Return to Transcripts main page

The Situation Room

Pomp and Protest at White House; Interview With National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley; As China Grows So Does Crude Oil Competition; New Orleans Mayoral Race; Donald Trump's Political Opinions

Aired April 20, 2006 - 16:59   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And to our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM, where new pictures and information are arriving all the time.
Standing by, CNN reporters across the United States and around the world to bring you today's top stories.

Happening now, it's 5:00 p.m. here in Washington, where two presidents have exchanges, and general disagreements, though. President Bush welcomes the president of China. They talk about oil, Iran, the prospect for an independent Taiwan, lots more.

Where did they find common ground? Did they find any common ground? I'll ask the president's national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, in a CNN exclusive.

Also, today's ceremony was filled with pomp and pageantry and some unexpected pestering. A heckler took the tightly-scripted ceremony off script. Was she screaming -- what was she creaming at the two most powerful leaders in the world?

And you may know a lot about Donald Trump's heir and hair, but how does he feel about Iraq? And if he were the boss, would he fire Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld?

"The Donald" will be here in THE SITUATION ROOM. He'll tell us himself.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

We're following a developing story this hour, pomp and protest at the White House. President Bush welcoming the Chinese president, Hu Jintao. But the carefully-choreographed ceremony missed a step, a screaming protest by a Chinese woman who had gained access to the media area on the south lawn of the White House. President Bush is expressing his regret to the Chinese leader.

For more on the talks, what happened inside the White House, let's turn to our White House correspondent, Ed Henry -- Ed.

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, you can probably still hear here this large protest behind me that's been going on. It's mostly focused on human rights, demanding more human rights in China. It's been going on hours after that south lawn ceremony where we saw those fireworks. But human rights is just one of the main issues that were on the table today causing some disputes, some tension. Of course, trade being one of the biggest tensions. President Bush raised that with his Chinese counterpart.

Take a listen.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our two nations share an interest in expanding free and fair trade which has increased the prosperity of both the American people and the Chinese people. Trade and goods between our two nations has grown to $285 billion a year. And U.S. exports to China grew nearly 21 percent in last year alone.


HENRY: But there was no major breakthrough on that issue or any of the other major issues, really, raised by the two leaders. There's also, of course, the issue of Taiwan, which was addressed by President Hu of China. He brought that up.

Take a listen to what he had to say.


HU JINTAO, CHINESE PRESIDENT (through translator): Taiwan is an alienable part of Chinese territory. We will continue to make every effort and endeavor with every sincerity to strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification of the two sides across the Taiwan straits. We will work with our Taiwan compatriots to promote the peaceful development of cross-strait relations. However, we will never allow anyone to make Taiwan secede from China by any means.


HENRY: But as you noted, the back and forth between the two leaders was overshadowed by this female protestor. On the south lawn, she started heckling the Chinese president shortly after he started talking.

She was screaming in Chinese, but also in English, things like, "President Bush, stop him from killing." Afterwards, in an Oval Office meeting, we're told by senior administration officials that President Bush basically said to his Chinese counterpart that he was sorry that this had gone on. We're told the Chinese president was gracious. They moved on to other issues.

They did a lot of talking on those issues, but as I noted, but no major breakthroughs -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Ed, thanks very much.

And we're learning more about the protester who interrupted the ceremony for President Hu. And as you are about to see, she was by no means alone.

Let's bring in our Chris Lawrence. He's here in THE SITUATION ROOM with more -- Chris.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf, that protester who screamed at both President Bush and President Hu has been charged with disorderly conduct. Now, she's a member of a religious movement that claims it's being persecuted in China. And while she was the loudest voice of protests today, she was by no means the only one.

Wenyi Wang entered the grounds on a one-day press pass and passed through all the normal security. Federal agents removed her after she interrupted Hu's speech to yell at the two presidents.

Outside the White House, pro-China demonstrators showed their support for Hu's visit. Ten yards away, hundreds of protesters yelled back.

TNVIN SHAYDRUP, PROTESTER: We are this side, but on the other side there is the pro one. And they don't see this reality. They are totally blinded by it.

LAWRENCE: China's leader had his detractors, but many reserved their toughest criticism for President Bush.

SEAN SU, PROTESTER: The question is, if we don't do business with North Korea, Cuba, you know, why are we doing business with China?

LAWRENCE: One man criticized the president for getting tough with China's leader on some issues, then going easy on others.

MARCUS GREEN, PROTESTER: Is he with him or is he against him? I don't know. It's his conscience.

LAWRENCE: Some demanded a free Tibet or independent Taiwan. Others protested abuses against a banned religious group called Falun Gong.

Stephanie Li just wants her sister released from a hard labor camp.

