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tv   CBS Evening News With Norah O Donnell  CBS  December 9, 2019 6:30pm-7:00pm PST

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♪ captioning sponsored by cbs >> o'donnell: breaking news tonight, the search for survivors. a volcano erupts, trapping tourists. at least five dead, dozens more hurt or missing. tonight the american newlyweds who barely escaped. was it a witch hunt? the report on the start of the russia investigation is just out, and it says there was no anti-trump bias, but the president says... >> incredible. far worse than i would have ever thought possible. >> o'donnell: plus democrats call the president a clear and present danger as they finalize the articles of impeachment. act of terror: the f.b.i. now scouring travel records of the saudi air force pilot who killed three sailors in florida. tonight, where he went days before the shooting and the party he threw the night before. rehearsing a mass shooting, shocking videos posted on youtube, acting out a deadly
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attack with real guns. was it an art project or a roadmap for murder? >> o'donnell: plus cost of war. after nearly two decades and more than 2,000 deaths, the stunning new report on the war in afghanistan and the general who says we didn't know what we were doing. pile-up: 50 cars and trucks slam into each other, shutting down a injor interstate for miles. the powerful storm now heading east. and tears of joy, why parents are paying to turn their holiday photos into the nightmare before christmas. >> this is the "cbs evening news" with norah o'donnell reporting from the nation's capital. >> o'donnell: good evening to our viewers in the west. rescuers say it is still too dangerous to search for survivors tonight after tourists in new zealand were trapped by
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an erupting volcano, spewing ash and smoke 12,000 feet in the air. there are at least five dead and dozens injured, and there are americans who still have not been accounted for. it all happened on new zealand's white island. that is a popular tourist attraction where more than 10,000 people visit every year. and there are questions tonight about why people were allowed to set foot on one of new zealand's most active volcanoes just weeks after geologists warned of volcanic unrest. ian lee leads off our coverage tonight. >> reporter: the eruption sent violent clouds of pulverized clouds and steam into the mid- afternoon sky. >> no. no, no, no, no, no. >> reporter: covering white island's moonlight surface in more then a foot of ash. this webcam image taken just beforehand shows a group of people exploring the top-most reaches of the volcano. another group can be seen huddling on the shore below. within minutes, first responders navigated treacherous conditions to rescue 34 people.
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many of those evacuated were seriously injured, some with severe burns. eight people are still missing, five were killed. new zealand prime minister jacinda ardern. >> no signs of life have been seen at any point. >> reporter: the island is a major tourist destination, drawing in nearly 10,000 people a year, among them, lauren barham and matthew urey, newlyweds from virginia on a royal caribbean cruise for their honeymoon. both are now hospitalized. >> this was ridiculous. this is absurd. people died. >> reporter: rick and barbara barham heard from their daughter just before she left for the island hike. >> had my daughter known that there was any risk involved, she wouldn't have gone. >> reporter: the cruise line markets the trip by focusing on the adventure of exploring hot volcanic streams, but geologists recently saw an increase in dangerous gas, prompting them to raise the alert level. >> on the scheme of things of volcanic eruption, it is not
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large, but if you're close to that, it's not good. >> reporter: experts warn that there still could be more eruptions from this volcano, but norah, one of the big questions this evening is with increased volcanic activity, why were people allowed on the island in the first place? >> o'donnell: deep question indeed. thank you. and there is no evidence of political bias. that's the conclusion of a hotly anticipated report about the start of the russia investigation that says the f.b.i. didn't plot against president trump. but the report also uncovers serious flaws in the investigation. our catherine herridge is deep- diving into the details. >> reporter: the nearly 500-page report from the justice department's inspector general concluded the f.b.i. acted with authorized purpose when it heened the investigation into the trump campaign's russia ties. >> they had no nothing. it was concocted. >> reporter: the president who for years has called the probe a witch hunt, alleging he was illegally spied on, dismissed
