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The Situation Room

Gonzales: Round Two; Putin's Slap at America; 'High Crimes': Ex-Official Blasts President Bush; Interview with Drew Barrymore

Aired May 10, 2007 - 17:00   ET


JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bernie in Massachusetts: "We voters gave the president a strong message last November. The president got a report from The Baker Commission. Now, the closet moderate Republicans are coming out of their 9/11 bunkers. Impeachment will give this president no further decision-making power. It's impeachment time."
Joseph in New York writes: "Iraq has a democratically elected government. They are, and by rights ought to be, sovereign, when it comes to policies and issues on Iraq. They seem to be moving in the direction of getting foreign forces off their soil. Therefore, the decision should obviously be made by the decider, George W. Bush. It's only logical."


BLITZER: Jack, thank you.

And to our viewers you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Happening now, President Bush pleads for more time in Iraq and he's willing to give Congress something in order to get it.

Is there new room for compromise?

From Hollywood to the fight against hunger -- one of "People" magazine's beautiful people is now a United Nations ambassador. The actress Drew Barrymore, here in THE SITUATION ROOM this hour.

And Oscar winning filmmaker Michael Moore is one of the president's fiercest critics.

So why is the Bush administration now investigating him?

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

President Bush is playing for time, trying to hold off Congressional demands for Iraq deadline while giving the military more room to maneuver. Today, he suggested there is new room for compromise. That came during a visit over at the Pentagon.

Let's turn to senior Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre.

What's the president offering -- Jamie.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the president met with both the chairman of the joint chiefs, the joint chiefs and his defense secretary here in the Pentagon. And when he came out, he again made a plea for patience.


MCINTYRE (voice-over): The U.S. troop buildup in Iraq is aimed at buying time for the Baghdad government to foster political reconciliation. President Bush emerged from his Pentagon meeting with Defense Secretary Gates and the joint chiefs asking for much the same thing -- more time and a little political reconciliation.

GEORGE BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Why don't we wait and see what happens?

Let's give this plan a chance to work. Let's stop playing politics. You know, it's one thing to have a good honest debate about the way forward in Iraq, it's another thing to put our troops right in the middle of that debate.


MCINTYRE: Bush implored Congress to send him an Iraq War funding bill with no strings attached and in return, offered to work with Republicans and Democrats on bipartisan benchmarks to judge success in the months ahead.

BUSH: Time is running out because the longer we wait, the more strain we're going to put on the military.

GEN. RICHARD CODY, ARMY VICE CHIEF OF STAFF: We started this war with an army that was too small, a Marine Corps that was too small and the successive deployments are taking toll on our families and on our soldiers.

MCINTYRE: General Dick Cody is the Army's number two general. He told CNN's Heidi Collins that after six years of war, the U.S. military is feeling the strain.

CODY: And our retention rates right now are holding pretty -- pretty well. But this plus up bears watching.


MCINTYRE: And, Wolf, just within the last hour, the U.S. Army has released its latest recruiting and retention figures for the month of April. and for the 23rd month in a row, the active duty Army has met its goals.

But the Army Reserve is still lagging slightly, partly because so many soldiers are staying on active duty -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Jamie, thanks very much.

Jamie McIntyre at the Pentagon.

He was America's closest ally, but Tony Blair's allegiance and especially his commitment to the war in Iraq lead critics to call him President Bush's "poodle."

Now Mr. Blair says he'll be stepping down as prime minister late next month.

Let's go to London.

Our chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour is standing by.

I suppose this is an end of an era -- Christiane.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is, indeed, an end of an era, Wolf.

And what you just quoted -- I was always surprised, why did they say poodle?

That's not an even an English dog. And I think basically most of your viewers will appreciate that that one tabloid headline will never justify and do justice to 10 years of a political career that brought Labor and made it electable, that saw him the first ever Labor leader elected three times by the public and had so many successes, although Iraq will be a lasting and negative legacy.

He went today to say good-bye to the people who loved him in his home constituency of Sheffield. Those are the people who catapulted him to power 10 years ago.


AMANPOUR (voice-over): For a moment, the old Blair was back -- the bounce in his step, the charisma, the exuberant smile...


AMANPOUR: ... as he said good-bye to the same party faithful who sent him into office 10 years ago.

When it came to foreign friendships, he out shown even Margaret Thatcher in resolutely backing President George W. Bush right to the bitter end.

