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Grand Canyon Skywalk Unveiled; New White House Offer Made in Fallout Over Prosecutor Purge; Boy Scout Found Alive in North Carolina Mountains
Aired March 20, 2007 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: All right, this new information just in to the CNN NEWSROOM: The White House will allow the president's top political adviser, Karl Rove, and the former White House counsel Harriet Miers to be interviewed by a congressional committee investigating how the firing of several U.S. attorneys was handled.
But they will not testify under oath -- that information coming in to the CNN NEWSROOM just moments ago. Harriet Miers, Karl Rove, both will be allowed to testify, but, again, not under oath.
We will continue to update you on this breaking story here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
But you know what? Before we do that, let's -- let's get to -- to Washington now.
Chuck Schumer is speaking right now.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: You will have to talk to Senator Leahy about the details, but that's my understanding, that we will go ahead and give the chairmen the right to subpoena.
QUESTION: ... extra (OFF-MIKE) leverage in your negotiations with them (OFF-MIKE)
SCHUMER: Well, you know, we're not seeking leverage, per se. We're seeking to get the truth. And with no transcript, with no oath, with private conversations that can be contradicted; recollections can fail, you're not going to get very far.
QUESTION: What was their reasoning behind this?
QUESTION: And why did they -- why did -- why did the White House agree to this? Why did they set this up, when there's no...
(CROSSTALK) SCHUMER: Well, you know, you would have to ask counsel Fielding, but he said he wanted this to be a conversation, rather than a hearing. A conversation's fine, but let's have a conversation under oath with a transcript, so we can see what has happened and weigh the testimony of these particular witnesses against the others.
QUESTION: Senator Schumer, there's no oath, but -- but the law is such that they don't have to necessarily be under oath to be compelled to tell the truth to Congress; is that correct?
SCHUMER: Without a transcript, it would be very -- it would be almost meaningless to say that they would be under some kind of legal sanction.
But these are things we're going to check out. This is sort of a unique offer. We haven't -- this is going to be a unique offer. This -- sorry -- this is a unique offer. It has a lot of pitfalls in it.
But we're going to examine it thoroughly. And, together, Chairman Conyers, Chairman Leahy, along with Congresswoman Sanchez, myself and other members of each committee, will come back with a response.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) final offer (OFF-MIKE)
SCHUMER: Did they present it as a final offer? That's a good question.
Mr. Fielding indicated that he did not want to negotiate. But that doesn't mean we're not going to try.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One more question.
LEMON: All right. You're listening to a press conference there. You see John Conyers, also Senator Chuck Schumer talking about this latest development, happening just moments ago, that Karl Rove, political adviser to the president, and also Harriet Miers will be allowed to speak and interviewed to congressional committees investigating what happened in the firing of several U.S. attorneys general.
We will have more on this in the CNN NEWSROOM.
And the next hour of the CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.
Hello. I'm Don Lemon, live in the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Brianna Keilar, in for Kyra Phillips.
LEMON: And our top story this hour -- you're in the CNN NEWSROOM -- coming out of Washington, we have -- CNN has just received word out of Washington from several members of Congress, coming out, talking about the White House. The White House has agreed to allow the president's top political adviser, Karl Rove, and former White House counsel Harriet Miers to be interviewed by a congressional committee, or congressional committees, investigating how the firing of several U.S. attorneys was handled.
But they will not testify under oath in this manner -- in this matter.
Now, just moments ago, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York said that he wanted all of this to be under oath. He wanted some sort of transcript, and he wanted it to be a conversation -- he is saying that the White House counsel is saying he wanted it to be a conversation. Well, Chuck Schumer said he didn't it should be a conversation; it should be under oath, and there should also be a transcript.
They are speaking now, just finished up their press conference just a short while ago. And we will continue to update you on this story.
But this is new developments coming out of Washington now, a story that we have been following for at least a week here -- Brianna.
KEILAR: All right, moving on now to our top story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're getting ready to walk out now. That was (INAUDIBLE) Do you copy (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I copied that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: A simple radio message and the words "A-1" set off a celebration in the North Carolina mountains. Michael Auberry is found alive and relatively well.
The 12-year-old, he is now back with his parents after three days and three nights alone in the woods. The boy was on a camping trip with his Scout troop, when he wandered off. And it was this rescue dog -- his name is Gandalf -- that first spotted the boy walking about a mile or so from his camp site.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MISHA MARSHALL, SOUTH CAROLINA SEARCH AND RESCUE DOG ASSOCIATION: Unbelievable. Carry it with me the rest of my life.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did you see?
MARSHALL: Saw him.
MARSHALL: He saw him first. And then we went into him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he say anything? Or what happened?
