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Political Investigations: Needless or Necessary?

Aired April 26, 2007 - 06:00   ET


KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Deadbeat walking.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you have to say to your son Destin?


CHETRY: The law catches up to a prisoner father who promised a kidney to his son, but bolted to Mexico instead.


DESTIN PERKINS: I don't know how he could lay his head down at night just knowing that he ran away and left me up here to die like this.


CHETRY: And down in flames. Tear gas and a raging fire end a standoff with a suspected killer of a state trooper. The dramatic pictures on this AMERICAN MORNING.

And good morning. It is Thursday, April 26th. I'm Kiran Chetry here in New York.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm John Roberts in Washington, D.C., the nation's capital, again.

Good morning to you, Kiran. How are you?

CHETRY: Nice to see you.

ROBERTS: Good to see you as well.

Stories on our radar this morning.

The House passed that Iraq spending bill with timetables. The Senate takes it up next. President Bush says he's going to veto it. We'll talk with White House Representative Dana Perino coming up in our next hour.

CHETRY: Yes, that's right. And we're also going to hear from our own Kyra Phillips and our own Michael Ware, both of them spending some time in Baghdad. They're going to give us a first-hand account of experiences there. And if you have any questions for them, you can always e-mails us. It's Maybe you just want to know what life was like there for either one of them. And they'll be answering those questions a little bit later in our show.

ROBERTS: That's going to be a great segment.

Another great one coming up, John McCain, who announced for the second, third, fourth, ah who's counting, time that he's running for president. He's going to be with us from Greenburg (ph), South Carolina. Along with his wife, Cindy. So stay tuned for that.

CHETRY: That will be great.

Also, the Dow Jones first ever closed above 13,000 yesterday. A big day on Wall Street. And Ali Velshi will be at the New York Stock Exchange breaking down the numbers and really asking, where do we go next? You know, what's in our future when it comes to those high numbers on the Dow?

ROBERTS: And here's a demonstration, Kiran, that sometimes you just got to remember that there are cameras around and maybe you shouldn't do certain things. Take a look at this. This out at the White House yesterday. Malaria day. President Bush getting his groove on with his West African Dance Troop. It made for some of the best video that we have ever seen of this president, ever. And stuff that Letterman could have used in that top 10 favorite moments of Bush at the White House Correspondent's Association Dinner.

CHETRY: You're right. But, you know, he owned it. He just went with it. Whatever his body told him to do, he just did it. So good for him.

ROBERTS: I love what he's doing there. That thing.

CHETRY: That's going to be the dance craze of the season. I can tell already.

ROBERTS: We had Karl Rove a couple of months ago doing this.


ROBERTS: And now you've got the president doing that thing.

CHETRY: I'd say the president has a little bit more rhythm.

ROBERTS: Tell you what. I mean my wife couldn't get enough of that yesterday. She kept on rewinding the program and watching it again and again. So we're going to play that a lot for you this morning because we know there's a tremendous amount of interest.

Today, though, the Senate is expected to follow the lead of the House and approve a war funding bill that includes a timeline for troop withdrawals from Iraq. A defiant House passed the measure last night on a mostly party line vote, 218-208. The White House was quick to denounces the House action as a "vote for failure in Iraq." President Bush has promised a veto.

The Democratic candidates for president, eight of them, engaged in their first debate today. They're headed for Orangeburg, South Carolina. The debate will last 90 minutes. It's the first time a debate has been held at a black college, by the way. The head of the Democratic Party, if he had his way, you'd never know if the candidates crash or come out on top tonight. Howard Dean wants to ban the media from debate. Can you imagine? No public record. The former presidential contender says candidates stick to a script when the press is watching, never saying what they really think. But the question is, if we're not there, how will we know?

Presidential Candidate John McCain says it's time for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to go. McCain told Larry King that Gonzales should resign for the good of the White House.


LARRY KING, "LARRY KING LIVE": What do you make, Senator McCain, of the Attorney General Gonzales issue? Many of your fellow Republicans members of the Senate have expressed the thought that he ought to leave. Should he?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm very disappointed and disappointed in his performance. I think loyalty to the president should enter into his calculations.

KING: Did you say you think Gonzales should leave?

MCCAIN: I think out of loyalty to the president, that that would probably be the best thing that he could do.


ROBERTS: Senator McCain is going to join us live right here on AMERICAN MORNING, 7:30 Eastern.


CHETRY: Well, Wall Street begins today in record territory. The Dow Jones Industrial average closing above the 13,000 mark for the first time in history. Ali Velshi is live at the New York Stock Exchange.

And, of course, a lot of people wondering today, is this going to last?

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kiran, you know, if we had had the cameras here just before 4:00 yesterday afternoon at the closing, you would have seen a whole lot of traders doing that funky dance that President Bush was having. Thirteen thousand. Lucky 13 for the Dow.