BLAIR: And then came the utterly unanticipated and dramatic September the 11th, 2001, and the death of 3,000 or more on the streets of New York. And I decided we should stand shoulder to shoulder with our oldest ally.

AMANPOUR: He said he did it out of belief and admitted the Iraq War had become bitterly controversial.

BLAIR: The blowback since from global terrorism and those elements that support it has been fierce and unrelenting and costly.

AMANPOUR: The Iraq blowback has cost Blair his premiership, his creditability and the affection of his people. It's been said never before has a politician paid such a high price for friendship with a U.S. president.

But even on this day, Blair insists on seeing the war through, saying the terrorists will never give up if we give up.

Historians will record Blair's unique moral vision did bring significant successes -- peace in Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Sierra Leone; relieving poverty in Africa; lifting the economy and living standings here at home.

But it will be Iraq, the memory of hundreds of thousands of ordinary Britons saying no to the war, no to standing so close to President Bush, that casts a long shadow over his legacy.

And by his farewell, Blair seems to know it, too.

BLAIR: I give my thanks to you, the British people, for the times that I've succeeded and my apologies to you for the times I've fallen short.


AMANPOUR: Apologizes, he said, for the times he had fallen short. And, with that, he said "Good luck," and out he went. He plunged himself into the crowds outside, sharing memories, shaking hands and looking, for a moment, like the Tony Blair who won that historic election 10 years ago almost to the day -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Christiane Amanpour reporting for us from London.

Thanks, Christiane.

The man almost certain to become Britain's next prime minister is a bit of an enigma.

Britain's Treasury Chief, Gordon Brown, has stood in Tony Blair's shadow for a decade. They've been rivals for longer, getting their start in parliament the same year.

Brown resides next door to the current prime minister, at Number 11 Downing Street.

Like Mr. Blair, he's married with young children. And where Tony Blair was known for his friendship with President Bush, Gordon Brown has close ties to Democrats and actually vacations in Massachusetts.

Jack Cafferty is in New York with The Cafferty File -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tony Blair is one of the best off the cuff political speakers I think I've ever heard, Wolf.

What about you?

BLITZER: Oh, he's -- he's so impressive.

CAFFERTY: Unbelievable.


CAFFERTY: Oklahoma -- mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. Democratic Governor Brad Henry signed a sweeping bill this week that clamps down on illegal aliens. It passed by the Oklahoma legislature by overwhelming margins -- 84-14 in the house, 41-6 in the senate. And it's being called the country's most meaningful attempt to deny jobs and public benefits to illegal aliens.

Only Georgia and Colorado have passed similar laws.

Among other things, the Oklahoma law targets employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens for a competitive advantage; focus on determining worker eligibility. Public agencies and private companies will be required to use technology that screens Social Security numbers to make sure they're real and to make sure they match up with the job applicant's name -- what a concept; limits state drivers licenses and I.D. cards to citizens and legal immigrants; and requires state and local agencies to verify the citizenship and immigration status for applicants for state or local benefits.

Governor Henry says illegal immigration is a serious national security issue that needs to be addressed at the federal level.

Quoting now: "States can take some actions on their own, but until the U.S. Congress enacts a comprehensive national immigration policy, citizens will see little progress on this issue."

So here's the question -- in the absence of enforcement of the nation's immigration laws by the federal government, is Oklahoma right to crack down on its own?

E-mail your thoughts to or go to -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jack, thanks for that.

Up ahead, one of "People" magazine's beautiful people joining the fight against world hunger -- the actress and now U.N. ambassador Drew Barrymore. She's standing by to join us here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin commemorates the victory over the Nazis and then compares American policies to those of the Third Reich.

What's behind the criticism?

And a former Bush administration official accusing the president of high crimes and misdemeanors.

Is he now calling for impeachment?

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


BLITZER: Welcome back. Drew Barrymore is on a new mission. This week, the actress was named Ambassador -- or, United Nations Ambassador, actually -- Against Hunger for the U.N.'s World Food Program.

She and newly appointed World Food Program's Executive Director, Josette Sheeran, are joining us here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Guys, thanks very much for coming in.

Really important work. There are so many causes out there, Drew.


BLITZER: What drew you, if you'll forgive the pun, to this particular cause?

BARRYMORE: Well, I was reading an article in the "New York Times" and -- about school feeding programs. And I work in documentary now, which is a form of film that I'm comfortable in, but it's a via (ph) where I can learn about the world -- other cultures, what's important.

