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American Morning

U.K. Terror Probe: 5 Doctors Questioned, 3 Held; No Prison for Libby: Criticism From Hillary Clinton; Crash Test Results

Aired July 03, 2007 - 08:00   ET


KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR (voice over): Political potshots. Democrats take aim at President Bush for saving Scooter Libby from jail.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And what we saw today was elevating cronyism over the rule of law.

CHETRY: Republicans return fire. We get reaction from the husband of the exposed CIA agent live on this AMERICAN MORNING.


CHETRY: And welcome once again. It's Tuesday, July 3rd.

I'm Kiran Chetry, along with John Roberts.

The day before Fourth of July.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: The day before the Fourth of July. And you'll be taking the rest of the week off, which is great.

CHETRY: That's right.

ROBERTS: You've been working hard. You deserve some vacation.

CHETRY: I deserve a hotdog and maybe some corn on the cob.

ROBERTS: You going to the beach?


ROBERTS: All right. Great. Excellent.


ROBERTS: Now the latest from the growing investigation of the U.K. terror bomb plot. Police in Australia are questioning two more doctors. That makes at least five doctors either detained or questioned in this plot.

CNN's international security correspondent, Paula Newton, is live in London, at Scotland Yard. She's got the latest on all of this.

And Paula, are police at this point working on the theory that a network of medical professionals may be involved in terrorism now there in the U.K.?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That is exactly the theory they're working on. And to that end, they're investigating every lead.

What they're doing now is, really, they've set off this domino effect that we've spoken about before in terms of...

ROBERTS: Well, a little problem there with Paula's signal. Sorry about that. It happens with live TV. We'll try to get back to her just as soon as possible and bring you the latest on the U.K. terror investigation.

Oh, she's back now.

I'm sorry, Paula. We lost you sort of halfway through that. If you want to start again and talk about this idea of a theory of medical professionals operating there in the U.K.

NEWTON: Again, that was the theory that police were working on, on the weekend, and now will be quite a domino effect, John, because as you see them gather more evidence, they will begin to initiate a lot more arrests.

This latest, an India national arrested in Australia, on his way apparently back home to India. They continue to question him.

That brings to eight people in custody. We have confirmed that at least three of them are doctors, but there is also the suspicion that many more of them are doctors. Again, looking very close to the kind of hunch the police had in the first place, starting as early as Saturday night -- John.

ROBERTS: Paula, did they believe that these people are sort of linked to al Qaeda ideologically, or, as some reports in the U.K. have suggested, they may have actually been dispatched by al Qaeda because it's easy for them to get visas, they are probably flying under the radar of suspicion, infiltrated themselves into the national hospital service there so that they could operate very much under the radar screen.

NEWTON: If you think about it, really, they're perfect recruits, aren't they? As you said, they are above suspicion, they can very easily get very, very long-term visas to come into a lot of different countries that need them to practice as doctors.

And again, there's that whole intelligence factor. We're talking about people who are sophisticated and would be able to carry a lot -- out a lot more sophisticated missions. I think that is what Scotland Yard is looking at right now.

If this is a sleeper cell triggered by al Qaeda, what actually were they planning? Is this it, or were they planning something else?

Of course, this fear now being investigated on many levels, especially since the person in Australia had been working Liverpool, yet another person being questioned there. Again, they are searching for all those international clues, and they tell us they are not ruling out more arrests very, very soon -- John.

ROBERTS: All right. But the big disconnect here, though, being, Paula, is they were professional, they were intelligent, and yet, the bombs that they constructed were said by many experts to be amateurish.

Paula Zahn (sic) for us outside -- Paula Zahn -- Paula Newton for us, I'm sorry, outside of Scotland Yard this morning.

Paula, thanks very much.

CHETRY: New this morning, the U.S. military is saying that it stopped a large-scale suicide attack in Iraq. Twenty-three insurgents were killed this weekend outside of Ramadi. It's in Anbar Province, just west of Baghdad. The military says the insurgents were gathering to prepare for suicide attacks.

Pro wrestler Chris Benoit's personal doctor spent the night in jail, charged with illegally prescribing painkillers and antidepressants to two patients. Not (ph) Benoit, but the feds say that Dr. Phil Astin was giving prescription drugs out like candy. The U.S. attorney's office says Astin prescribed Benoit a 10-month supply of anabolic steroids every three to four weeks from May 2006 to May 2007.

We just spoke with Astin's lawyer in our last half hour. He says it's not true. He is making the case that it's a matter of misfiling to the DEA about dates when these steroids were prescribed. So we will, of course, continue to follow the latest developments in this case -- John.

