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Insurgents Breach U.S. Base; Interview with Sen. Chris Dodd; Genocide Charges Filed Against President of Sudan; InBev Takes Over Anheuser-Busch
Aired July 14, 2008 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: And a reminder, you catch "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" every Sunday 1:00 Eastern here on CNN.
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Well, there are new details this morning about the attack on a U.S. base in Afghanistan that left nine American soldiers dead and 15 others hurt.
Officials say that more than 100 insurgents managed to breach the outer walls of a small remote outpost near the Pakistan border Sunday and attack U.S. forces from inside.
It's the deadliest attack against U.S. forces in Afghanistan in about three yes.
We're getting a live report from the Pentagon just ahead.
There's also new storm brewing in the Atlantic this morning. It's expected to become tropical depression or tropical storm later today. The forecast shows it moving into the Caribbean later in the week.
We will continue to track it.
And meanwhile, Bertha, now a tropical storm -- was a hurricane at one point -- expected to slam Bermuda with high winds and as much as four inches of rain today. That storm is being blamed for kicking up deadly surf and rip currents as far away as New Jersey.
Two swimmers were killed at the jersey shore on Sunday and a third is sill missing.
Well, an American icon has fallen into European hands. Anheuser- Busch, the family-run beer maker from St. Lou is, has been sold to Belgium brewer InBev. It's a $52 billion deal that now creates world's largest beer maker and will gain almost half the U.S. beer market.
The deal was a sharp reversal for Anheuser which last month rejected InBev's initial $46 billion offer. Anheuser-Busch's 12 American -- North American breweries are going to be staying open.
ROBERTS: A real sense of urgency this morning as Washington tries to avert a crisis of confidence over an economy that is showing some serious cracks. Today the Federal Reserve is expected to announce sweeping changes for how mortgages are issued. This all comes as Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is desperately trying to soothe investor panic saying the government is ready to lend billions of dollars to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two firms that hold paper on half of the nation's home loans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY PAULSON, TREASURY SECRETARY: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac play a central role in our housing finance system and must continue to do so in their current form as shareholder-owned companies.
Their support for the housing market is particularly important as we work through the current housing correction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: CNN's senior business correspondent Ali Velshi joins us now with more details on all of this.
The stock of these companies worth about a sixth of what it was this time last year.
ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It -- they have just been plummeting. And they are both public companies. You probably heard about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They're both public companies, but they're called GSCs, government sponsored entities.
Let me tell you about what they do. Both of them buy mortgages from banks. So bank lends you money -- they lend a lot of people money -- and then theoretically the bank's out of money to lend more of it so they sell those mortgages to Freddie and Fannie, which provides banks with more money to lend more mortgages.
So they keep the mortgage market going. They buy what are called conforming loans. Those are the best type of loans. They -- basically this allows consumer banks to continue to lend. Fannie and Freddie hold $5 trillion in mortgages. That's more than half the U.S. market.
So here's what's being proposed. The president asked the Treasury secretary to speak to Congress to get some things done. Now, first of all, the Federal Reserve is opening what it calls its discount window to Freddie and Fannie, allowing them to borrow money from the Federal Reserve if they're short of money.
Fannie Mae seems to be saying that it doesn't need the money right now. Congress is also being asked to authorize the U.S. treasury to directly invest in Fannie and Freddie by buying stock. And Treasury Secretary Paulson has received commitments from congressional leaders to get this done. They want to try and get this done by tomorrow and have a bill passed by Friday.
It's already having a positive effect on the shares of Fannie and Freddie. In fact, right now, Dow futures are up more than 100 points led in overseas trade by these two stocks.
So looks like it's having the desired effect of saying we're not going to let these two massive, massive companies fail. The federal government is prepared to step in.
ROBERTS: There's a lot of worry of what's going to happen to the market because of Freddie and Fannie.
VELSHI: Absolutely. And that has turned around.
ROBERTS: All right, great, thanks, Ali.
CHETRY: Also this morning, Washington is trying to reassure thousands of nervous customers that their money is safe after one of the biggest bank failures in U.S. history. The California-based lender IndyMac Bank is now under government control. It's going to be reopening this morning after essentially running out of money Friday.
So what does this massive takeover mean?
Our Deborah Feyerick is here to explain.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Kiran.
Well, you know, what this means is that the government really run the bank until they can sell it which it hopes to do in about three months.
The government had no choice but to rescue IndyMac after a massive loss in investor confidence that doomed the mortgage lender.
FEYERICK (voice-over): Many IndyMac customers searching for answers this weekend heard this recording, alerting them someone new was in charge of their money.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As conservator, the FDIC will operate the IndyMac federal bank to maximize the value of the institution while maintain banking services in communities served by bank.
FEYERICK: The FDIC was put in charge Friday after regulators announced IndyMac could not meet demands of its depositors, calling the mortgage lender's condition unsafe and unsound.
BEVERLY GOODMAN, SMARTMONEY MAGAZINE SR. EDITOR: The best news is for the individuals that have money at these banks. When the FDIC steps in, their money is then secure. It's much worse news for the economy in general.