And folks are wondering exactly why this is. We've been talking about high oil prices, low housing prices. A lot of mixed signals in this economy. But fundamentally, investors think the economy is doing well. Will it last? Well, that depends on what happens next with interest rates, and I'll talk to you about that later. But take a look. It took about six months to get from 12,000 to 13,000.

Almost all of the Dow components were higher. And this wasn't just the 30 Dow stocks. Look across the board.

The Nasdaq was up. That's a six and a half year high on the Nasdaq. Obviously it was a lot higher than that during a tech boom. So we've got a lot of distance to go. But the S&P 500, a six-year high and just a couple of percent off its all-time high.

I'll tell you also one of the reasons this market is surging is because of all these companies with amazing earnings. I'll tell you about Apple a little later on and the millions of products they sold in the last three months. Right now, Asian markets are up. European markets are up.

And within the next hour, we're going to get earnings from the world's biggest public company, Exxon Mobil. So we're going to have a lot to talk about this morning and some sense of whether this continues.


CHETRY: Ali Velshi at the New York Stock Exchange for us today. Thank you.


ROBERTS: If this fellow is not the worst dad in the world, he is certainly among the top 10. Byron Perkins goes to court today a year after being on the lamb in Mexico or after at least a year of being on the lamb in Mexico. Let out of jail so that he could donate a kidney to his son. He took off instead. That story now from CNN's Susan Candiotti.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you have to say to your son Destin? You promised him a kidney.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): With nothing to say to the son he deserted, Byron Perkins and girlfriend Lea Ann Howard were escorted back to the U.S. Authorities say they've been hop-scotching around Mexico doing odd jobs to keep under the radar. But their luck ran out.

JOE CHAVARRIA, U.S. MARSHAL: Unfortunately for them, they came back to a place where everyone was looking for them because they had been there last year.

CANDIOTTI: Perkins, nicknamed the most hated dad in America, busted in Mexico, back in the U.S., in a heap of trouble. A dad who cried in front of a judge who let him out of jail last year so he could donate a kidney to his son, Destin. A son who desperately needed a kidney to live. Perkins fooled them all and took off running with his girlfriend.

It was only after CNN ran the story that tourists in Mexico recognized him and called police. The couple had run up a hotel and bar bills and skipped out on those too. For over a year, the U.S. marshals searched for the odd couple and finally caught up with them in Porta Vallarta. Authorities say they spent time before that near Manzanillo.

Last fall, we visited with Destin after he got a new kidney from an anonymous downer. Back then, he said this about his dad and his mom says nothing's changed.

Do you think you could ever forgive him?

DESTIN PERKINS, SON OF ARRESTED FUGITIVE: Forgive him? Probably not. That's a pretty bad thing that he did to me.

CANDIOTTI: Now that his dad's been captured, Destin says he'd like a chance to ask his father why and how can you live with yourself?

Susan Candiotti, CNN, Miami.


ROBERTS: Well, CNN's Anderson Cooper spoke more with the son, Destin Perkins, who holds a lot of resentment towards his father. Take a listen.


PERKINS: There's a lot of anger between me and him right now. I mean, I would like to see him, just tell him what I think and just ask one question, why he did it. It's kind of sad that he would run out on me like that. I don't know how he could lay his head down at night just knowing that he ran away and left me up here to die like that. That's just one of my main questions, just why he did it and how he could do it.


ROBERTS: Destin says that he is feeling well and that the kidney that he got from an anonymous downer is working fine. But, Kiran, you've got to wonder what kind of a parent would do something like that.

CHETRY: Yes. And, I mean, he was on the run before, wanted for drug and weapons changes before that. So -- and he was facing a life term, which is why he ran. All right, we're going to have more on that.

Also this morning, New York State Police say that they think the hunt for a man who shot three troopers, killing one, is now over. The suspect hold up in a farm house in upstate New York. Police fired in rounds of tear gas and then a fire broke out. Police say they think the body of 23-year-old Travis Trim was found in the ashes, a rifle in his hands. Police had been hunting for him after he allegedly shot a trooper at a traffic stop. Trooper David Brinkerhoff was shot and killed. His partner also shot. The fire at the house lasted 90 minutes before police stormed in. New York State Police say it is possible the tear gas they fired in did cause the fire. An autopsy will identify the identity of the remains of the body found inside.

ROBERTS: The defense is expected to finish opening statements today in Los Angeles in the murder trial of rock and roll legend Phil Spector. Specter is accused of second degree murder in the death of actress Lana Clarkson. She was found shot to death in his mansion. The defense claims that she shot herself. Spector could face 15 years to life in prison if he's convicted.

CHETRY: Well, Miss America can now add crime fighter to her resume. Twenty-year-old Lauren Nelson went undercover with police in New York for a sting targeting sexual predators. Police created an online profile of a 14-year-old girl, including pictures of Miss America as a teenager. At least four men were arrested and face charges.

ROBERTS: It's called shooting fish in a barrel.

No eliminations on "American Idol" last night. Instead, more than $30 million raised for charity U2's Bono among the guests on last night's special "Idol" to benefit ONE, the campaign to make poverty history. More than 70 million votes were cast, each vote resulting in a donation by the show's corporate sponsors.