ROBERTS: She was known as the diva next door, and she has passed away. Opera star Beverly Sills has died. She was diagnosed with lung cancer weeks ago.

She was never a smoker though. Sills was traditionally hugely popular outside of the traditional opera world. She also sang on "The Tonight Show," as well as "The Muppet Show:".

Beverly Sills was 78 years old.

CHETRY: Time to check in on some of the other big stories with our AMERICAN MORNING team of correspondents.

Record flooding in the Midwest. Thousands of people in three states are out of their homes this morning.

CNN's Keith Oppenheim is live in Coffeyville, Kansas. He is right in the middle of things. You can see him there. And not only is it flooding that they are worry about with these waters, but also the mix of oil, a terrible combination -- Keith.

KEITH OPPENHEIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Exactly, Kiran. The water here is actually receding, but the problem is what has been left behind. There's oil in this water. And you can see how brown this grass is right here in front of me.

Local official are telling me that 42,000 gallons of crude oil has seeped out of a local refinery, and some of that oil has gone into the Verdigris River, down into Oklahoma. So today we're going to be talking about the big environmental cleanup and the big environmental impact -- Kiran.

CHETRY: What's to come for the people who are trapped sitting in motel rooms with their whole family and everything.

Keith, thank you.


ROBERTS: Two brands of popular snacks recalled over salmonella fears.

Our medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, joins us now live with more.

What have you got to tell us, Elizabeth?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: John, this is so important. These snack foods could be in your kitchen cupboard. Kids love them, and they are especially dangerous for children.

We're talking about two snack foods. The first one, it's called Veggie Booty. The second one made by the same company. It's called Super Veggie Tings Crunchy Corn Sticks Snack Food.

If you have them, throw them away. They could contain salmonella. They definitely found salmonella in the first -- linked it to the first product. They're afraid it might be in the second product, too.

So far, 52 people in 17 states have gotten stick. Most of them toddlers -- John.

ROBERTS: All right. Thank you, Elizabeth.

CHETRY: And Jacki Schechner is watching the Web. Some news about some famous footage of skateboarders and police on YouTube. This is the one that caused that big, you know, outcry, and some said, wait a minute, you're not getting the full story.


You may remember this video that showed up on YouTube of an officer in Hot Springs, Arkansas, apprehending some kids caught skateboarding in downtown. There's a city-wide ordinance that says they're not allowed to do that. Well, the officer now has been cleared of all wrongdoing. The department's internal affairs board said that his actions were within department guidelines.

In the meantime, the skateboarding kids don't get off that scot free. The news this morning is that six skateboarders, two adults, four juveniles, do have court dates pending. You might remember this video was put up on YouTube the same day this incident happened, and one version of it, Kiran and John, has 1.4 million views.

CHETRY: Yes, it's been very popular online.

Jacki, thanks so much.

Hey, we want to alert you to some breaking news right now out of London, Heathrow Airport. We're being told right now there was an evacuation of terminal four at Heathrow. Of course it's understandable that in the days after this foiled terror plot that nerves would be high, and that all precautions would be taken, whether or not there really is something to be concerned about.

But at this point we're hearing that in response to a suspicious bag in terminal four, they are now doing a second round of searches on departing passengers. They're saying it will cause some delays to the flights.

They've activated contingency plans to ensure that they are able to make sure that this secondary search takes place quickly and that they are able to bring a swift resolution to the incident. John, of course, flew in yesterday from Heathrow, as well.

And you said...

ROBERTS: I actually flew out of terminal four last night, and there was definitely heightened security.

I mean, nothing untoward, but they are, you know, channeling vehicles away from sensitive areas, there are police out there with machine guns. And they're definitely paying a lot of attention at the security checkpoints.

It would be difficult for anybody to get anything through. I'm sure that it's just a precaution.

CHETRY: They're at this point saying a suspicious bag. A suspicious bag could be anything. I mean, it could be something that they just need a second round of searches on.

ROBERTS: Yes. And, you know, there's a lot of security there, but it's not oppressive. You know, they're pretty efficient at the whole thing.

We've already heard about Hillary Clinton -- from Hillary Clinton, at least, about Scooter Libby's reprieve. President Bush commuted Libby's sentence yesterday.

CNN's Candy Crowley is covering the Clintons on the campaign trail in Iowa. She joins us now from West Des Moines.

