Return to Transcripts main page

THE SITUATION ROOM

IMF Chief May Be Freed On Bail; Schwarzenegger's Lover Revealed

Aired May 18, 2011 - 18:00   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And to our viewers, you're in the SITUATION ROOM. Happening now, breaking news. Defense lawyers may be close to arranging a deal for bail in a sexual assault case against the head of the International Monetary Fund. We're going the hear from the alleged victim's lawyer this hour. Stand by.

Top Pentagon officials say it's time to stop talking about the raid on Osama Bin Laden's compound. Why they're so worried about all the details emerging from that one secret mission.

And presidential hopeful, Newt Gingrich, apologizing for attacking one of his own party's key proposals. Will that satisfy angry Republicans?

Breaking news, political headline, Jeanne Moos all straight ahead. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in the SITUATION ROOM.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

BLITZER: But let's begin with the breaking news right now. Accused of sexual assault against the hotel maid, the jailed head of the International Monetary Fund could be released on bail as early as tomorrow. That's the word we're getting from a source familiar with the case. Let's go right to our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin. He broke the story for us an hour ago, getting more information. Jeff, tell our viewers what you're learning.

VOICE OF JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, what we now know is that the prosecution and the defense will be back in court tomorrow, and the -- defense will have a new package. I don't know the details of what's in it, but a new package that -- where they will ask a judge -- it's going to be a different judge than the judge who denied Strauss-Kahn bail earlier in the week.

So they hope that he will not have to spend this weekend in Rikers Island which is where he is now.

BLITZER: Because the last time around earlier in the week, when the judge refused to grant him any bail, I think they were willing to post, what, a million dollars, make sure he wore an ankle bracelet, take away his passport. That wasn't good enough for the judge earlier in the week. Why do some folks think it -- situation might be different now? TOOBIN: Well, the amount of money -- I believe will be increased. There'll be more specificity with -- there was no detail in the last proposal about where Strauss-Kahn would be. They plan to put forth where he will be tomorrow in their proposal, and it's a new judge. Frankly, Wolf, this is a pretty close case. There are some judges, I think, who would grant Strauss-Kahn bail under these circumstances.

So, I think they are going at another -- just for another bite at the apple, and you know, bail applications are frequently made on Fridays. Nobody wants to spend a weekend in prison. So, it is not a surprise that they're coming back at this one, and I don't think it's a foregone conclusion that they're going to lose.

BLITZER: How significant is it that he has no criminal record, but, another woman has come forward in France alleging that several years ago, he tried to sexually assault her?

TOOBIN: Well, I think, there's a lot of bad news for Strauss- Kahn out there. This case looks like -- and again, we're very early in the process. This case looks like it's a very serious matter. It looks like it will proceed as a full-fledged criminal case against him, but the fact that he is a foreigner is the biggest strike against him. The most people who are not United States citizens have a built- in motive to plea.

They don't have roots in the community. Those are major factors when it comes to granting or not granting a defendant bail. That hasn't changed. He's still a French citizen, and that's going to remain a big problem for him with any judge who hears this.

BLITZER: One of the arguments his attorneys made earlier in the week, including Benjamin Brafman, who is a well-known criminal defense attorney. You probably know him in New York, Jeffrey, is that his face now has been plastered all over the media and newspapers, on television. Everybody knows what he looks like. And so, there's no way he could simply escape. Is that an argument that a judge would listen to?

TOOBIN: Absolutely. I mean, bail is not supposed to be punishment. There are always two factors that courts consider most when it comes to bail which is, one, is the person a danger to the community? And two, is the person a risk of flight? Given the set of circumstances that the defense can bring forward here that he will be isolated, that he will have an ankle bracelet, that -- he -- he will be under a very narrow range, and the fact that he's so famous now or infamous.

It is an argument that many judges may well find persuasive. That he is simply not going to flee, and he's not a danger to anyone, and he should be granted bail.

BLITZER: Jeffrey Toobin reporting for us. Thank you, Jeff. We'll continue this tomorrow, but just a little while ago, I spoke with the attorney, Jeffrey Shapiro, who represents the alleged victim in this case. Listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEFFREY SHAPIRO, ATTORNEY FOR ALLEGED VICTIM: This is a woman who's an observant woman. She is strong. She came to this country from guinea under, you know, adverse circumstances, had a lot of difficulty there, came here essentially under an asylum-type arrangement with her young daughter. She's a single mother with limited education and limited -- virtually no opportunity for professional career in her homeland.

