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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT
Deadly Heat Wave; Interview With NASA Administrator
Aired July 25, 2005 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody. Tonight, a deadly heat wave, triple-digit temperatures in many regions of this country. A rising number of heat-related deaths. Is it global warning? My guest tonight, one of the country's top climatologists.
NASA declares the Shuttle Discovery is ready to go. I'll be talking with NASA Administrator Michael Griffin.
And judging Roberts. I'll be talking, as well, with one of the country's foremost attorneys, former U.S. judge, U.S. Solicitor General, and Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr about his former deputy, Judge John Roberts. And we'll be talking, as well, about the White House CIA leak investigation.
We begin tonight with the escalating war against radical Islamist terrorists all over the world. Intelligence officials now believe the al Qaeda terrorist network may have been responsible for attacks in Egypt, Britain and Iraq.
In Egypt, one American was among 84 people killed in a triple bomb attack in the resort of Sharm el-Sheik. In Britain, police have arrested two more suspects in their widening investigation into radical Islamist terrorists who killed more than 50 people. And in Iraq, insurgents today launched a new wave of attacks, killing an American soldier and 14 Iraqis.
We begin tonight in Egypt. Chris Burns reports from Sharm el- Sheik.
CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was an attack that authorities say involved more than home-grown extremists. Egyptian officials are circulating pictures of terrorist subjects. They confirm they're still looking for several Pakistanis they've been seeking even before the Saturday attacks.
And Egyptian security forces clamped heavier security around the resort town of Sharm el-Sheik, launching raids and rounding up suspects, some reports say upward of 100.
One raid sparked a shootout with suspects in a Bedouin village near the Red Sea resort. Police have not said if there were casualties or arrests.
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf disputed speculation of a Pakistani link to the Egypt and London attacks. PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, PRESIDENT OF PAKISTAN (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Is it possible one who is al Qaeda or anyone else can direct attacks in London, Sharm el-Sheik, Istanbul or Africa from here? This is totally wrong.
BURNS: Egypt's interior ministry says there could be a link to the bombings at the Taba beach resort near the Israeli border last October that killed more than three dozen people.
The timing of the latest blasts was significant, occurring on Egypt's national holiday marking a 1952 military coup. Since then, Egypt has been ruled by thinly veiled military regimes.
President Hosni Mubarak, a former air force commander in power for 24 years, is a key U.S. ally and often a mediator in the Israeli- Palestinian conflicts, making him a target. And the attacks appeared aimed at destabilizing the 77-year-old Mubarak ahead of presidential elections his party is expected to control.
The attacks also hit a major cash cow. The attackers struck at the very heart of Egypt's tourist industry, a business that's worth $6 billion and drew 8 million tourists last year. With the Sharm el-Sheik attacks, those figures are not expected this time around.
The bombings come at a time the Mubarak government faces criticism over election reforms, high unemployment, and unrest from Islamic groups. An international extremist connection could point to more trouble ahead.
Chris Burns, CNN, Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt.
DOBBS: Police hunting radical Islamist terrorists in Britain today released the names of two of the four men who tried to explode bombs in London last Thursday. A week earlier, four other bomb attacks killed 56 people; 700 others were wounded.
Jonathan Mann reports from London -- Jonathan?
JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, police here at Scotland Yard have released intriguing new details about the botched bombings last Thursday. All four of the suspected bombers were seen on closed- circuit TV cameras. Now two of them, for the first time, have been publicly identified and named.
What the police told us today was that one of them was Muktar Said Ibrahim. They say he also is known as Muktar Mohammed Said. In either case, he's a 27-year-old man who they say tried to bomb the bus last Thursday.
The second suspect they've identified is Yasin Hassan Omar, a 24- year-old who tried to set off his bomb in the subway.
Now, the intriguing point in all of this is that they have discovered a common thread in the four botched bombings, and with a fifth device that was found and safely exploded on its own.
That common thread, the plastic kitchen container that the bombs were built with. It's a very particular kind. It's only available in about 100 stores in this country. And police are appealing for anyone who might have sold five of those containers to the same person to come forward.
A different kind of news also that came out, of the biggest setback the police have had in their investigation so far -- news that the Brazilian electrician, Jean Charles de Menezes, who was shot by police who mistook him for a terrorist was in fact shot eight times.
Now, the story of his death is still unfolding. It's being investigated by an independent commission. But he was acting suspiciously, police say. He was wearing a coat heavier than normal for a warm London day. He didn't respond to their instructions. He tried to get away.
They wrestled him to the ground and shot him. Now it seems they have shot him eight times, a number that will continue to surprise a lot of people here.
And so where do things stand in the investigation? Two new arrests have been made, so in all, five people are being held in connection with the botched bombings. These are not believed to be the men responsible for the bombings, only people who might have information about them.
The four would-be bombers remain at-large and still, Lou -- it needs to be said -- a threat to this city.
Back to you.
