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President Bush Comments on Phone Database Report; Your Phone Records; Tax Cut Reality Check; Camping In

Aired May 11, 2006 - 10:59   ET


DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. I'm Daryn Kagan. Welcome to the second hour of CNN LIVE TODAY.
The next time you "reach out and touch someone," the government may know about it. And some lawmakers are outraged about that. A report about the National Security Agency's latest activity is causing a stir on Capitol Hill this morning. A newspaper says the agency is tracking domestic phone calls.


SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: We need to know what our government is doing in its activities to spy upon Americans. If we're unwilling to do this and unwilling to require these answers, then this Congress, this Republican leadership, ought to admit they have failed in their responsibility to the American government.



SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: This is not somewhere where the president or the intelligence community is running -- running like a rogue elephant across -- trampling our civil liberties. I think we ought to lower our language and our rhetoric a little bit and be conscious of what's at stake. And what's at stake is the safety and security of the American people.


KAGAN: So what touched off the debate is a report in "USA Today." The paper says the National Security Agency has been secretly collecting phone records on tens of millions of Americans. It says three major telecoms are giving the government information: AT&T, BellSouth and Verizon. Qwest reportedly refused to help.

The paper says the program does not involve listening to or recording conversations, just tracking calls. The idea, to analyze calling patterns to detect terrorist activity. The paper says the NSA's domestic program is more expansive than the White House has acknowledged. Neither the White House nor the NSA would discuss the problem.

Our national security correspondent, David Ensor, joins me now with more details.

David let's start with this idea: What would the NSA, if indeed this is true, hope to learn by collecting this information?

DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's just say, Daryn, for example, that I am -- I'm David Ensor and I talk on the telephone to Mohammed Somebody in Egypt. My -- it then becomes interesting to the government to know who else I've talked to.

If I am talking to people in the United States who might be connected to this Mohammed guy, there might be -- with the pattern of the calls, it might be possible to track down someone who is planning terrorism in this country. So that would be the reason for the interest, to look for the pattern. This is not about bugging people's phones, but about looking for patterns of phone calls that might lead to potential terrorists.

KAGAN: Of course this is not the first time that this type of program has come under fire from the NSA.

ENSOR: No, that's right. And, you know, we cannot confirm the information that you just reported that "USA Today" is saying, that there are three phone companies helping, one has declined to, and so forth. But the fact that the United States government has been very interested in trying to track terrorist communications, wherever they may lead since 9/11, is certainly not news.

That is something that has been very much worked on since 9/11. And it's not surprising, really, to hear, since we knew that historically the phone company has helped national security agencies in the U.S. government before, to hear that they're helping in this additional way.

The question is, are any laws being broken here? And that is something that senators are debating even as we speak -- Dana (sic).

KAGAN: It's Daryn.

ENSOR: Excuse me.

KAGAN: That's a compliment to call me Dana. She's a great lady.

But it's interesting timing, because you have the former NSA chief, General Michael Hayden, who's been nominated to head up the CIA. Those confirmation hearings are supposed to start as early as Tuesday, when the whole wiretapping issue will most definitely come to light.

ENSOR: It is indeed. This is very unfortunate timing from the point of view of General Michael Hayden, who, of course, as you said, has been nominated to be CIA director and was the National Security Agency director when 9/11 happened. So he was -- it was on his watch that the warrantless surveillance program that has already been reported in the past and is so controversial was instituted. And presumably, if this program was a sister to that in a way, it came under his watch as well.

So this is not going to make that confirmation process any easier. KAGAN: It will be interesting, nonetheless.

David Ensor from Washington.

Thank you.

ENSOR: Thank you.

KAGAN: CNN "Security Watch" keeps you up to date on safety. Stay tuned day and night for the most reliable news about your security.

Now let's talk about cutting taxes and raising hopes. President Bush and GOP lawmakers are placing their bets on tax cuts this election year. Right now the Senate is debating a $70 billion package. A final vote could come today. The House has already passed the measure, and President Bush is ready and waiting to sign it.

Taxpayers have one question about the tax cut bill: "What's in it for me?"

CNN Senior National Correspondent John Roberts has a reality check on the bottom line.


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN SR. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Another giveaway to the rich is how Democrats put it.

REP. ALCEE HASTINGS (D), FLORIDA: That amounts to just a little bit more than a tank of gas.

ROBERTS: Just the tonic the economy needs, according to Republicans.

REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: It's something that's important to keep this economy coming.

ROBERTS: So who is right? According to the moderately liberal Tax Policy Institute, low-income earners, $20,000 to $30,000 a year, will have their taxes reduced by about $9; $50,000 to $75,000, $110; $100,000 to $200,000, just shy of $1,400. But if you make over $1 million, you'll save a whopping $42,000.

LEN BURNHAM, TAX POLICY INSTITUTE: You'd expect, of course, the tax cut to be bigger for higher income people. But even as a share of income, it grows. The higher the income is, the larger the tax cut is as a share of income.

ROBERTS: So, are tax cuts good for the economy? Congress has been slicing tax rates for five years. GDP is humming along. The Dow is flirting with record territory.

BURNHAM: Well, the stock market was last in record territory in the late 1990s, when tax rates on capital gains were higher than they are now. ROBERTS: But what has even nonpartisan observers really ticked off is what they call a revenue-raising gimmick to keep the cost of the bill below $70 billion, a price tag Republicans could pass with a simple majority. It would allow investors to convert traditional IRAs funded with pre-tax dollars into so-called Roth IRAs by paying taxes on the account's investment gains. The bill's supporters say it will raise almost $6.5 billion over the next 10 years, but because Roth IRAs grow tax-free, in the decades after that, critic say, it will cost the government some $35 billion.

STEVE ELLIS, TAXPAYERS FOR COMMON SENSE: This is all about taking care of the now and forgetting the future. This is denying future generations some of the tax revenue that they were anticipating to help pay for the cost of government then.

ROBERTS (on camera): How does that tax cut break down across the country? The liberal National Women's Law Center says just two-tenths of one percent of all American households will get back that $42,000. The vast majority, more than 77 percent, 113 million households, will get back an average of 30 bucks.

John Roberts, CNN, Washington.


KAGAN: This just in to CNN from Toledo, Ohio. The case of the Roman Catholic priest who was accused of killing a nun 26 years ago, that murder trial has now reached a verdict. The jury has. When we find out what the verdict is, we will tell you right here on CNN. But it's the Reverend Gerald Robinson who is accused of killing Sister Margaret Ann Pahl 26 years ago.

He helped rescue victims of Hurricane Betsy. A generation later, Katrina turned his own life upside down. A New Orleans man is living in a tent inside what's left of his house. He's been waiting weeks for the keys to his government trailer.

The story now from reporter Bill Capo of our from affiliate WWL.


