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CIA Leak Probe Results; Coulter's Take; Bad Times For Judith Miller; Starting Over

Aired October 28, 2005 - 07:30   ET


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: I think it's Miller time for you. Yes, truthfully did you smell it?

MILES O'BRIEN: Nose deaf.


MILES O'BRIEN: And I've got allergies. I don't smell anything.

COSTELLO: I smelled maple syrup. I came in at like 3:00 a.m. to the city. I got out of the car and I smelled maple syrup like you would not believe.

MILES O'BRIEN: You smelled it? You did?

COSTELLO: Because at 1 a.m. it picked up again.

MILES O'BRIEN: Well, apparently this is not unprecedented in the history of this country.


MILES O'BRIEN: Do you remember Boston in 1919?


MILES O'BRIEN: You remember this story? This is a true story.


VERJEE: Actually, I was thinking about that this morning when I woke up, Boston, 1919.

MILES O'BRIEN: Alex Corson (ph) our intrepid producer, Alex Corson, dug this out of the files. 1919, a huge two million gallon vat of molasses broke free in the city and actually it was like a wall of molasses. It was serious. There was some people actually killed in the whole thing. But there are people to this day in Boston, in the north end, who say on a hot summer night you still smell the molasses.

COSTELLO: I told you it could have been an accident on the Hudson River. MILES O'BRIEN: Of course the thing is, these days, post-9/11, the emergency management people are out there with, you know, sniffing devices to make sure it is.

COSTELLO: Yes, and everything's safe, so don't freak people out like that. It was just a bizarre thing.

MILES O'BRIEN: Yes, it's the attack of Mrs. Butterworth. All right.

COSTELLO: But I know I'm having pancakes for breakfast!

MILES O'BRIEN: I'm hungry.

VERJEE: Me, too.


Good morning, everyone. Let's get some headlines for you now.

We may soon learn the results of the CIA leak investigation as the grand jury gets ready to meet less than two hours from now. According to "The New York Times," lawyers say Vice President Dick Cheney's top aid, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, is expected to be indicted. President Bush's adviser, Karl Rove, will remain under investigation, though he may escape charges at this time. And the special prosecutor in the case is likely to ask for an extension of the grand jury's term or even get a new grand jury.

President Bush is getting a firsthand look at the situation in Southern Florida after Wilma. Thousands are still without power and are frustrated with the long wait for much-need supplies.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Things don't happen instantly, but things are happening. Right here on this site, people are getting fed. Soon, more and more houses will have their electricity back on and life will get back to normal.


COSTELLO: Hopefully. Power outages at some gas stations have also created long lines for fuel, but that situation is said to be improving this morning. In the meantime, the president will be focusing on terrorism this morning during a speech in Virginia. CNN will carry that live for you. That starts at 10:00 Eastern.

The U.S. is taking extra steps to prepare for an outbreak of the bird flu. The government has awarded a $62.5 million contract to a second manufacturer to start mass production of a bird flu vaccine. And the Senate voted Thursday to allot $8 billion in emergency spending in case of a worldwide epidemic.

And Rosa Parks may become the first woman to lie in honor at the Capitol Rotunda in Washington. The Senate approved a resolution that would allow the distinction for the civil rights pioneer. The house is expected to pass the measure today. Parks would lie in honor Sunday and Monday so that people can pay their respects. Her funeral and other services will take place in Detroit. And if this goes through, and it probably will, you know, usually when you lie in state at the Capitol Rotunda, you're a Congress person or you're a president or a judge, but Rosa Parks is so special. So special that she'll probably lie in state next week at the rotunda.


MILES O'BRIEN: OK. I guess we're not doing weather. Should we do let's do weather. Let's do weather first, shall we? I could do the weather but Bonnie's so much better at it.



MILES O'BRIEN: Just got a little piece of news. This comes from Bob Franken who's at the U.S. district court in Washington. He says that Karl Rove is reporting to reporters that he has received word that he will not be indicted. As a matter of fact, we have Franken on the phone right now.