The last documentary I did was about voting. And I went and called the U.N. and said if you have a chance or there's an opportunity where I could go to Africa and bring my crew and start filming, it would be wonderful.

That was a year-and-a-half ago. I have made numerous trips to Africa . And, most importantly, I've gone into these schools, numerous schools -- at least 10, to be specific. And to learn from what these children are teaching me is extraordinary.

BLITZER: It's been so rewarding for you, too.

I want you to look at some of the pictures. Look behind you and tell us what you're seeing.

Now, this was a recent trip.

Where was this, in Kenya?

BARRYMORE: That was in Kenya.

That's in a school in Kabira, which is the largest slum in Africa, a million people -- a beautiful school called Stara. And these children -- their incentive to go to school is to get one cup of food a day. And what that one cup enables them is to have the concentration to learn, which, in turn, will not only change their lives, but the future of our world.

BLITZER: As we look at these pictures, I want to just bring facts out there from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.

Hunger and poverty claim 25,000 lives every single day. Every five seconds a child dies because she or he is hungry. And get this -- 820 million people in developing countries alone are hungry, one in four lives in sub-Saharan Africa.

Drew, when you saw this unfold when you were in Africa, what was going through your mind?

These are -- it's one thing to see these statistics but when you see these little kids, it must be so awful.

BARRYMORE: Well, the individual, you know, cost is $0.18 a day, $21 a year.

BLITZER: To save a life?

BARRYMORE: To put the children through school and to have a meal. And a lot of these children share the meal with the rest of their family, who, in turn, have some who have HIV, who can't take the medicine without the food.

Food is the root to this tree, with so many branches. And there is doable numbers in order to change this and turn this around, which is why we're here in Washington.

BLITZER: And, Josette, I want to talk a little bit about that.

You're the executive director of the World Food Program right now.

Just assure everyone that the money people give to this worthy cause, that it actually goes to where it's supposed to go. Because I remember in '94, I remember all the food in Somalia, people were starving and then the war lords came in and they grabbed all those containers. You remember that.

What -- what's been done to make sure that the food is going to those kids, those starving people who really need it?

JOSETTE SHEERAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WORLD FOOD PROGRAM: Well, Wolf, the World Food Program is not only the world's largest humanitarian organization, it's the world's most efficient. We only spend 7 percent of our budget on overhead. Ninety-three percent goes to food. We have the toughest monitoring conditions in the world, and assessment conditions, about where the food is delivered.

Plus, we're out there in deep field. The cost/benefit return is huge. This cup is from northern Uganda. It takes $21 a year to fill it for a child. This can sustain them and their life...

BLITZER: For a year?

SHEERAN: For a year. This is what they get -- one cup full a year of porridge in here.

But the difference that it makes is everything.

Also, for girls in school, we give one little bag of food -- it costs a penny a day -- to take home. And the numbers of girls going to school changes dramatically with that little bag of food. Their fathers are telling them go to school, get the bag of food.

But we have people out in the field. We monitor and ensure that it's delivered. We have tightened this up and it is an extremely effective of monitoring.

BLITZER: That's reassuring.


BLITZER: Good to know.

Now, you're here in Washington, Drew?


BLITZER: Tell us why you've come to Washington, because you were up on Capitol Hill today.

BARRYMORE: We came to lobby for the McGovern-Dole Bill.

BLITZER: Tell us what that is.

BARRYMORE: It's a bill that will raise, hopefully -- right they're at about $100 million and we're hoping to make that a consistent and permanent thing over the next five years that would increase every year in its number.

And what it means is stability for these kids in these schools with the food. And I think that's the most important part, is that you just want these children to have the little opportunity that they do, and to not have that be taken away from them.

SHEERAN: Well, we -- we feed 20 million children a year in school.

BLITZER: The World Food Program?

SHEERAN: And -- 20 million in school, the World Food Program a year. And if we can make this stable and consistent, these schools graduate -- 28 countries have graduated from the school feeding program and now sustain it through their own countries. Countries like Jordan this year, now the government has taken over the school feeding program.

So we feel this is something, once we start, the idea can take hold and it can be rooted within the country itself.

BLITZER: Now, a lot of people are out there watching this, Drew, right now.

What -- what do -- what can they do to help?

You say $0.18 a day can save the life of a kid in Africa who is starving.

BARRYMORE: Yes. BLITZER: How do -- how do our viewers help you and Josette and everybody else involved with this?

