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AMERICAN MORNING

More E-mails Uncovered About Gonzales Attorney Firings

Aired March 20, 2007 - 07:00:00   ET

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


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: Morning. Welcome, everybody. It's Tuesday March 20. I'm Soledad O'Brien.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: And I'm Miles O'Brien. We're glad you are with us this morning.

S. O'BRIEN: Let's begin with that 3,000 pages of documents released late last night from the Justice Department to Congress, all about the firing of those eight U.S. attorneys. Including e-mails from one U.S. attorney asking why she's being fired. And there are e- mails that reveal Justice Department descent over just who is being let go.

This new dump of documents is putting more pressure on the Attorney General Alberto Gonzales this morning. CNN's Justice Correspondent Kelli Arena live for us from Washington, D.C.

Good morning to you, Kelli.

KELLI ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad.

Of course, that really is the big question. How will Attorney General Alberto Gonzales fair once these documents are thoroughly scrutinized by the Hill? They clearly show a Justice Department that is in a big hurry to get this story behind it. But they really do little to answer those nagging questions that lawmakers have about whether these prosecutors were fired for the wrong reasons.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARENA (voice over): In one of the new e-mail messages released late last night it's clear that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was extremely upset in February at what his number two man told Congress about the firing of one of those attorneys, namely, Bud Cummins, the U.S. attorney for Arkansas. Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty told senators that Cummins was pushed out to make room for an associate of Karl Rove.

Justice officials say Gonzales thought the dismissal was only due to poor performance. It seems to portray an attorney general who was out of the loop. All this as Gonzales faces continuing calls for his resignation.

TONY SNOW, PRESS SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: He has the confidence of the president. But I do not -- as a pure and simple matter, nobody is prophetic enough to know what the next 21 months hold. ARENA: There are e-mails from Margaret Chiara, the U.S. attorney from Grand Rapids, Michigan, defending her work as exemplary she asks that any reference to poor performance be dropped when discussing her dismissal.

Other e-mails raise questions about Carol Lam, the U.S. attorney for San Diego. While she's been criticized for her record on immigration, one document from a Justice official defends her office's work.

Then there is a document in which McNulty admits he didn't even look at the performance of U.S. Attorney David Bogden. McNulty says he's a little skittish about Bogden being fired.

Lawmakers have just about had it.

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-CT), CHAIRMAN, JUDICIARY CMTE.: I want a briefing where they stand before us, raise their right hands and swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help them God.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ARENA: Now, to be fair, there are e-mails that suggest poor performance by prosecutors, as well. There is a particularly sarcastic exchange regarding Carol Lam. Now, she's the prosecutor from San Diego, it suggested that she ignored national priorities and local needs.

Justice officials insist they did not remove U.S. attorneys for improper reasons, but we have to see how the story plays out today, Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Let me ask you about these reports that the White House is looking at potential replacements for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Obviously, replacements would assume he's on his way out the door, which certainly hasn't been confirmed by the White House. If that is true, though, who theoretically would be on this list?

ARENA: Oh, my gosh, Soledad, that list is so long. It includes everybody from the Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff to the former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson. I mean, there are so many names that are being thrown around Washington right now. As they say, the body isn't even cold and already, you know, they're talking about replacements.

But to be clear, the White House keeps on insisting that the attorney general has the confidence of the president. I have been told by senior Justice Department officials that this attorney general is not acting like as man who's about to lose his job. He's keeping his head down and trying to focus on business. But, as you know, the calls for his resignation are consistent. They're loud and these documents will only keep this story alive.

And the question is, can he continue to be effective for this president in any way? That's what it will come down to.

S. O'BRIEN: Everyday that he's leading the newscast is not a good day for the attorney general.

ARENA: That's right.

S. O'BRIEN: All right. Kelli Arena for us this morning. Thanks, Kelli.

Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: To North Carolina, now. Rescuer teams there searching non-stop over night for a missing Boy Scout. Twelve-year- old Michael Auberry disappeared Saturday while camping with his Scout troop in the rugged mountains near the Virginia border there. AMERICAN MORNING's Bob Franken is live in McGrady, North Carolina, with the latest.

Good morning, Bob.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Miles.

The sun is beginning to rise here, which means soon the search operation will go back into high gear as they make sure they cover each and every base.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FRANKEN (voice over): Dog sniff for any trace of 12-year-old Michael Auberry, while high-tech aircraft fly overhead. It's all part of a massive search effort covering the dense, treacherous Blue Ridge Mountain terrain.

Auberry has been missing since Saturday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Michael!

FRANKEN: So far, there has been little trace of him. In case he wandered outside the park onto the road, officials have filed a missing person alert, although they're quick to say that they do not suspect foul play.