MARSHALL: No, he -- he was a little disoriented, but he's great. He's great. So...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, you saw him walking around?
MARSHALL: He was off the trail.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was he stumbling around?
MARSHALL: No. No. No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was he -- was he crying or...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When he saw you, what did he do?
MARSHALL: He was glad, very glad. It took him a minute to realize we were there for him. But...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that you are friends?
MARSHALL: Yes. Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was he -- was he calling out for help, or were you guys...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... calling out his name?
MARSHALL: No. The dog -- dog scented into him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The dog scented into him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How far was he from the original spot that he was camping out at? Do you know?
MARSHALL: About a mile...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A mile?
MARSHALL: ... up the trail, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which way?
MARSHALL: North. North.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you describe the kind of overall scene when you guys found him, and... MARSHALL: You know, just obvious delight on our part. And he was safe. And that's all we cared about. We do this for the kids. So...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was his reaction, again, when he saw you guys?
MARSHALL: You know, it took him a minute, but he -- then he realized, you know, who we were. And, you know, he's been out there for a few days. So, he's, you know, a little disoriented. He's good.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he talk to you?
MARSHALL: Uh-huh. He can talk.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, what did he say to you? Like...
MARSHALL: Well, he just said: You know, I'm hungry. Give me some water, you know, stuff like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: That was Misha Marshall. She's part of the South Carolina Search and Rescue Dog Association, which is a non-profit group of volunteers and specially trained canines.
They are among almost 100 searchers who have spent the past three days looking for Michael.
And, coming up, we're going to hear from the father of Michael Auberry. He will be making a statement outside of the hospital where Michael is recovering right now, where he's getting treatment. That's coming up at 3:30.
LEMON: A lot happening here in the CNN NEWSROOM today -- we have that story.
We also have what's happening in Washington, and then a developing story. And we saw a live rescue out of Butler, Pennsylvania; Butler County, Pennsylvania.
Our very own Betty Nguyen speaking when that rescue happened.
Betty, what do you have new for us?
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're still waiting to hear the condition of the 14-year-old who was trapped under that 3,800-pound slab of concrete.
We will show you some more video of exactly what had happened there. He was rescued, oh, about an -- an hour ago. The good news is that he was able to be freed from this concrete slab. You see it right there. It's about six feet long, again, 3,800 pounds.
And we don't know how he became trapped under there, but he is out and at a hospital, as they are assessing his injuries. And, of course, as soon as we get that, we will bring it straight to you.
But what we do know is that that slab was, in fact, a temporary wall to hold up the roadway, because, if you look very closely at the guy in the red, at his feet below, that's rushing water. And, so, what crews were trying to do is, they were trying to dig to put in a sewer line.
And -- and, obviously, something went awry today, and that 3,800- pound piece of concrete fell on a 14-year-old. And they worked very hard for over an hour-and-a-half, putting air bags between the boy and the concrete slab to try to relieve the pressure. And, thankfully, he is out today.
But the big question now is, what are his injuries? And, as soon as we get that, Don, we will bring it straight to you.
LEMON: All right, Betty, we will check back. Thank you so much for that.
We're going to move on and talk about another developing story: Will the president's top adviser face questions on Capitol Hill any time soon? We're just hearing about a new offer aimed at shedding more light on the controversial firings of eight U.S. attorneys.
CNN's Dana Bash on Capitol Hill.
Dana, it's not going to be under oath, but, again, they are going to be talking. So, what does this all mean? Are we sure now?
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's not over yet.
Essentially, this was the opening offer that we just heard about from the White House counsel to the senior members of the Judiciary Committees in the House and the Senate. And what that offer was was for Karl Rove, the president's top political adviser, the president's former counsel, Harriet Miers, and their two deputies not to come and testify in public, under oath, kind of the hearing that we all see here every day, but to have a private meeting, an interview with -- with some of the members of the committees, Judiciary Committees in the House and the Senate.
This would be not under oath, as you said, and, in fact, would not have a formal transcript. It would be something that Fred Fielding described, according to the lawmakers who came out of this meeting, as an informal kind of discussion, of course, all pertaining to what exactly went on behind the scenes at the White House when the decision was made by the administration to fire former federal -- to fire federal prosecutors.
Eight in all were fired most recently. And, of course, the Democrats have been saying for some time they think it was for political reasons.
Now, what the Democrats came out and said is that this is simply not enough. For several days here, Don, you have heard them saying to us, saying in public, that they are essentially sick of hearing from the White House that they were going to come, that they would give briefings, that that's not enough. They want to hear from them in public.
I think we have a sound bite from Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democrat who has been leading the charge on this on the Judiciary Committee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHUMER: So, this is a -- it's sort of giving us the opportunity to talk to them, but not giving us the opportunity to get to the bottom of what really happened here.