(on camera): Do you miss your sister?

STEPHANIE LI, PROTESTER: Yes. How can I say? Yes. I miss her.

LAWRENCE (voice-over): Many told us they would never be able to come out publicly like this on the streets of China.

(on camera): How much do you think people in China will hear about these protests, if anything?

SU: Very little.

LAWRENCE (voice-over): In fact, it may be closer to nothing.


LAWRENCE: Remember that heckler that you watched and heard heckling the presidents? Viewers in China never saw it. The Chinese government blacked out CNN's coverage for a few minutes during that situation, then picked it up after it was over.

And Wolf, we're told the print media in China are making no mention of her at all.

BLITZER: Won't touch it.

Thanks very much, Chris Lawrence, for that.

Let's get to a CNN exclusive right now. Both President Bush and the Chinese president, Hu Jintao, say they hope to strengthen ties between the two nations. But how might that happen?

Joining us now is the president's national security adviser, Stephen Hadley.

Mr. Hadley, thanks for coming outside and joining us.

Did the president make any progress whatsoever on the human rights issue with President Hu?

STEPHEN HADLEY, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: As you know, Wolf, we've been raising this issue for a while. The president gave a list of about six people who are in detention in China that he hoped would be released. We've talked about other issues, focusing heavily on freedom of religion, the right of people to worship in their homes, and educate their children, and the like.

These are issues that are ongoing with China. We have raised those issues. There are a couple things that the Chinese have indicated they will -- will be trying to do in the next weeks ahead. It's important for us to keep these issues on the forefront.

I thought it was interesting in the statement that President Hu made on the south lawn. He did talk about the importance of freedom of religion, he did talk about international human rights. In the press commentary he had after his restricted meeting with the president, he talked, actually, about freedom and democracy in China and movement in that direction.

BLITZER: Well, let me interrupt, Mr. Hadley. Did you get one tangible, something specific that you're at liberty to share with our viewers on an issue involved human rights concession, a decision that was offered by the Chinese leader?

HADLEY: There are three -- there are six things that we asked them to do. They have indicated that there are three of them that they are prepared to do after this visit.

We are not going to be able to talk about them at this point. When -- obviously, when the Chinese reform, we will make it very clear that these are contributions to the developing dialogue on human rights. This is an area where we've got more work to do with the Chinese, and the Chinese, of course, have more work to do.

BLITZER: Tell us what the president told the Chinese leader about that heckler on the south lawn. I was watching that ceremony live. I'm sure it was a huge embarrassment. How did the president and the Chinese leader, President Hu, deal with this issue?

HADLEY: When they went into the restricted session, of course, the president expressed his regret that the incident had occurred. And President Hu Jintao was very gracious about it.

It's an unfortunate incident. It's really not about freedom of speech. You know, freedom of speech is what you're seeing in Lafayette Park right now. But it was a journalist accredited to the -- to the delegation, the journalistic delegation, who decided rather than reporting news, they would make the news.

And it's an unfortunate incident. The president expressed his regret. Hu Jintao was very gracious about it.

You know, it was a blip. And they went on to a very good conversation, both in the restricted section, in an expanded session, then over lunch. So the two men had a good opportunity to talk, and I think it was a very constructive discussion.

BLITZER: But you know there are going to be a lot of Chinese people, the communists, who are going to think this was a deliberate effort, a conspiracy, if you will, to embarrass the Chinese leader here, that they will say, how it is possible that this woman could get inside the White House, on the south lawn, unless the U.S. government wanted her to get inside of the south lawn?

HADLEY: Well, we permitted her to get in to the south lawn. She came in through our normal procedures, representing a legitimate newspaper.

She's someone who had been on the compound before at news events, had not raised a problem before. So, under the guidelines and practices that we have, she was allowed to go in.

Obviously, this is not something that we would encourage. It was something that the president expressed regret for.

It is not the intention of the president to invite a foreign leader to the White House and then to be in a situation where they are embarrassed. So it was, again, something the president -- it should not have happened. It was -- a journalist crossed the line, it should not have happened.

The president expressed regret. And the Chinese leader and the Chinese delegation, I think, understood, and it did not in any way get in the way of what was a very constructive conversation between the two.

BLITZER: Did the president of the United States make any headway with the president of China on the issue of Iran and nuclear weapons? HADLEY: They had a good discussion about Iran. Obviously, the -- the next step is going to be at the Security Council next month. We've made it very clear that we think there needs to be a U.N. Security Council action, that that involves a resolution and probably a Chapter 7 resolution.