It turns out Michael Auberry has attention deficit disorder, which raises the question: How could he so easily disappear at lunch, in a group of ten, that included at least three adult leaders. According to Park Service officials, it happens all the time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's one of those things, you turn your back a minute and they're gone.

FRANKEN: Since Michael disappeared three days ago his parent have spent most of their time that command post camp site, clinging to hope; the same tenacious optimism that the searchers maintain.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're still hopeful. You just have to keep trying. If it was my children out there, I would want them to keep trying, as well.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FRANKEN: And there's a new little flier that's gone out from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. It's also on their website. This, of course, raises the possibility, a new possibility and, Soledad, perhaps, a new hope.

S. O'BRIEN: Bob Franken for us this morning. Bob, thanks. Let's hope that all pans out for this little boy.

Other stories that are happening this morning. There are some details coming about the execution of former Iraqi vice president Taha Yassin Ramadan, was his name. He was hanged overnight for his part in the Dujail mass killings back in the '80s.

Now a government witness says Ramadan was terrified and collapsed before the hanging, but that the execution was completed without any problems. Ramadan is the highest-ranking official since Saddam Hussein to be put to death.

Deadly nursing home fire it tell you about in Russia. It's a southern village, the name is Kamishavatskaya (ph); 63 people were killed, 33 others were hurt. Reports say a night watchman ignored two alarms before he reported the fire. Apparently there is no local fire department. It took an hour -- an hour -- for rescuers to get there.

Also in Russia, rescuers are now searching for four missing coal miners; 106 miners were killed in a methane explosion that took place in the mine in the Siberian region Kusbath (ph). It is the deadliest mine disaster to take place in Russia in a decade. But 93 other miners have been rescued -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Happening in America: In Los Angeles, two American women poisoned by thallium, while they were in Russia, out of the hospital this morning. Marina Kovalevsky and her daughter Yana went home yesterday. They were hospitalized for thallium poisoning in Moscow last month, before flying home to Los Angeles. It was apparently an accident.

In Tennessee a 10-year sentence for a former Army sergeant accused of war crimes in Iraq. Ray Gerard (ph) convicted of ordering his troops to kill three Iraqi detainees. He told them to release them and then shoot them as they fled. The 10-year sentence is just a jury's recommendation; a general must review it before it takes effect.

In Florida a 15-acre brush fire winding down this morning in Florida City. That's about 35 miles south of Miami. About 20 homes evacuated at the height of the fire. Right now residents are waiting for an all-clear so they can go back home.

On Manhattan's West Side supermodel Naomi Campbell sashaying in a unlikely place, a sanitation garage. She looks lovely, though, doesn't she? First of five days of community service; that is her punishment for throwing a cell phone at her maid. Campbell's eight-hour shift includes sweeping, mopping, cleaning offices, locker rooms. And, if they need it, the bathrooms, the toilets. There you go.

S. O'BRIEN: She's going to look good doing it.

M. O'BRIEN: Undoubtedly. Notice the work boots, though. Very nice.

S. O'BRIEN: Yeah. She has to change out of those high heels. That would hurt after eight hours.

M. O'BRIEN: Yeah.

S. O'BRIEN: Spring's almost here, really, it's just hours away but it certainly doesn't feel like it in the Northeast. Chad Myers has a look for us, up next.

And calls for the attorney general's resignation are growing. Will he survive the week? We'll take a closer this morning.

And this:

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Chris Lawrence live at the top of the Grand Canyon. Is this new man-made sky walk sacrilege or just plain stunning? Take a look for yourself when we come back on this hour of AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

M. O'BRIEN: Most news in the morning right here on CNN.

Saddam Hussein's one-time top deputy has his date with the hangman. Former Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan hanged for the mass killing of Shiites, in Dujail, 25 years ago.

And the post office approving a plan to increase the price of a stamp to 41 cents. That begins in mid-May.

S. O'BRIEN: Washington, D.C., is focused on the U.S. attorney firing scandal and it's taking another turn overnight.

It's another day for another presidential contender making one of those non-announcements announcements today. We're talking about the former Bush cabinet Secretary Tommy Thompson telling CNN he will make a more official announcement in April.

Let's get to all of these stories this morning with Amy Walter; she's the senior editor at the "Cook Political Report", also a CNN political analyst. She is in Washington, D.C., this morning.

All right, let's, where to begin? First of all, explain something to me. What is with a non-official official announcement. I mean, why would you hold a press conference to announce that you've got an important announcement coming next month? That's weird. And it happens again and again. What is going on?

AMY WALTER, SR. EDITOR, "COOK POLITICAL REPORT": I know, it's a uniquely Washington experience, isn't it. Maybe we should all start doing that for our potential job announcements. Just make an announcement that you're thinking about it.

Listen, I think it is the classic sort of trial balloon. Put it out there, and see how people react. Is it getting completely shot down by folks inside the Beltway, as ridiculous or is there some support somewhere for this candidacy?