DOBBS: Thank you, Jonathan. Jonathan Mann from London.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair today apologized for last week's killing of the Brazilian man in the London subway. As Jonathan Mann just reported, police mistook 27-year-old Charles de Menezes for a suicide bomber when he ran into a subway station and ignored their commands to halt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY BLAIR, PRIME MINISTER OF BRITAIN: We are all desperately sorry for the death of an innocent person. And I understand entirely the feelings of the young man's family. But we also have to understand the police are doing their job in very, very difficult circumstances.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: And British police say their shoot-to-kill policy for terrorist suspects remains in place.
In Iraq, an American soldier and 14 Iraqis were killed today in a series of insurgent bomb attacks. The soldier was killed near Samarra, north of Baghdad. The Iraqis were killed in two separate attacks in the Iraqi capital.
Aneesh Raman reports from Baghdad.
ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The first attack came early this morning when a suicide car bomb detonated at a checkpoint outside the al-Sadir Hotel here in Baghdad. The explosion took place here, the house where most of the guards live. They made up a majority of the casualties in that incident.
A few hours later, the target, it seems, a checkpoint of the Iraqi police commandos. There a suicide car bomb detonated in western Baghdad. The majority of casualties there, Iraqi police commandos.
It comes a day after a deadly attack in southeastern Baghdad where at least 25 people were killed, upwards of 27 others wounded, after a suicide car bomb detonated at a police station there. The majority of casualties, we're told, are in fact Iraqi civilians. A massive explosion. Some 20 vehicles, eight shops, essentially destroyed in the ensuing blast.
This spate of suicide bombings in the capital comes as the government is pushing towards that deadline to have a constitution written, now just weeks away.
Last week, turmoil in the process. On Tuesday, Mijbil Issa, a Sunni member of the committee, was gunned down. Two days later, the Sunni delegation on the constitutional writing committee suspended their involvement.
Today, though, progress. That group, the Sunni group, have said they will rejoin discussions -- that after getting security assurances from the government. Now we're expecting a first draft of this constitution to be put out in the coming days. It still remains unclear what exact language will be used for the enormous issues of both federalism and the role of religion here in Iraq.
Aneesh Raman, CNN, Baghdad.
DOBBS: The readiness of Iraqi security forces is also an enormous issue, and there is a troubling new report from the Pentagon tonight. The State Department and the Pentagon saying the Iraqi police force is taking in recruits with criminal records and people who are barely literate. This new report says it is also likely the police force has been hiring and training terrorist infiltrators.
Some of the country's most influential Muslim leaders today called upon radical Islamist terrorists to stop their bomb attacks immediately. The executive director of the Muslim American Society declared terrorists should -- quote -- "stop the madness, for the love of God."
Brian Todd has the report. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Carnage in London and Sharm el-Sheik. In Britain, pictures of young Muslim suspects who police say were involved in a series of explosions and attempted bombings. With each new image, a growing sense of frustration in the mainstream Muslim community and a new feeling of urgency.
MAHDI BRAY, MUSLIM-AMERICAN SOCIETY: Condemnation is not enough. As some people said, been there, done that. We're on a different page.
TODD: One of the largest grassroots Muslim groups in the U.S. is intensifying what its members say has been a long-standing campaign against extremism. And the Muslim-American Society says an important part of this new effort will target young people.
Members of this group and other Muslim leaders in the U.S. and Britain, who consider themselves moderate, tell CNN there is increasing frustration that so-called moderate imams in local mosques are not connecting to this crucial segment of the community.
ARSHAD CHAWDHRY, LEEDS MUSLIM FORUM: They don't have the ability to communicate with the congregation, particularly the younger element. So what basically happens is, you know, the youngsters then basically go outside the mosques. And then, you know, if a radical or somebody else gives them their ear, that's where they go astray.
TODD: Two Muslim leaders in the U.S., one of whom is an imam, tell CNN many so-called moderate imams are immigrants who never integrated completely outside of their communities, and in many cases don't speak English well. Combine that, they say, with parents who are reluctant to discuss extremism at home, and kids are left in vulnerable positions.
TODD: Now, it's important to point out that these are discussions with Muslim leaders who are considered to be moderate, not conservative. They tell us to cultivate a younger moderate Muslim community, they need to build more Muslim-affiliated youth centers and to recruit younger home-grown imams in the U.S. and Britain who can understand the pull between religion and pop culture -- Lou?
DOBBS: Brian, as you know, one of the great complaints that is often voiced is that the Muslim community has not been vocal in its criticism and condemnation of terrorists. Has this organization, the Muslim-American Society, has it previously condemned the terrorism?
TODD: It has. And this organization argues that in their minds, the urgency has always been there -- that, since 9/11, they've been quick to condemn these attacks. They've always been out there. But members of this group and other Muslim leaders we've spoken to in recent days say they do have to do a better job of managing the message, to be proactive and even more aggressive in getting their condemnations out there into the mainstream media right after these attacks. DOBBS: As they say, it is more than time to stop the madness. Brian Todd, thank you.
