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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Rove Testifies Again; Snow Day; White House Worries; Deadly Van Crash; Mumps Alert; Who is Al-Zarqawi?; Blood Brothers; Gas Prices: Who's Guilty?; Hybrid Hate; Return to Chernobyl

Aired April 26, 2006 - 23:00   ET

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


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: As if the president didn't have enough problems already. His friend and top Political Adviser Karl Rove, is still appearing before the federal grand jury.
ANNOUNCER: Back in court, Karl Rove, and testifying again before a grand jury.

A dreaded disease making a comeback. The mumps are spreading. Tonight, where they might be headed next.

And...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's one thing to lose one son. And that's even unthinkable. But to lose two and in a violent death and such as this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: Two brothers, both millionaires, and both murdered years apart. A family fairy tale that's turned to tragedy.

Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360. Live from the CNN broadcast center in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: We begin the hour with a simple guess. As bad as it's got to be to be indicted, it might just be worse to be left hanging for days or weeks or months. Last year, a federal grand jury indicted the vice president's chief of staff in connection with the outing of a CIA officer. It did not indict Karl Rove. But the prosecutor impaneled a second grand jury which has invited Mr. Rove back again and again, and once again today. Tonight, all the angles on the latest troubles for this White House.

CNN's John King begins.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Into federal court and the grand jury room for the fifth time. Karl Rove, hoping one more round of questions will clear him of wrongdoing in the CIA leak investigation. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and his team had no comment as they left the courthouse. And Rove said nothing about his three hours of testimony. In a statement, his attorney said Rove testified voluntarily and unconditionally and that the special counsel has advised Mr. Rove that he is not a target of the investigation. Mr. Fitzgerald has affirmed that he has made no decision concerning charges.

But Rove's conduct remains a subject of the investigation. And lawyers like Lee Blalack, familiar with such politically charged cases, called another grand jury appearance a calculated risk.

LEE BLALACK, ATTORNEY: It would be unusual for me to imagine Mr. Rove agreeing to go before the grand jury for a fifth time if they didn't think that there was a reasonable likelihood that that testimony would ultimately persuade the prosecutors or the grand jury to close the investigation.

KING: The biggest outstanding issue, why Rove did not initially tell the grand jury back in February 2004 about a key conversation with "TIME" magazine's Matt Cooper.

Eight months later, in October 2004, Rove told prosecutors he found an e-mail reminding him of the Cooper conversation, and that he had simply forgotten about it. How he came to remember is one of the case's many intriguing twists.

Rove Attorney Robert Luskin (ph) ordered the e-mail search after having drinks with "TIME" reporter Vivica Novak (ph). She told him Rove was a Cooper source and gave her account of the conversation to prosecutors back in December.

(ON CAMERA): Rove has rarely discussed the case. This was with CNN at the 2004 Republican convention.

KARL ROVE, WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: I didn't know her name and didn't leak her name.

KING (voice-over): Note he did not flatly rule out more general conversations with reporters which the White House had done earlier in defending Rove and now indicted Former Vice Presidential Aide "Scooter" Libby.

SCOTT MCCLELLAN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I spoke with those individuals, as I pointed out, and those individuals assured me they were not involved in this.

KING: Those assurances turned out hollow and sources say the president long ago voiced his displeasure to Rove. Rove lost his policy portfolio in the recent White House staff shake-up. Aides say that shift was not connected to the investigation. And associates say the man Mr. Bush calls the architect, is still very much a west wing force.

WILLIAM WEBER, FORMER GOP CONGRESSMAN: Over the last six years of this administration, Karl Rove, because of his importance to the president and his importance to the administration has pretty much been able to do what he wants to do, and I think that that's going to largely continue to be the case.

KING (on camera): Sources close to Rove say he voices confidence he will soon be cleared of any wrongdoing, but the fact that he was called before the grand jury again, not just to a private meeting with the prosecutor, is viewed by even some Rove allies as an ominous sign.

John King, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, it's safe to say that the White House would have preferred our next story to dominate coverage today, and not Karl Rove's legal situation.

The naming of Tony Snow, of "FOX News" as presidential spokesman. He is a staunch conservative, but also something of a critic.

CNN's Candy Crowley has been following his paper trail.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My job is to make decisions. And his job is to help explain those decisions to the press corps and the American people.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Good thing Tony Snow is not just another pretty face.

TONY SNOW, INCOMING WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: These are times that are going to be very challenging. We've got a lot of...

CROWLEY: He's a wordsmith. He says them on TV. He wrote them for the first President Bush. He's written them about this President Bush; last September, on a chief executive who has never used his veto.

No president has looked this impotent this long when it comes to defending presidential powers and prerogatives. With a spokesman like this, who needs the press corps?

BUSH: I asked him about those comments, and he said, you should have heard what I said about the other guy.

