CNN LATE EDITION WITH WOLF BLITZER
Interview With Bob Graham; Warner, Bayh Talk About Hunt for Iraqi Weapons; Hunter, Harman Discuss Future of Post-War Iraq
Aired June 1, 2003 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is LATE EDITION, the last word in Sunday talk.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is the time for all of us to unite in the defense of liberty. This is no time to stir up the visions in the great alliance.
WOLF BLITZER, HOST: President Bush meets with the leaders of the major industrialized nations. Can they move beyond their differences over Iraq?
And what's next in the global war against terror? We'll ask two top members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, chairman John Warner and Evan Bayh.
And we'll get perspective from former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former Defense Secretary William Cohen.
SEN. BOB GRAHAM (D), FLORIDA: This administration has failed, in my judgment, to give adequate security to the American people.
BLITZER: Strong words from the former chairman of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee. But can Democratic presidential hopeful Bob Graham back them up? We'll ask him.
Plus, just back from Baghdad, a firsthand report from a U.S. congressman.
A five-year manhunt ends, the suspect in the Olympic Park bombing captured.
And new twists and turns in the Laci Peterson case.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN in Washington, this is LATE EDITION WITH WOLF BLITZER.
WOLF BLITZER, HOST: It's noon in Washington, 9:00 a.m. in Los Angeles, 6:00 p.m. in Evian, France, and 7:00 p.m. in Jerusalem. Wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks for joining us for LATE EDITION.
We'll get to our interview with Florida senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bob Graham in just a few minutes, but first let's check in with CNN reporters covering the hour's top stories around the world.
We begin in Evian, France, where President Bush is meeting with other world leaders at the Group of Eight summit. He's also trying to repair damaged relations with some European allies, including France.
CNN's senior European political correspondent Robin Oakley is joining us now live from Publiet (ph) in France. That's near the summit. He's got details.
What's happening today, Robin?
ROBIN OAKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, they've been getting down to a working session this afternoon with the leaders of the 11 developing countries who have been invited here -- China, India, South Africa, Malaysia, many others -- really trying to demonstrate that they're not just interested in the issues of concern to a rich man's club of the original G-8.
And they're making some progress, discussing things like clean water supplies, cheap drugs, debt relief for the most impoverished countries, trying to show some concern with the billion people in the world who are living on less than a dollar a day.
But though they looked cheery enough when they had their class photo, they have been chided by Thabo Mbeki, the president of South Africa, that the haven't really kept their past pledges to the developing countries. And Kofi Annan, the U.N. secretary general, has said they've got to find a lot more money yet.
Of course, one big question was whether they're going to focus too much back on the war in Iraq, which divided them four against four, the G-8 countries, or whether they really will look to the future.
And the key test for that was the handshake, really, between the host of this summit, President Jacques Chirac of France, leader of the opposition to the war in Iraq in a sense, and President George Bush. They had that handshake. It has to be said there wasn't a lot of eye contact, there wasn't a lot of bodily warmth about it, certainly not the embrace and the kisses on both cheeks that President Chirac was giving a lot of the leaders of those developing countries.
But there is some hope now that with Chirac and Tony Blair of Britain both enthusiasts for pressing forward in Africa, and President Bush committing himself to a big anti-AIDS program, that they really can get down to some of the practicalities on those issues.
It won't be enough, though, to satisfy the demonstrators who've been out in the streets of Lauzin (ph) and Geneva in nearby Switzerland, as they always are for these G-8 summits -- Wolf.
BLITZER: CNN's Robin Oakley reporting for us. He's covering the summit. We'll be checking back with you, obviously, throughout the day. Thanks, Robin, very much.
Let's turn now to a very dramatic development here in the United States, specifically in North Carolina, where Eric Robert Rudolph, the man suspected of four bomb attacks during the 1990s, including the 1996 Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta, he's now in FBI custody after a five-year manhunt.
CNN law enforcement correspondent Mike Brooks is on the scene for us in Murphy, North Carolina. That's where he was apprehended. He's joining us now with late developments -- Mike.
MIKE BROOKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Wolf.
Again, as you said, Eric Rudolph was apprehended here in Murphy, North Carolina, and is now being held in the Cherokee County jail here in Murphy, in the building right behind me. It's a small country jail in this very, very small mountain town in western North Carolina.
But there are other things going on as we speak.
The FBI's evidence response team has now joined the investigation here. They are searching a wooded area right behind the shopping center adjacent to a major roadway, behind the shopping center where he was arrested yesterday.
Now, we have seen agents loading up some of their quads, 4x4s, and going up into the woods. Sources have said they believe that Eric Rudolph was living in those woods possibly up to three weeks prior to his arrest yesterday morning.
You also have other things going on. You have agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms also here that have joined the investigation.
We spoke yesterday with Jo Rose (ph), the assistant United States attorney from the Western District of North Carolina. She will be actually the U.S. attorney that will be in court tomorrow in Asheville, North Carolina, representing the government and will present the cases against Eric Rudolph of which he is accused.
Now, he will be transferred sometime, either today and possibly tomorrow morning, to Asheville, North Carolina. They aren't saying exactly how they will transfer him there. The FBI yesterday did give a hint that he most likely would be flown there by helicopter, possibly by National Guard helicopter, from Murphy, North Carolina -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. CNN's Mike Brooks in North Carolina for us. We'll be checking back with you, as well.
And later on LATE EDITION, we'll speak to two former FBI agents who know a great deal about this manhunt and know a great deal about the case, lessons learned. We'll get into all of that throughout this program.
But let's get back to our top story right now. President Bush in France for a meeting with world leaders at the G-8 summit. It's part of his most ambitious overseas journey since taking office. Joining me now, someone who has questioned several of the president's most recent policy decisions, including the war on Iraq and the war against terror, Senator Bob Graham. He's a former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. He is now seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.
Senator Graham, welcome back to LATE EDITION. Thanks for joining us.
SEN. BOB GRAHAM (D), FLORIDA: Good afternoon, Wolf.
BLITZER: At the top of this program we had that sound bite from you, where you said bluntly that the president has failed to give adequate security to the American people.
Can you back that up? What are you specifically referring to?
GRAHAM: I'm specifically referring to the fact that if we're going to win the war on terror and not have to give up our basic rights here in the United States, we're going to do it on the offensive, where the terrorists live.
And that for about the last 14 months, we have changed the war on terror in Afghanistan and Pakistan into a manhunt. We've removed military and intelligence resources that were on the verge of crushing the backbone of al Qaeda and, therefore, allowed al Qaeda to regenerate, as we saw a couple of weeks ago.
And as it relates to Hezbollah, the A-team of international terrorism, where every month they are graduating new people with the skills of terrorism, placing them around the world, including in the United States, we've not laid a glove on them, in large part, in my opinion, because we wanted to placate Syria because of its membership in the Security Council.
BLITZER: Well, basically what you're saying on both of these points -- Afghanistan, Syria, Hezbollah -- those two issues, are you suggesting that the war in Iraq was a diversion, it undermined U.S. security?
GRAHAM: Yes, it was a diversion. It diverted our attention, our leadership focus and military and intelligence resources that, had they been applied to Afghanistan and Pakistan, could have led to the destruction of al Qaeda. Had they been used against other cells of al Qaeda, in places like Yemen, they could have further eliminated the opportunity for a regeneration of that. And had they been used as part of a diplomatic effort with Syria, they could well have resulted in a different status for Hezbollah today than, in fact, has.
BLITZER: Well, let's get back to the two issues, al Qaeda and Iraq. What you're suggesting is that the U.S., the Bush administration, can't do both at the same time. The administration insists it can.
Do you believe it can't? GRAHAM: Well, this is not a matter of speculation, Wolf. This is a matter of fact. The fact is that 14 months ago al Qaeda was significantly dismantled. At about that same time, we converted the war to a manhunt. We began to lower our pressure against al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan. And what's happened in the intervening period is that al Qaeda has regenerated and has shown the ability, as recently as two weeks ago, to carry out complex operations in Saudi Arabia and, possibly, also in Chechnya and Morocco.
BLITZER: The issue involving Hezbollah is a very sensitive issue. Hezbollah supported, funded in part, by Iran. Also given free access by Syria, not only in Syria, but in Lebanon.
Why do you believe the administration, if this is your accusation, is not doing enough, is not doing anything, if you will, to fight Hezbollah, which you say is the A-list, more of a serious threat to the United States than al Qaeda?
GRAHAM: Well, I believe the primary motivation for the past year has been that Syria has one of the 15 seats on the Security Council. We were anxious to get a positive vote in the Security Council for Iraq and, therefore, unwilling to confront Syria until after the Iraq ended with the fact that it was harboring and providing sanctuary to these very violent terrorists.
BLITZER: So what would you do?
GRAHAM: I would go to, first, to Afghanistan and Pakistan, I would restart the war on terror, and I would not allow myself to be distracted until we had completed the task there, and started to carry the effort to other places where there is significant al Qaeda presence.
And as it relates to Hezbollah, I would go to the Syrian government and tell them in no uncertain words that it was intolerable for them to continue to provide this support and sanctuary for Hezbollah.
BLITZER: But Iran supports Hezbollah, as well.
GRAHAM: Iran has supported Hezbollah, particularly financially, but the primary location and operating area and training camps for Hezbollah are in Syria and the Syrian-controlled areas of Lebanon.
BLITZER: If they don't do it, the Syrian government, what would you propose, military action to take out those camps?
GRAHAM: I would go to the same countries which were part of our coalition in Afghanistan, which was a true international effort, and then I would go to the Syrians and say, "These are the nations of the world which understand the importance of winning the war on terror, so that the people of their countries can be removed from this anxiety that has existed since 9/11. We expect you to do this, but if you don't, we are going to do it," "it" being taking out the headquarters and training camps for Hezbollah. BLITZER: A few weeks ago, Senator, you made another major accusation against the Bush administration. Let me put a quote up on the screen, what you said.
You said, "I think what they are shooting at is to cover up the failures that occurred before the September 11th, even more so the failures to utilize the information that we have gained to avoid a future September 11th. I call that a cover-up." What do you mean? Is the administration engaged in a cover-up of what led to 9/11?
GRAHAM: Well, let me give you the facts, and then you can determine what word describes them.
We spent the better part of a year -- "we" being the House and Senate Intelligence Committees -- reviewing what happened before September the 11th, what were some lessons to be learned from September the 11th that would increase the security of the American people today, and what steps should government take to build its capability to resist terrorism.
That report was submitted on the 20th of December to the CIA and the FBI. It was not until five months later that they came back with their directives as to how much of the report would have to remain classified.
I have not seen that latest version. It only arrived at our offices late on Thursday, but I understand that there are three major sections of the report in total (ph). Every sentence, even every heading is blanked out and will remain classified, insofar as those two agencies are concerned. And then other parts of the report have significant restrictions.
BLITZER: But, Senator, they argue, officials of the CIA, elsewhere in the intelligence community, that, in the middle of a war against terrorism, they have to protect what they call the "crown jewels," the sources and methods, how they find these bad guys out there. Don't they have a right to try to do that?
GRAHAM: Well, in fact, that's their responsibility, to protect sensitive information, particularly how we gathered it and from whom we gathered it.
But they're putting under classification materials that were submitted in open session by officials of the FBI and the CIA. They're putting under classification information which has appeared widely in the press, and not contested.
In my judgment, that's not being done for any legitimate national-security reasons. It's being done because they don't want the American people to see a coherent narrative of what happened -- lessons and actions.
BLITZER: Senator Graham, as you well know, with the exception of two trucks that may have been used to manufacture biological weapons, the U.S. has not yet found the big weapons of mass destruction stockpiles that many had anticipated.
Was there an itnelligence failure on that issue, going into the war?
GRAHAM: Well, we all hope that weapons of mass destruction, on which this war was predicated, will be found.
If they are not found, and that will indicate a very serious intelligence failure, or the attempt to keep the American people in the dark by manipulating that intelligence information.
If we reach the point that one of those two is the basis for our inability to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, it is going to undercut the confidence of the American people and raise serious doubts with the international community as to the basic truthfulness of the United States.
BLITZER: Well, you were privy to most of that intelligence on the Intelligence Committee during those months and, indeed, years. What is your bottom-line assessment, at least as of this point? Was there a manipulation?