FEYERICK: The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation was created in 1933 in response to the great depression, when thousands of banks failed.
In order to limit the effects on the economy, banks pay insurance premiums to the FDIC so a portion of your money is always protected.
Beverly Goodman is with "Smart Money" magazine.
GOODMAN: FDIC is insurance. It's the government's guarantee that you will not lose your money.
FEYERICK: Experts say the FDIC will run the bank as is. Customers will have access to much of their money and those with loans will still have to pay on time.
DAVID BARR, FDIC SPOKESMAN: This is very manageable. It's an excellent example of how the FDIC operates, that when a bank gets in trouble, how we come in to protect the depositors.
FEYERICK: Meantime, the FDIC will look for a buyer.
CHRIS ISIDORE. CNNMONEY.COM SR. WRITER: FDIC is hoping to sell the bank pretty much as an intact unit to a larger bank sometime in the next three months. That's going to be somewhat more difficult sell now that it's gone through the failure.
FEYERICK: Ninety banks are on an FDIC risk list, but the agency is confident its fund is large enough to cover any additional bank failures. If not, the spokesman says the FDIC could always raise premiums.
FEYERICK: Now the FDIC downplays the 90 at-risk banks and lending institutions. Experts say it's really smaller institutions, not Citibank, not Chase.
Remember during the savings and loans crisis you had some 200 banks closing every year. Big difference. The U.S., certainly, is not at that point, not now.
CHETRY: It's still causing a lot of jitters for sure there in the...
FEYERICK: They're people, absolutely.
CHETRY: ... in the financial world.
Deb, thanks so much.
And also on a program note right now for you. Coming up in about 20 minutes we're going to be speaking with Senator Christopher Dodd. He's the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. He's also been an outspoken advocate for reform as it relates to banks about the government's plan to bail out mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
ROBERTS: Seven minutes after the hour and to Afghanistan now.
This morning we're learning more about that brazen attack on the U.S. installation that left nine U.S. soldiers dead, and what the military plans to do in response to this uptick in violence there.
Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is working for sources. She joins us now with some breaking news, Barbara, about an urgent need for more heavily armored vehicles?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: John, in fact, CNN has learned this morning that U.S. commanders in Afghanistan have now asked the Pentagon at the highest levels for indeed more MRAPs. Those are those heavily armored vehicles that have proven to be so successful in Iraq at protecting U.S. troops against roadside bombs.
Now asking for perhaps as many as 600 to 1,000 of those vehicles to be sent to Afghanistan, not just because of the weekend's violence but because of the deteriorating security situation there. But over the weekend, this attack in Kunar province on the eastern edge of Afghanistan near the Pakistan border left nine U.S. troops dead.
It was a brazen attack, to say the least. Insurgents attacked with small arms, mortars, rockets, and then just basically melted away and disappeared into the village they were firing from.
A NATO spokesman talked about it over the weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK LAITY, NATO SPOKESMAN: It is quite common for them to attack our combat outpost but this was a larger scale attack than normal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STARR: U.S. and NATO officials say, you know, that this is essentially the fighting season in Afghanistan. But, John, what is becoming incredibly clear, fighting season it may be but not enough U.S. troops, not enough U.S. fighting equipment. That according to U.S. commanders.
John, this may be the war that faces, of course, the next U.S. president -- John?
ROBERTS: All right, you bet. Barbara Starr for us this morning from the Pentagon with that breaking news.
CHETRY: And from Tommy guns to dirty bombs, we witness the FBI's crime fighting evolution as the agency turns 100.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Brianna Keilar at Nashville Superspeedway.
What do Johnny Rutherford, three-time Indy 500 champ, and Cindy McCain, potentially the next first lady of the United States, have in common? I'll tell you, coming up.
ANNOUNCER: "Minding Your Business" brought to you by... (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ROBERTS: Cindy McCain, a paragon of refinement, riding shotgun in a racing with a three-time Indy 500 winner. And only CNN is racing along with the candidate's wife.
Our Brianna Keilar is inside the pace car with Cindy McCain where she is getting ready for the ride of her life.
Brianna, both you and Cindy McCain share the need for speed, I understand.
KEILAR: That's right, John. I am a huge NASCAR fan and Cindy McCain is a lifelong fan of all racing, NASCAR, drift racing, drag racing and Indy racing, which is where I caught up with her this weekend.
KEILAR (voice-over): One of Indy racing's biggest fans -- who would have thought -- is Cindy McCain. And she's out for a spin with me, another rabid racing enthusiast.
CINDY MCCAIN, WIFE OF JOHN MCCAIN: I was the only child of a western cowboy, to be honest with you. He was a very successful businessman and a true western cowboy and loved to do things, loved to be in cars or one of his passions. Of course, that wore off on me.
KEILAR: Racing is pure Americana and Cindy McCain has loved racing since she was a girl.
C. MCCAIN: The first years I started going to Indianapolis, women were not allowed in the pit, or in gasoline alley, and so I had to hang on the fence.
KEILAR (on camera): What did you think of that?