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the findings. >> this was an overthrow of government. this was an attempted overthrow, and a lot of people were in on it. and they got caught. >> reporter: the report was heavily critical of the f.b.i., finding fault in the four surveillance warrant applications for trump campaign's carter page, finding 17 inaccuracies and omissions in the warrant requests, including exculpatory evidence favorable to page. >> i think spying did occur, yes. >> reporter: attorney general bill barr, a staunch defender of the president, took issue with his own inspector general's report, saying it is "clear the f.b.i. launched an intrusive investigation on the thinnest of suspicions." the report also criticized the f.b.i.'s reliance on christopher steele's dossier, used by agents to justify parts of the investigation, saying much of its information was uncorroborated. but in one twist, steele, who twisten attacked repeatedly by the president, told the
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inspector general he was favorably disposed toward the d ump family before he began his research and even had a personal relationship believed to be with ivanka trump. >> o'donnell: catharine joins us tonight. how did the f.b.i. respond to this report? >> reporter: well, norah, in an interview f.b.i. director christopher wray seemed to distance himself from attorney general barr's criticism, saying he agreed with inspector general horowitz that the russia avestigation was appropriately opened. wray also conceded that some of his employees made serious mistakes and he's ordered at least 40 steps of corrective action, but that's not the end of it, because later this week horowitz will testify on capitol hill. >> o'donnell: more to come. thank you so much. tempers flared today on capitol hill in impeachment hearings as democrats said the president's actions posed a clear and present danger. that's also the democrats' justification for fast tracking articles of impeachment which could be voted on by the full house before christmas. nancy cordes is on capitol hill. >> he's badgering the witness. >> reporter: republican frustration boiled over today as
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democratic lawyers laid out their impeachment case based on witness interviews. >> because donald j. trump, the 45th president of the united states, abused the power of his office. >> reporter: they started with that july phone call between president trump and the president of ukraine. >> witnesses who listened to the call described it as unusual, improper, inappropriate, and concerning. >> reporter: president trump ntged ukraine to investigate his campaign rival, joe biden, even as he withheld millions in ukraine aid. >> by early september, the president's scheme was unraveling. put simply: president trump got caught, so he released the aid. >> reporter: but the top republican lawyer argued the icidence is riddled with hearsay and speculation. >> there are conflicting and ambiguous facts throughout the record, facts that could be interpreted in different ways.
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>> let me tell you, those that think you've done something special here, you have set the bar so low i'm afraid it's irreparable. >> reporter: democrats are expected to release articles of impeachment by mid-week, explaining their haste this way: >> this process is moving at the speed of constitutional democracy because there is a clear and present danger to this presidential election. >> reporter: those provocative words refer to the fact that the president's personal lawyer, rudy giuliani, continues to travel to ukraine to investigate mr. trump's political rivals. he says he even wants to provide evidence to capitol hill. one of the president's top defenders here on the hill described that, norah, as "weird." >> o'donnell: all right, nancy. thank you. we should note as congress considers impeaching the president over his dealings with ukraine, today ukraine's president met in paris for the first time with russia's president, vladimir putin. both sides are agreeing tonight
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to pursue a ceasefire in a war that's killed 14,000 people. elizabeth palmer reports tonight from paris. >> reporter: in the company of spy m president, ukraine's leader volodymyr zelensky was clearly a eavice. in fact, it was president putin who reminded him to face the cameras. this is a high-profile summit, and as expected, there was no diplomatic breakthrough. but it was also political theater. everyone watching to see if zelensky would blink in the face of russian pressure. relations have been poisonous since russia seized the ukrainian territory of crimea in 2014 and then sent weapons to ukrainian separatists. the u.s. sided with kyiv against moscow and sent military aid to the ukrainian army, the very aid that is now central in the impeachment hearings. ultimately the kremlin wants to expand its influence in ukraine,
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but crowds of angry ukrainians have made it crystal clear they won't have it. president zelensky came here to paris vowing that he would face down russia, but he still could have used some visible support from his most powerful ally, the united states. however, fallout from that now- notorious phone call left him looking very much alone. norah? >> o'donnell: that's why it matters, liz. 'dank you. tonight the f.b.i. is investigating a possible act of terrorism in that shooting by a saudi national at the pensacola naval air station. many are demanding answers as there is outrage and anguish over the loss of three young sailors. david begnaud reports tonight from pensacola. >> reporter: it was a somber ceremony. the bodies of the three fallen service members arrived at dover airforce base in delaware last night where a dignified transfer took place. the u.s. navy identified the men as 24-year-old ensign joshua watson, 21-year-old airman apprentice cameron walters, and 19-year-old airman mohammed
