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President Obama Meets With Leaders of Pakistan, Afghanistan; Elizabeth Edwards Speaks Out

Aired May 6, 2009 - 15:00   ET



ZABIULLAH MUJAHID, SPOKESMAN FOR AFGHAN TALIBAN LEADER MULLAH OMAR (through translator): Afghanistan will be the Vietnam for them. I want to tell you clearly, we will win, and they will die.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): It's happening during this hour. And you will see it, three presidents looking for a Taliban solution, because the present one is not working.

John Edwards, the money and the affair, now under investigation, his wife on "Oprah." You have to see and hear what she says about the mistress this time.

The George W. Bush Library raising more money faster than any recent president, $100 million in 100 days. How did he do it? And who's contributing?

You saw him last, here talking to me. Now you will see him on a beach with a woman in a compromising position. We're talking to...


SANCHEZ: ... Bill Donahue of the Catholic League.

The first U.S. face transplant patient, and what her husband did to make her have to get one.

CONNIE CULP, FACE TRANSPLANT PATIENT: I don't know what might happen to you.

SANCHEZ: What a story.

Same-sex marriage blows up in D.C.


SANCHEZ: Security has to be called in. What a show.

Your national conversation begins right now.


SANCHEZ: And hello, again, everybody. I'm Rick Sanchez with the next generation of news. It's a conversation. It is not a speech. And it's your turn to get involved.

As we begin this newscast, I want to let you know that we're checking on two weather-related stories during this newscast, fires that are causing evacuations. See those right there in that square? Fires causing serious evacuations out West, along California. And then there's this line of thunderstorms and possible tornadoes.

Roger, give me that shot just outside our own studios here. Give me that CNN shot over our building. Look at the -- look at this thing. This is part of the system that seems to be -- look, I'm not a meteorologist, but I know one who might be able to share some light on this as to what's going on with this line of thunderstorms.

Chad Myers standing by right now.

Chad, set the scene for us, if you would, in both places.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: The first line of thunderstorms coming through Atlanta right now, and we have a brand new watch box, Rick, out the way up to the Tidewater of Virginia. And that severe weather could be all the way to the west and southwest there of New Orleans later on today.

That's the first thing we want to talk about. But what's going on right -- literally right over Hartsfield-Jackson Airport here in Atlanta, if you are on an airplane, you're probably sitting there, because this storm, it looks like about 30,000, maybe 32,000 feet high.


MYERS: And that bubbling storm could be making wind, and they will not take planes off and they will not land planes. And -- well, there's the airport right there. There's a bunch of planes doing...

SANCHEZ: Is that me that -- I was trying to figure out if we had lost Chad. I'm going to do a three, two, one, and see if we got Chad back. He's still not back?

I will tell you what. He's going to change batteries. I figured it was something like that. That takes a while to do.

So, let's -- let's move on.

I will tell you what else is going on, and, if we get a chance, we will get Chad back, because we still want to get an update on what's going on, not just with the line of thunderstorms, but also with the situation out in California.

Here's the story you will likely watch develop while on the air during this hour. And it's extremely important.

We got Chad back? Let's go ahead and go back to Chad.

All right, Chad, finish up for us.

MYERS: OK, Rick.

SANCHEZ: Sorry about your battery.

MYERS: Two AA batteries don't last that long anymore. They're not what they used to be, you know?

So, here are the planes that I was describing doing big circles across northwest Atlanta. I have done this circle just to the -- kind of the west of Asheville, planes circling around and around, going to wait for this line of weather to clearly move away. It's going to have to move away before it gets anywhere else, before those planes get to land.

And so that's why no other planes are being able to take off from other airports...


MYERS: ... a ground stop. We're done. We're not going to land any planes for a while.

SANCHEZ: No tornadoes that we know of at this point, right?

MYERS: No. No. No.


SANCHEZ: Just the conditions for them.

MYERS: Correct.

Now, we have video earlier of tornadoes that happened earlier in the day, kind of an exact opposite of what should happen. We had tornadoes in the morning and so far nothing in the afternoon, when the air is hotter. We have had Decatur, Alabama. We have had Morgan, the county in Alabama.

And the next couple of pictures, if we hold on, I have seen this series of pictures before. Hold this for 15 more seconds, we're going to see treetops that are gone literally. The root, the stem, the trunk's still there, and then the top of the trees are gone.

One more picture here, and that's how we know that this was twisted off at the -- at the top, not knocked down by wind. That is clear evidence of what was some type of spin falling out of the sky. We know that there were at least four tornadoes today. And I believe that was probably one of them, Rick.

SANCHEZ: Let me help you switch gears, if you can. Tell us now, that's the East Coast of the United States.


