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Senate GOP Uses Filibuster Power To Block Voting Rights Bill; WH Concedes U.S. Won't Hit Biden's July 4 Vaccine Goal As Concerns Grow Over Delta Variant; Cancer-Battling Singer Captures Hearts In Stunning "America's Got Talent" Performance. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired June 22, 2021 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Since Nassib's announcement, there have been dozens of messages of support, from both players and League executives. And the League says it'll match Nassib's $100,000 donation to the "Trevor Project," designed to focus on suicide prevention among LGBTQ young people.

That's it for us. The news continues. Want to hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: I hope that you and I are together, for the day, when this is no longer an event, where Nassib doesn't have to come out, where nobody has to come out, where they're not defined by who they love.

That will be a good day. I hope we get to see it. And I hope we start making progress in a way that has eluded us so far.

I'm happy for him. But I really wish it weren't so consequential for everybody, and that we didn't have to monitor it now, and that Michael Sam didn't have to come out. I mean, I know you remember him, Missouri State.


CUOMO: He never played a game in the NFL, even though he was a warrior and a crusher, in college, and highly sought after, because of the mental strain, of the year following, when he decided to come out. So, I hope that things continue, and let's - let's say it optimistically, to get better.

Anderson, appreciate your reporting on it, as always.

I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

So, how about now? How about now Democrats? Are you ready to play to win now? Have you had enough?

McConnell and Co. did exactly what we knew, and you knew they would do. They tanked, even the suggestion to debate, the need to curtail state efforts, to send voting rights back 50 years. They won't even allow debate. "Nothing to fix," says Senator McConnell. Really? If there's nothing

to fix, then why don't you say that to all the Red states that say they must pass these laws to fix fraud? Why don't you say that to them? Because you're playing the game. And it is ugly, and obvious.

And I want you to hear the words of a leader made for today, nailing the reality of this moment.

"I think the tragedy is that we have a Congress with a Senate that has a minority of misguided senators who will use the filibuster to keep the majority of people from even voting, they won't let the majority of senators vote.

And suddenly, they wouldn't want the majority of people to vote because they know they do not represent the majority of American people. In fact, they are representing their own states, a very small minority."

Question for you, my brothers and sisters, who said it? Chuck Schumer? President Biden? Former president Obama? Pelosi? Nope. None of them. Our current dilemma is merely an echo of the exclusionary tactics of a generation ago, when this was first said.



MARTIN LUTHER KING JR., AMERICAN BAPTIST MINISTER AND ACTIVIST: I think the tragedy is that we have a Congress with a Senate that has a minority of misguided senators who will use the filibuster to keep the majority of people from even voting, they won't let the majority of senators vote.

And suddenly, they wouldn't want the majority of people to vote because they know they do not represent the majority of the American people. In fact, they represent, in their own states, a very small minority.


CUOMO: Dr. King, a half a century ago! We thought this battle was over. But it wasn't. The stakes are once again, the same, as then.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. pushed the Senate to overcome a culture of exclusion back then, a year before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed, two years before the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

But here we are, again, today, talking about a minority party, using a filibuster, to allow them to keep suppressing the votes of minorities, and others. It is an existential battle. This is not about Left and Right. It is about right and wrong. And I don't understand how you can see two sides on this.

I don't see how you can believe any suggestion that these laws "Don't do anything to retard anybody's rights. They don't really limit." All they do is limit, to one degree or another. Just as then, a minority is trying to keep the vote as close to them as possible, and lying about that intention.



SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Well, the biggest lie being told in American politics in recent weeks has been that the states are involved in a systematic effort to suppress the vote.


There is no effort, in any state in America, to suppress votes, based upon suppression of minority participation.

There's nothing broken around the country.


CUOMO: If nothing is broken around the country, then why have 14 states enacted 22 new restrictive voting laws since the 2020 election, every one of them in every instance, citing that election, as a reason for this need?

389 bills have been introduced in 48 states with provisions that to one degree or another restrict voting access, many disproportionately targeting voters of color.

Remember, here's the hypocrisy, the people behind them, "Yes, yes, yes, Mitch, yes." Those lawmakers who voted against H.R. 1 and S. 1, they won on these same exact ballots they now want you to believe are fraudulent.