CROWLEY: Last December, on not living up to conservative convictions, "The Republican Party in Washington is in trouble not because it's overrun by crooks, but because it's packed with cowards."

In the beauty and the curse that is cyberspace, it didn't take Democrats long to cherry-pick their way through all those words and e- pass them to reporters.

Snow comes at the president from the right. Last month on big government, "A Republican president and a Republican congress have lost control of the federal budget and cannot resist the temptation to stop raiding the public fisc."

In an administration seen as inbred and in desperate need of traction, they are selling this as street creds for the new guy.

JULIE MASON, HOUSTON CHRONICLE: Already the White House is spinning this as a positive. Well, we need fresh blood and new opinions, and this guy has them. But some of the things he has said about the president have been extremely harsh. So it will be interesting to see how it plays in the grassroots.

CROWLEY: Take November '05 on not standing up to liberal Democrats. "The newly passive George Bush has become something of an embarrassment." As he moves on to the White House payroll, Snow's first challenge will be to speak for the president while holding on to his own credibility.

HOWARD KURTZ, THE WASHINGTON POST: Tony Snow will have to convince the press that he is not just drunk the Kool-aid and is now agreeing with the very policies he criticized when he was a columnist and radio host.

CROWLEY: And so it begins, the era of Tony Snow, White House spokesman.

SNOW: One of the reasons I took the job is not only because I believe in the president, because believe it or not, I want to work with you.

CROWLEY: Asked if he's free to keep telling the president the sorts of things he used to say, Snow replied, "probably not in those exact words." Once a wordsmith, always a wordsmith.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: What snow thinks is one thing, what he can do is another. I discussed that earlier with part of the best political team in the business, John king, John Roberts and Suzanne Malveaux.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Suzanne, you spoke with Tony Snow today. Did he say anything about those negative comments that he's made in the past or really how he's going to proceed moving forward?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, he started off kind of joking about it at first, saying, you know, the only thing that's more embarrassing than some of the things he's written is his musical abilities in his band. You know, he plays flute guitar in a local rock band, but he got a lot more serious later.

Essentially, he told us that, look, he said, I'm not here to drink the Kool-aid. I take this very seriously. And then he went on to say, look, he believes the president deserves the best counsel, the best advice. It's part of his job to actually do that. And so when he disagrees with the president, he is going to make his views known and say that. But, you know, the bottom line here is whether or not that really is going to make very much of a difference.

COOPER: Yes, John Roberts, I mean, you've covered this White House certainly a lot. You know, it's all fine to say I'm not drinking the Kool-aid and going to talk back, but the reality is he's speaking for the president.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He is. I mean, right now he's saying all the right things and I think that there's some hope within the press corps that he's going to do the right thing. He's seen as an independent thinker, he's not in the mold of a staffer. He comes from journalism, so he understands the needs, wants and desires of the White House press corps.

But he's going to find out very quickly that a lot of what he's said in the past is going to get thrown back in his face, more times than he would like it to. You know, when you call the president's energy bill a clunker, you know, it's difficult to stand up and say, well it was a good idea at any time in your life after that. I think he's going to find quickly that he's gone from pundit to piņata, and that may affect his relations with the press somewhat.

COOPER: John King, I mean, what is this White House relations with the press? How have they deteriorated in the last year or two?

KING: Well, they've deteriorated quite significantly. This was a president and a vice-president who said emphatically Saddam Hussein had chemical and biological weapons and was working on a nuclear program. They said the intelligence supported that. Now, most of the intelligence did, but there were disputes in the intelligence community that they never discussed publicly.

As you just saw, Scott McClellan went into the room one day and said Karl Rove and "Scooter" Libby assured him that they had no conversations at all with reporters about Valerie Plame and the CIA leak investigation. Well, that turned out not to be true.

This president, his administration, facing credibility questions right now. That means Tony Snow gets no honeymoon. On day one, he has to defend an unpopular war in Iraq. He's going to have to defend high gas prices. He's going to have to defend tension and friction within the Republican Party in a very critical election year. And the list is longer and longer and longer.

COOPER: And John Roberts, I mean, of all the things have to share this announcement day with having Karl Rove in court, is probably not what the communication office of the White House had hoped for. He's a subject of interest now, which could mean, I mean, he may or may not be indicted. It would be a major blow to this president and this White House if he does indeed become a target.

ROBERTS: Yes, I'm sure that Tony Snow is thankful that he's not taking over until the second week in May. But, I think that -- and first of all, let me preface this buy saying there's nothing at all to indicate that Karl Rove would be indicted, but should that happen I don't know that it's something that Republicans could survive in this election year. I don't know if they can take another blow like this, a scandal the size of Karl Rove being indicted, and not to mention losing him from the political landscape. I would think that there's a good chance that if that were to happen, that Republicans would stand a good chance of losing the House and Senate in the November elections.