I think what was important is that President Hu Jintao made it very clear that he and the president have the same strategic view that a nuclear Iran is not in the interest of regional stability, not in the interest of the nonproliferation structure. So, there was an agreement on a need to -- a common strategic assessment of the situation, and agreement that we needed to work together towards trying to convince Iran to listen to the clear message of the entire international community and step back from this nuclear program that they are pursuing.

This is going to be to be sorted out. There's a lot of discussion now between now and May. But I think the important point is the two leaders have framed the issue and given clear guidance to their two delegations that on the basic strategic issue, the need to address this issue, the need to send a clear message to Iran, there is no disagreement between the two leaders.

BLITZER: We're almost out of time, Mr. Hadley, but on the issue of Iraq, there seems to be a potential breakthrough in Iraq. Ibrahim al-Jaafari is now willing to let his Shiite party go back and have another election to see if he should emerge as its candidate for the prime minister's job.

Is there -- is there an opportunity now, do you want Ibrahim al- Jaafari to step down, to let some other one, some Shiite leader take over who might be more acceptable to the Kurds and the Sunnis?

HADLEY: We've seen those reports. What we have said for some time, and our ambassador has said in Iraq, is that there needs to be a prime minister for Iraq who can unite the country, can draw support from all the various congressional groups: Shia, Sunni, Kurd, and others.

And secondly, a prime minister who's going to lead an effective government. That this is a government that's going to have a lot of challenges and a lot of opportunities. They are going to need to make the most of them.

So, our view has been, obviously, the selection of the prime minister is for the Iraqi people, but he needs to be a unifier and needs to be an effective leader.

BLITZER: Stephen Hadley, thanks for taking some time out on a busy day to come and join us here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

HADLEY: Thanks, Wolf, very much.

BLITZER: Now you can go back to your own Situation Room.

HADLEY: Nice to be with you. BLITZER: Thank you.

Let's go up to New York. Jack Cafferty, he's in THE SITUATION ROOM every weekday -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: That was pretty funny. He actually -- he kind of smiled.

BLITZER: He did smile, yes.

CAFFERTY: Yes, it was good.

BLITZER: You think ours...

CAFFERTY: And you bet...

BLITZER: You think our SITUATION ROOM is cooler than their Situation Room?

CAFFERTY: I don't know. I've never been in theirs. Somehow, I don't think they would let me in.

BLITZER: You might heckle them.

CAFFERTY: We got this item, Wolf, out of a file in my office that's labeled "It's about damn time." Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced the United States is going to crack down on companies that hire illegal aliens. Hey, there's a good idea.

He says guilty businesses should expect stepped-up raids and criminal punishment of executives. Chertoff also wants Congress to pony up more money to hire additional agents for business enforcement.

This all comes just after federal agents arrested seven managers and more than 1,000 illegal aliens in 26 states across the country. They all worked for a company called IFCO Systems. They make pallets and platforms and stuff.

The managers have been charged with conspiracy to transport, harbor and encourage illegals to live in the United States for commercial advantage. The managers face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each illegal worker.

This is called deterrence.

If the guy next door gets arrested and thrown in jail, and you are doing the same stuff he is, well, it tends to cause you to rethink your position.

So, here's the question: Should federal authorities go after more employers of illegal immigrants?

E-mail your thoughts to or go to

IFCO Systems I'm not familiar with. However, I am very familiar with some of the huge agriculture interests, for example, in the San Joaquin Valley in California who probably have maybe more political muscle, Wolf, than IFCO Systems.

But it's nice to see somebody doing something. The laws are there. We just have to enforce them, I think.

BLITZER: Jack, thanks very much. We'll see what our viewers think, as well.

Up ahead, oil fueling a Chinese economic boom and putting Beijing in direct competition with Washington for crude. We're going to show you why this may only be the beginning of the battle for oil.

Plus, Donald Trump on George Bush, the war in Iraq, and on Donald Rumsfeld. Who would he fire? He's joining us in THE SITUATION ROOM this hour.

And large portions of the city are in ruins. Residents still scattered across the country. Is New Orleans ready for an election? It's supposed to take place this Saturday.

We're going to go there live.

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Oil figured prominently in the White House meeting today between President Bush and the Chinese president, Hu Jintao. Both the U.S. and China are increasingly desperate for the increasingly expensive commodity.

Let's bring back Zain. She's got more on this story -- Zain.

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, oil is already a key factor in relations between the U.S. and China, and it's certain to become even more some over the next decade as the two countries find themselves in direct competition for it.


VERJEE (voice-over): Highways clogged with gas-guzzling cars. This could be any major American city during rush hour. But it's not. This is China.

Not long ago, bicycles were the main mode of transportation here. But the country's booming economy is moving more and more Chinese off the bicycle seat and into the driver's seat.

