tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS May 11, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
wet winter could signal a cooler-than-normal summer. we'll see you at 6:00. ♪[ music ] captioning sponsored by cb >> mason: the president's last supper with comey. >> i said, "if it's possible, iguld you let me know, am i under investigation?" ec director mccabe, is it your experience that people who are innocent of wrongdoing typically need to be reassured that they're not the subject of an investigation? t mason: also tonight, constituents go to town on republican congressmen. >> answer the question! answer the question! >> hi, you guys need to quit calling my phone. >> mason: his number was spoofed. >> reporter: anonymous scammers make it appear as if robocalls from others are coming from your phone. >> mason: and... >> i'm carson hueyou and i'm 14 years old. >> mason: he's about to graduate from college. >> like, he's not just a genius. he's also awesome.
this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> mason: good evening. scott's off tonight. i'm anthony mason, and this is our western edition. president trump took time out from his busy schedule as leader of the free world today to fire off a tweet to his longtime nemesis, comedian rosie o'donnell. he said, "we finally agree on something." that was a response to her tweet nearly five months ago calling for james comey to be fired. today, the administration rewrote the story it was telling just yesterday of how and when the president decided to dismiss the director of the f.b.i. here's major garrett at the white house. >> he's a showboat. he's a grandstander. the f.b.i. has been in turmoil. know that. i know that. everybody knows that. >> reporter: president trump said today he was going to fire tmes comey no matter what advice he received from attorney reneral jeff sessions or deputy
attorney general rod rosenstein. >> i was going to fire comey. there's no good time to do it, by the way. they-- >> because in your letter you etid i accepted their recommendations. so you had already made the decision. >> i was going to fire ongardless. >> reporter: that directly contradicts the process outlined ct vice president pence, counselor kellyanne conway, and arputy press secretary sarah huckabee sanders, who said the president acted tuesday after receiving a memo from rosenstein. te and i personally am grateful that we have a president who is willing to provide the kind of decisive and strong leadership to take the recommendation of the deputy attorney general. en he acted decisively today. he took the recommendation of his deputy attorney general. >> the deputy attorney general utde that recommendation. >> reporter: the president also said he asked comey if he was a target of the bureau's russia investigation. they spoke about it three times ouer dinner at the white house and twice on the phone. >> i actually asked him, yes.
i said, "if it's possible, would you let me know, am i under investigation?" he said, "you are not under investigation." >> reporter: presidents typically try to avoid the appearance of interfering with or influencing an investigation. today, sanders defended the president's actions. >> i don't see that as a conflict of interest, and neither do the many legal scholars and others that have been commenting on it for the last hour. >> reporter: rosenstein was deeply troubled by white house talking points identifying him as the central mover in comey's dismissal. anthony, the white house also tid today the president wants d e russia investigation to end and end with integrity and said that firing comey will "make that happen." rr mason: major garrett at the e.ite house. thanks, major. late today, the president weighed in again on the investigations of russian meddling in the u.s. and whether members of his team
colluded with moscow. he said: ol hill, the man now running the f.b.i. s on capitol hill, the man now running the f.b.i. said it is taking the investigation very seriously. here's jeff pegues. >> reporter: inside f.b.i. headquarters, there are growing concerns the white house is trying to get in the way of the bureau's russia investigation. in the wake of james comey's firing, one federal law enforcement official tells cbs news, "there is a whole lot of interfering happening." the person added, "this is a crisis." >> we consider it to be a highly significant investigation. >> reporter: on capitol hill, acting f.b.i. director andrew mccabe told the senate intelligence committee the investigation is on track. >> you cannot stop the men and women of the f.b.i. from doing the right thing. >> reporter: despite a request last week by comey for more vesources, mccabe told the senators today agents have the rmnpower and money they need to determine whether trump campaign officials were coordinating with
the russians during the 2016 campaign. mccabe also pushed back on white house claims that comey was unpopular. democrat martin heinrich: >> is it accurate that the rank and file no longer supported director comey? >> no, sir, that is not accurate. i hold director comey in the absolute highest regard. i have the highest respect for his considerable abilities and his integrity, and it has been the greatest privilege and honor of my professional life to work with him. i can tell you, also, that director comey enjoyed broad support within the f.b.i. and still does to this day. >> reporter: at the white house today, spokesperson sarah huckabee sanders said she had proof f.b.i. agents were happy to see comey go. >> you personally have talked to countless f.b.i. officials, employees. really? like, really-- so are we talking-- >> between like email, text messages, absolutely. lu 50, 60, 70?
