Return to Transcripts main page

Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Valerie Plame Wilson Testifies Before Congress; Interview With Donald Trump; Shia Death Squads; AIDS Dream Cure?

Aired March 16, 2007 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: The videotape is shocking, a double execution of two police officers caught on tape in New York.
Tonight: the gunman's life revealed in disturbing pictures and Web pages. That's coming up.

But, first, sometimes, politics really matters. Sometimes, it is just pure theater. And, sometimes, the two come together. That's precisely what happened in Washington today in a riveting few hours of testimony. And the capital is still buzzing.

After months of silence and speculation, Valerie Plame Wilson spoke to Congress today. And her spy story gone bad, her accusations about dirty dealings at the White House are the highest kind of drama, with some of the world's most powerful men right in the middle of it.

CNN's Tom Foreman reports.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On a cold, wet Washington Friday, the kind that makes lawmakers just want to get out of town, they were nailed to their chairs by a blonde with a secret and a story to tell.

VALERIE PLAME WILSON, FORMER EMPLOYEE AT THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: My name and identity were carelessly and recklessly abused by senior government officials in both the White House and the State Department.

FOREMAN: Three things put Valerie Plame Wilson into that position, a war, some words, and whatever it was that went on at the White House that turned life upside down for this 40-something Alaska native and mother of twins, who was undercover for the CIA -- not anymore.

JAMES MARCINKOWSKI, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: She can't even go out after work for a beer with those people anymore, because, since everyone knows her, by association, her friends in the agency will have their own cover put at risk, should they be seen out in public with her now. .

FOREMAN: But, with this testimony, she is more public than ever before.

ANNE SCHROEDER, THEPOLITICO.COM: Let's be honest, Washington is known as the Hollywood for ugly people. And so, all of a sudden, you have this beautiful blonde walk in. She's a spy. She also is a mother of twins and married to a former ambassador. The entire package is just completely, you know, awe -- jaw-dropping.

FOREMAN: It started with the war. In the run-up, Valerie Plame Wilson was busy. The former Penn State student had been recruited by the CIA out of college, had risen in the agency, and was secretly investigating Saddam Hussein's suspected weapons of mass destruction.

PLAME WILSON: I loved my career, because I love my country. I was proud of the serious responsibilities entrusted to me as a CIA covert operations officer. And I was dedicated to this work.

FOREMAN: Then, the words -- as months went by and no WMDs were found, her husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, went to Niger, Africa, in search of the smoking gun that would prove Iraq was trying to develop nuclear weapons. Who sent him is still being debated.

But Joe Wilson concluding very publicly that the original information about Iraq's weapons was badly flawed. In short order, conservative columnist Bob Novak wrote a column exposing Valerie Plame Wilson's job with the CIA. That meant her days as a covert operative were over. She read it in the newspaper.

PLAME WILSON: And I felt like I had been hit in the gut. I -- it was over in an instant. And I immediately thought of my family's safety, the agents, the networks that I had worked with. And everything goes through your mind in an instant.

FOREMAN: The information came from the White House. And since it is illegal to out a covert CIA operative, an investigation was soon under way to find out who was involved, and if this was payback to get even with Joe Wilson.

KARL ROVE, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BUSH: I didn't know her name and didn't leak her name.

FOREMAN: Fingers pointed at top Bush adviser Karl Rove, Vice President Dick Cheney. White House officials and others have suggested all along no one did anything to endanger American intelligence sources, certainly not on purpose.

REP. TOM DAVIS (R), VIRGINIA: There is no evidence here that the people that were outing this and pursuing this had knowledge of the covert status.

FOREMAN: The only person convicted of anything wrong at this point is Scooter Libby, one of Vice President Cheney's confidantes. And Plame Wilson is furious about that.

PLAME WILSON: Karl Rove clearly was involved in the leaking of my name, and he still carries a security clearance to this day, despite the president's words to the contrary, that he would immediately dismiss anyone who had anything to do with this.

FOREMAN (on camera): For a long time, most people in Washington had no idea what Valerie Plame Wilson looked like. Her husband, at one point, even said she would rather chop off her arm than be photographed or talk about what happened.

(voice-over): But she's become a spy world celebrity, posing with her husband for "Vanity Fair" like Jane Bond with Mr. Moneypenny, turning heads in a white gown at a big reporters dinner, leaving Washington insiders breathless to see how this spy story will end.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin joins me now.

Well, so, how does this spy story end?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think there -- there is a lawsuit. They -- they -- the Wilsons...

COOPER: A civil suit.

TOOBIN: ... have filed a lawsuit against various people, including Cheney and Rove, saying they want damages for ending her career.

