tv CBS Evening News with Jeff Glor CBS December 18, 2017 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
ahead at 6:00 a bay area city facing a staffing crisis. >> i'll be back with that story and much more with veronica. we'll see you then. k 501 emergency. we are on the ground. >> glor: a deadly trainwreck in washington state. >> we're coming around the corner to take the bridge over i-5 and we went on the ground. >> we could hear and feel the cars crumbling and breaking apart. >> glor: also tonight, the power is back in atlanta, but more flights are canceled. >> this is a nightmare. >> glor: a modern-day cold war. >> there's almost a mini arms buildup going on. >> glor: rhode island's charlie brown christmas. >> i've killed it. oh, everything i touch gets ruined. >> glor: and unidentified flying objects. the pentagon's secret program to identify them. this is the "cbs evening news" with jeff glor.
>> glor: and this is our western edition. good evening. the first run of a new amtrak commuter line in the pacific northwest ended in tragedy. the 14-car train jumped the tracks this morning south of seattle and most of the cars flew off an overpass, some hitting vehicles on the road below. others are still dangling in the air tonight. the train carried 77 passengers and a crew of seven. multiple deaths are reported at there are dozens of injuries. the n.t.s.b. is on the scene, and so is cbs news correspondent john blackstone. >> reporter: the accident scene is a jumble of derailed train cars, trucks, and automobiles. >> when you see the pictures, it's pretty horrific. >> people were screaming. it was crazy. >> reporter: an amtrak commuter train on a new, higher-speed line between seattle and portland, derailed. >> amtrak 501. emergency. we are on the ground. >> reporter: this radio call captured the moment it was first learned that the train derailed.
>> is everyone okay? >> i'm still figuring that out. >> reporter: one car flipped up side down. another dangled precariously off the overpass. still others piled up, wreckage strewn over a wide area. of the 14 cars, only one, the lead engine, remained on the tracks. no motorists were killed from the crash. >> i was scared, you know, i was really scared. >> reporter: adrian thompson was on route to see his mother for the holiday. >> i grabbed on to the chair in front of me for dear life. my laptop went flying, phone went flying. >> reporter: within minutes of the derailment dozens of emergency crews rushed in, as did drivers who witnessed the crash, like trevor colby, who helped pull survivors to safety. >> i saw smoke. next thing i know, myself and a few others are trying to get people medical care when we can. >> reporter: this was first trip for the new seattle-to-portland
line, but some local officials had expressed concern these tracks weren't safe enough for a commuter train traveling 80mph. those passengers who were able to walk away feel enormously fortunate. >> i said a prayer multiple times after this. i feel blessed to be alive and okay right now. >> reporter: investigators from the national transportation safety board are now on the scene here of this accident looking for an answer to that all important question: what caused this accident on a newly built set of tracks meant for a higher-speed operation. was it a problem with the train, the tracks, or perhaps operator error? it could take weeks to get an answer. jeff? >> glor: john blackstone, thank you. debora hersman is a former chairperson of the national transportation safety board. she's now president and c.e.o. of the national safety council. she joins us from chicago tonight. mrs. hersman, first of all, what are investigators looking for now? >> when investigators first
arrive on scene, they will look to collect all of the perishable evidence, document the scene, and grab the recorders as quickly as possible and either download them on site or send them back into a lab so they can be read out. >> glor: there's something called a positive train control system. some feel that might have made a difference here. what is that, and what might it have done? >> yeah, so it's really too early to tell if positive train control could have prevented this derailment, because we don't know what caused the derailment. positive train control is really a back-up to the human being. the engineer and the cab could be distracted, fatigued, or incapacitated. positive train control is g.p.s. based technology that knows if trains are going to collide with one another or if trains are speeding over what is permitted in that section of track. and so it keeps the train from potentially derailing if they go too fast for conditions. >> glor: debora hersman, thank you so much for your time.