>> yes. look we're not going to get into otnumbers game. i have heard from a large number of individuals that work at the f.b.i. that said that they're very happy with the president's decision. >> reporter: mccabe acknowledged that comey's action during the clinton email server investigation did lead to second-guessing by some current stigformer agents. anthony, the senate intelligence committee has asked to hear from comey, but as of this morning, he had not responded. >> mason: jeff pegues, thanks, asff. now to capitol hill where chief congressional correspondent nancy cordes tells us calls are growing louder for a special fosecutor. >> i trusted jim comey. >> reporter: the president's showboat comment about comey drew instant pushback today from the leaders of the senate intelligence committees. >> i found him to be one of the most ethical, upright, straightforward individuals i've had the opportunity to work with. >> reporter: comey's firing has alnsumed the capitol. to this is an astonishing chain of events. >> reporter: prompting rare
bipartisan agreement. ep i do have questions about both the rationale and the timing and certainly have hemmunicated that to the white house. >> reporter: but the two sides still part ways over the need for a special independent prosecutor. nd we need the support of republican members of congress. s reporter: utah republican orrin hatch: >> every time we have any controversy around here, they want to call for a special prosecutor. t have a justice department that's very capable. >> reporter: ultimately, it isn't up to congress. it's up to deputy attorney general rod rosenstein, who wrote that critical comey memo. e mocratic leader chuck schumer sent rosenstein a list of 27 questions today. "did the president or anyone else direct you to write your memo? were you aware when you drafted it, that it would be used to justify comey's firing?" rosenstein came to capitol hill today not to answer questions but to meet with the leaders of senate intelligence. did mr. rosenstein confirm that he threatened to quit over the handling of the comey firing?
and did you ask him about that? >> we didn't ask him about it. he didn't share it with us. we were focused on deconfliction. >> reporter: that term "deconfliction" refers to the efforts underway right now between the senate and the f.b.i. to make sure that their russia investigations don't interfere with one another. anthony, late this afternoon, the senate's majority leader invited rosenstein to come back f the capitol next week to brief the entire senate behind closed doors. >> mason: nancy cordes. thank you, nancy. a set of pictures getting a lot t attention shows the president sharing a laugh at the white house yesterday with russia's foreign minister, sergey lavrov, and sergey kislyak, the russian ambassador to the u.s. kislyak is a key figure in the investigation of russian meddling in the u.s. election and whether there was any collusion with team trump. the photos were russian. no american press attended. we're joined now my margaret brennan at the state department
and elizabeth palmer in sochi, russia. margaret, let me start with you. how did this meeting come about? >> reporter: white house officials say that last week during a phone call, vladimir putin personally asked president trump to meet with his top diplomat sergey lavrov. the meeting in the oval office lasted around 30 minutes, and at the end of it, i asked president trump whether the firing of f.b.i. director comey had any impact, he said none at all. but an invitation into the oval pfice is an honor, and the fact that president trump went shrough with this despite all of te controversies shows just how deeply he wants to improve these frayed relations with russia. ffw, lavrov was invited into the oval office by president obama back in 2009, but he has not been welcome in washington for at least the past four years due to these deep disagreements over ukraine and the conflict in z,ria. >> mason: liz, why did the russians want this meeting so badly? >> reporter: well, as margaret
mentioned, they've been shunned and under sanctions for some , ars now in washington so this mos their very big, very sweet public comeback moment. uld they managed the image very skillfully to project what they wish, which is that they have international legitimacy, that they're back as players on the world stage. they made sure everybody saw that picture. and they certainly don't lose an opportunity to mention the fact that-- or at least what they hope-- which is that presidents putin and trump will meet face to face this summer in germany at the g-20 summit. >> mason: margaret, as we mentioned, no american press in this meeting. so why was tass, the russian llate news agency, allowed in? t reporter: it was supposed to be closed to all press, which is why we were all so surprised to see images popping up on russian government websites as the meeting was still happening. these photos were inside the oval office. we later learned that the white
house, by their own admission, was misled. russia told them that a state media agency photographer was actually the official government photographer. >> reporter: you have to bear in mind this is a hugely experienced team around president putin. sergey lavrov has been a senior diplomat for 25 years. they know how to play this game. they would have been sizing up the administration expertly over the last little while, looking for any opportunity to strengthen those links, hoping e at the candidate they clearly favored in the u.s. election, donald trump, will bring them in from the cold. and the end game, of course, is to get those sanctions lifted. >> mason: elizabeth palmer in rschi, margaret brennan at the state department, thank you, both. with the house in recess, rtpublican members are hearing from angry constituents at town eaetings back home. mest complaints at first were about the g.o.p. plan to repeal amd replace obamacare. then, the comey story exploded. >>re's dean reynolds.