I think that's a very problematic lawsuit. The -- government officials have a lot of immunity. The Wilsons will argue that the leaking was not within their duty, so the immunity doesn't apply. But courts tend to apply the immunity pretty broadly. Plus, there's the issue of damages.

They both have book contracts. Apparently, Valerie Wilson has sold the movie rights to her life for a great deal of money. So, she may come out financially whole.

But the interesting thing today was, you know, you saw today how much she lost, which was considerable.

COOPER: It's interesting.

Congressman Henry Waxman today said, look, this proceeding cannot determine culpability, but -- but they're looking for accountability.

What -- what is the point of -- of this hearing?

TOOBIN: Well, I think the point is to show what the significance of this leak was. And I thought it was actually very effective in that regard.

I have covered the Wilson case for, I mean, a year-plus. And, you know, it only was today when I realized exactly what the stakes were. I mean, this was a very accomplished CIA officer whose career was completely destroyed. I mean, she's going to be fine financially and otherwise, but, I mean, that was a real consequence...


COOPER: She also stressed how it sent a message to any covert operative at the CIA, that their name can be revealed.

TOOBIN: Right, and the networks that she was involved in.

You know, the way CIA agents work abroad is, you know, they have cover -- they have cover businesses. So, Valerie Plame worked at the ABC Consultants -- I'm making that up -- in London. You know, as soon as she's blown, anybody who works at the ABC Consultants, they -- they have to be protected. Anybody who dealt with the ABC Consultants has to know that that was a CIA front.

I mean, the ripples go quite a bit farther.

COOPER: Right. She didn't go into much detail today, but, in the past, it's been said that she was a NOC, which is a non-official cover, which means that she didn't even have diplomatic immunity while working overseas.

TOOBIN: Which is the most dangerous status for...

COOPER: Right.

TOOBIN: ... a CIA officer.

COOPER: Most CIA -- most CIA officers who are cases officers who work in embassies have diplomatic immunity. If they're caught by the local government, you know, they are thrown out of the country. A NOC can theoretically be arrested, and no one will say anything.

TOOBIN: Right.

And the -- the people she worked with were probably NOCs who were in immediate physical jeopardy as soon as her cover was blown. So, you know, the -- the stakes of the cover being blown today, I thought, were -- were made real in a way that I hadn't thought about before.

COOPER: Did -- did we learn anything, though, new that we didn't know from the Libby trial?

TOOBIN: Well, the one thing that I thought was -- was the most interesting story she told is, the rap against her and her husband was that, well, you know, she just sort of sent him off on this silly errand to Niger, and it was not really an official duty. It was just sort of nepotism.

She told, I thought, a very persuasive, very detailed account of how Joe Wilson happened to go to Niger. She had nothing to do with it. So, you know, during the Libby trial, you had all these administration officials sort of making fun of her and him as sort of, you know, the henpecked hubby being sent off by the -- by the, you know, woman -- woman in charge -- complete fiction, and, you know, I -- with -- with real costs and...

COOPER: Well...

TOOBIN: ... real consequences.

COOPER: ... even though, in the -- in the Senate report on this, there is some -- something unclear. They said that they had, through some interviews and some documents, still pointing to the fact that -- that she suggested his name.

But -- but it didn't seem to be really clear one way or the other.

TOOBIN: Right.

And -- and it remains ambiguous to this day, you know, what Joe Wilson -- the significance of what Joe Wilson found in Niger, and how important his actual mission was.

But the point is, Richard Armitage, Karl Rove and company did not have the right to leak her name. And, today, we saw the human costs of that leak.

COOPER: And, of course, the other big point, for -- for those who certainly are opposed to the president on this, say, look, the president said, leakers will be punished. Still waiting to see if there's any -- anything actually going to happen to anyone who did leak.

TOOBIN: Hasn't happened yet.

COOPER: Certainly has not.

Jeff Toobin, thank you very much.

Valerie Plame Wilson left the CIA. But it seems the agency is not hurting for new recruits. Here's some "Raw Data."

A 2006 college survey ranked the CIA as the fifth most ideal place to work. On its Web site, the CIA posts plenty of jobs, including positions for its clandestine operations. As you would expect, the description is kind of vague.

The agency says most assignments are overseas -- yes, OK, that makes sense -- and the ideal candidate should possess what it calls street sense, people smarts, and a sense of humor. No kidding.

We will actually talk to Ambassador Joe Wilson coming up later on, on the program tonight.