>> thank you. >> glor: it is a different kind of transportation issue for air travelers in atlanta where an airport power failure forced cancellation yesterday of nearly 1,200 flights. the power is back, but airlines are still struggling to get back on schedule. transportation correspondent kris van cleave is in atlanta. (applause) >> reporter: even with the lights back on monday, more than 400 additional flights were canceled and the lines stretched as far as you could see. >> again, i apologize for inconvenience. >> reporter: yesterday passengers roamed the nation's busiest airport in the dark. others were stuck on the airport tram. some slept on the baggage belts. more than 1,000 flights were canceled. >> this is absurd. like people are sleeping on the floor like homeless people. it's just like... i have never seen anything like this at all. >> glor: this morning delta was handing out doughnuts, which came as little comfort to this woman who was supposed to fly home yesterday. >> you have no contingency
plans. i mean, all these people are here. there's no food, no water. they told us absolutely nothing. >> reporter: for seven hours? >> for seven hours. >> reporter: it was a fire deep below the airport caused the power outage that stranded an estimated 30,000 passengers sunday. georgia power believes a piece of equipment known as a switch gear failed sparking the fire. it burned through the cable supplying power to the airport, including all of the backups, leading to questions as to why the backup power was located so close to the main line. >> it impacted flights around the world. >> they cascaded around the world we recognize that. that's why it's so important that this doesn't happen again. >> reporter: paul bowers is the utility's c.e.o. it doesn't make you look really good when you say there are redundancies, but the redundancies failed, too. >> you look at that question about redundancy. and a single point of failure like that is absolutely something that you consider, but the failure rate of any type of
switch gear is so minute in our network that, you know, we didn't design for that. now we have to look at that to try to isolate it. >> reporter: delta, the biggest carrier here at atlanta's airport, ha canceled about 390 flights today, but the airport says it's now running at 100% efficiency. that doesn't mean all of the problems have been solved. there is a sea of bags that still need to be reunited with their owners. jeff? >> glor: all right, kris. president trump today outlined his national security plan, which emphasizes peace through strength, a new era of competition with russia and china. emails are also on the president's mind, this time emails from his own transition team. they've become part of the special counsel's investigation of russian meddling in the u.s. here's chief white house correspondent major garrett. >> reporter: after president trump returned from camp david sunday, reporters asked if he was considering firing special counsel robert mueller. >> no i'm not. >> reporter: but mr. trump said attorneys for his transition were angered by mueller's move to obtain emails from their office as part of his russia investigation.
>> my people were very upset about it. i can't imagine there's anything on them, frankly, because as we said, there's no collusion. there's no collusion whatsoever. >> reporter: in a letter to congress, a transition attorney called the seizure of emails unlawful and accused the government agency that provided computers and this office space to the trump transition of illegally handing over privileged or private communications to mueller's team. a spokesman for mueller said all emails collected by investigators came through "either the account owner's consent or appropriate criminal process." the acquisition of transitional email, illegal? >> no. >> reporter: unethical? >> no. >> reporter: john wood is a former government attorney. >> the individuals don't have known they had no right to privacy because they were on a public server. >> reporter: the email squabble feeds growing skepticism of
mueller's investigation. last week many in the g.o.p. seized on text messages from a former mueller investigator as evidence of bias against mr. trump. republican john cornyn of texas. >> i have confidence in director mueller. i would just think he would be concerned about the appearance of conflicts of interest. >> reporter: sources tell cbs mueller and his team has had the emails since august and has used them in interviews with white house and transition officials. mr. trump's lawyers, mr. trump's lawyers, rather, jeff, will meet with mueller's team later this week for a status update on the russia investigation. >> glor: major garrett, thank you very much from the white house. the president could be signing the tax cut bill by mid-week. today his vice president put off a trip to the middle east in case he's needed to break a tie in the senate. here is chief congressional correspondent nancy cordes. >> most maine households will see their taxes go down. >> reporter: there are now few obstacles standing between the
.46 trillion tax plan and final passage. a pair of g.o.p. hold-outs declared their support today and the first major independent analysis found the bill could drive up taxes for only 5% of taxpayers next year, an improvement from previous versions. the tax policy center determined that taxpayers making between $50,000 and $90,000 a year would save, on average, $900 or 1.6% of their after-tax income. the very top earners would see a larger savings of 3.4%. on average, about $51,000. >> it's still the case that over time the tax cuts will generally get smaller and smaller. >> reporter: tax expert joseph rosenberg says one area where republicans fell short was their promise to make the tax code simpler. >> it's introducing a lot of additional complexities. >> reporter: so we will not be able to do our taxes on a postcard? >> i think postcard is out.