Look, I think the fact that you have another Republican at least thinking about getting in, and likely to get in suggests more about the Republican field than it does about any individual candidate.

S. O'BRIEN: What does it suggest about the Republican field? I mean, I'm trying to count. You know, they give me this list every day. And everyday I have to get a new updated one. You have something like 14 people who are officially in, have formed an exploratory committee, or thinking about getting in, unofficially in, but making an announcement in the next month or so. What does this say about the Republican field?

WALTER: The Republicans primary voters aren't really happy with the candidates that they already have there, right?

S. O'BRIEN: Ah.

WALTER: That's why your seeing it all on one side. You're not -- you're sheet on the Democratic side is not quite as big, or as -- you know it doesn't churn as much as the Republican side, because Democratic voters seem very happy with the candidates they have in the field. Republicans not so much.

So, that's why there's actually an opening for other candidates to at least think about, talk about. Whether those candidates actually make any traction, that's a whole other story. The fact is they believe that if Republican voters aren't happy right now, hey, at least there is a chance I can make my case to them.

S. O'BRIEN: At least there is another name they can take a closer look at.

WALTER: That's right.

S. O'BRIEN: Let's talk about Attorney Alberto Gonzales. He has to wake up this morning -- be like, ugh, they're talking about me still today. Because he's at the head of the new document dump, 3,000 documents now being made public. These are documents that went right to Congress. And yet you see on Capitol Hill he's not getting a lot of support. No one has said officially he's out. But he's not getting a lot of support, why not?

WALTER: It's hard to do that. This is a story when I saw on the Sunday shows that Senator John Cornyn, who is a traditional ally of the president, and always sticks with the White House, is also talking about being disappointed about the way that this has been handled. I mean, there is a tremendous level of frustration here, from the Republicans, who now of course, in the minority, who have not had a good day or seen much good coming out of the White House in a long, long time.

They feel under siege and besieged, and trying to find a way to get out from under this. They don't control the process any more. We haven't seen Democrats in control of Congress with a White House this under water, so, that's a whole new experience for them, as well. It just looks like every day this gets worse. Just as you're saying every day we'll wake up and find another angle to this.

The document dump should have happened a long time ago. I don't understand it. Folks who have been in Washington for a long time, or even if you've only been here a couple years you know that --

S. O'BRIEN: Put the ugly stuff out first, and then get it over with.

WALTER: Exactly. Get it done. It's not going to get any better, especially when the other side is in control of the committees and subpoena power. It's only going to get worse.

S. O'BRIEN: It's going to get ugly. One-word answer: Does it keep his job, yes or no?

WALTER: Uh, yes-ish. How about that?

(LAUGHTER)

S. O'BRIEN: Yes-ish? Amy Walter, the hedger of the "Cook Political Report" joining us.

Amy, thanks, as always.

WALTER: Thank you.

S. O'BRIEN: You want to stay with us. Coming up at 8:00 Eastern hour we'll talk to Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards. He is unveiling his energy plan. Going to do it right here on AMERICAN MORNING. Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: A quarter past the hour right now, Chad Myers at the CNN Weather Center. He's watching the airports and other things.

(WEATHER REPORT)

M. O'BRIEN: We'll let Chris Lawrence go first. He's out there right now.

There is a Grand Canyon size divide this morning. An Indian tribe is looking for some cash, and it's unveiling this horseshoe shaped, cantilevered glass sidewalk there. Quite an engineering feat on it's own right. It will give tourists -- not Chad right away -- a view straight down 4,000 feet. Talk about vertigo, huh? Well, a lot of people see it as a huge eyesore. And, you know, frankly, we can see that. You might look at it that way. AMERICAN MORNING's Chris Lawrence live at the Grand Canyon, in Arizona, with the latest on the controversy as the Indian tribe unveils this spectacle.

Hello, Chris.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Miles.

First off, tell Chad he's a big chicken.

(LAUGHTER)

He can go on this any time. Tell him I said it, too.

(LAUGHTER)

The thing that's happening here is the Hualapai Tribe is not going after the 4 million people that go to the Grand Canyon National Park. They're after the 40 million people who visit Vegas, which is just two or three hours away.

Now, the Skywalk doesn't open to the public until next week. But later today we'll get a chance to step out on what some call sacrilege, others call stunning.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAWRENCE (voice over): The Skywalk is sheer glass and higher than three Empire State Buildings stacked on top of each other. But when tribal leaders and environmentalists peer over the edge, they see two very different views.

ROBERT BRAVO, HUALAPAI TRIBE: I mean, look at this thing. This is a modern marvel of the world out here.

KIERAN SUCKLING, CTR. FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY: The Eiffel Tower is an architectural wonder. Do I want the Eiffel Tower sitting on top of the Grand Canyon? No.

