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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT

Miers Withdraws; Interview With Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Aired October 27, 2005 - 18:00   ET

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


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody.
Tonight I'll be talking with the toughest sheriff in America about his new crackdown on crime. And the ACLU, well, they don't like the toughest sheriff in America. We'll be finding out why.

And author Salman Rushdie is my guest tonight. We'll be talking about the global struggle against radical Islamists.

But we begin tonight with the sudden withdrawal of Harriet Miers as President Bush's nominee for the Supreme Court. Miers' withdrew her nomination after charges she was a crony of the president, criticism she had no judicial experience, and questions about her commitment to conservative values.

President Bush immediately declared that he will choose a new nominee in what he called a timely manner. But as President Bush tries to move forward, he could face more trouble tomorrow, when at least one presidential adviser could be indicted in the CIA White House leak investigation.

From the White House tonight, Suzanne Malveaux reports on today's political reversal.

From Capitol Hill, Ed Henry reports on whether Miers' withdrawal will help the president.

And from Washington, Kelli Arena reports on the next major challenge facing the White House.

We begin with Suzanne Malveaux at the White House -- Suzanne.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, early today, the president, as well as the White House, was bracing itself for possible indictments out of the CIA leak investigation. Then the president was delivered with a stunning blow, a blow that many took by surprise here, at least for today, but wasn't completely surprising.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX (voice over): The stunning withdrawal comes after weeks of debilitating criticism of Harriet Miers from the right, who complained her credentials weren't conservative enough, and form some on the left who viewed her as an unqualified Bush crony. But insiders familiar with the campaign to push her nomination forward say a confluence of events Wednesday signaled her doom.

The day began with a "Washington Post" report about a 1993 Miers speech, re-igniting a firestorm from conservatives who saw it s proof she supported abortion rights. By mid morning, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist told the president face to face the Miers nomination was not looking good.

A flurry of meetings took place throughout the day to assess her status. On the Hill, Miers' support team, Ed Gillespie, Senator John Cornyn, and Federalist Society representative Leonard Leo huddled. There was talk that an exit strategy might be necessary.

Just before 6:00, the group Concerned Women for America, a key conservative organization, issued a press relief calling for Miers' withdrawal. Other conservative organizations considered following suit.

All through the day and into the evening, Miers worked to complete her 60-page Senate questionnaire. Then she sat down with senior White House staff, including chief of staff Andy Card, where she was given a reality check of difficulties she faced ahead. Insiders says Miers was not surprised by the news and made the decision to withdraw on her own.

At 8:30, she called the president and the White House residence to tell him. An hour later, Senator Frist called Card to tell him the Miers nomination was in trouble. Unbeknownst to him, Miers had already reached that conclusion.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: And Lou, this late video is seeing Miers here at the White House, of course back on duty, working. She continues perhaps in an awkward situation here to return her focus as White House counsel, but she'll also be the who will be vetting those possible candidates that the president will look to for his next nomination choice.

I spoke with one White House insider, asking them, "How did this all unfold?" He said "Well, as recently as yesterday afternoon, they were confident they were going to push this through." But then he said of course he felt the reason why they were so confident is that many people in this building perhaps live in a bubble -- Lou.

DOBBS: That could be indeed an apt explanation. What will be now with what this administration, one presumes, from the Miers nomination will be the principal criteria for the next nominee by this president?

MALVEAUX: Well, it's very interesting, because I talked to Ed Gillespie, who, of course, is going to be ushering through the next nominee. He said that, of course, that candidate will follow in the same judicial philosophy, sharing with the president. But at the same time, there is a recognition here that they need to look to the conservative voice, they need to look to those organizations and have someone who clearly does have more of a paper trail than Harriet Miers, which was nonexistent, and someone who at least the conservatives will give the nod to.

DOBBS: One would think that the confirmation of Judge John Roberts would serve as a template for whatever this White House did going forward. Why would that not be the case?

MALVEAUX: Well, you know, there are people who say that perhaps there wasn't enough discussion with those conservative organizations, or perhaps the White House just wasn't listening closely enough, that they underestimated just level of frustration and tension that came out of this Miers nomination. According to one White House insider, what they're looking for is a red meat candidate, they want somebody who is initially going to rally this base and get this party back on its footing.

DOBBS: Wouldn't it be refreshing, wouldn't it be great to hear a discussion about the qualities, the character, the capacity of the nominee, rather than the politics of it all?

Thank you very much, Suzanne.

Miers' decision to withdraw means the president has avoided a major showdown with his conservative supporters, the so-called conservative base. Conservatives on Capitol Hill today praised Miers for her courage in withdrawing. Democrats declared the president simply backed down in the face of opposition from what they called right-wing Republicans.

Ed Henry reports from Capitol Hill -- Ed.

ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Lou, you're right, the president short-circuited an already ugly battle within the Republican Party. Many conservatives spreading they thought Harriet Miers was another David Souter, someone billed as a conservative who would wind up as a moderate on the high court. But with that trouble out of the way, now Republicans here on the Hill bracing for maybe an even tougher fight, an ideological fight with the battle lines already being drawn.