A third of you believe this BS that they've been selling you. That's according to a new national poll. And now, they'll point to the poll and say, "See, people think that there was fraud, we should address it." You told them there was fraud! Lie, defy reason, deny reality.

Even McConnell gets what this is about, listen.


MCCONNELL: The rotten, inner-workings of this power grab have been thoroughly exposed to the light.

What a way to show your disdain for the American people's choices.


CUOMO: He's exactly right, except he's talking about himself, and his pals here, on the left of your screen, terrorists storming the Capitol.

His party that very night voted to carry out the efforts of the rioters, and overturn the election. Failing to certify is what they wanted. That was one of the biggest power grab attempts in American history! So now what? Manchin from West Virginia, the Democrat of the moment, and all the other Democrats, voted for debate to happen on the bill that they've been hammering out, all 50 of them.

Will that vote hold, to do what they must now, to get this protective process through? Modify the filibuster, and halt the move to take us back a generation, or not, those are the stakes.

Let's ask a better mind, one who cast his vote, to advance S. 1, on the Senate floor today, Senator Bob Casey, Democrat, critical background state of Pennsylvania.

Good to see you, sir.

SEN. BOB CASEY (D-PA): Chris, good to be with you. Thank you.

CUOMO: So obviously, the easy question is where do we go?

CASEY: Oh Chris, look, we have to continue to make the case. Today was just the beginning. Today, it was very clear that one party unanimously wanted to protect the right to vote, and the other party didn't even want to debate it.

I mean, that's - I think what you said earlier is important to emphasize. This was a vote to proceed to the debate. It wasn't even a debate or a vote on the bill itself. So, one party did that. It's very clear to America now what the stakes are.

But we're at the beginning of this. We have to keep fighting to make sure that more and more Americans know what's at stake. I think - I think there's a chance we can make progress. Just getting to 50, as you know, required some work.

But I think we got to make the case day after day because, at the core of these voter suppression laws, in my judgment, at the state level, is white supremacy. Simple as that. And unless we continue to make the case on voting rights, then the other side will prevail. But I think today was just the beginning.

CUOMO: Help us understand that that you have to start making the case.

Why isn't it just keep all 50 of your number together, and convince Manchin, Sinema, and a couple others, "We got to modify the filibuster to put it back to single-talker. And then when that expires, we can vote for cloture, and get it done."

Isn't that the only fight ahead of you, if you want to get this done?

CASEY: Well I think it's both. I still think we have to continue to make the case to the country about what happened today, and what's at stake. But--


CASEY: Without a doubt, because I think still a lot of people around the country haven't tuned in yet to this. But we got to make that case.

But you're right. Ultimately, we have to modify at least the 60-vote rule. When you consider what happened, just in the mid-1970s, that number went from 67 to 60. There's no reason why we shouldn't either reduce the number, or bring about some other change to make sure that voting rights are protected.

Now, I've heard senators, in our Caucus, who said "I have real concerns about changing the rule. But for this issue, I could be persuaded." So that's the case that they've made.

So, many of us are already there. But I still think we can make the case to members of our Caucus about the urgency and the primacy of this issue, the right to vote.

CUOMO: But you don't think you're going to get 10 votes from the other side, in terms of making the case to the American people. I mean, you already have solid poll numbers, about people believing that these are problematic laws.


CASEY: No, I don't believe, Chris. I think you're right. I don't believe that we're at a point where we can say "OK, we got to make the case to Republicans, and we'll get 10 of their votes." I don't think that's possible.

Now, some may disagree. I'll listen to those points of view. But we have to make the case between and among ourselves, to make a change, to allow this to go forward.

Because when you consider what we were voting on today, the motion to proceed to not just - not just a voting rights bill, but a bill that would help reduce the influence of dark money in politics, a bill that would impose stronger ethical rules, on all of us, including those in the Executive branch, so, when they said, "Don't even debate that," I think they were - they were insulting and really giving the middle finger to the American people.