COOPER: Suzanne, there has certainly been some public speculation that Rove's recent reassignment was in some way done ahead of whatever may happen in court. What does the White House say about that? Any truth to that?

MALVEAUX: Well, you know, Anderson, there's no indication of that at the White House. I mean, this has been a political headache for this administration and somewhat of a P.R. headache, as well. But clearly, when you talk to people here, they say one of the reasons, of course, Josh Bolten made that decision was so that Karl Rove could really focus on what he's good at, that's winning elections, of course. And that is their main here, it's their main concern, is that they don't have a lot of time to deal with this. They want to make sure they keep the majorities in the House and Senate.

And it's one of the reasons why Tony Snow is such a good fit because he really does reassure the conservative base that, look, I'm giving a clear articulate message of the president's agenda from this podium. Stick with the president, show up at the polls and help us win those elections.

COOPER: Yes, well, Tony Snow's honeymoon certainly will not last very long. That, we can all probably agree on. John Roberts, John King, Suzanne Malveaux, thanks.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: More breaking news tonight. This time from Indiana, Interstate 69. These are pictures that are just coming in from CNN Affiliate WISH-TV. They show the aftermath of a crash that has killed five students, we are told, from Taylor University.

All we know is that their van apparently hit or was hit by a semi trailer near Marion in Grant County. There, you can see the tractor trailer that is clearly off the road. A number of emergency vehicles are, of course, already on the scene. It's about 100 miles north of Indianapolis. We are trying to get more information and we'll bring that to you when we can.

In the Midwest and beyond, a disease long under control makes a comeback. It is the worst outbreak of mumps in decades. And it is spreading. We'll talk to 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta about the risks and what you can do to stay healthy.

Also, the most-wanted man in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, stepping out of the shadows into the spotlight yesterday with his video. Coming up, how much power does he really wield in the insurgency? And how worried should we be? Plus, a murder mystery. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIP RUSSEL, ANDREW KISSEL'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It's just such a cruel fate. And I wouldn't wish this on a dog.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Cruel fate. Two brothers, who once seemed to have it all, murdered on opposite sides of the globe. One case solved, the other has taken a strange turn. Coming up on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: If you thought mumps were a thing of the past, think again. Health officials in the Midwest are scrambling to contain the biggest outbreak of the disease in decades. In Iowa, which has been hit hardest, clinics today began offering free vaccinations for college students, which a group especially vulnerable in part because they live in close quarters. But you don't have to be in college and you don't have to live in Iowa to be at risk. At least eight other states have cases of mumps. No reason to panic, of course, but it's also not something to be taken lightly.

Earlier I talked to 360 M.D. Dr. Sanjay Gupta about the outbreak.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Sanjay, why is this happening? I mean, why are we seeing this outbreak of mumps across the country right now?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, it's interesting, Anderson. Most people don't think mumps really exist very much anymore, but it does have occasional outbreaks.

A couple reasons. If you think about the mumps vaccine, most people should actually be getting two shots; one when they're about 12 to 15 months old, and one then one when they're about 4 to 6 years old.

Now, the vaccine's been around since 1967, but it was only in the early 90s when they started mandating both shots before you could get into school.

So, you see in those kids, before they mandated those two shots, actually growing up and being college students now. They're living in close quarters. One person gets mumps and it can spread very easily.

COOPER: And how bad can the disease get?

GUPTA: You know, it can get quite bad. It's just probably not going to kill somebody, but you can get pretty high fevers. You also get the sort of swollen parotid glands, these glands back here. Sort of makes you look like a chipmunk. It can also affect some of the other glands in your body. Rarely it can cause sterility in men and women.

In adults, it can be a little bit worse, Anderson, sometimes causing inflammation of the brain, called encephalitis. But for the most part, people will get through it.

COOPER: How long does it last for? What's the solution?

GUPTA: Well, you know, it can last a few days, even up to a week at some times. The solution really, what's happening right now, is they're trying to get extra vaccine out here. See, the first vaccine shot gives you about 80 percent protection. You get the second shot and you're about 90 percent protected. So, the goal really is to try and vaccinate as many people as possible.

I should point out as well, Anderson, if you've ever had the mumps, you're probably protected for life, so you don't need one of these shots. Anderson, you should check and find out if you've had that second shot. If you haven't, it might be something you want to do.

COOPER: Yes, I was born in '67, so chances are maybe I haven't. I'll look -- try to look into it.

Sanjay, scary stuff. Thanks.

GUPTA: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, before the recent outbreak, it seemed as if mumps were a thing of the past. But they are not and neither are some other forgotten diseases. Here's the raw data:

Diphtheria, which has been eradicated for the most part, well the U.S. is getting fewer than five cases annually.

There were no polio cases in the U.S. for more than two decades until five cases were reported in an Amish community last year.