Democrats aggressively pushing the notion, as you said, that in fact the right wing won here, that they forced Harriet Miers out of the way. And Democrats claim that with the president's poll numbers sinking in the wake of this problem, in the wake of Iraq, in the wake of the coming CIA leak case as well, that he now needs to get his base on board by picking a solid conservative to replace Harriet Miers.

Here's Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MINORITY LEADER: Mr. President, I believe without any question when the history books are written about this, that it will show that the radical right wing of the Republican Party drove this woman's nomination right out of town. Apparently, Ms. Miers didn't satisfy those who want to pack the Supreme Court with rigid ideologies.

The only voices heard in this process were the far right. She wasn't even given a chance to speak for herself before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENRY: Now, some of the very Republicans whose tough scrutiny of Harriet Miers led to her withdrawal are really not running from the notion that they believe the president should pick a movement conservative. They basically say the president campaigned on that notion and he won the election fair and square, it's time for him to move the high court to the right.

In fact, people like Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, a likely presidential candidate in 2008, is basically saying bring that fight on.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. SAM BROWNBACK (R-KS), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Why shouldn't the president put forward clearly somebody in a Scalia-Thomas mold, and let's have the debate with the country, that it's time to have that kind of debate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENRY: Well, such a fight could obviously rally the president's base behind him. It could also spark a filibuster fight from the Democrats. They're already whispering about that in the hallways. Then that could spark the Republicans to bring back this notion of the so-called nuclear option, which would end the use of the filibuster for judicial nominations.

So while it looks like one battle is behind us, there could be an even bigger battle coming -- Lou.

DOBBS: It could be, as you say. It is possible, but it is also important to remember that the so-called Gang of 14 still have an affect. Their compromise, which should presumably preempt the necessity for a nuclear option, as you put it. And isn't there a lot of revisionism here in what Senator Reid is suggesting, the Senate minority leader?

The Democratic Party have made it clear that they're opposed to any nominee. Judge John Roberts, arguably the finest judicial nominee in 30 years to the high court, couldn't even muster as many votes as Justice Ginsburg.

HENRY: Well, in fact, in the end he got about 23 Democrats on board. He had 78 votes as a bipartisan vote. He clearly got less than Ginsburg, got less than Scalia, who got a 98-0 vote many years ago. So, you're right, clearly, the Democratic Party was divided over Chief Justice John Roberts.

One of the problems in terms of the president trying to thread that needle and find someone who is a conservative but still can win bipartisan support is that Republicans and Democrats alike here say, as you say, Lou, they need to focus on the quality of the candidate. One of the problems is people on both sides say it's hard to find someone just like Chief Justice John Roberts.

One of the problems for Harriet Miers is she was coming and following John Roberts after he really wowed the Judiciary Committee, wowed them in the one-on-one meetings. That was one reason why all of her one-on-one meetings, the problems she faced, really snowballed on her, because she really turned out to be somebody who it was a tough act to follow -- Lou.

DOBBS: Well, it was indeed a tough act to follow, but an act that should have been followed, I think, perhaps may be the way to conclude this.

Thank you very much. Ed Henry from Capitol Hill.

Harriet Miers is the first Supreme Curt nominee to withdraw in nearly 20 years, but she is only the latest in a long list of nominees to fail. Before Miers the most recent failures were in 1987, when Douglas Ginsburg withdrew. Robert Bork rejected by the Senate. In all, 35 Supreme Court nominees have failed to be confirmed since 1789.

Now, that brings us to the subject of our question tonight. What do you believe is the failure rate for presidential nominations to the highest court in the land, 1 in 2, 1 in 5, 1 in 10? Cast your vote at LouDobbs.com. We'll have the results and the answer later here.

Today's stunning developments in Washington come as a grand jury nears the end of its investigation into the CIA-White House leak case. The grand jury's term is due to expire tomorrow. And there are expectations of at least one top presidential adviser facing indictment.

Kelli Arena reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The president's top political adviser has been unable to escape the cameras for weeks now. Lawyers involved in the leak investigation tell CNN the special prosecutor is seriously considering a perjury charge against Karl Rove, who testified four times before the grand jury.

Former prosecutor Andrew McBride has been talking with lawyers familiar with the case.

ANDREW MCBRIDE, FMR. FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I think right now what's happening is a very, very heated exchange between Mr. Rove's lawyers and Mr. Fitzgerald's team over whether or not Mr. Rove will be indicted for perjury and whether his last appearance before the grand jury was sufficient to correct any omission or false statement he might have made previously. ARENA: Sources with knowledge of the investigation say the vice president's chief of staff, Scooter Libby, may also be in jeopardy for possibly making false statements. Former independent counsel Robert Ray says to bring those charges, Fitzgerald will have to prove that Rove and Libby intended to mislead investigators, a high legal bar.

ROBERT RAY, FMR. INDEPENDENT COUNSEL: It explains in part why this investigation has gone on so long. It also explains in part why he went to so much trouble to get the benefit of Judith Miller's testimony.