BILL CAPO, REPORTER, WWL (voice over): With the hiss of a zipper, Ed Wragge enters his bedroom. At age 71, he's sleeping on a cot inside a tent that has been pitched in a room of his gutted Gentilly home. The tent keeps the insects away so he can sleep at night. But it is not peaceful rest, not since Hurricane Katrina wrecked his life.

ED WRAGGE, KATRINA SURVIVOR: It's been real frustrating. I give up. The government should do away with people. I don't know what to do.

CAPO: He has no kitchen, so he eats meals from cans, drinks bottled water. There's no bathroom. Yet, outside his home sits the FEMA trailer he asked for since October. He said it's been here seven weeks but he's not gotten the keys yet. He had been staying with friends but can't any longer.

WRAGGE: I got to sleep in this house. I have no place else to stay. Everybody died. They died on me.

CAPO: Before he bought the tent, Ed slept in his car, which he says was even worse.

WRAGGE: I'm too tall. I can't stretch out my legs.

CAPO: There is still mold in the house that Ed says he and his nephew are gutting. He's lived here since 1960, and his parents before him, and says this is the first flood. Among the belongings he's trying to save are the water-damaged uniforms that Sergeant Ed Wragge wore in the 1960s and when Hurricane Betsy struck New Orleans, he was on duty.

WRAGGE: I was a National Guard sergeant. The first few days I was in the water, I tell you, I got too cold, and I started driving a truck, rescuing people. I had the uniform on. I had to do my duty.

CAPO (on camera): How many people did you rescue?

WRAGGE: I don't know. Hundreds.

CAPO (on camera): The reason he hasn't been given the keys yet is easy to spot. There's no power to the trailer. So since he called the action line, I've had several conversations with FEMA and I've also called the contractor and asked them to make this situation a priority. Officials at FEMA tell me they're working on it.

WRAGGE: It would be a lifesaver to be able to sleep in a tent. I'm making do.

CAPO (voice over): Hopefully he won't have to make do much longer.

I'm Bill Capo, Eyewitness News, Action reporter.


KAGAN: And once again, we want to get to this breaking news story out of Toledo, Ohio. The Roman Catholic priest accused of murdering a nun 26 years ago, the verdict is in.

With more on that, let's go to Carol Lin -- Carol.

CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: Daryn, the defense -- rather, the prosecution was saying that Sister Margaret Ann Pahl was stabbed 31 times. She was humiliated right before her death, and the man charged with the crime, the verdict is on a Roman Catholic priest.

We're going to go to Keith Oppenheim, straight to Toledo, Ohio, on this.

Keith, the verdict in. When are we going to hear it? KEITH OPPENHEIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In 15 minutes from now, Carol, the verdict will be read in open court. Keep in mind that this jury of 12 deliberated four hours yesterday. That's when they got the case yesterday, and this morning, just for a couple of hours, until just about 10 minutes ago, when we heard that the verdict is in.

This trial lasted for three weeks. And during the trial, the prosecution tried to make a connection between the priest and witnesses who said that they saw Father Robinson near or at the crime scene at the time of the crime. They also tried to make a connection between forensic evidence and a dagger-shaped letter opener that prosecutors say is the murder weapon.

The defense has said that the -- or has questioned whether the letter opener is the murder weapon. Instead, indicated they believe that a scissors, a pair of scissors might have killed Sister Margaret Ann Pahl back in 1980. And they also said some evidence had been contaminated by forensic scientists who were working for the state.

Again, in about 15, 20 minutes from now, we'll know what the verdict is in this very unusual case. Never before, as far as we can tell, has a priest in the United States been charged with -- in the murder of a nun. And we'll see whether the jury feels that they had enough physical evidence to determine that this priest committed this murder or whether they didn't feel that they had enough at all.

Back to you.

LIN: Keith, because as you said, that the DNA evidence wasn't linked. I mean, the DNA under the sister's fingernails was not linked to Father Robinson, and that they were not able to link him also to some of her undergarments that had been removed. So what -- what was the sense in the courtroom of how -- what the jury would hang their decision on?

OPPENHEIM: Well, the two sides made very different plays about DNA. I mean, first of all, the prosecution had no DNA directly linking the priest to the victim. So that was something that they didn't have to play with.

On the other hand, there were a couple of samples of DNA, very small samples found under fingernails and in undergarments that the defense pointed out had male chromosomes found in the DNA that were not linked to the priest. So the defense said, hey, look, the priest could not be implicated by this DNA.

The prosecution said that DNA is -- they are such small samples, and this nun worked in a hospital, she shook hands with people, she had very regular contact with people throughout the day. And that's what -- that's where most likely those DNA samples came from.

LIN: All right. We'll see whether they're going to base it on hard evidence or eyewitness testimony.

Keith Oppenheim, we'll be watching. We'll be coming back to you in about 10 minutes. Daryn, a crime that was committed 26 years ago, so gruesome. And you wonder -- this is a man who presided over her funeral. So the chief suspect here, and we're going to get a verdict in about 10 minutes.

KAGAN: Yes. And I understand there is a camera in the courtroom. We will actually show that as it unfolds and as the verdict is read.

Carol, thank you.

Movie-goers will sit elbow to elbow to see this, the Da Vinci divisions. The heart and soul of that story is ahead on CNN LIVE TODAY.

And changing faces. America's big population shift may mean changing leadership as well. The political impact of immigration is ahead.


KAGAN: Well, one logjam has been broken, but hard work remains on immigration reform. Just moments ago we learned that Senate leaders have reached a deal to revive a broad immigration bill. This comes after massive immigrant rallies, boycotts and protests.

The Associated Press reports the Senate will begin debating the bill next week. Lawmakers hope to pass it by Memorial Day. And then comes critical Senate-House negotiations.

The House passed a tough reform bill last December. Under that bill, millions of illegal immigrants would face felony charges and deportation.

Well, we told you it was coming, and now it's under way. An Arizona posse has hit the trail in search of illegal immigrants. There are 250 members of the posse. They include deputies and trained civilian reservists. The group is patrolling the Phoenix area roads and desert under the orders of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

You might recall the tough-talking lawman told us right here on this show last week that a new state law he believes empowers local authorities to detain suspected illegal immigrants.

Minority or majority? Is it America's future? An Hispanic population boom is changing the U.S. landscape now. Later it may change the political future.

CNN's Chris Lawrence has the story from "THE SITUATION ROOM".


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The latest census report shows minority groups make up about a third of the U.S. population. But nearly half the children under five years old are racial or ethnic minorities. Most of that growth is fueled by a booming Hispanic population.

PROF. MARK SAWYER, UCLA: Immigrants are no longer clustering on the coasts. They are moving into the Midwest, Illinois, Iowa, states like that are taking large numbers of immigrants.

LAWRENCE: And they are going south to Florida and North Carolina. Red states like Georgia and Texas are receiving some of the largest numbers.

SAWYER: They are concerned about education, health care. They believe the government should play a role in it. That potentially means that many red states may turn blue, particularly those that still have a large African-American population.

LAWRENCE: UCLA professor Mark Sawyer says demographics change, so does the way politicians get elected.

