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CNN LATE EDITION WITH WOLF BLITZER

Interview With Ashraf Qazi; Interview With Donald Trump

Aired March 21, 2004 - 12:00   ET

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

WOLF BLITZER, HOST: This is "LATE EDITION," the last word in Sunday talk.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD RUMSFELD, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: It's not clear to me who's there, in anybody, but certainly there are an awful lot of fine Pakistani forces working hard.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Assault on al Qaeda. We'll get the latest on the hunt for the world's most wanted men from the Pakistani ambassador to the U.S.

An anniversary remembered: Was the war in Iraq worth it? We'll ask two top U.S. senators, Jay Rockefeller and Arlen Specter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is a good thing that years of illicit weapons developed by the dictator have come to the end.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Did President Bush or Saddam Hussein end Iraq's production of weapons of mass destruction? We'll ask former chief U.N. Weapons Inspector Hans Blix and Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed ElBaradei.

One year after the bombing began in Baghdad...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMBASSADOR PAUL BREMER, ADMINISTRATOR, COALITION PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY: I'm sitting in a room where Baghdad Bob used to hold his so-called press conferences. I'm sitting in a free Iraq.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: ... the U.S. administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, weighs in on Iraq's past and looks to its future.

And Donald Trump talks about his status as the new American idol.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN in Washington, this is "LATE EDITION" with Wolf Blitzer.

BLITZER: It's noon in Washington, 9 a.m. in Los Angeles, 8 p.m. in Baghdad, 10 p.m. in Islamabad, Pakistan. Wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us for "LATE EDITION."

Later, we'll have my interview with the U.S. business tycoon Donald Trump on a wide range of issues from money, to politics, to his highly successful television show. All that coming up in just a few minutes. We'll also speak with Pakistan's ambassador to the United States about the hunt for al Qaeda.

Up first, the war on terror and those fierce battles that have been taking place over the past several days between thousands of Pakistani troops and hundreds of al Qaeda fighters.

Our senior international correspondent Nic Robertson is monitoring all these developments. He's on the ground for us in Pakistan. He's joining us now live.

What is the latest, Nic?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the latest is that the fighting has slowed down through today. Pakistani military officials say they're holding off on their artillery barrage from their helicopter attacks.

The reason for that is they're engaged in negotiations with tribal leaders who are aiding and abetting, they say, the al Qaeda fugitives who are holed up in that area.

What has happened, negotiations began early today. There will be a second phase of negotiations early Monday morning. Local tribal representatives are going into the area discussing with tribal leaders there that they should surrender, that the al Qaeda people in that area should surrender.

However, Pakistani government officials say the area is still surrounded. There have been some skirmishes throughout the day, but the heavy artillery barrage, the helicopter attacks, they have been held off while these negotiations go on.

Wolf?

BLITZER: Nic Robertson reporting from Pakistan for us. Nic, thanks very much.

BLITZER: And joining us now here in Washington, Pakistan's ambassador to the United States, Ashraf Qazi.

Mr. Ambassador, welcome back to "LATE EDITION." Thanks very much for joining us.

ASHRAF QAZI, PAKISTAN'S AMBASSADOR TO U.S.: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: What do you know right about the situation, this battle, this fierce battle that's unfolding?

QAZI: Well, I think as your correspondent in Islamabad said, this is an ongoing operation, and we're going to see it through till the end. We are going to clean up the place, and wherever we come across extremists or al Qaeda elements, or even Taliban elements of this nature, we will proceed against them. And we will, sort of, either, you know, capture them or eliminate them in one way or another, because these people are not friends of the people of Pakistan.

BLITZER: Do you still believe that Ayman al-Zawahiri, the number two al Qaeda leader, may be cornered in this battle?

QAZI: Well, there appears to be a lot of press speculation to this effect, but we've made it absolutely clear that we do not know the identity of the high-value target that might be there, and we think there is a high-value target there, or one or more, because of the intensity of the resistance.

Our people were surprised when they first went there. They weren't expecting this kind of resistance, and then in the light of its intensity, we have reached the conclusion that it's somebody important. Exactly who, we don't know.

BLITZER: Because some of your Pakistani colleagues suggesting it may be an Uzbek or a Chechen leader who is being protected.

QAZI: I think the intercepts indicate that there are people from various nationalities, Chechens, Uzbeks, Arabs, others. And so who the particular high-value target might be, one or more, we don't have any clue about the identity, because apparently they also talk in code terms when they speak or when we get intercepts.

So we don't seem to have confirmed intelligence, but we have an idea that it is someone important and it, you know, by virtue of the kind of defense that's being put up, resistance that's being put up...

BLITZER: You saw the story in the London Times, the Sunday Times. I read it, you read it, suggesting that he already may be dead and they're reviewing the body DNA evidence, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Is there any reason to believe that story is true?

QAZI: Well, a lot of people have been killed, and so there's always room for speculation that the person concerned might be amongst them. But we have no conclusion on this that the high-value target is alive, wounded or dead. We have absolutely no firm information that we have made public, or if it hasn't been made public, I can assure you, I'm not privy to any other information as of now.

BLITZER: But you do believe that the al Qaeda leadership, including Osama bin Laden, are still holed up somewhere in this so- called tribal area, this no man's land between Pakistan and Afghanistan?

QAZI: Well, we know that some high-value target is there. Exactly who they are, what organization they are related to, whether it's al Qaeda or some associated group, or even non-al Qaeda, that we cannot be absolutely sure unless we've had the opportunity to interrogate people and find out for sure.

BLITZER: Based on the latest briefings that you've received, the latest information you've received from your government in Pakistan, how is this battle going right now? Are you being successful in rooting out these elements?

QAZI: Well, we will be successful, but we were surprised. I think we were -- when our forces went in, they weren't expecting a fight of this -- on this scale, and they were surprised by the intensity. And we've taken casualties in larger numbers that we had anticipated.

But now that we know what the situation is, we are also concerned, not to see -- to minimize civilian casualties, because we understand some of these people have intermarried into local families, and their families may be within the vicinity, or other civilians may also be within the vicinity. And we've asked for those people to clear out of the area, but we also want to ensure that civilian casualties or innocent lives are not lost in this exchange.

BLITZER: You probably read the lead editorial in yesterday's -- Saturday's New York Times, which was quite critical of Pakistan, your government, even suggesting that these reports that the number two al Qaeda leader may be cornered right now could just be a way of diverting attention from some of the serious problems that Pakistan faces. Among other things the editorial said, "It is also hard to think of a more timely way to distract American attention from the many legitimate questions now surrounding General Musharraf's leadership, and the true depth of his cooperation with the United States."

I wonder if you want to respond to that.

QAZI: Well, there's no cure to a cynicism of this kind, because if you insist on a cynical interpretation, anything can be looked at from a downside point of view.

The fact is that there is no basis at all for this speculation.

We have a huge amount of intelligence-sharing with the United States. We couldn't be inventing this incident on our own. The United States is on the other side, along with Afghan forces of the border.

Do you think they're conniving with us in a phantom operation? I mean, that is as ridiculous as one can get.

BLITZER: The suggestion was that they want to -- your government wants to divert attention from the whole investigation of A.Q. Khan, the nuclear scientist.

QAZI: But that again is completely baseless, Wolf, because, you know, Pakistan is offering the fullest cooperation to the IAEA. And the IAEA, the members, including the United States, are aware of this cooperation in detail. BLITZER: Will they be allowed to question Mr. Khan?

QAZI: We will -- that is an internal matter for Pakistan. We ourselves are questioning Dr. Khan and his colleagues, and we are getting information which is valuable, and it's helping to roll up the network. There is no reason for us to bring in outsiders, nor is there any pressure on us to do so, from the IAEA or any other country.

BLITZER: Are you making all this information available to the U.S. government?

QAZI: We're making it available to the IAEA, and other countries which are members of the board and associated. They get to know.

BLITZER: Ashraf Qazi, thanks very much for joining us.

QAZI: Thank you very much, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you.

And just ahead, the hunt for al Qaeda. We'll get assessments of where the war on terror stands from two key members of the United States Senate.

Then, the still so far unsuccessful search for Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction; where did the U.S. and its war allies go wrong, and did they?

And later this:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Do you identify more as a Democrat or a Republican?

DONALD TRUMP: You'd be shocked.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: My special conversation with Donald Trump about business, TV stardom and whether he's eying political office.