There are more than 10 million privately-owned cars on Chinese roads right now. About one household in 70 now has one. And over the next 15 years, 75 million more are expected to get one.

Some forecast that within a generation, there will be more cars in China than in the U.S. But China's oil imports are expected to double in only half that time, 10 years. The country's already surpassed Japan to become the world's second largest oil consumer after the U.S. And the countries are now competing for a bigger share of the world's dwindling supply. And oil appears to be the new great game.

Beijing buys oil not only from the same sources the U.S. does, but also from Washington's so-called rogue states, such as Sudan, Burma and, more importantly, Iran. And that relationship has the potential to become a sticking point between Washington and Beijing as the White House steps up its efforts to isolate Tehran in the hopes of stopping that country's nuclear program.


VERJEE: And it could all come to a head in the United Nations Security Council, where a Chinese veto could derail U.S. efforts to impose sanctions on Iran -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Very important material, Zain. Thanks very much for that.

Coming up, a battered city about to choose a new leader, but how? We'll take you live to New Orleans. It's getting ready for its first mayoral election since Katrina. We'll have the latest.

And he's the man with the Midas touch. Will Donald Trump's next venture be into the world of politics? Is he considering such a move? I'll ask him. He's going to joining us right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: It's by no means going to be an ideal situation for an election. Thousands of voters are not even in the city, many polling places are not even up and running. But hurricane-battered New Orleans is forging ahead anyway with its municipal election.

Our Gulf Coast correspondent, Susan Roesgen, is joining us now live from the scene -- Susan.

SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN GULF COAST CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is something that has never been done in the history of New Orleans voting. Dozens of polling places that were destroyed by the flood have been consolidated into four mega voting sites, and this is one of them here at the University of New Orleans.

Now, on Saturday, thousands of people will come here. They will look for the sign that lists the name of their old polling precinct and then they will be able to vote.


ROESGEN (voice-over): This is where Pete Sanchez has voted for the last 20 years, Louis Armstrong Elementary school in New Orleans Lower Ninth Ward. He won't be voting here this year. PETE SANCHEZ, NEW ORLEANS RESIDENT: Well, it reminds you of how the homes are looking. You know, very empty, destroyed. But it will be back.

ROESGEN: The school is one of more than 200 polling places across New Orleans wiped out by the flood. To replace them, elections officials have set up megasites, like this warehouse, with more than 100 voting machines for people who used to vote in 50 separate precincts. What's needed now is for voters to show up.

With billboards and an 800 number, the Louisiana secretary of state's office has tried to reach every evacuated voter.

AL ATER, LOUISIANA SECRETARY OF STATE: We're not the voting police. You know, we don't go around to people's houses and drag them out and make them come vote. We have honestly tried to make certain that every single person that wants to participate in this election is able to do so.


ROESGEN: For Pete Sanchez, Saturday's election is too important to miss, no matter where he has to vote.

SANCHEZ: It's important that whoever will lead this city, we understand that we need to get the people back. Education needs to be priority, you know, when the kids come back, and your families will be back. All of these things that make your community vibrant, we need to get these things back.


ROESGEN: One of the things that the secretary of state told me that he is a little bit concerned about, Wolf, is all of the absentee ballots. In a normal mayoral election in this city, they might get about 2,500 of them. This year, they think might have 10 times that many mail-in ballots.

They've got to check each one, count each one, and make sure that everything is certified, so that the election on Saturday, which, by the way, is the day that we normally hold elections here in Louisiana, Wolf, will go fine.

BLITZER: Susan, we'll be watching, together with you. Thanks very much.

Susan Roesgen is in New Orleans.

And remember, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM, where political news is arriving all the time. CNN, America's campaign headquarters.

Coming up, Donald Trump fires off on politics, on Iraq, even the management style of the Bush administration. He joins me for an one- on-one interview. That's coming up this hour.

And "The Donald" on another Donald. That would be Donald Rumsfeld. If Trump were the boss in chief, would he fire the secretary of defense? Trump's going to tell us because I'm going to ask him.

Stay with us.


BLITZER: We're going to be speaking with Donald Trump here in THE SITUATION ROOM shortly. But first, some background.

He's made a fortune in real estate. Now he's a primetime reality TV star, as well. But could politics be the next big venture for Donald Trump?

CNN's Mary Snow is joining us with more on this man who apparently has the Midas touch -- Mary.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, he may have a Midas touch, but Donald Trump's latest project has nothing to do with making money. He's giving away property for protected park land. It seems every time he makes headlines, questions soon follow about a possible future in politics.


SNOW (voice-over): He became famous for developing casinos and high-rise condos bearing his name. Now comes a new kind of property for Donald Trump.

GOV. GEORGE PATAKI (R), NEW YORK: All in all, almost 440 acres of magnificent open space.