C. MCCAIN: Well, I didn't know any better in those days because, of course, that's the way it had always been.
KEILAR (voice-over): Nashville Superspeedway is not your typical campaign stop for a candidate's wife but the McCain campaign is trying to show voters another Cindy McCain, different from the impeccably dressed mega millionaire always at her husband's side.
(on camera): Do you think that maybe this makes you seem more accessible to voters?
C. MCCAIN: Oh, I don't know. I -- you know, I -- I'm just like everybody else, certain things excite me, racing is one of them, and I have loved this all my life.
KEILAR (voice-over): It's working with some voters.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She likes the same things that I like. She believes in the same things that I like. I hear that she owns and runs a beer distributorship, which I like so.
KEILAR: But not everyone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is she?
KEILAR: And that's the point. The McCain campaign wants more people to know who Cindy McCain is, and sometimes that means riding shotgun in a pace car next to a three-time Indy 500 winner.
C. MCCAIN: Nice of you to do this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's my pleasure.
C. MCCAIN: So much fun for me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you've got my vote.
C. MCCAIN: Thank you. Thank you.
KEILAR: Cindy McCain will also be at a NASCAR race next month, still to be announced which one. And you've heard about the NASCAR dad voting demographic that candidates are wooing at these events but racing actually has a large female fan base as well.
And we have seen Cindy McCain lately trying to help her husband court women voters, John.
ROBERTS: Brianna, they didn't let her drive?
KEILAR: No, they didn't. I mean they left that -- I have to tell you the track was kind of wet and it was somewhat treacherous. We got up to only about 85 miles per hour. And let me tell you, I'm surprised we stayed on the track. It was kind of scary. But she seemed so comfortable, John. She's done this a couple of times, I haven't and I was hanging on for dear life.
ROBERTS: I'd love to see her behind the wheel.
Great story. Thanks, Brianna.
CHETRY: And still ahead, troubled mortgage giant Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and an offer from the U.S. government. We're going to ask the Senate Banking Committee chairman with a plan to loan the two firms' billions means for your taxes.
CHETRY (voice-over): Coming up on AMERICAN MORNING, rapid response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody is safe. Suspect in custody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHETRY: Inside the FBI unit that hunts down potential terrorists.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think you have a little Cincinnati bomb threat?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHETRY: You're watching the most news in the morning.
CHETRY: The FBI turns 100 years old this month. Criminals have changed a lot over a century and so has the way that fighting terror now has become a top priority. It's really a 24-hour-a-day job.
Our Kelli Arena is live for us in Washington with more.
KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, Kiran.
Now the FBI allowed us exclusive access to tell this story. And as you mentioned, fighting terror is now the FBI's number one priority. Agents track down as many as 100 threats a day. But it wasn't always that way.
ARENA (voice-over): Busting the likes of John Dillinger, Al Capone and Bonnie and Clyde earned the FBI its reputation. It gave birth to the legend of the G-man, buttoned down, squeaky clean.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay alert and stay alive.
ARENA: They are still sporting suits and ties but the mission has changed. Instead of a Tommy gun, public enemy number one now carries a box cutter, an explosives vest, a dirty bomb.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is relating to a plot from extortion back in February.
ARENA: New Jersey special agent Gary Adler leads a rapid response unit that chases down all reports of possible terror activity throughout the state, 24/7.
Today it's a suspect who allegedly threatened to send a suspicious package to a government office.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No problem whatsoever. Everybody safe, suspect in custody.
ARENA: Adler's team runs down as many as 30 threats a day. Many can be put to bed in a matter of hours and sometimes all it takes is an interview. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Truck coming through the Holland Tunnel tolls that apparently had a radiation hit on one of their monitors. What it turned out to be was the driver of the truck wound up having a radio isotope therapy.
ARENA: Other threats are harder to resolve. Military pilots flying over New Jersey reported seeing a laser aimed at their plane. It's somewhat common but very hard to trace.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now who would have the radar recordings? Would it be you or would it be the FAA?
ARENA: Then there's the fear that terrorists will use crop dusters to spray biological or chemical weapons. More than a dozen field officers chased that one down, including Newark.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The individual purportedly was from Dubai and purportedly wanted to obtain specific training on crop duster aircraft.
ARENA: The effort was coordinated by FBI agents at the National Counter Terrorism Center near Washington, D.C.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do we know right now how many field officers have actually received that letter? Because I understand that there was as many as, what, 20 or so?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right, we believe we're up to 22.
ARENA: It turns out to be a false alarm. But there's no let-up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think you have a little Cincinnati bomb threat at all?
ARENA: The FBI dismissed some warning signs back in 2001 and its hard-earned reputation took a big hit.
But unlike Europe and other countries there have been no terror attacks on U.S. soil since 9/11. And if the FBI can sustain that record, it may well be the stuff of legend for the bureau's next 100 years.
ARENA: I had a chance to sit down with the FBI director Robert Mueller as well. I asked him what he thought the FBI needed to prepare for this next chapter. Without hesitation he said that it was to keep weapons of mass destruction out of hands of terrorists -- Kiran?
CHETRY: Well, this is part of your three-part series.
What do you have coming up for us tomorrow?