She came here and found this job and was able to support both herself and her daughter, was very grateful to have this job, very great until to be in a country which there are laws and justice and freedom. Hope for a better life for her daughter as, I think, anyone who comes to this country does. And I have to tell you, I have great, great admiration for her. And based upon the hours that I've spent in talking to her.

BLITZER: Have you prepared her for what's in store over the coming weeks and months, maybe years?

SHAPIRO: Boy, you know, here's the problem. You know, somebody who's the victim of physical assault in a rape needs lots of help in many different areas. And here's someone who hasn't even had the opportunity to begin that process, you know, to find any peace at all.

BLITZER: His lawyers will ask for some sort of opportunity that he can be released from Rikers Prison in New York and be released on bail. What I hear you saying, what I heard you saying is you think that would be a horrible mistake.

SHAPIRO: Listen, you know what, I'm devoted to this woman and this client. And, I want what she wants. And I want her to feel safe. And to -- to the extent that his freedom would impair her feeling of safeness -- safety and security, that would deeply concern me.

BLITZER: Well, explain what -- I'm going to let you go in a second, but explain that. If he's out in New York, let's say he's got an ankle bracelet, and - he's in New York, she would feel threatened by that. Is that what you're saying?

SHAPIRO: Look, you know, this is a woman who comes from a world in which safety is not -- is very difficult. It's not guaranteed. There are no -- the police are not necessarily your friend. This is the background that she comes from. So, the idea that this perpetrator, the person who attacked her is free and can do what he wants to do, whether he flees the country doesn't mean that he can't do something in her mind, at least, and based upon her experience in the world, that could cause her some harm.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Dominique Strauss-Kahn was widely seen a possible challenger to the French president, Nicholas Sarkozy, in next year's election, at least, he was until his arrest. Strauss-Kahn downplayed his political prospects in an interview with CNNs Fareed Zakaria last year. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DOMINIQUE STRAUSS-KAHN, INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND: I'm heading an international institution. I'm happy with what I'm doing. I think it's -- maybe it's a bit pretentious, but I think it's important for the global economy to have those kind of institution working well. I have no other projects.

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR: When you are done with the IMF, would you rule out the prospect of returning into French politics?

STRAUSS-KAHN: Maybe I will stay in the IMF for years and years and years, who knows?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: And joining us now from Paris, our correspondent, Jim Bittermann. This allegation of rape leveled against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, how is the French media handling it? We know there's a cultural thing about the French media sort of ignoring politicians and their sex lives, but this is an allegation of rape.

JIM BITTERMANN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Exactly, Wolf, and I think it's being treated differently because I saw a little mini debate tonight on one of the television channels in which the two opposite sides were basically taking the same side saying look, you know, it's one thing not to talk about somebody having an affair, having mistress on the side.

It's quite another thing when there's violence involved and -- both of -- parties of the debate agreed on that. So, I think it is -- this is a different state. It's a different sort of thing and a kind of thing that's normally kept under cover here.

BLITZER: So, is there consensus emerging in France right now, Jim, that his political career, no matter what happens in the courtroom in New York, is over?

BITTERMANN: I think so. The only people seem to be still holding out hope is a thing called the Club Dominique Strauss-Kahn which were -- it is a club of his supporters who are urging him to run for president. They would like to see the socialist party primary move from June 28th to later on in the summer, I guess, hoping that maybe his legal problems would be over. But everybody else -- two letters, K.O., knocked out, and I think that's what they really sort of feel about his political career right now.

BLITZER: You've had a chance to meet with him, including relatively recently. What's he like?

BITTERMANN: Well, I've sort of run into him and done interviews with him probably four, five times over the last ten years here. You know, he is a very charming guy, and you can get very personal with him. He's very open and disarming. He's a great campaigner, I can see that. But this side, this kind of dark side, I don't think anybody spotted.

I think some of the members of the press here who knew him very well -- in fact, I just interviewed yesterday a guy who spent two years doing a book on him, and he just cannot believe these rape charges. He said he's not a violent sort of man. So, I don't know. We're going to have to see how this plays out in the courtroom if they can prove that he was guilty of this violence. This is going to change everybody's opinion here, I think -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Jim, thanks very much. Jim Bittermann reporting for us from Paris as he always does. Appreciate it.

It's one of the biggest stories of the year -- and years, I should say, the killing of Osama Bin Laden. So, why are top U.S. military officials saying the aftermath is hurting efforts to fight terrorism?

Also, one leader cracking down on another. Details of what President Obama is doing to Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad.

