CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Remembering Senator Paul Wellstone; Interview with John Mills, John Allen Muhammad's Former Attorney
Aired October 25, 2002 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My heart is just destroyed today.
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LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight a sudden shocking death in the United States Senate. Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone killed today along with his wife and their only daughter when their small plane crashed in Northeast Minnesota.
Joining us to reflect on his life and death, Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, and Maine Democrat and former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell.
Joining us on the scene to tell us what happened, Trisha Volpe with KBLA in Duluth.
What went wrong? Well we'll ask aviation expert Mary Schiavo.
Plus, one of the most famous radio broadcasters in history, she's Diane Rehm of NPR. She's battled a rare disease, always finds a voice to speak out. We'll talk with her on the sniper with her -- she lives in Montgomery County, Maryland -- on politics, marriage and more.
And then, we'll go deeper into figuring out just who the sniper suspects really are. We'll talk with John Mills, an attorney who represented sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad in a lawsuit last year.
And we'll get the latest on the case from Mitch Miller of WTOP Radio in Washington.
It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
We begin with Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah. He's in Washington.
And George Mitchell, the former Senate majority leader. He's with us here in New York.
Senator Hatch, how did you first hear about this today?
SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: Well I was in the Senate working and one of the staffers walked in and said, Oh, my goodness, Senator Wellstone and his wife and some members of his family just got killed in an airplane crash.
It was a pretty devastating news to I'm sure every senator in the United States Senate. Because we all love the little guy. He was somebody who really did what he believed in.
KING: Where were you, Senator Mitchell?
GEORGE MITCHELL, FORMER SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I was here in New York. My secretary called me as soon as the news was made public. And I agree with Orrin, Paul was a good friend.
KING: You had just seen him a couple days ago?
MITCHELL: In Minnesota, yes. He, well as Orrin knows, strongly held views. But you couldn't help loving him.
KING: Senator Hatch, you probably disagreed with him on 98 percent of the issues. Would that be safe to say?
HATCH: I think even the Democrats did. He was a very, very principled person who believed what he was doing. And you know you can never really get mad at some one who really believes in what they're doing.
But he was -- you know, liberal's liberal. Many times stood in the hall alone by himself. But he stood up. He was kind to everybody. He was gracious to people who work for a living around here. That's always a good mark of a really good person. A good senator.
And you know, I'm grieving for his wife and his daughter too. Because his wife was a real companion, she was a great person. I didn't know the daughter. But I'm sure the family -- really good people.
KING: Are mavericks liked in the Senate? I thought mavericks go their own route.
MITCHELL: Some are and some aren't. He was a completely independent person. Some one asked me today, Well the Democrats will miss him. I said, Everybody's going to miss him because he really spoke for a lot of people in the country who don't have particular views one way or the other. Probably many people, many of them are Democrats.
But as Orrin said, he was personally very likable. He had been a wrestler. He and I had some occasional disagreements. When we did he would always come up and give you a hug.
KING: And it hurt.
MITCHELL: The wrestler's hug. He didn't -- he didn't make differences on issues personal disagreements.
KING: He was last on this show a year ago in November of last year. After of course 9/11. We were discussing whether they'd go after Osama bin Laden, should we go after Saddam Hussein. Watch.
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SEN. PAUL WELLSTONE (D), MINNESOTA: Nobody should believe that the journey we are taking in Afghanistan is going to be a smooth, easy journey. Lots of challenges to meet. I think if we were to now take military action against Iraq, that that coalition would break apart. I think it would make it very difficult for us to do what we need to do now in Afghanistan. That is critically important. I think the point needs to be made over and over again.
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KING: Senator Hatch, when Paul Wellstone would get up to speak in the Senate would that frustrate you a lot because he could tend to carry on a bit could he not?
HATCH: Well, he would carry on quite a bit. You know, he had lots of opinions and he wasn't afraid to express them and he took the time to do it. You know?
I appreciated George's comments. George was one of the truly great majority leaders of all time. He was tough as nails, George was. And he had to live with people like Paul and a lot of others including me.
But I'll tell you, Paul -- Paul was a good guy. You know I can remember, he did have the tendency to hug you and he was a strong person. But he suffered from a bad back. And I worried about him all the time. I would talk to him, You've got to go to my little osteopath who really will help you. But I could never get him to go. I think he thought I would send him to the wrong guy or something.