LAWRENCE: Environmentalist Kieran Suckling expects more than half a million tourists to make the two-hour drive from Las Vegas. He says speculators are already buying up the land in between hoping to build hotels and restaurants.

SUCKLING: We don't need to bring Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon.

LAWRENCE: Our view from a helicopter was stunning. For $75, tourists will be able to step over the edge and look 4,000 feet straight down.

(On camera): It looks so precarious just jetting out over the canyon like that. The builders said you could land 70 Boeing 747s on top of the Skywalk and it could still support the weight. (Voice over): More than 100 steel bars were drilled 40 feet into limestone bedrock, then capped with steel plates. The Hualapai leaders compare it to Canada's development of Niagara Falls.

BRAVO: I mean, did they desecrate that? And is that OK for them to do that? Why isn't it OK for the Hualapais to do it?

LAWRENCE: The tribe is small and poor. Unemployment is at 50 percent.

SHERI YELLOWHAWK, HUALAPAI TRIBE: We have to go 50 miles to get groceries. We have to -- we don't have a gas station in town. We don't -- there's a lot of things we don't have.

LAWRENCE: They're hoping that every visitor who steps foot on Skywalk puts the tribe one step closer to getting them.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAWRENCE: A Las Vegas investor paid about $30 million to build Skywalk. So, it's going to take about 400,000 extra visitors to recoup that money.

The investor and the tribe will split the earnings for a while, but eventually the tribe will own the skywalk -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: So, for 75 bucks you can go out there, how long can you stay out there if you want?

LAWRENCE: About 15 minutes. It's $50 to get onto the reservation, another $25 to get out there.

The thing is right now, you can't take cameras or cell phones.

M. O'BRIEN: What?

LAWRENCE: They're afraid people will drop them. Yeah, that's right, you go out there and you want to take a picture, right?

M. O'BRIEN: Right.

LAWRENCE: Well, they're afraid if you get 1,000 people out there a day, people start dropping their cameras and cell phones, it will eventually chip away at that glass underneath their feet.

What they're looking at is there's a similar skywalk in Australia, and they use sort of a tether system.

M. O'BRIEN: Yeah, tethers would work.

LAWRENCE: So that the cellphones can't hit. That's what they're looking at down the road.

M. O'BRIEN: All right. Thank you, Chris Lawrence. Obviously a work in progress out there.

LAWRENCE: Yeah.

M. O'BRIEN: Coming up, the movers and shakers are moving and shaking this morning. Alley Velshi "Minding Your Business", watching the deals go down.

Plus, how old is too old to get behind the wheel? Would you say 94? If you did say that, Morty Morrison would have a bone to pick with you. You hear it straight from his mouth, ahead on AMERICAN MORNING

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

M. O'BRIEN: The business world is buzzing, can you hear it? Can you hear the buzz? Listen. There it is. Yes, a lot of merger talk this morning on both sides of the Atlantic. It's 25 minutes past the hour. Ali Velshi has it covered for us.

Hello, Ali.

ALI VELSHI, CNN FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.

Bank mergers again on the docket. Let me tell you about this one. Britain's number three bank and the Netherlands' number one bank are talking about a deal that could be worth $160 billion. ABN AMRO is the biggest bank in the Netherlands. Barclays is the number three bank in the United Kingdom. These two banks are talking about bringing their strengths together.

You might know, you're relationship to ABN here in the United States is it owns LaSalle Bank, based out of Chicago.

Now, there was another big deal taking place on this side of the Atlantic. ServiceMaster, you know it through TruGreen lawn care, Terminix pest control, Furniture Medic, and MerryMaid. That company has accepted an offer to go private for about $4.7 billion.

In 2006 Terminix, ServiceMaster had 32,000 employees, 5,500 franchises. It was founded in 1929 as a moth proofing company.

Finally some news from COSTCO, the nation's largest wholesale club got a subpoena from a grand jury in Washington State. The subpoena relates to COSTCO's internal investigation, that said that it was impossible to determine with precision, that's the company's words, whether the company's stock options were granted properly.

This is now more than 200 companies, Soledad, where there are investigations into their stock options. We'll keep track on that.

S. O'BRIEN: Thank you for watching that.

New report out this morning, as well about the dangers that older drivers face and just where they face them. It's from the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety. They say 40 percent of deadly accidents happen at intersections. Of those deadly accidents 58 percent involve drivers who are older than 80 and who failed to yield at the intersection. CNN's Brianna Keilar taking a look this morning at the personal side of this controversy. She's live at the CNN Center in Atlanta.

Good morning, Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad.

Research showing elderly drivers are making more mistakes at intersections than younger drivers and making different kind of mistakes. As you said, failing to yield. That is a problem that increases with age. As I learned this past summer from a unlikely driving instructor, we can all use a refresher on the rules of the road, and that's especially true for seniors.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MORTY MORRISON, 94-YEAR OLD DRIVER: The speed limit up here is 15 miles per hour.