CUOMO: Well, look, Lisa Murkowski, I don't know what finger it was. But supposedly, Joe Manchin had her, and other Democrats working on her that she was on the right side of this bill. She didn't even vote for it, to advance to debate.

But here's the part I don't understand. Why did you guys wait so long, on this? You knew that this bill was DoA. You knew that this was going to happen. And this took too long it seems to me, to get to this point.

If you knew that this is where it was, all along, why didn't you push - not you, obviously, Senator Casey, this wasn't your standalone decision, but Schumer and Pelosi, why didn't they push this harder, and give yourselves more time to deal with this?

CASEY: Well, I think Chris, part of the answer is, when you're in the majority, you have responsibilities. And when you have a majority in a presidency, of your party, that means we've got to do nominations, day after day, nomination after nomination.

We had to pass the Rescue Plan. We've got to get this Infrastructure bill off the ground. This physical infrastructure only negotiation isn't going to satisfy me, because I want home and community based services, I want investments in childcare, I want investments in universal access to pre-K.

So, to get that off the ground, we've got to do that. At the same time, we've got to do a number of things that simultaneously.

But I think this was a very clarifying moment for the American people. Every single member of the United States Senate, on the Democratic side, voted to advance the debate.

And I still think we can - we can bring not just our party, behind a bill, when we get to that point. But I think we can - we can end up changing the rules, in some fashion.

CUOMO: Senator Bob Casey, always a pleasure to have you on the show. Appreciate you on such an important night.

CASEY: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: Be well.

CASEY: So Schumer, he's the Head of the Democrats, right, Head of the Senate Majority. He says that this was the starting gun, not the finish line on voting rights. Senator Bob Casey just made that case to you, as well.

You buy that? I mean, I'm sure they mean it. But how, like how many of you are they going to convince, and that what, you're going to make your Republican senators vote for it? That's not going to happen, right?

So, what is the next move for the Democrats? How do you get around the opposition party? Because, look, they're locked in, man. They're not the Democrats. So, what is the next play here?

Van Jones, insights, next.








(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: I see what you guys are talking about on social media. Stop having the debate about whether or not the Republicans were right to not like this bill as it is. That's not what today was about.

Your Republicans, brothers and sisters, they refused to vote to even allow a debate. You see? That's the sin here. You have arguments that this bill is no good? Great! Make them.

They voted to not allow debate on the bill that they don't like. Do you understand? That's what's unforgiveable about this. Something as fundamental as voting rights, they don't want it to have a fair hearing, because they don't have a strong case.

Zero voted to debate this. Zero voted for the last COVID relief package, which they are now bragging to you about at home. On the other side, zero amendments have been made to the "For the People Act (ph)." Zero!

Do you understand? That means they don't want to make it better. They don't want to change it. They just want to oppose.

Now, does that mean zero is also the number for any path, to helping Joe Manchin, or any other Democrat, get tagalong votes, Murkowski, or any of them, she didn't vote for debate today either, to get to 10?

Let's bring in Van Jones.

It's good to see you, brother.


CUOMO: I don't get this. "The battle has just begun," says Schumer. "The battle has just begun," says Casey. "Now, the negotiating can begin," I hear from other Democrats.


CUOMO: They won't even debate it. Why do you think they would vote for anything?

JONES: Well, look, let's talk about what's really going on. At the grassroots level, you have activists who have fought, and bled, and died, to try to stop these Republican bills, at the state level.

And I mean, elected officials, I mean, activists, I mean, donors, I mean, they have done all they could, and they got--

CUOMO: Not working.

JONES: And it's not working. And they got steamrolled.

And so, the Democratic Party, at the top, could not sit back and say, "Well, geez, nothing we can do, guys." They had to put on this full court press, even though you knew, I knew, and everybody else knew, they're going to run right into this stonewall. But you can at least now, as a party, say "We didn't leave you to die

on the battlefield by yourself. We did all we could at this at the federal level." And they may continue the conversation.

But here's the reality. The federal government is not going to help now. At the grassroots level, we are on our own. And so, we're going to have to now come into reality. We can keep pouring, we can call, and we can do whatever.

We got to get ready for one of the most consequential elections up the steepest hill, with the most unfair rules in a generation or two or three. And that's where we are. So, I understand why they want to keep talking about it, and waving the flag, but we knew we're going to hit this wall.