SAWYER: On the West Coast, you see African-American politicians making a concerted effort to reach out to Hispanic, Latino communities.

LAWRENCE: These demographic changes are years away from having their full impact. But it effects today's political strategy. Especially among Republicans. Some of whom favor a crackdown on immigration.

SAWYER: Others are saying they need to be more careful, because they are worried they may alienate a large group of future voters.

LAWRENCE: Sawyer says Republicans running in November will have a tough choice. Appeal to today's registered voters or worry about tomorrow's.

SAWYER: Facing the issues of Iraq, the corruption, they need issues that appeal to their base. So, it's going to be difficult to see weather they choose short term or long term.

LAWRENCE (on camera): Here in California, the Republican Party says it's trying to win the next election, not 20 years down the road. Officials say you don't even know what issues will be on the table then.

By contrast, the California Democratic Party called the census report a wakeup call. They say they're trying to increase efforts like registering voters at swearing-in ceremonies.

Chris Lawrence, CNN, Los Angeles.


KAGAN: And Chris is part of the best political team on television. See more of his stories on "THE SITUATION ROOM," weekdays, 4:00 Eastern, and again in prime time at 7:00.

The scoop, the skinny, the lowdown, we all want to know about our favorite celebrities. And this woman knows why. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How can you not be nosy about people that are fascinating to look at as Jen, Brad and Angelina? How can you not?


KAGAN: She's got a point. Go behind the scenes with Hollywood's hunters of gossip and scandal ahead on LIVE TODAY.



RYAN SEACREST, "AMERICAN IDOL": A lot of people predicted, Chris, that you could be the next American Idol.


SEACREST: Chris, you are going home tonight. The journey ends.


KAGAN: How about those looks of disbelief? Millions of jaws dropped last night. "American Idol" contestant Chris Daughtry was sent packing.

As you heard, many people thought the 26-year-old rocker could become the next American Idol. Even the judges seemed stunned. His exit whittles the field down to three.

We'll be watching.

The hunters and the hunted. Parazzi, tabloids, gossip blogs, the chase is on for the biggest stars in the world. This weekend, our documentary series "CNN PRESENTS" looks at our obsession with the bad and the beautiful.

Here's a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A couple of the guys were doing the stakeout at Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's house in Malibu, and apparently Jolie is on the move.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The hunt is on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to get on the 405 and go 405 south.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you still south PCH?

PHILLIPS: The prey, red-hot actress Angelina Jolie.

I'll be there. Just keep me updated. PHILLIPS: Then, a 26-year-old photographer who works for one of the biggest paparazzi agencies in Hollywood, Ben Griffin (ph), he's asked us not to use his last name.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Probably nothing. There's absolutely nothing. I'm coming behind you. No cops anywhere.

The 405 is right here. The 10 is going to be right here. And she's like right here on the 10 going this way.

I'm trying to catch up as fast as I can, Ralph (ph). Give me your location. You guys pass West Channel (ph) yet?



PHILLIPS: Ben (ph) is coordinating with two other paparazzi from his agency hot on Angelina's tail. He finally catches up, but he's on the wrong side of the freeway.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's all the competition right there.

Copy that. I just saw you guys go by.

That is funny.

PHILLIPS: Paparazzi aren't the only ones desperately seeking Angelina.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's not fitting into her clothes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's not fitting into her clothes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, that happens.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She hates her body. She hates -- you know, the hormones raging. She's very uncomfortable.

PHILLIPS: "Star" magazine's Bonnie Fuller (ph) is chasing down any salacious tidbits on the actress, her Hollywood hunk boyfriend, and the girl next door he left behind.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I like this, Jennifer is turning to hypnosis.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Therapy to get over Brad. That's fabulous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we'll be working on that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, how can you not be nosy about people that are fascinating to look at as a Jen, a Brad and an Angelina? How can you not?

PHILLIPS: Over at "People" magazine, managing editor Larry Hackett (ph) is salivating over a scoop Jolie's camp is promising.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got the call in the morning that something was going to be discussed. And then I got the call about what was being discussed. I was thrilled.

PHILLIPS: And Mark Lisanti, the blogger behind the Internet gossip site, is snarking about official word that Angelina is pregnant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But once you get a publicist's real name on something, you know, it then becomes reality and we could all rejoice and start knitting the baby booties.


KAGAN: Well, this weekend you'll have four chances to catch "Chasing Angelina: Paparazzi and Celebrity Obsession." "CNN PRESENTS" airs this weekend, Saturday and Sunday night at 8:00 and 11:00 p.m. Eastern only here on CNN.

Movie-goers will soon sit elbow to elbow to see this, the Da Vinci division. The heart and soul of the story on CNN LIVE TODAY.

Also, any minute we expect out of Toledo, Ohio, a verdict is in on the case of the Roman Catholic priest accused of killing a nun 26 years ago. You'll see that verdict read live here on CNN.

Right now a quick break.


KAGAN: A drill turns into real life drama. It was caught on tape. This Russian helicopter was taking part in an emergency- response exercise today. But the rescue crew in training had to be rescued. A rotor blade hit the water, causing the chopper to crash. All 13 people aboard were rescued. The pilot died on the way to the hospital.

"The Da Vinci Code," probably the most anticipated film of the summer blockbuster season. It is based on the bestselling novel and stars one of the most bankable actors. But it also faces criticism from the Catholic Church. How much? Well, that's debatable, even inside the Vatican.

Rome bureau chief Alessio Vinci explains.


ALESSIO VINCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We don't know what the pope thinks of "The Da Vinci Code." The Vatican would never dignify the plot with a papal comment. But what church officials think of it is clear. Or is it?

REV. JOSEPH DI NOIA, VATICAN OFFICIAL: It's a very serious attack on not only the church, but on the divinity of Christ. MSGR. ROBERT SARNO, VATICAN OFFICIAL: I don't think "The Da Vinci Code" is an attack on the church. I think it's a great novel that was, I found, very gripping and interesting to read.

VINCI: OK. At the Vatican, some liked it, others did not. But those who didn't are seriously offended. Cardinal Frances Arinze (ph) a Nigerian, considered last year a possible successor to John Paul II. He urged Christians around the world to take legal action against those who show disrespect for religious beliefs and Jesus.

Other church officials called for a boycott of the movie. Although inside the Vatican, they say a boycott wouldn't be official policy.

DI NOIA: I mean, the church is not going to ask for an official boycott of anything. You know, I mean -- but I suppose people might choose -- it might be helpful to choose not to see the film, for example, but I can't imagine an official boycott.

VINCI (on camera): Will you see the movie?

DI NOIA: I don't know.

VINCI: You don't know?

DI NOIA: I don't know. I haven't made up my mind yet.

VINCI (voice-over): What concerns Vatican officials the most is the claim that the book is based on historical facts. But some churchmen in Rome see the debate surrounding "The Da Vinci Code" as an opportunity to speak to a wider public.