KEILAR (on camera): Do you really go 15 miles per hour around here?

MORRISON: Personally?

KEILAR: Personally.

MORRISON: Not for publication, no.

(LAUGHTER)

KEILAR (voice over): Drive around with Morty Morrison and it's like a trip back in time, way back in time. He was born on the day the Titanic sank and has lived through the stock market crash, and two world wars.

(On camera): How old are you?

MORRISON: 94 going on 60.

KEILAR (voice over): So, when Morty went to renew his driver's license, it expires when he turns 100, he was surprised he not given any exams to test his ability to keep driving.

(On camera): Did they check your sight?

MORRISON: They didn't check to see if I have anything.

KEILAR: That's because only two states, Illinois and New Hampshire, require drivers age 75 and older to retake a road test when renewing their licenses, according to the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety.

That is something Morty is concerned about. He teaches a course to the elderly on how best to avoid accidents, and when seniors should stop driving.

MORRISON: We are not as nimble, nor do we have the strength. Some people can't handle a wheel in an emergency. KIELAR: Older drivers also have higher rates of fatal crashes based on miles driven than any other group, except very young drivers, that's according to the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety. Morty is also aware of his limitations, but still feels he is a good driver.

(On camera): Do you think some elderly drivers get a bad rap?

MORRISON: You have to be tolerant. They generalize that all elderly are, in other words, you see one accident, and therefore you attribute it to all people of a certain age group.

KEILAR: And as Morty showed me, it's hard enough for anyone to drive on the roads, so I can only imagine how someone who might be affected by age limitations would pass a driving test with him.

(On camera): OK, do you want me to back out or pull through? Check again, right? I feel like I'm 16 again.

MORRISON: Slow up a little.

KEILAR: I have eight car behind me right now. Can I turn?

MORRISON: No, no. Stop over there. Go, go.

One more -- no -- that's it.

KEILAR: How did I do?

MORRISON: I vote for you.

KEILAR: Oh, good.

MORRISON: You're good.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KEILAR: That will never cease to embarrass me. But Morty turns 95 next month and also in April his next elderly safe driver's course, Soledad, he's still doing it.

S. O'BRIEN: You were doing all right, too. Brianna Keilar, this morning. Thank, Brianna.

Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Excellent job, Brianna. We're very proud of you.

S. O'BRIEN: Cool under pressure.

M. O'BRIEN: Yeah. That's tough when the camera's rolling.

Top stories in the morning coming up next. More e-mails -- and with details on the whys and hows of that U.S. attorney axing.

And, dude, where's my bag? How you can avoid having your luggage land here on the island of misfit bags there. If you ever had a sinus infection, we're sorry. Because we know how miserable that is, but we want you to think twice before you reach for an antibiotic. You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning is right here.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: Good morning to you, Tuesday, March 20th, I'm Miles O'Brien.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: I'm Soledad O'Brien. Thanks for being with us. We're following several developing stories for you this morning. We've been looking through those thousands of pages of new documents that were released last night in the case of those fired U.S. attorneys. E-mails from those attorneys themselves, documents ranking the attorneys and then also a closer look at just how involved the Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, was in all of this. An update on that story is straight ahead.

M. O'BRIEN: We're also watching North Carolina this morning, the search for that missing Boy Scout. There's a twist. Authorities issuing a missing person's alert for him, just in case he isn't anywhere near where they are searching.

S. O'BRIEN: And new information about sinus infections this morning. Of course millions of people suffer from them. The solution maybe is not in your prescription. We're going to page Dr. Gupta about that story straight ahead.

M. O'BRIEN: This morning on Capitol Hill, some heated negotiations will soon be under way as lawmakers try to force White House staffers to testify about that mass firing of U.S. attorneys. Amid all of this, they're sorting through a huge pile of documents and e-mail which shed new light on how and why the firings happened, putting the attorney general squarely in the hot seat. Let's go to Court TV's Savannah Guthrie to help us sort through all this. She joins us live from Washington. Savannah, good it have you with us.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, COURT TV: Good morning.

M. O'BRIEN: These e-mails go back and forth between staffers of Mr. Gonzales. In one of them, they're talking about testimony that Alberto Gonzalez' chief deputy issued to Congress about Bud Cummins, who was the U.S. attorney in Arkansas, the first to be fired. Now, in that testimony Mr. McNulty said there was no particular reason he was being replaced. He was just being replaced because they had someone else, an actual friend of Karl Rove that they would like to put in that position. Apparently, Mr. Gonzales, the attorney general, was extremely upset about that or at least that's the conversation that went back and forth. What's interesting to me about this is, this was the only candid testimony before Congress that it was just, we wanted to replace him and that's the one thing that apparently the attorney general was upset about.