ARENA: Tomorrow we're going to take an in-depth look at the FBI labs, world renowned. It's had some problems but its reputation, though, is among the best in the world -- Kiran.
CHETRY: All right. Interesting stuff. Thanks, Kelli.
ROBERTS: Billions of dollars for homeowners and for the nation's biggest mortgage lenders. We're going to have the Senate Banking Committee chairman whether it will be enough to save the withering housing market.
Also ahead, if your son or daughter was killed in the war, would you want cameras covering the funeral? No cameras are allowed, but who's making that call? Grieving families want answers.
ROBERTS: Coming up on 25 minutes after the hour. This morning the Anheuser-Busch dynasty has come to an end. The St. Louis beer maker has been sold to Belgium brewery InBev.
The $52 billion takeover creates the world's largest beer maker and ends more than a month of harsh words between the two companies.
Anheuser-Busch's 12 North American breweries will stay open.
The Feds hoping to calm fears on Wall Street this morning by announcing sweeping plans to prop up the nation's mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson says the plan, if approved by Congress, would expand the credit line to the two companies and, if needed, the treasury would even buy stocks in those firms.
The search for millionaire adventurer Steve Fossett resumes today. A team of elite athletes and expert mountain climbers will spend the next week searching the mountains along the California/Nevada border where it's believed that Fossett crashed in a small plane.
He disappeared last September and was declared legally dead in February.
An intensely personal grief that must be kept private as well. Arlington National Cemetery's tight restrictions on media coverage of funerals have some families who've lost their loved ones asking who is really keeping the cameras away.
Is it out of respect for their loss or is it to keep the human cost of war out of sight and out of mind?
CNN senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre has more on this story -- Jamie.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, when we first started looking into this last week the Pentagon said these were just the complaints of a disgruntled employee. But, frankly, it didn't take much digging to find out it wasn't exactly the case. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
MCINTYRE (voice over): Arlington National Cemetery rules are designed to protect the privacy of grieving families and require news reporters and cameras to stay well back, not close enough to see much or actually hear what's being said.
Gina Gray, a former army staff sergeant and Iraq war veteran, is suing the government over her dismissal as the cemetery's public affairs director after she locked horns with her superiors over the press restriction.
GINA GRAY, FMR. DIR., ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY: The family should define what level of coverage they want. They want a reporter to sit next to them, they should be allowed to do that. It shouldn't be up to the cemetery officials to determine that for help.
MCINTYRE: One of Gray's bosses told CNN her firing was unrelated to the issue of news coverage and insisted the wishes of the families are paramount.
THURMAN HIGGINBOTHAM, ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY: That's what's important to us, is the family. And we have -- if the family authorizes it, then, certainly, it's OK with us.
MCINTYRE: But the sister of one service member buried in Arlington last year, contacted by CNN, said she was disappointed that news crews were kept so far away a videotape she got later had no sound of her brother's service. And, she said, often families don't know they can request access for the press.
In a letter to the editor of the "Washington Post" just this weekend, Karen Meredith of Mountain View, California wrote, "When I was planning my son's burial, I do not recall if I was asked about news coverage. But at least a reporter from the Post was present. I welcomed the presence of the media, in part, because I wanted to remember the day."
MCINTYRE: Even as the Pentagon insists there's no problem, the army is moving to fix it. Late on Friday Army Secretary Pete Geren asked his staff to find a better balance between privacy and press access.
And, John, that could also help address this perception that this policy is really aimed at keeping the human cost of the war out of the news -- John.
ROBERTS: Keep watching it, see which way it goes. Jamie McIntyre for us this morning.
The Bush administration, as we mentioned just a moment ago, is preparing to bail out two mortgage giants that play a crucial role in the U.S. economy. It could be another burden on taxpayers who are already struggling with keeping their homes and paying for gasoline.
Senator Christopher Dodd is the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. He also authored the Senate Housing bill that was passed on Friday to help homeowners facing foreclosure. He joins us from East Haddam, Connecticut, where, we should point out, the weather is pretty terrible.
Senator Dodd, you're used to weathering these storms on Capitol Hill but you've got one there in East Haddam this morning.
SEN. CHRISTOPHER DODD (D-CT), CHAIRMAN, SEN. BANKING CMTE.: I hope this isn't symbolic of our story here, John.
ROBERTS: All right. Well, you know, we should just warn folks there that if we lose you it's because of what we call rain faith.
But let me ask you, first of all. You were on "LATE EDITION" with our Wolf Blitzer yesterday in which you made the pronouncement that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were sound, they were strong.
Why the need for this government bailout that the treasury secretary announced yesterday?
DODD: Well, because you've got a lot of fear out there. And fear can become its own source of conclusions. And that's my concern here. It's very important that people understand there's a big difference between Fannie and Freddie and IndyMac, which is that bank that went under on Friday.
These -- Fannie and Freddie were never bottom feeders. They never got involved in the subprime mortgages. To the extent they did, it was very, very few. So the mortgages they hold are very good ones. They more than adequately capitalized, they have access to the capital markets.
In fact, the capital that they have is in excess of what the federal requires of them. So they're in very sound shape and the worst thing we can do is contribute to that fear at this moment.