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haitham. haitham followed his mother's footsteps into the navy. this is his mother, evelyn brady. >> i love you. i love you. i am so very proud. >> reporter: tonight the f.b.i. confirmed that the shooter, 21 - year-old mohammed alshamrani, a member of the royal saudi air force, was active on social media. law enforcement is still looking for a motive. barely two hours before the shooting spree, someone matching alshamrani's identity posted this on twitter, "oh, american people, i hate you, because every day you supporting funding and committing crimes not only against muslims but also humanity." "the associated press" has reported that the shooter held a dinner party days earlier where he watched mass shooting videos with three other saudi students. the f.b.i. says alshamrani carried out the shooting with a legally purchased nine millimeter handgun. florida governor ron desantis wants the federal government to close loopholes. >> the second amendment applies so that we the american people can keep and bear arms.
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it does not apply to saudi arabians. >> reporter: investigators are looking to see if the shooter was radicalized during a trip home to saudi arabia last year. "the associated press" reports days before the attack in florida, the gunman went to manhattan, visiting places like the rockefeller center christmas tree. there is no evidence tonight to suggest he was planning an attack there. one of the sailors who was shot and survived told his story to the local newspaper. he says he was in his office with two other coworkers when the gunman came right by them and actually shot through the door, wounding all three of them. they jumped out a window, ran to a coworker who put them in a truck, took them to the main gate here and gave them to a police officer who rushed them to the hospital. norah, all of them are still alive. >> o'donnell: all right, david. thank you. videos posted by a san diego man looked to police like a dry run for a mass shooting. that man is facing felony weapons charges. otinin an exclusive jailhouse interview, he says none of it is real. janet shamlian has more on his
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disturbing videos. >> reporter: the man suspected of practicing for a mass shooting pled not guilty today to six felony charges filed against him. >> you drop one mag. you pick up another, right? >> reporter: 30-year-old steve homoki allegedly posted two threatening videos to youtube simulating an attack, loading assault rifles and aiming them outside the window of the sofia hotel, police say, right in the heart of downtown san diego. >> a little bit surprising. >> reporter: in an exclusive jailhouse interview with cbs station kfmb, homoki called the situation overblown. >> reporter: police found a cache of weaponshi a tipster reported he had gone off the deep end. authorities say homoki booked a hotel room under an alias in march, posting the videos in
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september with the caption, "nothing is real." ur >> reporter: the hotel sits on a busy street where thousands of people travel every day. janet shamlian, cbs news, san diego. >> o'donnell: tonight newly released documents raise serious questions about whether the american people were lied to about the progress of the war in afghanistan, the longest in our history. david martin reports what we're learning from interviews with more than 400 senior officials. >> reporter: it's as blunt as can be, "we didn't know what we were doing," said now retired lieutenant general douglas lute, who was the afghan war czar for presidents bush and obama. first reported by "the washington post," more than 2,000 pages of interviews belie repeated assurances given by military commanders during the 18-year war. >> the past eight months have seen important but hard-fought progress in afghanistan.
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>> reporter: the war began as a campaign to destroy al qaeda after 9/11. donald rumsfeld, secretary of defense at the time, mocked reporters who asked if afghanistan could become a vietnam-like quagmire. >> all together now, quagmire. >> reporter: but five months later he was warning his staff, "we are never going to get the u.s. military out of afghanistan unless there is stability. help." the war in afghanistan has cost $1 trillion and 2,300 american lives, but there is still no good answer to a question asked by now-retired lieutenant general michael flynn, who served as the chief intelligence officer in afghanistan. >> we're all doing a great job. really? so if we're doing such a great job, why does it feel like we're losing? >> reporter: but, norah, military commanders insist the war has achieved its primary goal of preventing afghanistan from being used as a base for another attack like 9/11.