>> reporter: controversy simmered today over a deduction added to the bill at the last minute. analysts say it would primarily benefit wealthy commercial real estate investors, like president trump or tennessee republican bob corker. >> the benefits are larger the more income you have. >> reporter: so if i own an apartment that i rent out, i don't benefit from this? >> you might benefit, but not very much. >> reporter: corker insisted today that he had no knowledge of that provision when he announced his support on friday, and g.o.p. leaders backed him up, but democrats say, jeff, this is a needless giveaway, no matter what, to an industry that's already thriving. >> glor: nancy cordes, thank you. the director for the centers for disease control is defending the agency after a report that it's compiled a list of seven "dirty" words that should not be used when asking congress for money. dr. jon lapook has more on this. >> reporter: the seven words that sparked outrage are
vulnerable, entitlement, diversity, transgender, fetus, evidence based and science based. cbs news has learned that budget analysts at the c.d.c. were told to consider avoiding those words in order to get the broadest congressional support for funding. that advice came from the department of health and human services or h.h.s. while the c.d.c. issued a statement saying there was no explicit order to ban words, some critics worry this sends the wrong message, one that censors research. a federal official told cbs news that this was simply guidance provided to people who write budget proposals and was not out of the ordinary. >> i have to say from my experience, this is very much out of the ordinary. >> reporter: kathleen sebelius was head of h.h.s. from 2009 to 2014. >> i don't know how you talk about maternal and child health without using the word "fetus." >> reporter: when people at the c.d.c. hear these are the words that could lead to trouble,
could it lead to self- censorship, like i'm not going to do research there? >> of course. i have never heard about a budget document being edited or pre-edited, if you will, but it certainly is a form of censorship. >> reporter: what message does this send to the c.d.c.? >> i hope it doesn't send some of the very competent, talented people out the door. i think it's a very troubling message, not just to the c.d.c., but to the american public about public health. >> reporter: both the c.d.c. and h.h.s. declined our request for an interview. we were not able to learn how high up in the administration this guidance came from. jeff? >> glor: dr. jon lapook, thank you very much. here are some other stories we're following in this evening's news feed. jerry richardson is selling the carolina panthers. the announcement came just hours after "sports illustrated" reported richardson was accused of sexual misconduct involving female employees as well as directing a racial slur at a team scout.
today senator john mccain battling brain cancer tweeted his thanks for the support he's received from the public. he wrote, "i'm feeling well and looking forward the returning to work after the holidays." researchers in minnesota say there is no proven way to prevent dementia late in life. they reviewed scores of trials evaluating physical activity, prescription drugs, cognitive training, including memory games, and over-the-counter supplements. they say there is no evidence any of them can stop dementia. and there is much more ahead on tonight's "cbs evening news." >> reporter: the 40-year-old "polar star," america's only heavy ice breaker, is near the end of its life. this fuse helps the ship run? >> yes, it does. >> reporter: and you found it on ebay? >> yes. >> i never thought it was such a bad little tree. >> glor: apparently the people of rhode island disagree. >> should we be worried about u.f.o.s? >> this is a national security imperative. >> my gosh.
tional security imperative. >> my gosh. imperative. ys keeping me from the things i love to do. talk to your doctor, and call 844-214-2424. he's a nascar champion who's she's a world-class swimmer who's stared down the best in her sport. but for both of them, the most challenging opponent was... pe blood clots in my lung. it was really scary. a dvt in my leg. i had to learn all i could to help protect myself. my doctor and i choose xarelto® xarelto®... to help keep me protected. xarelto® is a latest-generation blood thinner... ...that's proven to treat and reduce the risk of dvt and pe blood clots from happening again.
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>> glor: in his national security address today, president trump said america is coming back and coming back strong. but it turns out the u.s. has fallen behind in a modern-day cold war. here's carter evans. >> reporter: when the coast guard cutter "polar star" plows through the ice, it can feel like an earthquake on board. its missions are vital to keeping shipping lanes open in the north and south pole. >> america is an arctic nation. that's part of our country, part of our land. >> reporter: but coast guard vice admiral fred midget warns the u.s. is being outspent on the ice by vladimir putin. russia has six new heavy ice breakers. >> if you look at what russia is doing, there's almost a mini arms buildup going on in the arctic. >> reporter: meanwhile, the 40- year-old "polar star," america's only heavy ice breaker, is near the end of its life.
