tv CBS Evening News With Norah O Donnell CBS September 4, 2021 3:02am-3:31am PDT
caioning sponsored by cbs 'donll: toght on thifre hurricane ida's terrible toll as more deaths are reported in the northeast. and there is a threat of new flooding. plus, the president's visit to louisiana to see the devastation dramatic new pictures rising rivers forcing more evacuations. >> this street we are standing in fairfield, new jersey, just yesterday was completely dry. now as you can see, water up to my thighs. >> o'donnell: and we learn more about the victims, including a two-year-old boy and a police sergeant. touring the disaster zone. the president's promise topromio louisiana. plus, when the lights will come back in new orleans. canceling travel plans.
fewer air travelers this holiday weekend-- why the delta variant is to blame. plus, if you're hitting the road, what you need to know about gas prices. the worst report since january. cardinal abuse scandal. the highest ranking catholic church official ever charged with a sex crime in this country pleads not guilty. declassifying 9/11 documents. wh the victims families call president biden's new executive order a turning point in their effort to connect the saudi government and the hijackers. and, "on the road." why this woman's letter meant so much to a world war ii veteran. this is the "cbs evening news" with norah o'donnell, reporting from the nation's capital. >> o'donnell: good evening and thank you so much for joining us ahead of this holiday weekend.'d well, tonight, millions are still suffering from hurricane ida and her trail of devastation, stretching more
than 1,500 miles from the gulf coast to new england. fldwaters claimed most ofn the those lives. one researcher says seven rivers reached their highest levels on record, and there may be more flooding to come. president biden has signed emergency declaration force several states paving the way for federal aid. well, today the president flew to louisiana where he told local officials we are going to have your back. and he got a look at those staggering scope of the disaster, wind and storm surge from the hurricane destroyed entire towns. fema says it received a record 290,000 applications for disaster aid from louisiana alone. well, tonight, crews from 32 states are working in the sweltering heat to help restore power. we are going to begin with cbs's mola lenghi in new jersey. mola, what is the situation there?
>> reporter: well, norah, now that some waters in northeast have started to recede, people are beginning to survey the damage, and see all that theyome have lost. for some, it looks like this. it is a lot. for others, their homes are unliveable. watch as a new jersey man steps barefoot through his flooded basement, before an entire wall is blown apart by rushing floodwater. ( screaming ) just one example of the terror brought on by the remnants of hurricane ida. and today, from philadelphia to northern new jersey, to southern new england, the misery set in as floodwaters receded in some areas but continued to rise in others. this street where i am standing in fairfield, new jersey, just yesterday was completely dry. now, as you can see, water up to my thighs. at least 47 people across five northeast states died in the storm. many drowned in their homes or were washed away by rushing floodwaters. like veteran connecticut trooper brian mohl. the youngest killed was two- year-old lobsang lama, who
drowned with his par itheir newt apartment. scientists say climate change is making storm systems more destructive than ever. today, fairfield, new jersey detective sergeant jeff didyk and corporal stephen diorgenio were out searching for more possible victims and helping the vulnerable. >> thank you so much. >> reporter: instead of planning for labor day weekend celebrations, people are now picking up the pieces of their lives-- if there is anything left to pick up.n riley's house in part of the foundation of john riley's house in little falls, new jersey, is gone. >> it is really emotional, sad, but there are worst things in life. >> reporter: those sentimental items people lost, they didn't have time to save that make this so difficult for some. but looking ahead, no significant rainfall is expected in the northeast for at least several days, which should allow some of those rivers that have created so many problems here in
the region to finally begin to recede, norah. >> o'donnell: so worried about everybody out there. mola lenghi, thank you. and let's head now to louisiana. the president got a firsthand look at the devastation on the ground and from the air. nighe smals feel like they have been forgotten. cbs's mireya villarreal is there. >> reporter: hurricane ida is the latest storm to test president biden in his role as the nation's consoler in chief. >> we are americans and we will get through this together. >> reporter: president biden toured the damage as the heat index reached nearly 100 degrees. across the state, more than 800,000 people are without power. some are without running water, and many still can't find gas. >> 25,000 linemen from around the country have come, and two of them lost their lives. >> reporter: recovery may be especially difficult for families that lost loved ones at this make-shift shelter. four nursing home residents that were evacuated died in this warehouse. health officials are