Bob, what do you know?

BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've been talking to sources and the source now conform, Kelli Arena (ph), our Justice Department spokesperson, has been also speaking to sources and they confirm what was reported in "The New York Times," that Karl Rove, who is the deputy White House chief of staff, and the president's chief political adviser, is not going to be indicted today, but will remain under investigation by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who had been conducting this investigation into the leaks that identified Valerie Plame as an undercover CIA operative. Rove has been a focus of this investigation because of his conversations with reporters during that time period.

The other person, CNN's John King, Chief National Correspondent John King, has confirmed that Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who is the vice president's chief of staff, has been informed that there is a possibility he will be indicted today. Indicted on charges growing out of this same episode. Charges that other sources are saying may focus on his testimony or inaccuracy of his testimony before the grand jury during this investigation. We're expecting to find out official announcements later this morning as the grand jury wraps up its work. And Patrick Fitzgerald makes his announcements, if he did continue the investigation into Rove, he could very easily use another grand jury to do that.


MILES O'BRIEN: All right, Bob Franken. The shoes, apparently, are beginning to drop in Washington. It's going to be a very interesting day. And among the people watching very closely and with great interest, conservative columnists, author, Ann Coulter, who joins me right now.

So there you have it, Karl Rove apparently escaping indictment. But, you know, that's the good news. The bad news is, on goes the investigation. What are your thoughts on that one?

ANN COULTER, AUTHOR, "HOW TO TALK TO A LIBERAL": That's like the worse possible outcome.

MILES O'BRIEN: Oh, an indictment would be better?

COULTER: I think so. I mean, I don't think indictments are particularly big deal politically. They're a big deal for whoever gets indicted. But I don't think it really matters to the White House. And I have just been thinking, they're just going to be lancing the boil. Let's just get it done one way or the other this Friday. Either they get indicted and they leave or they're not indicted and it's over. To stay under investigation, I mean, that is not the best possible outcome.

MILES O'BRIEN: Twenty-two months already and on it goes. And, you know, what you have, in this case, potentially, indictment for Scooter Libby, who, you know just every time I hear the nickname . . .

COULTER: I know.

MILES O'BRIEN: I know you have a problem with that as well. But, you know, old guy's named, Scooter and whatever, that's not a crime in and of itself. But the fact is . . .

COULTER: But it should be.

MILES O'BRIEN: So you don't think that's a big deal?

COULTER: Well, it is for him personally but . . .

MILES O'BRIEN: Yes. But, no, I mean the big picture?

COULTER: No, not at all. Not at all. I mean if anyone is very close to Bush, it's Karen Hughes. She left the White House and yet life goes on. I mean, I hadn't even heard of Scooter Libby until two days ago. I mean name Scooter Libby's counterpart from the Clinton administration.


COULTER: I don't have the vaguest idea from any administration. And Karl Rove, OK, he got the president elected twice. I don't think he even needs Rove for the next term. So I don't even think that would particularly be a problem, except for them personally. I don't mean to be cavalier about their legal troubles. But as far as Bush is concerned, I don't think it's a problem at all.

MILES O'BRIEN: All right. Let's talk about Harriet Miers now. You were on the Bill Maher's show a couple weeks ago. Let's just share with our audience what you had to say about her . . . COULTER: Oh, good, I've never seen it.

MILES O'BRIEN: Oh, yes you have.

COULTER: No, but I was there.

MILES O'BRIEN: Let's watch.


COULTER: She's not qualified for the position. This isn't like, you know, best employee of the month.

BILL MAHER: But you didn't make that objection with every other of George Bush's appointments.

COULTER: It never occurred to us that he'd nominate, as you say, the cleaning lady! We thought this was clear!

MAHER: So what are you thinking of boyfriend George Bush now? I mean, seriously, I mean this, the deficit . . .

COULTER: I'm not very happy!


MILES O'BRIEN: All right. So the cleaning lady?

COULTER: That was a playoff from one of his jokes.

MILES O'BRIEN: Yes, he had had a previous joke about cleaning lady.

