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tv   Nightline  ABC  May 10, 2017 12:37am-1:08am PDT

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this is "nightline." >> tonight, you're fired. president trump terminating fbi director james comey. but why now? democrats accusing him of shutting down the investigation into his campaign's alleged russia ties. >> were these investigations getting too close to home for the president? >> heated reactions from all sides. the president giving an unexpected reason for the ouster. plus all new >> this is "american idol," here we go! >> the show that launched countless stars. ♪ i can't believe this is happening to me ♪ >> "american idol" making a comeback. bigger, better, and on a brand-new network. and later, gator. a 10-year-old girl saving herself from the jaws of an algator. how she kept her cool and used a
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little-known trick. first the "nightline 5." >> wish your skin could bounce back like it used to this newt regina hydro boost water gel. it plumps skin cells with intense hydration and locks it in. for supple, hydrated skin. hydro boost from neutrogena. meta appetite control. it's your glass of will power that helps keep cravings far, far away. the natural fiber and clinically proven meta appetite control from metamucil. >> number one in just 60 >> number one in just 60 seconds. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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to take advantage of this offer on a volvo s90, visit your local dealer. good evening. thanks for joining us. tonight an historic shakeup in washington. echoing across the nation.
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president trump firing fbi director james comey, citing his mishandling of the investigation into hillary clinton's e-mails. but stirring criticism and questions about the fbi's investigation into the trump campaign's allege ties with russia. here's abc's david wright with the fallout. >> reporter: tonight fbi director james comey was out in los angeles for a recruitment event for new agents. unaware, it would seem, that in washington -- >> excuse my breath, i just ran out here to bring you this news coming out of the white house. >> president trump has just fired the director of the fbi. >> reporter: comey is out. abruptly fired by his boss, president donald trump. >> you are hereby terminated and removed from office effective immediately. >> reporter: as fbi director comey was accused by the democrats of helping trump win. more recently, he's been a thorn in trump's side. in charge of the high-profile probe into russian meddling in the november election. and possible links between
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moscow and the trump campaign. comey's sudden departure now clears the way for the president to name his successor. >> it's an historic day at the white house. the firing of an fbi director by a president is an extraordinarily rare event. it hasn't happened for nearly a quarter of a century. >> there were a lot of democrats over the course of the summer who would have been thrilled to see james comey go. but now, to see him go as he's now looking towards the trump administration, rather than the clinton state department, i think is something that people are finding quite fishy. >> reporter: the president does not cite the russia investigation as a reason for comey's dismissal. instead the white house suggests comey fell short of fbi standards. trump called the bureau one of our nation's most cherished and respected institutions and today will mark a new beginning for our crown jewel of law enforcement. donald trump spokeswoman kellyanne conway spoke tonight
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with cnn's anderson cooper. >> it's not a cover-up. the president makes clear in his letter the fact that mr. comey on at least three occasions assured the president he is not under investigation. this had nothing to do with russia, as much as somebody must be getting $50 every time the word is said, i'm convinced. >> reporter: press secretary sean spicer says trump took the advice of the deputy attorney general, rod rosenstein. >> he determined the fbi director lost his confidence. he forwarded that recommendation to the attorney general. the president agreed with it. >> reporter: by all accounts comey was taken aback by the news. caught flat-footed is how one agent described it. he told us the news popped up on the tv screens as comey was speaking. and suddenly everyone's phones exploded. >> he was not expecting to be fired. in fact, the fbi director talked about how he planned to complete his 10-year term, which has more than six years left on it. now he finds himself a man without a job. that bizarre scene at the los angeles airport. paparazzi in the sky. recording him about to fly back
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to washington. >> reporter: less than a week ago, spicer said the president stood by comey. >> the president has confidence in the director. >> reporter: today he wouldn't repeat that statement. not without checking with his boss. >> the last time you talked about it you said he did have confidence. you're not sure, say that again now? >> in light of what you're telling me i don't want to start speaking on behalf of the president without speaking to him first. >> reporter: comey has landed himself in yet another controversy over hillary clinton's e-mails. the focus of so much turmoil during the campaign. >> -- the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth -- >> reporter: testifying last week before a joint senate committee, comey was at pains to explain his reopening of the clinton e-mail investigation during the final ten days of the campaign. after a new trove of clinton's e-mails turned up on a computer shared by clinton's top aide, huma abedin, and her disgraced husband, anthony weiner. >> huma abedin appears to have