And new details of Arnold Schwarzenegger's sex scandal. We know the identity of the woman with whom he had an affair and a child.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Jack Cafferty is here. He's got the "Cafferty File" -- Jack.

CAFFERTY: To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, the only two things in life that are certain are death and taxes. Of course, one's always been a little easier to calculate than the other until now, perhaps. A Spanish company has developed a blood test that it claims can give you a pretty good idea of how long you will live. The test is called life length, can allegedly convert your life expectancy into numbers, and will reportedly be available in Britain later this year. All this, according to the British newspaper, "The Independent."

It's a simple blood test that measures something on your chromosomes called telomeres, which scientists say can help determine your biological age rather than chronological age. The shorter your telomeres are, the closer you are to death. Researchers say the test can provide valuable information including a person's risk of things like heart disease, Alzheimer's, and cancer.

Some scientists and medical ethicists have raised concerns, though, that people who will take the test, then become fatalistic, stray from healthy practices like eating right, exercising, and quitting smoking. Critics also worry that information could be used by insurance companies and by companies that could make an

Market fake anti-aging drugs and treatments. But all that aside, you can bet people will line up for the life length test as soon as it becomes available. It will be sold over-the-counter in Britain for the equivalent of about $700. It ain't cheap to find out how long you're going to be around. Here's the question. Would you want to know how long you're going to live? Go to CNN.com/caffertyfile and post a comment on my blog -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Here's my answer, Jack. You want to know my answer?

CAFFERTY: Yes.

BLITZER: No. Don't want to know.

CAFFERTY: I don't either.

BLITZER: All right. Thanks. But I assume a lot of viewers will want to know.

Meanwhile, new details are just coming out about Arnold Schwarzenegger's affair. We now know the identity of the woman with whom he father a child while married to Maria Shriver. Let's go straight to Los Angeles right now. CNNs Thelma Gutierrez is standing by. All right. Thelma, who is she?

THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, according to "The New York Times," her name is Mildred Patricia Baena. She now lives in Bakersfield, California, about 100 miles away from the Los Angeles area, Brentwood area mansion where she once worked for the Schwarzenegger family. Now, two of the friends of Baena told "The New York Times" that Baena is a former housekeeper who worked for the Schwarzenegger's for 20 years before retiring in January.

And just one day after the scandal broke, the former first couple of California are both off in different directions. This time, it's Maria Shriver who's in the limelight in Chicago while her action star husband remains in Los Angeles away from the cameras.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GUTIERREZ (voice-over): On the day that Maria Shriver made a grand appearance at the taping of one of the final episodes of "Oprah," her high-profile husband was laying low trying to stay out of the spotlight and away from reporters. A source close to former California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, told CNN the fallout from the revelation that he fathered a child outside of his marriage has been very hard for him.

That he realizes the terrible mistake he made and has a lot of work to do to repair his relationship with his family. The power couple who were married for 25 years have four children. Since the scandal broke, two of hem have posted their feelings on Twitter. Seventeen-year-old Patrick Schwarzenegger who also goes by Shriver on Facebook and Twitter tweeted, "Some days you feel like expletive. Some days you want to quit and just be normal for a bit. Yet, I love my family till death do us part."

His sister, Catherine, who's 21 followed with her own tweet saying, "This is definitely not easy, but I appreciate your love and support as I begin to heal and move forward in my life. I will always love my family." Psychologist, Michelle Golland, says coping with infidelity is devastating for children.

MICHELLE GOLLAND, PSYCHOLOGIST: As parents, we are not only modeling to our children what it means to be a mother and a father but a husband and wife.

GUTIERREZ: The source close to Schwarzenegger says the action star talked to his children the night before he publicly admitted he fathered a child and apologized to them. The source says he also talked to Maria and told them that he wants to make sure that his family has everything they need to get through this, even space. According to the source, Schwarzenegger said he would do whatever they want him to do to allow them time to heal.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GUTIERREZ (on-camera): As for Schwarzenegger's future plans, some analysts cite the damage to his political career may be irreversible, especially in California, but in terms of his movie career, you know, he signed three movie deals -- Wolf.

BLITZER: We'll watch and see what happens. Thanks very much, Thelma, for that.

New U.S. sanctions aimed in ending Syria's brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters. Syria's president now singled out for punishment by the Obama administration.

Plus, why Russia's president is talking about scrapping trainees with the United States and starting a sort of new cold war.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: The Obama administration is taking action against Syria right now. Lisa Sylvester is monitoring that and some of the other top stories in the SITUATION ROOM. What's going on, Lisa?