REV. GREG APPARCEL, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST: It's part of our responsibility to educate people as to what the church says and actually teaches about the origins of the church, about how the gospels were formed, about the creator and all that. And I think we need to do a little bit more of that than we have been doing.

VINCI: If "The Da Vinci Code" intent is to provoke debate, it certainly has here in Rome, especially when this giant poster of the movie appeared on the facade of a church under renovation. It outraged several clergymen who considered the ad blatant provocation.

(on camera): As you can see the poster is no longer visible, but there is no great conspiracy behind the disappearance. The truth is that this church is owned by the Italian government. And as a sign perhaps of how much influence can the Vatican at times exercise in this country, government officials agreed to cover it up.

(voice-over): Dan Brown was recently cleared of plagiarism charges in Britain. But here in Rome, it feels as if the author will remain on permanent trial.

Alessio Vinci, CNN, Rome.


KAGAN: Let's get to the hour's top story. New questions and more controversy today over domestic spying, which spans from a story about the government tracking phone calls. "USA Today" says the National Security Agency has been secretly collected phone records on tens of millions of Americans. The paper says AT&T, Bell South and Verizon are providing the NSA with records. According to the report, the program does not involve listening to or recording conversations. Instead, calls are tracked to analyze patterns to detect any terrorist activities.

Our congressional correspondent Andrea Koppel joins me with more on the story live from Capitol Hill.

Andrea, hello.


Well, as you might imagine, there has been immediate reaction, outrage expressed on the part of many Democrats, especially, to the news on the front page of the "USA Today." In fact, we can see pictures within the Judiciary Committee of the top Democrat, Patrick Leahy from Vermont, passing the copy of the USA -- I'm sorry. It was Patrick Kennedy -- Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts holding up the newspaper, "The USA Today," holding it up to the chairman of the committee, saying, you know, basically pointing to the headline. And we've heard comments now from the chairman of the committee, saying that we are going -- that the committee is probably going to have to call some of these telephone companies, some of the telecoms to the -- there you see Arlen Specter -- to testify before the Judiciary Committee.

Let's take a listen.


SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (R), JUDICIARY CHAIRMAN: We will be calling upon AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, as well as others, to see some of the underlying facts. When we can't find out from the Department of Justice or other administration officials, we're going to call on those telephone companies to provide information, to try to figure out exactly what is going on.

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: Shame on us, in being so far behind and being so willing to rubber stamp anything this administration does. The Republican-controlled Congress refuses to ask questions. And so we have to pick up the paper to find out what is going on.


KOPPEL: Now the timing of this report in "USA Today" couldn't have come at a worse time for General Michael Hayden, President Bush's choice to head up the CIA. He's supposed to have hearings next week before that same committee, the Judiciary Committee. And he's been making the rounds up here on the Hill.

Remember Hayden, before he went over to the DNI, was actually heading up the National Security Agency and was one of the architects, helped develop that highly controversial eavesdropping program.

It's one of the questions that Arlen Specter said that he was going to be talking with Hayden, when he met with him last night, to try to get more answers about this. And in fact, Arlen Specter, a Republican, had even left open the possibility he might throw up additional hurdles to the Hayden nomination if he didn't get the answers he wanted.

Now, as you can imagine, there have been others who have raised questions about this, including one of the rare Democrats to have come out publicly very soon after the announcement on Friday. Dianne Feinstein of California, who you see there, met with General Hayden earlier this week.

And now listen to what Dianne Feinstein is saying about the Hayden nomination.


SEN. DIANE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: I happen to believe we're on our way to a major constitutional confrontation on Fourth Amendment guarantees of unreasonable search and seizure. And I think this is also going to present a growing impediment to the confirmation of General Hayden, and I think that is very regretted.


KOPPEL: General Hayden was supposed to be back up here today, Daryn, meeting with, among others, Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Republican. That meeting was abruptly canceled by the White House. No reason was given -- Daryn.

KAGAN: All right, Andrea, thank you.

We're also hearing out of the White House, by the way, that President Bush plans to make remarks on this. Apparently this cover story in "USA Today" has gotten the president's attention as well. And he plans to make remarks on this at the top of the hour, in about 20 minutes. You'll see that live right here on CNN.

Meanwhile, let's get some more news in. One humanitarian crisis leads to another. Hundreds of thousands feeling the impact. A story you need to know about and you're only going to see it here on CNN. LIVE TODAY with this CNN exclusive just ahead.


KAGAN: Two developing stories we're keeping our eye on right now. President Bush, at the top of the hour, is expected to make remarks about this story breaking in "USA Today" today, saying that the NSA has a massive database of Americans' phone calls. Meanwhile, let's go to Toledo, Ohio. A verdict is in. This is the case of the Roman Catholic priest accused of killing a nun 26 years ago in a hospital chapel. Apparently, according to the prosecution that's saying that the priest would be angered over her domineering ways.

OK. Our Keith Oppenheim is there in Toledo, Ohio, to tell us more about this case and the verdict that we're standing by to hear -- Keith.

KEITH OPPENHEIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In just moments, we -- hi, Daryn. In just moments, we should hear what the verdict is in this Toledo courtroom. This trial has lasted for three weeks. And in essence, what happened was in 1980, a nun, 71-year-old Margaret Ann Pahl, was found dead in a chapel of a Toledo hospital. And at the time, the priest at the hospital, Father Gerald Robinson -- stand by, I think we're hearing a verdict coming right now...

KAGAN: Let's listen in.

OPPENHEIM: ... and I think we want to turn to that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this your signature and does this reflect your verdict?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ms. Palmer (ph), is this your signature and does this reflect your verdict?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Martin, is this your signature and does this reflect your verdict?

Oh, Ms. West.

When do you want to proceed with sentencing? Anything from counsel?


Does the defendant wish to say anything?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, your honor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Statute in effect in 1980 is the same as it is today, and that is -- and I'll -- stating the code section, whoever is convicted or pleads guilty to murder in violation of Section 29-03- 02 of the Ohio revised code shall be in prison for an indefinite term of 15 years for life. The court imposes the life imprisonment pursuant to that code section.

Mr. Robinson, you have 30 days from today's date to appeal my decision on sentencing. If you can't afford a lawyer, I can have a lawyer appointed to represent you. Do you need a lawyer to represent you in your appeal?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Anything further from defense counsel?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anything further from prosecution?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. We'll stand adjourned and I will speak with the jurors in the back. Thank you very much.

KAGAN: And so I would say there you have it, but we came to it a little bit late. But the verdict is guilty in the case of Reverend Gerald Robinson, accused. Twenty-six years ago this murder took place. Sister Margaret Ann Pahl. The mandatory sentence is life in prison.

And let's go back to our Keith Oppenheim, who's in Toledo and has been covering this case. Why did it take so long for justice to be done here, Keith?