And, in that way, it's a pretty clever proposal, but it doesn't do the job of figuring out what happened, as best we can tell. So, the next...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: So, Democrats are going to essentially go back, regroup, try to figure out what their counterproposal will be to the White House.
In the meantime, Don, they are going to go forward and at least authorize subpoenas for Karl Rove and others. That will happen tomorrow morning in the House Judiciary Committee. It will happen Thursday morning in the Senate.
Now, authorize doesn't mean actually issue the subpoenas. That will Just give the chairman the ability to send these subpoenas as these negotiations go forward. And it's interesting to see this kind of offer, Don, because I'm sort of thinking back to these kinds of fights that the Bush administration has had with Congress, with Congress-mandated commissions, like the 9/11 Commission.
Then, for example, they had the president and the vice president sit down with members of the 9/11 Commission. Again, it wasn't under oath. It was more of an informal interview, and there wasn't a transcript. So, perhaps, that was the model here.
But, at least, in the short term, Democrats are saying not acceptable. One Republican, I should say -- tell you -- came out and did say that this is OK with him. So, so far, it has been kind of a bipartisan demand. There might be a split here. Republicans might be saying, this is fine. Democrats are saying, not enough.
LEMON: Yes. It seems like only the beginning, too, Dana.
LEMON: All right. Thank you very much for that. BASH: Thank you.
LEMON: Vice President Cheney is back at work, after an unplanned trip to the hospital. At first, Cheney's office called it a routine follow-up visit, but later said Cheney suffered pain in his leg, the same leg where doctors found a blood clot earlier this month.
In today's exam, doctors found no complications of Cheney's deep vein thrombosis, a condition that can turn deadly if clots that form in the leg float into the lungs.
KEILAR: One of the most outspoken critics of the U.S. now has a U.S. visa. The president of Iran wants to speak at U.N. headquarters in New York. And the Bush administration is giving him the means to do it.
So, let's go now to State Department -- to the State Department, rather, and CNN's Zain Verjee.
ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, hi.
The State Department, as you know, has approved President Ahmadinejad's visas. Iran's original request for 39 people to come with him has also been processed. Now Iran has asked for 33 more visas on top of that -- the State Department saying that it's going to process them and do what's expected of a host country.
Now, all visa applicants essentially have to go through the regular security screening measures. Iran's president, as well as his entourage, did not have to go through the biometric finger scans that others are expected to get -- to get their visas.
The U.S. also says that it doesn't really foresee any major problems for Ahmadinejad and his contingent to be here on time. It's not really clear, though, Brianna, exactly when he's going to arrive or how long he's going to be here for.
But Ahmadinejad wants to basically come to the U.N. and defend Iran's right to a nuclear program to the Security Council. The U.N. wants to slap Iran with new sanctions for essentially not meeting a deadline to stop enriching uranium, which, as you know, can be used to make a nuclear bomb -- Brianna.
KEILAR: And, Zain, I should point out you're actually at our bureau in Washington, D.C., not at the State Department.
But let me ask you, do we have any sense of where Ahmadinejad will be going on this trip?
VERJEE: Yes, this has been the rule since 1979.
Ahmadinejad is only allowed to stay within a 25-mile radius of New York City. If he wants to go anywhere else, he has got to get approval from the State Department. The actual visa that he has also is a single-entry visa. It's valid for three months, and it's specific only to the United Nations. And -- and he's confined to that vicinity.
KEILAR: And does the U.S. really have any say on this, or do they just have to issue the visa because he's going to the U.N.?
Well, you know, the U.S. is in a bit of a tough spot. First of all, it's the host country of the U.N. So, yes, it has to let leaders in that it doesn't particularly like. Ahmadinejad, also, is within his rights to come and argue Iran's case at the U.N., since it faces new sanctions by the Security Council.
So, he can call upon the Security Council to let him do that. The U.N. -- the U.S., rather, says that Iran should take the opportunity, take the moment in the United Nations to reverse course on its nuclear program and stop enriching uranium, which is what the U.S. has been pressuring them to do.
KEILAR: All right, Zain, thanks so much -- Zain Verjee live for us from our bureau in Washington, D.C.
LEMON: Airbus arrives in the U.S. but will this big bird take off with consumers? Ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM, our Ali Velshi lays out some jumbo issues.
KEILAR: Plus: a stomach-turning view at wallet-clinching prices.
KEILAR: Up next in the NEWSROOM: getting high over the Grand Canyon.
KEILAR: Quarter past the hour, and here are a few of the stories we're working on in the CNN NEWSROOM.
A volunteer searcher and her dog have found a 12-year-old Boy Scout. He's been lost since Saturday. Dozens of people looked for Michael Auberry in the rugged North Carolina mountains. And he's described as weak, but in good condition.