SANCHEZ: All the way out to the West Coast of the United States, they have got a very different problem.


SANCHEZ: Homes are -- people are being evacuated from their homes because another one of those doggone fires we talk about all the time. How bad is it?

MYERS: You ever heard of a sundowner wind?


MYERS: Do you know what that is?

SANCHEZ: I don't.

MYERS: All right. In the daytime, the air gets hot over the mountains. The air goes up. The mountains breathe in.

At night, it gets cold, the mountains breathe out. And when the mountains breathed out last night, that air went straight down the hill and right towards Santa Barbara, not really the town itself, but all those little suburban areas around Santa Barbara. And 1,200 people, 1,200 homes, were evacuated mandatorily. Others were told to get out.

And literally tonight is the night. Again, we could see more of it. If you smell smoke, if you smell smoke at all in your home, you need to get out of that home, because that means the wind is blowing your way, or at least ask some authorities, hey, am I in trouble? Because that's the first sign that the wind has shifted directions.

Didn't smell smoke all day and, all of a sudden now you do, that's a bad thing.


Chad Myers, checking the weather for you out East and in the West.


SANCHEZ: And if anything changes on any of those situations, we will go back to Chad and he will give us an update.

Thanks, Chad.

MYERS: You're welcome.

SANCHEZ: All right, back to that story which I mentioned moments ago is extremely important that will develop while we're on the air here.

Remember the guys who hit us on 9/11, al Qaeda, and the folks who were hosting them, the Taliban? Remember, they are the ones who provided the home base. Well, those guys are still a huge problem. And, right now, at the White House, President Obama is bringing together two guys who aren't really crazy about each other, by the way. These are the presidents of Pakistan and Afghanistan, two governments that haven't exactly been getting along.

But they need to, because they have got a mutual problem that they need to solve. I want to show you what the problem is. The problem is the Islamics, the Taliban. There's the area that we're looking at. Look. Take a look at that map there. You see that map? As you look at parts of Pakistan, right there in the middle, see where the P. in Pakistan is?

Just above that is the area that we have been talking about. That's the Swat Valley. And in the Swat Valley of Pakistan, they have been trying to rid themselves, the Pakistani government has been, of their Taliban problem.

First, they tried giving them, well, go ahead and have your law, Sharia law. That didn't seem to work very well. So, now they're going in militarily to try to take them out. Not sure if that's going to work.

In fact, I will tell you what it's doing. It's driving many of those folks now into Afghanistan. About 500,000 of them have been fleeing.

Here's what the Pakistani president said today when he was meeting with President Obama, as to whether or not he would be willing to come up with some kind of solution by sitting down with the president of Afghanistan. Here he is.


ASIF ALI ZARDARI, PAKISTANI PRESIDENT: Afghanistan, Pakistan, and United States are all victims of terror, as is, indeed, the entire world. Our threat is common, and our responsibilities should be shared. I am here to assure you that we shall share this burden with you all, for no matter how long it takes and what it takes, democracies will deliver.

My democracy will deliver. People of Pakistan stand with the people of United States and the people of Afghanistan. We stand with our Brother Karzai and the people of Afghanistan against this common threat, this menace which I have called cancer. This is a cancer. It needs to be done away with. Pakistan carries a huge burden confronting al Qaeda and Taliban together, but we are up to the challenge.


SANCHEZ: All right. So, Karzai and Zardari and President Obama all have to come up with some kind of solution for this problem.

Here's the real issue here. The Taliban doesn't seem to be willing to go along with any of these leaders. Here's what one of their leaders, the Taliban leaders, told exclusively to our Nic Robertson about this situation.


MUJAHID (through translator): Afghanistan will be the Vietnam for them. I want to tell you clearly, we will win, and they will die.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You're laughing. But I -- I don't understand how you can laugh, when you're up against the strongest army in the world, with drones and missiles.

MUJAHID (through translator): This is the war of martyrdom. Don't worry about this. We want to fight. We want to fight for martyrdom.

ROBERTSON (on camera): Can the Taliban win by military means alone, or does there need to be some kind of talks?

MUJAHID (through translator): We believe by both, by negotiation and also by war. We ask them to leave the country. We are ready to talk. So, they are not ready to leave, so they want to talk by the mouth of a gun. We will talk by the mouth of a gun.


SANCHEZ: So, I mentioned to you just moments ago that, in the Swat Valley, many of these refugees are now leaving Pakistan and they're heading to Afghanistan, where U.S. forces are going to try and possibly do battle with them.

It gets confusing. But many of those folks aren't really members of the Taliban. They were just people who lived in the Swat Valley. They're refugees trying to get away from the fighting.