BARRYMORE: They can donate to the WFP, which really is...

BLITZER: There's a Web site they can go to.

BARRYMORE: You recognize the name. They're the ones who are out there giving the food around the world internationally. And what's so great about this bill is that it is America donating internationally.

So I think the goodwill and those two things coming together is an extraordinary thing. And you can lobby to your congressman and senator to help pass this through, because it's one small portion, but it's an extraordinary portion. And it can make a huge difference in stability over the next five years.

BLITZER: So you're an ambassador right now, Drew?


BLITZER: I mean how does that feel?

And what -- do I have to call you Madam Ambassador?

BARRYMORE: I don't take the term lightly. And what I love about the World Food Program is that I've worked with them now for almost a couple of years and I've been in the field with them numerous times. And it is only now that I've been bestowed such an extraordinary honor and responsibility.

This is a group that is in the field doing the work. And they're not about the glamour. They're about the reality and the making it happen and the doing it.

And I'm so honored to be a part of them. And now I just look to see what more I can do in the future.

BLITZER: All right, we...

SHEERAN: She earned this title by winning the hearts of these children out in the field.

BLITZER: Were you with her, Josette?

SHEERAN: We -- no, but I have seen her there and we're planning our next trip together.


BLITZER: When are you leaving?

SHEERAN: We're taking of going to Darfur.

BLITZER: When are you going?

SHEERAN: Yes. Well, I just got back from Darfur. But I think this is where we've decided it would be most important to go next.

BLITZER: Do you want to go to Sudan and see what's going on?

BARRYMORE: Yes, I do. I spent time a lot of time in Kenya, all over the country. And now we're talking about going to Sudan and Darfur. And it'll be about where is necessary next. There's so much need and I just think it's amazing for me to have this opportunity and to have found a place that is so prestigious and so -- such doers that I can be a part of and continue to learn and then share that awareness. It's the best opportunity.

BLITZER: And as much as you're helping these kids in this really worthy cause, you're benefiting yourself?

BARRYMORE: Well, I'm learning so much about the world and what the priorities are of the people that I'm encountering.

BLITZER: So this has really changed you?

BARRYMORE: It's changed me fundamentally as a human being. To listen to children and when you ask what they need, it's this one cup of food, it's pen and paper, school supplies. It's -- it's life altering. And it has humbled me to the core. And I want to do nothing...

BLITZER: When these...

BARRYMORE: ... but everything I can.

BLITZER: When these stars, Josette, get involved -- whether George Clooney or Angelina Jolie or Drew Barrymore -- it really raises the profile and helps you enormously, doesn't it?

SHEERAN: Well, what's so beautiful to see about Drew is she's using her status in the world to help the people that are the least powerless in the world, or the most powerless in the world. And so these children are often victims of their circumstances.

And her voice can really help them connect to people who want to make a difference.

$0.18 a day is so powerful, almost anyone in America can do that and help.

I also want to thank the American people. Food For Peace was started by Senator Kennedy. This was the beginning of all of this. And it's changing people's lives.

In Darfur, we feed two million people a day. I was just there. We've cut acute malnutrition in half...

BLITZER: Give us the Web site.

SHEERAN: ... through the Food Program.

BLITZER: What's the -- where -- the Web site address is? SHEERAN: It's

BLITZER: .org?

It's on the screen right now.


BLITZER: There you see it right now.

Drew, we're out of time.

But look into the camera, speak to the American people right now.

Tell them something from your heart.

BARRYMORE: Well, I just want to thank you for having us on your show, first of all. And I look forward to the future and the opportunity that the World Food Program has given me to change the lives of people who are so worthy and so deserving of the opportunities of their own future.

So I encourage you to give money to this program and to support this bill because it is the most -- the most worthy cause that I've ever been involved in my life.

BLITZER: Drew Barrymore, thanks for your good work and thanks for coming in.

BARRYMORE: Josette, an old friend of ours here at CNN, thanks to you, as well.

SHEERAN: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks to both of you for your important work.

And still to come here in THE SITUATION ROOM, the attorney of the United States, Alberto Gonzales, takes to Capitol Hill for round two.

But did House Democrats uncover any new ground?

Our Justice Department correspondent Kelli Arena is standing by with the story.

And Oscar winning director Michael Moore took a trip to Cuba. Now the government investigates one of its biggest critics.

Is it payback time?