OPPENHEIM: Well, it was sort of a stunning case. And we have a somewhat stunning verdict now, Daryn. In 1980 is when the crime took place, 26 years ago. And at the time, Father Gerald Robinson, who was a chaplain at the Toledo Hospital where Sister Margaret Ann Pahl worked and was murdered, he was questioned and was a suspect, but was never charged. At the time, police and prosecutors did not believe they had enough evidence to pursue a case.

Then, nearly 24 years later, cold case investigators took another look and they believed they found a match between a bloodstain at the crime scene on an altar cloth and a dagger-shaped letter opener that prosecutors alleged was the murder weapon and belonged to Father Robinson. In this three-week trial, the defense tried hard to show that that letter opener was not the murder weapon. They suggested -- the defense attorneys suggested that perhaps scissors, a pair of scissors, had killed Sister Margaret Ann Pahl.

But the prosecution tried to weave a story based on forensic evidence, based on witnesses who were able to place Father Robinson near the crime scene, and they clearly did a very convincing job. The defense also were -- did -- the defense lawyers did a good job of trying to poke holes in the story, which was old, based on a case where there was no DNA evidence that linked the priest to the victim.

But despite that, this jury of seven women and five men took six hours and 25 minutes to determine that they believe that this priest is the only person who could have committed this crime a long time ago.

KAGAN: Has the priest been in custody during the trial? It sounds like he's free to go for 30 days at this point.

OPPENHEIM: I want to double-check to see if he's free to go right now. You may be right about that. But up until this point, he has been free, out on bond. One of the strange things in this small town of Toledo is that he lives right near the police substation where he was questioned and ultimately charged with murder, where the process began. And so he's been staying at home, up throughout this trial.

KAGAN: And the little bit of the verdict where it was actually read, I think we have that on tape. We're going to go ahead and listen to it. Here we go.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We, the jury -- will the defendant rise? Find the defendant guilty of murder.

I'm going to poll the jury now.

Ms. Calmwell (ph), is this your signature and does this reflect your verdict?

Mr. Palger (ph), is this your signature and does this reflect your verdict?


KAGAN: The judge goes ahead and polls the jury after that. So you could hear reaction in the courtroom. But, Keith, the reaction on the priest's face, you didn't really see it there.

OPPENHEIM: I'm sorry. Repeat your question again, Daryn.

KAGAN: When the verdict was read, you could hear gasps and reaction in the courtroom, but when you looked at Father Robinson's face, you really didn't really see any reaction from him from the verdict.

OPPENHEIM: I should tell you my satellite truck operator was watching a monitor in his truck and he indicated that Father Robinson was taken away in handcuffs. So it would appear from that he is in custody, which would be normal procedure after someone has been convicted of murder. So that answers that, at least, for the moment.

KAGAN: Yes. But in terms of his reaction, he looked rather passive in the moments following the verdict. Has that been the case during the trial?

OPPENHEIM: Very much so. I was not in the courtroom. One of our producers is in there and I've been standing here. But he's had a very sort of passive face as he has been sitting at the defense table, watching all the events in front of him. And I would not be surprised if that is the kind of expression that he had. You don't see a lot of reaction from Father Gerald Robinson.

KAGAN: Keith Oppenheim, live from Toledo. Thank you.

Once again, the verdict just in the murder trial. The murder taking place 26 years ago. Father Gerald Robinson found guilty in the murder of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl.

Standing by, President Bush expected to make comments at the top of the hour about this report that the NSA has within collecting a database, a massive database of American phone calls. You'll see those comments live here on CNN. Right now, a quick break.


KAGAN: Developing story out of the White House. Within the next 10 minutes, we expect President Bush to leave the White House. He is headed to the Gulf Coast today. As he does that, he's expected to stop and make some comments. A story that is gathering steam today, the story that was on the front page of "USA Today," about the NSA having a massive database of Americans' phone calls.

Our Ed Henry, White House correspondent, standing by, to give us a little clue about what we might hear from the president in the next few minutes -- Ed.

HENRY: Good morning, Daryn.

That's right. A senior administration official saying the president will make a relatively short statement. He's likely to take any questions from reporters, and he will not confirm or deny the contents of this "USA Today" report, as you mentioned, that the National Security Agency is collecting the phone records of tens of millions of Americans as part of this domestic-surveillance program. We had obviously known some of the details of this program, clearly not all of them, certainly not the operational details. This one key new piece that has developed this morning. We're hearing from a senior administration official the reason why the president wants to get out there, is he wants to explain to the American people exactly what we are and are not doing in terms of fighting terrorism, but also in terms of protecting civil liberties.

Obviously the biggest concern arising here from this story is whether or not the NSA is going above and beyond the law. You're hearing a lot of criticism obviously immediately on Capitol Hill this morning, raising some tough questions about civil liberties in particular. The White House feeling strongly this morning that, in their words, the story was overheated, that there are a lot of caveats in the "USA Today" story, and that a lot of people are going out there a bit far. The president wants to be clear with the American people on what is happening and what is not happening.

And one other quick note, this morning, a lot of talk about how this may affect the nomination of General Hayden to be the director of the CIA. He was supposed to be meeting today with Senator Rick Santorum, a courtesy call in advance of the confirmation hearings that could start as early as next week. A lot of chatter this morning in Washington about whether or not the White House was pulling General Hayden back, as that meeting was canceled. White House officials insisting instead that in fact they are trying to reschedule this meeting with Senator Santorum, that it was just a scheduling matter. But that, obviously, is going to be a very interesting development in terms of how this plays, this news story plays, in the confirmation hearings of General Hayden.

We already knew they would be somewhat contentious, but General Hayden obviously not only the number two official in the National Intelligence Office, but also previously the head of the NSA, and somebody who has very vocally defended this domestic-surveillance program -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Right, and those confirmation hearings expected to start as early as next Tuesday. Let me ask you this, Ed, in the past when the president has defended the NSA wiretapping program. He has insisted that these were only records that were traced -- phone calls traced -- that would start -- that would be between the U.S. and overseas calls. What might be disturbing to some people are allegations in the report that this would be domestic records.

HENRY: Exactly. Because in some of the president's previous statements we know that he has suggested, just as you did, that in fact at least one party would be outside of the United States. This is clearly suggesting there are tens of millions of records of domestic calls, not international calls. And that's one of the sharp questions being raised this morning. In fact, one statement the president made when this was first revealed about the domestic- surveillance program was, quote, "one end of the communication must be outside the United States." A lot of people wondering, trying to explain -- trying to get the president to explain exactly what he meant then and what we're learning now -- Daryn.

KAGAN: All right, Ed Henry at the White House, we're going to stay with you -- or actually have you stay there. But we also have our other correspondents available as well. David Ensor has been tracking the story a few hours now.

And, David, the question to you, there has been already some defense of this program, saying it's important as we attack and try to prevent terrorism here in the U.S. If you could talk a little bit about that, please.

DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATL. SECURITY: Well, officials in the U.S. government are not confirming that this program is as described in the "USA Today" article. But we have known before the article that there was a great deal of cooperation between some of the major telephone companies and the U.S. national security apparatus, and that it increased after 9/11.