GRAHAM: Well, as I say, I hope that we will find the weapons of mass destruction that the intelligence community and the highest leadership of the United States indicated were in Iraq, and in Iraq in sufficient quantities that they justified a preemptive attack by the United States to keep those weapons from being used against their neighbors and against the United States of America itself.
I have seen the same information, or at least most of the same information, that has been made available to the president and his advisers, and it made a compelling case.
BLITZER: Senator, a lot of your critics are suggesting because you're now running for the Democratic presidential nomination, want to remove President Bush from office, a lot of your criticisms have to be taken with that grain of salt, the political debate that's now under way here in the United States.
What do you say to those critics?
GRAHAM: What I will stand by is the truthfulness of what I am saying. The truth of the fact that we did shut down substantially our war on terror in Afghanistan and Pakistan in order to initiate the war in Iraq, the fact that we've not taken assertive action against Syria until after the Iraq war was over, the fact that if we don't find these weapons of mass destruction, it will represent a serious intelligence failure or the manipulation of that intelligence information to keep the American people in the dark. Those are facts.
BLITZER: Senator, we have a caller from your home state of Florida who wants to ask you a question -- actually from New York state. Go ahead, New York state. Go ahead with your question.
CALLER: Do you think that the 2000 Florida election debacle will be an issue in the 2004 presidential campaign? GRAHAM: I doubt that it will be much of an issue. Florida has taken steps to correct the errors and mistakes and technologies that led to the circumstances in 2000. I don't think it will be a major issue.
BLITZER: One final question, Senator. You recently had heart surgery. Are you up for the job for campaigning for the Democratic nomination and, if you get it, for running for the White House?
GRAHAM: And then serving as president of the United States, yes. I feel very energetic, very strong and am conducting an active campaign. And I'm ready to run and ready to serve.
BLITZER: Senator Graham, thanks very much for joining us. Good luck to you.
GRAHAM: Thank you.
BLITZER: Coming up next, the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Has the smoking gun been found? We'll talk to two key members of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, the Republican chairman, John Warner, and Democratic Senator Evan Bayh.
Plus, a five-year manhunt comes to an end. We'll get insight into the surprise capture of the bombing suspect, Eric Robert Rudolph.
And later, this day in history, an event that changed the news forever. Stay with us.
BLITZER: There is breaking news coming out of Baghdad. A U.S. military convoy of Humvees came under attack just a short while ago. CNN's Matthew Chance is joining us now live from the Iraqi capital with details.
Matthew, tell us what's going on.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Wolf.
And yet another incident really underlining just how dangerous it is for U.S. troops patrolling the streets of Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, and elsewhere.
Details are very sketchy at the moment about this latest incident, but it does appear from soldiers who we spoke to at the scene that a U.S. military convoy of Humvee vehicles was proceeding through the Adamiyah area, that's in north-central Baghdad, earlier today when it was attacked by a gunman firing automatic weapons and a rocket-propelled grenade.
U.S. soldiers at the scene said they believed that the firing at them was coming from a mosque in the area. No independent verification of that, though.
U.S. forces unable to confirm whether there were any injuries or casualties on their side as a result of that firing. Local eyewitnesses, though, who CNN spoke to, said they saw a number of wounded lying on the streets before U.S. reinforcements came along.
We'll hope to bring you more details on that as soon as they come through to us.
At the same time, though, all this underlining the dangers, as I mentioned, and coming on the date when a gun amnesty was announced, brought into force here in Baghdad. The authorities from the U.S. and Britain had been hoping that many citizens of Baghdad would come out and give in their weapons.
Weapons ownership is widespread here. Two weeks from now there will be a permit system, which will mean that Iraqis, if they want to carry weapons outside of their homes, will have to get a permit to do so. They can keep them inside their homes, and that is what apparently many people in Baghdad have chosen to do today, because the response to the amnesty has been very, very sluggish, indeed. People in Baghdad feeling the situation is still not secure enough to hand their weapons back, Wolf.
BLITZER: And, Matthew, briefly, does it appear to be that these attacks on U.S. soldiers, Marines, that they are random, just by isolated groups, or is there some sort of well-orchestrated, coordinated resistance that's developing against the United States presence there?
CHANCE: Well, that's the big question, Wolf. Certainly the U.S. Army spokesman here in Baghdad, the generals running the operation, say that they believe in certain areas, outside of Baghdad, particularly to the west of the city, that there are sort of degrees of coordination and organization about from this opposition on a local level, remnants, they say, of the Saddam Hussein regime banding together and coordinating their attacks.
CHANCE: But these attacks are widespread, according to U.S. military officials. There is no intelligence to suggest that this is an organized rebellion from the grass roots at this stage, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. CNN's Matthew Chance in Baghdad. We'll be coming back to you. Thanks very much for that report.
Just ahead, U.S. troops are, as we just saw, the targets of deadly attacks in post-war Iraq, while residents there are voicing frustration and fear. We'll ask two key members of the Senate Armed Services Committee what the United States should do about this continuing chaos.
And later, President Bush at the G-8 summit in France. Will the U.S. mend fences with the European allies who opposed the war with Iraq? We'll get perspective from former Defense Secretary William Cohen and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
LATE EDITION will continue right after this.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (NEWSBREAK)
BLITZER: Up next: Seven weeks after the end of the war in Iraq, no sign of Saddam Hussein. Is he alive or is he dead? Republican Senator John Warner of Virginia, Democratic Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, they'll weigh in on that and much more.
Also, President Bush on an important trip to Europe and the Middle East. Will the frayed transatlantic alliance be strengthened? We'll get insight from former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former Defense Secretary William Cohen.
But first, our question of the week: Do you approve or disapprove of President Bush's handling of international affairs? You can cast your vote now. Go to our web address at cnn.com/lateedition.
We'll be right back.
BLITZER: Remember, LATE EDITION's question of the week: Do you approve or disapprove of President Bush's handling of international affairs? You can still vote. Go to our address, cnn.com/lateedition, to cast your vote.
The United States is increasing security forces in Iraq in response to a series of attacks this week, indeed throughout the month, that have left at least five soldiers dead in the past few days alone. Those attacks are raising concerns that forces loyal to Saddam Hussein may be regrouping.
We're joined now by two key members of the United States Senate Armed Services Committee: Republican Senator John Warner of Virginia, he's the committee's chairman. And Democratic Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana.
Senators, welcome back to LATE EDITION. We're going to get to all of that, Senators, in just a moment.
But we heard an incredibly tough series of accusations, Senator Warner, from Senator Graham, a respected, moderate member, former chairman of the Intelligence Committee, suggesting the president is undermining security, if you will, not doing enough to protect the American public.
SEN. JOHN WARNER (R), VIRGINIA: And you asked him the key question: What have you got to back it up, and what have you got to corroborate your story?
Now, we all like Bob, and not just because he's a fellow senator, but he is a hard-working man. And he's taking on this mantel under physical disabilities, to some extent, to run for the presidency. We commend him. But this is my second term on the Intelligence Committee. And whenever one serves on that committee, I think you have to set yourself apart from your normal Senate duties, because you share every bit of intelligence that the president of the United States gets.
And when you get up in public and begin to allude to it and touch it here and there without giving all the facts which you can't give, then you've sort of begin to establish some credibility in what you say. So I say to Bob, next week -- as a matter of fact, it was delivered Friday -- I was in the office yesterday -- full report, that he refers to. Let us look at it in the committees, and hopefully we can come out and dispel these accusations that he's made, because they're serious.
BLITZER: Senator Bayh, you're a member of the Intelligence Committee as well. Is Senator Graham, right, or is Senator Warner right?
SEN. EVAN BAYH (D), INDIANA: I agree with some of what Bob said but respectfully disagree with some of what he said, Wolf.
I think he's right about Afghanistan. Some of us, for a while -- Senator Hagel and myself and others, I think Senator McCain -- have been saying we didn't have a large enough presence there to really try and bring more stability to Afghanistan. And that's been a problem.
But I respectfully disagree. I am personally unaware of anything that we could be doing to fight al Qaeda that we're not doing. My impression is there is still a robust effort going on there.
And with regard to Iran and Syria, I actually think that our success in Iraq will help us bring pressure to bear on those two regimes to scale back their support of Hezbollah and some of these other activities.
So I do agree with some of what he was saying, but I have some differences on a couple of the other items.
BLITZER: All right. Senator Warner, let's get to the issue at hand, one of the key issues, the weapons of mass destruction hunt in Iraq.
I want you to listen to what Lieutenant General James Conway, Marine, Commander, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force in Iraq, said on Friday. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIEUTENANT GENERAL JAMES CONWAY, 1ST MARINE EXPEDITIONARY FORCE: It was a surprise to me then, it remains a surprise to me now, that we have not uncovered weapons, as you say, in some of the forward dispersal sites.
Again, believe me, it's not for lack of trying. We've been to virtually every ammunition supply point between the Kuwaiti border and Baghdad. But they're simply not there. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: "Simply not there." Do you believe that the administration oversold the weapons of mass destruction problem, going into the war?
WARNER: I asked those very questions as chairman of the committee when Rumsfeld appeared before the committee and the head of the CIA, George Tenet. I said, after hostilities, will you be able to go in with the cameras of the world and discover them? They said yes.
I still believe that we should give this administration plenty of time to search them out carefully. We've only looked at somewhere between a quarter and a third of the sites.
We know two things for sure. The U.N. said he had them. Other nations' intelligence apparatus during the course of this thing said that he had them. We know that he used them against his people. So let's give us time to do a thorough job before we reach a conclusion.
BLITZER: Because you know what the critics are saying. It was one thing for the U.N. inspectors, who didn't have the access, to go in and find them. It's another thing for the U.S. military, the British military, who have unhindered access right now, and they still haven't found much, except for these two trucks that the president refers to as biological mobile weapons labs.
WARNER: You cannot dismiss those trucks. They were made for a purpose, obviously to manufacture and be mobile the weapons of mass destruction.
But give us time. I think we will determine, after we've had more opportunity and a greater confidence among the Iraqi people, particularly those we've captured, that they can now share information. Believe me, he had them at one time, he has used them against his own people, and he used them against Iran.
BLITZER: Senator Bayh, listen to what President Bush said in his interview on Polish television, in advance of the summit on this sensitive issue. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We'll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong. We found them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: There was no evidence, though, in either of those two trucks, that actual biological weapons pathogens had been in those trucks, only that they potentially could manufacture those kinds of germ warfare.
BAYH: Wolf, we did a pretty good job of telegraphing our punches months in advance of going into Iraq, and I think what we're seeing here is that they scrubbed their facilities and broke them up and hid them pretty well.
I think, at the end of the day, what I think we're going to discover, as John was saying, is that he retained the capacity to manufacture weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical weapons going forward, but destroyed most of the stockpiles that he had. I think that's what we're going to end up finding. And what this all brings to light is that, in the intelligence world, it's an inexact science. There's a certain amount of subjective analysis involved, and I think we need to go back and, frankly, find out why there isn't more that we're finding.
But having said that, I still think it's a good thing that Saddam is gone, and I don't think we need to make apologies for that.
BLITZER: But the key issue, Senator Warner -- let me bring you back in -- is the accusation against the administration that political operatives within the administration in effect manipulated the intelligence community to come up with what they wanted to hear, as opposed to the intelligence community going forward and saying, well, here is the best evidence we have.
WARNER: Well, I've had an opportunity through many years to work with Colin Powell, with Rumsfeld and with George Tenet. When I was on the Intel Committee as vice chairman, he was our staff director. These men would not manipulate for the political purposes or in any other way that information.
Now, what we're going to do, as I talked to Chairman Roberts, going to propose a joint...
BLITZER: Pat Roberts is chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Intelligence Committee, Armed Services Committee, we happen to serve on both committees, have joint oversight. We're going to look at this situation.
I talked to George Tenet on Friday, a long conversation with him about this subject. And he assured me that he's going to supply the Congress first and foremost with all the statements made by the administration on weapons of mass destruction and the underlying intelligence that supported those statements.
So, we're going to take a look at this. But by the fact that we're just investigating it, should not in any way indicate that we're putting any credibility doubt against...
BLITZER: All right. Senator Bayh, I want you to weigh in on this as well, but I want you to do it in the context of these new Newsweek poll numbers that are just coming out today.