But the national Democrats were correct not to let the grassroots fight and die on the hill by themselves, and try to get the federal government to help, but help is not on the way. We got to deal with that. We got to be - we got to be realistic.

CUOMO: So, you think it's over?


JONES: Yes, I mean, look, I try to call this stuff, "Fair." I think we got to keep the pressure on. I do think that the Senator is correct, A lot of people not paying attention at summertime, so you continue to try to define the Republicans as being anti-right-to-vote.

Everybody didn't get the message just this morning. You're going to have to keep that fight up. But the reality, if you're cold, hard, trying to figure out how you're going to hang on to democracy, this is going to be a door-to-door grassroots slugfest, in some of the toughest states with some of the toughest rules.

And we got to get ready for that fight psychologically. Otherwise, we're going to be - we could spend a lot more time on this, even emotionally. And you know already, you don't have 10 more Republicans. They won't even let us talk about it. They won't even let us talk about it.

And, by the way, it was an insult to the people, who fought this thing out, and won. You put the rules together, in these Republican states. It wasn't Democrats.

In Georgia, the Republicans wrote the rulebook on voting. They enforced the rule book. They sort of - and we took those rules and won.

And what you're saying is across this country, when we win, especially when African Americans in leadership, and Black women, in particular, in the leadership, we're going to say "It's by definition, illegitimate. We're going to change the rules. When you play by the rules, we'll change the rules, and the federal government can't help you." That's why people feel so bad about this, because, you were correct to

play Dr. King, it does feel like in the old days, when the federal government stood by and, let us get mowed down, physically, and legally, and legislatively, and did nothing.

And Schumer, a lot of people were mad at Schumer today, when he came out and said, "Using the language and you're using the rhetoric of the bad old days." "Oh, my God! Don't say that. You're insulting McConnell."

But listen, I don't know what's in McConnell's hearts. But the argument he made today, McConnell, that the federal government has no business, no business protecting voting rights, you haven't heard that for 50 years.

I mean, so this is - I just - look, I wish I'd come out here and say, "Hey, we're going to keep pushing, and we'll eventually get to the table." This thing at the federal level, as best I can tell, is now a messaging exercise. At the grassroots level, it's got to be a muscle exercise, and we got to get ready now to register like we've never registered before.

CUOMO: I'll tell you, I understand that part. I do think, though, that this should be the hill to die on, for your party.

JONES: Well, we're dying on it.

CUOMO: Because racial inequality was a big driver for Biden.


CUOMO: A lot of people came out for him, and gave him a shot that they weren't even sure he deserved.


CUOMO: A shot that they weren't even sure your party deserved.


CUOMO: But because they thought the stakes were too high.

And now you're going to go back to them, in this election, and say, "Yes, sorry, you got your rights cut. We did what we could. But we had a couple of our own, that we couldn't control?"


CUOMO: I think that's a tough sell.

Van Jones, we'll do it step-by-step. And we'll do it together. Thank you, brother.

JONES: Thank you.

CUOMO: I mean, look, he's an organizer. So, I get it. He's saying "I can't look to them. I got to get it done on my own."

I mean, that's going to be tough, to tell minority voters, in all these states, across the country, "Yes, I know you voted us in, to give us a chance, to stop Trump, and all these kooks on the far-right fringe. But yes, we couldn't get it done. And, yes, you took a beating on your rights," I think that's a tough sell.

President Biden is facing that. He's also facing another major challenge, combating violent crime, rising in many American cities.

Now, the question people are saying to you is, why are crime rates spiking? We know why crime rates are spiking. And it's not as simple as being one, two or three gun laws way.

You got to put people in jail, when they break the law, and laws have changed to keep that from happening. We know why this is happening. The question is, do we have the courage to face it, and do something about it, in a woke society?

The Wizard of Odds breaks down the numbers, next.









CUOMO: Here's the reality. We are shooting each other, and killing each other, at a fever pitch. Homicide rates, they're up.

Now, I know they spike, when it gets hot outside. But this is something we need to look at, OK? It may be more than seasonal, at least in some places like New York City, when you look at these rates being up across the country.