You're watching "LATE EDITION," the last word in Sunday talk.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: The establishment of a free Iraq is our fight. The success of a free Afghanistan is our fight. The war on terror is our fight.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: President Bush announcing the start of the war with Iraq one year ago. Welcome back to "LATE EDITION." Joining us now to talk about what's gone right and what's gone wrong in the year since the U.S.-led invasion got under way are two leading members of the U.S. Senate.

Jay Rockefeller is the top Democrat, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. He's just back from a visit to Iraq.

And in Philadelphia, Republican Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. He chairs the Veterans Affairs Committee.

Senators, welcome back to "LATE EDITION," and I just want to alert our viewers, Senator Specter, you slipped last night. You tripped over some defect in a sidewalk in Philadelphia. That's why you got a little bruise on your lip. Is that what happened?

SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Came down hard on my lip, Wolf. I tripped on a defect in the sidewalk and got a little bump, but I'm feeling OK.

BLITZER: All right. Could have been a lot worse. Thank God you're all right.

Let me begin with you, Senator Rockefeller, and get your assessment on Pakistan right now, this battle that's under way, the hunt for al Qaeda leadership. What do you know, based on the briefings that you've received?

SEN. JAY ROCKEFELLER (D), WEST VIRGINIA: Basically, we're obviously, the Paks are -- the Pakistanis are closing in. I mean, this is an all-Pakistani operation, all praise goes to everything they've done, the risk they're taking.

They've done it before. They're doing it again for us, and they may have some help from some other countries, probably not us amongst them, but now they're closing in. I think this is going to end up well for us.

BLITZER: When you say they may have help from other countries not the U.S., first of all, what other countries, and why not the U.S.?

ROCKEFELLER: Well, they were very specific that they wanted this to be a Pakistani operation.

BLITZER: In this tribal area?

ROCKEFELLER: Correct. Because this is not a place where they've been before, and had not exercised control before, and I don't think they wanted to confuse it with a lot of people who are from far away.

BLITZER: How serious are these reports that the past several days that Ayman al-Zawahiri may, may have been among those cornered; may, in fact, have been injured?

ROCKEFELLER: Well, it's extremely serious, and serious in -- to say so in a good sense, because this is a man who is not only the brains of al Qaeda on a worldwide basis, which is really what we're after, but he's also somebody who has an enormous interest in chemical and biological weapons, as well as other aspects: anthrax, et cetera. He's somebody that we need to take down.

But as I say that on a short-term basis, if we captured Zarqawi in Iraq, I would be just as happy.

BLITZER: That would be Abu Musab al-Zarqawi who's public enemy, effectively, number one in Iraq. We'll get to him a little bit later.

Senator Specter, what's your take on what's happening in this fierce battle between thousands of Pakistani forces and hundreds of al Qaeda operatives in western Pakistan?

SPECTER: Wolf, I think it reflects the determination to find the top al Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden.

It's been an open secret that the United States has been engaged in very intensive intelligence efforts, going into those villages, trying to make friends, trying to infiltrate, and trying to find out where those leaders are, very much as we did in capturing Saddam Hussein.

The Pakistanis really know the area. That's their country. Those are mountains that they're accustomed to, but there's a determination to find those leaders, I believe will -- put me down, Wolf, as voting on the side of that we will find Osama bin Laden, and I think -- I think we're closing in on him, too.

BLITZER: All right.

Senator Rockefeller, let's move on and talk about a big story breaking this weekend. Richard Clarke, the former chief counterterrorism adviser on the National Security Council, has got a new book coming out in which, among other things, he writes this -- and I'll put it up on the screen.

He says: "Rumsfeld" -- the U.S. defense secretary -- "was saying that, 'We need to bomb Iraq.' And we all said, 'No, no, al Qaeda is in Afghanistan. We need to bomb Afghanistan.' And Rumsfeld said, 'There aren't any good targets in Afghanistan. There are lots of good targets in Iraq.'" He was supposedly saying this a day after 9/11.

What do you make of this development?

ROCKEFELLER: What I make of that is that Richard Clarke served both the Clinton and the Bush administration as a counterterrorism expert, and he was somebody who felt that we were not taking terrorism seriously enough, and he and others spoke to Condi Rice, teams of them spoke to Condi rice, to Stephen Hadley of the vice president's office, a number of times about the importance of focusing on counterterrorism, i.e., al Qaeda.

And his point was that people didn't seem to be listening, because they were focused on Saddam Hussein, they were focused on Iraq, and they couldn't get past that. BLITZER: Stephen Hadley, the deputy national security adviser to the president.

ROCKEFELLER: Correct.

BLITZER: Senator Specter, how embarrassing is this for the Bush administration, these revelations from Richard Clarke, who was a career civil servant?

SPECTER: Well, I believe that there's a lot of blame to go around in all quarters, Wolf.

I think that if we had put all of the facts together in advance of 9/11 -- and I've said this on the Senate floor -- that 9/11 could have been prevented. There was information back during the administration of President Clinton. He took certain action. A good bit of information came to President Bush. He'd only been in office for eight months. And I think that the inquiries of the 9/11 commission will show that there's a lot of blame on all side.

I think the important point today is not to look exclusively backward, but to look forward. We have a homeland security bill that has one big gap, in my opinion: that we do not yet have centralized control in one individual to direct CIA and FBI, where you still have cultures of concealment, to bring all of this information together, and put it in one spot, so that we can act on it.

And I think we ought to look to the future, to prevent terrorism of the past, as opposed to so much focus on assessing blame for the past.

BLITZER: Well, the 9/11 commission, Senator Specter and Senator Rockefeller, will be hearing testimony this coming week from Clinton administration officials, potentially significant testimony from the former secretary of state, the former national security adviser.

But Richard Clarke also writes this in his new book. He writes: "I think they wanted to believe there was a connection" -- referring to Bush administration officials -- "a connection between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. But the CIA was sitting there, the FBI was sitting there, I was sitting there, saying, 'We have looked at this issue for years. For years we've looked for a connection, and there's just no connection. There's absolutely no evidence Iraq was supporting al Qaeda.'"

You're the vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee. Was there evidence -- and you brought in Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, that name just a little while ago, widely associated with Ansar al-Islam, believed to be associated in some way with al Qaeda. Isn't that a connection between Saddam Hussein's regime and al Qaeda?

ROCKEFELLER: No, in that he was up in that Kurdish area, Ansar al-Islam, which was not under the control of Saddam Hussein.

He now has connections with al Qaeda. He might have had temporary connections with al Qaeda then. Now he has a lot of them. In other words, that's what not finding WMD, not finding, you know, terrorism, not finding a variety of things that the president said, this is the reason to go to war...

BLITZER: So your bottom line is, there is no evidence of any serious connection...

ROCKEFELLER: No, only...

BLITZER: ... between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden?

ROCKEFELLER: The only -- no, they hated each other.

BLITZER: All right.

What about that, Senator Specter?

SPECTER: I agree with Senator Rockefeller. There had been a lot of talk about one meeting in Eastern Europe, but it never panned out. And the Bush administration never made any claim that there was a connection between Saddam and al Qaeda. If there had been, if it could have been proved, it would have been dynamite, but there just wasn't any evidence to support it.

BLITZER: We have a viewer in Florida who wants to weigh in and ask a question.

Go ahead, Florida.

CALLER: Yes, Wolf. My question for the two senators relating to the counterterrorism, as far as human intel. With September 11th, we realize we relied too much on electronic intelligence. What are we doing to shore up that in the pursuit of Osama bin Laden, perhaps Iraq, and also future al Qaeda prospects?

ROCKEFELLER: That's an absolutely fundamental question. It is one of our great lacks right now.

The Iraqi Survey Group, which is meant to be looking for weapons of mass destruction -- that's one of the reasons that David Kay got out, because they need to be doing more counterterrorism, just flat out. I mean, this warehouse with all these millions of documents, they're not going to turn up any weapons of mass destruction. They already would have been found, and they're, in the meantime, shortchanging counterterrorism.

BLITZER: You're saying, use that talent to go after terrorism, as opposed to looking for weapons of mass...

ROCKEFELLER: Absolutely. It's not even a close call.

BLITZER: Do you agree with that assessment, Senator Specter?

SPECTER: Well, I believe the electronic surveillance has importance, but we really need to infiltrate the terrorist organizations. In the 104th Congress, when I chaired the Intelligence Committee, we saw the results that had gone all the way back to the Church committee, where the CIA had engaged in tactics that they shouldn't have, and then there became an objection to hiring people who had any taint on their record. And you can't find operatives to go and be informants and infiltrate if they come from Boy Scout camps.