One poll, we'll put it up on the screen, you can take a look at it: Do you think Iraq had WMD, weapons of mass destruction, right before the war started in March? According to the American public, 72 percent said yes, 17 percent said no, 11 percent don't know.
Do you think the Bush administration misinterpreted reports that Iraq had WMD? Look at this. 36 percent of the American public say yes, 54 percent no, 10 percent don't know.
Go ahead and respond. This is a sensitive issue.
BAYH: It's very sensitive, Wolf, and I think it's important that we make a distinction between errors in judgment and errors of motive. I think what we're going to need here is an inquiry, at this point, to determine why possibly errors in judgment were made.
That's why I said this is an inexact science, people get these facts together, they make the best judgments they can. Maybe mistakes were made there.
I don't think we know enough yet to cross the line, though, and start questioning motives and saying that people were consciously manipulating the facts. That may be proven to be the case, but I think it would be irresponsible to state that at this point.
BLITZER: That's precisely what some retired U.S. intelligence community analysts are now doing. I don't know if you've seen some of those letters that have been coming out.
BLITZER: Let's talk a little bit about what's happening in Iraq right now.
BLITZER: Ahmed Chalabi, the opposition -- formerly opposition leader of the Iraqi National Congress, now back in Iraq, he had some ominous words that he told us earlier in the week. Listen to what he specifically said about Saddam Hussein.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AHMAD CHALABI, IRAQI NATIONAL CONGRESS: Saddam is still alive, and he's still in Iraq. And he is renewing his activity, his network.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Supposedly he's regrouping and he's organizing this opposition against the U.S. military.
WARNER: First thing I'd say to Chalabi, have you shared all of your information with our intelligence community, and particularly the military, General Franks? That's question number one.
BLITZER: Do you have any doubt about that?
WARNER: Do I have any -- I don't know what Chalabi may or may not have done. He's got an agenda which -- although he's credible in some ways, he is not credible in others, in my judgment.
But I know Franks and all the rest of the team are bearing down to try to find Saddam Hussein. And as of Friday, when I talked to the director, still there's no developments worthy of bringing him up on this important program.
BLITZER: But is the assessment he's still alive and well?
WARNER: I don't think anybody has made an assessment on alive or dead that's absolutely beyond a reasonable doubt accurate.
BLITZER: Senator Bayh, do you have any sense that if he's alive? And the assumption is, until there's hard evidence he is dead, you have to assume he's alive, that he's regrouping, organizing some of these attacks against the U.S. military.
BAYH: Wolf, I find that part of what Mr. Chalabi had to say to be rather surprising. I mean, for Saddam to communicate with anyone, to go anywhere, to access any resources would put him at great peril if, in fact, he's alive. And given the state of affairs there, someone would almost surely turn on him.
So alive or dead, I don't know. But controlling events, I'd be a bit surprised about that.
BLITZER: Senator Warner, you're the chairman of the Armed Services Committee. General Eric Shinseki, the Army chief of staff, got into trouble before the war by suggesting it would take 200,000 U.S. troops a long time to bring some sort of peace to Iraq after a war. And he was hammered, as you well know, by some of the top Pentagon brass, including Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.
Was General Shinseki right?
WARNER: First, I know him. He's a fine soldier, and he goes out holding his head high in service as chief staff the United States Army. Well done, sir.
You know he lost a foot in Vietnam. He's one of the few officers that are able to continue his career with a very severe disability.
But when he made that announcement, I remember we were before our committee with Secretary Wolfowitz, and we asked that question. And Wolfowitz came back very sternly that he felt he was wrong. But in time, we see that Shinseki was somewhere between what the Wolfowitz, say, Rumsfeld position was and where we are today.
So let's say he was not all wrong. And he held his chin high and went on about his business. He knew how to take criticism from the top because he felt he was right.
BAYH: Wolf, as you know, I supported the president's efforts in Iraq, and I'm glad Saddam is gone. That's a good thing for the world.
Having said that, I think we're now seeing that perhaps the same focus, determination and planning that went into winning the military campaign did not go into what was going to happen the day after, in the weeks and months after.
And regrettably, the general, I think, is being proven to be correct. It's going to take a larger U.S. presence for a longer period of time. Our colleague, Dick Lugar, was speaking about this for weeks leading up to the war, and I think we're seeing that now.
BLITZER: He's the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
We have a caller, Senators, from Georgia. Go ahead, Georgia, with your question.
CALLER: Hello, good afternoon. My question concerns the weapons of mass destruction that the president, secretary of state and other officials on the way down claim that knew specifically exist. They sent many of us service members into duty and many of us died. And I'm afraid someone might recognize my voice because I'm military.
When are you guys going to investigate who knew what, when, where and how does this happen?
BLITZER: All right. He's obviously very passionate about this.
WARNER: As you should be. And thank you for service to country, together with your wonderful men and women of the armed forces, who put all of these debates to one side. They performed magnificently in this mission in Iraq as well as Afghanistan and around the world.
But back to your question. Like you, I have a duty. My credibility is on the line, because I relied on that same intelligence, together with my colleague right here, when we interfaced with the public, when we addressed troops and the like.
So under my leadership of the Armed Services Committee and that under Pat Roberts on the Intel, we're going to conduct a very thorough review and investigation. And I guarantee you, this is one senator that holds people accountable when we feel they have strayed from what is right. And I'll guarantee you that'll be done.
BLITZER: All right, Senator Bayh, we only have a little time left. Very quickly on Iran, is it time for the U.S. to engage in an effort to orchestrate regime change into Iran?
BAYH: Well, which regime, Wolf? As you know, they're somewhat schizophrenic there. You have the reformers who are elected and the mullahs who retain most of the power.
I think we need to give Iran an opportunity to do right by the rest of the world, to renounce terrorism, to stop supporting Hezbollah.
And most importantly, Wolf, and here's what I'd watch out for: Over the next six months to a year, will they start making mischief within Iraq and support groups that may sponsor terrorist attacks against Americans? I'm very worried about that. If they cross over that line, clearly a regime change would be in order. BLITZER: Senator Warner, I'll give you the last word. Iran, go ahead.
WARNER: Iran, my own thoughts on it is as follows: You have the Mullahs, who are really stifling any progress. The president, duly elected, trying here and there, but clearly not succeeding.
But beneath the surface, particularly among the young people who are unemployed, with no opportunities, there is the chance that we'll try and support them in some ways. And I believe, through internal uprisings, you will see in due course a change of the regime in Iran.
BLITZER: Senator Warner, thanks very much.
Senator Bayh, thanks to you, as well.
Up next, a new road map for settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but will it lead to peace? We'll talk with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former Defense Secretary William Cohen.
Then, the chairman of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee gets a first-hand look at post-war Iraq. We'll get Congressman Duncan Hunter's assessment, and we'll also talk with his Democratic colleague, Congresswoman Jane Harman, about homeland security and much more.
LATE EDITION will continue right after this.
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BLITZER: And 23 years later, here we are.
It's time now to get to some of your letters to LATE EDITION. We've been getting flooded with e-mail.
Phil from Ontario, Canada, writes this: "These terror alerts are a big waste of money, and they cause stress to millions of Americans. If there is no specific threat, there shouldn't be an alert."
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Just ahead, a special conversation with two distinguished former presidential advisers, Nixon and Ford Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Clinton Defense Secretary William Cohen. We'll ask them about the future of U.S.-European relations and the road map for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
They'll also be taking your questions, so call us right now.
More LATE EDITION coming up right after a news alert. Stay with us.
BLITZER: Welcome back to LATE EDITION. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.
We begin this hour in France, where President Bush is meeting with world leaders at the G-8 summit. But even as they meet, thousands of protesters are demonstrating in the area.
CNN's Jim Bittermann is in Vallard, France. He's got late- breaking developments on that front -- Jim.
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf.
Well, in fact, what you see behind me here is the unit of the French riot police that's pulling out from here. They have been stationed here all afternoon long, waiting to intervene, as a lot of units of French riot police. In fact, something like 15,000 security officers of various types have been protecting that summit.
These police, however, are heading home this afternoon because, in fact, they have not had to do anything more than protect this McDonald's which is behind me, and there has been no problem here.
However, in various other locations, there have been some problems today. There was a huge demonstration of about 25,000 people, and there have been small groups that broke away from that demonstration to confront police. At one point, some of those breakaway demonstrators went and attacked a service station and took away some alcohol and cigarettes from the service station.
And that's about the way it's gone here over the last 24 hours. Sporadic attacks, perhaps a dozen attacks, by small groups of demonstrators halfway around the lake where the G-8 leaders are meeting, various locations.
Brief kind of confrontations with the police, because in all cases, the police have intervened with tear gas and, in some cases, with water cannon and also with rubber bullets, to break up the demonstrations.
So basically, they have stopped the demonstrators from getting anywhere close to the summit site. In fact, the closest that we can determine any of the demonstrators actually got to the summit leaders was about 18 miles away, or 30 kilometers away, from the summit site in Evian itself.
The leaders, the 21 leaders that have gathered here this afternoon, the G-8 plus 13 other world leaders that gathered around the table, were able to conduct their meetings without any problems from the demonstrators.
But in some ways, you know, Wolf, this is exactly what happened -- what happened today was exactly what the demonstrators wanted, in that they have wanted to expand this club of G-8 to include some of the underdeveloped countries of the world. And President Chirac of France, in fact, included 13 other world leaders, along with the top eight industrialized country leaders, around the table today for this opening session, at least -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Jim Bittermann near the summit. Who would have thought that French riot police would have to come out to protect a McDonald's? We'll continue to monitor this story for all of our viewers as well.
Thanks, Jim, very much.
Let's move on to Jerusalem now, where Israel has partially lifted its closure of the West Bank and Gaza in advance of the Aqaba summit in Jordan on Wednesday. That's when President Bush will meet with the Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers as part of an effort to promote his so-called road map toward peace.
CNN's John Vause is in Jerusalem. He's joining us now live with the latest -- John.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Wolf. Well, a few thousand Palestinians made the crossing today into Israel. Part of the confidence-building measures announced by the Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon last week, he said as many as 25,000 Palestinians would be allowed to return to their jobs.
But at the crossings today, many Palestinians complained that the travel restrictions were, in fact, as tight as ever. And one senior Palestinian official said this gesture will have no impact on the millions of Palestinians still confined to their villages and towns in the West Bank and in Gaza.
Meantime, it appears that the Palestinian Authority is moving closer to that cease-fire with groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, saying on Israeli TV that he expects attacks on Israelis to stop within three weeks.
Now, Israel, for its part, is willing to accept this cease-fire, providing it's to start the beginning of a crackdown on terrorism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NATAN SHARANSKY, ISRAELI CABINET MEMBER: President Bush made it very clear. Terrorism has to be defeated. We understand it cannot be done in one or two or three days, but we want Palestinian Authority to become immediately from the beginning of the peace process our major partner in strangling the terror, and not negotiating the cease-fire for another two or three months in order to resume terror at the moment when it will be comfortable for them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Now, the Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, says within the next few weeks his security forces should be ready to move into those areas of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip where Israel has offered to withdraw.
These were all part of those gestures on the ground to get this peace process moving forward before that summit in Jordan, when President Bush will meet with Ariel Sharon, as well as Mahmoud Abbas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAEB EREKAT, FORMER CHIEF PALESTINIAN NEGOTIATOR: The hate, the anger, the mistrust, the lack of confidence between Palestinians and Israelis is really great. This is why we need a third party. We don't need President Bush to renegotiate for us or to make the concessions for us or the Israelis. We need his help. We need him to facilitate, to tell both sides, "Look, you have accepted the road map, these are your obligations, these are Israel's obligations, do it."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Also today, the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, met with his cabinet. At that meeting, he said it may be necessary for Israel to evacuate some of those illegal settlement outposts. He also asked his ministers to refrain from speaking out against the road map -- Wolf.
BLITZER: John Vause in Jerusalem. Thanks, John, very much.
Let's get some perspective now on all of these issues, and for that we turn to two special guests: in Connecticut, the former Nixon and Ford secretary of state, Dr. Henry Kissinger, and here in Washington, the former Clinton defense secretary, William Cohen. He's now the CEO of the Cohen Group that's based here in Washington.
Gentlemen, welcome back to LATE EDITION.