I want you to watch this report. This is -- was filed moments ago. It's by our own Ivan Watson. He's reporting from a United Nations refugee camp there. Take a look at this.


IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the Julasi (ph) refugee camp. The residents of this camp use to be refugees from Afghanistan. Now they are from Pakistan, displace people -- 49,000 currently live in this camp and the U.N. is preparing to add some 36,000 more displaced Pakistanis as this conflict rages across the northwest of this country.

Let's take a look at the conditions that these people are living in. We have been given permission to come inside here. This is a compound for this gentleman here, Ghoul Sawood (ph).

Mr. Ghoul Sawood (ph) is from the district of Bajaur. In November, the Pakistani military attacked Taliban militants in that district. His house was destroyed during the fighting. Now he's living in this compound here, 10 people in two tents. They have erected these fabrics to give them some kind of privacy, because it's a social taboo among the ethnic Pashtun culture here for strangers to be able to see women.

This is one of the kitchens that the United Nations has helped erect for the residents. You can see the remnants of a meal here. There is some food distribution going on here for the many residents of this camp, but we have heard some complaints about the quality of the food and the frequency of the distribution.

Here, this white tent, this is described as a summer tent to help beat off some of the summer heat. Residents are already complaining about temperatures going up to very high levels, and it's only May. You can only imagine about how hot it's going to get here as time comes.

Now, when we asked Mr. Ghoul Sawood (ph) when he gets to go home, he doesn't have a home right now. His house has been destroyed. He doesn't know when he will be able to go back to Bajaur because of the security situation, because the fighting there is not over yet and other residents that we have talked to, other refugees here, they give similar answers.

They just don't know when they will be able to go back home. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of additional displaced people are expected to arrive here in the days and weeks to come, as this conflict continues across Northwest Pakistan.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Julasi (ph) camp in Pakistan.


SANCHEZ: So, look, it's pretty easy to see that this Taliban situation is not going to be going away anytime -- think about how long our country has been trying to deal with the Taliban post-9/11, and it's still there.

So, I told you what's going on with the leaders of Pakistan and the leaders of Afghanistan, what's going on in the Swat Valley area, and what's going on with these refugees. Now it's time to talk to the White House. Put that shot up.

We're expecting to talk in just a little bit to that gentleman. That's Denis McDonough. He's a deputy national security adviser for the United States, advises the president and vice president on what we can possibly do about this situation. He's going to be joining us in just a little bit to get the United States' perspective.


CULP: My name's Connie. And...


SANCHEZ: And there's this story. We stayed away from her story until we knew why she had the face transplant. Now I almost feel guilty about it. Wait until you hear why, why she had it.

Elizabeth Edwards is going public about her husband's affair. She has even more to say about how it happened. And you're going to hear it right here.

And the priest who I know who's come on this show recently, you have seen me talking to him, millions of devoted fans all over the world for him, he's in trouble today. He's in big trouble today for a photograph of him on the beach, and he wasn't alone on the beach.

You will see it.


CALLER: Hey, Rick. This is Marjorie (ph). I watch you 3:00 religiously every day. You are the highlight of all of the CNN shows. Keep it up. You include all the people that really count, the audience. I love it.



SANCHEZ: Welcome back to the world head quarters of CNN. I'm Rick Sanchez.

RyanFromToronto is watching our show right now. He just sent us this tweet. Take a look at what he writes after watching part of our discussion about Pakistan and Afghanistan. He says, "Pakistan needs to stop living the delusion that India is their most imminent threat and instead realize that it is from within."

Is he right?

Denis McDonough is a deputy national security adviser joining us from outside the White House.

Thank you, sir, for being with us.

DENIS MCDONOUGH, DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Thanks for having me, Rick. It's good to be with you.

SANCHEZ: Hey, is RyanFromToronto right? I mean, does Pakistan need to under that they got a real serious problem there and they're going to have to find some kind of solution for it?

MCDONOUGH: Well, I think RyanFromToronto is on to something.

I think there's no question that, given what we have seen just over the course of the last several weeks in terms of the devastation that's been wrought, the violence that's undertaken in places like Swat Valley and Buner, that there is a real threat from these extremists.

And I think what the message the president is communicating today to President Zardari is that we, the United States and Pakistan, face a similar threat, a common threat. And we ought to establish an alliance to work against that threat together. And I hope that's what you're going to see out of these unprecedented meetings this afternoon.

SANCHEZ: Let's try and explain this to viewers, because I think a lot of people -- you know, there's so much going on in our own country with our economy and everything else. Hey, Rog, put that map back up. I want to talk to the viewers and let Denis try and explain something to them here. You look at that region there, see that line between Afghanistan and Pakistan? There's a whole lot of people who are living in that region around Pakistan, just above where you see the word Pak in Pakistan. That's that Swat Valley area. These people have been living there for quite some time. They don't like their government, but they don't necessarily like the Taliban either.