And we have tried to correct that, and to get the CIA to do more on the ground. But the only really effective way is to infiltrate.

SPECTER: It takes a lot of time, a lot of effort, a lot of persistence, but that's the only really effective way of preventing the next 9/11.

BLITZER: All right. Senator Specter, I want to read to you from an editorial that appeared in The Los Angeles Times on Saturday: "The president might score a debatable point in asserting that life in Iraq is far better without Saddam Hussein. But he's the president of the United States and the leader of the free world, so it's fair to ask whether the war has made life better for this nation and its allies. In our assessment, it has not."

What is your assessment, Senator Specter?

SPECTER: My assessment is that we're playing for big stakes. And in the short run, it's been very, very problemsome. And the casualties and fatalities have been tough, and the attacks on the Iraqis.

But if we are successful in turning over Iraq to the Iraqis on June 30th, and if we can see a light at the end of the tunnel in July or August and start to think about bringing our troops home, that will be a tremendous advance.

And if we are able to establish a democracy in Iraq, it'll put enormous pressure on Iran, enormous pressure on Saudi Arabia. It'll stabilize the region. Israel is much better off now.

And bear this in mind, Wolf: Democracy is contagious.

BLITZER: Well, let me let Senator Rockefeller have the last word. Is the U.S. -- forget about the region for a moment, and forget about the people of Iraq -- is the U.S. better off today than it was a year ago, before the invasion?

ROCKEFELLER: It is not. We're more vulnerable. We're more vulnerable in the Middle East, therefore, you know, all over the world. Al Qaeda is now meant -- was meant to be in 60 countries, is now meant to be in 100 countries. All of those have their targets on us.

They haven't attacked yet. How many have we interdicted? We don't know.

We are not safer. Homeland security is not yet working, and I'm sorry, but this is something we have to deal with. BLITZER: All right. Senator Rockefeller, thanks very much.

Senator Specter, hope the lip feels better. Remember, it could have been a lot worse.

Thanks to both of you for joining us.

SPECTER: Thanks for your good words, Wolf.

BLITZER: Our top story is coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: President Bush speaking about Iraq's alleged arsenal threat at the start of the war last year.

Welcome back to "LATE EDITION."

Joining us now from New York, the U.N.'s former chief weapons inspector, Dr. Hans Blix. He's also the author of an important new book recounting his search for WMD entitled "Disarming Iraq."

Dr. Blix, welcome back to "LATE EDITION." Congratulations on the new book.

And one of the key points you make in the book, and we'll get right to it, is that the war really wasn't justified; that the inspections at the time a year ago were going well.

You write this: "I felt the armed action taken was not in line with what the Security Council had decided five months earlier. Had there been any denials of access, any cat-and-mouse play? No. Had the inspections been going well? Yes. True, they had not resolved any of the open disarmament issues, but in my view, they had gone much too well to be abandoned to justify war."

That's a controversial statement, because Bush administration officials continue to insist the inspections had not been going well and fundamentally were a waste of time. I want to get your elaboration on that.

HANS BLIX, FORMER U.N. CHIEF WEAPONS INSPECTOR: Well, I think it's clear that in March when the invasion took place the evidence that had been brought forward was rapidly falling apart. And we had called attention to a number of the points.

One was that there was a tendency on the U.S. administration to say that anything that was unaccounted for existed, whether it was sarin, or mustard gas or anthrax.

Another one related to the case that Colin Powell presented to the Security Council about a site in which they held that there had been chemical weapons and that they had seen decontamination trucks. Our inspectors had been there and they had taken a lot of samples, and there was no trace of any chemicals or biological things. And the trucks that we had seen were water trucks.

And, of course, the more spectacular of all was what my friend Mohamed revealed in the Security Council, namely that the alleged contract by Iraq with Niger to import yellow cake, that is uranium oxide, that this was a forgery, and the document had been sitting with the CIA and their U.K. counterparts for a long while, and they had not discovered it. And I think it took the IAEA a day to discover that it was a forgery.

BLITZER: And you're referring to Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, who'll be joining us momentarily, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Among other things you also write this in the book, in the aftermath of your meeting with President Bush before the war: "He explained to us that the U.S. genuinely wanted peace. With some self- deprecation, he said that, contrary to what was being alleged, he was no wild, gung-ho Texan, bent on dragging the U.S. into war."

What was your assessment meeting him at that time?

BLIX: Well, I think he wanted to show to us and to the world that the U.S. was genuinely throwing their support behind the inspectors. And we did get a lot of support and information, and some equipment as well. But, of course, what he didn't tell me was how long would that patience be, how long would they actually support the inspectors. And I think they lost their patience much too early.

I can see that they wanted to have a picture that was either black and white, and we presented a picture that had, you know, gray in it, as well. But the truth is that, in March, the evidence was rapidly falling apart for them.

BLITZER: And all of us, of course, remember the testimony, the statement that Colin Powell, the secretary of state, delivered before the U.N. Security Council. You were there. You write this in the book.

You write: "Colin Powell had been charged with the thankless task of hauling out the smoking guns that in January were said to be irrelevant, and that after March turned out to be non-existent."

Was it your sense, when you listened to Colin Powell testifying that day, with the CIA director behind him, the U.N. ambassador, John Negroponte behind him, that he was simply making this stuff up?

BLIX: No, that was not the feeling I had at the time. My feeling was rather this was interesting stuff, and I will let my experts look at it. And there are a number of things we could not check. For instance, there were intercepted telephone calls, and who they were between and who had intercepted them we didn't know. So I could certainly not say that this was evidence that was irrelevant.

But there was enough in it that resulted and I came back later to the council later on, and I said that to the council. I called attention to the fact that the evidence was shaky. We had -- I told that to Condoleezza Rice, as well, so I think they were aware of it, but I think they chose to ignore us.

They had come so far, them having a couple hundred thousand men in the desert, and seeing the hot season in front of them, that maybe they were politically have needed of something very spectacular to call it off or to delay armed action.

BLITZER: Also joining us now from Vienna, Austria, is Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei. He's the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which monitors the world's nuclear weapons.

Dr. ElBaradei, thanks very much for joining us.

You remember those days very, very vividly. You were sitting at the U.N. Security Council that day when Colin Powell made his statement. What was going through your mind as you saw war clouds develop?

MOHAMED ELBARADEI, DIRECTOR, IAEA: Well, clearly, Wolf, the nuclear file was somewhat different from chemical and biological. With regard to the nuclear file, we were pretty convinced that we haven't seen really any evidence that Iraq resumed its nuclear weapon program, because we knew we dismantled that program in 1997, and our focus was to see whether anything has been resuscitated between '98 and 2002.

We didn't see that. As Hans was mentioned, there was a question of the uranium importation, there was a question of that tubes but these two stories we clearly realized that they did not support the conclusion that Iraq was restarting its nuclear weapon program.

With regard to chemical and biological -- and that was Hans Blix fight -- I think the situation was more complicated, because, although there was not much good intelligence, the presumption -- and I think that was also shared by Hans, shared by many members of the Council -- that because Iraq had them before, because it had accused them before, and there was no record of either destruction or production, there was this nagging question: Do they still have them?

And, frankly, because there was -- we were dealing with a regime that was brutal, that had used chemical weapons in the past, the level of tolerance was very low, and the level of suspicion was extremely high. And -- I think that's how we should look at -- the question in context, frankly, yes.

BLITZER: You remember what Dick Cheney said, the vice president of the United States, only days before the war started. And I'll put it up on the screen. He said: "We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons. I think Mr. ElBaradei, frankly, is wrong. And I think if you look at the track record of the International Atomic Energy Agency in this kind of issue, especially where Iraq's concerned, they have consistently underestimated or missed what Saddam Hussein was doing."

When you heard Dick Cheney say that a year ago, what were you thinking?

ELBARADEI: I was thinking that he was not really seeing what I see on the ground. I haven't seen anything on the ground at that time that support Mr. Cheney's conclusion or statement, so -- and I thought to myself, well, history is going to be the judge.

BLITZER: Well, history has been the judge to a certain degree.

Dr. Blix, David Kay, a man you know, a former U.N. weapons inspector, then went back after the war as a U.S. weapons inspector, came back after many months in Iraq and basically said, "Couldn't find any weapons of mass destruction."