Let's start talking about the European relationship with the United States, Dr. Kissinger, and I'll begin with you. There was a widely circulated quote from Dr. Condoleezza Rice that generated a lot of headlines in Europe, also here in the United States, to the effect that the Bush administration is going to punish France, isolate Germany and forgive Russia.
What do you make of that theory? HENRY KISSINGER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I think it reflects a feeling in the immediate aftermath of the Iraq crisis, and it reflects the conviction that Russia had less reason to support us, not being a member of the alliance, but that Germany and France went beyond simple disagreements about Iraq into a philosophical attack on the role of America and the role of Europe in dealing with America, and describing their role almost as if they were a counterweight to the United States and as if the United States had to be contained, rather than dealt with in a cooperative fashion.
But I think it is impossible to list these -- the treatment of these countries in one word. We have to come back to a new definition of an alliance relationship that will include France and Germany. And the real problem is how to substitute in the alliance its central purpose, when a common threat has gone, namely the Soviet Union, and new purposes have to be defined. That is a task we should try to do together.
BLITZER: And we saw the beginning of that effort to try to repair the relationship with France, I guess, earlier today, when the president shook hands, the U.S. president, with the French president, Jacques Chirac.
Secretary Cohen, the Wall Street Journal had a tough editorial, which is not unusual for the Wall Street Journal, on Friday. Among other things, it wrote this: "Iraq revealed a strategic hostility to American purposes among the French and some other former friends. If that hostility persists, the U.S. will have no choice but to begin treating the Atlantic Alliance itself as a case-by-case coalition of the willing."
Is that as bad as -- is the situation that bad?
WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Well, I think the French have always had a different view, in terms of their world view, than the United States, and their own position in it.
What we have to do is to make sure that, as Dr. Kissinger just indicated, we have to try to clarify what our overall strategic goals are in the world, namely fighting terrorism and trying to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction. There should be a common purpose.
To the extent that the French or any other countries see their role as building a coalition and to serve as a counterweight or counterbalance against the so-called "hyperpower" or "Gulliver unleashed," then we have a different relationship with the French and others.
BLITZER: Did you ever, Dr. Kissinger, believe only a few months ago, if you will, that the president of the United States would go to Poland, to Krakow, Poland, a former Warsaw Pact country, a communist country, and treat that country as if it's a major ally, have a warm visit there, while at the same time going to France and have a sort of chilly, if that, relationship with France, one of the longest-term allies of the United States? KISSINGER: Well, a few years ago it would have been difficult to believe. But it's a correct reflection of what has occurred in recent -- in the last year.
Poland feels that its ties to the United States are essential for its security and for its future. France has developed, at least in some of its actions, the theory that it has to be a conduit to the United States and organize global resistance to what they claim to be American hegemony. This is not compatible with an alliance relationship.
Germany has gone through a different crisis, namely that this is the first generation in Germany that is not directly affected by World War II. The first generation had its sense of guilt about the war. The second was preoccupied with rebuilding Germany. And the third can now define a new role for Germany. And so, they have been floundering and, to some extent, joined France. But I don't consider this a permanent aspect of German politics.
BLITZER: We saw that bear hug that President Bush gave the President Kwasniewski of Poland -- rather Chile; handshake, if you will, with President Chirac.
Let's take a caller from Georgia. Go ahead, Georgia.
CALLER: Yes, Wolf, I'd like to ask your two outstanding guests, do they ever think France can ever again be a trusted ally of the United States of America?
BLITZER: All right, Secretary Cohen, why don't you answer that. And as you do, let's show our viewers some live pictures. President Chirac is speaking now in France at the G-8 while you're talking.
COHEN: Well, let me put it this way, France has, on a military basis, been helpful to the United States over the years. I can speak from my own experience in dealing with the French when we were going into Bosnia and also Kosovo. The military relationship was strong and, I think, unequivocal.
And so, our difficulties have always come about in terms of at the political level, that the French do at the political level see their role as organizing a counterweight to the United States. And that's something that we have to certainly confront head on. To the extent that that is their major goal and see that as their major goal, then certainly our relationship is going to change.
I would say with respect to Germany, to add to what Dr. Kissinger said, Germany, however, has made a significant contribution to the United States in both Bosnia and Kosovo and also now in Afghanistan. Five or 10 years ago, the notion Germany would be sending troops outside of Germany itself would have been unthinkable. They're making a major contribution to peace-keeping throughout the world. So I think we have to put that into context as well.
BLITZER: Dr. Kissinger, the other major issue on the president's agenda later this week, Tuesday and Wednesday to be particular, the peace process in the Middle East. There seems to be an opportunity now to get it off the ground.
I want you to listen to what the Israel prime minister, Ariel Sharon, said this week, because it suggests at least a new tone on his agenda. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARIEL SHARON, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): What is happening is an occupation to hold 3.5 million Palestinians under occupation. I believe that it is a terrible thing for Israel and for the Palestinians, and also for the Israeli economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Those are strong words coming from a hawk like Ariel Sharon, to condemn the occupation, the Israeli occupation. What do you make of that?
KISSINGER: Well, to call the presence of Israel on the West Bank an occupation is an extraordinary, almost revolutionary, change in the position of Sharon and of the majority of the Israelis. And it lays the basis for a dialogue in which some significant progress can be made.
I don't believe that the road map can spell out all the details, but it can indicate a general direction.
BLITZER: Secretary Cohen, if you listen carefully to what the prime minister said, when he spoke about occupation, he used the Hebrew word kibbush (ph), which means occupation, just about once or twice but several times. That does suggest at least a new tone on his part.
COHEN: This was not an accidental utterance an the part of Ariel Sharon. The Israelis are all very, very careful in terms of the language they use, both privately and certainly publicly.
A great jurist once said that words are but the skin of a naked thought. In this particular case, the naked thought came through that Ariel Sharon has recognized that there has been on occupation, whether you call it outpost, settlements or occupation. The fact is that those territories which some claim are disputed, nonetheless, are being occupied by Israeli soldiers and settlers. So this is a major shift in terms of Ariel Sharon's position, I agree. It does at least provide a basis for a new opportunity to reach some sort of an accord eventually. It's going to be a long process, but this is very promising.
BLITZER: What about the Palestinian side, Dr. Kissinger? Mahmoud Abbas, he still seems to be under the thumb, if you will, at least a lot of observers believe, of Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian Authority president. Can he get the job done as long as Arafat is still around?
KISSINGER: Well, he has to get control of the security forces. And Arafat still controls, I think, seven of the 10 different security forces that exist there. So Abbas has to get direct control of all of the security forces.
Secondly, he has to stop using terror as a negotiating weapon. There has to be an unconditional end to suicide bombing and to the use of terror if significant progress is to be made toward peace.
BLITZER: Well, do you get a sense, Secretary Cohen, that he's going to do that, he's going to clamp down on Hamas and the other groups, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Islamic Jihad, that have obviously been involved in these terrorist operations against the Israelis?
COHEN: I think a lot depends in terms of what he sees in the way of reciprocity. For example, if he sees that Ariel Sharon is going to go forward with some of the steps he took just most recently in loosening up on the control of people coming into the territories, as such.
But if he sees that there is going to be, quote, "a freeze on settlements," that gives him an opportunity to go back and really crack down on those individuals who seek to destroy this peace process.
Ariel Sharon said something else quite significantly, that he expected Abbas to make a 100 percent effort. He didn't insist upon 100 percent guarantee there be no acts of terror, understanding that's probably unrealistic, but a 100 percent effort. That is consistent with the Mitchell-Rudman Commission Report some time ago, and I think it marks, again, a significant shift in emphasis.
BLITZER: One final question for you, Dr. Kissinger. The administration, this road map over the next two and a half, three years, they want to solve the whole Israeli-Palestinian crisis.
You always believed in the '70s in shuttle diplomacy, a step-by- step process dealing with easier issues, then moving on to the more difficult. Is this road map doomed to failure?
KISSINGER: Well, I don't think it can be achieved in a two- to three-year period. But a lot depends on what the initial steps are. The Palestinians are afraid that what the Israelis want is a sort of Swiss-cheese Palestinian state: the Israelis -- with a lot of Israeli settlements in the middle. The Israelis are afraid that the Palestinians look at any agreement as just a cease-fire in a long war to exterminate them.
So if it is possible to create a contiguous Palestinian state, and if the Palestinians then assume the responsibility of easing the Israeli fears that this is only a first step toward a showdown, then progress can be made.
But I don't see how it can be made other than through a series of individual steps that probably will take more than two or three years.
BLITZER: Dr. Kissinger, still supporting step-by-step diplomacy which, of course, you made very famous. Thanks, Dr. Kissinger, for joining us. Secretary Cohen, thanks to you, as well.
Just ahead, terror alert. The U.S. government lowers the threat level from orange to yellow. But with Osama bin Laden still at large, are more attacks on the horizon?
We'll get an assessment from the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter, and the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Congresswoman Jane Harman.
LATE EDITION will continue right after this.
BLITZER: A reminder that you can weigh in on our web question of the week: Do you approve or disapprove of President Bush's handling of international affairs? Go to our webpage, cast your vote at cnn.com/lateedition.
Welcome back to LATE EDITION. Joining us now, two leading members of the United States House of Representatives. In San Diego, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter. He is just back from a trip to Iraq. And in Los Angeles, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Congresswoman Jane Harman.
Good to have both of you back on LATE EDITION.
And, Chairman Hunter, let me begin with you. The impression we're getting, at least from news media accounts, the situation in Iraq still pretty chaotic, still very dangerous for U.S. and British coalition military personnel. Is that your firsthand impression as well?
REP. DUNCAN HUNTER (R-CA), CHAIRMAN, ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: You know, that impression was clearly laid out by the major media. But we did -- when we got to Baghdad, we went into downtown Baghdad, in fact, during rush hour, and there was heavy traffic. In fact, we got totally stopped in traffic jams. There were kids playing on the street. A little batch of kids at every GI location. Lots of farmers markets, bazaars that were open on the street.
And so, it's not a no-man's land, where literally, after reading The Washington Post, you expected to be stepping over bodies.
And I'm reminded that we left the Washington, D.C., where some 20 Americans had been killed in the last 30 days through crime.
So, it's a dangerous situation, in that you still have these elements of the Baath Party; some of them made a strike a few days ago up in northern Iraq. And we traveled up to Kirkuk. They'd had a firefight up there with some 75 members of that party, and the 4th Division handled those people.
But this country is getting back on its feet. The wheels are starting to turn. Right now, we've turned on about 3,000 of the 4,400 megawatts of electricity that they need. We're turning on the water supply. Saddam Hussein never had a great water supply. But this is not a country in chaos. It's a country where a cancer operation has taken place, and we've taken out the leadership. But we're starting to move that country forward at this point.
BLITZER: Congresswoman Harman, I know you haven't been there, but you are a key member of the Intelligence Committee. You're briefed on all of the latest information.
How chaotic, how dangerous is the situation there? How long are U.S. troops going to be stuck dealing with this post-war Iraq?
REP. JANE HARMAN (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, let me say first, Wolf, that Congress needs to be given access to more parts of Iraq. I have been invited to go. I'm not prepared to go under these circumstances. And Senator John Warner, who was earlier on your program, also refused to go.
I would like to go on an intelligence trip with Porter Goss. We're trying to do that, so that we can see parts that these teams have not been able to see.
I did speak to the senior Democrat who was on the visit with Duncan Hunter, Neil Abercrombie, who told me that his take is a little more grim. Nine Americans died last week in Iraq after the, quote, "military action" was over, and more at risk. There were shootings just reported earlier today by CNN.
I think that this occupation -- and that is what the very capable Jerry Bremer, the civil administrator of Iraq, is calling it -- will require the 160,000 troops, the fully deployed guard and reserves that are on the ground now, plus more.
And it may cost up to $20 billion a year over five years. That's what Senate Republican Dick Lugar, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is saying. And I don't think the American public yet knows this and is prepared to pay these costs.
And I'm very concerned that we may leave prematurely, and we may have the situation we now have in Afghanistan, which is called "Warlordistan" in today's New York Times.
BLITZER: Duncan Hunter -- Congressman Hunter, $20 billion that it's going to cost U.S. taxpayers over the next five years? That sounds like an incredibly large sum of money.
HUNTER: Well, first, we spent a little over $20 billion on this war, and it was estimated that it would cost $80 billion, at one point, to win the war. The first Gulf War was some $53 billion.