CHETRY: All right. And cleaning up from a devastating tornado in Texas. Fighting floods in Missouri. We have the very latest on the extreme weather situation.

And it could be the most dangerous place on earth right now. We're going to talk to our own Kyra Phillips about what it's like to spend time in Baghdad.

You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning is here on CNN.


ROBERTS: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. It's the most news in the morning.

New pictures in today from Eagle Pass, Texas. Residents picking up the pieces after a deadly tornado. Hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed by the twister that roared into town on Tuesday night. Seven people died in Eagle Pass. Three more were killed across the border in Mexico.

Extreme weather also making a mark in the Midwest. In Missouri, flooding causing huge headaches around the Kansas City area, especially for drivers. Take a look. How do you get out of that one, huh? High water washed out roads and sent rivers spilling over into neighborhoods.

Thirteen minutes now after the hour. Chad Myers in the Severe Weather Center down in Atlanta.

And, Chad, I'm still seeing lots of storms on the radar this morning.


CHETRY: Well, it's one of the most dangerous assignments for a journalist, if not the most dangerous assignment, and that's covering the Iraq War. Take a look.


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is actually one of the ball bearings -- Peter, tell me if you're able to come close on that -- that is inside of the vest of a suicide bomber. This one coming from the man who blew himself up today. Thousands of these little ball bearings explode from the vest.


CHETRY: It's just one of the many stories that CNN anchor Kyra Phillips brought us. Just back from a six-week assignment in Iraq, Kyra joins me now.

Great to have you back safe and sound, first of all.

PHILLIPS: Thank you. Nice to be back.

CHETRY: And I know you really pushed for this and you wanted this assignment. Why did you want to go?

PHILLIPS: I don't know. I think it was just a point in my life where I just needed a change. I needed the experience. And I have to tell you, I got there and I remember sending so many e-mails saying, my soul has awakened. I just learned so much about the people and about the war and just the reality of what's happening there. As an anchor, I had no idea the intensity and what the people were going through on a daily basis, the Iraqi and the U.S. troops.

CHETRY: Were you ever scared for your life?

PHILLIPS: I wasn't. Isn't that -- I mean you -- it would not be smart to be a little fearful, but that situation aware, you what to be aware of what's happening around you. And as everybody said to me in the military, keep your head on a swivel. I mean that was what I had on my mind. So, yes, you want to be smart, you want to be aware of your surroundings. But, no, I really went into it with no expectations, just that I wanted to do my best to cover the story and really get the side of the Iraqi people more than anything else because I do so many military stories.

CHETRY: And what did you find talking to the everyday folks in Iraq?

PHILLIPS: Well, the fist reality check was going into my room, right, our armed compound and hanging on the door -- usually when you check into a hotel you have the rules and regulations of don't smoke and, you know, don't do certain things like that. On our door is the action on hearing incoming gunfire, IGF. Take cover. If anything happens, put on your body armor and helmet. Monitor the radio. Keep low and away from windows and doors. Do not leave your location until told to do so by security. When told to leave, pick up your bags. Leave all unnecessary belongings behind. Move quickly to the designated area. So that was my reality check.

CHETRY: It's scary to think about. And this is everyday life for many Iraqis.

PHILLIPS: Right. Well, and this is where I really got a sense for what the Iraqi people are going through. They don't have the security like the military or like me.

CHETRY: Right.

PHILLIPS: I have an armed compound. I have a convoy. I have bodyguards. Yes, it's still a risk. But think of the average Iraq. I mean just driving down the streets, you come up to an intersection, there are no stop signs, there is no spot like. Because as soon as you stop and you become jammed among many cars, you're a target. A car bomb could go off any second.

CHETRY: And is there an anger among many of the Iraqis that it is their fellow Iraqis, in many cases, that are really fomenting this violence?

PHILLIPS: You know what's interesting, I never got a sense for anger. And that humbled me tremendously. I've never met such faithful people. Everything is about faith and there's a reason behind this and things are going to get better, because they know life under Saddam Hussein was awful. Was a nightmare. Was tortuous. But they're struggling with, why does it have to happen this way. But anger, I never got a sense for that. Isn't that amazing.

CHETRY: It really is. And we are actually - we asked our viewers to write in if they have any questions for you as well to, because Kyra's going to be answering some of your questions as well. And we're going to talk to you, as well as Michael Ware, a little bit later in our next hour. We're going to do a fact check of sorts. Sometimes a picture is painted very differently by officials than what you really see on the ground. So we're going to ask you some of those questions too.

PHILLIPS: Well, I won't hold back, that's for sure.

CHETRY: Good. That's why we brought you. Kyra, thanks so much.

PHILLIPS: You bet.


ROBERTS: Hey, thanks very much, Kiran.

And, Kyra, it's great to see you back again. I was really worried when you went over there. I'm glad you came back in one piece. It's terrific.