ARENA: Miller, "The New York Times" reporter, told the grand jury the source she went to jail to protect was Scooter Libby.

Both Rove and Libby's lawyers have refused to comment on their clients' status. But both men have denied repeatedly that they leaked CIA operative Valerie Plame's name.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ARENA: Now, the focus on both these men does not mean that there aren't others who may face charges. Sources with knowledge of this investigation say that Fitzgerald is also pouring over statements made by other White House employees and employees over at the State Department -- Lou.

DOBBS: It is interesting that names that are now beginning to surface had not been mentioned until this week, which is to the credit of the special prosecutor, the special counsel in keeping the investigation very tight-lipped.

Kelli Arena. Thank you very much.

Still ahead, southern Florida, three days after Hurricane Wilma hit. Long lines, short tempers. Residents say emergency officials have failed once again. We'll have that report.

And a possible conflict of interest by former government officials. Some are taking jobs in corporate America for foreign interests. Our special report is coming up next.

And Salman Rushdie, one of the world's most important authors, most important voices, speaking out against radical Islamist fundamentalism. He is our special guest here tonight.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Tonight, southern Florida is running on empty three days after Hurricane Wilma, and almost three million people remain without power tonight. Gasoline hard to find. More than 5,000 people remain in shelters, and Florida residents are still being forced to wait in long lines for food, ice and water.

Southern Florida has seen massive hurricanes, of course. But few have had the destabilizing impact on residents like Wilma. And Florida residents are increasingly blaming their officials.

David Mattingly reports from Miami Beach.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Day three after the hurricane, and amid the destruction, people wait up the block...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Number three!

MATTINGLY: ... down the street, and around the corner.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need ice. We need ice. There are 5,000 people here. We need ice.

MATTINGLY: Floridians are spending yet another day waiting for ice, food...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Plenty of food here for everybody. You all take all you want.

MATTINGLY: ... and gasoline. Residents who did stock up on necessities are finding their 72-hour supply dwindling.

HENRI BORSTEL, FLORIDA RESIDENT: We all tried to stock up on everything we could, but you know you can't -- you can stock up on perishables. It's already Thursday and we're starting to run low on a lot of stuff.

MATTINGLY: While power companies work around the clock to restore electricity, over two million people are still without power.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the last thing we have. I have one candle that's left. I shut it off this morning because I want to have it tonight in case we -- you know, the flashlight runs out. There's really nothing left.

MATTINGLY: President Bush arrived in Florida today and asked residents to be patient.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know people are frustrated because they don't have power on yet. Things don't happen instantly. But things are happening. Right here on this side, people are getting fed. Soon more and more houses will have their electricity on, and life will get back to normal.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MATTINGLY: And patience does pay off if you're willing to wait in those long lines sometimes. These people behind me at this gas station in Miami Beach are among the last to get gasoline from here. That's because the pumps are going dry at this gas station, as they have in many other gas stations that still have electricity.

That means that the people on the other side of this tape, on the wrong side of this tape, will have to be patient at least a day longer -- Lou.

DOBBS: David Mattingly. Thank you very much.

Yet another tropical storm has formed in the Caribbean. Tropical Storm Beta is strengthening in the southwestern Caribbean. It poses no threat to this country. That's the good news. But hurricane warnings and watches are up for Colombia and Nicaragua.

Beta is the 23 named storm of the record Atlantic hurricane season. Wilma the last of the named storms. Now the National Hurricane Center reverting to the Greek alphabet to name these storms. Beta obviously following on the back of hurricane -- the named storm Alpha.

For the first time ever, Fidel Castro's communist China -- communist Cuba, I confuse communist countries there. I apologize. Cuba has accepted an offer of hurricane relief from the United States.

Hurricane Wilma devastated Havana with waves of up to 45 feet. Some areas were flooded in six feet of water. The United States always officer disaster assistance to Cuba after hurricanes. Cuba routinely rejects those routine offers until today. The State Department says it will now send an assessment team to Cuba.

Still ahead, new outrage tonight over possible conflicts of interest by former government officials who instead of working in the national interest are working for corporate America and even foreign interests.

And a huge setback for President Bush today. Even worse may be ahead. Four leading political and legal analysts will join me.

And how the man known as America's toughest sheriff hopes to do what the federal government cannot do. The ACLU doesn't like him or his ideas. We'll meet him and hear his ideas later.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: You've got to love the free traders at any cost. New concerns tonight about Washington's so-called K Street connection. A negotiator, a trade negotiator responsible for Korea at the U.S. Trade Representatives Office is leaving public service. And where is she headed? Well, she's been hired by a firm that represents private Korean business interests.

Critics of America's failed free trade policy say this isn't even the most alarming example of what is a growing Washington ethical mess.

Christine Romans reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Washington's revolving door, where federal officials routinely end up working on the other side. Since 1998, at least 2,390 federal officials have left public service to work for lobbyists on K Street. Add to that two more this week from the U.S. Trade Representatives Office.