The plague that wiped out most of Europe during the middle ages, that is still around, believe it or not. Ten to 15 Americans get it every year, one recently in Los Angeles.

And leprosy, otherwise known as Hansen's disease, still hits about 100 people in the U.S. every year.

Coming up, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. He's got a $25 million price tag on his head. Don't expect those in the know to rat him out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Excuse me, sir, can we talk to you about Abu Musab, your brother-in-law, is that possible?

You don't -- nothing -- you don't want to say? (END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Coming up, CNN's Nic Robertson on the support behind Iraq's most-wanted terrorist, tracks him down to his hometown.

Also, two brothers, both rich, both murdered half a world apart. Across the country and around the world, you're watching 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: The cunning and elusive terrorist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, has long topped the list of the most-wanted terrorists in Iraq. Yesterday in what practically seemed like a movie premiere, a new videotape of al-Zarqawi got major TV and internet play. Pure propaganda and full of threats and bluster, left many watchers wanting to know how much support al-Zarqawi really has inside Iraq.

CNN's Robertson took a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): American Nick Berg is about to be beheaded. His execution recorded and released on a website titled "Abu Musab al-Zarqawi slaughters an American." Its barbarity rocking Zarqawi from relative obscurity to front-page familiarity. But already he is the deadliest insurgent in Iraq.

Born Ahmed Fadil al-Khalaylah, he later took his nom de guerre, Zarqawi, from the name of his hometown, Zarqa. It looks pretty from a distance, but up close it's different, crammed by successive waves of Palestinian refugees, one of the poorest towns in the country.

(On camera): With its densely packed housing and intense tribal loyalties, Zarqa's been compared to the Bronx. But others liken it down at heel, working-class neighborhoods to Detroit. For Zarqawi, though, it was a place of limited opportunity.

(Voice-over): Outside the house where he was born in October 1966, neighbors say they remember the family well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They were simple people. They lived a simple life. They barely made it.

ROBERTSON: His father fought against the Israelis in 1948 and was well respected before he died.

In this picture at the time, the young Zarqawi looks unremarkable, but seems determined to earn respect like his father.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): If someone would harm his neighbors, Zarqawi would always come to defend the victim. He always did good deeds. Nothing wrong.

ROBERTSON: His days were spent here Zarqa's school, but by all accounts he didn't excel academically. (on camera): Zarqawi left school before his final exams, disappointing his parents. He didn't seem to have a career in mind. And his father tried to fix him up with a job at the local municipality.

(voice-over): That was 1982. Zarqawi was about 16, developing a reputation as a tough guy who, against Muslim custom, drank and got a tattoo.

Outside his old mosque, I tracked down his brother-in-law hoping he can tell me more.

(On camera): Excuse me sir, can we talk to you about Abu Musab, your brother-in-law, is that possible?

You don't -- nothing -- you don't want to say?

(voice-over): He's not unfriendly, just unwilling to talk.

In 1989, the U.S. backed Mujahidin were on the verge of driving the Soviet Army out of Afghanistan. Thousands of Arabs, including Osama bin Laden were in the fight. Zarqawi decided to join them.

In these rare pictures taken soon after he arrived, Zarqawi is seen relaxing, mixing happily with other Jihadis or Muslim holy warriors. He'd arrived as the Jihad was ending.

Some reports say Zarqawi never fought the Soviets; others, that he was very brave in battle.

Zarqawi left Afghanistan in 1992. He came back to Jordan with new friends, ideas, and an agenda.

Nic Robertson, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Earlier I spoke with Nic Robertson, CNN senior international correspondent, in London, and Peter Bergen, CNN's terrorism analyst, here in Washington, D.C.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Nic, we hear from Defense Secretary Rumsfeld that Zarqawi has no real support in Iraq. Is that true?

ROBERTSON: Certainly from the people that I have been talking to recently, he does appear to have it. He appears to have it in the tribal regions in the west of Iraq, where the tribal leadership system has been eroded. Some of the tribal leaders blame that on the way the U.S. troops have handled tribes. And they say that Zarqawi has been able to -- because he is essentially from a tribe, he has been able to exploit that power vacuum and put himself in a leadership position in amongst the Sunnis.

So that area, or at least, I am told that he does have wide support. And because many Sunnis in that area say they're disappointed, angry at the way the U.S. has handle the situation. Zarqawi also plays to their fears in that area. They're very fearful of a Shia-dominated government -- Anderson.

COOPER: Peter, I had read some accounts of people in Iraq, saying that they didn't believe Zarqawi had existed previously, then seeing this tape, they do believe he exists. And the fact that he's a foreigner, it sort of makes him less powerful in a way, makes him lose support. What do you think?