Also, Vice President Cheney back at work today, after a brief trip to the hospital -- his office first called it a routine visit, but now says Cheney suffered discomfort in his leg. It's the same leg where doctors found a blood clot earlier this month.
And a Pennsylvania teen trapped for two hours under a concrete slab. Rescuers inflated air bags under the slab and used a harness to lift it -- no word on the teen's condition or how he got trapped.
LEMON: It is one of the natural wonders of the world, and, soon, you will be able to get more grand views of the Grand Canyon from a new observation deck -- look at that live -- already causing a deep divide.
And our Chris Lawrence is at the unveiling of the skywalk.
I'm sure you have gotten everything today: Great assignment. Are you getting paid for this? Nice view, right?
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, yes. Yes.
And you know what? I have been working so long today, I was starting to get tempted to jump off that thing. That's why we actually moved away from it.
LEMON: Oh, come on. Don't say that, Chris. Oh.
LAWRENCE: Oh, no.
LEMON: We need you.
LAWRENCE: No. It's been a long one, Don. It's been a long one.
LAWRENCE: I have got to tell you, you know...
LAWRENCE: ... even though it doesn't open until the public until a week, the actual official opening ceremony is just a few minutes away from getting started.
First, there will be a tribal blessing. And, then, after that, astronauts Buzz Aldrin and John Bennett Herrington, the first Native American astronaut, will be ones to actually take a walk out on to the skywalk.
I talked to some of the members of the Hualapai tribe. Some are very excited, not only for the economic benefits that they think this skywalk will bring, but also the pride that they can take in having something so unique here on their land.
Others are a little more skeptical. One told me that, you know, their ancestors shed blood and tears for this land, and they don't think they did so for it to become a major tourist attraction -- so, somewhat of a schism in the tribe, but still a lot of excitement for what has to be one of the most unique views in the entire country -- Don.
LEMON: Yes, it is unique.
And I just like looking at these pictures. Who -- who are all those folks? These are people waiting behind you, Chris? How big is that crowd back there?
LAWRENCE: Yes. Yes. these are people. You can see the bleachers are absolutely filled. You know, there's a ton of media just lined up here, people sitting down, everybody waiting to get their first look.
After the official ceremony, a lot of these people will be invited to take their first walk on the skywalk. And, again, since it doesn't open to the public until a week from now, a lot of people are going to get a first jump on being able to tell their friends what it was like to be out there.
LEMON: So, these people are going to get to go out? I assume they are going out for free, because they were invited. But this -- this does come with a price, right?
LAWRENCE: Right. It does.
It will cost you $50 to get on to the Hualapai reservation and then another $25 to actually go out on the skywalk for about 15 minutes. But, you know, the tribe is not looking to attract people, the four million people that normally visit the -- the Grand Canyon National Park. They are looking to attract the 40 million people who visit Las Vegas every year, thinking that perhaps, you know, they can get a lot of those folks to take the two- to three-hour drive up here for a day trip.
LEMON: Mm-hmm. I see.
Are you going to go out there, Chris?
LAWRENCE: Oh, definitely, Don. I wouldn't have waited out here all this time if I wasn't at least going to take a look at it.
LEMON: Yes. You will have to tell me about it, because I don't think I would do it.
But, Chris Lawrence, as usual...
LEMON: ... great job. And come on. We need you. Don't even think about the whole mountain thing. We're going to check back with you.
LEMON: We're going to check back with you after.
LAWRENCE: All right.
LEMON: It's going to open soon. Thank you, Chris.
Here's a question we want to ask you: Would you pay 75 bucks to walk on the Grand Canyon skyway? Well, that's a question CNN.com is asking on our "Quick Vote." Now, so far, 32 percent of you say yes. That sort of changed, because, earlier, it wasn't this way. Sixty- eight percent of you say no.
So, log on to CNN.com and click on "Quick Vote." And then we will tell you about your results a little bit later on in the newscast.
And, also, we want to tell you former astronaut Buzz Aldrin, once walked on the moon, well, today, he's walking on the Grand Canyon Skywalk. Aldrin joins us live later on this hour right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Boy, it is beautiful, isn't it?
KEILAR: Yes, it is. It certainly is.
Well, surf's up. And so is the number of TV channels in most American homes -- a surprising bottom line.
Stay tuned to the NEWSROOM.
LEMON: And, if you have been with us here in CNN NEWSROOM, we told you moments ago of the breaking news coming out from Washington.
Now we're hearing that the president, who has been traveling -- he's in Kansas City now -- should be on his way back to the White House. He's talking alternative energy, alternative fuel. Well, he's expected to make a statement about the U.S. attorney situation at 5:45 p.m. at the White House.