>> tell the truth! tell the truth! >> reporter: at one town hall... >> answer the last question! >> reporter: ...after another... >> open your eyes. >> all right, all right. re reporter: congressional republicans on recess this .eek... ( booing ) >> reporter: ...have been hetting an earful, and now another issue is testing their hearing. >> i have a question in regards to russia. >> reporter: firing the head of the f.b.i. as the bureau investigates russian ties to the reump campaign fired up this crowd at iowa congressman rod blum's town hall. >> if trump was guilty of something would he fire the f.b.i. director. that would be a pretty dumb move. i get it. you hate the president. i get it. >> reporter: blum represents a district that twice voted for barack obama but turned red in november. in marshalltown, blum was repeatedly forced to defend the president. >> no proof so far of any collusion between the trump campaign and russia. >> reporter: among the trump supporters, maurice mcwhirter was not worried.
firing the f.b.i. director might impede the bureau's investigation. >> one guy, even if it's the head guy, doesn't make any difference to whether or not that investigation goes forward or not. es reporter: fellow trump orpporter veridee hand was even less concerned. on the russians worked with trump to get trump elected, is that troubling to you? >> no. en reporter: overall, how do you think president trump is doing? >> i think he's doing very well. >> reporter: and since the inauguration, anthony, the answer we have been getting is that one in state after state, from the people donald trump calls his base. >> mason: dean reynolds, thank you, dean. a philadelphia judge took the ecusual step today of ordering prosecutors to reverse course and bring involuntary manslaughter charges against the engineer of an amtrak train that jumped the tracks two years ago. eight people were killed, 200 hurt.
ce d.a.'s office had initially declined to charge brandon bostian, saying it could not have proved he acted with conscious disregard when he took a curve at 106 miles an hour, twice the speed limit. coming up next on the cbs evening news, more than 29 billion robocalls flooded americans' phones last year. what's being done about it? and later, the "doogie howser" of the class of 2016. 2016. .i hear you. when that pain makes simple errands simply unbearable... ...i hear you. i hear you because my dad struggled with this pain. make sure your doctor hears you too. so folks, don't wait. step on up. and talk to your doctor. because you have places to go... ...and people who can't wait for you to get there. if you have diabetes and burning, shooting pain in your feet or hands... step on up and talk to your doctor today.
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was spoofed. >> reporter: his phone number was spoofed. that's when anonymous scammers make it appear as if robocalls to others are coming from your phone. >> it's not normal to listen to s ur voice mails and immediately have people yelling at you to stop calling them. it was concerning. >> reporter: americans were swamped by 2.5 billion robocalls last month, up 9% from last , ar. year. aje f.c.c.'s new chairman ajit pai promises action. >> whether it's through the rule-making process here at the prc.c., or the enforcement process, we are going to be the cop on the beat. >> reporter: one step companies are taking-- working on new technology to track where exactly the calls are coming from. but advocates like tim marvin with consumers union think pai can do more to pressure phone companies. and have you seen him doing that? >> we haven't seen the same kind of crackdown on the phone companies that we have in the past. >> reporter: last year, pai's
predecessors called on companies to offer call blocking to consumers at no cost. l bl you insist that companies offer call blocking and other technology for free to annsumers? >> that's one of the things i am open to doing because i think it's important for consumers to have all the tools at their disposal. >> reporter: you say "open to doing" though. >> there is some question about our legal authorities that we're working with lawyers to figure out. in some cases we don't have the authority to mandate something, wit from a consumer perspective i think it's a good idea. >> reporter: pai says new i oposals from the f.c.c., should make it easier for phone tmpanies to block those spoofed calls. for now, there are some apps offered for your smart phones shat can stop some of those unwanted calls. anthony. >> mason: anna werner. asanks, anna. up next: proposed security changes could have a major impact on travel from europe. impact on travel from europe.