KING: People outside the Senate -- lot of common people, everyday people, might think, Boy if you are a conservative and the other guy is a liberal you don't get along. In fact, like for example Goldwater told me that his best friend was John Kennedy in the Senate. He would have ran against him '61. That's untrue, right? The Senate's a club?
MITCHELL: It's true in some cases, not true in many. My best memory of Paul is that in the Senate, Larry, one person can stop everything. So much of the business is done by what we call unanimous consent agreements. And so every day the majority and minority leader -- I used to sit down with Bob Dole -- and we'd hash out an agreement that would govern the actions of the day or next few days.
And then he'd go and get it out to all the Republicans and I'd send it out to all the Democrats, tried to get their approval, you go forward. And you know, most of the time, most people would go along. Wellstone was a great guy. Used to call me up every day. What's this mean, what's that mean? He was careful, very thorough, very methodical. I spent in the aggregate, hundreds of hours with him going over unanimous consent agreements.
But he was always principled. That's the point to remember. KING: Couldn't say you're copping out.
MITCHELL: You never, never, ever doubted that his decisions were anything other than conscience and his judgment.
KING: Senator Hatch, you served on Indians Affairs Committee with him, right?
KING: What was he like as a fellow committee member?
HATCH: Well, you know, he was compassionate towards everybody. He worried about people who had problems. He especially worried about children. We got along very well on that because you know, children are some of the most unrepresented people in the whole country because they don't vote.
But he would worry about people who, you know, nobody cared about. It seemed nobody cared about. There were some of us who did. He would link arms with us. See if we could put it together and do what's good for -- for man kind in general. Some times he would go so far that he couldn't garner any support. But, you know he was always sincere. Like George said, he was always somebody who was committed to doing what he believed. You respected that.
KING: Well I have, you fellows, a couple political items. We'll ask your opinion of both of yours.
This is out of St. Paul, Senator Mitchell. Democrat party and labor union leaders plan to approach former Vice President Walter Mondale about taking the place of Senator Paul Wellstone in the Minnesota Senate race. Mondale is 74, he was a senator, of course was a vice president, was the Democratic nominee in 1984. You know Walter Mondale.
MITCHELL: Very well.
KING: Would he take that again?
MITCHELL: I don't know. Had dinner with him a week or so ago in St. Paul. I think he'd be terrific.
KING: Would he win?
MITCHELL: You know, Larry, I think it was ten years ago that the Republican candidate for governor in Minnesota pulled out of the race at the very last moment. A substitute came on. And he was elected and served two terms. I think it's possible. I think if Mondale would have run he would win.
KING: What do you make of that senator Hatch?
HATCH: Well, I wouldn't want to venture any guess. It's going to be up to the Democrats who they do. But Fritz Mondale's a quality guy, there's no question about it. But I'd be surprised if after all of the tremendous experiences he had and that positions he served in that are far after the Senate, that he would want to come back and go through what we are going through every day up there. I would be really surprised.
I don't think George is going to come back. I'd tell you that right now.
KING: Hold it, fellows.
HATCH: I know what George is making. I can tell you, he has long forgotten the Senate.
KING: He ain't coming back.
We'll take a break and come back with more on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
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WALTER MONDALE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Paul Wellstone was one of the most valiant public servants and leaders I've ever known. He had a very good mind. But he also had an honest mind. and he served what he believed in, no matter what the challenge was. He also had a great heart, and he fought all of those years, right up until this morning, to help change this country and protect the decent spirit of our nation.
And he has something else: he had his wife, Sheila. And together they made one of the most impressive public couples in America. They had a wonderful family, and together they helped this state and all of us so much.
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WELLSTONE: I believe that if we rush to war, it will be a nightmare in the Persian Gulf. Our country will be torn apart. And Mr. President, very little good will happen in the United States of America or in the world for a long, long, long time.
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KING: Sometimes, Senator Mitchell and Senator Hatch has been a maverick at times. Mavericks prove to be correct. Gruening and Morse voted against the Gulf of Tonkin resolution. The vote was 98 to two. They were right.
MITCHELL: And they were defeated in the next election.
KING: Both were defeated in the next election. So don't dismiss them that quickly, right?