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had a regular practice of forwards e-mails to him, hundreds of thousands, some of which contained classified information. >> reporter: today the fbi admitted comey's testimony was inaccurate saying only a small number of e-mails were forwarded by abedin and none of the forwarded e-mails were marked classified. a small number of them, however, contained information that was later deemed classified. most of the others were e-mails the fbi had already seen. backed up from abedin's blackberry. comey's handling of that investigation became a huge source of controversy. first, last july he anger the republicans by taking the unprecedented step of announcing the investigation was over. >> we are expressing to justice our view that no charges are appropriate in this case. >> reporter: candidate trump expressed outrage. but trump gave comey credit after the fbi reopened its investigation into clinton's e-mails. >> it took guts. for director comey to make the move that he made in light of
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the kind of opposition he had. >> reporter: comey closed the investigation again three days before voters went to the polls. but the damage was done. >> look, this is terrible. it majors me mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact on the election. but honestly, it wouldn't change the decision. >> reporter: when comey and trump first came face to face with each other after the inauguration -- >> he's become more famous than me. >> reporter: comey's job seemed safe. family or not, democrats blamed comey for costing them the white house. here's what hillary clinton herself told cnn's christianeane amanpour last week. >> if the election was october, i would be your president. but it wasn't. i was on the way of winning until the combination of jim comey's letter on october 28th and russian wikileaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off. >> reporter: tonight clinton's former campaign manager, robby
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mook, told cecilia vega the president should not have fired comey. >> i think we're all so blown away at the gall that he would do this, how it appears he is simply holding himself above the law. >> this is about the future of the fbi's investigation into russia, that's what concerns you the most? >> that's what deeply concerns me. under our system, the president is not above the law. he can't fire somebody investigating him. >> reporter: voters were aware of the russia probe before the election but not aware of the possible involvement by trump associates, including the attorney general, jeff sessions. >> therefore i will recuse myself in the matters that deal with the trump campaign -- >> reporter: that's why democrats now say it's not right for the attorney general to recommend firing comey. the fbi director serves at the pleasure of the president. but his 10-year term gives him independence and power. the last time an fbi director
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was fired was nearly 25 years ago. 1993. the first year of the clinton administration. bill clinton ousted william sessions over ethical concerns. tonight democrats are renewing their calls for a special prosecutor to take over the russia investigation. >> were these investigations getting too close to home for the president? >> reporter: tonight the president mocked crying chuck schumer for his sudden fondness for comey, hash tag drain the swamp. members of both parties are calling for a select committee in congress. >> we should have a select committee. >> reporter: other republicans are falling in line with the president saying, it's his prerogative. >> i was surprised. i didn't see it coming. it's a decision for the president to make. >> reporter: the rule of law and the chain of command are not necessarily one and the same. >> i think for most americans, this is a very puzzling situation. james comey has been attacked
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and praised by both parties. so what are the american voters supposed to think? >> reporter: we still don't know what comey thinks of all this. he's now headed back from l.a. on the fbi's private jet. i'm david wright for "nightline" in new york. up next, the triumphant return of "american idol." a look back at the show's biggest stars. ming back on my long-term control medicine. i talked to my doctor and found a missing piece in my asthma treatment with breo. once-daily breo prevents asthma symptoms. breo is for adults with asthma not well controlled on a long-term asthma control medicine, like an inhaled corticosteroid. breo won't replace a rescue inhaler for sudden breathing problems. breo is specifically designed to open up airways to improve breathing for a full 24 hours. breo contains a type of medicine that increases the risk of death from asthma problems and may increase the risk of hospitalization in children and adolescents. breo is not for people whose
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kelly clarkson. yep, "american idol." it changed the face of music and reality television, and now it's back. promising to be bigger and better than ever before. can they pull it off? >> and this is "american idol"! here we go! >> reporter: after 15 seasons on another network, last year's swan song for "american idol" included a cryptic sign-off at the finale from host ryan seacrest. >> good night, america. for now. >> reporter: did he know something we didn't? >> drumroll. >> reporter: because it was just today -- >> announcement! week reveal right here abc is bringing "american idol" back. >> reporter: that's right. our tears had only just begun to dry. >> it wasn't a good-bye, it was kind of a so long, farewell, see you soon. >> i have not missed it. but i will watch it again. >> reporter: immediately hollywood's abuzz with potential judges. and who might host? kelly ripa prodding ryan seacrest about a possible repeat
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performance. >> typically i really only save prayers for world peace and people who are very sick and stuff like that. but i am -- i'm going to start a prayer circle. because i was like your original fan. >> i would love to see a woman in the position. and love to see a mom who is also a comedian. that can also carry a ♪ tune >> reporter: "american idol" was a show stopper and a game changer, the highest-rated show on television for eight consecutive seasons. more than 36 million viewers at its peak, it gave contestants a truly national launching pad. people watched because you never knew if that next contestant might just take off. >> was like this giant cinderella story. everybody knew kelly clarkson had been a waitress, then she was a superstar. >> the winner is -- kelly