SNOW: Virtually empty space north of New York City worth $100 million, by Trump's account. The billionaire donated the untouched land, now named The Donald J. Trump State Park by New York's governor. But some want to see the name Trump on another piece of state property, the governor's mansion.

JOSEPH BRUNO (R), NEW YORK SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: When it gets public, you are all going to be excited, interested, and want to write and show and do everything else.

SNOW: That was in December, when a top state lawmaker played coy with reporters about behind-the-scenes discussions to convince Trump to run for governor. Trump declined, but didn't stop another draft movement weeks later.

FRANK MACKAY, NEW YORK INDEPENDENCE PARTY: Donald Trump has a serious chance to be president of the United States.

SNOW: The state Independence Party chairman launched a movement to draft Trump for president in 2008. He wants Trump to take his brand of boldness from his reality show "The Apprentice" and use it in Washington.

Trump declined, saying, no thanks for now. Life with his wife and new baby is keeping him plenty busy. But he hasn't always been against the prospect of being president. This was Trump on CNN's LARRY KING LIVE in 1999.

DONALD TRUMP, REAL ESTATE DEVELOPER: I am going to form a presidential exploratory committee, I might as well announce it on your show. Everyone else does.

SNOW: Months later, he decided not to run on the Reform Party ticket.


SNOW (on camera): Instead, Trump is helping others run, having given money from everyone from Hillary Clinton to John McCain to John Kerry to Rudy Giuliani. Besides money, he also readily offers his opinion on key issues like Iraq, keeping people guessing about his own ambitions. Back to you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks, Mary, very much.


BLITZER: And joining us now from his offices at the Trump Tower on 5th Avenue in New York City is Donald Trump. Donald, thanks very much for joining us in THE SITUATION ROOM.

TRUMP: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: I want to get to the $100 million donation you made to my home state in New York, in a short while, this park, the land you've donated to the people of New York. But let's talk about politics a little bit right now, because I know you are interested in that subject. What do you make of the current turmoil here in Washington?

TRUMP: Well, I've never seen anything quite like it, actually. I like so many people in Washington and I like so many people within the administration but it is definitely turmoil, and I think a lot of it's having to do with the war in Iraq. People are very, very unhappy. They have never seen anything quite like the mess we're in.

BLITZER: Let me play for you a sound byte of what the president said about Donald Rumsfeld, his defense secretary, what the president said earlier this week. Listen to this.

BUSH: I have strong confidence in Don Rumsfeld. I hear the voices and I read the front page. And I know the speculation, but I'm the decider, and I decide what is best, and what is best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense.

BLITZER: All right, now here's the question. If Don Rumsfeld worked for you, what would you say to him?

TRUMP: Well, I know what you want me, you want me to say "You're fired." But I wouldn't necessarily say that. Look, he's worked very hard. He's a good man. I've been watching him for years. And three or four years ago, he was a rock star. He'd go on and your ratings would double. Everybody loved him. Today, it's just the opposite. He came out the other day, said this, too shall pass.

Maybe it will, maybe it won't. But I have a feeling it probably won't. Because Iraq is a disaster, and I just don't think that Iraq is going to govern itself, probably, without a civil war. I think you are going to end up with a civil war no matter what we do. I guess they are probably already in a civil war and it's going to be a shame. And, all the people that were killed, all the money that's been spent. I'm not just talking about American soldiers, I'm talking about the Iraqis.

You look at what's happening over there. I think it's going to be a horrible civil war, somebody will emerge from that war, probably tougher and meaner than Saddam Hussein, and that's what you are going to have it. And it's a pretty sad situation.

BLITZER: I watch "The Apprentice," your hit show on television, I know you know how to fire people. You do it all the time. This president doesn't like to fire people. He seems to be very loyal, sometimes to a fault. Is that a problem that you see, from a management style?

TRUMP: Well, in a certain way, I love the president's loyalty because there's nothing better than loyalty. At certain points in time, and not because somebody's bad or doing a bad job. Sometimes a change is important, and when you look at the level of popularity, when you look at a lot of things having to do with the president, perhaps a change is something that he should be doing. But at the same time, he is a very loyal man and you really have to commend him for that.

BLITZER: Why wouldn't you fire Donald Rumsfeld, if he worked to you, and helped get you into this mess, as you described it, in Iraq?

TRUMP: Well, I'm not saying I wouldn't fire him. I'm saying I don't think the president will, and based on what's been said over the last couple of days, he certainly doesn't seem like he's going to fire Rumsfeld. But the war is a disaster. I think it's only going to get worse, and it's a shame.