Still ahead, also: Donald Trump, like you have never seen him before. And, this time, it's not Rosie O'Donnell he's going after. And, if he would, frankly, we wouldn't talk about it, because we have decided not to do that story anymore -- his tough talk tonight about Washington and President Bush.

Plus, this:


COOPER (voice-over): A president's cure for HIV and AIDS? A green paste, bananas, and a bitter drink. Why is this president claiming he can heal the sick?

Also, the Greenwich Village killer, his deadly rampage on camera.

RAYMOND KELLY, NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER: He was heavily armed and prepared to kill at will.

COOPER: Who is he? What set him off? New details about the man behind the murders of a bartender and two cops -- ahead on 360.



COOPER: Well, there's a country in Africa called the Gambia. It's about twice the size of Delaware. And it holds one of the strangest stories in the world right now.

The Gambian president claims to be a healer. He says he can cure people of AIDS, but only on certain days of the week.

CNN's Jeff Koinange investigates.


JEFF KOINANGE, CNN AFRICA CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Three- year-old Selaman (ph) is getting his daily dose of a concoction of herbs and roots.

This bottle that once contained an Aunt Jemima pancake syrup mix now contains seven herbs and spices. And a spoonful a day, he's told, will make him better. His mother, Fatuma, does the same for herself, as do several dozen other patients here, all guinea pigs in an experiment that is as controversial as it is unconventional.

It started when this man, a 41-year-old former army colonel, now the country's president, announced to foreign diplomats two months ago that he, personally, would begin treating AIDS patients with the mixture of plants told to him in a dream by his ancestors.

The president, who insists on wearing all-white robes and always carries a copy of the Koran, has no formal medical training. But he does claim his family has a tradition of healing people through traditional African medicine.

The president says he can only heal AIDS patients on Mondays and Thursdays, while he heals asthma and bronchitis patients only on Wednesdays. Friday is a day of prayer in this mostly Muslim nation of 1.5 million people.

Two weeks into her treatment, Fatuma swears she's fast regaining her appetite, feels strong enough to run a mile, and has nothing but good things to say about her healer president. Nothing can convince her that his powers are anything short of supernatural.

"It's incredible," she says. "I thought I was going to die. Now I feel like I have been reborn."

Ousman Sow says he's been HIV-positive since 1996, and had been taking antiretrovirals for the last four years, until he volunteered for this program. Four weeks later, he says, he's gained 30 pounds and feels like a new person.

OUSMAN SOW, AIDS PATIENT: I am cured at this moment.

KOINANGE: What, you don't have any HIV symptoms?

SOW: I -- no, I don't. As I stand, I honestly tell you that I have ceased to have any HIV symptoms.

KOINANGE: It's the same reaction we get with patient after patient here. None of them appear as if they have been coached or coaxed into telling us how they feel.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm jumping. I'm running. I eat fine. I drink water plenty. I'm happy now.

SOW: I give 100 percent credit to this treatment, yes, 100 percent credit.

KOINANGE (voice-over): It's difficult to verify the authenticity of their testimony. Though the government says it has scientific evidence, it did not provide any to CNN.

(on camera): We came to the Gambia at the specific request of the office of the president. We figured he was ready to tell his story to the world.

We have been here five days now. And, every time we make an attempt to call the president's office, we're given one excuse or another. Then we tried the next best thing, trying to get medical records of the so-called AIDS patients to prove they are indeed on the mend.

That, too, has not been forthcoming.

(voice-over): One man who's willing to put his medical license on the line in defense of his president's so-called herbal cure is, not surprisingly, the country's health minister. A trained physician, Tamsir Mbowe boasts degrees from medical universities in Ireland and the Ukraine.

DR. TAMSIR MBOWE, GAMBIAN SECRETARY OF STATE FOR HEALTH AND SOCIAL WELFARE: I can swear, 100 percent, that this medical -- this herbal medication his excellency is using is working. It has the potency to treat and cure patients infected with the HIV virus.

KOINANGE: There are people who are going to watch this interview and say: Come on, man. You guys must be kidding.

What do you tell them?

KOINANGE: I will tell them that, as a Western medical trained doctor, I have seen his excellency, my leader, coming up with medical herbal -- with herbal medications that are able to treat and cure patients infected with HIV virus.

PROFESSOR JERRY COOVADIA, SOUTH AFRICAN MEDICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL: And it makes you wonder what motivates such people.

KOINANGE: But not everyone is convinced a medicine man with a bunch of plants has been able to find a cure for a disease that has wiped out entire generations across Africa.

In fact, some, like professor Jerry Coovadia of the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, insists what the Gambian president is doing is both misleading and damaging, to not only the patients, but the health profession as well.