PHILLIPS: Thank you. And congratulations on the new morning team. It's great to be with you both.

ROBERTS: Thank you. Appreciate it.

Hey, thanks again. We'll see you soon.


ROBERTS: And I think we're playing golf together on Mondays.

PHILLIPS: All right. I'm looking forward to it, believe me. There was no golf in Iraq.

ROBERTS: No, no, they haven't figured that one out yet.

Good to see you, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Thanks, John.

ROBERTS: Just ahead on AMERICAN MORNING, the Dow is up in a big way. But here's a question. Why isn't the average person feeling the benefit. And Ali Velshi looks for answers, live from the New York Stock Exchange, coming up next.

And first it was Karl Rove. Now President Bush puts on his dancing shoes. You're watching AMERICAN MORNING.


CHETRY: I'm not even going to ask you this question, John, because I know you were sleeping. But to our audience, did anyone catch Letterman last night? It was pretty funny. Let's take a look.


DAVID LETTERMAN, "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": Ladies and gentlemen, right now it's time for great moments in presidential speeches. Take it away. Here we go.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

JOHN F. KENNEDY, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.

LETTERMAN: You get the feeling that he might be under the impression that he's attending a luau.


ROBERTS: That was a little more than a luau, Kiran. I love the moves with, you know, the mouth open and the fingers in the air like that. That's (INAUDIBLE). CHETRY: He owned it. You know, I had to see the tape about three times before I realized Laura Bush, the first lady, was also there. She was probably thrilled he took the attention off of her.

ROBERTS: But she was mixing it up a little bit too. You know, this was at a Malaria Day awareness event. It's the first Malaria Awareness Day that there has ever been. And, I mean, if he cuts it this loose in the first one, what's it going to be like on the second or the third? My goodness.

CHETRY: See, that's so -- by dancing, he's attracting attention to a very important issue. Far too many people die unnecessarily every day in Africa because of malaria.

ROBERTS: He is. However, there was a certain medication that's taken for prevention of malaria, which some times can cause you to do weird things. And I'm just wondering if maybe the president had taken a couple of those pills before that event.

CHETRY: Oh, boy, well we'll have to ask Dana Perino coming up in about an hour, the White House spokeswoman, because she's going to be here and I'm sure she saw it. I'm sure she was standing in the background as that dancing was going on.

ROBERTS: That was a moment in this presidency.

CHETRY: It was.

ROBERTS: He's it's coming up to 24 minutes after the hour. Ali Velshi at the New York Stock Exchange "Minding Your Business."

A historic day that we're starting out with today. Ali, the first time the Dow is going to open the day above 13,000. Lucky 13.

VELSHI: And most folks, John, don't know you and I have sort of a running conversation about this. I don't remember whether you were betting on this ahead of me. But 13,000 in a little less than six months. That means there's a lot of confidence in this market.

But the market is one economic indicator. It's not really an economic indicator, it's a result of what people think about the economy. We've got a whole lot of other things going on.

But look at these markets. The Dow, which a lot of people say, well, it's just 30 stocks, it's 30 important stocks, all time high. The S&P 500, at a six-year high and almost at its record. And the Nasdaq at a six and a half year high.

Why is this going on when we talk about rising gas prices and we talk about falling home sales? Well the fact is that folks believe -- people who invest believe that Americans will continue to be sort of in a position to keep spending.

And why is that? Because yesterday we saw new home prices actual increase for the first time in a little while. We also saw, while gas prices are higher, we know that unemployment rates are still very low and we saw the Fed saying that wages are going up a little bit in the United States. Typically people who earn more spend more. So the confidence is that when people spend more, that's good for business.

What's the proof until the puddings? Earnings. We're in earnings season right now.

If you're Apple, things are great for you. In the last three months, Apple sold 1.5 million Macs and 10 million iPods. Today we're going to get earnings, within the next half an hour, from Exxon Mobil, the world's biggest public company.

Guess what? I bet you they made a profit. So it might be time to think about, you know, not complaining about gas prices and thinking about investing in these companies that continue to make money.

We'll have more on that as the morning progresses. But we're starting the day above 13,000 for the first time ever here at the New York Stock Exchange.


ROBERTS: Fantastic. All right. Looking forward to what happens for the rest of the day. Thanks very much, Ali. I wonder if there will be some profit taking or if the sky's the limit.

Top stories of the morning are coming up next.

Democrats issuing subpoenas, launching new investigations against the White House. Is it a legitimate drive for answers or a dirty game of politics? We'll find out.

And a big arrest in Mexico. A dad released from prison after promising to give his son a kidney takes off, bolts to Mexico. How he was caught. Plus, reaction from the son that he betrayed.

You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning is on CNN.


CHETRY: The long arm of the law. Long, we mean long, reaching all the way into Mexico. Cops catch up with an escaped inmate who promised his son a kidney. He hightailed it to Mexico instead. They captured him. We've got reaction now from his betrayed son, as well, on this AMERICAN MORNING.