It's true in cities, large and small, states Red and Blue, places that cut Police budgets, and where spending increased. And no, we do not see evidence that this is about Police not doing their job anymore. So, until you have facts on that, shut up about it, at least when you're on this show.

President Biden plans to address the spike tomorrow with cops as well as state and local officials. He knows this is going to be a huge political cudgel. "Tough on crime" is a big political sell. And you're hearing the Right say it already. And lives are at stake. But we have to start with the facts. So, let's do that here tonight. I'm not going to leave this alone. I'm

not one and done. This is a real problem in this country. And we have to stay on it. And this is the perfect time to do it.

So, let's bring in the Wizard of Odds, and begin at the beginning, with Harry Enten, laying out the numbers.

Let's take the three big cities. Murder rates are all still going up. So, what do you see in that kind of baseline set of numbers?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN POLITICS SENIOR WRITER & ANALYST: Yes, I think it's important not just to compare to 2020, right? It's important to compare to 2019. And look at the homicide rate. It's up 53 percent in New York. It's up 29 percent, in Los Angeles, compared to two years ago. It's up 21 percent compared to Chicago, two years ago.

And in New York, you're already seeing the political ramifications tonight, in the early returns with Eric Adams, who ran as a "Tough on crime" candidate in the New York City Democratic primary, is right now ahead.

So, it's very clear to me that these homicide rates being up are definitely having some impact, at least at the ballot box.


CUOMO: Everybody says, "Let's rethink it. New York's had these big bail reform laws, and figuring out how to do fair policing." Now, you do have to ask whether or not they are bearing the fruit of those measures. And we will look into this more.

So, let's look at violent crime because now you get a pushback to the premise, which is "Everything's worse."

ENTEN: Yes, this is really interesting to me. And what we see here, look at the violent crime rates. So, this is homicides plus rape plus robbery plus aggravated battery. And what we see here is that, in fact, there's very little change compared to a year ago.

And in fact, compared to 2019, in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, the rates are all actually down. So, whatever is going on, in these cities right now, is something that is causing the murder rate to spike, but the other violent crimes actually mostly to fall.

So, this is one of these puzzles. And crime is often these types of puzzles, right? If we knew how to necessarily bring down the violent crime rate, then, we'd have low crime everywhere. But we don't know exactly what works. And this is a particularly odd puzzle, especially come out of the - coming out of the Coronavirus pandemic.

CUOMO: Well, look, I mean, you and I are New Yorkers. We know what worked here.

We know that Bratton coming in, during the Giuliani administration, and doing the Broken Windows campaign, of catching people doing small- level crimes, putting them in jail, it wound up cutting, in addition, with a lot of other economic opportunity and educational measures, it wound up taking New York City to a much better place.

Now, you have a reversal of that reality, in this city, because you have people using guns, and commissions of crimes, and getting let out, waiting on a case, doing it again, while they're waiting on a case, and they're staying out. That's an issue.

ENTEN: I will point - yes, that is true. Obviously, though, we should note that the crime rates are much lower than they were, say in 1990, when it spiked in New York City. And I should also obviously note we saw a nationwide drop.

I'm not saying one way or another whether or not the New York City measures in the 1990s worked. Plenty of people here certainly believe it. And certainly voters definitely believed it. And my father, who was a Supervising Judge in the Bronx Criminal Court during the 90s certainly believed it.

But we have to put these numbers sort of in comparison. But at least, at this point, there's no doubt that the murder rate is up in New York, and pretty much across the country.

CUOMO: No question about it. Politically, look, it's just starting to resonate. Violent crime is a very big problem. April 2021, 48 percent, June 2020, 41 percent, March 2019, 49 percent.

We're still at about half of the people. But let's see what happens when the numbers come through, and the stories are told, and it starts to resonate where you live.

Harry Enten, appreciate the numbers, brother.

ENTEN: Thank you, sir.

CUOMO: All right.

The White House, we're still dealing with a pandemic. It is true that they have a lot on their plate, OK?