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, certainly, according to the "Washington Post," there was an effort by the U.S. military to keep painting Zarqawi as a foreigner. Of course, he's Jordanian. Many of the suicide attacks in Iraq are being conducted by foreigners, 60 percent of them are being conducted by Saudi; only something like 10 percent of them are being conducted by Iraqis. So, certainly the U.S. military sees the fact that all of the suicide attacks are conducted as foreigners as a way to kind of create some distance between the foreign fighters and the local Iraqi insurgents.

COOPER: Peter, what do you make of the fact that we've had two messages now from al Qaeda leaders in the last, you know, in a matter of days? You have one from bin Laden over the weekend, and then Zarqawi using many of the same images that bin Laden has used in the past?

BERGEN: Well, one thing that was striking on the tape was how Zarqawi kept referring to Osama bin Laden in kind of a rather reverential term, and used clips from bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.

And the conventional wisdom is that al Qaeda, the organization, is dead, and al Qaeda, the ideological movement, is alive and well. But I think this tape actually goes a little bit against that. It seems that Zarqawi is paying at least more lip service to al Qaeda's leaders, and may even have changed some of his tactics. He was only receiving a letter from al Qaeda's leader, suggesting that he stop beheading hostages. I can't prove cause and effect, but he has stopped beheading hostages.

He's produced this tape where he's shown a much more political statement, a sort of kinder and gentler Zarqawi, as it were.

COOPER: Nic Robertson, what about the fact that, you know, Zarqawi's able to turn out this tape in a relatively short amount of time, where it takes bin Laden apparently much longer?

ROBERTSON: Well, you know, Zarqawi has a lot of assets at his disposal. We've seen him use the Internet before with video messages, the beheading of Nick Berg, many, many other incidences of using the Internet to reach out to many Jihadis. You know, when I looked to this video, one of the striking things is, it's well shot. The shots are steady. They're steady zooms-in. This is a professional job. And it's got fonting and it's got video clips edited in there. So I think he has a professional mechanism behind Zarqawi that has allowed him to get this out. He says he recorded it on Friday. It was released the beginning of the week. Four days to turn it around. Pretty slick operation. There are professionals, it appears, that are behind him in this media department.

And we know that he believes that getting his message out is a very important part. It helps him build finances and funding. He gets money from how he can show he's developing. He gets money from backers in the Middle East.

COOPER: Part of the message that the U.S. has been sending out, or Iraqi government forces have been sending out, is that Zarqawi is a man on the run.

Certainly this tape, I guess, in part, is to counter that. He certainly does not appear to be a man on the run. He seems to be kind of hefty and kind of relaxed. Whether that's for show or not, I don't know. What do you think his life is like?

BERGEN: Well, I don't really know, but I mean, it's interesting. We talk about how difficult it is to find Osama bin Laden in Pakistan; whereas you've got Zarqawi here with 160,000 American troops more or less, issuing these statements. And so I think it goes to the question it's hard to find one person. Even in a place like Iraq which is basically deserts. And it should, theoretically, be rather simple to find him, given the huge American presence and also the extensive satellite coverage in a country which doesn't have either forests or mountains to hide in.

COOPER: Peter Bergen, Nic Robertson, thanks for your expertise.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: It is certainly not a simple thing at all.

Murder in the family, coming up, the horrific deaths of two millionaire brothers. One was drugged and beaten to death, the other stabbed repeatedly. The double mystery behind the separate killings on opposite sides of the globe. That's coming up.

Also ahead, who's really to blame for record gas prices and why the oil companies say, hey, it's not our fault. When 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Tonight the mysterious death of a real estate mogul is taking yet another strange turn. His wife is refusing to cooperate. Police will not say if she is a suspect. But what makes this case so bizarre is that the man's brother was also killed on the other side of the globe from where his brother died. One spouse is now behind bars; the other, possibly under a cloud of suspicion.

CNN's Randi Kaye investigates.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They were brothers living worlds apart. Robert Kissel in Hong Kong, Andrew Kissel in Greenwich, Connecticut. Both married with children, both with more money than they could spend in a lifetime. But soon, this family fairy tale would begin to tragically unravel.

PHILLIP RUSSEL, ANDREW KISSEL'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It's just such a cruel fate. And I wouldn't wish this on a dog.

KAYE: Andrew Kissel, once a successful real estate developer, drove flashy cars and lived in this gated estate. But the high life hit a low point. His lawyer says he fell into drugs; and last year, he was charged with more than $25 million dollars in fraud, including millions stolen from the owners of this New York apartment building where he served on the board.

RUSSEL: It was a lot of money.

KAYE: In fact, Andrew Kissel was broke. His marriage crumbling. He'd planned to plead guilty and go to prison. Then suddenly, days before meeting with prosecutors, he's found dead in the basement of his home. Many stab wounds in his chest. His hands and feet bound. But was it what it looked like? One theory police have, he ordered the hit on himself.