Still ahead, new concerns tonight that weather could affect the launch of the Shuttle Discovery tomorrow. I'll be talking with NASA Administrator Michael Griffin.
Triple-digit temperatures across much of this country today. A rising number of heat-related deaths. I'll be talking with one of the country's leading climatologists.
And the White House organizes a powerful coalition of business groups, lobbyists, and former lawmakers to push open borders and guest-worker programs. We'll have a special report for you coming right up.
DOBBS: At the Kennedy Space Center tonight, some at NASA are concerned that weather may be a problem for the launch of the Shuttle Discovery tomorrow. But as of right now, the launch of Discovery is still a go.
Miles O'Brien will be leading our coverage here tomorrow morning for that launch at Kennedy Space Center, and he has the latest for us now -- Miles?
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Lou. I look forward to having you join us, as well.
You know, we've been talking so much about this fuel sensor problem on the space shuttle. You know, the space shuttle has, by some counts, up to 2 million parts. Well, here is the sensor itself.
Now, we don't know that the sensor is the problem. But the system, the fuel sensor system, is what kept the space shuttle on the ground back on July 13. It's hard to imagine, with all those parts, it comes down to this tiny little piece. But it is a critical piece, indeed.
As NASA continues its fueling up and the countdown, you've got to think about this, Lou, as if it's a countdown with a test regimen embedded in it.
O'BRIEN: Take a look at the Space Shuttle Discovery on Launch Pad 39B. The rotating service structure has been taken away. About midnight, they'll start putting 500,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen in it.
Look at the top here. This is where the liquid oxygen is, that cap on top they call the beanie cap. The gaseous oxygen vent hood keeps gaseous oxygen from building up there.
If any sensors were to fail up in that part of the tank, that would be bad news. That would be grounds for a scrub, because up to this point, NASA hasn't seen a failure in the oxygen sensors. All the problems have been down at the base.
So as this countdown continues, the folks in this firing room can be very busy looking at all those readings, running through a series of simulations and tests, working those sensors -- four of them for hydrogen, four of them for oxygen -- to see if in fact those systems are working.
The bottom line is this, Lou. As they continue this process through the night, there will be an ongoing discussion, right up to the point when astronauts should get in this room. This is the white room. That's the last piece of turf they get into before they reach the Space Shuttle Discovery. Before they walk in there, they're going to have a pretty good sense of the nature of this problem.
And the point is this. If the engineers feel they fully understand the problem, and it is sort of partitioned off either in circuitry or a specific sensor, they will discount either that circuitry or that sensor. And they have enough confidence in their overall system and redundancy to go from launch.
But there's a lot of if, ands and buts that will occur while you and I -- hopefully, I'll get a little rest, and you are sleeping tonight -- Lou?
DOBBS: Miles, thank you very much. Look forward to the launch. And I know that everyone in the NASA family is, as everyone in this country, wishing the crew of Discovery all the very best tomorrow. Look forward to seeing you tomorrow. You get some rest, too, Miles. Miles O'Brien from the Kennedy Space Center.
The head man at NASA, Administrator Michael Griffin, is optimistic about tomorrow's launch. I asked him whether Discovery is ready to go.
MICHAEL GRIFFIN, NASA ADMINISTRATOR: Well, the weather's the biggest factor. And right now, we're sitting on about a 60-percent chance of being able to launch tomorrow, just based on weather. The hardware looks to be in good shape.
DOBBS: And Mike, much has been made in the national news media in particular, of the four fuel sensors and the decision that has been made to waive the requirement for four sensors.
People are making a big deal out of it. But there have been a lot of changes in the way in which those sensors are wired, in the way in which they're actually vulnerable to failure.
Could you give us just your read, your judgment on this?
GRIFFIN: Yes. Let me give you the capsule summary on that, Lou. Here it is. First of all, these sensors are normally not used at all. There has to be at least one failure of our system before these sensors come into play. If they come into play, we need two of them. So if we launch with three, then it would take a second failure to take out one of the sensors, and we'd still be OK, which means we're two-failure tolerant, two-failure tolerant to the loss of this sensor. And that's what we've designed the shuttle system to.
When we fly with three out of four sensors working, all we're really doing is going back to the original launch commit criteria that this design was based upon.
DOBBS: And correct me if I'm wrong, Mike, but the fact is, these four sensors now are individually wired, if you will. And at the original time of the requirement for all four to be in place, two sensors were effectively running off two separate circuits rather than four. So it really reflects a change in the updates that have been made to the shuttle.
GRIFFIN: Well, that's correct. Discovery is flying for the first time with an electronics box where all four sensors are completely independent, each from the other.
DOBBS: The commander of this flight, Eileen Collins, have you had a chance to talk with her to get a sense of her mood and spirit?
GRIFFIN: Eileen has sent, in fact, not one, but two e-mails to the team letting everyone know that she and her crew are fully confident in any decision that we might make, that she's comfortable. And I spoke yesterday with her boss, the chief of the Astronaut Office, and he, too, is comfortable with the rationale for flight.