MITCHELL: No, I don't dismiss them. Absolutely not. One of the great things about the Senate is that it makes possible the independent view of any member. It is congenial to mavericks.
KING: Oh, really?
MITCHELL: It is. Oh, yes, absolutely. The Senate rules permit any senator to stand up at any time and say anything he or she wants on any subject, even though it has no relationship to the bills being considered. It's a nightmare for the majority leader.
KING: I'll bet.
MITCHELL: But it is great for the Senate and it is great for the country.
KING: Senator Hatch, you have been a maverick yourself, have you not? Your party has sometimes been upset with you. Your friendship with Senator Kennedy, they get angry sometimes. So you know what it's like to be a lone voice.
HATCH: Well, I sure do. I can tell you, I have irritated everybody from time to time. But let me tell you, you know most of us respected Paul. You know, he would stand up on issues and you'd say, where is he coming from? But on the other hand, you knew that he believed in what he was saying.
And you know, on the -- on the resolution on Iraq, I think he was basically alone in voting against it. A lot of us feel otherwise, that it was the right thing to do and that we can't just sit around and wait for this -- this man over in the Middle East who is threatening the United States, has weapons of mass destruction, has used them against his own people, has supported terrorism all over the Middle East, is trying to destabilize the Middle East, you can go on and on. We just can't sit back and let that happen.
But you know, there is another point of view. And that point of view, like George said, it's great that the Senate can have various points of view. It's great that we can differ. It's great that we can after differing put our arms around each other and say, "you know, I like you." And that's the way Paul and I have been.
KING: When Senator Wellstone first ran for office, the incumbent was I think Boschwitz, right? And he ran a very unusual campaign. Here is a sample of Paul Wellstone running for the office.
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WELLSTONE: Hi, I'm Paul Wellstone and I'm running for the United States Senate from Minnesota. Unlike my opponent, I don't have $6 million, so I'm going to have to talk fast. This is my wife Sheila and our children. This is my house in Northfield where I've lived for 21 years. My son David farms and I've worked with Minnesota farmers for years.
We must stop poisoning of the air and the land and the water. I'll lead the fight for national health care.
I've been a teacher for 24 years.
NARRATOR: Paul Wellstone won't slow down after he's elected. Vote for Paul Wellstone September 11.
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KING: That promise he kept. He did not slow down, did he?
MITCHELL: If ever there was a true statement made in a political ad, that was "Paul Wellstone will not slow down."
KING: What will they plan in a way of a memorial in the Senate, Senator Hatch? I know that since Senator Wellstone was Jewish, my guess would be that the burial will be quick, which goes with Jewish custom and tradition. Probably as early as maybe Sunday, no later than Monday. What are they planning in the Senate, do you know?
HATCH: That may be. Usually we'll have a memorial service so we can all attend. And usually a good percentage of senators do attend. But now that we are out and people are scattered all over the country and we are in the middle of campaigns, I don't know how they're going to bring it all together. So we'll just have to wait and see.
But he deserves a memorialization. Especially he and his wife and the daughter and staff members. We ought to all respect them, because we all have flown in those small planes. We've all been in some pretty harrowing, you know, matters. And I just hope that they do have a good memorial service for Paul, because I sure would like to be there if I can.
KING: We will be talking in a minute about small planes. And this was a small plane, it was -- it sat eight or nine, but it was a prop.
MITCHELL: King Air.
KING: In bad weather.
MITCHELL: Yeah, it's a very good plane. Actually, I have flown on it many, many times. But it was bad weather. Bad weather.
KING: Do you have to -- do you think about it when you are flying on a small prop plane in rain?
MITCHELL: All the time.
KING: And you do it a lot when you're running for office?
MITCHELL: A lot. A lot. Yeah.
KING: Don't imagine you fly props any more, Senator Mitchell?
MITCHELL: I do some, yes.
KING: On occasion?
MITCHELL: It's the only way to get around up in Maine in some of the smaller communities, especially on the island, so you need a single-engine plane on some of the islands.
KING: Senator Hatch, when you're running, do you ever think of fear?
HATCH: Well, I once crashed. And...
HATCH: ... we hit the ground very hard. Bent the tail section up. I can remember thinking, well, we're going to die. And I was really calm. And then we got down on the ground, and the tail section was bent way up in the air. I mean, plane was shaking when we come down. And when I got out, well, my legs went to rubber when I saw that rear section. But it was a hard, hard, hard bang as we went into the ground.