(On camera): Did he plan his own murder in some type of murder for hire plot so his children could get millions in insurance money? The attorney for Andrew Kissel's driver discounts that theory.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think he's the type of person who has the degree of selflessness to have himself killed for the benefit of somebody else. So, I just think that theory is a little bit silly.

KAYE: Or maybe, since Kissel was planning to cooperate with prosecutors, the killer wanted to make sure he couldn't. Or what about this? Kissel was going to prison. Maybe someone he crossed thought prison would be getting off easy and decided to kill him instead.

(Voice-over): Police have not named a suspect, but have interviewed several people including Andrew Kissel's driver and wife. His wife's attorney says Kissel had used her name to forge documents. Did she have a motive? Hayley Kissel had filed for divorce in February and moved out with the couple's two children just a few days before the murder.

(On camera): Did your client, Hayley Kissel, have any reason to murder her husband?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not at all. I mean, just none.

KAYE (voice-over): But if Hayley Kissel did do it, it wouldn't be the first time a Kissel had been killed by his wife.

Three years ago, Robert Kissel, the successful banker in Hong Kong, discovered his wife having an affair with a TV repairman. This private investigator says Robert Kissel told him he thought she was trying to kill him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Rob Kissel was worth about $15 million -- dead. KAYE: Robert Kissel had offered to divorce his wife, Nancy, and divide their millions. But apparently she wanted more. Instead, she served him a strawberry milkshake laced with drugs. And when he passed out, she bludgeoned him to death with a statue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He stayed in the bedroom for two days, and then Nancy Kissel rolled his body up in a carpet that was in the living room, and had the maintenance people from the building complex take his body to a storeroom in the complex.

KAYE: Nancy Kissel will spend the rest of her life in a Hong Kong prison for what became known as the "milkshake murder."

Back in Connecticut, solving big brother, Andrew Kissel's, murder may not be that simple. But the evidence does raise a lot of questions. There is a bitter wife and a raging e-mail that appears to show this Mrs. Kissel also had thoughts about killing her husband. The "Associated Press" obtained details of Hayley Kissel's e-mail, written less than a year before her husband's murder, "last night in bed I could actually see myself pummeling him to death and just enjoying the sensation of each and every shot." But her attorney says that doesn't mean what it says.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a clear venting of frustration and anger at what he had done. So, you know, it's understandable that she would do it. And she did it in a private e-mail to Andrew's sister. Nobody's going to send e-mails to the sister if they had any serious thoughts of doing something. That would be the dumbest thing you could do.

KAYE: Then who else might have killed him?

(On camera): There was no sign of forced entry, which leads police to believe Kissel either knew his killer and let him inside or the killer was someone with access to the home, someone like Carlos Trujillo, Kissel's longtime driver and assistant. Police have interviewed Trujillo more than once. He's been fingerprinted, and his storage facility has been searched. Trujillo even took a lie detector test, but the results haven't been made public.

(Voice-over): In an interview on "FOX News," Trujillo emphatically denied any involvement.

CARLOS TRUJILLO, ANDREW KISSEL'S LONGTIME DRIVER AND ASSISTANT: We are the best friend, you know? He treated me like his son. I love him like my father, you know. I can't believe this, you know, I had that possibility to kill him.

KAYE: Police have yet to charge anyone with Andrew Kissel's murder.

FRANK SHEA, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: It seems to have, you know, evolved into a real murder mystery here.

KAYE: Two brothers, now side by side. One had been rich and successful, one had been rich and disgraced; yet both suffered the same terrible fate.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Greenwich, Connecticut.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Such a strange case.

You may not realize it, but today is the 20th anniversary of the worst nuclear accident in history. The Chernobyl disaster that claimed thousands of lives. Tonight we'll take you on a fascinating journey back to the ruins of Chernobyl.

Plus, a new twist on road rage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JANE VALEZ-MITCHELL, PRIUS OWNER: Just because you drive an Escalade, doesn't mean you're more powerful or more important or should be able to get in front of me. Sorry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Some owners of hybrid cars are getting special treatment, and that has other drivers fired up and angry. A Prius backlash, they're calling it, when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, as bad as gasoline prices are right now, some experts say that the cost could climb even higher, perhaps even $5 a gallon. Now that scenario is a problem, not only to you, but also the president.

Recent poll numbers suggesting that gas pains are dragging down President Bush's approval rating. The issue, of course, is complicated, and the truth is there's not just one person to blame.

CNN's Tom Foreman investigates.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Who is to blame for the price of gas? At a record high and apparently getting higher.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Too high.

FOREMAN: Who is to blame for $50, $60, $100 bills at the pump?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm wondering when it's going to stop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's getting very ridiculous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody else is getting richer. It's not us.

FOREMAN: Not us either say American oil companies which sell the gas they make from crude oil. For the first quarter of the year, the top three companies are expected to report $16 billion in earnings.

