, this is where, you know, some of these very basic public health measures are extremely important, like keeping physical distance between individuals, wearing a mask, washing hands. So, you know, everyone thinks we have some sort of a magic bullet that we can do to not get exposed to the virus.

And unfortunately, the biggest weapon we have against COVID-19 is our individual behaviors. And so, you know, this includes not going into those mass gatherings. It also includes if you are going out, you know, wearing a mask, keeping that distance as much as possible.

We actually use Glo Germ in a number of our simulations. So, you know, I do a lot of outbreak simulations within our health care system. We use Glo Derm, which is a way of actually seeing how fast a germ may spread. It is really great to kind of test and see, you know, where some of these differences are.

But at the end of the day, what it shows is that our public health measures are cornerstone and that's what going to really help us curtail a lot of these infections.

LEMON: All right. Cris Moore, Dr. Madad, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

On Sunday, make sure you join CNN's Fareed Zakaria as he investigates the moment a pandemic was born. CNN's special report "China's Deadly Secret" begins Sunday night at 9:00.

Cruise ships across the globe barred from entering ports, stranding tens of thousands of crew members on board for months. A report from CNN's Randi Kaye is just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:35:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Tonight, thousands of crew members are stranded aboard cruise ships around the world. The coronavirus pandemic has complicated efforts to get them back to their home countries. Borders are closed, ships are barred from ports, and many countries have travel lockdowns. The isolation of being stuck on those ships is taking a heavy emotional toll. Here's CNN's Randi Kaye.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOANNE GARDNER, TRAVEL SPECIALIST, HOLLAND AMERICA LINE (voice-over): Everybody is frustrated because many of our countries haven't allowed us to come home.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Joanne Gardner spoke with us by phone from her room on board the Amsterdam, part of the Holland America cruise land.

[23:40:04]

KAYE (voice-over): She is one of the reported 100,000 or more cruise ship workers stranded at sea since the start of the pandemic. Joanne was docked in Manila, hoping to get home to Chicago.

GARDNER (voice-over): I'm ready. I'm ready.

KAYE (voice-over): Joanne and her husband work as Future Cruise consultants. They have been without passengers on board for more than two months, but have remained on board stranded at sea due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The CDC issued a no-sail order, mandating that crew members can only leave the ship if they are transported by charter, aircraft or private vehicles. No rental cars or taxis, and no commercial flights.

GARDNER (voice-over): You can imagine not only the logistics but the cost of that.

KAYE (voice-over): For weeks, Joanne says she has had to pass the time while also social distancing from the other 1,200 or so crew members on board.

GARDNER: A lot of us are readers. We sit around in our various spots, socially distanced, read on chat.

KAYE (voice-over): The pandemic has stranded thousands of crew members on various ships around the world. The United States Coast Guard told me it's monitoring 59 cruise ships in U.S. waters, carrying about 39,000 crew members. Another 25 ships are moored in U.S. ports with about 11,500 crews on board, all waiting to get home.

GARDNER (voice-over): Most of us are not being paid anymore. It's really frustrating. And the governments -- all the governments just don't care. You know, they put us out there as pariahs.

KAYE (voice-over): Caio Saldanha has also been stranded at sea for about two months. He's from Brazil and works as a D.J. for celebrity cruises, part of Royal Caribbean.

CAIO SALDANHA, DISC JOCKEY, ROYAL CARIBBEAN: We have this feeling that we are prisoners.

KAYE (voice-over): For a while, Caio and his fiancee shared this small windowless room, which he says caused anxiety and terrible nightmares.

SALDANHA: We cannot get out at any chance. It was like a torture.

KAYE (voice-over): Caio hopes to go home next week and find work. He says he's only getting paid $13 a day, which will max out at $400.

SALDANHA: We are feeling that our psychological side is degrading day by day.

KAYE (voice-over): In an e-mail, Royal Caribbean told us, "Getting all our crew home safely remains our top priority," adding they've "repatriated over 17,000 crew members." The cruise line says its actions have been guided by medical experts and authorities.

Meanwhile, Melinda Mann is happy to be home in Georgia after nearly two months at sea. A youth program manager for Holland America, she got home May 8th.

MELINDA MANN, YOUTH PROGRAM MANAGER, HOLLAND AMERICA: I definitely felt like a prisoner. I'm an American citizen. You can't just lock me out of the country when I've done nothing wrong.

KAYE (voice-over): Carnival Corporation, which oversees Holland America, has told CNN earlier this month logistical problems made it tough to get employees home. In a statement, Carnival Corporation said, "This has become more difficult in recent days because of port closings and other travel restrictions, but we continue to make strong progress."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KAYE: All of this really apparently weighing on crew members and showing up, Don, signs of mental distress. Princess Cruise has confirmed the death of a 39-year-old Ukrainian crew member who jumped overboard. Rotterdam is now calling that a suicide. Also, another crew member on Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas went overboard. The cruise line says they are assisting in that investigation.

And then on top of that, you have these members of the Romanian crew team who are now holding a hunger strike to call attention to their plight, to call attention to their fight home. The Royal Caribbean says that situation has been resolved. But still, Don, a lot of frustration, a lot of concern about their next job, their next paycheck, and how they are going to get home.

LEMON: Can't even imagine. So, Randi, with all the restrictions, what has the trip been like for those crew members who did get home?

KAYE: Well, we spoke to that one woman, Melinda Mann, who did get home to Georgia. She says -- she called it ridiculous, her trip. They put her on a private jet because she wasn't allowed to fly in a commercial airline. But they flew her to Florida. They dropped her to Florida which was seven hours away from her parents' home in Georgia.

And because she wasn't allowed to rent a car or take any public transportation, her mother drove from Georgia, seven hours to Florida, to pick her up. And then on the way home, they weren't allowed to stop at a bathroom, they weren't allowed to stop to get food, they weren't allowed to see anyone. They had to go directly home.