So the government comes in and tells the Taliban, OK, you can stay there. We will give you Sharia law. We basically are giving you credence.

Well, that didn't exactly work very well. So, they're now selling -- so now they are going in there military. I'm not sure that's working very well either, because now those people are hating the government even more. What is the solution to this?

MCDONOUGH: Well, I think, Rick, I got to tell you, I think that the bottom line here is that we have an opportunity to establish some kind of governance in that area.

And I think that's exactly what we're trying to do with some of the assistance packages we're putting together, with this very aggressive strategy that the president is working together today with President Karzai of Afghanistan and...

SANCHEZ: But let me stop you. Let me just stop you for a minute. And I don't mean to interrupt.

But if the government includes them shutting down schools because girls are there or making them wear religious outfits or the kinds of things that we treat as inhumane, then that's not the kind of government we want for them either. And then, let me give you a caveat to that. Is it any of our business?

MCDONOUGH: Rick, I will tell you why it's some of our business.

That is because those terrorists who attacked us on 9/11, 2001, are using that area in the northwest of Pakistan, the area you just pointed out on the map, as an area to plot and to plan and to train for new attacks. That's why President Obama has been focused on this for some time now, for a couple years, demanding increased resources on that threat. And so, as a result, I think we're seeing some progress. And I hope we see more this afternoon.

SANCHEZ: I know it's tough. I know it's tough.

Look, thanks so much for -- Mr. McDonough, for taking time to talk to us and take us through this. Let us know if there's any change.

And I should let our viewers know that we're expecting to get some pictures now any moment now of all three of the presidents, our president, including Zardari and the president of Afghanistan as well, in that meeting. And as soon as the White House, you guys, release that, we will turn it around and show it. So, give us a heads-up for us.


MCDONOUGH: We're getting right on it for you, Rick. We will get it right over the transom as quick as we can.


SANCHEZ: Denis McDonough, we thank you, sir.

MCDONOUGH: Thanks for having me.

SANCHEZ: Did you know today is -- quote -- "National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy? Yes. And guess who the new spokesperson for the teen sexual abstinence is? None other than Bristol Palin, teen daughter of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, and a teenage mother herself. But she's the new ambassador for the Candie's Foundation, whose mission is to prevent teen pregnancy by promoting abstinence.

So, how does the younger Ms. Palin, an unwed teen mother, convince other teens not to have sex? Talking about how her life has changed.

Listen to her here.


BRISTOL PALIN, PROMOTING TEEN ABSTINENCE: You don't have friends. You can't just get up and go to the movies or go get your hair done or anything like that. It's -- you put your baby first, and it's your responsibility.


SANCHEZ: And we will have more on that story throughout.

She says, he's a man. He's a human being. He wants to be a priest. He must, then, resign.

He is one of the country's most well-known priests, and secretly taken pictures have him in a lot of trouble. Here's a contrarian view. What did he really do wrong?

Also, how was President George W. Bush able to quickly raise more than any other president in recent history for his new library, $100 million in 100 days? Was he that popular a president? Next question, who's paying the bill? Here's another question. Should we know who's paying the bill?


CALLER: Hi, Rick. I'm Carol Ann (ph) calling from South Cackalacky. And I'm just calling to tell you I watch you because you're the most fair and balanced news show on television. And I -- the Twitter's a bonus.

Have a great day. Love your show. Bye.


SANCHEZ: Just got three quick tweets bang, bang, bang. Want to share them with you. Here we go. To the Twitter board we go, Robert.

Nardo58 is saying this: "The only thing I want to hear about John Edwards is that he lost all his hair due to overcoming or a bad dye job."



Virtual Being is writing and watching. She says: "Holy you know what. Are you kidding about Bristol Palin? Wow. I just can't say anything else. Wow."

And then Cosmic Culture says: "If the U.S. always finds a military purpose," talking about Pakistan and Afghanistan, "the world will never see the end of war."

Interesting points, all three. We thank you, all.

And this -- the lawyers who at the White House's urging bent the law to make sure the Bush administration could do whatever it wanted to with prisoners were wrong, but they likely will go unpunished. That's right. We learned today the Justice Department does not want to prosecute attorneys Jay Bybee or John Yoo or Steven Bradbury.

They were the guys who came up with the questionable legal rationale for water-boarding, for sleep deprivation, for sensory deprivation, for the beatings and some of the other tactics that many say is torture. So, it appears these lawyers are off the hook, but what about other members of the White House?

Here is former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Was this a slip of the tongue? Here's what she told a group of students at Stanford University. You remember this. We played it for you. It's on the subject of torture.