Listen precisely to what he said before the U.S. Congress upon his return.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID KAY, FORMER HEAD, IRAQ SURVEY GROUP: Let me begin by saying we were almost all wrong, and I certainly include myself here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Were you wrong, too Dr. Blix, in your prewar assessment about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction?

BLIX: No, I think we were right. But we could not say definitively that there aren't any weapons of mass destruction. As Mohamed ElBaradei said a moment ago, their were things unaccounted for. It meant they could either exist or not exist. So we could not affirm that they weren't there, but we -- at least we didn't fall into the trap that the U.S. and the U.K. did in asserting that they existed.

BLITZER: Dr. ElBaradei, let's flash forward to some current issues on your agenda, the agenda of the IAEA right now, Iran specifically, the effort to disarm, to get rid of Iran's nuclear development program.

What's the key issue right now? How close is Iran to building a bomb?

ELBARADEI: Well, Wolf, I think I'd like to, for a moment, say that, to me, what's important from Iraq is what we learn from Iraq. We learned from Iraq that an inspection takes time, that we should be patient, that an inspection can, in fact, work.

In Iran, I think we have made very good progress. We made marked progress. We have now learned a lot about the Iranian program. Iran had agreed to fully suspend its enrichment program as a confidence- building measure, so we have to acknowledge we have made a good headway along our effort to make sure that Iran program is completely for peaceful purpose.

However, in the process we have discovered, Wolf, that this is a sophisticated program, it's an extensive program and it's a program that has been undeclared for over 15 years.

And in that context, as you understand, there's a lot of still skepticism that something might still be hidden. The fact that they have not declared to us some of the R&D lately have increased that skepticism.

And my answer to Iraq...

(AUDIO GAP)

ELBARADEI: ... if they want to clear their name, and for us to be able to conclude that the program is completely for peaceful purposes.

Part of the problem in Iraq, Wolf, was the opaque nature of that Saddam Hussein regime. We should not forget that. For a couple of months, their cooperation was not by any way transparent, for whatever reason.

But one of the lessons that, if a country really want to show to the world that its programs are peaceful, weapons-of-mass-destruction program are peaceful, they ought to be transparent, they ought to take a proactive approach.

BLITZER: Dr. ElBaradei, Dr. Blix, unfortunately we're out of time. Thanks to both of you for joining us on "LATE EDITION."

And still ahead: Iraq at the crossroads. What's next for that very volatile nation? A conversation with the chief U.S. civilian administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, when "LATE EDITION" returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back to "LATE EDITION."

Constant insurgent attacks are undermining efforts at stability and fueling frustration among Iraqi citizens. On Friday, on the first anniversary of the start of the war, I spoke with the U.S. civilian administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Is there anything else that the coalition should be doing together with Iraqis that you're not doing? Does anything come to mind?

PAUL BREMER, U.S. CIVIL ADMINISTRATOR IN IRAQ: I think we've got the right strategy here, Wolf, which is to try to get the best intelligence we can so that we can get out and capture or kill the terrorists before they kill; to build up the Iraqi security forces so that they can play a bigger role in defending their own country.

And we've got a very accelerated program there on the police, on the army, on the civil defense force, on the border police. And you can only do that so fast, because you've got to have some quality control as you go forward. We've had some problems with some -- particularly in the police. And we're going about as fast as you can go.

BLITZER: We've heard some conflicting accounts over Iraqis reacting to these most recent terrorist attacks in Baghdad and Basra: some Iraqis expressing their horror and condemnation of the terrorists, but others saying the U.S. is responsible for getting them into this situation to begin with. What are you hearing?

BREMER: Well, I hear both of those things, but I have to tell you, if you look carefully at the press and at the polls, the vast majority of Iraqis are very fed up with these terrorists attacking them. And they don't blame the United States, they blame the terrorists. And that's where the blame belongs.

You can always find somebody on the streets to give an interview who will blame us in the heat of the emotion. But if you look carefully at the polls over the last five or six months, it's pretty clear the Iraqis know who to blame, and that's the terrorists.

BLITZER: But do they also suggest that the U.S. should be doing more to provide security?

BREMER: There are, sort of, two trends of thinking on the part of the Iraqis. One of them is that they would like to do more themselves. They very much want to be more responsible for security. We agree with that; I already mentioned what we're doing.

The other one is, as you point out, to blame us when security goes wrong. That's an understandable reaction, and the way we have to fix that is with better intelligence, so we can get the terrorists before they can attack us.

But you know very well that terrorism is a form of asymmetrical warfare, and it's very difficult to defend against. And there's no such thing as 100 percent security. So if you have people who are willing to put on explosive belts and put themselves into a big crowd, as happened in Karbala a couple of weeks ago, it's very hard to stop.

BLITZER: As you know, the new Spanish government says it will pull out its 1,300 troops from Iraq unless there's a new U.N. Security Council resolution putting the entire process effectively under U.N. control. Is that realistic?

BREMER: Well, I don't know. I think it's a little early to judge what the Spanish government -- after all, the people who are making these comments are not yet in government. They'll have to come into government. They'll have to review the files and make some decisions. And let's see what they say. But let's not lose track of the fact that we have more than 30 other countries here, with or without the Spanish. We've got a lot of troops here and a lot of countries here. This is a very broad international effort, and it will remain a very broad international effort whether the Spanish choose to stay or whatever their choice is.

BLITZER: Is the June 30th deadline for the transition to Iraqi sovereignty -- is that set in concrete, or is there any wiggle room on moving that date?

BREMER: No, that's the date we're going to pass sovereignty back to an Iraqi government.

BLITZER: How confident are you that things will move smoothly? I know you're supposed to leave yourself right after that date, but how confident are you that the Iraqis are ready to accept sovereignty? Because, at least in my mind, I'm still not clear exactly who takes over on July 1st.

BREMER: There are two questions. As for who takes over on July 1st, that is a matter that the Iraqi Governing Council yesterday invited the U.N. to come back and work with us and the Governing Council on. We're going to have to figure out what that government is like. We would like to have a broader political base in that government as we go forward.

But that government will be put together in time for June 30th, and that will be the government to whom we will hand sovereignty on June 30th. I think that much is clear.

Exactly what it's going to look like, I think that's something we have to work on.

BLITZER: Have you worked out some of the disputes, some of the differences with the Shiite leader, the grand ayatollah, Ali al- Sistani, who clearly opposed the caucus system that you had come up with a few months ago, in terms of some sort of direct election following this transition?

BREMER: Well, the transitional law which was passed on March 8th actually prepares the country for four elections next year. So there are going to be direct elections as the ayatollah has asked for.

We have a lot of work to do to get ready for those elections, and that's one of the urgent things that the United Nations is going to be coming in here to work with us on setting up an electoral commission, writing an electoral law and writing a political party's law, getting a voters list ready.

All of these things have to be done very quickly to meet the deadline for the first of those four elections in January next year.

BLITZER: And wrapping up, Mr. Ambassador, on this first anniversary of the start of the war, to our viewers in the United States and around the world, what is going through your mind on this day? BREMER: You know, I think back -- of course, I wasn't here a year ago. I'm sitting in a room where Baghdad Bob used to hold his so-called press conferences. I'm sitting in a free Iraq. I'm sitting in an Iraq where there are over 200 newspapers that have sprung up since liberation, where 25 million people are thirsting for democracy. A year really makes a huge amount of difference to these people, and it's a great year for the Iraqis.

And what's really good is, the Iraqis recognize how much better off they are now. But even more important, the polls show they're very optimistic about how they're going to be next year, and I agree. Next year they'll have an elected government here.

BLITZER: Mr. Ambassador, good luck to you, good luck to all the people that you're working with. Let's hope it goes smoothly. Let's hope these sirens and these explosions stop becoming a nearly daily occurrence in Baghdad. I fear, though, that they won't.

Good to speak with you always. Thanks very much.

BREMER: Nice to be with you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: And coming up, we'll switch gears. Donald Trump's tips for success, a special conversation with Donald Trump.

And reflections from Iran's former empress. I'll speak live with Farah Pahlavi about her new book, her late husband, the shah of Iran, and the influence of her country on postwar Iraq.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: This is "LATE EDITION," the last word in Sunday talk.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: Who would prefer that Saddam's torture chambers still be open? Who would wish that more mass graves were still being filled? Who would begrudge the Iraqi people their long-awaited liberation?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Iraq then and now. Will Iraq become a democracy or a theocracy like its neighbor? A quarter century after Iran's religious revolution, the former empress of Iran tells us if others in the region are headed down the same path.