Lobbyists Crowell & Moring International announced hiring senior U.S. trade officials Amy Jackson and Brian Peck. CNN says of its new hire, Amy Jackson, "As deputy assistant U.S. trade representative for Korea, Jackson's primary responsibility was overseeing U.S. trade relations with Korea, including the proposed U.S.-Korea free trade agreement."

The firm says her Korea experience will strengthen its international trade practice. Indeed, a client of C&M International is the Korea international is the Korea International Trade Association. It represents 81,000 Korean businesses. But its managing director downplayed any controversy.

ANDY SUK-HO MUN, KOREA INT. TRADE ASSOCIATION: Personally, I don't care if Amy Jackson is working there. Whoever working there, I don't care, because, you know, I feel we don't have the contact with the U.S. government or Congress or something like that.

ROMANS: He says he uses his lobbyists for research and consulting, not to lobby Washington. And he says he represents his country's business, not its government.

The U.S. Trade Office also dismissed concerns about her move saying, "She may not ever come back and lobby USTR or any other part of the government on issues she wants worked on." Still, critics called it a relatively minor example of a Washington epidemic.

DANIELLE BRIAN, PROJECT ON GOV. OVERSIGHT: I really am amazed that people seem to be not at all embarrassed. And frankly, for the most part, the media sort of yawns when you point out one of these revolving-door stories, because it happens nearly every day.

ROMANS: A few congressmen have taken up the cause, suggesting tougher ethics guidelines and restrictions.

REP. MARTY MEEHAN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I don't think there's anything wrong with a cooling off period of two years, where somebody could go and teach, or they could go and do other things that aren't in conflict with what their public position -- public service position with the federal government was.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: He might have some trouble getting Congress to vote on something like that. Since 1998, 86, 86 former members of Congress are working for lobbyists. A handful of them working directly for other governments.

Now, there are no current numbers on just how many former federal trade officials are now representing foreign interests. But a Center for Public Integrity study all the way back in 1991 found 47 percent of former trade officials were representing foreign companies, associations or governments. Since then there have been some rules changes. So it's a little harder to track down those kind of connections.

DOBBS: Not a little harder.

ROMANS: A lot harder.

DOBBS: All but impossible. And it's not an accident, of course, those rules put in place by Congress.

We want to be clear, nothing that's happening here is against the federal rules on ethics. But there is a higher standard of ethics, and there is a little common sense that should be at work here. It makes you wonder how those devoted congressmen from their districts decide suddenly to live in Washington and represent foreign governments, for example.

You wonder how people that are committed to public service suddenly find themselves serving another government. It's remarkable.

ROMANS: The agency is telling me that if they had stronger rules, privately they say it would be a lot harder to get top talent to work for the United States government in the first place. That's what they say.

DOBBS: I don't think we need that kind of talent anyway. And we might be just -- no, we'd definitely, we'd be a lot better off.

We appreciate you keeping this in front if the -- this audience's eyes and ears. And we're going to continue to follow this, no matter what the rationalization is in Washington.

Christine Romans, thank you.

Still ahead here, a disastrous week for the White House. It is not over yet. Four of our nation's most distinguished political and legal analysts join me to discuss the growing crisis at the White House.

And terror on California's Interstate 8. Our nation's illegal alien crisis is now an alarming public safety crisis. We'll have that special report.

And Salman Rushdie joins me. Salman says radical Islamists have hijacked the Muslim faith. He's my guest here next.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: President Bush's critic are tonight saying the White House mishandled the Harriet Miers nomination from the very beginning. Miers' withdrawal is a major setback for a president who has repeatedly called upon Americans to trust his judgment.

Dana Bash reports from the White House. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BUSH: Harriet Ellen Miers.

DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): On day one, the White House had Miers' talking points ready to go. The problem is they were talking up the wrong points.

SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Senator Harry Reid said -- made some very positive comments about Harriet Miers.

BASH: Reid, of course, is a Democrat. He and others suggested...

MCCLELLAN: The president should consider someone that is not a judge.

BASH: Taking that bait, admits one senior Bush aide, was their first huge miscalculation. They underestimated conservative grassroots' hunger for a proven commodity to replace abortion rights supporter Sandra Day O'Connor.

BUSH: I know her heart.

BASH: "Trust me" didn't work. Conservative senators were as bewildered as the activists.

BROWNBACK: We're left to try and gather little pieces and shreds of evidence and do almost a CSI-type of operation.

BASH: Several Bush officials concede they were not prepared for the backlash. One top Republican close to the administration blames a White House "cocky" from a smooth John Roberts confirmation. Others say outside advisers who would have raised red flags were clued in too late.

Then efforts in damage control caused more damage. A White House call in search of support from conservative leader James Dobson unmasked what looked like a wink and a nod campaign on abortion.

DR. JAMES DOBSON, CONSERVATIVE RADIO SHOW HOST: What did Karl Rove say to me, Harriet Miers is an evangelical Christian, that she is from a very conservative church which is almost universally pro-life.

BASH: Even the president, as aid put it, got wrapped around the axle pushing personal issues hoping to win over conservatives.