The White House now says it's not expecting to meet the vaccination goal set for the Fourth of July, why, because everything's opening anyway. And it's been politicized. And there are too many people, who are worried about the vaccine, for good and bad reason. Remember, it hasn't been approved yet. It's still emergency use.

So, what does this all mean? We have to keep asking the big question. We should have never lived through this. They should have known what to do about it.

And we know that they knew, because back 10 years ago, they did a movie called "Contagion," where the filmmaker talked to experts, like you see by the dozens. And they all knew from SARS and MERS, what this would look like. And he nailed it!

We have two key players from that film. I want you to hear from them, "How did you come up with something that's so uncanny, that's so accurate," because they're not impressed by their genius, because they say it was obvious. Next.









CUOMO: The White House says what you probably suspected. We're not going to make the July 4th goal of 70 percent of adults partially vaccinated. Some states have it. New York has done it.

But the CDC Director says because of this fact, warning.


DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: We know our vaccines work against this variant. However, this variant represents a set of mutations that could lead to future mutations that evade our vaccine.


CUOMO: U.S. vaccinations are plunging, even as a more contagious and severe Delta variant is spreading. Is this something that we should be more worried about?

The 2011 film "Contagion," 2011, if you watch it, you will be shocked, one, at how Sanjay Gupta looks better today, than he did even 10 years ago, but also that it nails what could happen, would happen, and did happen, especially not just what we lived through, but mutations or variants.



DR. ELLIS CHEEVER, FICTIONAL CHARACTER PLAYED BY LAURENCE FISHBURNE, "CONTAGION": With the new mutation, we are predicting an R-naught of no less than four. And without a vaccine, we can anticipate that approximately one in 12 people on the planet will contract the disease.



CUOMO: Nailed it! It was supposed to be post-apocalyptic, was supposed to play into that could be, could be. Nailed it!

Joining me now, Scott Z. Burns, Screenwriter for "Contagion," also, Producer, Director, Ian Lipkin, the Chief Scientific Consultant for the film.

Dr. Lipkin, it's good to have you.

Scott, thank you very much for making the time.

Scott, how did you get it so right? Did you get lucky?

SCOTT Z. BURNS, WROTE SCREENPLAY FOR "CONTAGION," SCREENWRITER, PRODUCER, & DIRECTOR: I don't think I got lucky. What I did was what I think a lot of people, who have my job do, which is you start with research, and you talk to experts.

And I spent a lot of time with Dr. Lipkin, with Dr. Larry Brilliant, with people like Laurie Garrett. And they all said the same thing to me. They said, "This really isn't a question of if this is going to happen. It's really just a question of when."


And it did happen, in lesser degrees. I mean, SARS happened. Other things happened. We have a whole history on the planet, of our kind of our ongoing battle with viruses. And so, it was sort of naive to think this was never happening again.

CUOMO: Your reaction to when we started going through it, and it started to match your movie?

BURNS: I think the thing that didn't match the movie was what I was more sort of taken with, which was the complete and abject failure of our federal government to provide a coherent response.

I knew what the virus could do. I think there's science behind that. What was most shocking to me was the realization that the virus would be sort of a tracer bullet through our society, and it would light up all of the inequities.

We would see that frontline communities, and that, people who don't have access to great health care would be affected, in horrifying ways. So, that was - that was really my reaction. It was more about what we didn't anticipate than what science told us was likely to happen.

CUOMO: You're a great writer. But even you couldn't have imagined what Trump would do, in calling a pandemic a hoax.

We always say the fact is stranger than fiction. If people had written up what he was about, and how he acted, and tried to get someone like you to sell it to Hollywood, they would have said it's not believable.

Doctor, looking at the vaccination rates now, when you see the fall- off from 3.9 percent, in April, the week of April 19, now 1.9 percent, we're not going to reach 70 percent, not that 70 percent was a magic number.

But what does that mean, when you combine the reduced rate of vaccination, and the increased rate of variants? What does that mean for us, Doctor?

DR. IAN LIPKIN, CHIEF SCIENTIFIC CONSULTANT FOR "CONTAGION", DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR INFECTION & IMMUNITY, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: It's a disaster. It's something that we have to address not only in the United States, but globally.