And the steps the administration have suggested are kind of shore up those concerns and fears that are not only felt here but around the world as well. So it's a very good step they're making.
I've asked them to come to floor my committee tomorrow morning to explain more fully their ideas. We need to pass out of the House that housing bill you just talked about so we can get that done. Thirdly, we need a hearing on this IndyMac's problem as well. And then, any other statutory laws the committee that have passed to give the administration the tools they need. I intend to get done this week as well.
ROBERTS: Let me ask you this question, Senator. How did the Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae problem get to where it is and how would it be addressed by this new legislation in the housing bill for new federal oversight of these two entities? DODD: Great question, John. They got this way because going back, of course the cops were not on the beat. You had banks and institutions out there that are luring people into mortgages they could never afford. But they call these subprime mortgages. In fact, 62 percent of the people, according to the "Wall Street Journal," that is subprime mortgage actually qualified for a prime mortgage. And yet brokers were out there luring them in because they were getting paid more money for doing so.
These mortgages were then packaged and sold. And too many of them, of course, were not AAA. They were anything but that. So you begin to have a deterioration. As a result, you end up today with 8,000 to 9,000 people filing for foreclosure every single day in the country.
We're getting towards the bottom of this but we're not there yet. That put pressure on Fannie and Freddie to GSEs. But again, I want to emphasize to you. Again, they're not primary lenders. They buy mortgages that are sold by other banks primarily and they're in very sound shape. The important thing for people to recognize here is no reason to be fearing about Fannie and Freddie going under, mind you. And the steps the administrations are offering are to sure up and try to stop and calm those fears down.
ROBERTS: Let me ask you, let's switch to IndyMac now which could turn out to be the biggest bank failure in history. It has been taken over by the FDIC, the COO of the FDIC is now going to be running that organization. The FDIC has 90 financial institutions on its so- called, "problem list." But IndyMac never showed up on it. What happened?
DODD: Well, I don't understand that. That's a good question. We're going to have a hearing on IndyMac as well. Chuck Schumer has asked me to conduct that hearing. And I agree with him. We need to understand this. Again, IndyMac is one of those institutions. Unlike Fannie and Freddie that are out there bottom feeding. They went after these subprime mortgages. And so that's again, where the cops, the federal regulators were not doing their job, in my view, for a number of years. And this went on.
ROBERTS: Now, the Office of Thrift supervision is saying it's Senator Charles Schumer's fault. He sent a letter to regulators warning that the bank might be in trouble. That caused a run on the bank, according to the O.T.S..
DODD: Well, again, you know, again, this is a case here where the bank was already in trouble. Senator Schumer was really pointing out the facts. And that is that this bank had gotten too much involved in the subprime areas, regulators are not watching it, and merely pointing out the problem shouldn't be a reason for suggesting that somehow Senator Schumer was causing the problem to occur.
ROBERTS: Senator Dodd, thanks very much for joining us this morning and thanks for braving the weather there.
DODD: that's all right. ROBERTS: All right. We'll see you again soon. Thanks -- Kiran.
CHETRY: Well brand new this hour. The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor has filed genocide charges against Sudan's President Omar Al Bashir. The U.N. says as many as 300,000 people have died since the Darfur conflict broke out there five years ago. Senior international correspondent Nic Robertson spoke exclusively with the court's chief prosecutor. He joins us now from London with more on this news.
Good morning, Nic.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kiran.
It's three counts of genocide, five counts of crimes against humanity, two counts of war crimes that the chief prosecutor of International Criminal Court is accusing President Bashir of being responsible for, as the head of state of Sudan. He has been responsible for all of those deaths, he has been responsible for all of those displacements. And over the weekend the chief prosecutor explained to me why he is making these charges.
LUIS MORENO-OCAMPO, INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT PROSECUTOR: You see. Attack here. Attack here.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Using a map detailing killings in Darfur, Luis Moreno-Ocampo explains to me why he's calling for the arrest of Sudan's president.
MORENO-OCAMPO: Normally, these attacks are conducted by Army and (INAUDIBLE) supporting the Army.
ROBERTSON: The International Criminal Court prosecutor says President Omar Bashir is trying to destroy three of Darfur's biggest tribes -- the Fur, the Masalit and the Zaghawa. And that's genocide.
MORENO-OCAMPO: He's clearly attacking the villages and then targeting the camps. A substantial part of the Fur camps and there where they are. That's why the genocide and is going to continue today. The weapon (INAUDIBLE).
ROBERTSON: In his submission to the three judges of the International Criminal Court, Moreno-Ocampo accuses President Bashir of three counts of genocide, five counts of crimes against humanity and two counts of war crimes. Since 2003, the U.N. says more than 300,000 people have been killed and more than 2.5 million forced are flee their homes. For three years, Moreno-Ocampo's investigators have been talking to victims and witnesses.
MORENO-OCAMPO: We prove that Al Bashir has absolute control. He is the resident of the country. He is the a chairman of the National Congress Party. He's commander in chief of the Army. Even without evidence show that different militias report to him. So Al Bashir control everything in Darfur.