Donald trump, on everything from television stardom...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I came out and said, "You are fired." And everyone went crazy.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BLITZER: ... to world affairs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: There's a mindset that maybe this country is not the popular country that it was.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: The author of a new book, "Trump: How to Get Rich," and the star of "The Apprentice" tells us his secrets.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN in Washington, this is "LATE EDITION" with Wolf Blitzer.

BLITZER: Welcome back to "LATE EDITION."

He's been called the king of New York real estate, the master of the deal, or sometimes just the Donald. But no matter what people call Donald Trump, they're always talking about him. He's a true American phenomenon. And lately even more people are talking about him, now that he's the centerpiece of a new TV reality show.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TRUMP: This is a tough one. You're fired.

BLITZER (voice-over): Donald Trump may be the year's most unlikely new TV star. But even before "The Apprentice" premiered, his was a household name.

TRUMP: Hello, everybody.

BLITZER: The son of a real estate developer, Trump turned his father's company into what Trump, modestly or not, calls an ever- expanding business universe.

Some folks joke that it's hard to find a major Manhattan building that doesn't bear Trump's name, but the empire isn't limited to New York real estate. It includes casinos and resorts, golf courses, even the Miss Universe pageant. For a while, there was even an airline, the Trump shuttle.

Trump was a billionaire by the time he turned 40, but his name turned up in gossip columns as often as business columns. His marriages and divorces were fodder for newspaper tabloids and late- night TV comedians. While that kind of scrutiny might make your average billionaire publicity-shy, Trump relished it, making conspicuous appearances at trendy nightclubs and gala events.

TRUMP: The glamour, the stars, the star power, everybody here.

BLITZER: Trump also authored books, including "The Art of the Deal." And after bouncing back from a financial slump in the early 1990s, "The Art of the Comeback." He also promoted a board game based on his career and even flirted with running for president of the United States on the Reform Party ticket.

From developer to deal maker, to celebrity to political hopeful. Maybe the next step was inevitable. After years of making guest appearances on television, Trump got his own reality show.

TRUMP: Behind me is Planet Hollywood. The women will manage the restaurant tonight.

BLITZER: Devising tests for would-be entrepreneurs who would like to work for him.

TRUMP: I don't like the job you're doing, you are fired.

BLITZER: And firing those who fail.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: And Donald Trump shared some of his secrets of money, happiness and success when we met in New York City this week.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER (on camera): Donald Trump, thanks for joining us. Did you ever in your wildest imagination expect this TV show to be this successful?

TRUMP: Well, I'm very honored to be the largest developer in New York. I never thought I was going to be a television star, if you could call it that. But the show has turned out to be amazing. It's been...

BLITZER: Why? Why has it resonated with the American public the way it has?

TRUMP: I think it's the fact that it's in New York. It's the fact that we have these wonderful contestants. It is a great group. And you can call them participants in the show. They are wonderful.

You know, I'm not going to say as to how good a job I do, but I was honored when Frank Rich (ph) wrote about me in The New York Times this weekend because a big fan of "The Twilight Zone" is Frank Rich, and he was comparing this to "The Twilight Zone" and Rod Serling, who was tremendous, and I grew up watching that.

BLITZER: It was must-watch TV. You and I are almost the same age.

I remember those days.

But the fact is that this has been a huge hit. How much involvement do you personally get in producing it?

TRUMP: Well, I'm very involved with the show, and the board room in particular, and the assignment of tasks. Mark Burnett, who's a great friend of mine, and the producer of the show, has done an amazing job.

The cinematography of New York is -- I mean, beyond even the contest and the tasks, the cinematography is incredible. They say its a love letter, a postcard to New York. It shows the beauty of the city. It also shows the viciousness and the toughness of New York. But it shows the beauty. And there is no more beautiful place on Earth, and there's no tougher place.

I told Mark when you watch "Survivor," which he did. Now, as you know, we beat "Survivor" in the ratings. We've just beat everything. I mean, it's become the number one show. It's the hottest show on television.

So, you know, if you would have said that to me a few months ago, after I learned that 95 percent of the shows that go on television do not get good ratings and go off the air within weeks, I would have said, you know, "That's a shock."

But Mark really has shown New York and we really -- it was a very important element of the show.

BLITZER: What does it say about our times? Because in life, as you know, timing often is everything. What does it say about the times in which we live, that this show, "The Apprentice," is so powerful and so successful?

TRUMP: Well, I think it's a little bit of a reflection on business. And, again, if you believe Frank Rich and the New York Times, it has a little bit to do with the fact that people are being fired. And people want to see people get fired.

And perhaps that's a somewhat negative reflection of what's happening in the world of business today, but I just think it's a program that -- you know, I don't like to look too deeply into it. I just think it's a program that people really love.

I'm honored when they talk about this as a societal program, that this is a reflection of society, and they get into a lot of different psychological things that perhaps never existed in our minds when we did it.

But it has certainly hit a chord. I mean, they had 29 million viewers the other week. And it's certainly has hit a chord.

BLITZER: When you say "You're fired," do you ever really say that? Have you ever fired someone?

TRUMP: Well, yes, I've fired a lot of people. Generally I like other people to fire, because it's always a lousy task. But I have fired many people.

But, you know, the words "You're fired" didn't happen for the show. It was, sort of, a little bit of a -- I won't say it was a mistake because it turned out to be really an asset. But when I came into the first board room meeting, the person that I was going to fire, I wasn't going to say "You're fired," I was going to say, "You know, it didn't work out for you, don't worry about it. You'll come back."

And, all of a sudden, I'm sitting there, and it's really essentially like live television. You can't do much about it. It's, as far as I'm concerned, reality. I don't want double takes. I don't want any of this.

And I came out and said, "You are fired." And everyone went crazy. I mean, the whole place went crazy. All of the folks at NBC that were in the back -- because this was the first session. And, you know, they spent a lot of money on the show, over $2 million an episode. And they had a lot of NBC executives in the control room watching.

And they heard the words "You're fired," and everybody started jumping up and applauding. They thought it was great. So it was a little bit by accident that the term "You're fired" came about. But when you think about it, it's a very precise, very beautiful two words.

I mean, there's no arguing. There is no anything. There is no beating around the bush. "You're fired" is a very strong term.

BLITZER: And it's become the signature phrase for the show. Who would have thought?

TRUMP: Well, who would have thought? And I walked down Fifth Avenue the other day and there were hundreds of people shouting out from buses and cars, and everything else, "You're fired, Donald, you're fired." They're all laughing and having a good time. But it's become quite the phrase. There's no question about it.

BLITZER: What qualities, characteristics, are you looking for in an apprentice?

TRUMP: Well, look. Always you have to be born with this. And it's wonderful, and especially in a show like yours, which is so political motivated, and you cater to all of the great politicians and politicos out there. But the phrase that "all men are created equal" is a wonderful phrase, but unfortunately it doesn't work that way.

All men are not created equal. Some are born with a genius and some are born without. Now, you need that. If you don't have that, you can forget it.

But beyond that, I think people really have to enjoy what they're doing, because that comes through to me, and that comes through to anybody else that they work for. You have to love it, and you have to be willing to go through a wall.

If there is a concrete wall in front of you, Wolf, you have to be able to go through that concrete wall. You have to just have that ability never to stop, just to keep going forward. Just don't stop.

BLITZER: When did you discover you had that characteristic? Were you ever an apprentice?

TRUMP: Well, I worked -- I started working for my father. And before that, I was really -- when I was going to the Wharton School of Finance, I was doing apartment deals -- little apartment deals where I'd buy a little house or something in Philadelphia, and I'd flip it and sell it. And I was just doing little things like that. So I guess I had, sort of, a natural entrepreneurial thing.

But I really went to work for a great guy known as my father. And he liked the job I did. A lot of people have asked, "Did he ever fire you? Were you ever fired?"

My father loved the job I did. I did a great job for my father. I mean, a really good job. And so he was never even close to it. I know many fathers have fired their sons, but my father was very happy with the job that I did, so I was never fired.

BLITZER: You happy with the way your kids are coming along?

TRUMP: I think so, Wolf. They're smart. They're good students. They're very young at this point. But they're coming into the business. My one son is in the business now and he's doing a good job. So so far, so good.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: When we come back, Donald Trump's tips for making it big in business. More of my interview. That's coming up.

You're watching "LATE EDITION," the last word in Sunday talk.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back to "LATE EDITION."