BUSH: Part of Harriet Miers's life is her religion.

BASH: That backfired for Republicans looking for her resume, not religion. So they summoned Texas colleagues to talk up Miers' legal experience.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I can vouch for her ability to analyze and strategize.

BASH: Aids now admit it was probably too late.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been a chaotic process.

BASH: The Republican judiciary chairman slammed Miers for sending a questionnaire without sufficient answers. And almost every courtesy call to a key senator seemed to make it worse. Reviews range from unimpressive to disastrous, leaving conservatives amazed at how the president got this one so wrong.

TERENCE JEFFREY, HUMAN EVENTS: It's a mystery. And I think we don't know the full answer until this administration is out of office and people are writing their memoirs.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: And some advisers tell us one key problem is that Harriet Miers didn't have a Harriet Miers meeting. As White House counsel, she was in charge of troubleshooting, preparing for the John Roberts nomination. but inside the White House, there was no one ever really put in charge for doing the same for her -- Lou.

DOBBS: Dana, thank you very much. Dana Bash, is there any indication at all of the direction which the White House is headed?

BASH Well, I can tell you that talking to senior aides tonight they are going to try to learn from what they admit are their mistakes. And their mistake is like I reported, taking the bait that there was a desire for someone with outer judicial records. So, what the judicial record would be, that's an open question. But we can expect likely, whomever the president chooses, will have a pretty long track record, and a lot of papers and rulings for people to go through -- Lou.

DOBBS: And presumably qualities and capacities that are approach at least those of Judge John Roberts. Dana Bash, thank you very much.

As the Bush administration tries to deal with this devastating political setback, the grand jury in the CIA leak case meets tomorrow. Indictments against key White House officials being be announced we're told.

Here with their insight into what is, without question, a broadening, deepening crisis at the Bush White House, our legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, our senior political analyst and reporter Jeff Greenfield, David Gergen former adviser to four U.S. presidents who is now a professor at the Kennedy School of Government joining us tonight from Boston.

Let me begin with you, professor, this is about as messed up as it can get at any White House, isn't it?

DAVID GERGEN, FRM. WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: It's been a long time since we've seen one like this, Lou. This certainly is the worst week of the Bush presidency: over 2,000 fatalities in Iraq this week, went over the top, now the withdrawal, this is only the second time a nominee to the Supreme Court has been withdrawn without Senate action in the 160 years. And tomorrow, the possible indictments.

So it is a mess. It's going to be a long time cleaning it out. It's a very interesting question whether the president ought to rush now to put a new nominee out there or not.

DOBBS: Do you infer, Jeff, that the president will rush to this, or do you think he's going to be careful? Is he in any way chastened by this experience do you think? Is there any sign of it?

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT; Don't know. I'm not even sure I fully agree that this is a disaster. In some ways the withdrawal of the Miers nomination may be a good thing for him, in that if there are indictments tomorrow and you need your conservative base behind you, this may at least lance that boil.

You know, they've just been through the selection process 24 days ago. So unless the short attention span is really a problem at everybody in the White House, they ought to know who the other nominees are. What they've got to do know is figure out which of the many considerations they have to consider: credentials, diversity, who gets through the Senate easier or do they want to fight?

DOBBS: Well, there was a lot of reaction to the clarion cry of diversity in this nomination from the outset from both Democrats and Republicans. Without an emphasis, I mean, good lord, we were talking about religion and Harriet Miers's religion before anybody was talking about a capability. This has been peculiar.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's sort of a shame that the diversity got such a bad name here. Because, you know, it was one thing in 1981 when President Reagan named the first woman to the Supreme Court. There really weren't very many women judges. There are lots now. And there are lots of conservative women judges.

So, the idea that President Bush had to pick Harriet Miers who had no record, no judicial or comparable experience, it's just too bad, because that's not I don't think, what anyone means by diversity.

DOBBS: Well, let's turn to the issue of these indictments that are reported from very good sources, at least one to come tomorrow from this grand jury, David Gergen. Is that your expectation? And are you surprised that there's apparently a broader canvas here that Patrick Fitzgerald, the special counsel, has cast than we previously thought?

GERGEN: Well, I think there have been indications that he might cast a very broad canvas. There were documents that he and the judge were engaged in, public documents that had a lot of redactions about national security, which has always lent an air of mystery to this case about what in the world is goings-on here?

But I really think we don't know tonight whether it's going to be one indictment, two, three, maybe even more, somewhere between one and five. And certainly, Karl Rove did not know as of midday today what was going to happen to him. I'm not sure that Scooter Libby knows what's going to happen to him. So, I would be cautious still tonight about knowing where we are. We'll know a lot better tomorrow whether this is going to be.

If it's only Scooter Libby, that will not be as much of a blow, as of course, if it also includes Karl Rove. But if it's Scooter Libby plus one or two others in the vice president's office, that's going to have serious implications even if they don't get Karl Rove.