CONDOLEEZZA RICE, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: By definition, if it was authorized by the president, it did not violate our obligations under the Convention Against Torture.


SANCHEZ: It almost sounded like what she's saying what Nixon said. If the president did it, it's OK. There's so, so much we still don't know about the actions of President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and a some of the other subordinates. I will tell you who does know a lot about this, Jane Mayer. She literally wrote the book on the stuff. It's called "The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals."

Think about that, a war on American ideals.

Jane, thanks so much for being with us.

JANE MAYER, AUTHOR, "THE DARK SIDE": So great to be with you.

Let me say let you hear something real quick here else. This is also Condoleezza Rice, by the way, the former secretary of state. She said this to some fourth-graders just recently. Here it is.


RICE: Let me say this. President Bush was very clear that he wanted to do everything that he could to protect the country. After September 11, we wanted to protect the country.

But he was also very clear that we would do nothing, nothing that was against the law or against our obligations internationally. And, so, the president was only willing to authorize policies that were legal in order to protect the country.


SANCHEZ: It's kind of interesting that we're getting all this sound from her recently from Stanford and then from a group of fourth- graders, but, nonetheless, this defense that she continues to use about we were just trying to protect the country, in other words, look, we had good intentions, does that still fly, given what you know?

MAYER: Well, I mean, you know, they seem to be kind of flailing to come up with justifications for a program which now, according to "The New York Times" today, there's a new report out from the Justice Department. It hasn't come out yet, but it's about to be released...


MAYER: ... that subjects -- you know, that suggests that the lawyers who authorized this program...

SANCHEZ: Used bad judgment.

MAYER: ... who way out-of-bounds, way, way out-of-bounds.


SANCHEZ: But it says they are not going to be punished, though, interestingly enough. Should they be?

MAYER: Not -- not -- I don't -- not necessarily. I don't actually think that is what it says.

What it says is that they might have to be disbarred. They may need to be sanctioned professionally. This is very...


SANCHEZ: But not be prosecuted. All right, let's be clear. They're saying, we're not going to prosecute them, but we take some action against them?


MAYER: Not -- I don't think even necessarily -- I'm not sure that it necessarily says that.

First of all, we haven't seen the report. But this isn't the -- the people who wrote the report are an apolitical group inside the Justice Department that just looks at professional behavior. They don't make the decision about who gets prosecuted.

What they're saying, though, is actually really serious, because think of it. Lawyers can argue all kinds of things and they don't get in trouble usually. I mean, they have a lot of latitude.

But what the Justice Department's saying about some of the top lawyers in the Bush administration is that they went so far and they were so sloppy, that they may have to be punished in a way that they can no longer be lawyers anymore.

What they're saying is they're pulling out sort of the cornerstone of this whole program and on which the whole cathedral sits and it's going to tumble down. If what the lawyers said was really not true, and torture is really not legal, then -- then it's going to be very hard for the administration to keep arguing that everything it did was legal.

SANCHEZ: You know, I would bet you if you -- if you and I went around right now and we did some kind of random sample all over the country and just asked average Americans who do you think was the person who was really behind all of this, I know this doesn't get talked a lot about in the media, but I bet you most Americans would say Dick Cheney.

Would they be right?

MAYER: Well, you know, as you said, I have written a book about it. It's called "The Dark Side." And it's out in paperback now, and it tells the story of who really was behind this.

And I have to say, there are certain mysteries still. There are many more documents to come out. But it's incredible how many fingerprints lead off into the vice president's office.

Cheney is the person who keeps pushing forward. There -- there were many people in the Bush administration who fought back against this, not just liberals, not just civil libertarians. There were military people. The FBI, a number of lawyers who said, this is how our country does. This is what the enemy does. We don't -- this demeans us. We don't torture people, but Cheney kept pushing.

SANCHEZ: But Americans could understand why at the beginning we were frightened and we may have overreacted.

MAYER: Right.

SANCHEZ: But I think I've read where you've talked about the fact that even you understood that, what you didn't understand was why, maybe, two years later we were still overreacting.

MAYER: Well, what began as, I think, something that happened in panic, and maybe ignorance. They thought this would work. It turned out it wasn't actually getting them perfect information. They were getting a lot of bad information along with the good. But it started that way, and then they dug in. It became a mistake. And they couldn't own up to it. So, they're actually meetings that take place in which Condi Rice and others say, you know, we got to move these people out of these secret prisons. We're going to have to do something with them, and Cheney actually says, we can't. Because the minute we move them out into the daylight, people are going to say, where have they been and what have you been doing with them?

SANCHEZ: Wow, now, that's Nixonian, that's not only by making a mistake but then making a bigger mistake by trying to cover up your mistake. That's what you just said.