So, how is this thing playing out there in Iowa on the campaign trail, this whole Libby controversy?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you can imagine, among Democrats, not very well at all. There were just a couple of things I extracted.

You heard Hillary Clinton earlier. There were some others that put out press releases.

"Tone deaf or brain dead." That from Senator Biden. "Cronyism" from Senator Clinton. "Breathtaking arrogance," that from Governor Richardson.

So, this is a good issue for Democrats, because it further rouses their base, which may need no more further excitement to get them anti-Bush. This is a very anti-Bush crowd that these Democrats are playing to out here in Iowa and elsewhere. So this is just another incident that they believe will further the Democratic cause and keep Democrats agitated and excited about the upcoming election.

ROBERTS: As you point out, all of the Democrats are very critical about it. Hillary Clinton calling it the elevating of cronyism over the rule of law. But these are the same people who complained that Republicans were far too harsh in impeaching Bill Clinton because there wasn't an underlying crime in association with Bill Clinton's alleged perjury, and we seem to have the same thing here with Libby, whereas if they wanted to break with President Clinton, they are certainly not giving one to Scooter Libby or President Bush.

CROWLEY: Well, you know, John, it's the way of Washington. All of these things sort of evolve. So you're on one side one year and the tables turn, and you're on the other side.

It was interesting, I think, because, you know, President Clinton issued a number of controversial pardons at the end of his presidential era. And I thought it was interesting that Hillary Clinton took this out.

We haven't been able to sort of question them a little further on this because they were too far away from us last night. But I imagine this is a question that is going to follow her today.

ROBERTS: How was the first day of the Hill and Bill show out there?

CROWLEY: It was really interesting. You know, the big question was, can the Democrats' most popular politician play second fiddle to his wife? And he did a really good job of it last night, I have to tell you.

It was the Iowa State Fairgrounds. He talks about her, does not mention his administration. He talks about her work with children. When he was finished sort of introducing her, he sat down very attentive, really did well playing first husband. You know, none of the waving to the crowd. The attention was all on her.

So, so far, he is sticking to the script.

ROBERTS: We'll see how long it lasts.

CROWLEY: Exactly.

ROBERTS: Candy Crowley for us this morning in West Des Moines.

Thanks very much.

And coming up, by the way, we're going to be talking with Ambassador Joe Wilson. We'll get his reaction to the president's decision on Scooter Libby.

CHETRY: New crash test results are in on SUVs, pickups and minivans. How well do they protect your family from whiplash? Before you buckle in and drive off, what you need to know coming up on AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: Sixteen minutes after the hour.

Lewis "Scooter" Libby will not be going to prison after all, and there is strong reaction this morning to President Bush's decision to commute Libby's 30-month sentence in the CIA leak investigation.

The leak ended the career of CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson. Her husband, former U.S. ambassador Joe Wilson, joins us now from Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Joe, what's your reaction to the president's decision yesterday?

JOSEPH WILSON, FMR. U.S. AMBASSADOR: Well, I'm not surprised. I think this administration has demonstrated time and time again it is corrupt from the top to the bottom. I think the president short- circuited the rule of law and the system of justice that has (INAUDIBLE) this country in the entire history of the republic.

ROBERTS: But you say that the White House is corrupt and that this proves it again, although the president is well within his purview to do this. And he didn't pardon Libby, he commuted the sentence, simply saying that the sentence was excessive. He left in place the conviction and the fine.

WILSON: Yes. And the special prosecutor commented last night on this assertion that it was excessive by pointing out it fell right within the guidelines of federal sentencing.

The president, by commuting Mr. Libby's sentence, is guaranteed that he will be under no incentive whatsoever ever to tell the truth to the special prosecutor, who has said repeatedly that there remains a cloud over the office of the vice president. This cloud now extends over the office of the president. I think there is a very real suspicion now that the president himself is an accessory to obstruction of justice in this matter.

ROBERTS: Joe, the White House insists that yesterday, that the president made this decision on his own with no outside consultation. Do you believe that, or do you see the fine hand of Dick Cheney in here somewhere?

WILSON: Well, I see the fine hand of Dick Cheney everywhere. I admit my bias on that. But, of course, I read "The Washington Post" four-part series last week, and I've seen the hand of the vice president in the trail of the covert identity of a CIA officer, as have the rest of the world now.

So -- but I don't know. The president may have made this decision on his own. It was a bad decision. It undermines the rule of law in the system of justice in this country.


Now, the point that Libby's supporters are making is that there was no underlying crime that was found here, that Patrick Fitzgerald did not prosecute anybody for the actual leak, only for things that were said in the investigation of the leak. So based upon that...