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the U.S. is stepping up pressure on Syria to end its brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters. President Obama has signed off anew sanctions aimed directly at Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, freezing his assets in the United States. The order also covers six other top Syrian officials as well as two Iranians accused of aiding the Syrian crackdown.

Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, says the U.S. needs to convince him that its planned European missile defense system isn't a threat to Russia. Otherwise, he says, Moscow may scrap weapons treaties with the United States and start a new nuclear buildup resulting in a new cold war. But Medvedev says Russia is willing to accept the development of a European missile shield if it complies with clear rules.

And an unexpected travel glitch for President Obama today. Take a look at the video here. Just as Air Force 1 was about to land at Bradley International Airport outside Hartford, Connecticut, the pilot executed a missed approach and circled around for another landing. The FAA blames overcast weather in the area. The president landed safely about 15 minutes later. And I know that you've been on Air Force 1 many times. Have you ever seen anything like that?

BLITZER: I've been on Air Force 1. It got shaky where you like 40,000 feet over the pacific or something. I've not had a missed landing, but when you're on the Air Force 1, you feel so safe. That's the safest airplane in the world.

SYLVESTER: Yes. I traveled on Air Force 1 once before. Same thing. You're in good hands, so --

BLITZER: Thanks, Lisa.

Top Pentagon officials say it's time to stop talking about the raid on Osama Bin Laden's compound. Why they're so worried right now about all the details emerging from that one secret mission?

Plus, Newt Gingrich apologizing for slamming his own party's budget proposal. Is that good enough, though, for fellow Republicans?

And 15 years after the anti-technology terrorists known as the Unabomber was arrested, technology is being used right now to auction off his possessions.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: A blunt warning today from the Pentagon brass. Too much talk about the mission that killed Osama Bin Laden could hurt America's continuing fight against terrorism. Our Pentagon correspondent, Chris Lawrence, is here working the story for us. Chris, what are they so concerned about?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: That almost every detail of the mission is now out in public, Wolf. I mean, think about it. You know, when this started, we didn't know much. Now, we know exactly how many SEALs assaulted that compound. We know exactly how many SEALs were in reserve on backup close by. We know the tactics they took to go room to room.

We know how they shot certain targets inside. We didn't know they even had a stealth helicopter before this came out. Now, we know there's the existence of that Blackhawk helicopter. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says it's not so much about this mission. This one is over, but he says there's now a risk, and it will be more difficult to conduct similar missions down the road.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ADM. MIKE MULLEN, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: From my perspective, it is time to stop talking, and we have talked far too much about this. We need to move on. It's a story that if we don't stop talking, it will never end. And it needs to.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAWRENCE: They're not pointing the finger at any one person. I mean, we heard publicly from the counterterrorism officials at the White House, CIA director, Leon Panetta, on background, defense officials, even retired SEALs came out to start talking about the mission. So, it was all over. And look, Wolf, you know, we were the ones hitting up our sources. We were the ones asking the questions getting these details, putting them out, you know, "The New York Times," "Washington Post," us, ABC, NBC. So, this came from all over.

BLITZER: Well, John Brennan, the White House counterterrorism adviser, he immediately released a lot of details. The president of the United States gave a very long interview to "60 Minutes." Robert Gates, the defense secretary, spoke in detail to "60 Minutes" as well. So, that means it's not just the media who's been getting leaks. They're talking on the record.

LAWRENCE: And what the chairman said today was one step short of just saying shut up.

BLITZER: Chris Lawrence, thanks very much.

Moving on now, just days after launching his presidential campaign, Newt Gingrich has been forced to apologize for slamming a key Republican budget plan, but Gingrich stumbled, stumbled badly coming out of the starting gate that many now question whether he can recover. CNN's Joe Johns is following the story for us -- Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the first few days and weeks are sensitive for campaigns. Candidate, any candidate, would love to get off on the right foot and set the right tone. But in the case of Newt Gingrich that really hasn't happened so far.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHNS (voice-over): When it rains it pours. Newt Gingrich's first week in the race has been so bad by any measure than, when a gay activist known for his political pranks sprinkled glitter on the former speaker and his wife, that old adage came to mind.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Rainbow Newt, stop the hate. Stop anti- gay politics.

JOHNS: But while the left certainly has its beef with Newt Gingrich, the onslaught this week came from the right. And the former speaker had no one to blame but himself and his choice of words. In his 35th appearance on "Meet the Press," one question about a House proposal to turn Medicare into a voucher program and Gingrich's sharply-worded answer made him the center of attention. Just like when he was on Capitol Hill.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't think right- wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering. I don't think imposing radical change from right or the left is a very good way for a free society to operate.