But at this point, we have up and ready to turn on some 2.1 million barrels of oil a day. That's going to provide close to $2 billion a month of income for this country, with fairly substantial reserves behind that. And so, my feeling is, and I'm optimistic, I think that the Iraqi people are going to be able to pay for most of this rehabilitation of this country far beyond the level that Saddam Hussein had achieved.
And let me just remind Jane that, of those nine deaths that she speaks of, several of those were traffic accidents. So, certainly this 160,000 Americans in this country, it's a great big country.
But at Kirkuk, for example, the commander of the 4th Infantry Division has put together a city council already with Kurdish folks and Turks and Assyrians and independents and Christians. They're moving forward, electing deputy mayors. They've done that in 17 of the 26 biggest cities.
So this picture of a no-man's land where you're stepping over bodies, I would just say, is not accurate.
BLITZER: All right, let's move on. Let's take a caller, though, in the meantime, from Texas. Go ahead with your question.
CALLER: Yes, Wolf. Thank you for taking my call. My question is, are we spreading ourselves too thin globally, and not spending enough time addressing major problems at home, specifically the economy?
BLITZER: What about that, Congresswoman Harman?
HARMAN: My answer to that is yes.
Well, let's start with the war on terrorism. It is now reported that the al Qaeda cells in Saudi Arabia are capable, I think, of launching some attacks against the U.S. homeland, and they are using operatives that we're not apparently able to pick up.
So we're still very much at risk at home at a time when our economy has not rebounded. This giant tax cut that we passed last week apparently left out a third of the taxpayers at the lower end. But in addition to that, it's adding to our debt and deficits, not stimulating our economy.
And right now, I would call our homeland security effort a giant unfunded mandate. Cities and states are cutting back on police and fire services at a time when we're under greater risk, I think, than we were a few months ago.
BLITZER: What about that? The terror threat level keeps going up and down, Congressman Hunter, as you well know, and not only Jane Harman but Senator Bob Graham was on this program in the first hour suggesting that the Bush administration is not doing enough to protect American security here on the home front.
What do you say to those critics?
HUNTER: Well, listen, Wolf, and I know Jane knows this, too. The best way to keep these people from having a comprehensive plan to hurt Americans in our own country is to keep them off balance in their safe havens.
And this operation in Iraq, and the operation in Afghanistan, where we went in and got people in places they never thought we would find them, when the 10th Mountain Division came over at 10,000 feet elevation and killed them in their rifle pits, has thrown them off balance.
And the best way to keep a terrorist operation from being executed is to get them while they're still in the meeting. And we've been keeping them off balance around the world.
So I think that this tough, aggressive policy against terrorism around the world is exactly the right policy.
BLITZER: All right. Congresswoman Harman, you and Porter Goss, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, wrote a letter to the intelligence leadership of the U.S. government, and I'll put it up on the screen.
Among other things that you wrote, "It is now time to reevaluate U.S. intelligence regarding the amount or existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that country's linkages to terrorist groups. What analytical conclusions were provided to policymakers, including to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, regarding the presence of al Qaeda in Iraq?"
Rumsfeld responded to that on Thursday. I want you to listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I can assure you that this war was not waged under any false pretext.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Do you accept that explanation, Congresswoman Harman?
HARMAN: Well, I think it's premature to know absolutely whether our intelligence reports were unbiased, timely and accurate. That was the point of the letter. And we've asked for a detailed report back to the Intelligence Committee by July 1.
I would say, however, that the length of time it's taking to find this WMD in Iraq is very troubling. Perhaps during the ramp-up to the war, it was hidden deep underground. That is a plausible scenario. Or worse, it was transferred to Iran or Syria or someplace through the porous borders.
What I worry about is not just our failure to justify our intelligence, but worse, if it's buried somewhere, someone knows where that is, Saddam Hussein and his sons may still be alive, and the major moral underpinning of our war, to prevent him from using WMD against American interests and Iraqi citizens, may still be out there.
And we can't possibly be talking about adventures in other countries until we answer this question absolutely.
BLITZER: Those are fair questions. Congresswoman Jane Harman speaks as a Democrat who supported the president on the war.
Duncan Hunter, you were just there. What did they tell you? Why is it so hard to find the thousands of liters of the suspected biological and chemical agents that were presumed to be there before the war?
HUNTER: Well, first, Wolf, you've got over 1,000 sites. And let me just tell you, when we were there in Kirkuk, we just captured $100 million worth of gold bars going across the border into Iran. And they were caught simply because a guy didn't have the right type of a license.
So we can presume that lots of that stuff has gone over, and certainly weapons of mass destruction could have.
But for myself, the image of those hundreds of Kurdish children, their bodies spread off across that hillside with that white residue from the poison gas that Saddam Hussein put on them is enough proof to me that he certainly had weapons of mass destruction.
And I think we'll find what we find. But if we don't find big caches, take it off our score.
BLITZER: All right, Congressman Duncan Hunter, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and Congresswoman Jane Harmon, the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, as usual, thanks to both of you for joining us on LATE EDITION.
HUNTER: It's good to be with you.
BLITZER: Thank you very much.
Up next, the suspected Olympic Park bomber, Eric Rudolph, awaits his transfer to Asheville, North Carolina, where he faces a Monday court appearance. Will he be facing the ultimate penalty?
We have that, much more. Stay with us.
BLITZER: Welcome back to LATE EDITION. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.
In North Carolina today, the Olympic bombing suspect, Eric Robert Rudolph, will be transported from jail in Murphy, North Carolina, to Asheville, where he will appear in a federal court, presumably tomorrow, Monday.
CNN's Jason Bellini is in Asheville already. He is joining us now live with some late developments.
What is the latest on this transfer, Jason? JASON BELLINI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're still waiting to find out when exactly he will be coming here. But after five years surviving in the mountain wilderness, Eric Rudolph will be coming here to Asheville, and he'll be going to this prison, a cell in this prison right here behind me, where he'll likely be in a cell of his own with no view of the tree-lined mountains that border this city.
Jail officials say unless they're told otherwise, they plan to put Rudolph in a solitary cell in what they call their special management section.
We do not know, again, when he's coming, only that he has an appointment, 10 o'clock on Monday, for his arraignment with a federal judge who will decide where he goes next, whether he goes to Birmingham or goes to Atlanta.
He'll also begin the next phase of his journey with the U.S. legal system when he will begin what may be his next fight for survival, survival from the death penalty, which federal prosecutors may seek -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jason, I assume security is going to be incredibly tight. Is it already visible where you are?
BELLINI: No, not yet, Wolf. In fact, just down the street from me, there is a festival where there are children around. And this jail right here, it's interesting, it's right in the middle of the city. And most people here that we've talked to don't know what's going on. They see media cameras around, and they ask, "Why are you all here?" -- surprised to find out that Eric Rudolph is going to be right here in their neighborhood -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Jason Bellini. He's on the scene for us in Asheville, North Carolina. Thanks, Jason, very much.
And coming up next, we'll get some special insight into the surprise capture of the Olympic bombing suspect, Eric Robert Rudolph, from two former FBI agents.
And later, new twists and turns in the Laci Peterson murder case. We'll also get some legal analysis from three prominent attorneys.
LATE EDITION will continue right after this.
BLITZER: Welcome back to LATE EDITION.
For the past five years, he was one of the FBI's most wanted men. But yesterday, stunning news of the arrest of the bombing suspect, Eric Robert Rudolph, in North Carolina.
Rudolph is believed to be responsible for the 1996 Olympic Park bombing that killed one person, injured more than 100 others. He is also suspected of bombing attacks at a suburban Atlanta office park, a gay nightclub and a women's clinic in Birmingham, Alabama. Joining us now to talk about the capture of Eric Rudolph are two special guests. Here in Washington, the former FBI deputy assistant director for counterterrorism, Skip Brandon. And in Dallas, the former FBI deputy assistant director, Danny Coulson. He led the search team for the Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy McVeigh.
Gentlemen, welcome back to LATE EDITION.
DANNY COULSON, FORMER FBI DEPUTY ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Thank you.
BLITZER: And, Skip, let me begin with you. A question millions of our viewers around the world are probably asking themselves today: Why did it take so long?
SKIP BRANDON, FORMER FBI DEPUTY ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR COUNTERTERRORISM: Well, you always want to catch them right away, there's no question about that. But in fact, this was a very, very dedicated person, who was willing to give up, apparently, all contacts with family, friends. He just melted away. They're very, very hard to find.
BLITZER: But everybody -- all of your colleagues in the FBI, other law enforcement authorities, they suspected that from the beginning, that he was this lone operator out there, probably go out into the forest, into the remote areas of North Carolina, which is exactly what did.
BRANDON: It appears so. What we don't know, though, is whether he was there the whole time. He may have left, he may have left the area, come back, come back to an area in which he was familiar -- with which he was familiar. We just don't know.
He did elude the manhunt, there's no question about that.
BLITZER: And there's no doubt, Danny, that the manhunt in this part of North Carolina was intense, not only using human beings but all sorts of sophisticated technology, sensors, heat-seeking sensors, to see if there was some body temperature coming up from within the woods.
COULSON: Yes, they did. And I think one thing we have to remember, too, is he was very good at what he did. He had military training. He knew that area. He played an adult game of hide-and-seek from his young adult life and knew the area.
And you have to remember how big it is. It's absolutely a huge environment. And it would probably take the 101st Airborne to go in there and find that guy.
And he just beat us. He was that good. And like Skip said, if you're willing to break contact with all your friends and associates and just go it on your own, then you're very difficult to find.
BLITZER: But on that specific point though, Danny, we don't know for sure that he completely severed relations with the outside world. There is some speculation that he may have been in touch with various people, but that will presumably come out in the investigation.
COULSON: Yes, I think that there is a possibility that he got some support. But, Wolf, if he got a lot of support, he wouldn't be diving in a dumpster for food. If he was getting competent support from people of like political thought, then he would have had food, he would have had equipment, and he would not have had to act like or look like a homeless man trying to go into a dumpster to find something to eat.
So I think sometimes we overemphasize that. And remember, he was gone for years and years and years, and that support can come and go. It can be there for him; it can also wane away from him.
So, it was very difficult. And you have to -- I mean, as much as he's a horrible murderer, he was very good at eluding us.
BLITZER: Skip, I want to bring this subject back to you. The sheriff in Cherokee County, where he was found in North Carolina, spoke out to reporters yesterday, had this exchange. I want you to listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEITH LOVIN, SHERIFF, CHEROKEE COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA: He was relieved, was what he indicated early on when...
QUESTION: Did he say that, in those words?
QUESTION: How was his health?
QUESTION: Sheriff, did he say where he's been staying over the last five years? Has he been in this area the whole time?
LOVIN: He had been in the area the whole time, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: He's suggesting that he had been in the area the whole time for those five years since he went on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list.
It seems incredible that he managed to elude people in an area where you were focusing, your former colleagues, so much of their attention.
BRANDON: Well, as Danny said, it was a huge area. It was a very different kind of fugitive chase. This is a person who literally went out and lived by himself in the woods -- very, very skilled.
It almost takes you back to the days of the old U.S. marshals in the West, when one man went after a fugitive.
BLITZER: Let's talk a little bit about what happens now, Danny. What happens to this suspect right now?
We should remind our viewers he is, after all, a suspect. He hasn't been convicted of anything.
COULSON: Well, obviously, they're going to try to get his cooperation. If they can find where he has been, that could go a long way to help them prove their case. He may have a cache of explosives or components that would allow him to make explosive devices.
I don't know if he'll cooperate. Generally, people in the Christian Identity movement have cooperated with us in the past. They've confessed, and they've given us a lot of information.
In this case, though, like McVeigh, he faces the death penalty. So his cooperation, it would be somewhat questionable, I think, at this point.
BLITZER: And when you say the Christian Identity movement, explain to our viewers what that is.
COULSON: Well, it's a very hateful religion that -- it's based on the premise that in the Garden of Eden, Eve had a union with Satan, and from that union a baby was born, Cain, and Cain became the father of the Jewish race.
So, in their philosophy, in their religion, Jewish people are a seed of the Devil, and it gives them the moral justification to kill them.
They also are very much prejudiced against other minorities.
So, it's a very hateful religion, and one based upon a religious philosophy that they believe in very firmly. And it gives them a, like I said, a moral justification to commit murder. So that it makes them very, very dangerous.