But industry spokes folks say blame high pump prices on international companies jacking up the price for that crude they draw from the ground. Those companies can do that because people who invest in oil, who buy that crude, are worried about future supplies, and they're willing to pay.

RAYOLA DOUGHER, AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE: Fundamentally, we're seeing the forces of supply and demand internationally pushing those prices up and a lot of political instability in some oil-rich areas that are tipping it right over the top and pushing it ever, ever higher. And it's translating to higher prices.

FOREMAN: Blame it on China and India, economists and political experts say. Their exploding economies are sucking up oil.

DAVID SANDLOW, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Oil is a global market, and so when other countries start using oil, certainly approaching the levels we will, it's going to have a big impact on prices.

FOREMAN: Blame it on lack of innovation, environmental groups say. For 30 years we've talked about alternative fuel vehicles, but industry and governments have generally been slow to support them, and consumers, too.

NATHANIEL GREENE, NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL: I think the most important thing they can do is not get caught up in the blame game and really look for some long-term solutions.

FOREMAN: Right now, for many, the short-term solution is avoiding blame or even contact with this volatile issue.

Exxon Mobil sent this memo to gas stations saying if news crews want pictures of customers buying golden gas, tell them for safety reasons, Exxon Mobil does not allow filming on our stations' properties. I tried to call the woman who wrote that memo.

CORINNE COY (ph), AUTHOR OF EXXON MOBIL MEMO: Hello, you have reached the office of Corinne Coy.

FOREMAN (on camera): No luck. Well, the oil industry has its own ideas about whom to blame.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Half the blame goes to consumers.

FOREMAN (voice-over): That's the demand part of supply and demand, they say. And as long as drivers will pay $3 a gallon for gas, that's what it will cost.

Tom foreman, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, the debate over who's to blame is having an impact on hybrid cars, especially the Prius. They're popular with some Hollywood stars. One of my favorite shows, "Curb your Enthusiasm," Larry David drives one. But in real life, a lot of other drivers in California are not so amused.

CNN's Peter Viles reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PETER VILES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Drive a Toyota Prius in California, and you're considered special, so special you can drive in the carpool lane all by yourself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we should have special status. Anything to encourage people to buy hybrid/electric vehicles and get out of those massive monstrosities they're driving around.

VILES: Trouble is, hybrid drivers have a reputation for poking along to maximize gas mileage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I think people get in that lane and drive slower also which should not be tolerated. But they're not ticketed or penalized for that.

VILES: Check out this post on a car talk forum. "Hey, all you hyper milers, if you want to go slow and save gas, get a bicycle."

(On camera): Prius Driver Jane Valez-Mitchell, you may recognize her as a TV legal analyst, sometimes on "HEADLINE NEWS," says she's been honked at, tailgated, cut off and yelled at.

JANE VALEZ-MITCHELL, PRIUS OWNER: If your little Prius is standing in the way of their big Escalade, they get angry. Well, that's not how it works. Just because you drive an Escalade, doesn't mean you're more powerful or more important or should be able to get in front of me. Sorry.

VILES: It so happens this guy does drive an Escalade.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I'd pay $60,000 for one of these or $100,000 for one of those. And, you know, here they go with these little hybrids and they getting on the diamond lane. I'm by myself, I can't even get in the diamond lane, you know?

VILES: Truth is Prius backlash is a two-way street.

CHRIS CUTRIGHT, TOYOTA DEALER OF HOLLYWOOD: I don't think the Hummer people are upset at the Prius people, I think it's the other way around. The Prius people are definitely upset at the Hummer people, no question about it.

VILES: And you can't beat this story of Hummer backlash.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's big. I can't get anywhere, and it get gets egged constantly. I don't know if it's just teenagers, or I think it's like environmentalists egg my car. I've been egged four times.

VILES: Still, you'll never see this woman driving a Prius.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'd rather ride a bicycle than to drive a Prius, I think.

VILES: Ride a bicycle?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think so, yes. For sure.

VALEZ-MITCHELL: I mean, this is beautiful. It's luxury.

VILES: Peter Viles, for CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Why can't they all get along, the Hummer people and the Prius people? Wouldn't that be nice? Well, maybe someday.

Twenty years ago today, nuclear fears came true. Tonight we return to Chernobyl, a place few have seen since it was abandoned, and the danger there is still very strong. We will take you back, next on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: The images are haunting. The site of the world's worst nuclear accident 20 years ago today. It happened when a reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear plant exploded during a predawn test back in April 1986, creating radioactive clouds, reports of the then Soviet Union in northern Europe. 31 people died of radiation within two months. The U.N. estimates that 9,300 will die from cancers caused by it. Others groups say the final death toll could be much higher. The remains of the disaster are still there in what's now the Ukraine.

CNN's Matthew Chance got a special access to the site.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Welcome to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, a contaminated landscape in the shadow of its reactor. Twenty years have passed, but this monster of 20th century science gone wrong still casts a radioactive shadow.