More now of my interview with Donald Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: If people are watching this show this right now, and you could offer them one or two nuggets of advice -- they want to get into the business world -- right now -- and I know you're working on a new book which we'll talk about -- what is that advice?

TRUMP: Well, it's a great time to be in the world of business, this is a great time to make money.

People say, "Do you have the same opportunity today as you had years ago?" And I said, "Absolutely." You always have an opportunity. There's always an opportunity, especially in this country. By the way, in other countries also, but especially in this. This is a great country.

So, I mean, what I tell people, frankly, is, always do something that you love, because, if you don't love it, you'll never be successful at it. BLITZER: So that's the most important thing? You've got to really be passionate?

TRUMP: I think you have to. If you didn't love what you're doing, if you didn't love being up here interviewing me or whoever else you're interviewing, you wouldn't be good at it, you wouldn't be what you are.

BLITZER: Well, I'm blessed, and you're blessed. You get up every morning, and you love what you're doing. But most people out there, they dread having to go to work, the jobs that they're doing.

TRUMP: Well, usually -- and it sounds like a lot of people out there, and there are a lot of people -- but generally speaking you should change until such time as you find something that you really like.

BLITZER: But they don't have that luxury. They've got to bring food home for their...

TRUMP: Well, sometimes you have to use some imagination. I mean, I see people with jobs that are so bad -- friends of mine, they have such bad jobs. I say, "Why don't you move?" They could move. They're afraid to move. They're afraid to do something.

You know, I know people that love being in the mines. They love it. And then there are people that don't. They really should try to get out. I mean, there are a lot of great stories about that.

But you have to try and do something that you love. That doesn't mean being an entrepreneur and building buildings all over. That means a job. Get a job that you love. Otherwise you're just not going to be good at it.

BLITZER: You've obviously made a ton of money. When is enough enough?

TRUMP: Well, it's a game. I have a lot of fun with the game. Money is a little bit of a scorecard, but I don't do it for the money. I do it because I really enjoy it. I love the creative process.

I'm building a tremendous building in Chicago now. I just finished a number of great buildings in New York. I'm building a few more right now. I mean, under construction. I'm doing something in California two miles along the Pacific Ocean in Los Angeles. I'm building a golf course that will be better than Pebble Beach. It's going to be amazing, Trump National Golf Club. It'll open in June. I'm doing things that are just creative things for me, and I love them.

So, as long as I'm healthy, as long as I have my health, and my imagination, and the brain is working well, I'll keep going.

It's interesting, in my business, in the real estate business, guys are very old. Guys go into their 80s and 90s, and they're still doing deals. In a lot of businesses, they sort of retire when they're 65 or 70, and they retire.

So, I think I want to go as long as I can go.

BLITZER: I think that's smart.

TRUMP: It's the only way to do it.

BLITZER: I think you'd go crazy if you were just playing golf or something like that.

TRUMP: I love playing golf, but after about four rounds, I'd say, "That's about enough for me."

BLITZER: I'm with you.

What about you as a boss? Would you like to work for someone like Donald Trump?

TRUMP: Well, I think I'm fair. I think, if one thing came out of the program that's really good for me -- it's hard to believe -- it softened my image. People, I guess, thought of me as much tougher, almost like a flame-thrower, but erratically tough and crazily tough. And, you know, I went to the Wharton School of Finance, I got very good marks, I was a good student, it's the best business school in the world, as far as I'm concerned, but it's rated the best business school in the United States. You know, I was a good student. I did everything that -- and yet I had this image of being a flame-thrower, and I'm not.

So, if the show did anything, it softened the image. And it's, sort of, funny that that happened, because basically all I do is, I fire people all the time. You know, I'm firing people every show. Now, there's long boardroom scenes and everything else, but somehow I have softened my image, and maybe that's not the worst thing in the world.

BLITZER: You probably saw the criticism from Jeffrey Sonnenfeld (ph) from the Yale School of Management. He wrote this. He said, "Many CEOs I talk with shudder at this ill-timed portrait of corporate leadership just when we need to restore trust in corporate values."

TRUMP: Well, I don't know Professor Sonnenfeld (ph), but, you know, he couldn't get into Wharton, as far as I'm concerned.

I don't think he's living in the real world. He also said there's too much sex in the boardroom. Well, business is also about sex. I mean, it does enter into it.

And I just think he's not a real-world person. He's a man who is good at teaching people from the books, but I don't think he has real world experience, and I don't think a guy like Sonnenfeld (ph) would do very well in the business world. I really don't. I don't think he's -- I think it's just the opposite. He's, sort of, saying this isn't necessarily the real world. Well, the fact is, I don't think he's living in the real world, because "The Apprentice" really is very much reality, and very much the real world. BLITZER: It's the way -- when you see that, the way these young people are behaving in the real world of business that you live in, that's what you see happening?

TRUMP: Except that we have it condensed, that's absolutely right. There's hatred, whether it's racism or not, you see a lot of tones of it. I happen to not agree with Amoroso (ph), with some of the things he said about some of the other contestants.

BLITZER: Did someone accuse her or call her the "N" word?

TRUMP: I don't believe so at all. We had cameras, many, many cameras running 24 hours a day, and it was not the -- the person that was accused was just sick to her stomach at the thought of it, and I totally believe that.

So, you know, I mean, there's so many different elements running through "The Apprentice" that are amazing. There's love. There's hate. There is potential racism and certainly accusations of it. Unfortunately, this is the real world. This is what it's all about.

BLITZER: You've gone through a lot in your career. Somebody said the other day, you've proven there is not only a second act, there's a third act, the fourth act. You remember this cover from People magazine? "Poor Donald."

TRUMP: Right. Right.

BLITZER: July 9th, 1990. "First a mid-life crisis, then public humiliation. Here's how the brash billionaire's longing for money, love and respect brought him crashing down."

TRUMP: Right.

BLITZER: When you see this now, what goes through your mind?

TRUMP: Well, I have that cover right outside. I'm very proud of that cover.

The real estate markets in 1990 crashed. I had billions and billions of dollars in debt. I had many friends that went bankrupt.

BLITZER: You were going down.

TRUMP: Well, I was, but I worked hard. And, you know, my company today is a much bigger, stronger company than it ever was in the 1980s or 1990s even.

But, you know, I was in trouble if I didn't get really back on the stick and start working. The real estate markets crashed. Now, I don't want to blame the real estate markets, because I always made a lot of money in bad markets. I love bad markets. You can you do very well in a bad market.

But I wasn't focused particularly. I was in Europe watching all the great fashion shows and I wasn't necessarily interested in the dresses. Some people said I was much more interested in what was in the dresses. But I had a lot of fun, and I had a good time. But then I realized it was time to stop the fun.

One of the major business magazines did an article in the late '80s, "Everything He Touches Turns to Gold." And I started to believe that. And I figured, "Well, I don't have to work as hard as I used to. I can take it easy." And all of a sudden, I wasn't working to the same extent.

Well, around 1990, I went back to work. And it was an amazing thing, because my company today is so big, so strong, so good. And I'm, you know, the biggest real estate person in New York now, and I'm very honored by it.

BLITZER: Forbes Magazine says that you're worth $2.5 billion. Is that right?

TRUMP: Well, I never like to argue with them. I think Forbes is a great magazine.

You know, I've always disputed that. I think if you take my assets, it's worth a lot more than that. But Forbes has always said -- not always, I guess, recently they've said I'm worth $2.5 billion.

But, you know, I think that's lot of money. But I wouldn't -- would I sell my assets for $2.5 billion? No.

BLITZER: How much do you think your bottom line is?

TRUMP: Well, I don't want to say. But it's a lot.

BLITZER: Twice that?

TRUMP: It's a lot.

BLITZER: $2.5 billion is a lot too. That's nothing to sneeze at.

TRUMP: No, I agree. Hey, look, I think Forbes is a great magazine. I like Forbes a lot, and I like Steve Forbes and everybody in the Forbes family. I just think that -- I wouldn't sell my assets for $2.5 billion.

BLITZER: What gives you, in life, the greatest pleasure?

TRUMP: Well, I love success. I mean, once you get around the family thing, because family is always the most important, I love the creativity of what I do, whether it's building a course better than Pebble Beach, whether it's building a great building in Chicago, or opposite the United Nations, or on Park Avenue and 59th Street, or building the largest job ever approved by the New York City Planning Commission in New York; that's a great achievement on the West Side called Trump Place.

I mean I have just fun. 40 Wall Street was a building that was empty. It was 72 stories tall. It was a total disaster. I bought it, and it became a total winner. I have great fun with that.