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


BLITZER: Our Carol Costello is monitoring other stories incoming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now.

Carol -- what do you have?


A cautionary note today about the widespread use of a new cancer vaccine. Two physicians at the University of California/San Francisco say more expensive studies should be completed on the controversial cervical cancer vaccine sold as Gardasil. The vaccine, manufactured by Merck & Company, won federal approval last year. A number of states are considering legislation to make its use mandatory for girls.

A hospital in Japan has opened the country's only anonymous drop- off for unwanted babies. A small hatch on the side of the hospital allows a person to drop an infant off into an incubator day or night. An alarm alerts hospital staff to the child's arrival. The Catholic- run hospital is in a southern city in Japan. They say they hope this parent's last resort will discourage abortions and unsafe abandonment of babies.

In news affecting small businesses, older couples with a sense of adventure may want to hear this. The trucking industry is launching an ad campaign aimed at heading off a worsening shortage of long haul drivers. They're particularly interested in older couples who might want to replace worn out jobs with new ones before retiring. American trucking associations say the U.S. is short about 20,000 drivers.

That's a look at what's happening right now -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Carol, thanks for that.

And still to come, he was a top Bush administration official during the run-up to the war in Iraq. Now he's accusing the president and the vice president of high crimes and misdemeanors.

It is a call for impeachment?

And it sounds like an icy blast from the cold war.

Why is Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, likening U.S. foreign policy to that of Nazis?

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


BLITZER: To our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Happening now, Arab League delegates planning an unprecedented trip to Israel in the next few weeks. The visit was announced today after the Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, met with the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, in Cairo. She says Israel also wants to strengthen ties with Egypt.

A change in leadership over at JetBlue. The New York-based airline today removed founder David Neeleman as chief executive, although he will remain on as chairman. JetBlue suffered a major service malfunction back in February that cost the company $30 million.

And the manufacturer of OxyContin agrees to a $600 million penalty in a plea deal with the Justice Department. Purdue Pharma was charged with defrauding doctors and consumers by falsely claiming the drug is less addictive than other pain medications.

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

It was round two today for the attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, on Capitol Hill. He was pummeled by House Democrats over the firings of those U.S. attorneys. But some Republicans in his corner say enough is enough.

Let's go straight to our justice correspondent, Kelli Arena. She's joining us with the latest -- Kelli.

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: You know, Wolf, Alberto Gonzales insists that he doesn't remember any new details since the last time he appeared before Congress three weeks ago. Now, that was good enough for members of his own party, but as you could guess, it didn't fly with Democrats.


ARENA (voice over): Attorney General Alberto Gonzales finally feeling some love. Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee say they've heard enough about fired prosecutors and pushed hard to change the subject.

REP. LAMAR SMITH (R), TEXAS: If there are no fish in this lake, we should reel in our lines of questions, dock our empty boat, and turn to more pressing issues.

ARENA: But Democrats say they won't stop asking questions until they get to the bottom of why those prosecutors were fired and whether any crime was committed.

REP. ROBERT WEXLER (D), FLORIDA: With all due respect, Mr. Attorney General, you won't tell the American people who put Mr. Iglesias on the list to be fired. It's a national secret, isn't it?

ALBERTO GONZALES, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Congressman, if I knew the answer to that question, I would provide you the answer.

ARENA: There was even another call for Gonzales to resign.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: I hope you will reconsider your decision. And I hope you will resign, because the department is broken and I don't think you're the one to fix it.

ARENA: The Democrats' disdain for the attorney general was palpable and matched by the Republican disdain for the subject.

REP. DAN LUNGREN (R), CALIFORNIA: We're acting around this place like U.S. attorneys are product of the immaculate conception, and once they've been created they cannot be undone. (END VIDEOTAPE)

ARENA: There's little chance of getting Democrats to let go of this issue, though, especially since there are new allegations to deal with. Lawmakers are now investigating new charges that yet another U.S. attorney, a guy by the name of Todd Graves, was pushed out for political reasons -- Wolf.

BLITZER: But as long as the president of the United States believes he should stay, he's not going anywhere.

ARENA: He's not going anywhere.

BLITZER: Kelli, thanks for that.

Kelli arena reporting.

Is the Russian president Vladimir Putin comparing America to Nazis? His stunning comments came this week during a commemoration of the World War II defeat of Germany.

Let's go live to our senior international correspondent, Matthew Chance.

He's joining us in Moscow.