MAYER: It became a cover-up in the end.

SANCHEZ: Jane, thanks so much for being with us. We appreciate it.

MAYER: Glad to be with you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not over! We will stand on the principles of God!

(END OF VIDEO CLIP) SANCHEZ: Fights and screaming matches and security has to be called in, after a city council meeting on same-sex marriage.

And then a woman speaks for the first time after receiving an actual face transplant. This is the first face transplant in the United States. Now we know what happened to her. I'll tell you.

Also, two consenting adults seen embracing on a beach, what's the big deal, right? Here's the big deal, one of them is a priest. Bill Donahue of the Catholic League is going to join me in just a little bit. He and I are going to talk about this. Stay with us.


SANCHEZ: All right. Full disclosure here. A friend of mine is in some serious trouble today. That guy, that we're about to show you on the screen. Put that up if you got it, Rog. It's Father Alberto Gutierr. In Miami he has lost his church. There he is. He's lost his church position. He's lost his radio gig, and he's apologizing to people today who say it might be hurt -- or he says, pardon me, who may be hurt or saddened by what he did. All right, so what did he do? What he did is what most adults do, he displayed physical affection with a consenting adult.

The difference is Father Albert is a priest. That's a Mexican tabloid you're looking at right there, followed him around to the beach and then took pictures of him. It's called (INAUDIBLE). They will run these photos tomorrow of a man who certain looks like Father Albert kissing and hugging and sunbathing with a woman on the beach. A priest. The Catholic Church calls it a scandal, they've stripped him of his position as a pastor of a Miami Beach church. They've taken away his radio show, they're sending him away to reflect and pray. Mind you, this guy is followed by millions and millions of people. That's how powerful he was. Bill Donahue is the president of the Catholic League. Bill, thanks so much for joining me.


SANCHEZ: You know, he wasn't with a little kid. He was with a woman. A consenting adult. Good-looking guy. You got to feel for this guy. Don't you?

DONAHUE: Oh, I think anytime somebody makes a human mistake that you do feel for them. I don't think you just throw them out. Catholic priests are human like anybody else, they have drug problems, they have alcohol problems. This guy may have had a problem dealing with the opposite sex. You don't throw them out like rubbish, you deal with them, you give them an opportunity for counseling and reflection and you welcome them back.

SANCHEZ: Is he the problem or does the church have a problem by taking men and telling them to spend the rest of their lives stopping a natural impulse?

DONAHUE: Well, well, well, here we go.

SANCHEZ: Sorry, I mean you knew it was coming, right?

DONAHUE: That's a fair question, you're absolutely right to ask it. It has been since about the 11th century that they codified celibacy. All vows are taken voluntarily. Now the bar is pretty high I agree with you. This is not a dogma of the Catholic Church. It's not like the divinity of Jesus or the trinity. So they could change what's called a discipline of the church tomorrow if they want to. Let's just say for the sake of argument they do. Guess what you're going to do, you're going to exchange this problem for another one. Look how many rabbis and imams and ministers who are married and cheat on their brides? The question is this, can people exercise sexual restraint in our society? We think men or women of the cloth or not. I think you can just exchange one problem for another.

SANCHEZ: You don't think the church would change its policy, then, or at least even consider it?

DONAHUE: Cardinal Eagan before he left as the archbishop of New York said maybe the time has come to think about it. I think we should have a discussion about it. There's nobody afraid about it.


DONAHUE: Look, the average catholic says, let them marry. But you know what, there's a huge difference between a preference and a demand. I don't know of a single catholic who says if they don't allow our priests to marry like Episcopalians, I'm going to walk and become a Methodist. It ain't going to happen.

SANCHEZ: It's just a shame, and there are so many good men out there who do this church so much good and just because they are married or because they happen to have -- look at Father Albert, again, he's a friend of mine and I know him and I like him a lot. Smart guy. Huge following. He's written books. He's said and done and lived a good life essentially. And this is what brings him down. It's sad, all right.

DONAHUE: Wait a minute, I don't know that he's over. We believe in forgiveness and we believe in redemption.

SANCHEZ: That's true.

DONAHUE: This guy could pivot and I would welcome him back. Other priests have had problems and they turn out to be good guys.

SANCHEZ: That's true. We'll watch it for all of the viewers out there who have been following this story. And Bill Donahue, as usual, love having you on, my friend.

DONAHUE: Thank you so much.

SANCHEZ: All right.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BUSH: American citizens who have served our country as --


SANCHEZ: President George W. Bush raises $100 million in 100 days for his library. Should I give you that again, $100 million in 100 days? Is he more popular now that he's out of office than he was in? Or is there another explanation to this?