We're very focused on vaccination in the U.S. But unless everybody is protected everywhere, none of us are safe. These new variants emerged, chiefly not in the U.S., but overseas.

CUOMO: We have to start at home. How important is it that the CDC, the government, whoever it is, gets the vaccine approved for use, and not just emergency use?

LIPKIN: I think that's extremely important. It will eliminate one of the major objections that people have, to taking the vaccine. But there still will be people, who will say that they don't want to take the vaccine.

Now, it's important to recognize that this has been challenged during the smallpox here, back in 1905, when we went to the state Supreme Court in Massachusetts, and then to the federal Supreme Court. We may find ourselves there again.

CUOMO: One quick question for you. Sequel?

BURNS: Wow! Steven Soderbergh and I have talked about a sequel. I guess - I guess anything is possible. Obviously, we've seen that. So, we talk about it. I'm not sure this one's over yet, so.

CUOMO: Well!

BURNS: I think we still have a ways to go.

CUOMO: We know this isn't over. We're just living like it is. I look forward to seeing what comes next, at least at the movies. The reality, I've gotten enough of.

Scott Burns, thank you for getting it right, when you made your movie, and talking about it now.

And Dr. Lipkin, as always, appreciate the insight. We'll speak again.

BURNS: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right. This is why I came to work tonight. I cried the right kind of cry. I watched "America's Got Talent." I don't usually watch the show. Somebody sent me a clip.

And somebody on this show blew me away, not just because of her voice, not just because of what's going on in her life, but because what she told me about what matters about my own. And she gave a message that is so resonant and real right now, and she's the perfect vessel for it.

I can't wait to introduce you to "Nightbirde," Ameri-CAN, all day long, next.









CUOMO: Tonight's Ameri-CAN is moving millions of hearts with her voice, with her story, but most importantly, with her truth.

I want you to meet 30-year-old Jane Marczewski. She is a cancer survivor warrior.

Last year, doctors told her she had a 2 percent chance of survival, after her cancer metastasized to different parts of her body. Just months to live, but the word that she took from it was "Live." Now in her third battle, she's not letting it stop her, or her music.

She goes by the stage name "Nightbirde." And I want you to listen to what comes out of her with her gift, on "America's Got Talent." Listen.




JANE "NIGHTBIRDE" MARCZEWSKI, MUSICAL ARTIST, "AMERICA'S GOT TALENT" CONTESTANT, WON SIMON COWELL'S GOLDEN BUZZER ON "AMERICA'S GOT TALENT," FIGHTING METASTATIC CANCER: I wrote a hundred pages but I burned them all. Yes, I burned them all. I drove through yellow lights and don't look back at all. I don't look back at all. All day, all night, now I can't hide. Said I knew what I wanted but I guess I lied.

It's OK, it's OK, it's OK, it's OK. If you're lost with all the little lost and it's alright. It's OK, it's OK, it's OK, it's OK. If you're lost with all the little lost and it's alright. Oh, it alright to be lost sometimes.


CUOMO: When you mix talent and truth, sometimes you make magic. And that performance earned her Simon Cowell's Golden Buzzer, advancing her to the live shows. She goes by "Nightbirde." And I want to welcome her to PRIME TIME right now.


What a pleasure for me! I want to thank you. I want to thank you, for myself, for my wife, for my kids, for reminding us what beauty looks like, what passion and purpose look like, and what we have to remember.

When you said "You cannot wait for the bad things to go away, before you decide to be happy about your life," it hit me like a hammer. And I want to thank you for that. And I want to thank you for living it.

MARCZEWSKI: Wow! Wow! Well, I didn't - I didn't expect to even say it that day. But I think that was a battle, I was fighting, for myself, in my mind, you know?

There's always those voices that say, the good things aren't going to last. But I was fighting it. And I was saying it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter what happens tomorrow, or what happens after this. Today - today, I'm so happy to be here. And I'm alive. And I'm overjoyed.

CUOMO: In the wildest dreams that you gave yourself, to give yourself the strength, to get through the suck, did you ever imagine you'd be where you are now?

MARCZEWSKI: No, oh, my goodness, no. In a sense, I always believed that impossible things could happen. And for many years, the impossible things that happened in my life were catastrophe, and tragedy, and loss.