But, yeah, we fly all over Utah. And we have to use those small planes. And I think most senators do. And it's just -- it's just one of the hazards you have to go through.
KING: Thank you both very much. Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah, former Senator George Mitchell, the former Senate majority leader, called one of the great majority leaders by Senator Hatch tonight. On the passing of Paul Wellstone.
How did it happen? Why did it happen? We'll discuss that after this.
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SEN. TOM HARKIN (D), IDAHO: Paul Wellstone was my closest friend in the Senate. He was the most principled public servant I have ever known. Paul truly had the courage of his convictions. And his convictions were based on the principles of hope and compassion. The good Samaritan, helping those left on the roadside of life.
His courage was an example for all. He didn't just talk about political courage or about standing for what you believe in against all odds. He led by example.
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KING: Joining us now in Eveleth, Minnesota is Trisha Volpe who is covering the Wellstone crash story from KDLH TV, and in Torrance, California, Mary Schiavo, the former inspector general, Department of Transportation, noted aviation attorney, who has, by the way, been a co-pilot on a King Air A-100.
Trisha, what is the latest -- what can you tell us, what was the situation there today?
TRISHA VOLPE, KDLH TV CORRESPONDENT: Well, Larry, I am here at the Eveleth-Virginia Municipal Airport, that is about four hours north of Minneapolis, and about two miles away from the crash scene. That's as close as investigators will let us get, and really this tragedy has turned many of the nation's eyes on this very small northern Minnesota town. Now, here's what we know so far. The plane was en route from St. Paul to Eveleth, the Wellstones were on their way to a funeral. The local sheriff says the first report of a possible plane crash came shortly before 11:00 this morning, and the wreckage was located about a half a mile from the airport.
It is a wooded area, a very swampy area. Difficult for emergency crews to get to that site, and the plane was apparently broken into several pieces. Before the crash, the plane had been on its final approach into the airport.
On the scene right now, the local sheriff's department, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and as well as the FBI. The FBI has about 15 agents here to help the National Transportation Safety Board with its investigation, and the sheriff says the pilots did communicate to the tower shortly before the crash, and they didn't indicate that there was anything wrong with the plane at all.
And another interesting point, FBI officials say they had no information, no intelligence at this point, that suggests that this crash was the result of a terrorist attack. Again, not a terrorist attack at this point.
The NTSB was scheduled to arrive in Eveleth at about 8:00 tonight. They should be here by now, and they will start the grueling process of piecing together what happened -- Larry.
KING: All right. Mary Schiavo, you know the plane, you know the history of safety in aviation in this country, what's your -- again, this is all speculation -- what is your first read on this?
SCHIAVO: Well, I have to look at other similar tragedies involving the same kind of plane and the same kind of weather, and even there is one involving the same company, and tragically this plane is not as tough as a jet in icing conditions, and the way that it was going in, the way that the weather was, and that there was no mayday call makes one think that it probably was an icing problem, that the plane maybe stalled due to icing. You would lose control of the plane in a hurry, you wouldn't have time to get off a mayday call, and sadly that will go down as probably a pilot error, which is tragic because it is possible that the plane was extended in conditions which it really couldn't handle.
KING: Meaning a pilot should do what then, if he is landing and he discovers icing?
SCHIAVO: Well, if you are in icing, the only thing you can do if you are flying is get out of it in a hurry. Turboprops just cannot take it as well as a jet can. The entire deicing system is different. It is just not meant to last in those conditions, and tragically, politics and these kinds of situations have been custom made for a number of tragedies like this, because often a statesperson has to get there when, perhaps, the regularly scheduled carriers can't go or can't go into these conditions. Often there is an urge to be responsible and not let folks down, and otherwise, people might say, I'm going to pass.
KING: Is it snowing there yet, Trisha?
VOLPE: It is very much snowing right now. It was certainly raining quite heavily earlier this morning. It was overcast for most of the day, and very foggy. And right now, that rain is turning to snow. I don't know if you can see it right now, but certainly snowing.
KING: Had other planes reported any problems coming into Eveleth today?
VOLPE: We have not heard any reports from any other planes. Basically, as soon as the report of the crash came in, they pretty much shut down the airport, no planes were allowed to fly in or out.