TOOBIN: But an indictment spills over. It's not just the indictment that's bad news. If it's Scooter Libby, it becomes, well, is Vice President Cheney going to testify? Is he going to talk publicly about what he knows? Is he an unindicted co-conspirator? These are the kind of questions that will spin out and out for months if there's an indictment.

So, the indictment is only the beginning of a bad news. But there may be no indictments. I think that's worth remembering.

GREENFIELD: And we still don't -- we really don't know anything, which doesn't prevent us from talk about it. What we don't know is the range of this.

If it's indictment for perjury, that's one thing. If the broad canvas you talk about has to do with whether or not people in the administration were trying to go after a critic of the weapons of mass destruction story in order to preserve their argument for going to war, that could be a whole other dimension, because I think there are people who want to refight the move Iraq with the story about this case.

TOOBIN: I think felony indictments of any kind are pretty bad. Maybe that's worse, but, boy, I think it's all pretty bad here.

GERGEN: They could squeeze Scooter Libby and see what they get on the vice president, too. That's also where this may lead.

DOBBS: Well, we thank you very much for sharing your insight gentlemen. We look forward to talking with you tomorrow. What promises to be an extraordinarily busy day. Jeff Greenfield and Jeffrey Toobin, David Gergen, thank you very much for being here.

Tonight's quote of the day is on the withdrawal of Harriet Miers as nominee to the Supreme Court. Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi said, quote, "let's move on. In a month, who will remember the name Harriet Miers?" end quote. An interesting statement.

And a reminder to vote on our question tonight, "what do you believe is the failure rate for presidential nominations to the U.S. Supreme Court, 1 in 2, 1 in 5, 1 in 10. Cast your vote at Loudobbs.com. We'll have the results of your votes and the answer in just a matter of moments.

Tonight, staggering allegations of corruption in the United Nations oil-for-food scandal. The Volcker commission today released its final report what has turned to be a shameful episode in the history of the U.N. Showing a total of 2,263 companies paid a total of almost $2 billion in bribes and kickbacks to Saddam's murderous regime.

Companies implicated in the Volcker report include world famous names such as Daimler-Chrysler, Volvo, the Swedish company, Siemens and SmithKlineBeecham. High ranking politicians have also been implicated. Richard Roth has the report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): More than 2,000 companies were accused of doing illegal business with Saddam Hussein, feasting on the oil-for-food program. One prominent American businessman, according to the Volcker report, was Texas oil trader Oscar Wyatt, Jr., who in a case of bad timing for him, was also arraigned in federal court, charged by the government with paying millions of dollars of secret kickbacks to win oil contracts with Iraq. Wyatt often met with Saddam Hussein and imposed U.N. sanctions on Iraq. Wyatt pled not guilty.

His attorney previously issued a statement saying, "Mr. Wyatt has violated no laws and will vigorously defend against the charges the government has woven together."

The corporate corruption really started in 2000 when Saddam said in effect, if you want to play, you have to pay.

PAUL VOLCKER, OIL FOR FOOD INQUIRY CHAIRMAN: And there were no oil exports for a while. And other companies stepped in, middlemen stepped in. Front companies were made up and it proceeded. But it seems to me at that point was where there was a real failure. That's where the program got corrupted.

ROTH: The investigators say it was a global looting of the humanitarian program. Companies from 66 nations, some household names. The report says a Daimler-Chrysler employee paid $7,000 extra to Iraq on a contract, violating U.N. sanctions. Volcker said the firm was unaware of the payment. The company said it could not comment, because of pending investigations.

A subsidiary of Volvo Group of Sweden, Volvo CE, a maker of heavy equipment, was listed as paying more than $300,000 in kickbacks in connection with contracts. The company told Volcker's panel the conclusions are wrong, and the evidence is unfamiliar to the firm. The panel says three Siemen's subsidiaries paid kickbacks to the Iraqi regime in order to get contracts. The company told Volcker's commission it's puzzled by the premature and unjustified findings.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROTH: And the list goes on. Two subsidiaries of the Weir Company of Scotland providing pumping equipment and spare parts for Iraq. The report says they were pumping illegal payments also into Iraq, at $4.5 million. And there were also mystery front companies. One example, two registered in Liechtenstein, Alcon (ph) Petroleum and Phenar (ph) Petroleum. Neither had bank accounts, Lou, when they first started business with Iraq, and then at one point they surpassed all the Russian and French companies cited to become, the report says, the largest purchaser of Iraqi oil, $26 million in illegal surcharges.

DOBBS: Extraordinary. The Volcker report naming names, to its credit. The largest number of companies doing business with Saddam Hussein's Iraq -- no surprise, France.

ROTH: France and Russian companies. As you reported on the show even almost seems like years ago.

DOBBS: It seems like years ago, and we're glad that everybody has caught up to what is the fact of the matter.

Richard Roth, as always, thank you for your reporting.

Just ahead here, renowned author Salman Rushdie calls upon Muslims to take back their religion from extremists. Salman Rushdie is our special guest tonight.