COOVADIA: But, when someone like the president of a country in Africa comes up publicly with a suggestion which is certainly not rooted in any credible experiments or any credible proof, then one is especially worried.

KOINANGE: Gambia's health minister welcomes any and all so- called doubters.

MBOWE: Any scientist, any professional, any medical doctor who wants to verify whether the treatment is effective or not, you are welcome.

KOINANGE: A spokeswoman for the United Nations based in the Gambia who spoke out against the president's so-called cure found herself in deep trouble, kicked out of the country within 48 hours.

No one around here dares question a man whose face appears just about everywhere in this tiny nation, a nation so impoverished and underdeveloped, it's been ranked among the world's poorest. Experts say it's in places like the Gambia that the poor and desperate will latch on to anything resembling hope, in this case, hope provided by a man who claims he has healing powers.

Jeff Koinange, CNN, Banjul, in the Gambia.


COOPER: Meanwhile, the people are not taking the antiretrovirals that they were taking before taking this concoction.

Well, speaking of healing powers, a massive effort is under way worldwide to develop an AIDS vaccine. Close to 30 are being tested around the world right now. Here in the U.S., more than two dozen powerful antiretroviral drugs have changed AIDS from an unstoppable killer to a chronic, but manageable illness.

In fact, the drugs have saved three million years of life because they let AIDS patients now live longer. We would love to hear your thoughts on AIDS and Jeff's report. Go on to our blog at and weigh in.

Still to come -- we also offer an invitation to the president of the Gambia, if he ever does decide to want to come on and talk about his alleged treatment.

Still to come: Donald Trump. His token words, "You're fired," he would like to say them to a big name in Washington -- tonight, the raw feedback from the Donald, in his own words.

Plus, take a look at this.


COOPER: It's every reporter's nightmare; a live shot with an animal gone very wrong, indeed.

We will have that when 360 continues.


COOPER: New Yorkers still horrified and puzzled, looking for answers to what touched off that killing spree in Greenwich Village Wednesday night. We may never know exactly what was going through the killer's mind, but we're learning more about the gunman from his own words posted on the Internet.

We caution you, some of the video you will see is grainy, but graphic.


COOPER (voice-over): A police auxiliary officer crouches behind a car. The man who just shot and killed a bartender now runs towards him.

The gunman's arm extended, the pistol visible in his hand, he fires again and again and again, before crossing the street and gunning down another officer.

In just moments, David Garvin killed three men, before police shot him dead. Who was David Garvin? Born in Missouri in 1964, Garvin joined the Marine Corps, but was discharged for unsatisfactory performance. He drifted from job to job, state to state. He was divorced twice and filed for bankruptcy.

In 2005, he was fired as a designer from "The Wall Street Journal", after, according to "The New York Times," he threatened to harm co-workers. Garvin posted at least two personal Web pages. On, Garvin wrote -- quote -- "Life has been some kind of adventure so far, and I'm very fortunate to be able to say it's had more highs than lows."

On another Web resume, one with eerie music in the background, Garvin lists several short films he says he directed. He also includes details of other projects, one of them a science fiction movie about an object that can explore parallel lives. You see the design concept. The notes describe the object as smooth and machine- like.

Towards the end, Garvin was living with a woman in Greenwich Village. While he had no criminal record, it appears he was becoming more and more unstable.

RAYMOND KELLY, NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER: We had some reports that he had been depressed late -- lately, and, as I said, some reports that he was saying that people were out to get him. But we have no indication at this time that he was under a doctor's care or psychiatric care.

COOPER: Today, the Reuters News Service distributed a photograph of Garvin that it said was taken last October at a friend's Halloween party, his face and costume covered in black. That was just a few months ago.

On Wednesday, he left his home with two guns and more than 100 rounds of ammunition, and, for reasons we may never know, turned the streets of New York into his own shooting gallery.


COOPER: Well, what caused a bus carrying an entire college baseball team to go tear through a guardrail and plunge 30 feet onto an interstate? A 360 special, "Fatal Journey," is coming up in our next hour.

But, first:


COOPER (voice-over): The video is shocking, and it's never been seen before in America. Our exclusive investigation exposes Shia death squads operating inside Iraq.

Plus, Donald Trump fires off.

DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN & CEO, TRUMP HOTELS & CASINO RESORTS: Everything in Washington has been a lie.

COOPER: And he doesn't hold back from what he really thinks about President Bush to who he wants to replace him -- a candid interview ahead on 360.



COOPER: In the last four years, Iraq's bloody civil war has cost thousands of civilian lives, more than 34,000 last year alone.