And welcome back. It's Thursday, April 26th. I'm Kiran Chetry here in New York.

ROBERTS: And I'm John Roberts here in Washington, D.C.

Good morning to you, Kiran.

CHETRY: Nice to see you.

ROBERTS: Other stories that we've got coming up on our radar this morning.

The House passes its Iraq spending bill with lots of timetables for the president to chew on. He says he's going to chew them up, spit them out with his veto pen. The Senate takes it up next. Dana Perino, White House deputy press secretary, is going to be joining us. Because Tony Snow's coming back next week, so Dana's going to be remain the deputy. She'll balk the whole Iraq issue.

We heard from Kyra Phillips just a little while ago. Michael Ware will be joining us a little bit later on with more of his experiences in Iraq.

And an hour from now, John McCain sits down with us, or stands up, depending on what the case may be, to talk more about his announcement that he's running for president, Iraq and whole a lot more.


CHETRY: So a lot going on today.

We also want to let our viewers know, if you have a questions for Kyra or for Michael Ware after their time in Iraq, what's it really like there, just ask us here at AM. E-mail us,

We're going to be picking some of them, we're going to be finding out more and giving you the answers as we go along here on AMERICAN MORNING.

And also, John, I'm sure you couldn't have missed this, the big bombshell announcement yesterday from Rosie O'Donnell. She's leaving "The View" when her contract is up in June. There's a lot of buzz as to why she decided to leave, and also who could be filling that seat in the future.

ROBERTS: Couldn't miss the news. As Rosie pointed out yesterday on "The View," it was breaking news here on CNN.

CHETRY: She did. She gave a shout out to CNN, didn't she?

ROBERTS: We'll be talking more about Rosie in just a couple of minutes.

First, though, the Senate is expected to follow the lead of the House today and approve a war funding bill that includes a timeline for troop withdrawals. A defiant House passed the measure last night on a mostly party line vote at 218-208.

The White House was quick to denounce the House action as a "vote for failure in Iraq". President Bush has promised to veto that.

Lawmakers who want to pull the troops out of Iraq say meetings with America's top commander there didn't change many minds. General David Petraeus sat down with members of the House and Senate on Wednesday. He reported improvements in security across Baghdad and insists that he wasn't painting an overly pretty picture just to please President Bush.


GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS, COMMANDER, MULTINATIONAL FORCES IN IRAQ: I'm not being pressured by the president to say anything. I am a soldier, and I'm going to give a forthright assessment, and that's all that I will provide. And I'm not going to be pressured by political leaders of either party.


ROBERTS: General Petraeus is holding a press conference this morning, speaking this morning. Expected to be about 10:00 Eastern. CNN will carry those remarks live -- Kiran.

CHETRY: Well, he became known as the worst dad in America, Byron Perkins. He was let out of jail to donate a kidney to his son who desperately needed one. He took off to Mexico, instead.

He was captured Wednesday in Puerto Vallarta, along with his girlfriend, Lee Ann Howard. They made a court appearance today in Los Angeles and are expected to be taken back to Kentucky to face charges.

Anderson Cooper spoke with Destin Perkins, the son who still holds a lot of resentment toward his father.

Let's listen.


DESTIN PERKINS: There's a lot of things here between me and him right now. I mean, I would like to see him, just tell him what I think, and just ask one question, why he did it.

It's kind of sad that he would run out on me like that. I don't know how he could lay his head down and night just knowing that he ran away and left me up here to die like that. And that's just one of my main questions, is why he did it and how he could do it.


CHETRY: Well, Destin was able to get a kidney from an anonymous donor and says that his health now is fine -- John.

ROBERTS: This morning, New York State Police say they think that the hunt for a man who shot three troopers, killing one of them, is over. The suspect was holed up in an upstate New York farmhouse. Police fired rounds and rounds of tear gas, then a fire broke out.

Police think the body of 23-year-old Travis Trim was found in the ashes, a rifle in his hands. Trim allegedly shot a trooper at a traffic stop that sparked the manhunt.

Trooper David Brinkerhoff was shot and killed on Wednesday as he and his partner responded to a burglar alarm at the house. His partner was also shot. Police say it's possible that the teargas that they fired caused the fire. An autopsy will determine the identity of the body found inside.

CHETRY: Well, in Texas, lawmakers take the first step to block the governor's attempt to vaccinate sixth graders for HPV, a sexually transmitted disease that in some forms can lead to cervical cancer. Texas state legislators passed a bill that blocks the state from making it mandatory for at least another four years.

Governor Rick Perry has 10 days so sign or veto that bill.

ROBERTS: The man in charge of the CIA during September 11th is giving America an inside look at the war on terror. George Tenet is releasing a new book next week. One of the things that he talks about is the rough treatment of terror suspects, that the strategy turned up intelligence that saved lives. Tenet refuses to call that treatment torture.

Here's part of what he told "60 Minutes".