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>> o'donnell: david, thank you. and there is still much more ahead on tonight's "cbs evening news." dozens of cars and trucks collide on a slippery highway. where is this dangerous storm rmaded next? and why some parents want their kids to cry on santa's lap and the photographer who makes it happen. otographer who makes it happen. ! bend at the waist! i'm tryin'! keep it up. you'll get there. whoa-hoa-hoa! 30 grams of protein, and one gram of sugar. ensure max protein. and i like to question your i'm yoevery move.n law. like this left turn. it's the next one. you always drive this slow? how did you make someone i love? that must be why you're always so late. i do not speed. and that's saving me cash with drivewise. my son, he did say that you were the safe option. and that's the nicest thing you ever said to me. so get allstate. stop bossing. where good drivers save 40% for avoiding mayhem, like me.
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remember frates helped to promote the ice bucket challenge, which has raised more than $200 million for a.l.s. research. the former captain of the boston college baseball team is survived by a wife and daughter. pete frates was just 34 years old. tonight megan rapinoe scores again after leading the u.s. soccer team to the world cup this year. well, today she was named "sports illustrated" sports person of the year, the first individual soccer player to ever atceive that honor. coming up next, we'll pump up the volume. turns out it's not the most wonderful time of the year for everyone. >> let him go, santa. let him go. go, santa. let him go.
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>> we have parents coming in here hoping their kids will cry wd they leave disappointed if they don't. >> run, everybody. ey reporter: turns out crying kids make hilarious holiday photos. kris kringle meets chris cringeworthy. >> kids are going to cry no matter what. we just kind of accentuate that. >> reporter: when you look at your portfolio, you would think, this photographer is not good with kids. he's a jerk. >> yeah. >> reporter: rothman was floored parents wanted their kids to cry. he had 7,000 photo shoots available over six weeks. they sold out in ten minutes. what age is the sweet spot? >> one to two is... >> reporter: water works? >> it's perfect. >> it's realistic. yeah, this is what they do. they're not smiles and perfect. >> reporter: santa meets three new crying kids every ten minutes. >> reporter: if you really want to feel how a child cries, it hurts, and, yeah, it does tug at my heart.
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>> reporter: but within seconds, all is calm, all is bright again. >> when they get older and their kids get older, they can sit around on christmas and share those photos and laugh about it. >> reporter: but until then, it's anything but silent night. ( crying ) mark strassman, cbs news, atlanta. >> o'donnell: i have one of those. post your crying santa pictures and tag us, and we'll repost it. we'll be right back. ta pictures and tag us, and we'll repost it. we'll be right back. let's be honest, quitting smoking is freaking hard. like quitting every monday hard. quitting feels so big. so, try making it smaller. and you'll be surprised at how easily starting small... ...can lead to something big. start stopping with nicorette oh, come on. flo: don't worry. you're covered. (dramatic music) and you're saving money, because you bundled home and auto.
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nothing lasts longer and treats more symptoms for your cough, cold and flu. robitussin. because it's never just a cough. ♪ ♪ the calming scent of lavender by downy infusions calm. laundry isn't done until it's done with downy. >> o'donnell: and tomorrow, holly williams reports from the front lines of the war between ukraine and russia and shows how political games in washington have life-and-death consequences there. real reporting. that's tonight's "cbs evening news." i'm norah o'donnell in washington. we'll see you right back here tomorrow. good night.
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democrats announced plans to release articles of impeachment, as soon as tomorrow. a cal football player is facing charges tonight, how the university is responding. canine catastrophe solved by police, have a crack a bizarre case of two dozen missing dogs. a terrifying volcanic blast was caught on camera, the bay area man who escaped with only minutes to spare. san jose's mayor throwing his support behind a new 2020 hopeful. now at 7 and streaming on cbsn bay area. >> we begin tonight with new developments from the nation's capital. democrats moving forward with two articles of impeachment against president trump. they plan to


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