Now, the point of this kind of a program, if it is as described, would be, if you take, for example, you get some information about a telephone call -- you monitor international calls, and you get information about a particular call to someone in the United States, and that call -- maybe there's a terrorist tie between either the person overseas or the person in the United States is thought to have terrorist ties. You then want to know that American or that person in the United States, who are they calling? And it becomes a chain. The point is to look for patterns. It's actually an art -- it's a new form of intelligence called "massive," where they look for patterns to try to figure out if the patterns will tell them something, if it will lead them to somebody who might be plotting terrorism. And if they did get a lead to someone, they would of course go to a -- to a court and try to get a wiretap permission and all the rest of it.

But this is simply phone numbers. That's all it is. So, you know, your calls, my calls, they might have a list of numbers that we've called. They wouldn't know who those people were. They wouldn't know where they were and so on. But they might be able to find patterns as they look through thousands of these records. That would be the point of it.

KAGAN: Also interesting, the companies we're talking about here, AT&T, Verizon, BellSouth. Supposedly, Qwest said, no, that they weren't going to cooperate. But the question is, how and why would a private company -- or public company, for that matter, turn over records without a warrant to the U.S. government?

ENSOR: Well, the position that the spokesmen of these various companies are taking is that they have not broken the law. And you can be sure that their general counsel has looked very, very closely at that before they did cooperate on this.

So, you know, what -- the key question is whether laws have been broken here. This has probably been lawyered out pretty thoroughly by the telephone company lawyers and the U.S. government. So it's unlikely they're going to find lawbreaking. But there may be things here that many Americans might feel was an invasion of their privacy that they don't like, and that could have an impact on the nomination of General Hayden to be CIA director, no question about it.

KAGAN: Yes, I guess there's two questions. There's the legal question and then the business-ethical question. If you're signed up doing business with these companies, is there an understanding that they wouldn't just hand over phone records to the U.S. government?

ENSOR: Many people would assume they wouldn't do that and would hope that they wouldn't do that, and may not be happy to hear that they are doing that. So there could be controversy behind this, but I'd be a little surprised to hear that any laws have been broken, because companies and governments go into this kind of thing with their eyes pretty wide open.

KAGAN: All right, David, I want to have you stand by and watch what the president has to say as well. I want to bring Ed Henry back in for another question and go back to a point that you were talking about. David was touching on this. General Michael Hayden and his confirmation hearings that start next week as the head of -- potential head of the CIA, how might this play into that?

HENRY: Well, as you know, many Democrats have already been criticizing this domestic surveillance program in general, charging that it's illegal, charging its unconstitutional, and there have been some very senior Republicans, like Senator Arlen Specter, who runs the Judiciary Committee, not the Intelligence Committee -- so he will not be overseeing the hearings. But top Republicans like Specter have been raising questions about the program in general. General Hayden being at the center of that program, one of the most vocal advocates for that program. That's clearly going to be a sharp question that's going to be raised again and again, mostly by Democrats, but by some Republicans as well at the confirmation hearings.

The political backdrop, if you take a step back, there are a lot of White House officials privately saying they're spoiling for that fight, frankly. They think that the Democrats are on the wrong side of this, because the bottom line is that the White House is confident that when all is said and done, and when they explain what they can explain about this program, the bottom line for them is they are fighting terrorists, and they feel that they American people will be on their side there. And they feel that the Democrats will be making a mistake by basically appearing to be opposing a program that is trying to crack down on terror.

Obviously there are a lot of questions about exactly how that program is administered, but I can tell you, White House officials spoiling for that fight -- Daryn.

KAGAN: About a minute away here. And speaking of fights, let's talk about trying to control the message here.

The Bush administration making some changes and trying to get back on track with the poll numbers that we've seen recently. But meanwhile, the president, heading to the Gulf today, would probably like his message to be about Katrina relief and rebuilding the Gulf Coast. Instead, he's forced or encouraged now to stop and talk about a story that appears on the front page of a national newspaper.

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You're absolutely right. This has been happening very frequently to this White House in recent weeks. The day that Tony Snow was rolled out as the new press secretary, you'll remember, was the same day that Karl Rove was called back before the grand jury. That stepped on what seemed like positive news for the White House, that they had a fresh face at the White House podium.

And today, you're right, the president going to Gulf Coast Community College. It was hard-hit by Katrina. He wants to send the signal the federal government not only remembers the lessons learned from Katrina, but is getting ready now that it's less than a month from the new hurricane season.

But I think to go back to your point about this new White House team, led by the new White House chief of staff, Josh Bolten, there's been a bit of a slip-up here with Hayden. And one of ...

KAGAN: Here's the president. Sorry, Ed, to step on you there, but let's hear what the president has to say.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: After September the 11th, I vowed to the American people that our government would do everything within the law to protect them against another terrorist attack. As part of this effort, I authorized the National Security Agency to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations. In other words, if al Qaeda or their associates are making calls into the United States or out of the United States, we want to know what they're saying.

Today there are new claims about other ways we are tracking al Qaeda to prevent attacks on America. I want to make some important points about what the government is doing and what the government is not doing.

First, our intelligence activities strictly target al Qaeda and their known affiliates. Al Qaeda is our enemy, and we want to know their plans.

Second, the government does not listen to domestic phone calls without court approval.

Third, the intelligence activities I authorized are lawful and have been briefed to appropriate members of Congress, both Republican and Democrat.

Fourth, the privacy of ordinary Americans is fiercely protected in all our activities. We're not mining or trolling through the personal lives of millions of innocent Americans. Our efforts are focused on links to al Qaeda and their known affiliates. So far, we have been very successful in preventing another attack on our soil.

As a general matter, every time sensitive intelligence is leaked it hurts our ability to defeat this enemy. Our most important job is to protect the American people from another attack. And we will do so within the laws of our country.

Thank you.

QUESTION: Sir, how is collecting phone calls not intruding on privacy...

KAGAN: It doesn't look like the president is going to answer any questions today, making a brief statement in response to a story that's gathered steam since it appeared on the front page of "USA Today".

The president going back to some familiar themes as he has tackled this subject before, saying that he, after 9/11, he did authorize the NSA to intercept international communication between suspected terrorists and al Qaeda contacts. He insists that these intelligence activities are lawful and he says he is concerned and does believe in protecting the privacy of ordinary Americans. Also going back to the theme that believing that leaks of these intelligence programs are hurting efforts to keep Americans safe.

Let's got back to our White House correspondent, Ed Henry.

Ed, did you hear anything new in what the president had to say?

HENRY: Not really too much new, but I think the president did try to make a distinction there that is important to make here, which is that when he said that privacy is being protected, that the government is not "mining or trolling," what this "USA Today" story is suggesting is the domestic phone records are being collected, not that domestic calls are being listened to, not that there's eavesdropping of those domestic calls.

That's a very important point there. The president referring to that in at least one or two occasions there in the four points that he laid out.