This is very disturbing stuff, Matthew. What's it all about?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly some very pointed criticism, Wolf, coming from the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, apparently directed towards the United States about its perceived dominance of global affairs.

In a speech, as you say, marking Victory Day in Red Square in the center of the Russian capital, Moscow, Vladimir Putin said that the world today faced threats just like those before the Second World War.


CHANCE (voice over): Amid the pomp of Russia's annual Victory Day parade, a stinging Cold War-style attack on the United States. The U.S. wasn't mentioned by name, but in a speech to commemorate defeat of Nazi Germany, Russian President Vladimir Putin made what analysts say was a blunt reference to current U.S. foreign policy.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): These new threats, just as under the Third Reich, share the same contempt for human life and the same aspiration to establish an exclusionive dictate over the world.

CHANCE: The Kremlin has been a vocal critic of the U.S.-led war in Iraq. It's also resisted stronger U.N. sanctions Washington wants imposed on Iran over its controversial nuclear program, developed in part with Russia's help.

More recently, tensions before the former Cold War enemies have been inflamed by U.S. plans to install elements of a missile defense system in eastern Europe. Analysts say a resurgent Kremlin, fueled by vast oil wealth, seems determined to voice ever-stronger anti-U.S. criticism.

And the choice of venue for the latest attack was symbolic. The defeat of Nazi Germany is commemorated with a nationalistic passion here. Annual parades through Red Square in Moscow, where Russia remembers its own painful sacrifice -- 27 million lives lost. It seems under Vladimir Putin they've become a venue for political point- scoring as well.


CHANCE: Well, relations between the two countries remain complicated on a whole range of issues, Wolf. U.S. officials say that the two former Cold War enemies are still very much on speaking terms, emphasizing the friendship that still exists between the two leaders, President Bush and Vladimir Putin.

Back to you.

BLITZER: Now, tell our viewers, Matthew, how the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, reacted to these really, really tough words from Putin.

CHANCE: Well, she didn't respond to them directly, but she certainly expressed Washington's view that it is deeply concerned about the direction in which Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, is taking this country. She again expressed concerns about the plight of democracy in Russia, about the plight of press freedom. That's been -- that's been restated repeatedly by administration officials.

And so, there are obviously a great deal of concerns that Washington has too about the direction Moscow is taking.

BLITZER: Matthew Chance reporting for us from Moscow.

We're going to stay on top of this story. U.S.-Russian relations on the line right now.

Up ahead, "What If?" What if the world took climate change seriously?

Our special correspondent, Frank Sesno, takes a peak over the horizon.

And the controversial filmmaker Michael Moore in the middle of yet another controversy, but this time he's under investigation by the federal government. We'll tell you what's going on.

Carol Costello standing by to explain.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: A former Bush administration official during the run-up to the war in Iraq is furious over the way things have actually turned out, and he's using some very, very strong language.

Let's go to CNN's Brian Todd. He's following the story for us.

Very tough talk. What's it all about, Brian?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Colin Powell's former chief aide who was instrumental in preparing Powell's case for the Iraq war before the United Nations in 2003 now says he believes that current members of the Bush administration, top members, could at least be investigated for possible impeachment.

I got off the phone a short time ago with Colonel Larry Wilkerson. Here's what he said.


COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON, U.S. ARMY (RET.): There is a building body of evidence that this leadership team -- principally Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, but the president, who ultimately bears responsibility, too -- have done things that would make a reasonable separate and equal body of government consider impeachment.


TODD: Wilkerson, who was Powell's chief of staff at the State Department until Powell left the administration in 2005, said he is not calling for impeachment outright. But when I asked him what's so- called "high crimes" for possible impeachment he would investigate, here's what he said.


WILKERSON: I would start my investigation into the detainee abuse issue, which constitutes, I think, a defilement of everything America stands for, and has done irreparable damage to our reputation, and thus to our power around the world. If that doesn't rate a 'high crime' definition, I don't know what does.


TODD: Wilkerson said he would also look at the run-up to war, and what he called the doctoring of intelligence.

Now, we contacted the White House for comment. A spokeswoman said, "We appreciated everyone's right to free speech." She went on to say, "Every American has a right to free speech, but not a right to a different set of facts."

Aides to Vice President Cheney and Colin Powell said they would not comment. We're still waiting to hear back from Donald Rumsfeld's office -- Wolf.

BLITZER: We'll stay on top of this story. Thank you, Brian, for that.