GEORGE TENET, FMR. CIA DIRECTOR: You know, the image that's been portrayed is we sat around the campfire and said, oh, boy, now we go get to torture people. Well, we don't torture people. Let me say that again to you. We don't torture people. OK?


TENET: We don't torture people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?

TENET: We don't torture people.


TENET: We do not -- I don't talk about techniques and we don't torture people. Now listen -- listen to me. I want you listen to me.

So, the context is, it's post-9/11. I've got reports of nuclear weapons in New York City, apartment buildings that are going to be blown up, planes that are going to fly into airports all over again, plot lines that I don't know.

I don't know what's going on inside the United States, and I'm struggling to find out where the next disaster is going to occur. Everybody forgets one central context of what we lived through -- the palpable fear that we felt on the basis of the fact that there was so much we did not know.


ROBERTS: Our Larry King has the first live primetime interview with former CIA director George Tenet. That happens Monday night at 9:00 Eastern.

Congress fires off a flurry of subpoena votes. Are all of these political investigations necessary or needless? We're looking into that coming up next.

And what do Muslims need? Well, the woman known as the Dr. Ruth of the Arab world has an opinion on that.

You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning is on CNN.


ROBERTS: They control the House and Senate, and now Democrats are flexing their legislative muscle. The latest move, a subpoena for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Is it balance of power or overuse of power?

Savannah Guthrie of Court TV joins me now with a legal perspective on all of this.

Good morning to you.


ROBERTS: So, the dam bursts, the subpoena votes are flying. Is the 110th Congress going to be the investigative Congress?

GUTHRIE: I think the word they prefer is oversight, but there's no question the Democrats are flexing this newfound muscle, issuing subpoenas left and right, or at least authorizing subpoenas. They have a lot of questions, they've been sitting around for six years with those questions, and now they have the power to do something about it.

ROBERTS: I want to get to the Condoleezza Rice subpoena in just a moment. But first of all, one of the things the Congress did yesterday was they voted to give Monica Goodling, who was the aid to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, immunity.


ROBERTS: She has claimed the Fifth. Does this mean that she has to testify now?

GUTHRIE: More or less, yes. And it's very interesting here, there's a little gamesmanship going on.

Her lawyer said, we're asserting the Fifth Amendment, you can't force her to testify. And the Congress had one trump card, and it was giving her immunity. And so that's what they're planning to do, seek a court order of immunity. Then she will probably be forced to testify.

And maybe there's another trick up her lawyer's sleeve, but I think it's pretty clear that that's the one thing that can overcome a claim of the Fifth Amendment. But the one thing this immunity won't protect her from is a perjury prosecution. And that, of course, is exactly what her lawyer was worried about.

ROBERTS: Because the area that they want to delve into relates to when she was an employee of the executive branch, could they claim executive privilege and keep her off the stand?

GUTHRIE: Maybe. I don't know that it would be the strongest claim, but maybe they would say, look, this all concerns her workings while she was at the White House, while she was at the Department of Justice. She was a liaison. Maybe they'll say she shouldn't have to testify to these matters because of executive privilege. But who knows how far that will go?

ROBERTS: Do you expect that there's going to be a real constitutional confrontation on this issue of executive privilege, particularly since Democrats on the Hill are just so anxious to get Karl rove up there and put him under the hot lights?

GUTHRIE: Well, it could be. I mean, they apparently can't compromise, which is how these fights usually get worked out.

One side says, we can subpoena you; the other side says, we have executive privilege. And there's a lot of storm and fury, but at the end they just compromise. But here we don't see that happening.

But no one really wins if it ends up in the courts, because that's a process that can take years. And if the goal here by the Democrats is to get information, they don't want to raise (ph) it two years from now when the court finally decides whether it's a valid assertion of executive privilege or not. So the showdown is possible, but who knows how it will end?

ROBERTS: Although, back in the 1990s, when President Clinton was trying to stop his chief of detail from the Secret Service from testifying, they got a pretty quick resolution from that one in the courts.

GUTHRIE: Well, it can happen quickly, but it tends to go up on appeal. And Senator Specter likes to quote an example where it took, I mean, just several years to work it out. So I think that the goal is compromise, but it doesn't seem to be happening.

ROBERTS: The subpoena for Condoleezza Rice relates to an investigation of the claims that Saddam Hussein was trying to buy uranium...

GUTHRIE: Remember that.

ROBERTS: ... from Niger, which, of course, was the thing that provoked the whole scandal over Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson and all of that.

Is this an indication that the Democrats are really going to start investigating in a pretty thorough way the path that got us to war? GUTHRIE: Well, there are a lot of members of Congress who all have their pet issues. Congressman Henry Waxman has been on this issue about the Iraq uranium so-called deal for a long time.

I mean, if you look at his Web site, the press releases go back to 2003. And what's the difference? Now he has the subpoena power. He wants the answers, and he thinks, well, why not subpoena them to get them?

ROBERTS: What about Waxman? He was like a guy in a cage for the last few years, trying to get a lot of what he wanted out there. I mean, now he's just this -- I don't want to say he's going crazy with it, but he's certainly exercising his authority.