Sunni insurgents launch terror attacks. Shia militias torture and murder. This weekend, on "CNN: SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT," a startling new report by John Roberts about rogue Shia death squads operating deep within Iraq's government security forces. They are so great a problem that Iraq's Ministry of the Interior says it has launched major efforts to combat them. And U.S. forces on the ground are also trying to crack down.

Here's a segment from "Death Squads", and we warn you, it includes some graphic images.


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): It's not safe for anyone to travel around Baghdad these days, let alone western journalists.

Our Iraqi colleague, a journalist we'll call Abdullah, to protect his identity, is traveling to the Horia district of Baghdad to meet with a prominent Sunni family that knows firsthand the violence of the Shia death squads.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Touring in the Sunnis' district you'll find most of the roads are closed by the people to protect themselves.

ROBERTS: March, 2002, a video of Sunni Sheikh Khadem Sarhid (ph) in happier times. One of his five sons is getting married.

And this is the sheikh's home today, after dozens of uniformed men burst in. It is now a house of six widows, the children without fathers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): The oldest is 6 years old. Why has this happened to us?

ROBERTS: It happened in November 2005. Aneen (ph) was asleep in her parents' bed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I was asleep and got up. I heard a gunshot, and I cuddled up to my dad. Then they came into our room, and they shot daddy. I told them not to kill my father, but the man told me to shut up and threatened to hit me. Then he went and shot my uncle.

ROBERTS: In all, five men were executed that night. The groom had been killed three weeks earlier.

After a year, the six widows still will not go into their bedrooms. So a child takes Abdullah. The boy knows every bullet hole in every bedroom.

A neighbor took this footage hours after the massacre.

One of the widows says her husband, a policeman, recognized the gunman as fellow officers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): He grabbed one of them by the hand. He told them that he was a policeman like them. He said, "I am with you, I am with you," but they shot him in the stomach.

ROBERTS: The massacre of this prominent family sent shock waves through this predominantly Sunni neighborhood.

Witnesses insist the killers were in uniform and arrived in ten official vehicles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (speaking foreign language)

GRAPHIC: They came to these innocents at night. They were wearing commando uniforms, and they murdered them.

ROBERTS: It is security units, like the one believed responsible for this massacre, that are heavily infiltrated by Shia militia groups.

Jabr insists these men are not police, rather criminals or terrorists in police uniforms. We asked him why untrained Shia militia members were allowed to infiltrate the police.

BAYAN JABR, FORMER IRAQI MINISTER OF INTERIOR (through translator): These people were properly trained. They were trained about human rights and the rule of law.

ROBERTS: And we asked why he did so little to investigate the kidnapping, killing and torturing of Iraqi civilians.

JABR (through translator): Allah akbar, these are vicious lies. These are vindictive accusations based on political and sectarian motives. I used to get four hours of sleep a day because I was personally confronting terror. It was a vicious onslaught.


COOPER: John, is there anything being done about this? I mean, is it getting any better?

ROBERTS: They're trying, Anderson.

You might remember last fall, the 8th Brigade of the national police was taken off the streets after it was discovered that it was heavily infiltrated by militia members and that there was at least one if not perhaps more death squads that were operating inside that particular unit. In addition to the 8th, all of the other brigades from the national police were sent back for retraining.

They're trying now to vet the ranks of the national police to see if they can minimize the influence of militia members in there. There's also a new minister of information, Jawad al-Bolani, who seems committed to the job.

The ministry of defense, as well, has been trying to take on these death squads.

And I talked with a senior officer who's close to General David Petraeus from Iraq today, who told me that they have seen quite a marked decline of the number of what they call extra-judicial killings in Baghdad over the last several weeks.

He said that it's too early to say that it's a trend. But they do believe the fact that now the United States has got troops out in some 20 neighborhoods of Baghdad. It's going to keeps these death squads off balance.

They used to be able to operate literally with impunity. They would go out, and they would terrorize the populace at night. You would see these -- these trucks and cars full of people with police uniforms on, whether they were actually legitimate or not, going into these neighborhoods and pulling out their victims. That type of activity has been markedly declined, but again, too early to say it's a trend, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. I guess the question is are they just laying low, seeing which way the wind blows or is it for real? Fascinating reporting. John, thanks.

CNN's special investigations unit, "Death Squads", airs this Saturday and also Sunday at 8 p.m. Eastern.

Meanwhile tonight, the U.S. Army is speeding up the escalation of troops to quell the sectarian strife in Iraq. A combat aviation brigade is being sent to Iraq 45 days ahead of schedule. The Army saying the brigade's 2,600 soldiers are due to ship out from Fort Stewart, Georgia, around the beginning of May.