DOBBS: Well, Michael Griffin, we're all excited to see Discovery return to flight, and I know all of you at NASA are, as well. I will wish you and the crew luck, but it's really extending luck to all of us, as this launch will be carrying all of our hopes for human space exploration and certainly our return to flight. Thank you.
GRIFFIN: Thank you.
DOBBS: NASA Administrator Michael Griffin.
CNN, our live coverage begins of the shuttle launch at 10:00 a.m. Eastern from the Kennedy Space Center. Anchoring CNN's coverage, Miles O'Brien. And I'll be there as well, beginning tomorrow morning, 10:00 a.m. Eastern, 7:00 p.m. Pacific. Please join us.
Coming up next here, deadly triple-digit heat all across most of the country. Is it the latest sign that our climate is changing for good? Is this global warming? We'll have a special report. And I'll be talking with one of the country's foremost climatologists. He's our guest.
And the Bush administration's new plan for immigration reform and economics. Critics say the White House is only trying to marginalize Americans who want to secure our borders and to rationalize our broken immigration legal system. Stay with us.
DOBBS: The Bush White House and the former head of the Republican National Committee have come up with a unique, interesting way in which to put together a group of Hispanic and business lobbyists trying to persuade the American public that President Bush's proposal for a guest-worker program is the best way to provide a solution to our nation's broken border crisis.
Casey Wian has the story.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The White House is organizing a powerful coalition of business groups, Latino lobbyists, and former lawmakers to promote the president's guest-worker agenda and apparently marginalize those who want the border secured first.
Called Americans for Border and Economic Security, the still- evolving group is led by former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie and two former congressmen, California Democrat Cal Dooley and Texas Republican Dick Armey.
FMR. REP. DICK ARMEY (R), TEXAS: I don't think you can secure the borders unless you also have to have an open and efficient process by which people can come here legally.
I put it this way. I don't run red lights. But if the light stays there and doesn't change, eventually I'll go through it. And it's the same thing with an awful lot of workers who come here.
WIAN: Laura Reiff leads the Essential Worker Coalition, a pro- guest-worker business lobby group that has been approached by the White House coalition. She denies the goal is to perpetuate cheap labor.
LAURA REIFF, ESSENTIAL WORKERS IMMIGRATION COALITION: We think that that's really a copout, that, you know, the wages are good. The wages allow upper mobility. We don't have the people to do the jobs.
WIAN: The White House is courting others, from agricultural lobbyists to giant corporations such as Wal-Mart and Microsoft. They did not respond to requests for comment.
Border security activists say the growing public demand for secure borders is influencing the White House's posture, if not its actions.
IRA MEHLMAN, FAIR: It's clear that they're getting the message that the American people are fed up with the status quo. And what they are trying to do is simply repackage it and send it back to them in a different form and convince them that it's something new. I don't believe that the American public will fall for it. WIAN: Another potential hurdle -- groups who want to join the White House coalition are being asked to pay between $50,000 and a quarter of a million dollars.
WIAN: An executive of one organization being recruited by Americans for Border and Economic Security says the White House is going to be hard-pressed to find any groups willing to pony up that kind of money. It's another example of the administration's continuing struggle to deal with the issue of illegal immigration, Lou.
DOBBS: It's a struggle for just about everyone in this country. $50,000 to $250,000 to join up. Casey, it is, after all, a Republican- led effort here. I mean, you wouldn't expect it to be on the cheap, would you?
WIAN: Well, I guess not. But one of the concerns that some of the folks have raised who have been involved in these meetings is that, by asking for so much money, they're going to marginalize some of the groups they're trying to attract. You can't imagine there's too many grassroots Hispanic organizations that are going to be willing to pay that kind of money to join a Republican-led group, Lou.
DOBBS: Well, some of those groups, and like many of the other business organizations, including the Chamber of Commerce front organizations as well, all are being paid for by big business in this country. Those U.S. multinationals will be delighted, I'm sure, to at least contribute a paltry sum like $50,000 or a quarter of a million to their effort.
The shame here is that none of it goes anywhere to giving us a look at what is happening within the nation of Mexico, its corruption, its economic disorganization and dysfunction, and the immense poverty that drives many of the illegal aliens into this country. That money could certainly be better spent, it seems to me, at least.
Casey, thank you very much. Casey Wian.
Coming up next, organized labor in chaos. Unions splitting from the AFL-CIO. What a way to celebrate an anniversary. We'll be talking about the future of organized labor in this country, next.
Also, record heat and drought in the United States and Europe. New fears tonight that it's all the result of global warming. Is the Earth witnessing a massive environmental change? I'll be talking with a leading climatologist.
And former Special Counsel Kenneth Starr, former federal judge and U.S. solicitor general, on Supreme Court Justice nominee John Roberts, who just happened to once work for Judge Starr. He's next.
And a lot more still ahead. Stay with us.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) DOBBS: Heat advisories in effect tonight all around the Midwest, the Southeast, Southwest, northeastern United States. That just about covers it. The triple-digit temperatures and other bizarre weather patterns have many now wondering whether this is the reality of global warming.