The filmmaker Michael Moore is ruffling feathers once again. This time it's the government he's ticked off, and this time it could cost him millions.

CNN's Carol Costello once again joining us. She's got the story.

What did Michael Moore potentially do this time, Carol?

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, oddly enough, he might have violated U.S. trade embargo against Cuba. It centers around Moore's new documentary, a documentary that isn't even out yet.


COSTELLO (voice over): Michael Moore is in trouble with the feds. This time over his latest documentary, "Sicko". It takes what Moore calls a hard look at U.S. health care by flying sick rescue workers of 9/11 to Castro's Cuba for medical treatment.

The Treasury Department called Moore's trip to Cuba a possible trade embargo violation. It is now conduction a "... civil investigation for possible unlicensed transactions..."

It is illegal for U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba without permission or purchase anything from Cuba, including medical care. If found guilty, Moore could be fined up to $1 million per violation.

(on camera): You do think that this whole thing was politically motivated?

JOANNE DOROSHOW, "SICKO" COORDINATING PRODUCER: Well, I think the timing of it suggests that there were politics behind this, certainly.

COSTELLO (voice over): Moore is a frequent target of conservatives.

Fred Thompson, a Republican who may run for president, wrote about "Sicko" for "The National Review Online," saying, "I defend his right to do what he does, but Moore's talent for clever falsehoods has been too well documented."

Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" is usually the proof they offer. The enormously popular documentary painted President Bush as a buffoon in the days after 9/11.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If I hit every shot good, people would say I wasn't working.

COSTELLO: And "Fahrenheit" was anti-Iraq war. The documentary so inflammatory, Senator John McCain brought it up at the Republican National convention in 2004 as he made the case for the war.

JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Certainly not a disingenuous filmmaker who would have us believe that Saddam's Iraq was an oasis of peace, when in fact -- when in fact it was a place of indescribable cruelty.

COSTELLO: Moore, who was there, seemed to tip his hat. And then he laughed.

We called the Treasury Department for comment. It would only say it "... issues hundreds of letters each year asking for additional information when possible sanctions violations have occurred."


COSTELLO: Now, Moore says as a precaution he has locked up "Sicko," his documentary, at a safe house outside of the United States. He's afraid the U.S. government will confiscate it.

Wolf, the documentary is set to be released to the public in June.

BLITZER: It's causing quite a stir already.

Thanks for that, Carol.

The rules for travel to Cuba, by the way, involving U.S. citizens are pretty specific. Under U.S. law, Americans are licensed to travel there by the Treasury Department in three general categories.

Journalists: They must be regularly employed by a news organization and be traveling for journalistic activities. This is what Michael Moore applied under, although he went to Cuba before the application was processed.

Government officials: They must be traveling on official government business.

And professional research: The travel must be directly related to the professional's field and must be of an academic non-commercial nature.

Still ahead here in THE SITUATION ROOM, hundreds of wildfires in Florida and Georgia. What's the weather doing to try to contain these efforts?

And an average Chicago heat spell of, what, 110 degrees? There's a new study showing that may not be all that many years away. Is it too late though to do anything about it?

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


BLITZER: A new study says we could be seeing a much warmer world in the not-too-distant future. Should we be taking it seriously?


And joining us now, our special correspondent, Frank Sesno, for this week's "What If?" segment -- Frank.

FRANK SESNO, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: And what if we start with the maps to look at what's happening with this whole climate change business.

The United States of America, watch especially in the southern and northern portions. Here's a map of the temperature zones from 1990.

Zoom forward, 2006. It's just getting warmer.

And just yesterday, NASA came out with a new report, and they say by 2080 -- if you have a kid today, they'll still be around for this -- by 2080, a heat wave in Chicago could mean average temperatures of 110 degrees or so -- 100 to 110 degrees.

You know, it's already under way. We're starting to see things around the world.


SESNO (voice over): These are not pretty pictures -- melting glaciers, dying coral reefs, drought in some places, warming lakes in others, endangered species. But what if the world took climate change seriously? Maybe it's starting to. It's certainly become trendy. It can make you a rock star even if you're not one already.

But what if it were more than talk? Well, last week, the International Panel on Climate Change, experts from around the world, wrote up an action plan. And they identified lots of options.

Starting today, we could shift from coal to gas, build more nuclear power plants, move toward more efficient vehicles, manage farms and forests to reduce carbon emissions. Future technologies commercially viable within 20 years will be even more important -- high-tech renewal energy from wind, sea, sun, advanced biofuels from agriculture waste, plug-in hybrids.