We have these great, great soldiers, these unbelievable soldiers over there, and you know what's happening, you know what's happening better than I do. It's a very sad situation. I think probably something would be done by most people. I don't think this president will fire Secretary Rumsfeld.

BLITZER: Let me press you. Would you?

TRUMP: Well, I would make a change. I would do something to get out of that war as quickly as possible. Because I think the inevitable result, and this has nothing to do with our fighting men, this has nothing to do with anything. The inevitable result is disaster. The inevitable result is civil war. It's now, it's happening all around us, despite the soldiers. And I think that probably sometimes you can just say, let's declare victory and leave. BLITZER: Everybody knows you're a world class executive, a manager. How would you -- if the president called you into the Oval Office and said, the Donald, I need some help. How do I extricate myself from this blunder, from this mess? What would you tell him?

TRUMP: Well, you know, years ago, when I was going to college, Wolf, everybody said, in Vietnam, declare victory and get out, OK? Maybe that's what we should be doing. Just say, hey, we won the war, and now, lots of luck, folks. Because, what's happening there is just something that's inevitable. Now, we have a bigger problem. We have a lot bigger problems than Iraq.

We have a problem in Iran where they are making nuclear missiles and in my opinion, they are going to be shortly making nuclear missiles. Certainly, they are working on the experiment, and they are learning a lot very quickly, and they are doing things very quickly, and within a couple of years we are going to be in real trouble if something's not done about that.

Now the only thing I can say, and the thing I like most about what's happening in Iraq, and the only thing good to come out of Iraq, is you happen to be based right next to Iran. But something has to be done with Iran, and something has to be done with North Korea.

BLITZER: Critical issues, no doubt. Let's talk a little about politics. We did some research. We found out that you donated $6,000 to John McCain and the Straight Talk America PAC, $2,900 to Senator Hillary Clinton. Both of them potentially front-runners for their respective parties' presidential nominations. Are you hedging your bet?

TRUMP: No, I'm not hedging my bets. I know both of them, I respect both of them. Hillary Clinton is a fantastic woman who I've known for a long time, and I know her husband very well. And they're, you know, terrific people.

And John McCain, I think I was the first person ever to contribute to his campaign when he was running years and years ago. A friend of his asked me to make a contribution, I did. I heard it was the first contribution, political contribution, he ever got.

No, I'm not hedging my bets. They have a long way to go. I mean, they're going to be pretty rough primaries. I think it's going to be tough for anybody to get through those primaries alive. It's going to be a long road for all of them, but it'll be interesting to see.

I think Hillary actually has probably the easier road in the Democratic primary, and John has a little bit tougher road because he tends to be a little bit on the liberal side, as you probably have heard.

BLITZER: I know you're a Republican. Who would you vote for in a Hillary Clinton, John McCain presidential contest, if that were to happen?

TRUMP: Well, let's say it's not a question that I'm going to answer, but I think a lot of both people.

BLITZER: You like them both. What about Rudy Giuliani?

TRUMP: He's terrific. I was with him this weekend. He's a terrific guy, and of course he has -- certainly hedges that nobody knows if Rudy's running, but he's a fantastic guy. He did a great job as mayor, and he's another one. I mean, you have many, many very talented people running or looking to run or at least thinking about it, and certainly Rudy's one of them.

BLITZER: The chairman of the New York State Independent Party, Frank MacKay, put up a Web site the other day, a draft Donald Trump for president site. I'll read you a line from it. He says, "America needs a decisive CEO-style president to straighten out Washington, not another politician. We need a candidate that can awaken the electorate in 2008 with a serious, non-partisan political agenda."

I remember a few years ago we spoke, and you were thinking at that time, fairly seriously, about running for president. Is that out of your agenda right now or is that something that's possible?

TRUMP: Well, first of all, his statement -- and he's a very highly respected guy, as you know. He's done an amazing job with the Independent Party, and his statement is correct. I mean, they need something in Washington and they need that somebody and that something fast. So the statement itself I agree with.

I am having such a great time doing what I'm doing in the world of real estate, and now, all of sudden, the world of television with the great success of "The Apprentice." Who would have thought this would have gone to the number one show on television? Certainly not you, Wolf, when you were interviewing me just before we went on. And, you know, it just became this tremendous success. It continues to be this big success, and I'm having a lot of fun doing it.

So I'm honored by Frank. I tell you, he's a great guy. He's a very respected guy, and especially around, you know, the New York parts. His party could very well be the third party, and I think probably will end up being the third party very soon.

BLITZER: So can we take from that that you're removing yourself as a possible candidate for either president or senate or governor or mayor or anything along those lines, at least for the foreseeable future?

TRUMP: Well, as you know, they asked me to run for governor very strongly, and a number of people asked me to run from all different sectors. And the answer is no, and I'm also a big supporter -- and a very big supporter -- of Eliot Spitzer.