And we will carry that live for you right here in the CNN NEWSROOM. It should be -- "THE SITUATION ROOM WITH WOLF BLITZER" should carry this for you live.
But, as we told you just a short time ago, the White House has agreed to allow the president's top political adviser, Karl Rove -- you see him at the bottom of your screen there -- and then White House counsel Harriet Miers on the top right, they will be allowed to be interviewed by congressional committees investigating how the firing of several U.S. attorneys -- attorneys were handled.
Now, with this, they will not be under oath. There will be no transcript. Democrats, congressional Democrats, are calling for this to be under oath, and they also want transcripts -- Chuck Schumer coming out just a short time ago, saying, while the White House counsel wants truth in all of this and wants it to be a conversation, they are saying that this should be on the record, and it should be under oath, and there should be transcripts.
We're going to continue to follow this story for you, as we get more information, especially about the president, again, making a speech about this issue, 5:45 Eastern time at the White House -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Well, in the words of Steve Miller, that is a big old jet airliner. Fresh from its U.S. debut yesterday, an Airbus A-380 superjumbo lands today at Chicago's O'Hare airport. The giant jet wings off to Washington Dulles this weekend.
But is bigger necessarily better, plainly speaking? That's what airlines and many passengers wonder about the A-380. Its wings are almost the length of a football field.
CNN's Ali Velshi has more.
ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Touchdown of the A-380 in Los Angeles.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a big airplane.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's amazing how small that 74 looks next to that 380.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's true.
VELSHI: It's big, two full decks, space for between 500 and 840 passengers, depending on the on-board amenities.
JOHN SCHOLLE, GLOBAL INSIGHT: They were talking about things such as shopping malls, bars, showers, exercise equipment.
VELSHI: But don't expect the fancy digs, yet.
SCHOLLE: When it comes down to it, airlines are going to stick as many seats into the plane as they possibly can, and they're not going to make their revenue off of exercise equipment and malls.
VELSHI: These U.S. flights are just tests and public relations.
Singapore Airlines will take delivery of the first A-380 in October, followed by the number-one buyer, Emirates. But Airbus hopes all the publicity will lead to some U.S. buyers.
You see, development of the A-380 has been fraught with problems. The plane is two years late. And that delay cost the European aircraft-maker up to $7 billion, 10,000 workers, and their only two U.S. buyers. FedEx and UPS had together ordered 20 cargo versions of the planes, but canceled those orders after the delays.
U.S. airlines, some of them in bankruptcy protection and others not long out of it, are somewhat risk-averse. Besides, you may have noticed that, in recent years, they have shifted to flying smaller planes, and flying them full.
SCHOLLE: The first thing they are going to do is look to replace the aircraft they use all the time, which is the smaller single-aisle aircraft.
VELSHI: Ali Velshi, CNN, New York.
KEILAR: The devil, you say. Procter & Gamble wins a decade-old lawsuit over rumors that the company is linked to Satan.
Susan Lisovicz is at the New York Stock Exchange to explain this one to us.
SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Brianna.
It's an unusual lawsuit and a big payout. P&G, of course, is the company that makes everything from Crest toothpaste, to Tide detergent, to Pampers diapers. It scored a legal victory and more than $19 million.
The company accused four former Amway distributors of spreading false rumors which linked P&G to satanism. At issue is that logo. It's an old logo which featured a bearded crescent man in the moon looking over a field of 13 stars.
Rumors began circulating as early as the 1980s that P&G's logo was a symbol of satanism. P&G alleged that the four Amway employees revived those rumors in 1995 using a voice-mail system to tell thousands of customers that that part of Procter & Gamble profits went to satanic cults.
One of the four defendants said he was shocked at the verdict, given all the retractions that eventually went out. But P&G said it would take appropriate measures when competitors unfairly undermine the reputation of brand -- and brands of the company.
Don't mess with P&G -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Well, a bearded moon man, I mean, explain how that logo was said to be linked to satanism.
LISOVICZ: It's kind of a cool logo.
Unfortunately, P&G now just uses P&G. There you see it. It's kind of Zodiac-like. Some people say 13, of course, is an unlucky number or an evil number. There are 13 stars in there, if you count them up.
It's also said, if you look closely, the number six can be seen in the man's beard a few times. That also, of course, has satanic implications. Basically, it was a story that circulated for years, based on innuendo and rumor. And P&G didn't like it one bit.
Turning to the markets, well, the bulls like what they are seeing today. We have back-to-back rallies -- stocks posting solid gains, despite a mixed housing report. What Wall Street is really waiting for, though, comes tomorrow, mid-afternoon, on interest rates -- that from the Federal Reserve -- the Fed expected to hold its key short- term interest rate at 5.25 percent. We will bring it to you as it happens.