BLITZER: Is this, Skip, branded as an act of terrorism, an American, an individual, a loner like this guy, with a hateful religion, if you will, suspected of doing all of these four bombings? Is that, by the FBI definition, an act of terrorism?
BRANDON: Yes, I would think so. There are lots of different definitions of "terrorism," but in fact he was trying to change something, he was trying to change the political structure in some way. That fits, in my mind, an act of terrorism, no doubt about it.
BLITZER: And, Danny, so this would be similar to the Timothy McVeigh-Terry Nichols Oklahoma City bombing, an American, isolated, if you will, with some crazy views, going out and committing this kind of murder?
COULSON: Absolutely. Very, very similar. And just as a matter of interest, you should know that Timothy McVeigh made a phone call to a Christian Identity compound in Oklahoma prior to the bombing in Oklahoma City.
So they're very much similar, and the only thing, McVeigh was just more successful, unfortunately, in his efforts.
BLITZER: Who should get, as far as you know, who should get jurisdiction to try this guy first, Skip?
BRANDON: There'd be some coin tosses made, and probably even some arguments. My guess is, it probably will go to state jurisdiction to try.
BLITZER: Georgia or Alabama?
BRANDON: I'd probably guess Georgia.
BLITZER: Because three of the bombings were there, one was in Alabama.
BRANDON: The bombings there, the initial death there, the initial attacks. I think it'll go to Georgia.
BLITZER: Usually they look to see where the best evidence is, Danny, and where the most damage was done. Certainly that was the case when they made the decision in the Washington area sniper jurisdiction.
COULSON: Yes, that's right. One thing, too, to consider here is the expense. It may very well be that the decision may yet come down to the federal government, because they have more resources to spend on a lengthy and a very difficult trial.
So, I think we're both guessing here, but I'm going to guess federal government, but we'll see.
BLITZER: All right. We'll see who gets first crack at him.
Danny Coulson and Skip Brandon, two of the best from the FBI, formerly of the FBI, but I guess once you've been in the FBI, you're always in the FBI.
Thanks to both of you for joining us.
COULSON: Thank you.
BLITZER: Up next, the poll results from our LATE EDITION question of the week: Do you approve or disapprove of President Bush's handling of international affairs? We'll tell you how you voted.
Plus, new developments in the Laci Peterson murder case. We'll get legal analysis at the top of the hour.
LATE EDITION continues right after this.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: Our LATE EDITION web question of the week: Do you approve or disapprove of the way President Bush is handling international affairs? Look at the results: 30 percent of you say you approve, 70 percent of you say you disapprove. A reminder, this is not a scientific poll.
You can continue to vote, by the way. Simply go to cnn.com/lateedition.
It's time to say goodbye now to our international viewers. Thanks very much for watching.
For our North American audience, we still have another hour of LATE EDITION, including a panel of lawyers who will weigh in on the Eric Rudolph capture and the recent twists and turns in the Laci Peterson murder case.
First, CNN's Sophia Choi is standing by with a quick check of the hour's headlines.
BLITZER: Welcome back. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.
We begin in North Carolina, where Eric Robert Rudolph, the man suspected of four bomb attacks during the 1990s, including the 1996 Olympic Park bombing, is now in FBI custody after a five-year manhunt.
Our national correspondent, Mike Brooks, is joining us now live from Murphy, North Carolina, with the latest developments -- Mike.
BROOKS: Good afternoon, Wolf. Well, Eric Robert Rudolph, the former top 10 fugitive of the FBI, sitting in jail here at the Cherokee County Jail in Murphy, North Carolina, in the brick building you see behind me.
Early this morning, it was pretty quiet here in Murphy, North Carolina, but then later in the afternoon we saw a heavy presence of uniformed law enforcement officers walking around the jail with submachine guns. It looks almost as if they were looking -- trying to find out exactly how they were going to handle the transfer of Robert Eric Rudolph from Murphy, North Carolina, to his arraignment tomorrow in Asheville, North Carolina.
Now, the FBI is also here. Early this morning, they started out off of Route 74, right behind the Save-a-Lot store where he was arrested yesterday morning.
What they're looking for, additional evidence. They believe that there's a possibility he could have lived for about three weeks prior to his arrest in the woods behind that shopping center, Wolf. And they're going to be out there until they find exactly where he was living, and if he was getting any assistance at all from any people here, in or around Murphy, North Carolina -- Wolf. BLITZER: What are some of the factors that are going to be weighed, Mike, as to who will get jurisdiction, who will get first legal crack at Rudolph?
BROOKS: We were just speaking to a spokesman from the Department of Justice in Atlanta. He will be in Asheville tomorrow for his initial appearance.
Now, they could just there -- just read the charges, ask him if he is Eric Robert Rudolph. If he says yes, they will assign him an attorney.
Now, it depends what the magistrate may do. They may keep him in Asheville, or they could send him to either Birmingham or to Atlanta. There's charges in both jurisdictions right now pending. So it's up to the Department of Justice and the magistrate tomorrow morning -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And as we've heard from our Kelli Arena, our justice correspondent, presumably John Ashcroft himself, the attorney general, in the end might make this decision.
Mike Brooks, thanks very much for that report. We'll be checking back with you.
Let's check in now on another legal mystery which has captured the nation's attention, namely the Laci Peterson murder case. Leaked details of an autopsy report and a surprise move by Laci's family and friends this week are creating new wrinkles in the legal case against her husband, Scott. He's charged with the death of Laci and the couple's unborn son.
CNN's Elaine Quijano is joining us now live from Modesto with the latest developments from there.
Elaine, tell us what's happening.
ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello to you, Wolf.
Well, there's a significant hearing set to take place on Friday, where the judge in this case, Judge Al Girolami, will consider a number of things, including a prosecution motion to unseal the autopsy results on both Laci Peterson and her unborn son, Connor. The judge in this case also at that time will consider whether to issue a gag order to the parties involved in this case.
Now, you recall that it was on Thursday that leaked excerpts of the autopsy results on baby Connor Peterson were actually reported in the media.
And then it was just hours after that, in response, that the district attorney's office went ahead and filed this motion to have the autopsy results, all of them, unsealed, essentially reversing their earlier position in this case. The DA's office, in that motion, saying that by releasing those results, the media could then report accurate information to, quote, "mitigate recent adverse publicity." Now, already, the judge has denied a media request for those documents. The judge in this case saying that Scott Peterson's right to a fair trial, as well as the ongoing investigation, outweighed the public's right to know.
In the meantime, still nothing further that we have heard regarding that very strange incident that took place on Friday at the home of Scott and Laci Peterson on Covena Avenue here in Modesto. That is when Laci's family and friends apparently entered the home to retrieve some of Laci's belongings.
Now, at last word, the defense appeared to be backing off the idea of pursuing burglary charges. At least we had not heard of any plans to do that. The attorney for Laci's family maintains they have the right to be there. Modesto police say they are treating this as a civil matter -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. CNN's Elaine Quijano on the scene for us in Modesto, California. Elaine, thanks very much.
Joining us now to talk about the legal implications of the latest developments in the Laci Peterson case are three prominent attorneys. In Los Angeles, Gloria Allred. She's representing Scott Peterson's former mistress, Amber Frey. In Miami, criminal defense attorney Roy Black. And in Boston, the former prosecutor, Wendy Murphy.
We'll talk about the Laci Peterson case in a moment. But let me get all of your thoughts, just for a moment -- I'll begin with you, Roy -- on the whole issue of Eric Robert Rudolph.
Can he get a fair trial, no matter where he winds up, whether Atlanta, Birmingham or anyplace else, given the publicity surrounding the bombing?
ROY BLACK, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, it's clearly a lot of publicity, Wolf, but I think you can certainly select a jury in those kinds of cases. Enough time has gone by that I think it is not, you know, in the headlines every day. So it is not the same, like the Peterson case or other cases, where you're put on trial immediately after the act.
So I think it is going to be easier for him than for other people to get a fair trial.
BLITZER: Gloria, what do you say?
GLORIA ALLRED, AMBER FREY'S ATTORNEY: Well, I hope that he will get a fair trial, and I'm sure the judge will do everything possible to ensure it.
I'm very concerned about Mr. Rudolph -- not only because of the Olympic Park, Wolf, but also, of course, the bombing of the abortion clinic and the nightclub, where persons who are lesbian often went. Because there's been such an attempt in this country to try to intimidate women out of getting abortions by committing violence against the clinics and people who are so brave to work in them. And it's a continuing concern, I know, that many, many women have about that. And so I'm glad that if Mr. Rudolph is, in fact, guilty of those crimes -- and we'll have to see -- that he has finally been apprehended.
BLITZER: Wendy, you're a former prosecutor. Who do you think should get jurisdiction -- the federal authorities, state authorities -- and where do you think they have the best case -- in Georgia or Alabama?
WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: No, it's a tough question to answer, and it certainly isn't a black-and-white analysis, Wolf.
Certainly the federal authorities have the toughest laws. I imagine they could use some of their terrorism laws to prosecute him. Likewise, they certainly have more money to prosecute, and that's an important characteristic here.
But, you know, we know that in Georgia, there were three separate bombings. One person died; 111 were injured. So, in terms of moral authority, you almost want to see the case start there, because so many people have an interest in seeing the prosecution, in having their rights vindicated, and in seeing justice done.
On the other hand, in Alabama, although there was only one death and one injury, it was the death of a cop, and it was a very serious situation at an abortion clinic. There are some serious civil-rights issues, I think, there.
And it looks like the Alabama case actually might be a little bit stronger than the cases in Georgia, because we know that he was ID'd at the scene. We know that his vehicle was ID'd, and that they captured it nearby. He had escaped by that point. But that's very strong evidence.
I don't quite see the strength of the case yet in Georgia. I do know there is evidence with regard to nails and some other forensic evidence relating those cases to each other, which is helpful. But at this point, it really is a lot of weighing and comparing and contrasting of all of these factors that ultimately, you know, will lead to, I hope, a cooperative decision by all the states and federal authorities to choose the right place first.
BLITZER: Let's hope. Roy, is it a foregone conclusion, no matter who prosecutes this individual, they're going to seek the death penalty?
BLACK: Well, Wolf, one person is going to make the decision where this case is tried, and that's John Ashcroft. Just like he did with the snipers, he's going to weigh where he thinks the best case is and the best chance of him getting the death penalty. So Ashcroft will do that.
Personally, I think that since the Olympics was such a huge international event, and disrupting something like that, I think, is obviously a critical matter, I would hope the first case in is Atlanta. But John Ashcroft will make that call.
BLITZER: Do you hope, Gloria, that they do seek the death penalty against Eric Rudolph?
ALLRED: Well, I assume that Mr. Ashcroft, Attorney General Ashcroft, will see to it that, if it is possible to seek the death penalty, that the death penalty will be sought. People have been killed. People have been injured. People have been frightened. Really, in a sense, it is a form of domestic terrorism, if in fact Mr. Rudolph did the acts which are going to be charged against him.
It's a horrific thing, and we know that Mr. Ashcroft is a supporter of the death penalty, so it certainly wouldn't be a surprise if he sought it.
I want to also say that the role of private citizens after an act of violence or terrorism, criminal act, is committed, it's so important, and that is to be emphasized in this case, because it is a private citizen who, after the bombing of the abortion clinic, wrote down the license number of the person that he saw in the vicinity, and that person was Eric Rudolph.
So, you know, it's always important to law enforcement efforts, and the person who ultimately arrested Eric Rudolph over the weekend is to be commended as well. That police officer on a routine investigation.
But also the role of private citizens in helping law enforcement is always important to any criminal case.
BLITZER: Good advice.
Wendy, if you were prosecuting, asked to prosecute this case against Eric Rudolph, and he said, his lawyer said, you know what, we'll cooperate, but we want life in prison without the possibility of parole. Would that be enough to avoid going and seeking the death penalty?
MURPHY: You know, it's an interesting question. It really does depend on the strength of the case. Prosecutors make deals like that all the time, if they think they can't make their case, or if they think they have problems that at some point down the line are going to lead to the suppression of evidence, for example, then they might well have an interest in saying, fine, we'll give you life.