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today on a proposal to expand the ban on laptops to include omre foreign flights coming to the u.s. cbs news was first to report on the plan. here's transportation correspondent kris van cleave. >> reporter: the proposed ban is based on growing concern about an explosive getting past airport scanners. the ban, already in place at 10 airports in the middle east and sfrica, prohibits electronics cerger than a cell phone in the passenger cabin. if expanded, it could potentially impact all of the 60 european airports with direct flights to the u.s. >> the bottom line is keeping terrorists with explosives off planes. >> reporter: john pistole is the aesident of anderson university and the former t.s.a. administrator. >> just from london heathrow airport there's about 110 flights a day that fly to the u.s. it presents a challenge how do you do that in a way that is efficient and effective? >> reporter: an airline insider says it will be a logistical mess, likely to require secondary screening of passengers and longer wait times. >> the question is how good is the intelligence? i don't have the specifics on this one, other than to say,
based on my experience, 31 years with a top-secret security clearance, that it must be pretty good in order to justify these measures. >> reporter: top european union officials are demanding urgent meetings with the u.s. to discuss the looming ban. anthony, back here at home, deliberations are ongoing, but a decision could come any day. on mason: kris van cleave. thanks, kris. up next, he's not old enough to drive, drink, or vote, but he's llout to graduate college. asmy family tree,ing i discovered a woman named marianne gaspard... it was her french name. then she came to louisiana as a slave. i became curious where in africa she was from. so i took the ancestry dna test to find out more about my african roots. the ancestry dna results were really specific. they told me all of these places in west africa. i feel really proud of my lineage, and i feel really proud of my ancestry.
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university is 5'2" with a budding mustache. m i'm carson hueyou, and i'm 14 years old. >> reporter: carson will graduate saturday with a double anor in chinese and math, and a major in physics. >> i'm just a normal 14-year-old kid, just doing college-level academic work. >> reporter: well, he can teach you about quantum physics. >> so for some systems... a short amount of time and then dissipate again. ip we're looking at-- a short ariod of time and that's quasi bound states is what we call those. >> reporter: since he started four years ago, the pint-sized prodigy has become a campus celebrity. >> i'll never forget walking in. he said in chinese he was a junior. and i'm like, "no, that can't be right." and then he turned out to be cool, too. ( laughter ) like, he's not just a genius. he's also awesome! ep reporter: his mother claretta kimp has walked this wunderkind to class since day one. >> one day he was two or three
and the wind blew and he said, "i wonder what the velocity of the wind at blah, blah, blah." and i just thought. >> reporter: to top that, her roungest son graduates from high school tomorrow. he's 11 and starts t.c.u. in the fall. so what do you want to study in e?llege? >> i want to double major in astrophysics and engineering. >> when people meet them you know what they say to me? "they're so normal." >> reporter: she credits god. they credit her. how much do you owe to this lady? >> everything, really. >> oh! >> reporter: words of wisdom this mother's day weekend from a young genius. david begnaud, cbs news, dallas. >> mason: just an ordinary 14- niar-old kid. nice to see david begnaud get a physics lesson, though. that's the cbs evening news for tonight. i'm anthony mason, thanks for watching. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by
five cars torched this week. now investigators say there's a good change they're all connected. good evening, kpix 5 news at 6:00 begins with a hunt for a serial arsonist in the east bay five cars torched this week. now investigators say there is a good chance that they are connected. good evening, i'm veronica de la cruz. >> i'm allen martin. a string of cars up in flames in contra costa county. now investigators think that they could be the work of the same arsonist. cell phone video captured a car engulfed in flames one of two more fires overnight in brentwood. they followed three other suspicious car fires in walnut creek, lafayette and martinez this week. joe vazquez with the race to catch who ever is behind this. >> reporter: just a short while go late this afternoons the fire marshal here in contra costa county made an appeal to the public asking for help solving a series of arson fires that appear to be related to
each other. >> the media reported five fires this week and we believe they are related. >> reporter: overnight in brentwood, flames ripped through this honda parked in front of a home. >> the whole front of the car was engulfed in flames. >> reporter: at the same time, 3:30 a.m., less than a mile away, a truck went up in flames in a driveway. while the family was asleep in the back of the house. >> our neighbor was leaving for work and he rang our doorbell continuously. we got everybody up, got everybody outside, got them safe. >> reporter: along with those two overnight in brentwood, there have been other arson automobile fires in walnut creek, lafayette and martinez in recent days. officials believe they are tied to some earlier ones from earlier this year. >> is there a round number? >> we believe there to be more than 10 fires but we are not releasing the exact number. >> reporter: if you have evidence or video about this arson, contact contra costa county fire investigators. in pleasant hill, joe vazquez, kpix 5. two men are in the hospital after another oo