this ship was commissioned in 1976. >> 1976. >> reporter: how many heavy ice breakers has the coast guard built since then? >> zero. >> reporter: so keeping "polar star" afloat is job one. we caught up with the ship as it was undergoing vital repairs. everything from the boiler room to the propulsion system. some of the most critical maintenance involves replacing the ship's 16-foot-tall propellers, but these are not new. they came from the "polar star's" sister ship. it was damaged beyond repair in 2010. if you didn't do this maintenance before you headed out, what could have happened? >> we probably would have lost a rudder this year because there were a lot of cracks and there was a lot of corrosion there. >> reporter: captain mike devanzo showed us around the ship, where the computer is so antiquated, the coast guard had to find old parts online. this fuse helps the ship run? >> yes, it does. >> reporter: and you found it on ebay? >> yes, the coast guard found it on ebay. >> reporter: earlier this summer president trump told coast guard
cadets help is on the way, but with a new ship seven years away at best, "polar star" always sails with at least a year's worth of food, just in case it breaks down and guess stuck in the ice. carter evans, cbs news, vallejo, california. >> glor: when we come back, a major leaguer takes generosity to a new level. to a new level. trust #1 doctor recommended dulcolax. use dulcolax tablets for gentle dependable relief. suppositories for relief in minutes.
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the tree was drying up and shedding needles. so, today it was cut down and turned into wood chips. with just a week until the holiday, a local tree farm donated a new tree and did save christmas in the capital. a lot of folks use a family photo for their christmas card. and here's one from a family in england. you might have heard of them. prince william and wife kate along with their children george and charlotte. and george has the christmas holiday shorts. very nice. we'll be right back. as a person, drastically. ♪ i tried hard to quit smoking. ♪ but when we brought our daughter home that was it. ♪ now i have nicoderm cq. the nicoderm cq patch with unique extended release technology helps prevent your urge to smoke all day. it's the best thing that ever happened to me.
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tony dokoupil reports the military has been looking. >> there's a whole fleet of them. look on the s.a. >> my gosh. >> reporter: you're watching just one of the many u.f.o. encounters investigated by the department of defense. >> look at that thing. >> reporter: the unidentified flying object, about the size of a school bus, attracted the attention of former intelligence officer luis elizondo. >> it's not a drone. it's not something that we can easily say, oh, that's an airplane. >> reporter: for years elizondo ran a $22 million pentagon effort aimed at understanding the physics of sightings like this one. >> frankly, if it's russian, chinese, little green men from mars, or your neighbor's dog, i really don't care. my focus is what is it, and how does it work? >> reporter: elizondo refused to discuss the number of cases he investigated, but he did work with robert bigelow, a las vegas aerospace tycoon who recently
told "60 minutes" that alien life is real. >> i'm absolutely convinced. that's all there is to it. >> reporter: do you also believe that u.f.o.s have come to earth? >> there has and is an existing presence. >> reporter: from 1964 to 1969, an air force program investigated more than 12,000 u.f.o. sightings, 700 of which are still unidentified. >> i would say remain skeptical, absolutely, but there comes a point whetr the evidence becomes overwhelming. >> reporter: elizondo says we're not at that point yet, but he believes something is out there. and ignoring it just won't fly. tony dokoupil, cbs news, new york. >> glor: that is the "cbs evening news." i'm jeff glor. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
francisco's struggling taxi industry. cab drivers.. deep in debt. and ty could be on the hook. kpix5 news begins with what looks like a complete financial melt down for san francisco's struggling taxi cab industry. drivers are deep in debt and the city could be on the hook. >> i'm veronica, taxi medallions were once seen as a good-- investment, literally a license to make money but times have changed. wilson walker reports the market has become a mess that could come back to haunt the city. >> i've always complied with the rules and regulations and earn an honest living. >> take a ride with chris french and you will hear an increasingly familiar story. >> i went ahead and bought a medallion. it keeps getting worse. >> we are talking about taxi medallions.
>> i finally bought mine at 23,000. >> something they have wrestled over. >> i have three sons that i was going to leave this to. >> they were the only way to drive a cab in the city and the restricted number literally drove demand for taxis and medallions so they were long considered a license to make money with some drivers spending 10 or 20 years on a waiting list just for a chance to buy one.>>'s last-- flashforward when san francisco faced two problems, a shortage of cabs and a $50 million budget shortfall. >> really the only direction that i received were to sell medallions. >> christine, one time the head of the city taxi program but now retired, was asked to structure the system in 2008. >> san francisco was looking at the new york medallion system