GUTHRIE: According to these e-mails, the spokesperson for Attorney General Gonzales who was traveling with me overseas sent an e-mail back saying that the attorney general was upset because Paul McNulty had been so candid in saying really the only reason that this particular U.S. attorney was pushed aside was to make room for an ally of Karl Rove. The irony here, I think Miles here, is that it was the other statements of Paul McNulty saying that the other U.S. attorneys were fired for what he called performance-related reasons. That's what totally incensed the rest of those U.S. attorneys, compelled them to go forward, become public with all of this and what really made this whole scandal kind of take on a life of its own.

M. O'BRIEN: You have wonder if he just said, look, we'll replace them all because we just want new people there, we probably wouldn't be having this conversation right now. Here's an interesting one that came out. This is, once again, from Mr. McNulty who says this. I'm still a little skittish about Bodden (ph) and that's one of the fired U.S. attorneys as McNulty wrote this to Mr. Gonzalez' chief of staff Kyle Sampson who's now out. I will admit I have not looked at his district's performance. Then he's in Congress saying that it was a performance issue. That appears to be a bit of a smoking gun type of reading right there.

GUTHRIE: I think that is one of the e-mails that stood out like a sore thumb. We had 3,000 pages land like a thud on Capitol Hill last night, but that is one that immediately people took notice of for just the reason you mentioned. Here's Paul McNulty candidly telling someone, I'm not sure we should let this guy go. I haven't really looked at his performance, his report card and yet that was precisely the reason that the Department of Justice chose to give to Congress. That's one of the reasons why people on Capitol Hill are so frustrated right now, why Senator Leahy for one said the time for cooperation is over. I am sick of having these private briefings with Justice officials and then getting these different stories. So we're really headed for a showdown this week. The White House refuses to let Karl Rove, people like Harriet Miers come and testify. You wonder what is going to happen because apparently the Democrats are in no mood for negotiations.

M. O'BRIEN: We'll see a lot today, see how it transpires, Savannah Guthrie, thank you very much. Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Other news this morning, Russian rescue workers are searching for four missing coal miners after a methane explosion happened in the Siberian region of Kuzba (ph). At least 106 miners were killed. It is the worst Russian mine disaster in a decade; 93 other miners have been rescued.

Also in Russia this morning, a deadly nursing home fire has killed 63 people; 63 others were hurt. Reports say a night watchman ignored two alarms before he reported the fire. The village has no fire department of its own and there are reports that say it took firefighters an hour to respond from neighboring towns.

Coming to America, now he has a visa. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad getting approval for his visit. He could be here as soon as tomorrow to talk to the UN Security Council. The council is debating sanctions over Iran's nuclear program. Russia stepping up pressure on Iraq today. The "New York Times" is reporting that Russia is threatening to stop helping Iran build a nuclear reactor if Iran doesn't stop trying to make its own nuclear fuel.

Congress is looking for answers from the FBI today about invasion of privacy. A government inspector says the FBI used the Patriot Act either illegally or improperly to collect personal information from Americans like phone records and e-mails. House Judiciary Committee hearings will begin at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time today.

M. O'BRIEN: In North Carolina, rescue teams are searching non- stop. They did so overnight. They'll begin in earnest this morning, as well, for that missing Boy Scout. Twelve-year-old Michael Auberry disappeared Saturday while camping with his scout troop in the rugged mountains there. Turns out Michael Auberry has attention deficit disorder. He doesn't have his Ritalin with him. Officials say searchers have not found any clues. They are distributing fliers. He has been listed also as a missing person just in case he's no where near the search area.

Coming up, if you ever had a sinus infection, I get them ever now and again. They are a miserable thing. We have a new warning for me and for you about what not to take when that happens. Paging Dr. Sanjay Gupta for that.

Where, oh, where has your Samsonite gone? We'll tell you what you can do to avoid luggage nightmares like this one. You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning packed away right here.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

M. O'BRIEN: Well, the backlog is slowly clearing up at airports up and down the east coast, thousands of passengers stranded from that winter storm over the weekend. We've been telling you all about that and hundreds of bags, there you see some of them, left sitting, separated from their owners. Greg Hunter is at Philadelphia international airport with tips on how you can avoid losing your bag on your next flight. Greg, aside from carrying everything onboard, what are we going to do?