Also, same-sex marriage debate gets really heated in D.C., creating a scene and they have to even call in security. We'll show it to you.


SANCHEZ: Boy, a lot of people are getting in on that conversation I had with my old friend, Bill, moments ago. Here's one. This is on the twitter board, if you would. Quick to that. I know we've got a full show, Chris. Priest scandal, they choose to be priests. We haven't started drafting religious people yet. Higher standards come with the job. So there's somebody who just doesn't want to give Father Albert a break.

Ok, hear this. President Bush, George W. Bush, he left office with a job rating of 22 percent. But when you see how much money he's getting from some of this country's most well heeled, some might say he's actually an extremely popular man. According to reports, the president has gotten $100 million in 100 days. $100 million in 100 days since leaving office. Nobody has ever gotten that much money that fast for their presidential library. Who's paying and why and will the library try to rehabilitate the Bush legacy? Joining me now from Austin is Wayne Slater of the Dallas Morning News, he's been watching this story. But you know Wayne, as Yogi would say, this thing seems curiouser and curiouser the more I read it. What gives?

WAYNE SLATER, SR. POLITICAL WRITER, DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Absolutely. But you have to think that George Bush could probably raise that much money within 200 yards of his house. It's a really nice neighborhood up there that he lives in. But look --

SANCHEZ: Who's giving -- are these people who -- look, let me just be blunt about this, because that's usually the way I am. If I were Halliburton and KBR and I didn't give this guy millions of dollars, I'd feel pretty ungrateful. Do you know what I just said?

SLATER: The Bush years were very, very good for some people and some companies and some interests.


SLATER: And so what we don't know is exactly who's giving this money, because the donors are anonymous. What we might suspect is exactly that. That you might see an exhibit in the Bush library that says, what a great job we did rebuilding Iraq, brought to you by Halliburton, although you really don't know that the exhibit educating the future generations is from Halliburton or possibly foreign interests. We just don't know.

SANCHEZ: Yeah, could be the Saudis, could be anybody, you know. Hey, should we know? I mean, as Americans this is going to be a place where our children's, children's children will learn about our history, shouldn't we know who is paying the bill to write that history?

SLATER: Of course we should. You know, Obama --

SANCHEZ: But we don't!

SLATER: Is talking about transparency, now going to be fair, past presidents have not wanted to release the names either. Bush doesn't want to release them. But you have to ask a question, if somebody is going to give the former president $1,000 or $100,000 or $100 million, why do they want to keep their names secret? Who are these companies, interests, corporations, who are they? Of course, we should know. So that we know in the name of full disclosure who has brought us this presentation and this iteration of history.

SANCHEZ: That's a great point. And you're right, that this is not a partisan thing. Because just like they did this for Bush, they did this for Clinton and they've done this for other presidents. And we should know who all those people are who have helped these guys out in their presidential library. Wayne Slater, we're out of time. But always a pleasure talking to you.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every voter gets a chance!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will stand on the principles of God!


SANCHEZ: The city council in Washington, D.C., votes to recognize same-sex marriage is sparking a huge, oh, my goodness, and very heated debate. You'll see it.


SANCHEZ: Wait until you see what some of you characters have written to me during the break, I'll get that to you in just a little bit. Some of it's funny. You're not going to believe what happened, though, when the city council in Washington, D.C., met to discuss same-sex marriage. Ugly is the least of it, and keep in mind what they decide still has to be ratified by the U.S. congress. Watch this report from our affiliate WJLA, that is filled with screaming, shouting, oh, and did I mention righteous indignation?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE , WJLA REPORTER: A group of D.C.-area preachers went ballistic outside the council chambers, after the 12 to 1 vote to recognize gay marriages performed in other states.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every voter gets a chance --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will stand on the principles of God!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even before the meeting, religious groups rallied across the street in freedom plaza and those on both sides lined up to get into the standing-room only chamber including two men who'd married in California and wore copies of their licenses on t- shirts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not asking the church to recognize us, we're just asking the government to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: D.C. church women were opposed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Man and man can't be husband and wife.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the council debate after Marion Berry made clear he opposed the measure, openly gay council member David Catania complained of bigotry and said the vote was personal for him.

DAVID CATANIA, D.C. COUNCIL: I think it is immoral for you to be my friend on the one hand and out on the other say, you are not entitled to the same rights.

MARION BERRY, D.C. COUNCIL: I resent that implication. That because you're not over here on this particular issue, you're not treating us equally. That is not fair. At all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After the overwhelming vote in favor, the preachers erupted, and the council had to stop business for a time until security was able to restore calm.


SANCHEZ: I want to show you something now. See that right there? That is an animation of the first facial transplant to take place in the United States. We're going to take you through it, or Dr. Gupta will.