But there is so much public pressure to deal harshly with this guy for good reason, and whether it's -- you know, one of the states, or the federal jurisdiction, the death penalty is available. So I don't think anybody's going to bargain, in terms of choosing the right jurisdiction, based on the strength of the penalty there.
We're not going to hear about that, for sure, Wolf, for a very long time, because starting now and for many, many, many months to come, there's going to be -- every law enforcement official involved with this case saying, death penalty is appropriate. And I don't think there'll be much opposition to that, frankly. He's done a great deal of damage to an awful lot of people. And he was terroristic in the nature of his conduct. You know, he makes people afraid to walk around free, by the kind of things that he did. And how do you -- you know, how do you atone for that? How do you make the public feel better about that, in terms of that kind of harm, that people, you know, living in that region didn't know where the next bomb was going to strike?
It's such an important issue, and the public will want to see the strongest possible penalty.
BLACK: Can I add something to that?
BLITZER: Go ahead, Roy.
BLACK: I would think, as a practical purpose, the only way there's going to be a plea bargain offered to Rudolph is if he gives up any of his associates in the bombings. I think what the government's concerned about is, if there's some type of a conspiracy, or organization, or a group behind these bombings. If he's willing to give up his associates, and there are details, then they would offer him a plea bargain.
Short of that, they're going to go after the maximum penalty.
ALLRED: And that's assuming that he had associates.
MURPHY: Yes, I haven't heard any evidence of that at all.
ALLRED: Right, exactly.
BLITZER: We'll soon find out, presumably.
Let's make the turn to the Scott Peterson case. Potentially he could be facing the death penalty as well, for killing, allegedly, his wife and unborn son.
There was an interesting development, leaking of the autopsy report, at least part of it, involving the unborn son.
Roy Black, who wins by the release of that kind of autopsy report, which suggested that the unborn son had some tape around his neck, had a cut in a specific part of his body? What's that all about?
BLACK: Well, in the short term, it's clear that I think that it helps Scott Peterson, because people kept reexamining what they thought about the case, and that part of the autopsy report seemingly -- and I say "seemingly" -- contradicted the original story we heard about the case.
In the long run, it's going to have no effect whatsoever, because you're going to hear from the experts at a trial. So, it's extremely short-sighted, if the defense released this, because, number one, if it's ever found out that they did, there'll be a huge backlash against them. And secondly, in the long run, the question is, what is the entire opinions of the experts? So I don't really see this as a huge matter.
BLITZER: Gloria, I know you represent Amber Frey, and she was the girlfriend of Scott Peterson. All of us know this case pretty thoroughly by now. But let me read a couple of little excerpts from this leaked autopsy report that were made available to us, and I'll put it up on the screen.
One and a half loops of plastic tape are around the neck of the fetus, with an extension to a knot near the left shoulder. The source also said the autopsy report lists the fetus as having an estimated gestational age nine months, 33 to 38 weeks.
So what's your analysis of the leaking of this report?
ALLRED: Again, I always look at when there's a leak to see who might benefit from such a leak and who might be hurt from it. And those who might benefit are generally the source of the leak or might be the source of the leak. In this case, as Roy points out, it is certainly the defense who would benefit from such a sliver of information.
Of course, it's out of context, because we haven't seen most of the report. That report remains under seal. And the Judge Girolami indicated again on Friday that it is going to continue to remain under seal, although at this point the district attorney would like the entire report out there. That indicates if the DA wants the whole report out there, that it's likely that the report does not favor the defense. In fact, it may favor the prosecution.
We're not going to know until it gets out there. I'll make a guess it's not going to be released publicly until such time as the preliminary hearing occurs. And then it will be in the context of witnesses testifying and referring to the report. It will be a battle of experts about what that report indicates. But I think the prosecution feels fairly confident that it will support their theory in the case.
BLITZER: And the experts, Wendy, are already weighing in. Dr. Michael Badden, a forensic pathologist, he had this to say. I want you to listen to what he told us here on CNN on Friday. He had this to say about bodies, actually, that are washed up from the ocean, if you will. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. MICHAEL BADDEN, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Bodies in water are very difficult to interpret, because all kinds of fish, rocks, boats, propellers, can strike the bodies and cause injuries that are very difficult to distinguish.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: So it's open to a lot of interpretation. Go ahead. MURPHY: Well, right. I mean, in terms of knowing exactly how things happened, it doesn't much matter. And whether the experts get on for both sides and say it was probably this versus probably that, I think juries will just say it's a wash.
But what's most important is whether it was premortem or postmortem. And that we already know. These injuries did not -- or these things that you read, including the injury of the knife wound, occurred clearly after the child died. And we know that, because underneath the tape, there was absolutely no injury to the neck, there was no injury to the soft tissue, there was bruising. So you can safely assume that this wasn't a strangulation. It didn't have anything to do with how the child died. And certainly there was no strangulation before the bodies were dumped.
And you know, likewise, with the knife injury, it's been stated already that that happened after the baby was already dead. So whether it was from a boat motor or a rock, whatever it was, it's almost irrelevant to this case.
BLITZER: Let's take a quick call from California. Go ahead with your question.
CALLER: My question is for Roy Black, the defense attorney. The Rocha family had hired an attorney, and they went against his wishes and went ahead and broke into the home and took items that they say they wanted and needed, and I can understand that.
However, does he believe that this has handed Mark Geragos and his defense team of Scott Peterson more ammunition in order to defend him?
And the second part is why would they want a wedding gown if they truly believed that Scott Peterson murdered their daughter and grandson?
BLITZER: All right. I think the questioner is referring, obviously, Roy, to the event that happened on Friday. They pulled up a truck, they took some of her belongings out of the Peterson home. And the attorneys representing Scott Peterson, Mark Geragos and his colleagues, were irate. They were calling this a burglary.
BLACK: Well, you know, Wolf, the problem here is not so much the items. And I'm sure the family is entitled to get them back, you know, when it's no longer relevant to the case. But remember, the house may be the primary crime scene here, at least that's the impression we get. So the defense wants to preserve that to test it in any way possible, you know, test for blood, hair, skin, whatever it may be, take videotape of it. And there's going to be -- at the trial, there's going to be a lot of questions about what happened in that house.
And the defense doesn't want the police to have the only access. Remember, they went in there several times with search warrants. They took photographs, I'm sure video. They have a lot of evidence.
So for the defense, that's a critical crime scene to examine, and I think that's why they're upset.
BLITZER: Let me just give Wendy the last word, and we have to wrap it up, unfortunately.
Wendy, go ahead.
MURPHY: Well, I mean, I just think it's so important to remember that the reports have been that Laci's family was having conversations with Scott Peterson's attorney. And they had really waited quite a bit of time to give him an opportunity to do what he needed to do, in terms of checking out the house, filming, testing evidence, what have you.
And they literally reached an impasse, where basically Scott's lawyer said, tough cookies, we don't care that you care deeply about your daughter and you loved her and you want to, you know, get some of her clothing, get the baby's clothing and the crib. Tough cookies, you're not having it. And really, I think, the family became desperate.
And, you know, I mean, on the one hand, yes, Scott might try to make some hay with this during trial. On the other hand, does he really want the jury hearing about how he tried to strike a deal with his dead wife's mother and forbid her access to the, you know, to her clothing and items that she loved and that reminded her of her daughter?
I don't know that Scott would have an interest in having the jury hear about that kind of defense shenanigans.
BLITZER: All right, we are going to have to, unfortunately, leave it there. A lot of questions still remaining, as usual.
Gloria Allred, thanks very much for joining us. Roy Black, Wendy Murphy, thanks to you as well.
BLACK: Thank you.
BLITZER: Just ahead, we'll tell you what's on the cover of the major weekly news magazines here in the United States. You might be surprised.
Also, Bruce Morton's essay.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Another tax cut will increase the national debt, of course. Congress passed a law allowing that this past week, although they didn't talk about it that much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: When it comes to maintaining Uncle Sam's economic health, no easy answers.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: Welcome back to LATE EDITION. Now to Bruce Morton on taxes, spending and tough choices.
MORTON: President Bush signed a tax cut this past week. Earlier he said it was too small. "Itty-bitty" was the phrase he used.
BUSH: Why are they for a little-bitty tax relief package?
MORTON: But by signing time, it was hailed as a victory. The White House spinners are very good.
Another tax cut will increase the national debt, of course. Congress passed a law allowing that this past week, although they didn't talk about it that much.
Still, some conservatives favor a high national debt. They think that will force the federal government to become smaller and do less, be responsible for defense, say, and stay out of some other areas. But different conservatives would draw that line in different places.
The tax cut will create jobs, but at the same time state legislatures, which actually have to balance their budgets and can't just go into debt, are in trouble and may be cutting jobs.
Stateline.org and the Pew Center on the States surveyed 771 state legislators and found them gloomy. 65 percent said their state had lost ground in the area of jobs and the economy over the last two years. 64 percent said they lost ground in balancing their budgets. 52 percent said they've lost ground in health care, and so on.
The only exception was education. There, 40 percent said they were gaining, and only 29 percent said losing ground.
And a whopping 79 percent said they won't be able to increase aid to local governments. If more cuts are needed in the next two years, 71 percent expect cuts in health care, 85 percent cuts in social services, 50 percent cuts in education. The alternative to cuts is to raise taxes, of course, but a majority of the legislatures polled favored only increases in sin taxes, on cigarettes, liquor and so on, or user fees and tolls. No majority for raising state income or sales taxes. After all, they do have to run for reelection.
All of this raises questions. Would the voters rather have a tax cut than some of these social services? Polls suggest not.
Shortened school years, laid-off police and firefighters aren't popular, but these things are happening in some places.
And then, as Robert Samuelson pointed out in The Washington Post last week, there's the fact the baby boomers are rushing toward retirement. Congress and the president simply didn't deal with that, but some Congress and some president eventually will have to -- raise the age limit, cut the benefits, or really watch the national debt soar out of sight. I'm Bruce Morton.
BLITZER: Thanks very much, Bruce. Let's take a look now at what's on the cover of this week's major news magazines, three very different subjects.
Time magazine explores how the rising costs of medical malpractice insurance are not only affecting doctors, but more and more patients, as well.
Newsweek poses this question on the cover, "Should a fetus have rights?" and take an in-depth look at how science is changing this age-long debate.
And on the cover of U.S. News and World Report, empty oceans, a look at why the world's seafood supply is disappearing.
We're going to bring you this feature every week, On the Cover.
Up next, the Final Round, our panel debates the big stories of the week. LATE EDITION's Final Round, right after the hour's top headlines.
BLITZER: Welcome back to our Final Round. Joining me: Donna Brazile, the Democrat strategist; Michele Cottle of the New Republic; Jonah Goldberg of the National Review Online; and Robert George of the New York Post.
We begin with President Bush in Europe, trying to mend fences with some allies. Today, a handshake with the French President Jacques Chirac, who led the opposition to the war against Iraq. It was the first time the two leaders have met in several months.
Michele, is the squabbling between the transatlantic allies over?
MICHELLE COTTLE, NEW REPUBLIC: Don't count on it. You know, the Bush administration may have decided that it's tired of publicly musing about just how they should punish those who weren't on our side with the war.
But, you know, we shouldn't expect any cheek-kissing here. Bush is cutting out of the summit early, and he's made clear that he expects us all to get along under an American vision of how we should go forward.
BLITZER: Do you agree with that?
ROBERT GEORGE, NEW YORK POST: Yes, I think that's true. What people seem to forget is that the split on Iraq was a symptom of the fissures in the transatlantic alliances, not the cause of it.
Before that, it was breakdowns on things like Kyoto. Bush, in fact, just recently referenced some of the problems they're having on biotech and so forth.
So, I think the problems within the alliance are going to continue for quite some time.
BLITZER: Can this relationship be repaired? Is President Bush doing enough to repair the alliance?
DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, it must be not only repaired but restored. And I hope they grow up and let bygones be bygones.
We still have a war on terrorism. Al Qaeda is still strong. Saddam has not been captured. We need our allies. We need the global antiterrorism coalition in order to succeed.
BLITZER: Let me guess: you don't want them to grow up, do you, Jonah?
JONAH GOLDBERG, NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE: Oh, don't look at me. The point is, this isn't about personalities; it's about policy. Robert is right.
The French have made it a matter of strategic policy that they think that they need to curb American power in the world. And it is -- that doesn't mean we can't be friends, but it does mean friendship is going to be more difficult, and it does mean that these squabbles are going to be the inevitable consequence of real policy differences.