Kitty Pilgrim reports.
KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's sizzling from coast to coast. In Arizona, the heat left 18 dead. This weekend, Denver had the fifth day in a row of 100 degree heat. In Las Vegas, no fun at 117 degrees. Chicago, over 100 degrees. The governor asked for federal disaster help, with half the normal rainfall in the state in the past four months.
PETER FRUMHOFF, UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS: The scientific consensus is that we are beginning to see a trend in global warming, not because of the most recent heat waves, but because of the changes we're seeing over time. The last decade, best estimate is, is it's the warmest decade for the past 1,000 years.
PILGRIM: Waters in the Atlantic hurricane region are two to four degrees warmer than normal. Never before have so many storms formed so early in the season. And this spring brought the worst red tide season to New England in decades. Concentrations were ten to hundreds of times higher than normal, changing the balance of marine life.
The climate change is not about discomfort, it's deadly. In Europe, the summer of 2003 was the hottest in nearly 300 years. Thirty-five thousand heat-related deaths. And the worry is that those kind of extremes will become more frequent.
MATT KELSCH, METEOROLOGIST: What we look for is, is there a pattern where there's more heat waves than there are cold waves over a number of years? And also things like what's happening to the glaciers and the different mountain regions or the polar ice caps or ocean temperatures. Those are all better measures of what the Earth's temperature is. And because of what's happening to those things, there is a general consensus that the Earth is warming.
PILGRIM: Nine of the last 10 years have been the warmest years on record. Global warming is turning out to be more than a scientific theory, but scientists say it's hard to keep people concentrated on the threat of global warming, except when it becomes an obvious discomfort. And that would be right now, Lou.
DOBBS: Indeed it is for too many people. Kitty, thank you very much, Kitty Pilgrim. These blistering temperatures and drought in most parts of the country and Europe provoke the natural question, is this global warming?
Here now, climatologist and climate modeler for NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Dr. Gavin Schmidt. Good to have you with us.
GAVIN SCHMIDT, NASA GODDARD INST. FOR SPACE STUDIES: Thank you.
DOBBS: Let's go to the first question. When we look at these temperatures and see what everyone's experiencing around this country, Gavin, is this global warming?
SCHMIDT: Global warming is a real phenomenon. The global temperatures over the whole of the planet, and especially in the northern hemisphere, have been increasing decade after decade for the last 30 years, and are projected to continue to do so. The pattern of heat waves and droughts that we're seeing this particular summer can't be directly tied to the global warming pattern that we're seeing over the whole world, but as we get to a warmer planet those kinds of things become more likely to happen.
DOBBS: More likely to happen? We've had some of the warmest weather ever on record over the course of the past, little over a decade -- decade-and-a-half. Is that indicative of, quote unquote, global warming?
SCHMIDT: The longer the period that you average over, and the larger the region, the more clear we are that there's a signal that's coming out of the weather noise. You know, one summer to another summer can be quite different. We can have a -- May this year was actually quite cool in the United States, June was quite warm, July is looking to be hotter. But if you take an average over the last six months, for instance, over the last year, over the last five years, then you start to see patterns emerging that seem to be more directly related to the things that we're doing to the atmosphere.
DOBBS: In sum, global warming is a fact?
DOBBS: Two. These extremes in temperature that we're experiencing right now are cyclical within the context of the overall climate over a long period of time and may or may not be suggestive of global warming, is that a fair capsule?
SCHMIDT: It is. Global warming is what happens to the planet as a whole. But the ups and downs in a particular region, or over a particular season, that's much more related to weather. In this particular case, we have two big blocking high pressure systems. And those are part of the weather systems.
DOBBS: The striking thing for, I think, most people are these horribly high temperatures, particularly in the Southwest, the Midwest, the drought that now is gripping the Midwest, the drought that looks like it's a long running drought in the Southwest.
SCHMIDT: Right. And there is a connection. The drier the Earth is, the less evaporation there is from soil moisture, and that can lead to higher temperatures than you would otherwise see. And that was one of the things that happened in Europe in 2003 was that the spring before that had been very dry, so there wasn't very much moisture in the soil.
The long-term drought trends that we're seeing in the Southwest may well be related to longer term patterns in sea surface temperatures, which we know are rising, and as your reporter said, temperatures in the North Atlantic, where the hurricanes are being formed, those are at a historically high level and continue to be posted.
DOBBS: And temperatures in the Great Lakes also moving to record levels. So it's not just the oceans, but the -- some of the larger bodies of water.
DOBBS: The question everybody wants to know, when will there be relief from these high temperatures and drought? You can give us the definitive answer, can you not?
SCHMIDT: Yes, because I checked the weather forecast before coming on air, and there's a cold front coming through from the Northwest over the next few days. So there will be some relief, temporarily. The problem of climate change and global warming, that's a much longer term forecast. And it's not clear that there's much relief from that.