KING: Mary, are props more dangerous in this kind of weather than jets?
SCHIAVO: Absolutely. I know that lots of people swear by them, but statistically, without a doubt, in the way they're made, they just cannot take the same amount of icing conditions. They aren't even rated for it.
KING: Now you have flown this plane, right, you have co-piloted this plane?
SCHIAVO: Well I've got some time in the plane, I wouldn't qualify as a pilot in command, but it's -- if you're going to fly a turboprop, this is the Cadillac, this is the plane of choice, it is a wonderful plane, but they are just different. They're -- turboprops can not take the kind of icing conditions, and it's funny -- even the time of year is significant. There have been a great number of turboprop accidents that have occurred in icing conditions right around Halloween, and it is as the seasons change. You don't expect ice and snow. You don't expect to be able -- to have to face the kind of conditions where you could actually lose a plane in ice, And there have been several tragic turboprop tragedies right about this time of year. Icing build-up, and then you stall.
KING: There is no recorder on that plane is there, or is there?
SCHIAVO: Well it's different. It is not like the cockpit voice recorder that we are used to commercial, scheduled aircraft, but there is a communications system where it does record the last communications. It's -- sort of a less expansive version than a commercial passenger jetliner, but it is possible that we will have the last few minutes of communications on the plane. It does have a recording loop, if it is equipped with that, and this is a very nice plane, so it probably is.
KING: You knew Senator Wellstone, did you not?
SCHIAVO: Professionally, there were a number of issues. He worked on a number of consumer issues, including, obviously, aviation passengers are consumers, and he also was key to a number of votes, including homeland security is going to be a very interesting issue now, and, of course, that had tremendous aviation safety and security overtones, how they vote on that bill. So, tragic loss. Tragic loss for everybody in aviation, and it is tragic that it was on a plane.
KING: Trisha, politics always enters into it. What are they saying about these stories about going to former Vice President Mondale to take his place?
VOLPE: What are they saying here in Minnesota?
KING: Yes. What are you hearing?
VOLPE: Well, I -- haven't heard anything here at the airport all day. Really this is a place for the investigators to gather and brief the media, but what we have heard in Minnesota is that the governor, certainly, according to state law, has the authority to fill a vacant U.S. Senate seat and if that doesn't happen, the party itself can appoint a nominee.
KING: So Trisha, you will stay on the scene, do you expect them to let you near the airport soon? You are two miles away?
VOLPE: Well, we're at the airport about two miles away from the scene, and I don't expect them to let us anywhere near the scene, certainly not tonight. The NTSB, as I said earlier, was supposed to arrive here at about 8:00, that is 8:00 Central time, and they will certainly go out to the scene right away, and hopefully we will get the latest information from them a little later on tonight.
KING: Thank you both very much. We will be calling on you again. Trisha Volpe covering it for KDLH TV, and Mary Schiavo, the former inspector general, Department of Transportation, now an aviation attorney. As we go to break, the comments of the governor.
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GOV. JESSE VENTURA (I), MINNESOTA: His dedication to his state and nation was profound. His energy, his passion, and his love of people were overwhelming. For us to lose Senator Paul Wellstone as a leader and as a person is devastating, but for us to lose Sheila, Marcia, his dedicated staff, and two pilots makes our already heavy hearts even sadder.
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KING: By the way, Paul Wellstone's daughter Marcia was 33 years old. She had a 6-year-old son. And you see her there. Those watching on television on the left. And three stepchildren, obviously from her husband's previous marriage. But she did have a 6-year-old son. And Marcia was 33.
And we now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE an old friend, Diane Rehm, host of "The Diane Rehm Show" on National Public Radio, co-author of an extraordinary new book with her husband John. There you see its cover, called "Toward Commitment: A Dialogue About Marriage." We'll talk about that in a while, but first, your reaction to the death of Senator Wellstone, whom I know you knew.
DIANE REHM, HOST, NPR'S "THE DIANE REHM SHOW": Oh, Larry, I'm so sad. He was on my program several times. And you know, the reactions of the producers who greeted him each time was very telling, because they spoke about his warmth. They spoke about his genuineness. Like you, we've had many officials from presidents on down on the program. And each and every time they have kind of evaluated the persona of those people. In Paul Wellstone's case, it was always this is a very genuine, warm, earthy man.