ROBERTSON: President Bashir has long denied accusations of genocide. His government officials insist only 10,000 people have died and claim no international laws have been broken.
ROBERTSON (on-camera): Last year the court issued arrest warrants for two Sudanese officials, Ahmad Harun, the former state minister of interior and Ali Kushayb, an alleged militia commander. So far, Sudan has done nothing to send them to the court here. Indeed, Sudan refuses to recognize the legitimacy of the International Criminal Court. Sudan's ambassador to the U.N. has already accused the prosecutor of playing with fire and threatened the government's option open. Moreno-Ocampo says he has no option but press ahead with the charges.
MORENO-OCAMPO: I have the responsibility to secure the council, refer the case to me and request me to investigate. I can not be blackmailed. I can not yield. Silence never help the victims.
ROBERSON: When asked the prosecutor whether or not he's concerned about what Sudan may do with all those hundreds of thousands of peacekeepers and humanitarian workers in Darfur, he says if the Sudanese government does attack them in any way, that's just a further reason to follow through with the arrest want on the president. Kiran.
CHETRY: Nic Robertson for us in London. We'll be following this throughout the morning. Thank you.
ROBERTS: Just about 37 minutes after the hour. This Bud is for you. An American institution being sold to a Belgian brewer.
Our Ali Velshi has got more on the sale of Anheuser-Busch.
VELSHI: John, it's a little early on a Monday morning to be talking about beer. This is all I'm sticking for now. This is a big deal. I'm going to tell you what the sell of Anheuser-Busch has to do with the taste of your beer and how much you're going to pay for it when we come back on AMERICAN MORNING.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACQUI BROYLES, "RED STATE UPDATE": Budweiser, American's baseball, apple pie, buy over reactions to foreigners buying U.S. companies and I'll be damned if I pour another drop of this if it's sold by a bunch of Belgium's.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Jacqui Broyles and Dunlap, otherwise known as "Red State Update," ringing in the sell of Anheuser-Busch to a Belgian company. Our Ali Velshi here now talking about more of that. Wow. VELSHI: If it helps those guys, InBev, the company who bought them is sort of half Belgian, half Brazilian. I don't know. Big deal. It's a $52 billion buy-out of Anheuser-Busch. Anheuser really really fought off this overture until of course the price went up. And $52 billion will buy you about pretty much anything. The Belgian- based InBev is going to create the world's largest brewer with the combination of Bud and their beer, Stella Artois, Bass, Hoegaarden and things like that.
This does still have to get approved by shareholders and regulators. That will be some issue but there has been a lot of consolidation in the beer business. South African breweries buying Miller a few years ago. They say they won't close any of the 12 North American breweries. There's no news on how this will affect the beer. We assume that Bud stays Bud. Prices of beer have been going up over the last couple of years by virtue of the fact of the ingredients that go into beer have been getting more expensive, especially those things like growshops and grains.
So, you know, it shouldn't really have too much impact on anybody right now. It's sort of the way of the world, the U.S. dollar is low. The beer industry is actually not expanding very much so. In order to be profitable these companies have to become bigger and bigger. Some of the biggest companies in the world now are beer companies. They tend to be very international business so I wouldn't worry too much about it. You will still get your Bud.
CHETRY: And your buzz.
VELSHI: And your buzz.
ROBERTS: Still a shock though, that a family-run business...
ROBERTS: ... which is as American as apple pie.
VELSHI: As they said on Red State Update. It's about as American an institution you can get. These things do go in trends particularly as currencies get stronger and weaker. Let's say the U.S. dollar is weak for five or ten years, you know, you will see when it starts to strengthen in 10 years, Americans end up buying all these companies back.
ROBERTS: I remember when the Japanese bought Pebble Beach.
ROBERTS: And how well that worked out for them.
CHETRY: And who just bought the Empire State Building was it?
VELSHI: One of the Emirates countries. It was Abu Dhabi.
ROBERTS: Abu Dhabi.
CHETRY: Abu Dhabi.
ROBERTS: But they bought it from the Germans apparently.
ROBERTS: Already gone.
VELSHI: Yes, not too much to worry about here.
CHETRY: Thanks, Ali.
Well, the Obama campaign is condemning "The New Yorker's" front cover depiction of the Senator and his wife. There you see it, we're going to take a closer look at the controversy.
Also, Rob Marciano is here in New York today. He is watching extreme weather for us this morning. You're tracking two different storms in the Atlantic.
ROB MARCIANO, CNN, METEOROLOGIST: Yes, we do. We're in the height of hurricane season. We have Bertha, tropical storm, strong one, about to come close to Bermuda. And another one brewing in the Atlantic. That may get into the Caribbean. Details coming up when AMERICAN MORNING comes right back.
CHETRY: Forty-four minutes past the hour. Rob Marciano is in New York today tracking weather for us and we have two different -- you're laughing at us. You know, it's hard sometimes to get breakfast in on the show.
MARCIANO: I'm trying to get the breakfast burrito out of this --
CHETRY: That's right. We eat very healthy though.