DOBBS: Gavin Schmidt, it's good to have you here. And thanks for giving us the short-term view. We often take the long-term view on this broadcast. We appreciate you modulating across the spectrum there. Thank you.
SCHMIDT: You're welcome. Thank you.
DOBBS: And now tonight's poll question. Do you believe global warming is responsible for the heat wave now gripping the United States and much of Europe? Yes or no. Cast your vote at LOUDOBBS.com. We'll see how well you listened to Gavin Schmidt and how independent a thinker you are. We'll have the results coming up later.
Up next, a critical U.S. telecommunications network sold for pennies on the dollar to a firm controlled by the Indian government. We told you here first, there were real concerns. Guess what -- those real concerns have just arrived.
And China's currency re-valuation, is it genuine reform or is it a fig leaf? My guest coming up next, Senator Lindsey Graham, who has been pressuring China to implement real reform.
Stay with us for all of that, and a great deal more.
DOBBS: Tonight, new concerns about the sale of a critical U.S.- built telecommunications network to a company controlled by the Indian government. Critics -- and you can count us among them, certainly -- who said the deal was an unfair American giveaway have good reason to say, we told you so. But we'll be more restrained. Christine Romans is here with the report.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The United States trade representative has complained that India's state-owned telecom firm is unfairly shutting out American companies, and has complained to the Indian telecom regulators in a recent letter calling this a - quote -- "serious problem." Serious, and some say given VSNL's history, certainly no surprise.
JIM HICKMAN, POLARGRID LLC: What's more surprising is that the U.S. government, in a sense, was caught off guard, and did not pay close enough attention when it had a very clear path toward delaying the transaction in a way that would have prevented such practices from occurring.
ROMANS (voice over): Indeed, the government easily allowed India's VSNL to acquire Tyco Global Networks, the crown jewel of American telecom infrastructure, for pennies on the dollar. Critics warned that India would muscle out American carriers and restrict bandwidths.
BRIAN ROUSELL, CREST COMMUNICATIONS: There is no major network owned by a U.S. entity going forward. They're all controlled by foreign entities.
SUZANNE SPAULDING, THE HARBOUR GROUP: If the transaction goes through, we lose our ability to ensure safe, reliable, secure and affordable telecommunications.
FRANK GAFFNEY, CTR. FOR SECURITY POLICY: I think there's a question as to whether it's advisable for us to be selling off a national asset like this global network.
ROMANS: But Washington didn't listen.
ROMANS: And now telecom insiders, some trade associations, and the U.S. trade representative struggle to get India to abide by its trade agreements. We contacted VSNL. They did not have an official response for us, but in the past, VSNL has promised it will not restrict bandwidth to anyone for any reason.
DOBBS: Except the U.S. trade representative says unfortunately that's what's occurring.
DOBBS: Christine, it's remarkable. And this, of course, was all approved by CFIUS, the committee that approves foreign investments -- headed by?
ROMANS: John Snow, the Treasury secretary. Also, the Federal Communications Commission gave them the green light there as well.
DOBBS: It's good to see our government at work. Thank you.
ROMANS: You're welcome.
DOBBS: Last week, China agreed to revalue its currency, and to move toward a more flexible exchange rate. It's likely that we won't know for some time whether it's genuine reform or something closer to window dressing.
My guest tonight is Senator Lindsey Graham. He co-sponsored legislation that would impose high tariffs unless China significantly revalues its currency.
Senator Lindsey Graham, is this really reform on the part of the Chinese or is it window dressing?
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I think the jury's still out. For two and a half years, Senator Chuck Schumer, my partner in all of this from New York, we've been working together to try to press the Chinese to float their currency. They have it pegged at the dollar in a way that creates an advantage for all Chinese-produced products. They intentionally undervalue their currency. Cheap currency means cheap products.
They made a move of 2.4 percent. The estimate is that their currency's 15 percent to 40 percent undervalued, so obviously 2.4 percent is not even close.
But within their decision to move away from pegging to the dollar, they've allowed a process, Lou, of where they can revalue every day 0.3 percent. They've yet to use that since last week. But if they continue to move toward a revaluation, it would be real reform. If it's 2.4 percent, it's nothing.
DOBBS: Like you and like most Americans, I'm hopeful that this means that there will be a true floating exchange rate. It certainly is not that. They're limiting the band to 0.3 percent as you point out. We're looking at the most modest of beginnings, but it is a beginning.
Let's turn to the other issue. I asked Treasury Secretary John Snow just last week -- giving kudos both to you and Senator Schumer for your legislation; it was obviously a significant impetus here and to the administration. But the fact is, my question is simple that I asked him -- I will ask you the same simple question -- what U.S. exports to China will benefit as a result of a revaluation of the yuan, even if it were significant?
GRAHAM: That really won't affect the exports to China. But what it will do is affect the American manufacturing in a positive way, because other Asian nations will begin to revalue their currency. They will follow China's lead. The higher the value of the yuan, the more its true value.