Checking the averages now, the Dow is up 53 points, or about half-a-percent, ditto for the Nasdaq. And that's the latest from Wall Street. I will be back in 30 minutes for the closing bell -- in the meantime, back to you, Briann -- no.
LISOVICZ: ... and Don.
KEILAR: Thank you, Susan.
And we are waiting here in the NEWSROOM for Buzz Aldrin. He's going to be walking on the Grand Canyon Skywalk here shortly. It's a new and controversial tourist attraction on the Hualapai Indian reservation in Arizona.
And, as soon as that moment happens, we will bring it to you, right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
LEMON: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon live at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.
KEILAR: And I'm Brianna Keilar in for Kyra Phillips. Well, technically, it's just a big crack in the ground. But the Grand Canyon never fails to fascinate especially now with the real bird's- eye view for intrepid visitors. We're there as an astronaut takes part in the inaugural walk. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.
So we're standing by here in the CNN NEWSROOM as we get live pictures in from the Hualapai Indian Reservation in Arizona. We're waiting for Astronaut Buzz Aldrin to walk on the Grand Canyon Skywalk. Aldrin, of course, the second man to walk on the Moon. He's going to be the first man to walk on this new and controversial tourist attraction. And as soon as he does this, we're going to bring it to you live and then we're going to snag him for an interview a short while later. That will be coming up right here in the NEWSROOM.
LEMON: And we're following several developing stories here in the CNN NEWSROOM, including this one. The White House expected to make a statement, the president specifically, regarding the fired attorneys general (sic). The controversial firings of eight attorneys general (sic). Joining us from the White House now, CNN's Suzanne Malveaux to talk just about the latest in all of this.
Suzanne, what do you know?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, this is going to happen fairly soon. It's going to be at 5:45 in the Diplomatic Reception Room. We're going to hear from President Bush, about six minutes worth of remarks. The bottom line here is that he is not going to be announcing that he is firing his attorney general.
As a matter of fact, he is going to say he still has confidence in Alberto Gonzales. He called him this morning to let him know so. He is also going to talk about this deal that was struck, or at least the first offer, his own attorney, Fred Fielding, offering members of Congress, saying that at least for this administration it is unprecedented that he is offering forward his deputy chief of staff, Karl Rove, his former counsel, Harriet Miers, and their two assistants, to go before members of the House and Senate judiciary committees and answer some questions.
There are some ground rules, of course, however, that the president and this White House feel are very important to protect those private conversations between the president and his closest advisers. Those ground rules being that these discussions would happen in private, that they would not be under oath, and that no transcript would be available.
They are also going to be talking about the documents that they are handing over and some of the ground rules of those conversations that they are going to have, namely conversations between White House and Justice Department officials, as well as White House and third parties. Not internal conversations from one White House official to another White House official.
Big question, Don, whether or not members of Congress are going to buy this, whether or not they are going to accept this. We've already heard from Democrats who are very, very frustrated about this offer. But the president is going to say emphatically he thinks that this is a fair deal. This is a way of getting information out, and that at the same time he's going to categorically say that he does support his attorney general and that he is sticking by him -- Don.
LEMON: And we were just looking, Suzanne, as you were speaking, a tape of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales arriving at the White House just a short time ago. You said no transcripts, not under oath and many Democrats are wondering then, what's the point?
MALVEAUX: Well, yes, I mean, they are complaining. They are saying, look, there's no accountability here. I mean, what if Karl Rove has a recollection of one thing and it contradicts somebody else's recollection. There really is no evidence to follow up and follow through with this. So the Democrats are not happy. They say this is a first offer but certainly not the last offer.
You're going to have a lot more negotiations that are going on between the White House and members of Congress. But, Don, I can tell you, this administration, this is as far as they are going to go. This president is very serious about executive privilege, executive power, and they have not in the past allowed anyone to go before -- under oath and to testify because they believe that he should be able to have those private conversations with his top officials and his aides.
LEMON: All right. Suzanne Malveaux, thank you so much. We'll check back if there are any more developments in this newscast. If not, we'll see you in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Thanks, Suzanne.
KEILAR: All right. Let's go now to our other top story.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have found Michael. He is OK. They are getting ready to walk him out now. (INAUDIBLE) Do you copy?
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KEILAR: A simple radio message and the words A-1 set off a celebration in the North Carolina mountains. Michael Auberry is found alive and relatively well. The 12-year-old back with his parents after three days and three nights alone in the woods. The boy was on a camping trip with his Scout Troop when he wandered off. It was this rescue dog named Gandalf that first spotted the boy walking about a mile or so from his camp site.
MISHA MARSHALL, FOUND MICHAEL AUBERRY: Unbelievable. Carry it with me the rest of my life.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did you see?