JOHNS: One political analyst told CNN Gingrich could have accomplished much the same thing without the edginess by just calling the House Medicare overhaul plan proposed by Republicans a good start that needs improvement.

But accusing conservatives of social engineering was seen by some as over the top. The author of the proposal, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan fired back on "The Laura Ingraham Show."

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: With allies like that, who needs the left?

JOHNS: So many conservatives recoiled that by mid-week Gingrich had walked back his comments, apologizing.

GINGRICH: I made a mistake. And I called Paul Ryan today, who is a very close personal friend, and I said that.

JOHNS: But if excessive talking is Gingrich's biggest problem, just plain excess also apparently runs in the family. Financial disclosure forms filed with the House of Representatives indicated that, as recently as five years ago, Gingrich carried debt of up to $500,000 with Tiffany & Company of New York, one of the premier jewelers on the planet.

The former speaker declined to answer questions about this on the FOX television network Tuesday.

GINGRICH: I'm not commenting on stuff like that. I am perfectly happy to talk about what we need to do for America and what we need to do to help Americans. But I frankly don't want to play the gotcha games in Washington.

JOHNS: Given all this out this week, the first week of his campaign, the question is whether Gingrich's candidacy is already done for.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd say that his candidacy is on life support. OK, his fund-raising numbers I know are not what he wants them to be. But the key for Gingrich here is, while he represents the past, is to show why he's relevant to the future political discussion.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JOHNS: The Gingrich people seem to be complaining that the media's piling on here. His campaign secretary, Rick Tyler, put out a statement saying Gingrich won't be intimidated by what he calls the political elite -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Joe, thank you.

So how badly has Newt Gingrich hurt himself within his own party? Let's bring in our senior political analyst, Gloria Borger.

Have any Republicans come to his defense? Any major Republicans?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: No. You can't find a prominent Republican who's willing to go out there and say, "Yay, Newt Gingrich. You know. He's apologized. Let's move on." Instead, you have someone like the House majority leader Eric Cantor who, after all, is a leader of the -- group in the House that passed this Medicare plan, say that he went over the line. And say, quote, "Many have now said he's finished." He wouldn't say it himself, of course.

But Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina, an important early state, said that Newt cut Republicans off at the knees.

So that's why he had to call Paul Ryan and apologize. That's why he had to admit that it's a mistake. But it's such a fundamental tenet of the Republican Party this -- this Ryan budget was the holy grail, if you will, for House Republicans. They feel like what kind of a leader would he be of our party if he doesn't understand what it is we really care about?

BLITZER: Those of us who have covered Newt Gingrich, in my case, for 20 years, he talks a lot. I guess the -- the question is can someone like that really survive on a daily basis on the campaign rail?

BORGER: You know, it's a real problem for him. Newt, as you know, has always used inflammatory language. But he's usually used it against the Democrats. This time he used inflammatory language against his own party. And that's where the problem is.

Because people who like Newt Gingrich say, you know, there's always been this discipline problem. We've been talking about it. And the question is whether he can police himself.

There are other Republican presidential candidates who have not come out and given a full-throated embrace to the Ryan budget. They've been very careful about it, because this Medicare proposal is quite controversial. But they've complimented Ryan on his leadership. They found a way to kind of tiptoe around it. And that's not something Newt Gingrich was able to do or wanted to do.

BLITZER: And he should know, someone who has been in politics as long as he has, that if you're not willing to open yourself up completely, including why you may owe Tiffany's in New York half a million dollars and explain that, you shouldn't be running for president. You know, you have to open up everything if you're going to be running for president.

BORGER: We talked about that with Donald Trump, didn't we, Wolf? You know, we said, you know, Donald Trump is going to have to put up with that kind of scrutiny. And it was clear he didn't want to do that. Well, Newt Gingrich has to put up with that -- with that scrutiny, too. Candidates who have run for president before and gone for the long term, like Mitt Romney, understand that. Newt Gingrich has dabbled in this before. But it's a different world out there now.

BLITZER: It's really a defining week for the Republican candidates.

BORGER: It sure is. You know, we've had candidates -- Mike Huckabee, Donald Trump -- drop out. We had Newt Gingrich walking into the middle of a flame he set on himself.

And what we ought to be looking at now is who's going to raise the money. We saw Mitt Romney raise $10 million in one day in Las Vegas. And all eyes now are on Indiana. The question is will the governor, Mitch Daniels, decide to get into this race? We think that his decision is imminent, although we don't know what he's going to do.