COULTER: Yes, and a very funny joke in the monologue.

MILES O'BRIEN: It was a little bit out of context. But the point is, Harriet Miers is the cleaning lady. What do you . . .

COULTER: You know, today I think she's a great woman. She served her country and her president well. She actually, I'm sure, is a fine lawyer and a wonderful person. This is a special job. But now that she has withdrawn from that job, I have no unkind words for her. I think she's a great American.

MILES O'BRIEN: Once she was as a nominee, though, you had some harsh things to say. Not her fault. She was put in a tough position.


MILES O'BRIEN: The president he was really between a rock and a hard place as to what he does next.

COULTER: I don't think so.


COULTER: This was not . . .

MILES O'BRIEN: In other words, go far, run.

COULTER: Liberals didn't defeat this nominee. This was in fact, they didn't make a peep about this nominee. They recommended this nominee! And this is somewhat historic to have your own base rebelling it like this and forcing policy (ph) change.

MILES O'BRIEN: Not somewhat, it is really historic. This has never happened.

COULTER: And to have them win. You can't imagine and, by the way, Clinton was hosing liberals all the time and they never managed to effect a policy change, affect a cabinet or a Supreme Court nominee withdrawal. So, no, I mean, we're the ones who just won this battle. He doesn't have to worry about complaints from liberals. He has to worry about complaints from conservatives.

MILES O'BRIEN: So where's he headed, Gonzales or Brown?

COULTER: No, Gonzales, we'd use those funds that were prepared for Miers. The ad buys. They're ready to go for Gonzales. No, I don't think he'd do that and, also, he's attorney general, he has a fine job. I don't know, but there is we have a big farm team of qualified right wing or conservative . . .

MILES O'BRIEN: But potential filibuster. Could happen.

COULTER: I wish them luck. They filibuster, we win in 2006.

MILES O'BRIEN: So you think that's ultimately a victory?

COULTER: Absolutely. I mean, I think wish Bush would sit back and say, OK, screw you, conservatives, I'm going to give you a right wring nominee and she's going to fail and we'll get her through. I'm thinking Janice Rogers Brown.

MILES O'BRIEN: That's right.

COULTER: They would they filibustered her for the appellate court, so one assumes it would come up again. I think not only would we get her through, but I think it would mean big victories for Republicans in the 2006 election. But even if she lost, it would help I mean the debate helps conservatives, it hurts liberals.

MILES O'BRIEN: All right, Ann Coulter. I neglected to mention the book at the outset. The book is "How To Talk To a Liberal."

COULTER: If you must.

MILES O'BRIEN: If you must. That the and you're working on another one?

COULTER: Yes, I am.

MILES O'BRIEN: That you'll soon be telling us about. Thank you for dropping by.

COULTER: Thank you.


VERJEE: Miles, the news room at "The New York Times" has lately erupted into a family feud of sorts over Judy Miller. The paper backed Miller when she went to jail, protecting her source in the CIA leak case. But now "The Times" wants Miller to resign. AMERICAN MORNING's Kelly Wallace has been following all the twists and turns and slings and arrows.


KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): When Reporter Judith Miller got out of jail last month, escorted by none other than her publisher at "The New York Times," Arthur Sulzberger, the message was "The Times" remained solidly behind her. And that's what is told CNN's Lou Dobbs.

JUDITH MILLER, "NEW YORK TIMES" REPORTER: Every person at "The New York Times," just about, sent me a letter, a postcard, an e-mail to tell me know that they were thinking about me. And it made such a difference.

WALLACE: But oh how things suddenly changed. In a memo to the staff last week, portions of which were presented in "The New York Times," executive editor Bill Keller said, "if I had known the details of Judy's entanglement with Libby, (Lewis Scooter Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff) I'd have been more careful in how the paper articulated its defense."

Miller fired back in a memo she released to "The Times." "As for your reference to my entanglement with Mr. Libby," she said, "I had no personal, social or other relationship with him except as a source."