Overall, the president's planned increases have grown to roughly 30,000 more troops being deployed to the region.

Up next, John McCain and the so-called Straight Talk Express being too talkative for some. The raw politics of saying the wrong thing is coming up.

Plus, the raw politics from the Donald.


DONALD TRUMP, REAL ESTATE MOGUL: I was never thinking of running. By the way, I think I'd do a very good job. You wouldn't be in the mess that you're in right now, but I was never thinking of running.


COOPER: Donald Trump thinks he'd do a good job. Wow, that's a surprise. Wait until you hear what he has to say about President Bush and his administration. Some tough words from the Donald when 360 continues.


COOPER: Senator John McCain on board his bus, the so-called Straight Talk Express, but is some of that straight talk getting the Republican presidential hopeful in hot water with African-Americans? That's just some of the raw material for our "Raw Politics" segment tonight. Senior political correspondent Candy Crowley is traveling with McCain. She joins us from Cedar Rapids, Iowa -- Candy.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, let's start with Bill Richardson, the presidential candidate who's about to add a little bit of controversy to his resume.

The New Mexico governor says he'll sign a bill allowing the medical use of marijuana. New Mexico will be the 12th state to pass such a law.

Asked whether his signature could hurt him in the presidential race, Richardson replied, "So what if it's risky? It's the right thing to do."

Two-on-one as Bill Clinton reportedly told a private fund-raiser that at first Barack Obama was ambivalent about the war. Hillary Clinton has taken a lot of flak from her party's base for her initial yes vote on Iraq.

Obama fired back with a statement saying he was opposed to the war from the beginning because it was launched on politics, not principle.

The Pentagon's top general Peter Pace, has picked up some reinforcements. Kansas senator and Republican presidential candidate Sam Brownback is supporting Pace's statements that homosexual acts are immoral.

Brownback explains, "I do not believe being a homosexual is immoral, but I do believe homosexual acts are. I'm a Catholic, and the church has clear teachings on this."

And maybe just a little bit too much talk on the Straight Talk Express. At a town hall meeting in Iowa, Senator John McCain was answering a question from a man who wanted help with a child custody case.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But for me to stand here before all these people and say I'm going to declare divorce is invalid because someone feels that they weren't treated fairly in court, we are getting into a tar baby of enormous proportions.


CROWLEY: The word "tar baby" is sometimes seen as a racist remark. McCain quickly took it off the table, telling reporters, "I shouldn't have used that word. It was wrong" -- Anderson.

COOPER: Candy, you know, Senator McCain has been trailing in the polls, obviously. Some think it's because he's been so hawkish on the war. How often does the Iraq war come up on the campaign trail? CROWLEY: You know, what's really interesting is it comes up on the campaign trail, but the person who brings it up the most is John McCain. It is the first thing he talks about. He gets out there. He doesn't give an inch.

And he says, "Listen, if we get out of this war now, they will follow us home." He predicts chaos and catastrophe in the Middle East if the U.S. does pull out. So he's sticking to his guns but kind of attacking the issue head on and telling people how he feels.

I'll tell you, the audience on occasion asks about the war in Iraq, but mostly they ask about a lot of other things. And I asked Senator McCain if he thought the war was hurting him in the polls. And he said, I don't know. I just know this is only thing I can do -- Anderson.

COOPER: Interesting. Interesting stuff. Candy, thanks.

Still ahead tonight on 360, watch out. Their claws are out. Our double "Shot of the Day". Crazy cats on attack.

Plus, the Donald fires off on President Bush.


TRUMP: Well, there's only one person you can blame. That's our current president. I mean, obviously, Rumsfeld was a disaster, and other people that are giving him advice have been a disaster.



COOPER: So we long ago gave up trying to keep abreast of the whole Rosie-Donald Trump feud. But now Donald Trump has a new target: President Bush. The Donald lashed out against the president and the war in Iraq during an interview today on "THE SITUATION ROOM WITH WOLF BLITZER".

Here's Donald Trump in his own words.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm going to mention some names. Give me your thoughts right away. Hillary Clinton.

TRUMP: Very talented, very smart. She's a friend of mine, so I'm a little bit prejudiced. She's a very, very capable person, and I think she'll probably be the nominee. We'll see. But I think she'll probably be the nominee.

BLITZER: Barack Obama.

TRUMP: Well, he's a star. I mean, he's really, really done an amazing job in a very short amount of time. The question is experience. And so do people want to have somebody get in that doesn't have the great experience. But simple, he's made an impact.