BLITZER: And Mitt Romney raised $10 million in Vegas, not with any gambling going on. He raised it on the phone.

BORGER: Didn't lose $10 million in Vegas, right?

BLITZER: That's right. They were -- they were on the phone, calling big-time givers.

BORGER: Right.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Gloria.

He makes more than President Obama, tax free, and he's showered with perks. Details of the glittering lifestyle of the head of the International Monetary Fund who's now accused of sexual assault.

Plus an unusual sale. Items that once belonged to the Unabomber are going on the auction block. And not without controversy.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Let's get back to our top story. The jailed head of the International Monetary Fund, accused of sexual assault, could be released on bail as early as tomorrow. A spokesman says defense attorneys plan to submit a deal to secure the release of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who's charged with assaulting a hotel maid. Strauss- Kahn was staying in $3,000-per-night hotel suite, seems to have led a rather lavish lifestyle.

Brian Todd has been looking into this part of the story for us. What are you coming up with?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, by all accounts Dominique Strauss-Kahn seems to have paid for that hotel suite out of his own pocket. But a lot of the cash he has to throw around comes from a generous expense account that critics say comes on the back of taxpayers from countries that the IMF lends money to.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TODD (voice-over): His political enemies recently made hay out of this: a picture of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a socialist, stepping into a Porsche worth at least 90 grand. The car is not even his, but the head of the IMF does seem to live well enough to afford the ride. Take his salary, more than $440,000 a year. That's more than President Obama makes. And Strauss-Kahn pays no taxes on it. This at a time when one IMF critic says the institution imposes stark conditions on the governments it lends money to. PETER CHOWLA, BRETTON WOODS PROJECT: Not only are taxpayers in borrowing countries paying for that salary, but then they're actually having to pay the cost in the second way which is that they have to undertake the policies the IMF demands, which often hurts particularly ordinary working class people.

TODD: An IMF spokesman responds pay increases for IMF officials are below the rate of inflation, but Dominique Strauss-Kahn's perks don't stop at his straight paycheck.

(on camera) One of Strauss-Kahn's best perks: an annual allowance of more than $79,000 tax-free to spend as he likes. According to his contract, to maintain a scale of living appropriate to his position. Plus he gets reimbursed separately for entertainment expenses.

An IMF spokesman says the institution does not pay for the $4 million house in Washington or for other properties reportedly owned by Strauss-Kahn and his wife in Paris and in Marrakesh, Morocco.

(voice-over) IMF staff assigned outside the U.S. do get housing allowances. Analysts say the people like Strauss-Kahn who aren't American and work at the Washington headquarters get other benefits.

JOHN SEWELL, NEW RULES FOR GLOBAL FINANCE COALITION: They get allowances for keeping their kids in school. They get health care. They get generous vacations.

TODD: It's also in Strauss-Kahn's contract that he and anyone in his family fly first class whenever he's on official business. I asked John Sewell, who's monitored global banks for 40-plus years, about Strauss-Kahn's take home.

(on camera) You don't have a problem with the salary?

SEWELL: I don't have a problem with the salary. I think this is one of the world's most important jobs. It's reflected by the fact that Dominique Strauss-Kahn played an absolutely essential role in dealing with the global financial crisis that we hopefully are moving out of.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: John Sewell also credits Strauss-Kahn with drastically reforming the IMF and making it relevant again after a period when few countries wanted to borrow money from it. Sewell and other analysts point out Strauss-Kahn's salary is nothing compared to major Wall Street bankers. But is a lot more than those of U.S. cabinet secretaries who also have wide ranging-responsibilities.

BLITZER: And they have to pay tax.

TODD: They do.

BLITZER: Four hundred and forty thousand a year, tax free, that's almost like a million dollars...

TODD: It's a lot of money.

BLITZER: ... when you take federal and state income tax off the top. Now, a lot of people always lump together the head of the International Monetary Fund, the head of the World Bank. They're across the street from each other here in Washington. Is that a fair comparison?

TODD: Well, as far as the salary, it is fair. The World Bank president, Robert Zoellick, gets the exact same salary. He gets the exact same expense account as Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Now, he, because he's an American, has to pay taxes on his salary, but he's reimbursed for those taxes. World Bank employees who live outside of the U.S. also get housing allowances.

The World Bank years ago cut out educational allowances for the non-Americans who live here. The IMF people still get that, by the way. And that often goes to pay for very expensive private schools for their kids. We -- you know, those of us in this area probably know some people who work for the IMF and World Bank. Lot of their kids have gone to pretty good private schools in this area.