I've seen GM's prototype myself. It can run on no gas at all.

And for old energy like coal, technology to capture and store the carbon released when it's burned.

What if we got serious about doing all of this? Leaders would e to lead and make some unpopular decisions -- incentives, subsidies and, yes, taxes, including a tax on carbon emissions, probably, to spur investment and move the marketplace.

Expensive? You bet. Trillions and trillions.

The climate panel says the cost could slow global growth up to five percent, a bitter pill given poverty and population pressures around the world. But if it cleared the air, it could pay dividends in both global and human health.

What if hand-wringing were replaced by action? It would be a start.


SESNO: A start, Wolf. But back to the map of the globe, and you see just how huge the problem is.

First, to China. This is a country of 1.3 billion people. They have lifted 400 million out of poverty. They have 700 million people to go. They are soon going to surpass the United States as the leading emitter of greenhouse glasses.

To Malaysia and Indonesia, we barely even think of them. They're the third largest emitters now because their rain forests are burning and their (INAUDIBLE) putting up so much of this stuff.

And, of course, the United States of America -- five percent of the world's population, 25 percent of the resources. And we all want continued economic growth.

This is really hard.

BLITZER: You've studied this, I know, very, very intensively. Will any of these solutions work, Frank?

SESNO: Well, what's interesting from the climate panel is they're all there. The technology is or will be there. It's a matter of political will. But it's also a matter of fact.

The world's population is probably going to double in the next 20 years, 30, 40 years, something like that, by 2050. And the needs for power are going to double.

And according to Nathan Lewis (ph) -- he's a professor at Cal Tech, he's a chemistry professor out there -- we would have to build a new nuclear power plant every other day for the next 50 years if we were going to address the power needs we know we're going to need without contributing to more global warming.

BLITZER: Good "What If?" segment. Thanks very much. Sobering information.

Frank Sesno.

SESNO: OK, Wolf.




BLITZER: Let's check in with Jack Cafferty for "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: The question this hour is: In the absence of enforcement of this nation's immigration laws by the federal government, is Oklahoma right to crack down on its own? That state just passed a sweeping new law designed to combat the presence of illegal aliens in the Sooner State.

Lavon in Texas writes, "Oklahoma is right to protect its citizens and crack down on illegal aliens. At this time, we do not have the correct people in Congress to enforce our immigration laws. I believe in 2008 we will have different people in Congress."

Eric in Michigan writes, "It's right for states to deal with the growing illegal problem and protect American tax dollars if the federal government fails to enforce our borders and our immigration laws. Bush's policies are a disgrace and a failure to all citizens. Our open borders and the jailing of federal border agents for doing their job sends a dangerous message to would-be terrorists and would- be illegals who want to come to America.

A. F. writes in New Haven, Connecticut , "Oklahoma can crack down on illegal immigration all they want, but if it's not a national effort, it's likely not to do much good. That being said, it seems the U.S. is actually doing more to promote illegal immigration than curb it."

"Congress cut H1B visas from 195,000 to 65,000. And this year the applications filled up in one day. If people who try to go the legal route are pushed out, aren't they more likely to throw up their hands and use alternate illegal methods?"

Jim writes, "Sounds good, doesn't work. Similar legislation here in Colorado has done no good and produced a lot of problems."

John in Alabama, "Jack, I'm not a Democrat." The governor of Oklahoma is. "However, if Oklahoma's governor ran for president after his illegal immigration crackdown law, and ran on a platform of making this happen nationwide, I'd vote for him. I wish Alabama would have the courage to do the same."

And John in Denver, "It's the greatest thing to happen to Oklahoma since Bud Wilkinson won 47 straight football games."

If you didn't see your e-mail here, you can go to We post more of them online, along with video clips of "The Cafferty File" -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jack, are we still getting a ton of e-mail coming in on questions involving immigration? In that recent poll, it was not necessarily the top tier of the issues affecting voters.

CAFFERTY: No -- I don't know. I mean, I don't know comparatively whether we get as many as we used to, but when we do a story like this one today, we do get a pretty good response.

I think now that we're in a kind of election cycle, there are a whole lot of issues on the radar. So none of them gets the attention maybe they did, you know, during an off-election time.

BLITZER: Jack, see you in an hour. Let's go to Lou Dobbs in New York.