GREG HUNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There's a couple things you can do. One of the things you can do is get to the airport an hour and a half early to help the baggage handlers to get the baggage from the curb or from inside out to the airplane. That helps. Another thing you want to do is to make sure you mark your bags well inside and outside. Mark your bags inside and outside because if they lose your bag, they open it up, they can find out who you are. Another thing, direct flights are much better to take, the reason why is because, when you have layovers you have a chance to separate you from your luggage and, finally, this is really important when you have valuables. You know, I'm going to Hawaii this coming week. My wife wanted to pack our digital camera. No, not going to do that. We're going to take it on with us and take all of our valuables on with us and also maybe like a change of clothes just in case our bag gets separated. Back to you Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: You know what I always do. I always drop a business card inside my bags just on the eventuality that they might get lost. Let me ask you this. All those bags we've seen piled up there, when are people going to get those bags back? How long will it take? Usually they deliver it to you wherever you are.

HUNTER: That's right. We contacted U.S. Airways, a big player here at the Philadelphia airport. They have 800 of the 1,200 flights they handle. So they are the player here at the Philadelphia airport and they say they should have most of these bags back to passengers, if not all, by the end of business or by the end of the day today. We came here last night and we saw all these bags and people, we were surprised to see at midnight that people were rummaging around through hundreds of bags on the floor looking for their bag. We actually saw people find their bag and find, you know, the thing they were looking for, but what a mess. There were about a couple hundred piled up in one terminal, a couple hundred in another terminal. It was quite a mess. U.S. Airways spent a lot of money trying to fix this last November. This is an airport that's had its troubles. According to the government, one of the worst airports for mishandling bags and of course with the weather and some of the computer glitches, people got separated from their bags. So protect yourself.

M. O'BRIEN: Protect yourself, all things considered, those bags would rather be in Philadelphia, I guess. All right, Greg Hunter at that Philly airport. Soledad?

S. O'BRIEN: They're going to get them back tomorrow which means Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. That's Wednesday. They pretty much missed their week-long vacation. You had zero clothes.

M. O'BRIEN: Think of it as a shopping opportunity.

S. O'BRIEN: Yeah, right. Coming up on 45 minutes past the hour. Chad is at the CNN weather center for us, good morning.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Soledad, pretty good flying weather today. There are some windy conditions across parts of New York State this morning. Take a look and here are some wind speeds from Buffalo 17 miles per hour and eventually these winds will effect (ph) down into New York City. We may see some airport delays, especially La Guardia, the most susceptible to wind delays because of its cross runway pattern. We are seeing showers into Wichita, down into Tulsa, Oklahoma as well. Some of those areas could see some severe weather today. There's a cool breeze out there in New York City today, but it's not Arctic, it's still pretty good. Showers all the way down almost to LA though later on today. Could mean especially in San Francisco some delays there as the marine layer rolls on shore later this morning. Back to you, Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: All right, Chad, thank you.

Ahead this morning, new warning to doctors and patients about how they treat sinus infections. We're paging Dr. Sanjay Gupta straight ahead this morning.

And Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards joins us. His solutions for global warming will be unveiled right here on AMERICAN MORNING. Plus, your first glimpse at the newest member of Angelina and Brad's family. Stay with us, you're watching AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

S. O'BRIEN: If you're one of the 37 million Americans who suffers from sinus infections, you'll do anything to get relief, but it turns out the drugs your doctor often prescribes don't help. Paging Dr. Gupta this morning, Sanjay is in Atlanta. Good morning to you, Sanjay.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad. This is admittedly a little bit confusing when talking about antibiotics and the treatment of infections. Really quick, we're specifically talking about sinusitis today. People who have had this certainly know what it is. A lot of pain in the sinuses as a result of an infection. What we know is that most of those infections are primarily caused by viruses. Viruses do not respond to antibiotics, which prompted the study. What the researchers found is they sort of divided into chronic and acute sinus infections and they found that in 70 percent of chronic sinus infections, doctors prescribing antibiotics and in 82 percent of acute sinus infections, as well. Again, since the virus is the primary cause, an antibiotic is probably not going to work for this.

Now a couple of things about sinus infections in general. There are three major sinuses that are typically infected. They're called the frontal sinuses, which you can see them up there. The ethmoid sinuses which are right along the side of your nose and the maxillary sinuses in your cheek. You can actually tap on these areas if you're having pain and figure out which sinus it is that is bothering you. Soledad, we've talked about this quite a bit. You and I have talked about this, the concern about antibiotic use is that if you use it too much, you're going to create resistant bacteria down the line. This is already a problem. The pharmaceutical companies have to come up with new antibiotics all the time because the old ones simply don't work. It used to be that penicillin could treat everything and now you have several generations beyond that, Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: How do you possibly know? All you have when you have that raging sinus infection is your head feels horrible. How do you know what you've got? Is it viral? Is it bacterial when you show up at the doctor's office?

GUPTA: It can be hard. IF you show up in the doctor's office, they could potentially do what's called a culture. They actually do a little swab and actually find out if there is bacteria there, but if you're just at home. If it starting to last longer than seven days, it's more likely falling into the bacterial realm. If you have a fever, more common to have fever with bacterial infections and you'll love this for your morning audience, but a mucus discharge or brown, yellow or green or that post-nasal drip, that's a drip down the back of your throat, those sort of all point more towards bacterial.