BLITZER: Obviously. Thanks very much, Brian. Brian Todd reporting.

Now you can own some of the possessions of one of the -- of America's most infamous domestic terrorists. We're going to tell you how and why. And should the U.S. continue to give aid to Pakistan? Senator Bob Parker is a guest on JOHN KING USA. That comes up at the top of the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: For more than a decade he waged a campaign of terror through mail bombs, and now 15 years after his arrest the public is getting a chance to buy some of the possessions of the man known as the Unabomber.

CNN's Jeanne Meserve is here. She's got the details. What about this auction? What do we know?

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, as you know the Unabomber ranted against technology but today technology, the Internet, is being used to auction off his belongings. Some say it's for a good cause. Others say it is in bad taste.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MESERVE (voice-over): The hallmarks of the man known as the Unabomber. A hooded sweatshirt, sunglasses, up for auction on the Internet, along with writings, diplomas, books.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of the money that we gain from this is going to go back to the victim.

MESERVE: Three people were killed, 23 injured in a string of bombings between 1978 and 1995. This 35,000-word anti-technology manifesto now for sale cracked the case. When it was published in 1995, a man stepped forward to identify his brother as the Unabomber.

Ted Kaczynski, a brilliant mathematician, had been living a hermit's life in a 10-by-12-foot cabin in the Montana woods. The man who headed the FBI task force investigating the bombings remembers combing through the cabin for evidence.

TERRY TURCHIE, FORMER FBI OFFICIAL: We had to stop this search on the third day because we found a live bomb under his bed ready to mail.

MESERVE: Up for auction, the bow and arrow Kaczynski used to hunt for food; the tools he used to fashion bombs from auto parts and scraps of wood; also, thousands of pages of writings, some of them in code. In one journal Kaczynski talks about gathering hair from the floor of a bus station bathroom.

TURCHIE: Then in his subsequent bombs he would place some of those hairs between the layers of tape so that if we ever found those hairs and did DNA, we would have -- we would be on the wrong trail, because the DNA wouldn't be his.

MESERVE: Kaczynski is now serving a life sentence in a maximum security prison. He failed to get the courts to stop the auction, which one critic compares to the sale of Nazi memorabilia.

MARK OLSHAKER, AUTHOR: I think it's really a misguided idea. All it can do is help create this cult of notoriety around somebody like Ted Kaczynski, who really doesn't deserve it.

MESERVE: Others say Kaczynski is already notorious for his angry words and his gruesome deeds.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MESERVE: And the bidding is already going on. If you check the GSA Web site you can see checked the GSA Web site, the handwritten copy of the manifesto is already over $10,000 here.

Some other things are going, though, for relatively low prices. Academic records down at $225 and so forth. The Smith Corona portable typewriter on which he wrote the manifesto, his printed version, up over $1,000 at this point in time.

The bidding goes on until June 2, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Jeanne. Fascinating stuff. Let's get back to Jack. He's got "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: The question this hour is: "Would you want to know how long you're going to live?"

Joyce in Texas writes, "No. I might start worrying about what I couldn't do that I wanted to do. Seems to me the best alternative is to live every day as though it's your last. It could be."

Shawn in Michigan: "Only if the answer is forever." John writes, "Sure I'd want to know and I'm ready to fork over the $700 for the blood test that will tell me, and then on the way home, I'll probably get run over by a truck."

Sian writes, "Not everybody dies from natural causes or even disease. So what's the point? As long as people are driving or shooting guns? P.S. There are ways to get..." I'm not going to read that.

Dana in Montana: "No. For me the planning that might be a benefit of knowing wouldn't make up for the loss of hope and optimism that I have not knowing."

Paul in Florida writes, "Sure, then I'd know how much scotch to go out and buy before the prices go up again."

Robert says, "Yes, I'd love to know how long I have to live so I can put into perspective all the things that I haven't done and begin doing them."

Bud writes, "If I knew I had three to five years to live, I'd get a Turbo Porsche or a Ferrari, check into the Carlisle Hotel on a regular basis and not worry about a damn thing. Just enjoy the time left on the planet. Now, some will say that this kind of thinking is shallow and self-absorbed. My response to that is you're exactly right."

Biz writes from Pennsylvania, "I already know when I'm going to die. It will be May the 21st of this year when the world ends. Thursday will be the last time I get to answer your questions, so it better be a doozy. Hope to get to meet you standing in line at the Pearly Gates."