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clarkson. >> reporter: clarkson was an unknown singer from texas when she won season one of "american idol." ♪ moments like this >> reporter: millions of albums and three grammys later, she's a bona fide star. with hits like "stronger." and "since you've been gone." ♪ i can't breathe >> from the start i thought kelly clarkson was a great singer. she's a very strong person. and that really came through in the career that she's had ever since. >> reporter: and who doesn't love carrie underwood? taking a smoke break. ♪ sometimes i need a smoke break ♪ >> reporter: but mostly belting out powerhouse anthems like "before he cheats." ♪ before he cheats >> reporter: 12 years ago she was just another contestant on season 4. ♪ because i can't make you love me ♪ >> going to l.a. for "american
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idol" is so scary. i was crying like in the car on the way to the airport. because not only was i flying for the first time, i was flying by myself. >> reporter: carrie underwood went on to sell more than 64 million records. and win seven grammys. >> to say a that this show was a juggernaut is almost an understatement. the one show that has given us stars that you don't think of them as "american idol" winners, you think of them as stars in their own right. >> reporter: even leasers could end up dream girls like jennifer hudson, sent home early despite being widely praised by the judges. but it all worked out. ♪ >> jennifer hudson. >> reporter: that performance won her an oscar. it wasn't just the contestants. the chemistry between original hosts paula abdul, randy jackson, and simon cowell, part of the reason for the show's success. >> i would just like to see simon, paula and randy come
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back. i really think that will be the key to getting people excited to watching it again. because we miss that original magic. >> reporter: simon's signature snark showing the truth sometimes hurts. >> i think you're amazing. >> really? >> amazingly dreadful. >> will he be softer now he's a dad? will paula be as whack a do? will randy still have weird glasses on? >> reporter: the trio moved on, replaced by a revolving door of celebrities. among them ellen degeneres. steven tyler. j. lo. and of course nicki minaj who futted with cojudge mariah carey. >> nobody said every moment -- >> excuse me -- >> that the music will cut me off -- >> clean your ears out -- >> this is "american idol." >> reporter: the one constant, perennial host ryan seacrest. >> i was terrified. i put on a bit of a brave face the first couple of episodes. i wasn't quite sure how to run a
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live television show. >> reporter: in 15 seasons, there were plenty of unforgettable performances. ♪ talk to me tell me >> reporter: remember william hung? >> no one's going to replace "she bang." >> reporter: if imitation is the greatest form of flattery, idol must have felt flattered paving the way for shows like america's got talent, x factor, and the voice. ♪ despite that, the pioneering show suffering dwindling viewership. and finally giving its then final bow. >> by the end of "american idol's" reign, they weren't turning out stars like kelly clarkson and carrie underwood. but you never know. if this show comes back and people have the appetite for it, if they're people that viewers connect to and there's somebody on there with talent that brings something that we haven't seen before, i think that absolutely another superstar could come out of the show. >> reporter: a moment like that could make this gamble payff.
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♪ moments like this up next, a 10-year-old girl freeing herself from the mouth of an alligator. the technique she recently learned that saved her life. we can'twhy?y here! terrible toilet paper! i'll never get clean! way ahead of you. (avo) charmin ultra strong. it cleans better. it's four times stronger and you can use less.
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finally tonight, it turns out the toughest thing in this lake full of alligators was a 10-year-old girl. here's abc's linzie janis. >> female attacked by an alligator -- >> reporter: this morning 10-year-old julianna osa is talking about how she fought off this nearly nine-foot-long alligator. >> i looked in the water, there was a mean nine-foot gator in the water biting my leg. >> reporter: she's calm and collected as she tells "inside edition" how she furiously tried to free herself from its powerful jaws. >> the alligator grabbed my leg.
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i tried hitting it to release me but it didn't work. >> reporter: incredibly, in those terrifying moments, she says she remembered exactly what she learned at a florida adventure park. >> i thought of what they taught me at gatorland. i put my two fingers up its nostrils. it couldn't breathe, it had to breathe through its moeth.ned i leg out. >> a couple of puncture wounds on her leg but her legging is still intact. >> reporter: apparently outsmarting the gator who attacked her saturday afternoon as she swam in less than two feet of water at this orlando lake. >> the alligator didn't do nothing because he was too busy biting my leg and holding on to the sand, he was too busy with that. he didn't have any other attack moves to take out my fingers. >> it's in the middle of our swimming area. >> reporter: the gator caught by a trapper and put down. now osa is back home after being treated for bite wounds to her
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leg. requiring just ten stitches. she is one tough cookie. our thanks to linzie janis. thanks for watching abc news. as always here online at and our "nightline" facebook page. good night, america.
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