The discount built into their products is gone, but it has a ripple effect to help American manufacturing. In isolation, it will do nothing. But if other Asian nations follow, it could be a real big benefit to American manufacturing internationally.
DOBBS: Senator, I've been accused by some who are completely ignorant and foolish beyond words, calling me a protectionist because I want to see reciprocity and mutuality in a trade relationship.
GRAHAM: That's what this is about, my friend.
DOBBS: My great concern here is that the manufacturing base in the United States has been diminished to such a point that we cannot take advantage of the opportunity here to drive U.S. exports. I mean, our leading surpluses right now, as you know, and the relationship with China, the trade relationship, we're shipping scrap metal and soybeans.
GRAHAM: Right. We're down to two items. And the bottom line is that by pegging their currency, they've created a discount on all products made in China beyond the cheap labor factor.
And if we sit on the sidelines and let them keep manipulating the currency, nobody's going to be able to compete with China, and people will follow their reforms.
But American manufacturing is holding on by a thread. It is now time for Congress to fight for a more level playing field here at home and abroad. And I think this is the first significant step since I've been here in 10 years, Lou, for the Chinese to come our way a little bit, and it only comes from pressure. If we'll be united, the Congress and the White House, united in getting them to play fair, down the road, it will pay dividends.
DOBBS: Senator Lindsey Graham, we thank you for being here...
GRAHAM: Thank you.
DOBBS: ... and helping those dividends start to come in.
Coming up at the top of the hour here on CNN, ANDERSON COOPER 360. Heidi Collins tells us what's coming up -- Heidi.
HEIDI COLLINS, GUEST HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Hi, Lou. Next on 360, we're going to bring you the very latest on the terror investigation out of London, and why police think a simple Tupperware container might help them find the terrorists.
Also, the selling of Jesus. How some major U.S. corporations are trying to tap into the massive crowds going to Christian festivals. But what about customers who don't agree with the message? We'll take a look at that.
Lou, back to you.
DOBBS: Heidi, thank you very much.
One of this country's most distinguished attorneys, Kenneth Starr, worked closely with Supreme Court nominee John Roberts in two administrations. Judging Roberts? Let's find out from the judge himself. Kenneth Starr.
And the biggest rift -- it's a rip of a rift -- in American labor in 50 years. My guest, Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Supreme Court nominee John Roberts worked with my next guest in both the Reagan and the first Bush administrations. Judge Kenneth Starr also served as federal judge, U.S. solicitor general, and independent counsel in the Whitewater investigation. Judge Starr is now dean of the Pepperdine School of Law, and joins us from Los Angeles.
Judge Starr, good to have you here.
KENNETH STARR, FORMER U.S. SOLICITOR GENERAL: It's great to be here, Lou. Thank you.
DOBBS: We are watching what is -- it looks like -- some have called it a coronation, canonization. It looks like anything but a typical confirmation. Is Judge Roberts really this good?
STARR: He is great. He is one of the top lawyers in the United States. I don't think anyone is doubting that. Moreover, in his two years as a judge, he's shown to be a very thoughtful judge. Obviously, some issues will be raised about this opinion or that, but my analysis is, he's agreed with -- of judges viewed as the most liberal member of that court, 94, 95 percent of the time. He's a very collegial, congenial Midwesterner. He's a terrific guy.
DOBBS: Now, some Senate Democrats, including Senator John Kerry, want the White House to release all the documents written by Judge Roberts when he worked for Reagan, Starr and Bush. Should the White House, in your opinion, should it comply?
STARR: Well, I would counsel caution, Lou. Just imagine in the United States Senate race, the opponent of a United States Senate incumbent, a member of the Senate asking for all of the internal memos given to the senator by the senator's staff. I think we need in a system of separated powers to be respectful of the independence of the branches. But it's ultimately a political call by the White House.
DOBBS: A political call, and you have counseled White Houses before. Would you counsel the White House to maintain, if you will, executive privilege and not comply, as they've made it clear they will not?
STARR: It's again, the president's call. But I would just say the deliberative process inside the government, whether it's the judicial branch or the Senate, for that matter, as well as the Justice Department is very important. You want candid advice, candid views. And for someone to know, oh, by the way, if you're ever in a confirmation situation, all of those memos are going to become available -- it just erodes candor, which is very much needed for the orderly functioning of the government. DOBBS: Much has been made, as you know, Judge Starr, of Judge Roberts' statement in a brief on abortion, in which he declared, quote -- in which it was declared; I don't think it's fair to say he declared, but he did sign off -- "we continue to believe that Roe was wrongly decided and should be overruled."
He has since said that he was working for his client, the president of the United States, and that does not reflect his views. What's your take?
STARR: I think John, or Judge Roberts, was doing exactly what lawyers as officers of the court should do. They were presenting zealously the position of the client. The United States' position at that time was that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided, but that was the position I took as the solicitor general. So you'll see the top name on the brief is mine.
DOBBS: I was going to come -- I was going to bring that up in just a second.
STARR: But the position was advanced, Lou, 14 years ago. And since that time, the Supreme Court of the United States rejected that position.