BLITZER: John Edwards?

TRUMP: I don't know him. People like him. I know people that like him very much, but I really don't know him.

BLITZER: Even though she was the vice-presidential nominee last time around?

TRUMP: Well, I think that's a huge negative, because that was a shame that that race was lost. Because look what we have right now. It's a disaster.

So you know, I would probably be inclined not to like him on the basis that he lost an election that should have been won. That election should have been won.

I think Bush is probably the worst president in the history of the United States, and I just don't understand how they could have lost that election.

BLITZER: Let's get back to that in a moment. Let's talk about Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York.

TRUMP: Very, very talented, smart, tough, very formidable in every way. And I think if it's him and Hillary, it's going to be a hell of a tough race.

BLITZER: John McCain.

TRUMP: I don't know him well. I respect him. I like him. He doesn't seem to have picked up like I would have assumed.

I think probably the fact that he said I want more troops going over to Iraq. Anybody that wants more troops going over to Iraq, I think, can't win an election.

BLITZER: The last time we spoke in this room, you were thinking about running for the presidency. Remember that?

TRUMP: No, I was never thinking of running. People wanted me very much to run. The Independent Party wanted me to run, and the Independent Party turned out to be a total catastrophe in terms of they ended up with first fights and fighting and everything else.

But I was never seriously considering running. But you know, it's something that people, because I get good ratings on television, because your show now will get good ratings, because "The Apprentice" has always been so strong, et cetera, et cetera. People have always wanted me to run, and I just have always decided not do it.

He war is a total disaster. It's a catastrophe, nothing less. It is such a shame that this took place.

In fact, I gained a lot of respect for our current president's father by the fact that he had the sense not to go into Iraq. He won the war and then said let's not go the rest of the way, and he turned out to be right.

And Saddam Hussein, whether they like him or didn't like him, he hated terrorists. He'd shoot and kill terrorists. When terrorists came into his country, which he did control and he did dominate, he would kill terrorists. Now, it's a breeding ground for terrorists.

So look, the war is a total catastrophe and they have a civil war going on.

BLITZER: Who do you blame?

TRUMP: Well, there's only one person you can blame, and that's our current president. I mean, obviously, Rumsfeld was a disaster. And other people that are giving him advice have been a disaster.

And Condoleezza Rice, who's a lovely woman but she never makes a deal. She doesn't make deals. She waves. She gets off the plane. She waves. She sits down with some dictator, 45 degree angle. They do the camera shot. She waves again. She gets back on the plane. She waves. No deal ever happens.

So I mean...

BLITZER: You've got to close the deal at some point.

TRUMP: You've got to make deals. The world is dying to make deals. And we don't have the right people doing it.

BLITZER: The vice president, Dick Cheney.

TRUMP: Well, he's obviously a very hawkish guy on the war. He said the war was going fantastically just a few months ago. And you know, it's just very sad. I don't know if they're bad people.

I don't know what's going on. I just know that they got us into a mess, the likes of which this country has probably never seen. It's one of the great catastrophes of all time.

And perhaps even worse, the rest of the world hates us. You go throughout Europe -- I travel, do deals all over the world. The Europeans hate us. You go to Germany, you go to England, you go to places that, you know, we didn't have problems with, they all hate the Americans because of what's happened.

We had a chance after September 11 to be the most popular, for the first time ever to be the most popular nation on earth, and we blew it.

BLITZER: How does the United States get out of this situation? Is there...

TRUMP: How do they get out? You know how they get out? They get out. That's how they get out. Declare victory and leave. Because I'll tell you, this country is just going to get further bogged down. They're in a civil war over there, Wolf. There's nothing that we're going to be able to do with a civil war. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: That's "THE SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer weeknights at 4 and 7 Eastern on CNN.

Coming up, the "Shot of the Day", a tough day for a TV reporter, double dose of cats on the attack. Yikes!

First, Erica Hill joins us with the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Anderson, a grand jury in New York City has indicted three of five police officers involved in the shooting death of an unarmed groom just hours before his wedding.

The three detectives fired the most shots in a 50-bullet barrage that killed Sean Bell last November outside a nightclub. Two of his friends were wounded. The officers will not find out the exact charges, though, until Monday. That's when the indictment will be unsealed.

In Mexico, authorities have confiscated $206 million U.S. from a ring of methamphetamine manufacturers. Officials say the money was found hidden inside walls, suitcases and closets in a house in Mexico City. Seven suspects are in custody.

On Wall Street, stocks ending the week on a down note. The Dow lost 49 points. The NASDAQ fell six, while the S&P shed five.