And he's known as America's toughest sheriff. Sheriff Joe Arpaio tells us how his new plan to crack down on crime has upset some people at the ACLU. He's our guest next. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: In Southern California, authorities are meeting to discuss a dire public safety crisis that involves illegal aliens. There's been a shocking rise in the number of cases of illegal aliens, many of them drug traffickers, driving the wrong way on Interstate 8, trying to avoid law enforcement. And they're causing deadly accidents, and innocent Americans are being killed as a result. Casey Wian reports from Alpine, California.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This Border Patrol checkpoint on Interstate 8, 40 miles east of San Diego, is busy, even late on a weeknight. Agents process illegal aliens and inspect suspicious cars. The drug-and-people-sniffing dog signals this vehicle has been used recently by smugglers. Though agents say they are sure illegal aliens or drugs were here perhaps minutes earlier, there is nothing now, so they must let the men go. The night before, they did find 77 pounds of marijuana.

Drug and alien smugglers are trying new tactics to avoid this remote checkpoint, by turning off their lights and driving the wrong way on the interstate, often with fatal results.

DIANNE JACOB, SAN DIEGO COUNTY SUPERVISOR: You can imagine driving home in the evening with your family in the car, and you're driving east, and all of a sudden coming at you, 90 to 100 miles an hour, lights off, a van loaded with 13, 15 illegal aliens, and maybe as much as 500, 700 pounds of marijuana. It's a frightening, frightening experience.

WIAN: Horrific wrong way driver accidents have become all too common on Interstate 8, a popular route for truckers, off-road enthusiasts, tourists and smugglers. Jacobs says 75 people have been killed and 500 injured in the past decade. In 2003, California's Transportation Agency installed two miles of concrete barriers and new lights to deter wrong-way driving smugglers. It worked until this year, when smugglers started entering I-8 on offramps further east, and filling their tires with silicone to foil spike strips. Now, Cal- Trans, the Highway Patrol and the Border Patrol are meeting to come up with a new solution.

PEDRO ORSO-DELGADO, CAL-TRANS: Whether it comes out of my -- out of my money, or it comes out of the Highway Patrol money or the federal government or the Border Patrol, it's coming out of the taxpayers' money. It's an issue that we have here. My job is to make that roadway safe.

WIAN: But local officials say there's a better answer.

JACOBS: There has been no will in Washington to stop the illegal traffic across the border. As a result, you see these travesties.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WIAN: Some of the measures being considered include a high-tech early warning system, and electronic signs to alert motorists a wrong- way driver is approaching. But officials worry that smugglers are going to figure out a way to get around those as well, Lou.

DOBBS: It's just extraordinary, one development after another, just another element in this nation's failure, this government's failure to provide border security and to resolve our illegal immigration crisis.

Casey, thank you very much. Casey Wian from Alpine, California.

My next guest has an aggressive new plan to track down some of the millions of illegal aliens in this country. He is Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona. He has been called this country's toughest sheriff. Arpaio earned the distinction with policies such as forcing inmates to live in tents, wear pink jumpsuits, and work six days a week on chain gangs. He's also banned coffee, smoking, movies and television in his jails, and as you might expect, the ACLU doesn't like him much. But the citizens of Maricopa County revere him.

Sheriff Arpaio's newest tough policy mandates every driver pulled over in Phoenix for a criminal traffic violation must give up their thumbprints, and if they refuse, they get to go to jail, no questions asked. Sheriff Arpaio says his plan will also help find identity theft. He joins us now from Phoenix.

Sheriff, good to have you here. What prompted you to go ahead and spearhead what is obviously a controversial program?

SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY, AZ: Well, we're number one in the nation for ID theft. We did this on a volunteer basis. It didn't work too well. We did catch 14 guys for phony IDs. A couple were illegals that went back to Mexico, according to our investigation. But I'm an equal-type enforcer, we go after everybody, it has nothing to do with just illegals. DOBBS: And the fact that the ACLU is upset about it. It's an invasion of privacy, say the ACLU, how do you respond?

ARPAIO: Well, I don't care what they say. We're legal. I do things legally. They don't like it, that's tough. In fact, my polls go up every time they blast me. So they can blast me every night.

DOBBS: Well, we gave them that opportunity, as a matter of fact, Sheriff, to give us a blast, if you will, presuming of course, that would have been their response here tonight. They declined.

You have a rather unorthodox style of law enforcement, if I can put it that way, Sheriff. When I say unorthodox, that's not a criticism, because the orthodox isn't working in a lot of communities, but it's working in Maricopa County. Give us a sense of how it's working in terms of the crime rate. You are also beset by tremendous drug smuggling, illegal alien smuggling, as well as illegal aliens crossing your county. Give us a sense of how well your brand of law enforcement is working?

ARPAIO: Well, I think it's working OK. I was the director of the U.S. drug enforcement in Mexico City and Latin America and Texas and Arizona. I think I know something about the border. That is a problem here. Crime can be attributed somewhat sometimes to the illegal immigration, but most of them come here to work. But I try to do my best. I'm elected. I serve 3.5 million people, and I'm going to keep doing these so-called controversial programs.