Another point that he talked about in terms of -- you can hear a helicopter over me now, but -- the president taking off -- but the congressional consultation, that is in dispute. A lot of Democrats on the Hill insisting that they have not gotten the full details, that they've been briefed but not fully.

And finally, I was starting to say a moment ago about this new White House team, Josh Bolten, the chief of staff, has made it a point that he wants to improve relations with Capitol Hill, as David Ensor has been noting.

There could be a bumpy road for General Hayden. There are going to be a lot of sharp questions, and there are a lot of senior Republicans like the speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, complaining that they were not really consulted about the Hayden nomination before it was made. And that is a slip-up for this White House because Josh Bolten has insisted he wants to have better outreach to Capitol Hill -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Let's bring our David Ensor back in.

Another -- the final point that the president makes, that he believes just how important these types of programs are, saying there has not been another major terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. And the White House clearly feels that's one of its best points. And certainly, it deserves credit for the fact that it's managed to stop any kind of attacks.

So I think the sense one gets from officials in the government is that they are ready to defend the actions they have taken. They're not confirming the specifics in this story. But the idea that the telecom companies are cooperating closely with the government on national security is not new.

And as Ed said, the story is that they're collecting the data, the phone numbers that we all make telephone calls to. Not that they are mining, listening in, and so on.

So this is a rather more limited tool in some ways. What's -- what's remarkable about it and is getting all the attention today is that it covers all of us, except customers of Qwest.

KAGAN: Yes. Good P.R. for Qwest today.


KAGAN: Definitely for that.

Let's bring in our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider.

Bill, what do you make out of what the president had to say, even the fact that he took the time to say it when he was headed to the Gulf Coast, his 12th visit since Hurricane Katrina hit?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, this is definitely going to ratchet up the level of controversy because it does affect ordinary Americans.

When the original story came out in December about the monitoring of international calls, most Americans didn't feel particularly threatened. The president gave assurances these were only calls overseas, they were only communications with suspected al Qaeda terrorists.

And now ordinary Americans are learning that if they live in an effected area, which is some 200 million Americans, that the government has a record of every phone call they made. Just the number they called, not the content of the conversation. But that, to most Americans, is going to sound like invasion of privacy.

What does this has to do with al Qaeda or terrorists?

KAGAN: And Andrea Koppel is on Capitol Hill.

Andrea, we'll be with you in just a minute.

But once again, President Bush coming out just minutes ago and making comments about this report that the NSA has this massive database of American's phone calls.

Let's listen in one more time.


BUSH: First, our intelligence activities strictly target al Qaeda and their known affiliates. Al Qaeda is our enemy, and we want to know their plans.

Second, the government does not listen to domestic phone calls without court approval.

Third, the intelligence activities I authorized are lawful and have been briefed to appropriate members of Congress, both Republican and Democrat.

Fourth, the privacy of ordinary Americans is fiercely protected in all our activities. We're not mining or trolling through the personal lives of millions of innocent Americans.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KAGAN: And we want to go to Capitol Hill now. Andrea Koppel talking about that point he makes about how members of Congress have been briefed on this, the idea that, look, I'm not out here alone on this, Congress knows about it, Congress has approved of it. Even just how the White House and Capitol Hill interpret the briefing has been a point of contention -- Andrea.

ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It has. And, in fact, we have seen some of the senior Democrats who were involved in getting those briefings. Among them, Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader, as well as the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Rockefeller, basically kind of -- you can see them incredibly frustrated with the fact they're not able to talk more about the depth of those briefings, saying that, in fact, they weren't necessarily as thorough as perhaps the White House is indicating.

Nevertheless, Daryn, we are seeing just in the last several hours Democrats pouncing on this issue. We have seen Democrat Leahy, Patrick Leahy, who is the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, sort of throwing up his hands in the air and saying this is absolutely outrageous. Take a listen.


SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: We need to know what our government is doing in its activities to spy upon Americans. If we're unwilling to do this and unwilling to require these answers, then this Congress, this Republican leadership, ought to admit they have failed in their responsibility to the American government.


KOPPEL: Now, Patrick Leahy was not alone on the Judiciary Committee in venting on this issue. We had the chairman himself, Arlen Specter, a Republican, saying that he is going to call hearings, he's going to call some of the major telecoms to Capitol Hill to give more explanation.

Nevertheless, Arlen Specter was sort of one of the lone Republicans who was calling the administration on the mat. What we did hear much more of was a defense of this program, as we heard President Bush laying it out just a few moments ago.

Here is Republican Jon Kyl of Arizona.


SEN. JON KYL (R), ARIZONA: This is nuts. We are in a war. And we have got to collect intelligence on the enemy. And you can't tell the enemy in advance how you're going to do it. And discussing all of this stuff in public leads to that.


KOPPEL: This is real-time potential fallout, Daryn, on the nomination of General Hayden to head up the CIA. As you know, he's been making the rounds up here on the Hill all week long, trying to persuade members. And it looked like he really was making inroads, addressing those two key questions, his military background, and, of course, his role in developing this controversial NSA warrantless wiretap program.

You can bet, and we're already hearing it today, that some of those who were leaning towards the nomination now are going to be raising some very sharp and pointed questions about whether or not, in fact, General Hayden would be the right man for the job, depending on how he answers those questions next week when he comes before the Senate Intelligence Committee -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Andrea, thank you.

We want to bring Bill Schneider back in to look at some poll numbers that actually are from back in February. But an interesting glimpse on just what Americans think about the wiretapping issue, and as Democrats try to take hold of this.

A question here. Is the public split -- question , "As you may know, the Bush administration has been wiretapping telephone conversations between U.S. citizens living in the U.S. and suspected terrorists living in other countries without getting a court order allowing it to do so. Do you think the Bush administration was right or wrong in obtaining these wiretapping conversations without a court order?"

"Did they break the law, did they not?" Forty-nine percent, 47 percent.

And when asked if they were concerned about it, again, right or wrong, 47, 50 percent.

So here is an issue that, not surprisingly, as much of America is split on so many political issues, might not be such a huge opportunity for Democrats.

SCHNEIDER: That's not about what was revealed in the "USA Today" article today. That was about what was revealed by "The New York Times" in December.

That is about phone calls between Americans and people overseas who are suspected terrorists. When you discuss -- when you mention those conditions, overseas phone calls, suspected terrorists or links to al Qaeda, then what you get, rather surprisingly, is a divided public, because people are not sure how they feel about that. But most ordinary Americans believe that doesn't mean me.

I don't make phone calls to suspected terrorists. Very few Americans make phone calls overseas. So that's a very, very different story.

I think the question raised by this issue is, why does the government have complete records of every phone call that I have made inside of the United States to my Aunt Minnie or anybody else, and what is it going to do with that information? The president just said we are not mining or trolling for the information about the personal lives of Americans.

What are they doing with it?