ROBERTS: You're very busy up until 7:00. This is the first time you can actually breathe. OK. Take a little bit of a break while we talk storms here. Check them out. This one not quite a hurricane, not a tropical storm, not even a tropical depression but it certainly is something we want to be concerned about.
That little swirl up there in the tropical Atlantic still probably 1,000 or so miles from Leeward Islands. So, we still have plenty of time to look at it but the National Hurricane Center is thinking this may become our next tropical depression or tropical storm.
Tropical storm Bertha is getting close to Bermuda, heading that way, north northwesterly route about eight miles an hour. Still winds at 65 miles an hour. So it's still almost at hurricane strength. It's slowed down enough to make well life on Bermuda not exactly pleasant. There have been gusty winds. There's been some torrential rainfalls moving in. It will pass just to the east of Bermuda later on this afternoon. Some of the swells from Bertha have made their way to the east coast. We've had dangerous rip currents along the Jersey shore over the weekend. That will continue.
Now we've got a front that's kind of trying to press you through the i-95 corridor. Heavy, heavy rains in the New York metropolitan area. We have flood advisories out for a lot of the counties surrounding the tri-state area there. That front will push off to the east throughout the day today. Not bad weather actually from St. Louis to Chicago. And might be even pretty pleasant down across parts of the southeast with lower levels of humidity there.
So, we'll keep an eye on this thing that's brewing out there in the tropic Atlantic and now getting into the heart of hurricane season.
ROBERTS: And as we saw when we were speaking with Senator Dodd just a minute ago, raining quite heavily in East Hammond in Connecticut this morning.
MARCIANO: Exactly. So just bear with it and it should be a pretty nasty rush hour, but it will get better this afternoon.
CHETRY: Thanks, Rob.
MARCIANO: Counting on it.
CHETRY: If you had that Ferrari, you could zip right through it. Forget the weather.
MARCIANO: Just fly through it.
ROBERTS: All right.
CHETRY: Well, from the slums to the spotlight, a woman's whose job by birth was to clean toilet is now strutting her stuff on the catwalk. Her amazing transformation and success story, ahead.
ROBERTS: His book makes the case for holding President Bush criminally responsible for the deaths of U.S. soldiers in Iraq. Find out why it faced a virtual media blackout. You're watching the most news in the morning.
CHETRY: Now to the incredible journey of an Indian woman once considered too disgusting to touch, merely because of bigotry. She and others like her do India's dirty work, clearing away human waste for a living. But she made it from Indian society to crown princes in New York City.
CNN's Sara Sidner has the story.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the life of what Indian society calls an untouchable woman, by birthright it is her job to manually clean away the feces and urine left behind in the toilets of her upper caste neighbors.
We have just arrived at one of the homes where Manju, who's 37 years old, is going to go ahead and clean out the toilet. The smell is indescribable. This whole lane is covered with urine and feces. We're stepping in it, as is she. She doesn't wear anything. She has no gloves, she has no boots. She's wearing a basic flip-flops here.
For the past 20 years, my life hasn't been a life, she says. Usha Chaumar began the work at age 7 and did it 21 years.
USHA CHAUMAR, CLEANED HUMAN WASTE IN INDIA (through translator): Even if I was ashamed, I didn't have any other work but this. I would have died doing this.
SIDNER: Instead, five years ago she quit and lived to do something unmanageable. She ended up in New York City on a runway, no less, modeling side by side with the professionals. The U.N. invited Usha and others like her to bring awareness to the world's sanitation problems.
Dr. Bindeswar Pathak made it all possible. His education centers give women training to do other jobs. Usha is one of the most dedicated pupils. For her hard work, she was crowned princess of sanitation workers at the U.N. It is a title that takes some getting used to, especially after being treated like dirt for most of her life.
SIDNER: Usha and 56 other women in her village are now learning another trade. They're becoming seamstresses. We should mention that they designed and sowed those saris you saw on the runway there in New York -- Kiran.
CHETRY: CNN's Sara Sidner. Thank you.
Roberts: "ISSUE #1," trillions in mortgages. Millions in your life savings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The mattress is looking pretty safe these days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: The government making move to save both this morning.
Plus, test drive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got the Porsche 911 turbo, the Mercedes Benz AMG Black, Ferrari F430, and last and certainly not least is the Aston Martin DD9.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Rob Marciano takes super cars out for a spin.
MARCIANO: That is almost better than, you know what.
ROBERTS: you're watching the most news in the morning.
ROBERTS: Coming up on 54 minutes after the hour.
New this morning, a Palestinian official says Senator Barack Obama will travel to the West Bank next week during his visit to the Middle East. The Obama campaign is not commenting on the report. According to Palestinian negotiator, Sayeb Erekat, Obama will visit Ramallah on June 23rd and meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Obama is also expected to visit Israel during that trip. John McCain, you remember, visited Israel last March but did not meet with the Palestinians.
The Obama campaign meanwhile is slamming the "The New Yorker" magazine over the cover of the issue that hits news stands today. The illustration depicts Senator Obama in the Oval Office wearing traditional Muslim clothes, fist bumping his wife, who has an AK-47 slung over her shoulder and an Afro.