Also, I want to watch this next report, and I want you to listen, when you watch this story about this first face transplant, the woman who had it done, her story, is now revealed. What happened to her. It's amazing. We'll see it next.


SANCHEZ: There are stories that are hard not to look at and hard not to talk about. This is one of them. Here's Dr. Gupta.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A shotgun blast five years ago blew this woman's face to pieces. A 46-year-old mother of two, in a moment, her identity, gone. This was the end result. Connie Culp no longer had a nose, could not eat solids or drink from a cup. She had a hard time breathing. She lived in virtual seclusion.

DR. FRANK PAPAY, CLEVELAND CLINIC: Little children would shy away from her and actually be scared of her.

GUPTA: Then after years of waiting Culp was matched with a donor, a face donor, even as a doctor, I had never seen anything quite like it. The most extensive facial transplant ever. Before, after, it took 22 hours, eight surgeons, 80 percent of Culp's face, her palate, upper lip, nose, eyelids, replaced with that of a donor.


GUPTA: Here's how she got it. First graft skin from the face of a donor who had just died. Doctors careful to preserve arteries, veins, nerves. The next hours are critical. Using powerful microscope doctors married the veins and arteries from donor to recipient and then grafted the donor's skin onto Culp's face. The only indication it worked, the veins and arteries began to course with blood.

PAPAY: You have to wait and see if it clots or if it continues to flush. For that initial five minutes, you know you have done your job.

GUPTA: Face transplantation is new territory, conferring tremendous risk, especially for a procedure that unlike liver or heart transplantation is not life saving. Add to that face transplantations require high doses of immune system suppressing drugs for life. So the body does not reject the new face. I interviewed Dr. Maria Siemionow who led Culp's operation before the transplant.

We're talking about a long operation with a foreign tissue that's going to require a lifetime of anti rejection medications. It may not take and the person could actually, their life could be threatened. How do you reconcile those two things?

DR. MARIA SIEMIONOW, CLEVELAND CLINIC: Those people are not just coming with such a commitment because they want to be beautiful, they want to be normal, and they want to just come back to the society as anybody else. And I think they have rights to decide about that.

CULP: You never know what might happen to you and you might get in a car wreck (INAUDIBLE) so it looks the same as you do. You never know. One day it might be all taken away.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN reporting.


SANCHEZ: What a story. By the way, there's more to this story. What is she saying now? You're going to find out because we'll bring it to you after the break.


SANCHEZ: Following up now because we thought you should know that face transplant patient that we showed you just a while ago, her name is Connie Culp. Her recovery and progress are obvious but many of you are probably wondering what's the bottom line expectation on this? We have acquired an artist's rendering as to what doctors believe she will eventually look like in about two years. You see that shot you just looked at her is kind of unfair, because she's still swollen. Compare and contrast it to her initial disfigurement, the one we showed you moments ago. It's amazing. And there's a surprising post script to this story, Connie Culp says her forgiveness, she forgives her husband for what he did, if that doesn't shock you this might. Culp also got only seven years in prison for shooting his wife. He could be out by 2012. Wolf Blitzer standing by now to bring us up to date on what's going on in the next hour. Wolf, what you got? WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Well we're waiting, coming up in the next hour, Rick, this three-way meeting between the president of the United States and the president of Afghanistan and Pakistan, they're going to be walking out together, they're meeting in this three-way meeting right now. We're going to hear what the president has to say. The stakes as you know are enormous. We also have a special interview with the senate majority leader Harry Reid, we speak about a wide range of issues including the decision that he made to make sure that the newest democrat, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, his seniority is going to be the lowest on the judiciary committee, the appropriations committee of all those democrats, a little dispute going on between Arlen Specter and Harry Reid. We have the latest on all of that. Much more coming up Rick right here in "THE SITUATION ROOM."

SANCHEZ: Look forward to it Wolf. In the meantime, we're going to be telling you what you're saying a lot about George Bush and a lot about my discussion with Bill Donahue, do you agree with me or Bill Donahue? I'll tell you in just a moment, stay with us.


SANCHEZ: This just in, there's a fire at the Moulin Rouge Casino, this is in Las Vegas. There's the picture, we're going to be staying on it. It's a four-alarm blaze. By the way I also promised I would share some of your comments. Here are some of them. Let's go first to twitter, I agree with Mr. Donahue on the twitter board, it says I would rather see him with a woman than with a little boy. And then look over here at Facebook, enough with these archaic rules the Catholic Church needs to get out of people's private lives. And one more, hi Rick, $100 million in 100 days, I guess Bush wants the largest comic book collection in the world. Here now is Wolf Blitzer standing by in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Wolf, take it away.