WILSON: John...

ROBERTS: Yes -- go ahead.

WILSON: I would just go back to what the special prosecutor has said from the very time of the indictment, something that you all forget to put up there every time you report this. He has said from the very beginning that the reason he was not able to get to an underlying crime was because Mr. Libby repeatedly lied and threw sand in the umpire's eyes. That is why.

Now, Libby's whiners can say anything they want, but the facts as they were brought out in the court were the covert identity of a CIA officer was betrayed by Mr. Libby, Mr. Rove, Mr. Armitage, quite possibly at the direction of the vice president. Americans know the difference between right and wrong. Americans know when the national security of this country has been betrayed, even if the president of the United States and the vice president and Mr. Libby's supporters do not.

ROBERTS: Now, I do know, Joe, that of course Fitzgerald said he doesn't know if there was a crime committed because of the obstruction of justice, but the fact that he knew that Armitage was the person who leaked it, and he knew that before Scooter Libby allegedly committed his perjury, wouldn't that indicate that that investigation was a dead end? Couldn't he -- couldn't he have prosecuted Richard Armitage for leaking the name of your wife?

WILSON: I have no idea why the special prosecutor didn't prosecute Armitage or Rove. You would have to ask him that. But I do know that Mr. Armitage's role in this was known to the Justice Department several months before the special prosecutor was ever named. Career prosecutors and, indeed, Mr. Fitzgerald himself, felt that there was more to investigate as a consequence of the bogus testimony provided by Mr. Libby, who has now been convicted by a jury of his peers for that bogus testimony.

ROBERTS: Joe, you and your wife still have that civil lawsuit pending. What are you looking for from Scooter Libby?

WILSON: Well, we've got three objectives in the civil suit. We want to get the truth out, we want to hold these government officials to account for their abuse of power, and we want to use the suit as a deterrent for future generations of civil servants from engaging in this sort of political abuse of power.

ROBERTS: All right.

Former ambassador Joe Wilson, now living in Santa Fe.

Joe, thanks very much. Good Fourth of July to you.

WILSON: Yes, you, too.

CHETRY: Well, the tests are over, and you and your family need to know the results. Up next, how popular SUVs performed in crash tests, as well as minivans, pickup trucks.

We're going to have all of it for you when we come right back.



CHETRY: Well, we have news for anyone who drive an SUV, a truck or a minivan. There are new crash test results that are in right now, and it's focusing on preventing whiplash when you're in a crash.

Greg Hunter is live for us at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's crash facility. It's in Ruckersville, Virginia.

What did you find for us, Greg?

GREG HUNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kiran, here is the anatomy of a seat that protects you well in a rear-end collision. This has a bar down the middle of it. When your body pushes into the seat, watch the headrest. It actually comes forward to meet the back of your head. And this is just one technology they're using to save your neck.


HUNTER (voice over): It's a wreck you often don't see coming. In a rear-end collision, if neck injuries are to be minimized, the seat and head restraint need to take the blow. Take the high-rated 2007 Mercedes M Class, where the headrest pops out to meet the back of the head.

To test head protection, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has been simulating rear-end crashes with just a seat and a dummy.

DAVID ZUBY, SR. V.P., VEHICLE RESEARCH, IIHS: Without something behind and near the back of your head, your head is going to flop around as the rest of the body moves forward in a rear-impact crash.

HUNTER: These tests were on SUVs, pickups and minivans, which account for more than half of all new vehicle sales.

ZUBY: Over 60 percent of the vehicles had a marginal or poor rating, but we're seeing a lot more goods, a lot more acceptables than we did when we started this testing two years ago.

HUNTER: According to the institute, seats offer different levels of protection, even seats from the same company. The Honda Element, on top, was given the highest mark. The body stays in line with the neck, as opposed to the Honda Odyssey, where the head can whip back, rated marginal.

Among the lowest rated, the Hummer H3. GM, which makes Hummer, said, "It designs its head restraints to meet a variety of driver sizes, rather than focusing on a single set of metrics..."

Nissan's Quest Minivan was also rated poor. Nissan told CNN it designs its "... products to provide a high level of occupant safety in a wide range of real-world crashes, including rear-impact collisions..."

The institute says some manufacturers, like Ford, are improving the designs of poorly-rated models like the F-150. Ford told CNN, "We have always designed seats and head restraints for the safest possible scenario in the real world."

Among the highest rated, the Hyundai Santa Fe, Toyota Tundra and the Ford Edge.