KING: What do you make of the speculation that Fritz Mondale might be asked to take his place?
REHM: I think that there are a lot of people in Minnesota who might be very much in favor of that. The question becomes whether Fritz Mondale wants to leave his law firm, Dorsey & Whitney, which my husband happened to be part of, and get back into public life. It's going to be hard for him to make that choice. But obviously, he is a good and seasoned politician, one whom the Democrats would adore to have back in power.
KING: And also, this is a key Senate race coming up.
REHM: Oh, my golly. I mean, for the Democrats, this is make-it- or-break it time. And with the election coming up in just 11 days, what a tragedy to see Paul Wellstone go down.
You know, people, Larry, have talked about Paul Wellstone. I have really sort of been taken aback by this as a, quote, "flaming liberal." Flaming? Why? Because he believed so deeply in the causes for which he stood. The only Democrat up in a competitive race who chose to go against the president on this vote on Iraq. You know the man stood for something, and there are not many that about whom you can say he absolutely stood for something.
KING: Well said. You live in Montgomery County. How frightened were you the last three weeks?
REHM: Well, you know, every single morning at 6:00 in the morning, Larry, up a lot earlier than you are, I tend to go out for the newspaper. I tend to have on my sweats. And I found myself wondering whether, you know, could a sniper of this sort simply come through the streets of Montgomery County? Should I be worried? I was looking both ways as I went out the front door. I was turning my back and looking around as I went back into the house.
You bet I was worried. I don't think there was a single person who was not worried.
KING: I am told that your radio show did not stay on this matter every day, unlike every other living human in the media. Why not?
REHM: Larry, Larry, I'll tell you, I was on book tour for a good time that this issue was front and center. Every single day, my producers and I would be in touch. And I said, "stay off this story." There is nothing here but speculation. We have nothing to report of value.
And as it turned out, not even the white van was truthful, unless we find out later that these two who are at this time suspects -- suspected only, were in fact driving a white van at some point. I just did not feel it was worth it to continue to inflame the already concerned, frightened, indeed outraged people of the metropolitan area.
KING: Were you shocked at the amount of coverage it got?
REHM: I was indeed shocked. I turned on CNN, I turned on CBS, I turned on NBC -- it was really, Larry, you'll have to admit, wall-to- wall coverage. And I found myself wondering whether we -- and I include myself, I include NPR, whether we were truly serving the interest of the public. I'm not sure that that kind of sort of absolutely focus that just gets us nowhere but speculation really does the public a good service.
KING: Going to take a break. When we come back, I want to talk to Diane a little about this extraordinary book, an open discussion, her and her husband, about sex, money, religion, and they're still going toward it. It's still toward commitment.
And then we're going to get an update on the sniper story with Mitch Miller and John Mills, the attorney who represented one of the suspects in a family law case back last year. We'll be right back.
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GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our prayers and heartfelt sympathy goes to their sons, their loved ones, their friends and the people of Minnesota.
Paul Wellstone was a man of deep convictions, a plain-spoken fellow who did his best for his state and for his country. May the good Lord bless those who grieve.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Diane Rehm of National Public Radio is co-author of an extraordinary book with her husband. It's called "Toward Commitment," and devils openly and honestly with every facet of their marriage. Why, Diane?
REHM: Well, Larry, the first thing I want to say is how closely tied all three stories are. That is, the death of Paul Wellstone, the sniper attacks and the idea of commitment. I think that we all, ever since September 11 and long before, have been looking for ways to ensure that we establish relationships that do try to tie our marriages, our relationships together.
We very carefully titled the book "Toward Commitment," because I believe it's something we do work toward. There are so many people these days, I fear, who believe that commitment is something that you can have or not have and toss like an old shoe, or they are afraid to get into it at all.
John and I have been married now for 42 years, and I think you know from your own experience that this kind of relationship does have problems. There are no marriages made in heaven because we have to live them out here on earth. And we do so day by day.
KING: But if it is "Toward Commitment" and you have been married all this time, is there ever going to be commitment, commitment?
REHM: Larry, that's exactly what I'm saying is that one is always working toward that goal, and whenever it comes it may come at different times for different people.