(On camera): The worst danger has long passed, but background radiation levels are still high. Long-term exposure could be deadly. We limited our trip to a few hours.

(Voice-over): Time to explore a notorious disaster zone. In its city of Pripyat, population zero. Built in the 1970s to house Chernobyl workers. Its 50,000 residents were evacuated in the days after the disaster struck.

(On camera): It really is quite unsettling being here at the center of the world's worst nuclear accident. This is the main square of Pripyat, and you can see this whole town completely abandoned.

This is the palace of culture from the old Soviet Union. Every good Soviet town had one. Over there, a restaurant, which obviously dominated this main square. And beyond that, you can see an old Soviet apartment building. The people here were given just a few hours to gather what belongings they could to get out shortly after the accident back in 1986. They were told they'd be gone for just three days. But, of course, they've never been able to come back.

(Voice-over): Sudden tragedy is written in every building. We found this abandoned classroom, books still on desks, lessons of two decades ago still scribbled on the blackboard. And the children of Pripyat never got to ride on their ferris wheel. The city's amusement park was never opened.

Now it's a devil's playground of radiation hot spots. But Chernobyl is more than a dead monument. It's hard to imagine, but 20 years of isolation have turned the area into Europe's biggest wilderness, a radioactive lost world where animals appear to be thriving in the wild.

MARY MYCIO, AUTHOR, "WORMWOOD FOREST": These might be lynx tracks. And if they are, that's actually very exciting because lynx are very, very rare. They have a huge range.

CHANCE (on camera): Big paws.

MYCIO: They have big paws, they're very big cats.

CHANCE: American Journalist Mary Mycio, who's been tracking nature here for years. Although there's evidence animal life expectancy and fertility has dropped, the absence of major human activity, she says, seems to be making up for it.

MYCIO: I would say that Chernobyl has, in a very paradoxical way, been good for wildlife here. The people have left. And they've freed up this enormous space. The entire zone is the size of it two Rhode Islands. It's half of a Yellowstone park. So it's really a huge territory that's been -- where the animals are just left alone.

CHANCE (voice-over): But so grave are the health implications of living here. Radiation increases the risk of cancer and organ failure, but officials say centuries must pass before humans can safely stay.

Still, a few hundred like Maureena Orpan (ph), are ignoring the risks. Born and bred in Chernobyl, she's now nearly 80 years old with a husband who refuses to leave.

MAUREENA ORPAN (ph), REFUSES TO LEAVE CHERNOBYL (through translator): It's my motherland. I was born here, and I should die here. This climate is better for our health.

CHANCE: Hello.

I brought them a bag of uncontaminated food. They mostly depend on the land and their own livestock. But while others have experienced two decades of major health problems connected to Chernobyl, these two seem to be holding up.

ORPAN (ph) (through translator): Most people here have bad backs, leg pains. Maybe that's something that would happen in our old age anyway. But we don't know for sure. How can we know? CHANCE: It is the question many are still asking of Chernobyl. Twenty years on, its victims, its consequences remain far from understood.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Chernobyl.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So eerie to see it like that.

Erica Hill, from "HEADLINE NEWS," joins us with some of the business stories we're following -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi Anderson.

We start off with a surprising surge in new home sales, up nearly 14 percent in March. That is the biggest jump in 13 years. The price, though, of an average home fell just over 7 percent to $279,000.

Some testy testimony from Enron's former CEO today. Ken Lay, sparring with the prosecutor on the witness stand, over repayment of a company credit line. Lay and Former Enron President Jeffrey Skilling are accused of conspiracy and fraud in the nation's biggest corporate collapse in history.

And those rising gas prices, it turns out, aren't just hurting drivers, they are doing a number on businesses nationwide. Today a Federal Reserve survey said the soaring energy costs are hurting auto sales, retail sales and tourism in several regions of the country, and that the pain could get worse in the summer.

And Anderson, this is something that's driving many people to tears. You know, earlier you had Paula on, which was really, you know, very sweet.

COOPER: Paula Abdul, yes.

HILL: Paula Abdul. You were basically saying that she was, you know, talking about -- well, you know, using words you would have used to describe how much you enjoy having me on the show, which is very sweet. So, we actually looked back, and it turns out that Paula's done some similar moves before. So, here's a look at Paula from 2005.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAULA ABDUL: This happens -- it seems to happen every single season.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: And that's how I feel sometimes at night when I have to leave, and I don't get to talk to you anymore. I just...

COOPER: It would be nice -- maybe tomorrow night we'll do a side by side. Paula then, and Paula now. Because I don't think much has changed.

HILL: Not so much, maybe the hairstyle, nail polish color. That's about it.

COOPER: Yes, maybe.

Erica, thanks very much. We'll see you tomorrow.

More of 360 in a moment. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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