S. O'BRIEN: But I guess you're a doctor so it's OK to go that way. I got to tell you Sanjay though, we've talked about this before. There are times when you have something that someone says is a virus but you take antibiotics and you feel better. That's happened to me and you shouldn't because antibiotics shouldn't work on a virus. But I tell you I have felt better when I have taken antibiotics. Why is that?

GUPTA: You have asked me to let you into the secret world of doctors, Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes I am just for a moment Sanjay, just for a minute.

GUPTA: A lot of people ask about this and a lot of people do take the antibiotics. So here's what I'll tell you and some of my infectious disease colleagues will hate me for saying this. But what happens when people are sick for a long period of time is you can get what are known as secondary infections. So, while the primary cause may have been a virus, you may develop secondary infections which could be caused by bacteria. Your immune system is compromised. You have this sort of nice breeding ground if you will for bacteria and that makes you sick. You get both a viral and a bacterial infection. You take the antibiotic. You feel better. You're treating the symptoms. You're still not treating the immediate cause of things but you do feel better.

S. O'BRIEN: I knew it. I'm not a doctor.

GUPTA: There was something there.

S. O'BRIEN: I'm not a doctor, I don't play one on TV but I knew it. Sanjay Gupta, thank you for the house call this morning. Miles?

M. O'BRIEN: Top stories ahead, pouring through thousands of e- mail and other documents about the firings of those eight U.S. attorneys, what they reveal about the Justice Department and about the attorney general.

And high-tech measures in the search for a missing Boy Scout. a search that is becoming much more desperate this morning. We'll tell you about it ahead on AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning is right here on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

M. O'BRIEN: It is a big plane and we mean big and it is flying on a financial wing and a prayer. The Airbus A380, the world's largest passenger plane ever double decker, a million pounds, more than 500 seats, who knows how many peanuts that means. I don't know. It arrived on both coasts simultaneously yesterday, a big photo-op, but many would say the company has squandered some real opportunities to make it a hit. It's about four minutes before the top of the hour. Ali Velshi is our Airbus expert this morning. Good morning Ali.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning and until this thing landed yesterday in LA and New York, a lot of us have been thinking this thing hadn't gotten off the ground but it got a good reception. There's something about a big plane coming in and it started right as those planes came in and air traffic control had something to say about it. Let's listen in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI (voice-over): Touchdown of the A380 in Los Angeles.

UNIDENTIFIED CONTROLLER: That's a big airplane.

UNIDENTIFIED CONTROLLER: Think how small the 7-4 looks next to that 380.

VELSHI: It's big, two full decks, space for between 500 and 840 passengers, depending on the on-board amenities.

JOHN SCHOLLE, GLOBAL INSIGHT: We're 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. They're not going to make the 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 A380 in October followed by the number one buyer, Emirates. But Airbus hopes all the publicity will lead to some U.S. buyers. Development of the A380 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 now long out of it, are somewhat risk averse. Besides, you may have noticed that in recent years they've shifted to flying smaller planes and flying them full.

SCHOLLE: The first thing they're going to do is look to replace the aircraft they use all the time which is the smaller, single aisle aircraft.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELSHI: While having the biggest, baddest plane in the sky, get you some bragging rights, the only bragging rights that most U.S. airlines want right now is the one that says that they're not in bankruptcy or how long they've been out of bankruptcy. Buying expensive planes and not being sure they can fill them is not something --

M. O'BRIEN: So size matters, the size of their losses.

VELSHI: If you're flying big planes across oceans on long routes most of the time like Singapore and Emirates are doing, that is the bulk of their business, that makes sense. For these American airlines they're trying to get the domestic routes to make sense.

M. O'BRIEN: You're not going to do Cleveland to New York. S. O'BRIEN: Maybe it's because I'm from Long Island, but would they reall put a mall on that plane?

VELSHI: Perhaps for the highest end, some airlines who want an all first class kind of thing. Planes, they need to make money. They're going to put people on there.

M. O'BRIEN: The flying outlets.

VELSHI: One of our producers who was on the plane yesterday -- you can sit far apart on that plane. One of our producers was saying, when he was in it, the way it was configured it felt like a plane. It was bigger.

S. O'BRIEN: They squish more people in.

VELSHI: I'm going on tomorrow.

S. O'BRIEN: If they are selling anything, will you pick up something?

VELSHI: I will. Got to go now.

M. O'BRIEN: First glimpse this morning of the latest addition to the Bradgelina clan and we mean glimpse. That's the back side of little Pax under an umbrella in the city formally known as Saigon. That's mom with him, Angelina Jolie, just barely see her there. They were on their way to Hanoi to complete the paperwork to take the three-year old...

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