KAGAN: Very interesting. And he also makes the point -- the president says that -- he says all the intelligence activities that he's approved are lawful. Interesting loophole there, because nothing has come through the courts here.

SCHNEIDER: That's...

KAGAN: Because -- because no case -- no one has been arrested using publicly this evidence.


KAGAN: And so there's really no way -- it's kind of a catch-22. There's really no way to prove whether it's lawful or not.

SCHNEIDER: Well, that's right. There are many who argue it is not lawful.

The attorney general was before the House Judiciary Committee last month. And when he was asked about whether the international surveillance program was or was not lawful, according to "USA Today," his reply was, "I wouldn't rule it out."

Now, whether he thought the White House has legal authority to monitor domestic -- I'm sorry, that's domestic -- traffic without a warrant, he said, "I wouldn't rule it out."

There's a debate over whether it's lawful or not. It hasn't made its way through the courts. But I should point out, there's at least one senator, a Democratic senator, who is talking about censuring President Bush, has a motion to do precisely that because he believes the president has violated the law.

KAGAN: Let's move on to the White House. President Bush is leaving -- actually, has just left moments ago for the Gulf Coast. He is headed to the Gulf Coast area. His 12th time since Hurricane Katrina.

But let's talk about with Ed Henry what's coming up next week and how this information in this report could affect the president's choice to take over the CIA.

HENRY: Well, you're right, Daryn. The timing of this latest disclosure is rather remarkable in the sense that this is going to be -- it's happening right on the eve of General Hayden's confirmation hearings kicking off next week to be CIA director.

The White House already dealing with a very mixed reception among Republicans, never mind the Democrats, on Capitol Hill. I mentioned earlier Speaker Dennis Hastert angry that he was not consulted before this nomination was made. The House Intelligence chairman, Pete Hoekstra, some very strong comments against General Hayden. Important to note, though, those are senior Republicans in the House. This will take place and play out in the Senate. But there are still some questions about what kind of support General Hayden will have from Senate Republicans.

And there was quite a bit of chatter a couple of hours ago here in Washington about the fact that General Hayden had a meeting scheduled with Republican Senator Rick Santorum, a member of the leadership, one of these courtesy calls we see all the time with Supreme Court nominees or CIA nominees. And there was a lot of speculation that perhaps the White House was pulling General Hayden back, concerned that he is so identified with this domestic surveillance program that they were not going to have him before the cameras today.

I can tell you, at least one senior administration official insisting to me that, in fact, they're trying to reschedule this meeting with Senator Santorum, it was just a scheduling matter. We'll have to see whether it, in fact, happens this afternoon. They're hoping to get it back out there to show that they're not scared of this story and that they're willing to get General Hayden right back out there -- Daryn.

KAGAN: All right.

Ed Henry is at the White House. I want to thank everyone else who participated in the coverage of that, Andrea Koppel and Bill Schneider and David Ensor. Thank you for that.

As you see a live picture from Andrews Air Force Base, President Bush very soon getting on board Air Force One and heading south, heading to the Gulf Coast, 12th time since Hurricane Katrina hit.

We'll have much more on the story of this NSA report that the NSA allegedly building this massive database of domestic phone calls that apparently ordinary Americans made as they look at a pattern to see if there's anything that could lead to preventing terrorism.

More on that just ahead.

Meanwhile, let's get to some other news of the day.

One logjam has been broken, but hard work remains on immigration reform. This morning, Senate leaders reached a deal to revive a broad immigration bill. This comes after massive immigrant rallies, boycotts, and protests.

The Senate will begin debating the bill on Monday. Lawmakers hope to pass it by Memorial Day.

Then comes critical Senate-House negotiations. The House passed a tough reform bill last December. Under that bill, millions of illegal immigrants would face felony charges and deportation.

A shocking 26-year-old murder case comes to a conclusion.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "We, the jury..." -- will the defendant rise -- "... find the defendant guilty of murder."


KAGAN: You may have seen it live here in the last hour. Jurors convicted the Reverend Gerald Robinson, a Toledo, Ohio, priest, of killing a nun. Sister Margaret Ann Pahl was found choked and stabbed dozens of times at a hospital chapel over Easter weekend in 1980. Prosecutors said the pair had a strained relationship and that it had reached a breaking point.

Robinson is now 68 years old. He was sentenced to life in prison, but could be paroled after 15 years.

Watching the weather picture across the country. Bonnie Schneider has that information for us -- Bonnie.


KAGAN: Surf, sand, and smoke. Florida wildfires are shutting down a major thoroughfare for tourists. Fire crews say it may take several days to reopen the 12-mile stretch of Interstate 95. It is closed between Port Orange and Edgewater.

Workers are trying to clear trees that have toppled on to the north-south roadway. Across the state, smoke has closed other roads, but only for short periods.

Smokers may soon have new help to kick the habit. The government approves an anti-smoking pill. Studies show that the Pfizer drug helped one in five smokers quit for more than a year. Users take the tablets twice a day for up to six months. The drug does not use nicotine. That separates it from other anti-smoking treatments.

Heroism and heartache. They have both got in the Niagara Falls area this morning.


WESLEY DOIG, CAUGHT BABY: I told her to drop the baby and I was on my tippy toes like that. And the baby was dangling in front of me. I had to kind of yell at her and reassure her that I was going to catch the baby. And she dropped it. She dropped it into my hands, and I passed it off to my mom.


KAGAN: A quick-thinking teenager catches a baby tossed from a burning house. Seventeen-year-old Wesley Doig lives next door to the burned house. He ran over around midnight just as the baby's mother dropped the toddler from the second floor.

The mother also jumped and broke her fall in the shrubs. The baby's grandfather thought about leaping through the window but didn't. And that cost him his life.


TISH DOIG, NEIGHBOR: We were yelling, "Jump! Get out!" And her parents and the daughter was yelling, "Dad, get out! Get out!" And he had his hands -- he wanted to, but it was too much smoke.


KAGAN: The dead man's wife escaped through a door. The baby, her mother and grandmother are recovering and should be fine.

A hero's welcome for those two rescued gold miners on Australian television. The pair appeared at a televised concert and thanked colleagues who put their lives on the line to dig them out. They also had kind words for friends and family who supported them during their 14-day ordeal underground. The concert raised money for the community and for the family of a miner who was killed in that cave-in.

As we've been mentioning, President Bush is headed back to the Gulf Coast this afternoon. It's his 12th visit since Hurricane Katrina. The president will speak to graduates at Mississippi Gulf Coast College -- Community College in Biloxi.

CNN will bring you live coverage of the president's commencement speech at 3:00 Eastern.

Stay with CNN for the latest on the NSA phone records story throughout the day.

Ahead on "LIVE FROM," "Mama Made the Difference". Who can't agree with that statement? Certainly not T.D. Jakes. It's his new book. Kyra Phillips talks with him about that and more on "LIVE FROM" at the top of the hour.

Meanwhile, join "YOUR WORLD TODAY" in progress.

I'm Daryn Kagan.


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