MARSHALL: Saw him. He saw him first and then we went in to him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he say anything to you or what happened?
MARSHALL: No. He was a little disoriented, but he's great, he's great.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you saw him walking around?
MARSHALL: He was off the trail.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was he stumbling around?
MARSHALL: No, no.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was he crying?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When he saw you, what did he do?
MARSHALL: He was glad, very glad, took him a minute to realize we were there for him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that you're friends.
MARSHALL: Yes, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was he calling out for help? Or were you guys calling out his name?
MARSHALL: No, no, the dog scented in to him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The dog scented in to him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How far was he from where -- the original spot that he was camping out at?
MARSHALL: About a mile...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A mile?
MARSHALL: Up the trail, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which way?
MARSHALL: North, north.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you describe the kind of overall scene where you guys found him?
MARSHALL: You know, obvious delight on our part. And he was safe and that's all we cared about. We do this for the kids so...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was the reaction again when he saw you guys?
MARSHALL: You know, it took him a minute. But then he realized who we were. And he has been out there for a few days, so he's a little disoriented. He's good.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he talk to you?
MARSHALL: Uh-huh. He can talk.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, what did he say to? Like...
MARSHALL: Well, he just said, you know, I'm hungry, give me some water, you know, stuff like that.
KEILAR: That's Misha Marshall, she is part of the South Carolina Search and Rescue Dog Association, which is a non-profit group of volunteers and specially trained canines. They are among almost 100 searchers who have spent the past three days looking for Michael. And coming up here any time now, we're going to hear from the father of Michael Auberry. He's going to be making a statement outside of the hospital in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, where his son is recovering and getting treatment right now. That should be coming up anytime now.
LEMON: Well, we know Buzz Aldrin has walked on the Moon. But what about a skywalk right over the Grand Canyon? Well, we're going to take you there live. And we're going to talk to him actually in just a little bit. He's waiting to take that first walk across and hopefully we can get that walk across and his interview with us in before "THE SITUATION ROOM" starts here. But we're going to bring it to you live right here in the CNN NEWSROOM. Don't go anywhere.
KEILAR: These are live pictures coming from the Hualapai Indian Reservation in Arizona. We're waiting for Astronaut Buzz Aldrin to walk on the skywalk, which is sort of a U-shaped glass-bottom pathway over the Grand Canyon. This is a new and controversial tourist attraction there in Arizona.
LEMON: I know. I wish -- I don't know the NASA music but all I can say, is one small step for Buzz Aldrin, one giant leap, probably, for architecture and for the folks there at the Hualapai land. Very exciting. There he is. He seems to be flanked by some children there, Native American children. They held the ceremony just a short time ago and we listened in for a little bit of what's happening here.
And our Chris Lawrence is there as well. He has been following these developments all day watching folks go in and out as we look at these pictures here. Now we are -- you can be a part of it as well. There's Buzz Aldrin standing atop the walkway. He's going to walk out of there soon.
KEILAR: And this is a $30 million structure. You can imagine architects have said this will, I believe, sustain, what, an 8 on the Richter scale earthquake from 50 miles away. Some serious force there. Obviously you can imagine if it's hanging right over the edge there of the Grand Canyon. But they picked Buzz Aldrin to be the first man to walk on this pathway. Of course, he was the second man to walk on the Moon. So this is a good first for him.
LEMON: Yes. And you know what? He's going to be met by -- look at him. He's in his NASA outfit -- NASA jacket there. And if he says something, we're going to dip in. But let's -- Buzz Aldrin, he is going to be met on the skywalk by John Herrington, who was the first Native American in space. Herrington was on the Space Shuttle Endeavour mission to the International Space Station, that was in November of 2002.
He is a Chickasaw Indian. So this is very meaningful to the folks here, especially the Native Americans who are on this reservation. And you say it so much better than the -- Hualapai?
KEILAR: Hualapai Indian Reservation. It means something to them because they are trying to generate tourism dollars here. This is a very impoverished area. We heard from one woman who said the nearest grocery store is 50 miles away. So what they are trying to do, as we heard from Chris Lawrence earlier, is pull in people who are going to Vegas and get some of those tourism dollars.
We should mention this is a controversial tourist attraction here. You've got some members of the Hualapai Indian Nation saying, our forefathers spilled blood for this land and here you are building a tourist attraction on it.
And also some environmentalists have simply said, you are taking the Grand Canyon and building an eyesore on it. So it is controversial. And we're going to ask Buzz Aldrin about that later when we talk to him.