DOBBS: And let me ask you one other question. Do you believe you will see a time in which the federal government will decide to enforce border security and our immigration laws?

ARPAIO: Well, I don't know. I don't like to take shots at my ex-agencies, but it is a big problem. And I started a smuggling unit to go after coyotes here. And so, I'm going to do my part as the elected sheriff, and lock up smugglers.

DOBBS: Sheriff Joe Arpaio, we thank you for being here.

ARPAIO: Thank you.

DOBBS: We'll talk to you soon.

Coming up next -- Salman Rushdie. His new novel deals with terrorism and the rise of radical Islamist fundamentalism, its foundation, and perhaps its projected course. He's our special guest, next. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: World renowned author Salman Rushdie tonight is out with an urgent call to Muslim moderates to reform Islam and to defeat the radical Islamists who have hijacked that faith. Salman Rushdie has also published a brand-new novel, "Shalimar the Clown," which addresses the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and the radicalization of the protagonists, if I can put it that way. Salman Rushdie is our special guest tonight. Salman, it's good to have you here.

SALMAN RUSHDIE, AUTHOR: Thank you. It's good to be here.

DOBBS: Your novel deals with the foundation, the sweep of the contest between Western civilization and radical Islamist fundamentalism. Why such a broad approach, whether it be from Kashmir to Los Angeles, it's a different approach.

RUSHDIE: It's the subject of our time, isn't it? And so many writers, including myself, are trying to find a way inside the skin of this strange process of thought and feeling that leads people to become men of violence. And I think the other thing we've learned, haven't we, since 9/11, is the way in which the world no longer operates in separate neat little boxes, but the stories of one part of the world literally smash into the stories of other parts of the world. So in order to understand the story of New York, you now have to understand the story of the Arab world as well.

DOBBS: You even brought in Los Angeles, which takes a lot of understanding all by itself.

RUSHDIE: It does. Well, that's a kind of, you know, there is two paradises in my novel. There is the Indian paradise of Kashmir, and the Western paradise of L.A., of California, kind of juxtaposed.

DOBBS: As we look at the roots of radical fundamentalism, what I term, what we term here radical Islamist terror, there can be great sweeping sociological statement, psychological statements. Look to the religiosity of those causes. The fact is, there's a basic right and wrong in this world.

RUSHDIE: Yes.

DOBBS: I did not feel you as making value judgments about right and wrong, but really looking to the causal relationships.

RUSHDIE: The problem is, the right and wrong judgments are really quite easy to make. You know, and therefore, they don't get one very far in something as complex as a novel. Understanding is a lot harder, you know? And I think it is remarkable the way in which people are joining these groups for actually not particularly ideological reasons. Obviously there are ideologues at the top, and there are people who joined them because of weak personalities, or because they're just thugs, or because they need a paycheck, or et cetera. So there's a whole range of reasons why people go down the jihadist road.

DOBBS: A host of reasons. The president as of late, President Bush, who's styled this a war on terror -- frankly, I've been very critical of this administration for not styling it for what it is, a war on radical Islamists -- he has begun to talk about the ideology of the radical Islamists, and about the scope of their strategy and their vision. Has that struck you at all?

RUSHDIE: Of course the fundamental, the most often-stated goal is something that was never going to happen, which is the restoration of the so-called Islamic caliphate. So that's a kind of fantasy goal, you know? Along the way, there's a great deal of destruction taking place.

But one of the things I felt about the war on terror is that the real solution to it would come from inside the Muslim world, you know. It's Muslims who have been most oppressed by radical Islam.

DOBBS: Absolutely.

RUSHDIE: You know, in Afghanistan, people detested the Taliban. In Kashmir, where my novel takes place, a moderate, harmonious form of Islam is being oppressed by radical fanatical forms of Islam. And just as the IRA was brought to the peace table because it lost the support of its own constituency of Northern Ireland Catholics, you know, that is what will do in this world as well.

DOBBS: Although of course the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia provided a narrow base of support, and far more difficult to erode their convictions than perhaps a broader population.

RUSHDIE: That's right, and it does need the broad mass of Muslims to stand up and say enough.

DOBBS: Salman Rushdie, we thank you for being here.

RUSHDIE: Thank you.

DOBBS: The book is "Shalimar the Clown." Terrific, thank you very much.

RUSHDIE: Thank you.

DOBBS: Still ahead here, the results of tonight's question, a preview of what's ahead tomorrow, as best we can discern it. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Now, the results of tonight's question. Forty-three percent of you say the failure rate for presidential nominations to the Supreme Court is B, one in five. That is the correct answer. This audience maintaining its distinction as the smartest audience in television news. We thank you for being with us tonight.

Please join us here tomorrow. We'll be live from Washington for the final day of the grand jury's term in the White House CIA leak case. That investigation began now 666 days ago. My guest will be some of the nation's very best political and legal analysts. We hope you will be with us. For all of us here, thanks for joining us tonight.

Good night from New York. "ANDERSON COOPER 360" starts right now with Heidi Collins.

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