ZUBY: You're more likely to need the protection of a good head restraint and seat than you are the protection of a front airbag. Not that we wouldn't recommend having cars with good airbags, but you're more likely to be in a rear-end collision where whiplash is a risk than you are a serious front crash where the airbag will deploy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's just listen in for a moment here.


HUNTER: Twenty of the seats actually tested well. A little more than 20. There were about, oh, 54 or so that tested marginal and poor. Most tested marginal and poor.

So I know what you're thinking -- how do I get the most out of my seat? There is a way. A lot of times I see people riding around with their seat back down like this, and the head can actually roll over the back, which even gives you more whiplash. And what they tell me here at the Insurance Institute is that the headrest should be, in this case, all the way, right in the middle of the back of the head. And this way you get the most out of your seat.

Now, for a complete test -- complete test results, you can log on to our Web site, It's on the AMERICAN MORNING site.

Back to you guys.

CHETRY: All right. Sounds good, Greg.

Hey, one other note. I just wanted to let you know, yesterday, you did the very interesting story about the -- about the apparently notification if your kid is driving in a car and they go over the speed limit. I have been getting text messages from you and your test car all day yesterday and all morning, so I need to know what's going on.

HUNTER: Did it say I was a bad boy?

CHETRY: Yes, that Greg was a bad boy.

HUNTER: Well, hopefully I had that turned off. I wrote them and tried to get them to turn it off. But yes, that's going to be technology that may save some kids' lives all across the country. Almost 6,000 teen drivers a year die in car wrecks, and usually it's their fault.

Back to you guys.

CHETRY: No, you're right. I mean, it's smart. It definitely is smart. But then you've got to think as you're a parent you want to know every single time they went over the speed limit? You know?

All right. Greg, thanks so much.

ROBERTS: You know what it's like. It's easy to get on those mailing lists and impossible to get off.

CHETRY: Exactly.

ROBERTS: AMERICAN MORNING will be back right after this.

We leave you, as we go to a break here, with a shot of the shuttle. It came down safely. There it is on the ground at Cape Canaveral.

We'll be back in just a minute.

CHETRY: A picture-perfect landing.

ROBERTS: Yes. We will show that to you when we get back.



ROBERTS: We begin this half hour, though, with some breaking news. A suspect bag found in terminal four at London's Heathrow Airport. Of course all of the U.K. is on high alert, critical alert after the failed attempts at bombing downtown locations in London, and as well the car that crashed into the terminal at Glasgow on Saturday afternoon.

Our Paula Newton joins us now from live from London with more. Does this just look like a routine evacuation of the terminal, or something more suspicious?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's most likely a routine evacuation. But I have to tell people who are starting that July 4th holiday, that if you're flying in and out of London you can expect more of this. What happens is, as it routine, they would have checked out any kind of suspicious baggage.

The problem is now in terms of procedure. They might have to execute a controlled detonation of the bag, and also they're going through secondary screening of passengers, so that means if you've already been screened through security you have to go through again.

In any case, you can imagine some of the chaos going on at the airport, and everyone here trying to be very, very careful. You mentioned the critical alert level. Just to remind people what that means, it means they still believe an attack to be imminent.

Now, you know, I've learned at some of the meetings here they've discussed trying to bring that threat level down but, I think they want to give the investigation a few more days to run its course before they bring that threat level back from critical to severe -- John.

ROBERTS: You know, they keep making arrests, detentions, calling in people for questioning. Do they feel like they have wrapped up whatever cell may have been operating out there? Or do they think that they still may have a few more leads to follow?

NEWTON: I don't believe that they think they've wrapped up the entire cell, but they believe that the core that are people responsible for the car bomb attacks in London are now in custody.

What they're going to do, though, John, is that they're going to go through all of those searches, 19 properties at the last count, but there will be more. They will, as we know from other investigations, find more evidence, and that means you can most likely expect more arrests and certainly more information what this plot was all about. If it is linked to into any other plot and exactly what the threat remains for the U.K. and possibly other targets -- John.

That investigation now reaching halfway around the world all the way to Australia. Paula Newton in front of Scotland Yard for us this morning. Paula, thanks.

CHETRY: President Bush stopped short of a pardon, but his commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence saves the former White House aide from doing any prison time.

Senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin joins us to explain all of this.

First of all, the pardon versus the commutation of a sentence, tell us about that first.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SR. LEGAL ANALYST: We live for days like yesterday in the legal analyst biz. I mean, it was just really amazing.