And, you know, so we're going to have -- be talking about, you know, these rifts in the Atlantic alliance for a long time to come.
BLITZER: Seven weeks after winning the war in Iraq, the United States hasn't found any concrete, hard evidence of chemical or biological agents. Two trucks, though, potentially capable of making biological weapons, have been discovered.
Today the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Joe Biden of Delaware, said the Bush administration exaggerated its differing reasons for war.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D), DELAWARE: Two things, I think, the administration hyped. One was the connection to al Qaeda, and two, the prospects of nuclear weapons on the horizon, and three, their absolute certainty that they had some sense that they knew where these weapons were.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: I think we had some audio problems with what Senator Biden said.
BLITZER: Let me read to you what he said: "Two things I think the administration hyped. One was the connection to al Qaeda, and two, the prospects of nuclear weapons on the horizon, and three, their absolute certainty that they had some sense that they knew where these weapons were."
Robert, does the administration need to do some more explaining?
GEORGE: Yes, actually I do think that, and I say this as somebody who was generally supportive of the war.
If this is an intelligence failure, which some people are saying that it is, we then have to ask then, are the same intelligence problems we had before 9/11 still continuing? And if there is an intelligence failure, should we believe them when they talk about the problems with Iran?
However, if it's a political situation, whereas Paul Wolfowitz seemed to somewhat flippantly suggest, saying, well, there were a number of reasons, and we just all decided to just push the weapons of mass destruction, I think that's a lot more problematic, because you had a number of members of the administration saying that the weapons of mass destruction were there. You had Dick Cheney saying that Saddam does have nuclear weapons. And that's a black eye on the credibility of the administration in front of the American people and the rest of the world.
BLITZER: Michele, did Wolfowitz misspeak in that New Yorker interview? We saw half of it, the half of the interview that the Pentagon later released the transcript...
GEORGE: Vanity Fair.
BLITZER: Vanity Fair?
GEORGE: Vanity Fair.
BLITZER: Vanity Fair, you're right.
But, when he said that the bureaucracy, the only thing that all of the elements could agree on was the weapons of mass destruction?
COTTLE: I think it depends on what you mean by "misspeak." I think he probably told the truth. I don't think that the weapons of mass destruction was necessarily why the administration wanted to go to war here. Yes, I do think that they did overstate. So was it a good thing for him to necessarily make a flippant remark? No, politically speaking, bad idea. Although, you know, the American public doesn't seem to be that concerned about kind of what they've been told. So, wait and see.
BLITZER: Donna, what's wrong with the U.S. going to war to remove a thug, a tyrant, a dictator like Saddam Hussein, who's brutalizing, torturing, killing his own people, and trying to restore human rights in Iraq?
BRAZILE: Because they hyped this to the ninth degree, 25,000 liters of anthrax, nerve gas, sarin. I think they should continue to hunt down those weapons before they end up in the hands of al Qaeda or whoever. It's important for the administration credibility, not only here at home, but abroad, that those weapons be found. BLITZER: She makes a fair point.
GOLDBERG: Oh, I don't dispute that the administration has some explaining to do. It has to explain where the weapons of mass destruction are.
But, to be fair to the administration, no one disputed that intelligence, not the domestic opponents in the Democratic Party, who voted in favor of the war or against it, not our allies overseas who were against it. Everyone basically agreed that Saddam Hussein had these weapons of mass destruction...
BLITZER: Well, what they said was they hadn't accounted for these weapons of mass destruction. But the U.N. inspectors said, if you have evidence, show it to us, we'll go find it.
GOLDBERG: Right, no, I agree, but I've also always stuck to the position that, as you point about deposing an evil regime, that the moral case for going to this war does not depend upon weapons of mass destruction. It's a long list of reasons. Weapons of mass destruction was at the top of one or two. And we should...
GEORGE: The question you have to ask, though, is, would the American people have been so supportive of going to war absent the weapons of mass destruction argument? And I think the answer to that is no.
GOLDBERG: I agree. But then again, the problem is that you have to sort of ask yourself, would the administration actually lie about weapons of mass destruction and the entire world sort of buy into this lie? Or was this in fact an intelligence failure? If it's an intelligence failure, we really do have to get to the bottom of it.
BLITZER: We're going to take a quick break. But we have a lot more to talk about, this and other subjects, including this one: the new tax cut. It's now the law of the land. Some families, though, appear to be getting shortchanged. Why? We'll debate that issue, much more. Our Final Round continues in a moment.
BLITZER: A domestic victory for President Bush. This week, he signed the $350 billion tax cut bill passed by Congress into law, but it was barely dry before it was discovered that millions of low-income families apparently won't benefit from the expanded child tax credit.
Donna, does this give the Democrats a huge opportunity to score some political points? Let me guess, you'll say yes?
BRAZILE: Well, first of all, the Democrats have said all along that the tax cut was unfair and it was irresponsible and tilted to the wealthy. So I think the Democrats were absolutely right that this was a bad formula. Now that we've found out that poor children will not get any tax relief, poor families will not get any tax relief, that is not a small chunk of change to squabble about.
I think the administration should go back, work with Congress, restore that money, and give it to poor people. Otherwise, they will be angry.
GOLDBERG: Well, it's a good issue for Democrats, it's not a great argument. First of all, since most of the Democrats didn't want any tax cut at all, basically the poor people in this country are getting the status quo they had beforehand. They are not any worse off.
Second of all, income taxpayers get income tax cuts. That's how the math works.
And lastly, the reason why this glitch ended up in the bill is because liberals and Democrats and a handful of Republicans wanted the tax cut package to be particularly small. If it was as big as Bush wanted, this glitch wouldn't have been in there in the first place.
COTTLE: One, this isn't entirely Bush's fault. I mean, it was the congressional debating that got rid of this.
But you know, on the other hand, this is just one more blow to the whole notion that this was in any way a stimulus tax cut package. I mean, if you want to stimulate, you give money to the people who spend it. And you know, these people who needed it most would have taken it and spent it. It didn't happen.
BLITZER: The jury, at least some economists say, is still out, on whether it will stimulate the economy.
GEORGE: You can find millions of economists on either side of it.
But ultimately, I think Jonah is right. This is not the optimum kind of tax cut bill that even Republicans wanted. And when you start to basically battling it out in the Senate and House conference, some things get pushed by the wayside. And this unfortunately was the price when you had a number of people saying they didn't want a tax cut above $350 billion.
BLITZER: All right, let's move on to another story that's going to potentially affect all of our viewers, millions of us out there. The Federal Communications Commission tomorrow is expected to vote on changes that would relax rules regulating how many media outlets one company can own.
Opponents say more media mergers will make it difficult for diverse opinions to make the TV and radio airwaves. But today the FCC chairman, Michael Powell, a supporter of the changes, said there would be no public harm to the public interest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL POWELL, FCC CHAIRMAN: This is not a complete deregulation of the media. This is not the elimination of our rules. It's a contextualizing of those rules, modernizing of rules, many which date back to the Roosevelt era.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: So Jonah, is this change that's expected tomorrow going to help or hurt the American public?
GOLDBERG: Well, first of all, no one knows. It's very difficult to find anyone who actually knows what they're talking about in terms of what these rules will actually affect.
But second of all, you know, this notion that somehow media consolidation leads to fewer choices is contradicted by the last 20 or 30 years. When I was a kid, there were only three networks that controlled all of the news and a handful of papers that set the national agenda.
Now, that has completely changed over the last 20 or 30 years, and these giant, supposedly evil and perfidious cable corporations, created things like C-Span, which we all think is a huge boon to the public. So it's a much more complicated trend.
BRAZILE: I think it's a terrible idea and a terrible mistake, and I hope that those who oppose it will speak up a little louder before this goes down.
BLITZER: What do you think?
GEORGE: Well, working for the New York Post, owned by News Corps, and here on CNN, owned by AOL-Time Warner, I believe...
BLITZER: Full disclosure, is what you're saying?
GEORGE: Full disclosure. Absolutely, full disclosure here.
I think, as Jonah pointed out, there has actually been more media proliferation. And then if you start taking into account the Internet and all of these, like, Web log sites and so forth, I think we're in a world where you indeed have multiple voices, and the jury will be out to see whether further media consolidation will be bad.
BLITZER: What do you say, Michele, to those local radio stations that were owned locally, operated locally, but now they're being bought out by Clear Channel, 1,000 local radio stations, and many of them get their instructions, what kind of music to air, what kind of news to put on, from headquarters? COTTLE: Well, that is the answer to, you know, Jonah's point of how we have a lot more channels. We have a lot more channels, but a lot of them are owned by the same four or five corporations.
And yes, there was the Clear Channel brouhaha with the Dixie Chicks, where, you know, somebody was talking about how the company decided that these records should not be played. There was big debate over kind of how centralized was this decision to kind of boycott these albums?
And this is what you're going to have to look at as we go along.
GOLDBERG: But we're also seeing a huge explosion in Internet radio. I mean, the technology is just much bigger than the policy, and the world's going to change regardless of whether they have these new rules.
BRAZILE: This will lead to more angry, pious, self-righteous, arrogant people on talk radio.
BLITZER: All right, that's it. That's not going to include you, will it?
GEORGE: And maybe on our station.
BLITZER: We're going to take a quick break. Much more coming up, including our Lightning Round. Stay with us.
BLITZER: Welcome back. Former President Bill Clinton thinks it's time to change the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, which prohibits presidents from running for more than two consecutive terms -- actually two terms.
He says former presidents should be able to run for the White House again after an interim time out of office.
Is this worth considering, or is Bill Clinton simply desperate for something else to do? Michele?
COTTLE: OK, number one, it's never going to happen. You know, a kind of off-the-cuff remark here.
But, number two, of course, he's jealous. He had said before how he thought that he would have been good ruling in troubled times. And he's got to be watching George Bush on all of this, going, "Oh my gosh, I could be in there doing that."
BLITZER: But his point that he made is people are living longer, and as a result, presidents should be given a third term if they want.
GEORGE: Yes, and I'll even given Clinton a break on this one, because he even said, "Not me, but, you know, sometime in the future."
The thing is, though, it's never going to happen because you're not going to find any Republicans who even want to have the thought of Bill Clinton running again...
BLITZER: But they would have liked Ronald Reagan serving a third term.
GEORGE: And for that reason, you're not going to find Democrats who are going to want to support it, because they wouldn't want a Ronald Reagan or a George W. Bush to come and run again.
BLITZER: So, it's not going to happen?
BRAZILE: Well, they don't call him the "comeback kid" for nothing.
But I don't think he was referring to himself. He was referring to the next Democratic president who is, of course, smart, savvy and...
GEORGE: How many days? How many days?
COTTLE: Hillary! Hillary!
COTTLE: It's a family thing.
BLITZER: He's already thinking about his wife, is that what you're saying?
BRAZILE: Why not?
BLITZER: Three terms for Hillary...
GEORGE: How many days till...
BRAZILE: Three terms for Chelsea.
BLITZER: Is this going anywhere, this...
GOLDBERG: It's not going anywhere. It's a great academic argument to have.
I think that what he's doing is he's sucking up all the oxygen from the other Democrats so that Hillary will have a clean shot in 2008.
BLITZER: 2008. She's going to wait that long?
BLITZER: She's got to get reelected in 2006, first. GOLDBERG: Yes, which may be tougher than people think.
BRAZILE: Look, she might be on the short list in 2004, so let's not write off...
BLITZER: All right. We've got to leave it right there. Thanks to our Final Round. Thanks to all of you -- Michele, especially you. Welcome.
COTTLE: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: Thank you.
That's your LATE EDITION for Sunday, June 1st.
Coming up next: "IN THE MONEY" looks at the Bush tax cuts and whether they'll do anything to help your financial health.
That's followed at 4:00 p.m. Eastern by "CNN LIVE SUNDAY" with reports on all the day's news.
5:00 p.m. Eastern, "NEXT@CNN" has the story of how ranchers, farmers and foresters are bracing for another summer of drought.
Be sure to join me next Sunday and every Sunday at noon Eastern for the last word in Sunday talk. I'll be here, of course, Monday through Friday, twice a day, at noon and 5:00 p.m. Eastern.
Until then, thanks very much for watching. Enjoy the rest of your weekend. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.
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