Or buying Miss Universe, and making it such a big success for NBC, and, you know, it's a highly rated program now, and when I bought it, it wasn't so successful and the Miss Universe contest -- so it doesn't necessarily have to be in real estate.

But the thing that I really love is the creation of buildings and the creation of things that are hard.

BLITZER: And this notion of Donald Trump as the international playboy, is that exaggerated or is that real?

TRUMP: No, it's very exaggerated. I mean, I've had a girlfriend for a long time, Alani (ph). I think there's nothing better than having a great relationship.

And there's nothing better than having a good marriage. You know, because I've just met your wife, and she's great. So I assume your marriage is -- I hope your marriage is good, but I assume it is.

But there is nothing better than having a great marriage, in my opinion. There is nothing more beautiful, and there is nothing more important. You just -- it's just a great thing. So you're beating me. So far you're beating me.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Coming up, Donald Trump on whether his future has politics there. We'll get to that. More of my special interview with him. First though, we'll have a quick check of what's making news at this hour, including political protests in Taiwan.

Plus, the former empress of Iran: on her memories, her late husband, the shah, and her country. Much more of "LATE EDITION," that's still ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back to "LATE EDITION."

More now of my interview with real estate magnate and now TV star Donald Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: You remember this interview that we had in this room, you and me -- that would be the last time I interviewed you -- what you were thinking of doing at that time?

TRUMP: Well, I wasn't thinking so much about it. I, for some reason, get good poll numbers. When they put me in polls, everyone says I should run for president, I should be president, I should be the guy that negotiates all the deals for this country, and all of that.

BLITZER: You had you created an exploratory committee to run for president.

TRUMP: Well, what happened is there was a poll that came out that Donald Trump would be a great president, and a lot of people liked it. And all of a sudden everybody said I was running for president. I never said I was running for president, as you know.

BLITZER: But you hired Roger Stone (ph), a well-known political consultant.

TRUMP: No, I didn't hire him. Roger's a friend of mine. He's a good guy. And he looked at the possibility of it. And I just decided I didn't want to do it.

It was, sort of, interesting. I met to Miami and I met with people after people. And I met with the families of the folks that -- those wonderful people that got shot down by the Cuban MiGs. And they were like in little Piper Tripacers. And I said, you know, "That's pretty sad stuff." You see some of the terrible things that go on.

Now, do you solve that? It's never really solved. You understand. There is always tragedy. And I realized that I probably should just stick to what I'm doing; it's just something that I enjoy much more.

I mean, there are politicians that would meet with people on an hourly basis and that can really do it very well. It just really, probably isn't for me.

BLITZER: You know the success of this TV show is going to once again fuel speculation, "Well, maybe Donald Trump should get into politics." You ever think about it anymore?

TRUMP: Well, I know both people that are running for president, as an example. And I think they're both very good. I mean, I know the president, I know John. I think it's going to be a very, very tough race.

BLITZER: Who do you like better?

TRUMP: I won't say right now. But I think it's going to be a very, very tough race. It's going to be very interesting to see what happens.

BLITZER: It sounds like it's getting already a little rough and tough, although maybe in the line of work that you do, this is relatively tame compared to the business world. What is your sense?

TRUMP: It's going to be tough. It's going to be a tough election. It's going to be right down to the wire.

It may not end up being such a close election. You know, a lot of these elections that start off where it looks neck-and-neck all of a sudden turns out to be a landslide.

But I believe the Democrats have a very strong chance of winning this election. And I think the president is going to be working very hard to see that he wins. It's going to be very -- I think it's going to be a very vicious battle, more so than almost any that we've seen so far.

BLITZER: Why is that? Why do you think so?

TRUMP: Because there's just more press today. There's more of you guys looking to, you know, make it that way. And you will egg the candidates on and make them say things that they shouldn't have said, and they're going to say, "Oh, I can't believe I did that." And it's going to get more and more.

But to a large extent, it's just because the press is so much bigger today than it was in the past. It just gets bigger every year.

BLITZER: You travel all over the world, meet with world leaders. Do you believe what John Kerry said is true, that world leaders tell him they want Bush out and him in?

TRUMP: Well, I will say this. And again, I like the president very much, but I think that this -- this is not a very popular country right now.

It's interesting, New York City is trying to get the Olympics, and I'm all for it. But I think it's tough to give New York City the Olympics right now, because I think a lot of countries that would have voted for us strongly right after September 11th maybe don't like us so much anymore.

BLITZER: Whose fault is that?

TRUMP: Well, I don't want to say. But there's a mindset that maybe this country is not the popular country that it was. And maybe it shouldn't be such a popular country. I mean, we're not running a popularity contest.

BLITZER: Is it right for the president -- and you're a New Yorker, a lifelong New Yorker -- to run images of 9/11 in campaign commercials?

TRUMP: Well, I know that was a terrible big uproar. I did not see a problem with it. And that's life, that's reality, there was a 9/11 and he happened to be president. Why shouldn't he run an image?

There were a lot of people that came out against that. I didn't see why there was such an uproar over that. No.

BLITZER: And you speak as a New Yorker who lived through that era. You remember 9/11.

TRUMP: Hey, he showed images 9/11. Well, he was president with 9/11. So, I mean, I don't think there's any misrepresentation in that. Some people thought it was distasteful. I don't think it was distasteful.

BLITZER: Do you identify more as a Democrat or Republican? TRUMP: Well, you'd be shocked if I said that in many cases I probably identify more as Democrat. And I think you'd probably be shocked...

BLITZER: On social issues?

TRUMP: You know, it's interesting, I've been now around long -- you know, I think of myself as a young guy, but I'm not so young anymore. And I've been around for a long time. And it just seems that the economy does better under the Democrats than the Republicans.

Now, it shouldn't be that way. But if you go back, I mean it just seems that the economy does better under the Democrats...

BLITZER: Well, it certainly did well under Clinton. But I wouldn't suggest it was so great under Jimmy Carter.

TRUMP: That's true. That's true.

BLITZER: If you remember, the interest rates...

TRUMP: No, I know. I know. Jimmy Carter was not in the same thing.

But certainly we had some very good economies under Democrats, as well as Republicans. But we've had some pretty bad disaster under the Republicans.

BLITZER: You want...

TRUMP: Including a thing called the Depression.

BLITZER: The Depression was bad, as we all remember.

This new book that you're writing right now, it's going to come out very soon, right?

TRUMP: That's right. It comes out actually on Friday.

BLITZER: Oh, really? So it's going to be huge. They're probably publishing an initial run of what?

TRUMP: Five hundred thousand books, which is huge, which is huge. Random House is doing 500,000 initial publishing, which is one of the biggest in a long, long time. They expect this book to be very big. I hope it's going to be very big because it's always nice to have a winner.

BLITZER: It goes beyond "The Art of the Deal," which was another one of your books, which was a huge best-seller. What does it do that that book didn't do?

TRUMP: Well, "The Art of the Deal" they say is the biggest selling business book of all time. It sold 3.5 million copies, and that was in the late '80s. The new book is called "Trump: How to Get Rich." And Random House came to me. They said, you know, "Because of the success of your show, and because of the success of your real estate and everything that's happened, could you possibly do a book?" And I was writing a book over the last year and I almost had it ready and that was a month and a half ago, and now it comes out.

I think it this takes it to the next level. The title is very descriptive. The people at Random House had a name called "The Buck Starts Here." And, I said, you know, "That's cute and it's a nice catch phrase, but it doesn't do anything for me."

If we're going to do that way, let's just do it -- and I've never seen this before -- let's do it "How to Get Rich." How to get rich. And it's "Trump: How To Get Rich." And I tell my theories on how to make money.

BLITZER: Give me one good theory.

TRUMP: Well, I think the one theory is, again, you have to enjoy what you're doing. You're never going to be rich, you're never going to be successful if you don't enjoy what you're doing.

BLITZER: And this is the lesson that you want people to emerge with?

TRUMP: Well, that's one of the many lessons, but, you know, there are many. But...

BLITZER: You got a TV hit, you got buildings, you got golf courses, casinos, you got a great family. You got a new book that's coming out that's probably going to be number one best-seller. What else does Donald Trump want to do in his life?

TRUMP: I think it's just a continuation, honestly. Life -- this is sad. No politician would say this, so you know I'm not going to be a politician. Life is what you do while you're waiting to die. Sad. Horrible statement. I hate to say it, but I say it, you know, because it's true.