GUTHRIE: He's unleashed. I mean, he's not going to say -- take no for an answer anymore if he doesn't have to. And it's not just this issue. There's a multitude of issues he cares about.

And not only one (ph) subpoena. Certain RNC e-mails. I mean, his committee is the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. It used to be called the Government Reform and Oversight Committee.

They changed the name, and I don't think it's just symbolic.

ROBERTS: And what about Republicans? They're complaining long and loud about this, saying it's all politics. Do they really have a leg to stand on?

GUTHRIE: Well, you know, I think the quote is, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Democrats say, oh, wait a minute, you loved to subpoena all the President Clinton executive branch people, and, hey, we're just -- you know, we're just giving back what we received for many, many years.

ROBERTS: You know, I think Dan Burton issued more than a thousand subpoenas during the Clinton administration.

GUTHRIE: There were a lot of numbers flying around yesterday.

ROBERTS: Savannah Guthrie, always good to see you. Thanks for coming in. Appreciate it.

GUTHRIE: Nice to see you.


CHETRY: All right. Thanks so much, John.

Well, we have new pictures in now from Eagle Pass, Texas, after the small border town was hit this week with a devastating and deadly tornado. Seven people killed in that town, three others in Mexico, across the border. And there were hundreds of homes damaged or destroyed by that twister.

It roared into town on Tuesday night with little warning and, as you can see from that devastation, they still have a lot of work to do there.

Extreme weather also making a mark in the Midwest. In Missouri, flooding caused huge headaches around the Kansas City area, especially for drivers. You could see that car floating in the water there. A lot of the high water washed out roads, it sent rivers spilling into neighbors.

It's 43 past the hour now. We're going to head over to Chad Myers with more on the extreme weather.


CHETRY: Still to come this morning, fading from "The View". Rosie O'Donnell is saying so long to the ABC chat-fest (ph), "The View".

And this morning Donald Trump is letting everyone know he won't miss her. But then again, who's he going to fight with now that she's gone?

Also, let's talk about sex, the woman taking Middle East television by storm, offering some intimate tips. We'll tell you how it's going over.

Stay with us on AMERICAN MORNING.



An emotional comeback for movie critic Roger Ebert. He appeared publicly yesterday for the first time since last summer.

Ebert's been unable to speak since surgery that included a tracheotomy and surgery to remove cancer in his mouth and jaw. He says that his friends warned him not to attend that film premier, that there could be unflattering pictures of him. "So what," Ebert wrote. "I have been very sick, am getting better, and this is how it looks."

Alec Baldwin apparently wants out of acting. Baldwin reportedly asked NBC to let him out of his contract on the sitcom "30 Rock". He says he wants to devote his time to the issue of "parental alienation".

Baldwin's angry voice-mail for his 11-year-old daughter was made public, of course, last week. NBC said no.

And after one often tumultuous year, Rosie O'Donnell announces she's leaving "The View" when her contract is up in June. Rosie said she wanted to stay on for one more year, ABC wanted her for three, and that they couldn't come to terms.

Others are saying she was shown the door because she was constantly the center of controversy, including a nasty war of words with Donald Trump. There are others who say that ABC didn't care because the ratings were up. Trump called in to "LARRY KING LIVE" last night.


DONALD TRUMP, REAL ESTATE MOGUL: She'll probably resurface at some point with a show. She'll do well for the first couple of months, and then she'll die. Rosie -- I know her very well -- she's a very self-destructive loser.


CHETRY: That's one person's opinion. That's Donald Trump. He also said that the law straw for ABC was some off-color remarks that she made about him at a luncheon honoring women in communications earlier this week.

But it's funny, John, because there are other columnists close to the situation who say it was Rosie who wanted out, figuring, you know what? I can make a bunch more money and have my own show.

ROBERTS: But, you know, in Donald Trump's opinion, it's all about Donald Trump.

CHETRY: That's right. He was the only and most central issue in all of her career decisions.

ROBERTS: It's pretty incredible. I wonder if secretly they're friends and they just do this to get publicity for each other.

CHETRY: It worked for her. And it actually boosted his ratings, too, on his "Apprentice". So...

ROBERTS: Let's start floating that, OK?


ROBERTS: Hey, one of's most popular stories right now, Egypt's version of Dr. Ruth says Muslims need better sex. She's Dr. Heba Kotb, and she talks about sex on television.

Her weekly show, "Big Talk," is one of the most popular shows in the Middle East. She talks only about sex that's allowed in the Koran, sex between husband and wife.


DR. HEBA KOTB, SEXOLOGIST: ... mother of my friend, my girlfriend. And when she first knew that I'm working -- on this career, like five years before, she just looked at me, "Oh, my god. Are you teaching people how to sleep with each other?"

You know?


KOTB: I said, "Yes, I do."


ROBERTS: Hey, forget about Egypt. Get her over here, you know? There's some areas of our lives that I think could use a little bit of work -- Kiran.