But you know, some of the problems that John and I had the most difficulties with -- for example, in-laws, for example, anger, criticism, we pose questions at the back of the book to help people who are trying to strive toward commitment, whether they're just starting out, whether they're in the midst of a relationship, whether they're toward the end of a relationship, to get the dialogue going, to try to find new ways to speak with each other to start a refreshed way of communicating with each other. I recommend it to you highly.
KING: Why did you choose to be so honest about the fact that there have been times while you didn't cheat cheat, you had interest in other men and he in other women?
REHM: Absolutely. I think it happens a lot. I think it happens far more than anyone admits. For John and me, we were both fortunate that there was not adultery that took place. What did happen was that each of us was totally distracted by another individual, and what we did in the process was to keep secrets about that relationship.
I think it's the secrets that do destroy marriages and do destroy relationships. If we can keep those conversations going, we will do so much to strengthen this institution of marriage, of commitment. And you know, Larry, we're not just talking about marriage, we may be talking about same-sex relationships, because they too have the same kinds of problems, the same kinds of difficulties that perhaps you and I and John and I have had together.
KING: You made a commitment to be totally uncritical of each other?
REHM: For a period of time, the criticism got so bad between us that we finally, if you can believe it, drew up a legal contract promising not to criticize each other for a certain period of time. It was drawn up in a very legal form. Each of us signed it, dated it. It was renewed four or five times. The original copy of that contract appears in the book as a way to perhaps self-help others to deal with the same kind of difficulties. KING: Has your profession been a problem in the marriage, the fact that you have always been not just a working woman but a woman who has a personality well known in her community and now nationally?
REHM: Larry, I wasn't always well known in my community. John and I were married for 15 years before I ventured out first as a volunteer and then as someone who got involved in public radio, very exciting for me. But it was totally by chance. John acknowledges in the book that as his career was taking a bit of a downturn, mine was starting to go up. It became very difficult for the two of us. He acknowledges that he attached his own self -- his own sense of self- esteem to my rising popularity, if you will. And I think it was difficult for him until he finally realized he didn't have to do that. We had lots of therapy, Larry.
KING: I'll bet.
REHM: We did.
KING: We'll be right back with more of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
KING: Diane, thanks for coming. I just want to get the chance to remind the audience that the book is "Toward Commitment: A Dialogue About Marriage." Look forward to seeing you in Washington.
REHM: Thank you, Larry.
KING: Diane Rehm.
Joining us now in Washington, Mitch Miller. He's been covering the sniper story for WTOP Radio and CNN. And in Tacoma, Washington, John Mills, the attorney who represented John Allen Muhammad in the 2001 family law case involving divorce from his second wife and custody of their three children.
First, Mitchell Miller, we're getting stories that the Justice Department officials are voicing displeasure with Montgomery County officials over who goes first. What's that all about?
MITCHELL MILLER, WTOP RADIO: Well, behind the scenes, there is a battle royale apparently taking place. There is a feeling among some federal officials that Montgomery County's chief prosecutor, Doug Gansler, may have gotten out a little bit ahead in the case of the sniper shootings by announcing that Montgomery County planned to file six first-degree murder counts in connection with this case.
Now, Mr. Gansler says that he is listening to federal officials, listening to prosecutors in other localities, and certainly doesn't want to make any hasty decisions, but clearly there is a little back- and-forth here, trying to figure out exactly who is going to prosecute first, because everybody, frankly, wants a crack at these two individuals, and many people want to give them the death penalty.
KING: John Mills, can you tell us the subject of your legal work for the suspect John Allen Muhammad?
JOHN MILLS, MUHAMMAD'S ATTORNEY IN 2001 CHILD CUSTODY DISPUTE: Sure, John came to see me in late 2001, and he wanted help trying to get back in contact with his kids.
KING: He had -- the divorce was already final and he wasn't in contact with his children, was that the subject?
MILLS: That's correct, Larry. He -- John had actually been caring for his kids for quite some time, through the year 2000. And -- and in September of 2001, he had the kids registered in school up in Bellingham. The kids were going to school. They were picked up there by the police pursuant to an order from the Pierce County courthouse and they were brought to Pierce County.
That pick-up generated a very brief hearing, at which the kids were given to mom. And John left that hearing. He had been representing himself. And following that hearing, Mildred disappeared with all three kids. And so, John...
KING: Were you successful?