John in Alabama writes, "Jack, you're afraid to take the blood test, because you might find out you died two years ago."

That's lovely.

Ed in New York writes, "Ignorance is bliss. Enjoy."

And Mike in Minnesota: "If my wife found out that I spent $700 on this test, I can tell you exactly how long I would live."

You want to read more on this, we had a lot of fun e-mail. Go to the blogs: CNN.com/CaffertyFile -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jack, thank you.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: Want to get back to the breaking news that we reported at the top of the hour. We're now getting details from the Reuters news agency on some of the specifics that Dominique Strauss-Kahn's lawyers will propose for him to be released tomorrow on bail, including $1 million cash bail; also 24-hour home detection in Manhattan with electronic monitoring. Jeffrey Toobin broke the story for us.

What else do we know about this, Jeff?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST (via phone): Well, they'll be before a state supreme court judge tomorrow, 2:15 in the afternoon, and I think the defense really has a chance here. This is a very plausible proposal, and it's going to be a tough call for the judge.

BLITZER: I asked my followers on Twitter if they think he should be released on bail. I'm getting a lot of tweets, @WolfBlitzerCNN saying no, no, and no. Very few people say yes.

What -- make the case briefly why the prosecution thinks it will be - it will be safe if he's released on bail.

TOOBIN: Well, that he is someone who will be electronically monitored which is very hard to get out of. He's very open. He's very well-known at this point and he's represented by respectable lawyers who can be counted on not to facilitate an international escape which is what would take at this point. So, I mean, this is really a very plausible bail application, but that's not to say it's definitely going to succeed

BLITZER: We'll know tomorrow afternoon. Jeffrey, thanks for breaking the news here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Appreciate it very much.

Believers say the end is near, in fact, as near as perhaps this weekend. CNN's Jeanne Moos looks at the doomsday prediction.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Whatever plans you may have this weekend, some people believe you should cancel them. They're predicting doomsday. Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): I hate to be judgmental, but when you keep seeing "judgment day this Saturday, the end of the world is almost here," it doesn't improve the daily commute.

Here's what's supposed to happen around 6 p.m. Eastern Time Saturday.

TONY SHALLASH, JUDGMENT DAY BELIEVER: The largest earthquake the world has ever seen. There's not going to be any banks. The buildings are going to collapse. It's going to be quite awful.

MOOS: Like the disaster movie "2012" arriving early. Earthquakes worldwide. Believers will experience rapture, heavenly assent, and nonbelievers stay for a few hellish months until the fiery end of time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ninety-seven percent of the people God will destroy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't believe in such (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

MOOS: Generally low-key and polite folks who believe this need tough skin as they hand out their leaflets.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This weekend. Yes, right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's all over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See you this time next year.

MOOS (on camera): And you're convinced? You're absolutely convinced.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. The Bible guarantees it.

MOOS (voice-over): The Bible as interpreted by this California preacher, Harold Camping, head of Family Radio. Lately, he's been getting some flack.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My Bible warns about false teachers, and buddy, you are one of the worst.

MOOS: Camping miscalculated his last end times prediction for 1994.

(on camera) What happens if on Sunday we're all still here and there's no earthquake and...

SHALLASH: Well, there will be an earthquake.

MOOS (voice-over): This retired New York City transit engineer spent $140,000 for subway and bus shelter ads warning of judgment day.

(on camera) That's your life savings.

ROBERT FITZPATRICK, AUTHOR, "THE DOOMSDAY CODE": A good chunk of it.

MOOS (voice-over): On Saturday, where will Robert Fitzpatrick be?

FITZPATRICK: As of now, I'm planning to be in Time Square.

MOOS: With media tagging along, expecting to see him with egg on his face or in rapture.

And if those in heaven need someone to take care of the pets they leave behind, you can arrange with services like After the Rapture Pet Care and Eternal Earth-Bound Pets to have non-Christians take care of your animals.

One nonbeliever wants to celebrate "We're still here day" on the 22nd.

For some of us the 21st is problematic.

(on camera) But this is my birthday. To put this on me is just weird. So if my birthday is on the 21st, what do you recommend I do?

SHALLASH: Pray.

MOOS (voice-over): And maybe celebrate early.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happy doomsday, dear Jeanne, happy doomsday to you .

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: And don't forget, if we're still here, Saturday night, 6 p.m. Eastern, THE SITUATION ROOM. Saturday night, 6 p.m. Eastern, assuming these predictions don't turn out, necessarily, to be true.

Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

"JOHN KING USA" starts right now.