LEMON: Goodness. Do crew members need to quarantine -- I would -- once they do get home, right?

KAYE: Yeah, they do. Melinda, who we spoke with, one from Georgia, I just mentioned, she had to quarantine as well for 14 days. That's also why she couldn't stop to see anyone.

[23:44:58]

KAYE: And then Joanne, who is flying home just overnight tonight, she said that she plans to do a little bit of gardening when she gets home to Chicago and then will lock herself inside for 14 days before she can see any other family members.

LEMON: So, Randi, usually -- well, we get feedback on a lot of pieces. I got so -- I can't tell you how much feedback I got on your piece last night with the tracing showing all the germs.

KAYE: With the germ spreading.

LEMON: What was it? Glo -- Glo gel or whatever. Yes. Unbelievable. Everyone texted me and commented on that. It was -- there it is. There's the video. I mean, it is really shocking to see how this stuff can spread.

KAYE: Yeah. I think you and I, Don, we can maybe safely make a reservation to go out for dinner together in 2022.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: I don't know. Maybe 2024.

(LAUGHTER) KAYE: Maybe 2024. I mean, because you think about it, you know. You think about the spread and those germs and they're not visible by the naked eye --

LEMON: Yeah.

KAYE: -- and then -- I mean, even I touched that woman's shoulder and you could see the germs on her clothing.

LEMON: Yeah. Well, it shows you what can happen. Thank you, Randi. You stay safe, OK? It's good to see you. Thanks.

KAYE: You, too. Thank you.

LEMON: New developments tonight in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery. State police in Georgia is searching the home of the suspects. I'm going to speak with the lead lawyer for the Arbery family. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:50:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: So, new developments in the investigation of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is searching the home of Gregory McMichael and his son Travis, who have been charged in Arbery's death.

I want to discuss now with Lee Merritt, the lead attorney for the family of Ahmaud Arbery. Lee, good evening to you. Let's talk about what has happened here. The GBI hasn't provided any further details about this search. What do you -- what do you know about it, if anything? Do you have any idea of what they are looking for?

LEE MERRITT, ATTORNEY, MERRITT LAW FIRM: So we know, last week, the attorney general for the state of Georgia asked that the FBI participate in the investigation. So we have an ongoing state investigation being led by the GBI.

But the Department of Justice responded that it was closely monitoring and participating in the investigation at the state level. And so, when you saw GBI go into Greg McMichael's home yesterday, you are also seeing the FBI go into that home, as well.

LEMON: OK. Are you expecting more search warrants being executed by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations as part of this investigation?

MERRITT: Well, not only the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. I suspect that they were going in there looking into that property, looking for how the McMichaels and other members of that community knew that Ahmaud was in that property, any electronic or skip tracer, anybody watching the police radios, et cetera.

And so I think it will lead to additional evidence, and we should see a search of William Bryan's home as well in the near future. That's my anticipation based on just following the investigation from the family's perspective.

LEMON: OK. So, 14 bipartisan members of Georgia's congressional delegation sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr, requesting federal involvement in the case.

Here is what they wrote. They said, "This devastating case and alarming video brought a national spotlight to our beloved home state. For these reasons, no stone should be left unturned in ensuring a fair, thorough, and lawful process. Justice cannot exist in a democracy that does not fiercely enforce equality under the law."

Is federal involvement necessary to get Ahmaud's family the justice they deserve here?

MERRITT: It's absolutely necessary, more so in Georgia that doesn't have its own hate crime statute. And so we need the federal hate crime statute to offer Ahmaud's family the protections that it needs. But, also, so much corruption has been exposed out of Glynn County P.D.

George Barnhill has obviously had some conflicts in this case that went unchecked. And so there does need to be something, an entity outside of the state that goes in and thoroughly investigates this.

LEMON: You are also calling for the removal of two former district attorneys who, at one point in time, had the lead investigation, but did not charge the McMichaels. Interesting. Why do you believe that they aren't fit to stay in their positions?

MERRITT: Right. So you have Gregory McMichael, who was a former employee of Jackie Johnson, the one district attorney. She didn't make any arrests. The local -- at least one local commissioner for Glynn County said that she instructed law enforcement not to make any arrests in this case. And so that, obviously, needs to be looking into.

And then George Barnhill's letter was, as my co-counsel Chris Stewart said, was just dripping with racism. It was dripping with conflicts of interest that he failed to disclose. And he has to answer for that now that there's public scrutiny into his actions.

LEMON: Recently, we have seen other media outlets reporting on previous incidents involving Ahmaud and the police. Do you question why these reports are coming out now? Because, according to our legal experts, they are not relevant at all to this case.

MERRITT: No. So there's so much important information that is relevant to this case. The text message between Officer Robert Rash -- the body camera footage from offices who first responded to the scene.

[23:55:00]

MERRITT: None of that information is coming out to the public. But we see a common tactic unfolding where we try to criminalize the victim in -- in an effort to justify the murder.

Nothing that Ahmaud did when he was a teenager or a shoplifting incident from the past, none of that has any relevance on him jogging through a neighborhood and being killed by three vigilantes.

LEMON: Do you think that someone is behind this or do you think it's just a normal process of media coverage that's happening here?

MERRITT: I think that this should be one of the subjects of the DOJ investigation. You know, media outlets, everyone, they submit right- to-know requests, Freedom of Information Act requests, FOIA requests, and they have been denied those for the pertinent information in this case.

LEMON: OK.

MERRITT: But instead supplemented with these unrelated events.

LEMON: OK. I've got to go. Thank you, Lee. I appreciate it. And thank you, everyone, for watching. Our coverage continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)