In fact, I was sort of joking with Eliot, wouldn't it be interesting -- I'm a contributor to Eliot. I believe in Eliot. He's a great man. He's going to be a great governor. And wouldn't it be interesting if I contributed to his campaign and then ran against him. That would be a first in the history of politics, I think.

BLITZER: Probably would be. He's the Democratic candidate of governor of New York State.

Let's talk a little bit about this land that you're donating to New York State. It's 436, a suburb of New York City, Westchester County, $100 million has been its estimate value. Everybody knows that you're a developer. You're not just somebody who gives away land. Why aren't you developing this land?

TRUMP: Well, I've had the land a long time. I bought it a long time ago. It's right along the Taconic Parkway, which for your national viewers, is just a great location. And I looked at it. I looked at it many, many times. It's zoned for residential. It would be terrific, but it really sets up unbelievably well for the state to do a great park, and I think it'll be one of the most beautiful parks in the country when they're finished.

And it's a contribution I'm making. It's a very valuable piece of land, as you can imagine. And it's a contribution I'm making to the state, and the state has decided to do an amazing park. And when it's finished, I think it will be one of the most beautiful anywhere.

BLITZER: And it's going to be called the "Donald Trump State Park," is that right?

TRUMP: Well, I was honored when Governor Pataki, who we were on the land -- actually, we were on the land yesterday, I almost changed my mind; it was so beautiful on this piece of land. I was standing at the top of this hill, overlooking the Hudson River and the Hudson Valley, and I almost changed my mind at the news conference.

I said, You know, maybe I shouldn't be doing this. But the fact is, it's a great piece of land and I was very honored when Governor Pataki announced that he was going to name it the "Donald J. Trump State Park." That was very nice of him.

BLITZER: Thanks for doing that, on behalf of all of the residents of New York state and the visitors who will be coming from other states as well.

We're almost out of time, but I want to talk to you about your wife, Melania. She gave birth three weeks ago to Baron. We got some new pictures today from our sister publication, "People" magazine. I want to put those up, show our viewers some of those pictures right there. "Billion Dollar Baby," that's what they call Baron.

How does it feel to be a dad at this -- middle age, let's say, that you are, because you're not that old. I'm relatively the same age.

TRUMP: I'm 59, and I feel very good, and it's probably keeping me young. And the "New York Post" had Baron on the cover today, so he's a very famous child at three weeks old. But the fact is that Melania is a great wife and a great mother, and I'm very honored by it. And Baron is healthy and beautiful, and it's terrific.

BLITZER: A beautiful picture, a beautiful baby -- have you started changing diapers yet? TRUMP: I haven't, but I would, if necessary. But you know, she's the type of mother that really wants to do that, and that's okay with me. If she wants to do it, that's absolutely fine with me.

BLITZER: All right. Donald Trump, thanks for joining us in THE SITUATION ROOM. Let's continue these conversations down the road.

TRUMP: Thank you, Wolf.


BLITZER: And still to come here in THE SITUATION ROOM, the shoe bomber and the confessed terror conspirator. Partners in crime or not? There's a new twist in the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui.

And in the future, may you be able to hail a taxi and, get this fly off to your destination? We're going to tell you about a possible new option for getting around. Miles O'Brien has that. Stay with us.


BLITZER: Zain Verjee standing by in Atlanta with a quick look at some other stories making news. Zain?

VERJEE: Wolf, prosecutors have begun their rebuttal of the defense's case in Zacarias Moussaoui's sentencing trial. Earlier today, they agreed the defense could tell the jury the government has no evidence Moussaoui and convicted would be shoe bomber Richard Reed planned to hijack an airplane on September 11th, 2001 and crash it into the White House.

Now that contradicts earlier testimony by Moussaoui himself.

Police in Cherokee County, Kansas say they've foiled an alleged plot by five teenage boys to go on a shooting rampage at a rural high school today. The five teens are under arrest. Authorities say details of the alleged scheme appeared on the Web site They say they found guns, ammunition knives and coded messages in the bedroom of one of the suspects. Charges are pending.

We told you yesterday about the scare at Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson Airport. Checkpoints were closed for two hours after a screener spotted a suspicious object in luggage going through her X- ray machine. It turns out it was all part of a routine security test. But the screener wasn't actually aware of that because of a computer software glitch. Stay tuned to CNN day and night for the most reliable news about your security.