LEMON: Yes. They say it's sacred land. We're going to watch this unfold for you and then we'll come right back to this, right after a short break right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
KEILAR: We are standing by here in the CNN NEWSROOM. We are waiting for Astronaut Buzz Aldrin to walk on the Grand Canyon skywalk. It's a U-shaped glass-bottom pathway over the Grand Canyon so that you can look down right into the Grand Canyon. Of course, he was the second man to walk on the Moon, and he will be the first man to walk on this new and controversial tourist attraction. We're hoping it happens anytime soon -- or sometime soon so that we can bring you live pictures. We should also mention these are live pictures right now coming from the Hualapai Indian Reservation in Arizona where this tourist attraction has been built -- Don.
LEMON: Another developing story, Brianna, coming out of Washington, D.C. It's about those fired U.S. attorneys general (sic). The White House, the president specifically is expected to make a statement at 5:45 Eastern time regarding that.
Now our Suzanne Malveaux, just a short time ago, talked to us from the White House lawn and said that what is expected from the president is that he will say that Alberto Gonzales, the attorney general, has his full unyielding support. Also just a couple of minutes ago, we learned that the White House will also allow Karl Rove, which is the top political adviser to the president, and former White House counsel Harriet Miers, to be interviewed by congressional committees investigating how the firing of those U.S. attorneys was handled.
All of this will be not under oath, no transcript, and so Democrats are obviously upset about this. Chuck Schumer coming out before the microphones just a short while ago saying that he wants it to be under oath and he also wants a transcript of it because otherwise no one will be held accountable. So we'll continue to update you on that. Wolf Blitzer will have the very latest for you in "THE SITUATION ROOM " as soon as the president comes out to make his statement -- Brianna.
KEILAR: And again, we are standing by waiting for Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the Moon, to become the first man to walk on the Grand Canyon Skywalk. This is a U-shaped pathway with a glass bottom so that you can walk out on to the Grand Canyon, look right down. And that should be coming up soon -- oh, no, here...
LEMON: Here he goes. KEILAR: Here he goes. He's walking out.
LEMON: Are we going to go to break or should we -- all right. We're not going to go to break. Here he goes.
KEILAR: There you have it. That long shot there on the right. You can see exactly how this structure is suspended. I imagine this is somewhat scary. This is a momentous occasion where Buzz Aldrin is the first man, along with many members of the Hualapai Indian Nation, to walk out on this Grand Canyon Skywalk.
LEMON: He is. Who else do we have? Buzz Aldrin, John Herrington, we told you about before, who was the first Native American into space, and then Sheri Yellowhawk, tribal official and the CEO of the Grand Canyon West Corporation. And a lot of other folks joining him.
Let's listen and see what he's saying.
BUZZ ALDRIN, ASTRONAUT: ... bridges centuries of vision towards the future of hope.
JOHN HERRINGTON, ASTRONAUT: I am truly honored as a Native American, a member of the Chickasaw Nation to be invited to a fabulous opening like this. This represents the future for the children, for the Hualapai Nation. And many people come out here to experience the beauty that is the Grand Canyon, that these folks have enjoyed for centuries. And I'm deeply honored and privileged to have the opportunity to be here. Chairman, thank you very much.
LEMON: That was John Herrington, the first Native American in space. He went up in the space in 2002, meeting Buzz Aldrin there on the Grand Canyon Skywalk. They are the first people to go out there on this new and controversial tourist attraction. We'll have more on this straight ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM. We'll be right back.
LEMON: That was good. Remember that Bruce Springsteen song, "57 Channels and Nothing On." Well, my, how times have changed, or have they? Here's a new breakdown from Nielsen Media Research. The typical American home now has 104 channels to choose from, either through cable or satellite. But most of us watch only about 15 or 16 channels for any amount of time.
That would be CNN, HEADLINE NEWS, CNN INTERNATIONAL, ESPANOL.
LEMON: By the way, just six years ago the average American home had a mere 61 channels. I remember when TV, the big three, and they would go off at midnight.
KEILAR: I don't remember that.
(LAUGHTER) LEMON: We'll move on now. Why don't we check in with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Guys, thanks very much. We have a lot of news coming up in the top of the hour. His unflinching words make politicians squirm. "HBO Real Time" host Bill Maher doesn't hold back and he's not holding back. He'll be joining us live in "THE SITUATION ROOM." That's coming up.
Also, raising campaign cash. Are Hillary and Bill Clinton strong-arming potential donors? We're going to take a closer look at that. And our own John King will join us from the heartland of the insurgency in Iraq. He'll take us on a dangerous mission with U.S. troops. All that coming up, plus we're standing by to hear from the president on the uproar over the attorney general. All that guys coming up right here in "THE SITUATION ROOM."
LEMON: All right. Wolf, we look forward to that. Thank you.
KEILAR: The closing bell and a wrap of the action on Wall Street straight ahead.
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