But this time, the impossible thing that's happening is way, way better, and way more than I could have ever asked for.

CUOMO: Who has reached out to you? What kinds of people have found solace in your song that surprised you?

MARCZEWSKI: I think all of - it's not just America, that's responding to this. But it's people all over the world, from all cultures, and people groups, and socioeconomic backgrounds, it's everybody - everybody's afraid to be happy sometimes, because life is really, really hard.

And there's a lot of reasons - there's a lot of reasons to be afraid. But there's also a lot of reasons to be thankful. And my journey has taught me that we don't have to pick one.

We don't have to pick life is hard, or life is beautiful. Life is beautiful and hard at the same time. And that's when we're fully alive is when we - when we can hold both.

CUOMO: It's when you say it, with the context of where you're coming from, it is impossible to dispute unless yet, isn't that what all of us do every day?

I mean, maybe even you, pre this, that it is so easy for us to lose sight of that you have to be happy no matter what life brings, and you have to be present, and you don't get to choose your moment. You got to make the most of every moment. It's so hard for us.

What do you say to people? I mean, of course hearing it from you, we're all too ashamed, to say, "No, my life is too hard. My life is too hard, Nightbirde." What do you say to them when they're in the struggle, and they're like, "Look, I'm not her. I can't overcome things like that. It's just too much for me."

MARCZEWSKI: Oh, you know what? I'm not - I'm not special. I'm not stronger than anyone else. I just might be - I just have - I just have the audacity, to keep going, in the face of - in the face of reasons why I should not.

And the key to it is, you don't deny the pain of today, but don't deny the hope of the future. Both are real. And you take it minute-by- minute. Life doesn't really get easier. It really doesn't. You just have to - you got to believe in impossible things.

CUOMO: Got to believe in impossible things. You said "They gave me a 2 percent chance. It's not a 0 percent chance. And that means everything."

I don't want to talk to you about what you're fighting. But I do want to talk about your fight. You have a GoFundMe page.


CUOMO: Because cancer ain't cheap, as anybody knows, who's had it. I want people to know about the GoFundMe page. We don't do this that often. But I want to do it because it's the right thing to do.

And I really want to thank you. I mean very rarely does somebody hit me with something I wasn't ready for that really reframes things for me. And it was a good cry. You gave me a good cry. And I hope that that - the effect you're having, I hope it means something to you, Jane. I really do.

"Nightbirde," why "Nightbirde?"

MARCZEWSKI: "Nightbirde" is a great - it's a great story. I had a recurring dream, three nights in a row, when I woke up in the middle of the night, and I heard birds singing out my - outside my window, in the dark.

And the first two times it happened, it really was only a dream. And the third time I woke up, and I really heard something. And I went to the window, and saw the tree outside, full of birds, at 3 in the morning, pitch-black, singing as if the sun had come up. [21:55:00]

And it struck me so profound in that moment that these birds were singing, as if the sun had come up, but there was no proof of the sun yet. And I wanted to embody that that I would hope even when there was no proof that I should.

CUOMO: Well, I want to tell you. I mean, I don't know if you know anything about this show. But these are not the kinds of segments I often do. But I just don't know that I could give anything to the audience that matters that much.

And I don't - I don't care about the show. I hope you do well on it. And I'll be following now because of you. But your voice is beautiful. And I've heard other beautiful voices, but not that carry the truth. What they called "Authenticity" quickly on stage, to me is something more resonant than just authenticity.

You are truth to us that people can persevere. And there's beauty in that. And you are a beautiful example of it. Thank you very much, my friend. Good luck. And thank you for what the gift you gave me and, you're giving so many people.

MARCZEWSKI: Thank you, means the world to me, thank you so much.

CUOMO: "Nightbirde," ladies and gentlemen. Keep watching. Keep singing.

We'll be right back.



MARCZEWSKI: It's OK, it's OK, it's OK, it's OK. If you're lost with all the little lost and it's alright. It's OK, it's OK.



CUOMO (on camera): The big show, "DON LEMON TONIGHT" with its star D. Lemon right now.