Clear difference. A pardon is a an absolute ending of all criminal proceedings. No fine, no probation, no jail. It is such an elimination of a criminal conviction that if you are asked whether you are a convicted felon on a form, you can honestly say no. A pardon...

CHETRY: And Scooter Libby cannot say no?

TOOBIN: Cannot say no.

A commutation deals only with prison. Fine remains intact. Probation remains intact. His appeal continues, but he cannot go to prison under any circumstances.

CHETRY: Also there was talk. One of the things that the president said was he believed that the sentencing was out of line. It was out of line, which is one of the reasons why he decided to do that. Is that true?

TOOBIN: The word he used was excessive.


TOOBIN: And that really jumped out at me in his statement, because the sentence that he got, that Scooter Libby got, was precisely within the federal sentencing guidelines for everyone in the United States who is convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice. So it might have been excessive in the president's opinion, but it was certainly not excessive as a legal matter at all.

CHETRY: OK. Now, the interesting thing, though, is people who were advocating the commutation of his sentence say that, look, Bill Clinton lied under oath. He was not removed from office and didn't serve any jail time. And also Sandy Berger, of course, with the well- publicized case of the National Arches situation case also was also in trouble. He -- they revealed that he lied to investigators about sneaking out those documents, and he received no jail time.

TOOBIN: There are always controversies about whether people are treated appropriately. The one thing you can say about the Clinton situation, is he went through the process, there was impeachment, he was acquitted in the Senate. The process went forward. Sandy Berger pleaded guilty to a crime, he was sentenced.

What a pardon and a commutation does is ends the process. The process has an absolute right to do it, can't be challenged in court, can't be overturned in Congress. But the process, the legal process, is short-circuited by a pardon or a commutation. There's no question about it.

CHETRY: Now what's interesting, when we take a look at just past presidents, Bill Clinton issued 395 pardons and he commuted 61 sentences during his two-term presidency. President Bush has pardoned 113 people, but this is only the third sentence he's commuted during his presidency.

TOOBIN: He's been very stingy with pardons and commutations, much more stingy than Ronald Reagan, much more stingy than his father, and Bill Clinton. It's just a matter of preference. It makes the action regarding Scooter Libby all the more striking by contrast.

But you know, pardons are unpopular. Bill Clinton received endless grief, I think appropriately, for his last-minute pardons of the fugitive Mark Reach (ph) and others. Gerald Ford's presidency probably ended because of his pardon of Richard Nixon. These things are never popular, but it's a power that presidents have.

CHETRY: Very interesting. Jeff Toobin, thank you.

ROBERTS: We told you about Hillary Clinton campaigning in Iowa just a few minutes ago. Well, she's got some company out there in the Buckeye State.

"AC360's" Tom Foreman's got it all in our Raw Politics report.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): We're on a "Raw Politics" road trip to Iowa and with good reason. As Washington shuts down for the Fourth of July holiday, the cornfields and countryside here start producing a bumper crop of presidential wannabes.

(voice-over): The Hawkeye State is swarming with campaigners from both parties this week, all because next January voters here will be the first in the nation to make their picks for the Democratic and Republican candidates.

No one is bidding for that honor harder than Republican Mitt Romney. He's spent an early record $4 million on ads to separate himself from the pack.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're using too much oil here. Our schools are failing too many of our kids.

FOREMAN: He is doing well in the polls, but hold onto your soybeans. Almost half the states are pushing their primaries way up, right behind Iowa, or at least discussing it. That means all the candidates will have to spread the love over much more ground to secure a solid lead before Valentine's Day.

Those scary days in London provided an opening for Rudy Giuliani. Mayor 9/11 says this is another reminder about how important national security must be for the next president.

The "Raw Politics" read: Good sell. Polls show Republicans worry about security substantially more than Democrats do.

And all the Al Gore-y details. Turns out the former vice president wanted to see the big "Sopranos" series finale, but was going on a flight to Turkey when it aired. So a well-connected Hollywood friend had a copy delivered to him in a locked metal case just before takeoff. Only after he was airborne was Dr. Global Warming able to call for the combination.

(on camera): And that case, no kidding, reportedly made by Halliburton. Now, that's raw power. And that's "Raw Politics."

More tonight on "AC360".


ROBERTS: Tom Foreman, thanks very much.

And you can catch "ANDERSON COOPER 360" tonight at 10:00 Eastern. And I prostrate myself before the audience this morning. Of course it's the Hawkeye State, not the Buckeye State. I told you I warned you earlier today...