CHETRY: Oh, my gosh. Well, you know what? This is a funny part, too. She said that when she first did this, she used to sit around in her office for hours and hours and no one came. She would get maybe one customer a week, and she said now she's packed.

ROBERTS: And it took her years to get on television and, kaboom. Obviously, she had the right idea. It just took a while to get it out there.

CHETRY: What was the name?

ROBERTS: Heba Kotb.

CHETRY: No, of the show?

ROBERTS: Oh, of the show. You know, I don't think we actually -- oh, "Big Talk" -- "Big Talk".

CHETRY: Oh, I thought you said "kaboom" was the network. OK.

ROBERTS: No, no, no. I was saying she spent years trying to get it on the air, and then suddenly when she did, boom, it exploded.

CHETRY: I got you.

ROBERTS: It was a good idea, just waiting for the right vehicle to come along to take it into the stratosphere.

CHETRY: All right. I hear you, John.

Well, we're going to have much more on her story as well coming up a little bit later.

And also, you know that $10 won't get you much these days. Well, believe it or not, you can get an airline ticket. We'll explain how coming up next.

And the Dow makes a record jump. What caused it? What might happen today, and how can you benefit from it all?

Ali Velshi is ""Minding Your Business". He's live at the New York Stock Exchange watching those numbers for us next.

And it was a brutal accident and almost ended her career. Coming up in our next hour, we're going to see how a figure skater came back from the brink of being accidentally slashed on the ice by her partner in a very tricky move.

You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning is here on CNN.


CHETRY: Well, Delta Airlines has been cleared to depart -- bankruptcy. A federal court ruling allows Delta to finally emerge from 19 months of Chapter 11 protection. During its restructuring, the nation's third largest carrier cut $1 billion in labor costs, including $6,000 jobs.

Well, $10 doesn't get you very far these days, except when it comes to getting you a plane ticket. It's true.

Skybus is a new low-cost airline that's selling one-way tickets from Columbus, Ohio, to 10 different cities, for only $10. The first flight may be May 22nd, and they could add more cities shortly thereafter.

If you're thinking that there's got to be a catch to this, well, there is, because the airline will charge passengers for extra things, like priority seating, even checking bags. And they'll raise money by selling advertising inside and outside of the planes, and will only take reservations on the Internet.

All of that is in an effort, of course, to keep costs down. But for people that do a lot of traveling out of Columbus, hey, life just got a little bit sweeter, right, John?

ROBERTS: Let me make a prediction, though, Kiran. That ain't going to last long.

CHETRY: Right. Next week it will be up to $15.

ROBERTS: I just -- I don't see how you can -- I don't know how you could make it work.

Hey, it's 58 minutes after the hour. Ali Velshi at the New York Stock Exchange "Minding Your Business".

Dow 13,000, Ali. Stockbrokers walking on air this morning, but it doesn't necessarily say that everything is right with the economy.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean more than half of Americans are invested in the stock market, John. It's a big deal, but you know what really masters to people? Homes, housing and gas.

Let me get the good news out of the way.

The median price of a new home we learned yesterday is now up to $254,000. OK. That's the good news. The bad news, foreclosures are way up, up 27 percent in the first three months of 2007, according to RealtyTrac, which tracks foreclosures.

Four hundred and thirty thousand foreclosures in the United States in the first three months. That's one in 264 households. Nevada had the highest rate, one in 75. Colorado, one in 111.

Let's talk about oil. It was up yesterday, $1.26. Down the road, trading at $65.84.

Gasoline supplies have fallen more than expected. There have been refinery fires and outages. Refineries are now running at 88 percent of capacity, as opposed to over 90, which they should be. So expect your gas prices to go up.

$2.88 a gallon is the national average right now. That's where the Department of Energy said we would be in May. We're already there. We've hit it.

And we're a few minutes away from hearing ExxonMobil's earnings. We'll bring those to you, as well.

The next hour of AMERICAN MORNING, though, begins right now.


CHETRY (voice over): Down the party line. Democrats defy the president on Iraq, pushing toward a showdown today.

And deadbeat walking.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you have to say to your son, Destin?

CHETRY: The prisoner father who skipped out on his son when he needed him most faces the music on this AMERICAN MORNING.


CHETRY: And thanks for joining us once again on this Thursday, April 26th.

I'm Kiran Chetry, here in New York.

ROBERTS: I'm John Roberts, in Washington.

Good morning to you, Kiran.

CHETRY: Good to see you.

ROBERTS: Stories on our radar this morning.

The House yesterday passed that Iraq supplementary spending bill with timetables that the president says he's going to veto. The Senate takes it up next.

What's the reaction from the White House? Dana Perino, who is the White House spokesperson, will join us in the next little while to talk about that.

Kyra Phillips and Michael Ware of CNN just back from Iraq. They're both in New York City. We're going to be sitting down to talk with them, and we want to give you a chance to ask them some questions as well.


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