Then this weekend, it got even uglier. In a controversial column, Maureen Dowd called her colleague a "woman of mass destruction." Wondering if Miller's time in jail was, "in part a career rehabilitation project." Dowd bluntly told Don Imus (ph) that her attack on Miller had nothing to do with how she feels about her.

DON IMUS: But it seems personal.

MAUREEN DOWD, "NEW YORK TIMES": No, it wasn't. That's why I was trying to say, I like her. It's not they say in the "Godfather," it's business, it's not personal.

WALLACE: Media observers say it's extremely unusual for a news organization to publicly attack one of its own.

PAUL LEVINSON, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR: The viciousness of the attacks, the depth of the sarcasm of Maureen Dowd's column, what purpose does that serve? Why say that? WALLACE: It is just the latest crisis to stir up "The Times" news room. Two years ago, the paper was humiliated after a young reporter, Jayson Blair, was exposed fabricating stories. Then last year, the paper admitted stories alleging Iraq had weapons of mass destruction were wrong. Many were written by Miller herself, but only embolding her critics inside "The Times."

GABRIEL SHERMAN, REPORTER, NEW YORK OBSERVER: Judith Miller has a long history at "The New York Times" with questions surrounding her. And I think this has brought a lot of that prior history to the forefront.

WALLACE: But even some of Miller's biggest critics say some of the blame for the anger inside the news room should rest with the management of the paper itself.

GREG MITCHELL, EDITOR & PUBLISHER MAGAZINE: Judy, who called herself Ms. Rumamuck (ph), was being allowed to rumamuck again and I think that's where the resentment was aimed at the leadership at the paper.

WALLACE: "The New York Times" and Judith Miller decline to comment for our story. Talks between the two sides about her departure, sources say, are at a standstill, leaving so many questions still unanswered about why "The New York Times," which actively supported Miller only weeks ago, now wants her to go.

Kelly Wallace, CNN, New York.


VERJEE: "Times" Editor Bill Keller may be under fire himself. He replaced Howell Raines, who resigned over the Jayson Blair mess.


MILES O'BRIEN: All right, just to recap the piece of news we've been sharing with you this morning, this comes to us through Bob Franker, our Kelli Arena, our producer Kevin Bone (ph) who have been working on this. President Bush' top political strategist, Karl Rove, deputy chief of staff, will not receive an indictment today, Friday, from that federal grand jury that's been probing the CIA leak situation for the past 22 months. He will, however, remain under investigation. Implying there will be an extension of that grand jury potentially.

Meanwhile, in the case of Lewis Scooter Libby, just the opposite. The possibility there has been told to prepare for the possibility of an indictment. We're watching it for you and we will keep you posted.


VERJEE: Miles, still ahead on the program, now's the time really to start planning your dream retirement. But how do you make sure that a natural disaster doesn't wipe everything out? That's next.


VERJEE: Whether you're in your 40s or nearing retirement age, it's never too early to think about protecting your most important investment, your home. That's a lesson many people along the Gulf Coast have learned the hard way. CNN's Personal Finance Editor Gerri Willis joins us now as we continue our series on retirement planning.


GERRI WILLIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Good to see you, Zain.

What if you lose your home when you can least afford it? When you've already retired? That's what happened to the Heisser's of New Orleans.


WILLIS, (voice over): Ray and Joan Heisser are used to living the good life.

RAY HEISSER, KATRINA EVACUEE: My idea of retirement was to retire, enjoy my house on the lake, enjoy my friends, my family, and also have something as far as a nest egg for my grandkids, for their education.

WILLIS: After 38 years at Xerox and AT&T, Ray thought he was set. And with Joan's savings from her career in real estate, they were ready to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

JOAN HEISSER, KATRINA EVACUEE: The ultimate dream retirement for me in my mind was my home. I'm a home person. I love my family.

WILLIS: But instead of the dream, they now have only memories since their Lakeview home and most of their possessions were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

JOAN HEISSER: This is the building that we stayed at for the past three days.

WILLIS: This video was shot by Joan two days after Katrina hit New Orleans.