STARR: It has re-embraced Roe v. Wade. So we shall see what the judge is asked and how he chooses to answer the questions.
STARR: But in a nutshell, there's a difference between a lawyer and a judge. And what the lawyer says on behalf of his or her client doesn't necessarily mean by any means what that lawyer as judge would conclude.
DOBBS: Judge Kenneth Starr, do you support Roe v. Wade? As settled law?
STARR: Oh, as settled law? I do think it was wrongly decided. That's my own view. And I have expressed that view extra judicially.
Happily, Judge Roberts has not. He's been minding the business of his clients, and has done such a spectacular job with respect to advancing very important cases before the Supreme Court. And it's really his qualifications and not my views that, of course, are before the Senate now.
STARR: But I'm so gratified that everyone who has worked with John, with Judge Roberts, has come out in support of him. And I think that's an enormous tribute to a great lawyer and a great person.
DOBBS: Do you -- would you be surprised to see Judge Roberts then work to set aside Roe v. Wade? STARR: I think it's a totally open question, because, you know, as elsewhere in life, stability in the law is a very important factor, including even in constitutional law. And so, that position 14 years ago was rejected by the United States Supreme Court, including by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. And that counts for something.
So the issue -- I know Judge Roberts said during his confirmation hearings two years ago that the issue is settled, that it's settled law. And I think that view has enormous force behind it.
DOBBS: Ken Starr, good to have you with us.
STARR: Great to be here, Lou.
DOBBS: Coming up next, an unprecedented revolt within the nation's largest labor organization. What does it mean for the AFL- CIO, the future of organized labor in the United States? I'll be talking with the second in command, Richard Trumka, of the AFL-CIO next. Stay with us.
DOBBS: A revolution within organized labor. The Teamsters and Service Employees Union both announcing their withdrawal from the AFL- CIO today. Other unions may follow. It's being called the worst crisis in organized labor since the '30s.
AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Richard Trumka is with us now from the group's annual convention in Chicago. Richard, your numbers are in decline. Two unions withdrawing, including the Teamsters. Others threatening to leave. What are you going to do now?
RICHARD TRUMKA, SECRETARY TREASURER, AFL-CIO: Well, we're focused on building a better future for America's working families, and that's what we're going to continue doing all week. We're making historic changes, Lou. Changes on diversity, changes on organizing, changes on political action, changes on state and local power. And we're going to continue doing that throughout the week.
You know, it's pretty obvious to us that this group didn't get what they wanted through the democratic process, and that was control of the AFL-CIO. So they walked off the playing field rather than play the game.
DOBBS: The -- your T-shirts, "a strong voice," is that correct, what they say there at the convention -- one strong voice?
TRUMKA: That's correct.
DOBBS: What is the message that that one strong voice wants to deliver?
TRUMKA: Well, the strong voice is that we're out there every day trying to build a better future for America's working families. And I think the unions that have left have done a terrible disservice to their membership. They've done a disservice to the democratic process. They should have come to the convention and debated what they believed in. They could have had their delegates debate what they believed in. And they could have listened to the other side, and listened to what other people had to say, and we could have come out unified.
There's not a dime's worth of difference about the issues, Lou. So this -- their departure isn't about the issues, and it's not about building a better future for America's working families, which is what we should be all about. It's about them trying to get control of the AFL-CIO, and they couldn't do it through the democratic process.
DOBBS: They couldn't do it. They didn't do it. John Sweeney is still the head of the group. But organized labor right now faces one of the most monumental challenges -- the most monumental challenge, in fact, in its history in this country, over the past century certainly.
DOBBS: What are you going to do?
TRUMKA: We're going to continue to fight. We're going to continue to try to talk to them, and we're going to continue to try to bring them back. But as I said earlier, we're about building a better future for America's working families. We're making historic changes. We're going to go through with those changes. We're going to continue to fight for America's working people. And there's no question that they've done -- their departure has done a disservice to every working man, woman and child in this country, because we're not as strong with their leaving as if we would be if they stayed and gone through the democratic process.
DOBBS: Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO, thanks for being here.
TRUMKA: Thanks, Lou. Thanks for having me.
DOBBS: The results of our poll tonight: 73 percent of you say global warming is responsible for the heat wave now gripping the United States and much of Europe; 27 percent of you say global warming is not responsible.
Finally tonight, Judith Miller, the Pulitzer Prize-winning "New York Times" journalist, has now spent 19 days in prison for refusing to name her confidential sources in the White House CIA leak investigation.
Thanks for being with us tonight. Please join us here tomorrow when the head of the Service Employees Union that has just withdrawn from the AFL-CIO will explain what's going on in organized labor.
And bolstering security in our nation's mass transit systems. Congressman Peter King joins us to tell us what Congress will do next.
Pleas join us. For all of us here, thanks for being with us tonight. Good night from New York.
ANDERSON COOPER 360" starts right now, with Heidi Collins -- Heidi.
COLLINS: Thanks, Lou.
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