CHETRY: Ohioans are going crazy.

ROBERTS: Half of my brain is still on a British Airways flight halfway over the atlantic.

CHETRY: That's right. That's the terminal...

ROBERTS: Some people would claim it's like that every day, but particularly on this day. Sorry. Hawkeye, Hawkeye, Hawkeye.

CHETRY: I think they'll give you a pass today.

ROBERTS: No, I don't think so.

CHETRY: Well, they have a breakthrough possibly on obesity. Doctors say they found a link between high stress and belly fat. We've heard about this before, but could this be the new way that they're able to figure out a way to just flip a switch and burn more fat? We'll talk about it coming up.

ROBERTS: Does it help a fat head?


CHETRY: Doctors think they found a biological switch that could control fat. They discovered it while proving that high stress can make people heavy, especially around the middle. Medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us live from Atlanta with details.

And, boy, this one generated a lot of buzz here in the studio. Everyone wants to know where's that switch and can I flip it?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, exactly. But so far they've only found that switch in mice, so this is a very exciting day if you're a fat mouse. Because what these researchers managed to do, as you said, is they found a switch. What they did is they stressed out mice, and they found that they basically emitted this sort of chemical that made them fat.

And we have some pictures of the fat mouse versus the skinny mouse. There you go. So there's the fat mouse. They stressed him out and flipped this switch. And The skinny one, they didn't do that. So of course now the hope is that they can kind of do it in the reverse.

CHETRY: All right, so if they could take control of the chemical, how would it then work to help us lose weight.

COHEN: What it could do hopefully. I mean, first of all, you could also just take this research and say, I'm going to distress myself, I'm going to have less stress in my life, because scientists have known for a while that stress can make you eat more, so you can think of it that way. However, you could also think,gee, maybe they could develop a drug one day where it can flip the switch for you in reverse and maybe you would eat less. However, that would be years and years away.

As a matter of fact, I want to show you video of a story I did six years ago about another set of scientists that managed to make mice fat and skinny. You can see here this fat mouse and then you'll be able to see in a second the skinny mouse next to him. This was six years ago that they did this. That's a huge difference. And back then, they had all this hope they were going to turn this into a drug. Well, six years later, there's still no drug. So a lot of caution here.

CHETRY: It looks like the scene from the "Nutty Professor" or something. Elizabeth, and actually they market these drugs, it's really interesting, they always draw on those commercials for certain drugs, saying, oh, do you have a lot of belly fat, and if you take this pill it can sort of turn off the stress. So they're already -- I know there's not really a lot of truth to those claims, but they're trying to say that that is something that's already available and out there for people.

COHEN: Yes. I don't think there's anything that's really scientifically proven to help specifically get rid of belly fat. You want to take those claims with a grain of salt. But it is -- you mentioned something very important. The fat mice in these studies, they were fat around the abdomen. That is very bad news. Fat around the abdomen can really affect your liver and your kidneys and cause all sorts of problems. So it would be particularly exciting if they managed to flip this switch and make people lose weight, because you're losing the best kind of weight to lose.

CHETRY: Yes, very true. Elizabeth Cohen, thank you.

COHEN: Thanks.

ROBERTS: Forty-seven minutes after the hour now. CNN NEWSROOM is just minutes away. Betty Nguyen is at the CNN Center with us with a look at what's ahead.

Good morning, Betty.


As you've been reporting, President Bush commutes Scooter Libby's prison sentence, and we're going to have more reaction on this in the NEWSROOM. The vice president's one-time chief of staff won't go to prison for lying to a grand jury. Who's outraged? Who's overjoyed? We'll talk about that.

CHETRY: Plus, more doctors now linked to the U.K. terror plot. We follow developments all day, including an eighth person detained, this time in Australia.

And a sticky-icky mess in Kansas. Look at this. One town is in for a long cleanup. Flood waters actually mixing with oil from a refinery. It's not pretty.

Tony Harris joins me in the NEWSROOM at the top of the hour right here on CNN -- John.

ROBERTS: We will see you then, Betty. And I'll see you here tomorrow morning as well.

NGUYEN: Bright and early, yes.

ROBERTS: Safe travels.

NGUYEN: Thank you.

ROBERTS: Isaiah Washington is finally talking about the blowup that got him kicked off of "Grey's Anatomy." Hear what he has to say to our own Larry King. That's coming up on AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: Fifty-one minutes after the hour.

Dr. Burke got his walking papers from "Grey's Anatomy." Now Isaiah Washington is breaking his silence. He talked to our own Larry King, and even got emotional when he recalled support from a "Grey's" costar.