Life is what you do while you wait to die. Have fun. Just enjoy it. Enjoy what you're doing. If you don't enjoy what you're doing, it doesn't mean anything.

BLITZER: Donald Trump, thanks.

TRUMP: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: And from Donald Trump to a woman who witnesses one of the dramatic events of the 20th century, the fall of the shah of Iran. The former empress, Farah Pahlavi, is here to talk about her home, her exile and her new book, "An Enduring Love: My Life with the Shah."

"LATE EDITION" will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back to "LATE EDITION."

Behind the political events that shape our lives, we often lose sight of the personal stories. A quarter century ago, the shah of Iran was overthrown. Now his widow tells her story of her husband, and her own rise from a student to a queen, and finally to exile.

Joining us now is Farah Pahlavi to talk about her new book, "An Enduring Love: My Life With the Shah."

Your Majesty, welcome to "LATE EDITION." Thank you very much for joining us.

FARAH PAHLAVI, FORMER EMPRESS OF IRAN: Good afternoon. Thank you for inviting me.

BLITZER: Well, I want to get to the book in just a moment, but I know you look closely at what's happening in the region, not only in Iran, but in neighboring Iraq. When you see what's happening in Iraq right now, do you believe democracy will develop there?

PAHLAVI: Well, I sincerely hope that it has to develop, and Iraq, with the help of the Iraqi, will keep their territorial integrity.

But I can most speak about my country, because the Iranian people have tasted this regime for 25 years, and they want freedom and democracy. I believe that, with the help of the Iranian, and with the rest of the world, and the support of these freedom-loving Iranians, it's not only important for Iran, but for the Middle East and for the rest of the world.

BLITZER: Because we see, of course, in Iran, the ayatollahs have been in control now since the fall of the shah. In Iraq, we hear now about this Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the Shiite leader in Iraq. Do you -- knowing the situation as well as you do, do you fear that he could emerge and create an ayatollah-led theocracy in Iraq along the lines of what's in Iran?

PAHLAVI: Well, from what I hear and I know, that the Islamic Republic is sending many terrorists to create trouble in that area. Because if Iraq becomes a democracy and if Afghanistan becomes a democracy, and a developing progressive nation, then the Islamic Republic is alone.

But the important thing is that the civil society of Iran has changed so much, it's too complex, too sophisticated, too diversified to be held in a mold of a theocracy.

BLITZER: So, in other words, Afghanistan on one side, Iraq on another side, Turkey not very far away either, all of that could have a dramatic impact, what happens in the neighboring countries, on Iran?

PAHLAVI: Of course. And I think it's even more important if changes happen inside of Iran, because Iranian people want to, it will have a lot of effect in other areas, in our neighbors, and also in the rest of the Muslim world.

BLITZER: Are you optimistic now, when you take a look at some of the reform, some of the changes that we hear about in Iran, that things are going to move toward a change from the ayatollah to some form of democratic reform?

PAHLAVI: Well, as long as this regime is there, I don't see any reforms. The Iranian people with the so-called elections, the last elections, the majority of them have shown that they are beyond reformers. They want the end of this system. Because really they...

BLITZER: So you don't believe -- excuse me for interrupting, Your Majesty, but you don't believe there can be a peaceful revolution in Iran today?

PAHLAVI: It can be, with the help of the rest of the free world. And with the will of the Iranians. But not with this system, not with the Islamic Republic and the supreme guide over it.

BLITZER: Do you see yourself some day returning to Iran with your family?

PAHLAVI: My only wish is freedom and democracy in Iran. And if one day my children, all the Iranian young people, all the exiled Iranian can go back to their country, and if I can go, of course it will be a great day in my life.

BLITZER: Your book -- and I want to put the cover of the book up, "An Enduring Love," a very powerful, personal book that you've written. But I do get a lot of bitterness, a lot of concern and anger, if you will, toward the Jimmy Carter administration which was in power in Washington at the time of the fall of your late husband, the shah.

You write, among other things in the book, you write this: "I had a strong feeling that these three people, three Iranians, were acting in that way" -- Iranian officials -- "because they had the support of the United States, the new Carter administration.

"But that was not all. Reading what these three men had to say, one would think that the monarchy had not accomplished anything positive for Iran, while the country had made an undeniable leap forward in all areas during the last 20 years."

How bitter are you toward Jimmy Carter?

PAHLAVI: Well, first, I want to remind all those people who see me that Iran was a stable country. It was the interest of Iran to be friends and allies of the West, as American. We had good relation with the Eastern Bloc then, and with all our neighbors. It was going forward, developing in every field: education, health, social work.

BLITZER: But you have to acknowledge there were human rights violations under the shah.

PAHLAVI: Yes. Well, let me say that the condition of women in Iran, we had equal rights as men.

And coming back to the feelings about politics, I can understand that politics are for their -- what they think is their national interest. And it's up to us Iranians to realize where we are going.

BLITZER: But do you believe the Carter administration effectively cooperated in the overthrow of your husband?

PAHLAVI: It's not cooperated. But I said I believe that the message in those days, that those who were working for Ayatollah Khomeini out of America, and also all the smear campaign against my husband and the regime, and all the really campaign of vilifying him, it encouraged the opposition and discouraged those who were in power in Iran.

But again, you didn't send any army inside Iran. It's the...

BLITZER: But let me rephrase the question. Could the U.S., under the Jimmy Carter administration at that time, in the late '70s, have done anything differently that would have prevented this revolution from developing, the ayatollah coming to power, the overthrow of the shah?

PAHLAVI: Well, you know, it's going back, it's no use. I say it was done by the Iranians and, as you said, the administration, we should have seen the -- addressed the problems better, handled it better.

And those who were in the opposition, most of them which were extreme left, which didn't believe really in democracy, and also the fundamentalists who didn't believe in democracy, and those who called themselves nationalists and they wanted to go toward democracy, they went under the umbrella of Ayatollah Khomeini.

BLITZER: You also write -- when your husband finally got to the United States, effectively overthrown, he was very ill. He was dying. You write about a conversation that the then-White House Counsel Lloyd Cutler had.

"Then Lloyd Cutler described the concern of the United States at the prospect of our departure for Egypt. Our presence in Cairo, he said, risks weakening the already difficult position of President Sadat and would therefore harm the peace efforts in the Middle East."

He was looking for a place to get medical treatment, the shah. And President Sadat invited him, the late president of Egypt. And the Carter administration, you're suggesting, said maybe he shouldn't accept that invitation.

PAHLAVI: Exactly. This is what I've heard and this is what happened, and I'm always grateful to the memory of President Sadat and the Egyptian people, who showed that, even in politics, there are some moral values which count.

And, again, going back, I said, where are those people who cared so much for human rights in Iran and political freedom? What happened to them in all these 25 years when we see that our country has become the center of international terrorism and religious fundamentalism?

BLITZER: Let me read one more quote from the book, the book entitled "Enduring Love."

You describe an interview that the shah gave in November '79, while in the United States for medical treatment. "Accordingly, when the journalists asked about the reasons for the Islamic revolution, the king said, 'I tell you, Mr. Frost,'" -- referring to David Frost, who was doing the interview -- "'I still don't understand what happened.'"

Did the shah understand what happened? Did you understand what happened in those tumultuous days?

PAHLAVI: Well, it was a mixture of so many thing. Because in our country which was developing, of course, one foot you put forward, there are a problem which arises. But really I say that the problems were not in such a way that needed this horrible revolution.

And my husband always wanted the more political participation of people who, when country developed and there was the problem illiteracy cleared. But then, with hindsight, if the centralization of power was less and more political participation, maybe this would not have happened.

But let's again not forget we were during the Cold War and the Soviets always dreamt to get to the Persian Gulf with the warm waters. And also Iran, because important its wealth and strategic position, it was between the rivalry of the super powers.

BLITZER: A fascinating read. The book, "An Enduring Love: My Life with the Shah."

Your Majesty, thanks very much for joining us.

PAHLAVI: Thank you for having me, and happy No-Rooz to my compatriots who are celebrating new year, and I really hope that this new spring will be a real spring of freedom for my compatriots.

BLITZER: Thanks very much for joining us.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Here are the results of our Web question of the week: 45 percent, yes; 55 percent say no. Will the U.S. find Osama bin Laden? Remember, this is not a scientific poll.

And that's your "LATE EDITION" for Sunday, March 21st. Please be sure to join us next Sunday and every Sunday at noon Eastern for the last word in Sunday talk. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com




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