MILLS: We were never successful in locating Mildred, although we worked for many months in trying to get contact with her and in trying to get John back into courts so that he would have some opportunity to get back together with his kids.
KING: What was he like as a client?
MILLS: He was thoughtful and patient. He was troubled and upset about what the judge had done. But he wanted to know more about the legal system. And he wanted to figure out a way that the system could be used to get him back in contact with his kids.
KING: When you heard that he was now the chief suspect in this and all the goings-on, what did you make of it?
MILLS: Well, first of all, I guess I'm hopeful that the police have taken a sniper off the streets and people aren't being killed. I guess I'm surprised that John Muhammad was involved, in the sense that he's not the person that -- that I knew. The person that I knew wouldn't have gone out and shot at people.
On the other hand, I have been involved in an awful lot of these family law cases, and I know that violence is often a response that people have when there isn't a remedy in the courts.
KING: So -- but you are shocked that he would be going around shooting people as a sniper, as charged?
MILLS: Well, that would be not the John that I knew. He was, as I say, interested in understanding the legal system. He was interested in pursuing his rights under the legal system. And he worked with me for many, many months in a reasoned, thoughtful way to establish contact with his kids through the legal system. KING: Mitch Miller, other than this biting and back snapping going on between various counties and the Justice Department, what's another update?
MILLER: Well, I think what we are going to find over the next few days is exactly how this prosecution is going to be laid out. I think there is going to be a lot of talk about whether it is going to be Maryland or Virginia. Virginia, of course, has the most executions in the United States except for Texas.
So I think, though, that this is going to be sorted out in good time. And I don't think that this battle is going to take place too long, because clearly everybody wants to bring these two people to justice. I think it's going to be interesting. The next step, in terms of the legal steps, is how this is going to play out with the two suspects, whether or not, as we have been talking this week, whether the younger suspect is going to be played off the older suspect, Mr. Muhammad, and whether or not he is going to bring more damaging testimony in connection with this.
I also am interested to see how much evidence is brought out whether or not both of the individuals were actually firing the gun, or if it was only one. There has been a suggestion that perhaps the 17-year-old may have been a type of apprentice who may have been firing in some of the shootings as well, because as we know, fortunately not everyone who was shot was actually killed.
KING: John Mills, did you ever know about or know the 17-year- old supposed stepson?
MILLS: Actually, he was never a part of the process that I was involved with, and that would surprise me because part of what we were frying to do was to get the court to bring mom back into court. Give him a reason. And so we were looking for people who would corroborate John's story, and he, in fact, brought forward several independent witnesses. But Mr. Malvo was not a part of that.
KING: When was the last time you saw or spoke to John?
MILLS: Well, that would have been in late December of 2001 or early January of this year. And at that point, he simply disappeared, and that also is not uncommon. I mean, I expect that people either get back together and work out their problems, or they sort of give up on the legal system. And either way, they sort of feel no need for further involvement by a lawyer. And so, it's not uncommon for that to happen.
KING: Did he ever say anything anti-United States to you?
MILLS: Well, he didn't do that. And I can tell you that the notion that he is some sort of Islamic terrorist is nonsense. I mean, I worked with John and talked to John in September of 2001, and we met right around the World Trade Center disaster. He had no particular interest in talking about that or in discussing it. He really was interested in getting his kids back.
KING: And Mitch, we're kind of limited on time now. The two of them are where now?
MILLER: Well, one of them is in an undisclosed location, and John Allen Muhammad is in the Baltimore area. So right now, they are going to be held there for a while as these jurisdictional matters get played out over the next few days.
And I just wanted to add one final thought.
MILLER: This has been a very incredible week. I mean, you had just trying to get a collective sigh of relief, and then suddenly we move back in with the death of Senator Wellstone. And everything happening just hours later. So this whole city trying to catch its breath, if you will, now suddenly moving into a whole another episode as we move to the midterm elections.
KING: Thank you both very much. Mitch Miller and John Mills.
And I will tell you about tomorrow night on LARRY KING WEEKEND. You won't want to miss this, right after this.
KING: Tomorrow night on LARRY KING WEEKEND, we'll repeat our 1999 interview in prison with David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam. That's tomorrow night.
"NEWSNIGHT" is next.
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Mills, John Allen Muhammad's Former Attorney>