There's also a portrait of Osama Bin Laden hanging above the fireplace where an American flag is being burned. The "New Yorker" is defending the cartoon as satire. But an Obama spokesman released this statement saying "The "New Yorker" may think that their cover is a satirical lampoon and the caricature, Senator Obama's right-wing critics have tried to create, but most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree." The McCain campaign says it also agrees with that assessment.
He is a best-selling crime author and former prosecutor. But Vincent Bugliosi's new book which makes the case for charging President Bush with murder for the war in Iraq have faced a virtual media blackout. So how did the book become a best-seller?
CNN's Chris Lawrence explains.
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As a true crime author, Vincent Bugliosi tackled everything from JFK to O.J. and sold seven million copies of the book that described how he prosecuted murderer Charles Manson.
VINCENT BUGLIOSI, AUTHOR AND FMR. PROSECUTOR: This one won an Edgar Allan Poe award. This one was number one in the "New York Times."
LAWRENCE: But L.A.'s former D.A. says no one in the mainstream media would review his new book "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder" presents Bugliosi's legal case to hold the president criminally responsible for the deaths of American soldiers in Iraq.
BUGLIOSI: My book was completely rejected across the board by network and cable.
LAWRENCE: Enter the Internet. His publisher posted ads on liberal blogs and they started buzzing about the book.
BUGLIOSI: I'm very encouraged and very grateful to them. Yes, because without them the book would not be a "New York Times" best- seller. In about six weeks it sold 130,000 copies, with no major TV exposure.
ISABEL MACDONALD, FAIRNESS & ACCURACY IN REPORTING: There was a decision that was made by the media that was actually really out of sync with the demand.
LAWRENCE: Isabel MacDonald works with a group called Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. She says TV appearances and book reviews used to be the main way authors promoted their work.
MACDONALD: But with the rise of the Internet and the blogosphere, we've really seen books take off without any reviews very rapidly.
LAWRENCE: Bugliosi claims he's the victim of a media blackout.
You don't choose that title without knowing that you're going for some shock value, and with that shock value a lot of people will say, this is just a sensationalistic book that talks about something that will never happen.
BUGLIOSI: I've had national coverage for every one of my other books. This is the first time. People are extremely interested in this book, but they're terrified of it.
LAWRENCE: But is it fear or fatigue? A long list of writers have done media tours while taking their own shots at the president. Most recently former White House spokesman Scott McClellan. But Bugliosi is the first mainstream author to publicly accuse President Bush of murder. Chris Lawrence, CNN, Pasadena.
ROBERTS: We should also mention in the interest of full disclosure that back in May CNN's "Larry King Live" was pitched on interviewing Bugliosi on his book but the show passed on the offer.
CHETRY: Breaking news this morning, U.S. commanders in Afghanistan have asked the Pentagon for hundreds of the MRAPS, those are the heavily armed vehicles and have proven to be successful in Iraq in protecting U.S. troops from roadside bombs. It's a news we told you about exclusively here on CNN earlier. The request comes after six Afghan guards were killed when an explosion ripped through their convoy in southern Afghanistan. Two others were killed by the roadside bomb.
CHETRY: Gas prices hitting another record high. According to AAA, the national average $4.11 a gallon. As for oil prices, they're actually down slightly, settling above $145 a barrel, after settling above $145 a barrel close on Friday.
Well, Anheuser-Busch, the family-run beer maker from St. Louis has been sold to Belgian brewer, InBev. The $52 billion deal creates the world's largest beer maker. The deal is a sharp reversal for Anheuser which last month rejected InBev's initial $46 billion offer. Anheuser-Busch's 12 North American breweries are staying open.
Help this morning for troubled mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson says the government is ready to lend billions of dollars to the two companies. And the Treasury may even buy stock in them if needed and if Congress approves.
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PAULSON: In recent days, I have consulted with the Federal Reserve, the FCC, congressional leaders of both parties, and with the two companies to develop a three-part plan for immediate action. The President has asked me to work with Congress to act on this plan immediately.
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CHETRY: All right. Joining me now with more on what this all means, Ali Velshi.
Why the interest by the government of making sure that these two are bailed out?
VELSHI: These two are unusual companies. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are public companies. They trade on the stock market. The stock has been plummeting lately but the issue here is that they provide liquidity to banks that lend money to individuals, for mortgages. Now, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were to have trouble providing that money, what would happen is banks that lend you money in order to get more money to lend sell those mortgages to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, gives them more money to provide more mortgages.
So, the mortgage market will dry up substantially which is why they have to keep these two companies going. They are involved in the conforming loan business, the traditional sort of loans that stay within certain limits. Unlike IndyMac, which is a completely separate story. So this is going to be -- it's meant to keep liquidity in the system.
Now, both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have suggested they don't need the loan part of the deal that the federal government is offering but this is really just the government stepping in. The Treasury secretary has heard from House leaders who say they'll get in on this and they'll support this motion to make sure that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae stay in business and that keeps the mortgage business in the United States moving along nicely.
CHETRY: They don't need another hit right now.
VELSHI: They don't need -- that's basically what it is.
CHETRY: All right. Ali, thanks.