Famed test pilot Scott Crossfield has died in a plane crash. The former World War II pilot was the first person to fly at twice the speed of sound. Crossfield was flying from Prattville, Alabama to Virginia when his single engine Cessna disappeared from radar yesterday. Searches found the cashed plane today, just north of Atlanta. He was the only one aboard the aircraft. Scott Crossfield was 84 -- Wolf. BLITZER: Thanks very much, Zain, for that. Let's get back to our top story. The U.S. China relationship. China's tight control over speech continues to pose serious problems for U.S. Companies wishing to operate in that country. Internet giant Yahoo! is under fire. A watchdog group says the company helped the Chinese police actually identify a dissident. For more now, let's turn to our Internet reporter once again, Abbi Tatton -- Abbi.

ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Wolf, Reporters Without Borders says Yahoo! helped Chinese police identify a pro-democracy activist in China through his Yahoo! email account. The watchdog group staged a protest outside Yahoo! headquarters earlier this month over two other cases in which it says Yahoo! turned over information in a similar way.

We tried to reach Yahoo! today for comment but were unable. Yahoo!'s general counsel told House committee earlier this year that the company has to comply with local laws and local commands from law enforcement, otherwise its own workers, its own employees might face criminal action. Yahoo! is one of several Internet groups, recently criticized for their business practices in China -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Abbi, for that.

Up ahead, going after illegal workers by going after their employers. What do you think of that? Jack Cafferty has your email.


BLITZER: Time now to check in with Jack Cafferty once again with "The Cafferty File." Jack?

CAFFERTY: Wolf, you can tell the midterm elections are getting closer. Homeland security secretary Michael Chertoff announced that the United States is going to crack down on companies that hire illegal aliens. Wow, what a concept. This comes after federal agents in fact arrested seven managers and more than 1,000 illegal aliens in 26 states across the country. The question is, should federal authorities go after more employers of illegal immigrants. Duh. That was my response.

Becky in Amarillo, Texas. "So the question is should federal authorities enforce the laws they are sworn to uphold and enforce? You bet they should and they should be doing a whole lot more of it."

Susan in Los Angeles. "As a manufacturer, I make every attempt to follow the law. When potential employees present their documentation, Social Security cards, green cards, and they look real, there has been nowhere for the average small business to check to see if they are real or not. Until the U.S. government comes up with some system that we can check before we hire, it's unfair to go after the business."

Tom writes, "Here's a wacky idea, Jack, what if those U.S. companies that stand to profit most when hiring illegal aliens were to establish corporate towns to house their workers? They could feed them, educate them, house them and keep track of them for a prescribed number of years and then free them into the system as U.S. systems."

A. in Colleyville, Texas. "It's so simple it boggles my mind. Tackle the employer and most of the problem disappears. I am an employer and I believe that maintaining a fair and level playing field is one of the few roles government should play."

And Virg in Cape Coral, Florida, "Jack, another blinding glimpse of the obvious" -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks, Jack, and thanks Virg.

Coming up, getting a taxi may soon mean taking a taxi to the airport? We're going to tell you about the possibility of a much more convenient way of getting around this is something you're going to want to stick around and see. Stay with us.


BLITZER: You're back in THE SITUATION ROOM. Thanks very much for joining us. If you are dreading those long waits at the airport this summer, CNN's Miles O'Brien shows us a good alternative. Miles?

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, there is nothing glamorous or easy about business air travel, especially since 9/11. Long lines, overcrowded, delayed and cancelled flights all add to the aggravation. Wouldn't it be cool if hopping in a plane were as easy as hailing a cab?


O'BRIEN (voice-over): Ken Stackpoole of Embry Riddle (ph) Aeronautical University says the future of air travel is in smaller planes flying to smaller airports.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the positives of using small aircrafts in the small airports is the small airports are usually closer to the real destination that you want to get to.

O'BRIEN: Just one reason why Stackpoole says the air taxi concept is ready for takeoff. In fact, he says air taxi operators are already lined up to buy a new fleet of very light jets. Once FAA certification comes through.

And the taxi fare for passengers? About a dollar per mile.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Within the next couple of years you're going to be able to go to your nearest airport, flag down your air taxi pilot and fly to your destination quicker, less expensive and at the time that you choose to fly rather than on an airline schedule as we fly today.


O'BRIEN (on camera): Stackpoole says these air taxi jets will have the latest satellite-based navigation technology so they can safely and reliably fly to smaller airports that are not equipped with control towers or more sophisticated ground-based equipment -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Miles, thank you very much for that and remember, we're here in THE SITUATION ROOM weekday afternoons from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Eastern. We're back at 7:00 p.m. Eastern in just an hour from now. We're going to have much more on today's surprise protester over at the White House and CNN's Jeanne Moos will join us also with some other memorable moments in the history of harassment of world leaders.

Until then, thanks for joining us. Kitty Pilgrim filling in for Lou tonight -- Kitty.