And the language of (ph) storm forced JetBlue to cancel 230 flights, most of them out of New York. The airline is still reeling from the fallout of last month's cancellations when hundreds -- thousands, rather, were stranded. Other airlines also forced to cancel flights today due to the nasty weather, Anderson, which you've had to experience first hand?

COOPER: That's right. I did. In fact, I'm supposed to fly tomorrow, so we'll see if I actually -- I'm able to take off.

Take a look. This is our "Shot of the Day". And we don't like to, you know, sort of laugh at the misfortune of others, certainly not other reporters?

HILL: No. We laugh with.

COOPER: We're laughing with. Exactly. Take a look what happened when Katherine Cochran of WJW Ohio tried to handle a cat for a story on animal abuse.


KATHERINE COCHRANE, WJW REPORTER: Well, the couple is accused of throwing two cats like this one here out of their car and killing them. This little guy is having fun. But as part of their sentence, they have to come right here.


HILL: Ow! Oh, Kathleen.

Have you been attacked by a cat before?

COOPER: I have not.

HILL: I have.

COOPER: You have?

HILL: Yes. One bit me on my head.

COOPER: But that's like the worst live shot.

HILL: It's horrible, poor woman. Can you imagine?

That's bad. But you know what? I'd like to see your cat and raise you Pinky the cat. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's available for adoption. He's pet of the week, Roster (ph) County Animal Shelter. He's a very loving cat.


HILL: Oh, Pinky! Oh, Pinky! Pinky's a loving cat all right!

COOPER: Oh, goodness. You know, that's good. I like that. That's a good live shot. But I'm going to -- I see your live shot and I raise you even another live shot. This one I think is the -- probably the most gruesome live shot of all time.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come and spend the day listening to live music, eating international foods, having wine tours and tastings, vineyard tours, seminars, arts and crafts. It's a lot of fun, the whole day. Stop. Oh, oh! Ow, ow. Oh, stop, oh, stop! Oh! Ow, ow. Oh, stop. Oh! I can't breathe. Stop!


HILL: I'm feeling her pain.

COOPER: Apparently, she's fine. She's fine.

HILL: I'm glad to hear she's OK.

COOPER: Yes. The best part is actually the reaction of the two morning anchors.

HILL: Yes. They weren't concerned at all. They're like, "Oh, gosh."

COOPER: They were trying to be sort of all morning and happy and cheery, sort of like, "Oh, that was bad."

HILL: You know, when your reporter takes a spill, though, and they say they can't be breathe, it's OK to not be happy and cheery. Just a thought.

COOPER: I know. And I know I'm going to get e-mails because I was giggling. But everything's fine. Apparently, she's fine.

HILL: That's the most -- see, there you go. Everybody's OK. And on that note, have a great weekend.

COOPER: And no cats were hurt in the production of any of that.

HILL: Thank goodness.

COOPER: Erica -- yes, thanks. Have a good weekend with your dog.

HILL: Thank you. And I have a cat, too. I do love two cats.

COOPER: OK. There you go.

HILL: Yes. Just not when they attack me.

COOPER: Exactly.

A reminder: we want you to give "The Shot" a shot. If you see amazing videos, tell us about it: CNN/360. We'll put some of your best clips on the air.

And still ahead on the program tonight, her cover was blown, and now she's telling her side of the story. Valerie Plame Wilson's Capitol Hill testimony reads like a spy novel.

Plus, the fatal bus plunge that killed five members of a college baseball team. The investigation into what went wrong. Dramatic stories of survival. All the angles, in the next hour of 360.


COOPER: They were on their way to a college baseball game. The entire team fast asleep when their bus took a tragic turn and a fatal plunge. What went wrong? A 360 investigation, "Fatal Journeys", coming up.

But first, the top story today. The woman at the center of the CIA leak scandal tells her side of the story for the first time. Never before has Valerie Plame Wilson spoken so extensively about what happened to her. Today on Capitol Hill she didn't hold back.


VALERIE PLAME WILSON, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: I felt like I had been hit in the gut. I -- it was over in an instant, and I immediately thought of my family's safety, the agents, the networks that I had worked with, and everything goes through your mind in an instant.


COOPER: The former CIA operative also told Congress that senior officials at the White House and State Department, quote, "carelessly and recklessly" blew her cover to discredit her husband, former ambassador Joe Wilson.

Ambassador Wilson joins me now.

Thanks very much for being with us. First of all, how did you think your wife did today?

JOE WILSON, FORMER AMBASSADOR: Well, obviously, I'm biased, but I think most objective observers would think that her testimony was clear, concise, persuasive, and compelling.