RAY HEISSER: In situations like that, I hope I never have to face that again. But you just you're concerned about living, you know? The hell with things. It's about living.

WILLIS: Ray and Joan are now living in Las Vegas temporarily, taking care of relatives with fewer assets and more debts. As they try to plan a very different future, Ray and Joan say their biggest frustration is settling their insurance claim. The Heisser's say their home was worth at least $400,000 and they have the records to prove it. Their insurance company was offering much less.

RAY HEISSER: We know what's in our policy. We've always taken care of our business. We've always paid our bills on time. WILLIS: Their insurer say they are still working with the Heisser's to address their concerns.

JOAN HEISSER: It feels like you just have no control. You have to solely depend upon someone else for your future.

RAY HEISSER: Whether we could rebuild and replace what we had, I don't think we can do that. It would take 29 more years that I probably don't have. But we can come pretty close.


WILLIS: Unfortunately, what happened to the Heisser's is not all that uncommon. Retirees in Florida and other Gulf Coast states face similar problems. But they don't necessarily have to downsize their retirement dream.

VERJEE: What if you're like the Heisser's and you find yourself disagreeing with the insurance company and you just can't come to some middle ground and some sort of agreement? What do you do?

WILLIS: Well, it's not all that uncommon. As we've seen, a lot of people disagree with their insurer. What you can do is hire a public insurer. Now they're not cheep. They're going to cost you 5 to 15 percent of your settlement with the insurance company. But what they can do is argue on your behalf. And you can find one yourself at the association's Web site,

VERJEE: Gerri Willis, always good to see you. Thank you.

WILLIS: Thank you.

VERJEE: Thank you so much.

Now in our next hour, we're going to bring you the final part of our retirement series. People in their 40s and 50s are often called the sandwich generation, taking care of both of their parents and their children. We're going to take a look at how to avoid being overwhelmed by the financial responsibilities.


MILES O'BRIEN: Thank you, Zain.

Coming up, a popular discount airline may be singing its swan song. Andy has the lowdown in "Minding Your Business" next on AMERICAN MORNING.


MILES O'BRIEN: Well, a little while ago, Delta Airlines, with great fan fare, came up with their kind of answer to JetBlue, Song. Andy Serwer is here to tell us about Song, Song blue.

ANDY SERWER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The song doesn't remain the same. MILES O'BRIEN: Please, go on.

SERWER: We could, but we won't.

Here's what's going on. Delta, which is bankrupt, remember, introduced this discount carrier, within a carrier, Song, trying out different techniques, different ways of doing business. Now it appears they will shut it down.

But, what they will do, Miles, is draw on the lessons learned from Song, such as, back of the seat TV screens, satellite TV, which I like. Fewer fare levels, which I like. Zany flight attendants, which I did not like. They used to sing to you and do all these kind of wacky things. I mean, do you remember any of that stuff?

MILES O'BRIEN: I remember. And the emergency briefings, really stupid.

SERWER: Yes. We don't appreciate that stuff.

MILES O'BRIEN: Fake British accents and all that stuff. Zain would have hated it.

SERWER: Yes, she would. And she would have outed them. She would have known that they were fake.

MILES O'BRIEN: That's fake. That's a fake British accent.

VERJEE: Oh, sorry (ph).

MILES O'BRIEN: Better stop with it, will you.

VERJEE: Off with his head!

SERWER: Oh, God, all right, enough of this.

Can we talk about the markets quickly?

MILES O'BRIEN: Please do. Please do.

SERWER: I mean this is some real stuff here.

Yesterday, stocks sank, they stank. They dropped. And you can see here, all over the place. The GM investigation, Washington troubles there, economic reports lousy. So this morning, the futures are mixed, though, I have to report.

MILES O'BRIEN: Yes, pretty stanky there, that's for sure.


MILES O'BRIEN: Thank you very much.

In a moment, no more Harriet Miers to kick around. So who's next in line for the Supreme Court nomination? We'll ask Senator Orrin Hatch ahead on AMERICAN MORNING. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


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