Take a look.


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Any members of the cast call you?

ISAIAH WASHINGTON, ACTOR: Yes. I got a -- whoa. Whoa. I got a wonderful e-mail from Sandra Oh, from Spain.


ROBERTS: So he's a sensitive guy. AMERICAN MORNING's Lola Oguinnaike joins us now.

Lola, was Washington looking for redemption in that interview, and if he was -- I know you're going getting all choked up about it.

LOLA OGUINNAIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm sorry. I'm sorry, John. I just can't.

Well, you know what, I think that this moment humanized him actually, because in recent interviews he's come across as bitter, he's come across as angry. He's even come across as volatile, so we do see a sensitive side of Isaiah.

That said, I think he needs to stop the redemption tour. He needs to keep his mouth closed. People are tired of hearing from him. People want him to let it go. People want him to disappear for a while. Save all of this information for the memoir. They don't want to hear it right now.

ROBERTS: Well, obviously, though, he's trying to stay a viable actor in an industry that one day you're at the top of the heap, the next day you're smelly fish.

OGUINNAIKE: But interesting enough, it's his mouth that got him in trouble in the first place, and his mouth may be his undoing this time if he keeps on talking. Because the interviews, for the large part are not well received. If you look at the blogs, if you look at the chat rooms. They're essentially saying disappear, sour grapes, we're tired of you pointing fingers at everyone else. We want you to go away, at least for the time being.

ROBERTS: So is there a double standard here, or is he continuing to blame everybody else?

OGUINNAIKE: Well interestingly enough, he did not play the race card in the interview with Larry King, but he has played it, particularly with "Newsweek" when he spoke with them. He said if he'd been more of an accommodating person, more of a shuck and jiving yes- massa type, his life at "Grey's Anatomy" would have been easier.

I also think, though, if he had a better relationship with his castmates they would be less inclined to not necessarily turn against him, but to support him publicly. They haven't at all. He hasn't heard from a number of them, with the exception of Sandra Oh, which is very interesting, because you know, reprehensible things happen on sets all the time.

ROBERTS: So what's next? Is there a next? OGUINNAIKE: There is a next actually. It's a quiet next, but it's a next nonetheless. He's working on a documentary about Sierra Leone, and he's also working on an indie film called "The Least of These," which is about a troubled priest that works at high school.

ROBERTS: It'll be interesting to see that. Lola Oguinnaike, thanks for that.

AMERICAN MORNING will be right back after this


CHETRY: All this year we're meeting CNN Heroes, and today's hero is just 16 years old. He's already spent a decade saving the lives of children all over the world.

Ryan Hreljac is today's CNN's Hero.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stand by. Go ahead, please.

RYAN HRELJAC: Every day, 6,000 children die because they don't have access to clean water. That's like 20 full jumbo jets crashing every year. I feel we shouldn't live in a world like that.

I was 6 years old and I was in my grade-one classroom. My teacher said there are people who have to walk 10 kilometers to get to a dirty mud hole, and I decided to do something about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ryan has told me he has been saving money to put up a well in Africa, and he said he want it in a school.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now Let us look at example one.

The well which Ryan built was the first clean water they ever had.

HRELJAC: I went to Uganda when I was 10. I was pretty excited to go see what the impact was.


HRELJAC: Ryan's well, funded by Ryan H.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Up to that moment maybe, Ryan never knew how much this means.

The little boy who had this big dream, now look where he is, not only doing one well, but so many wells. The clean water has reached far and wide.

HRELJAC: When a well is built in a community, the health, it skyrockets, and you just see smiles light up on people's faces because they have clean water to drink. It's great to see the impact.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ryan has changed many, many lives out here, so he is a hero. He is a warrior who made it happen.


CHETRY: We're not the only ones who are impressed with Ryan's work. Just last week, actor Matt Damon, through his nonprofit organization, H2O Africa, agreed to partner with Ryan's Foundation to bring even more clean water to people around the world.

If you'd like to make your own contribution to Ryan's Foundation or nominate your hero for special recognition later this year, you'll find more information on our website at


ROBERTS: Thanks so much for joining us on this AMERICAN MORNING. I'm going to go back home and see if I can find my mind, which I obviously left...

CHETRY: And your pillow.

ROBERTS: And you have a great rest of the week off.

CHETRY: Thank you. Happy Fourth of July for everyone tomorrow.

CNN NEWSROOM with Tony Harris and Betty Nguyen starts right now.