investigating reports of patients seen here sleeping on mattresses placed on the floor, not being fed or changed regularly. the owner, bob dean, jr., spoke with our cbs affiliate wwl. >> there is no room left. >> reporter: 150 miles south where ida came ashore, in grand isle, angel drove there with her friend to check her home, recover one cherished item. >> the flag made i'all. >> reporter: northwest of new orleans, frustration is growing in the small community of killion. >> our biggest worry is we are going to be forgotten. >> reporter: nancy and bobby aucoin have lived in this area for 16 years and say their community is desperate. >> the little towns, the little places at the end that aren't in the metropolitan are the ones that are kind of last to get the
resources. >> reporter: you know, as of right now, we have all seen the videos of people waiting in line for gas. in fact this place behind me had about 20 just a few hours ago. but as the power continues to come on, the lines will minimize and so will the frustrations. a bit of good news coming from the major electric company here in louisiana, norah. we are told they plan to have the new orleans area and the immediate area surrounding new orleans up and running by september 8. that is less than a week away. >> o'donnell: all right, mireya villarreal, thank you so much for all of your reporting this week. president biden's plan to start delivering covid booster shots later this month may have to be scaled back. cbs news has leanerd the top health officials have told the administration that regulators need more data on moderna's booster before signing offer on it. booster shots may be limited initially to those who received the pfizer vaccine. a key f.d.a. the panel meets in two weeks to review pfizer's the
boost search. all right, the spike in new cases caused by the delta variant are causing americans to change their labor day weekend plans, with some taking shorter trips by car, not plane. here is cbs' buzzing today, but not as much as expected for a holiday weekend. >> i thought it would be a lot more crowded, being a long weekend, but it is not so bad. >> reporter: but the surging delta variant and the c.d.c.'s recommendation that the unvaccinated avoid travel has caused many to rethink their plans. covid concerns caused peter monaghan of maryland to cancel his family's vacation to disney world for the second time. it sounds like a challenging decision. >> oh, it was. we had a count-down clock and everything going, and then delta hit out of the blue. >> reporter: the airlines are feeling it too. delta, united, and american airlines are all struggling to reach pre-pandemic passenger loads as the virus persists. >> we are seeing a big dropoff in onward bookings, and we're seeing a big increase in flight cancellations where people are
worried about the delta variant. and of course we have the other compounding factor, school being back in session. >> reporter: a.a.a. said the vast majority of holiday m travelers will drive, not fly, even as gas prices are creeping up after hurricane ida stalled production along the gulf coast. the monaghans will drive to the beach, instead of flying to florida. >> we are planning to go down to the delaware shore and just have fun down there, but it is not the same. >> reporter: and despite fewer travelers flying this year, the t.s.a. still expects a busy holiday weekend at many of the nation's airports, including at chicago o'hare. they are advising the flyers to get to the airport early, norah. >> o'donnell: it looks busy, nancy chen, thank you. the delta variant is also behind disappointing job reports. just 235,000 jobs were added in august, that is far fewer than expected. it is more bad news for the president, we will get more on that from cbs's ed o'keefe.
a agtoy on the disappointing jobs numbers: thet delta variant is why today's job report isn't stronger. i know people are looking, and i was, hoping for a higher number. >> reporter: while unemployment ticked down, the average number of covid cases jumped, hitting six-figures once again, prompting americans to scale back hiring and purchases. consumer confidence hit a six- month low. transportation, warehousing and manufacturing jobs climbed as online ordering continued, but industries that rely on foot traffic, like restaurants and hotels, took another hit, causing more indigestion for owners. >> we saw that every month was a new drama, was a new crisis. as onetep forward, two steps back, and it looks like this is a perfect example of this with the delta variant. >> reporter: the disappointing job news comes as new polls show the president's overall approval ratings slipping into the 40s, dragged down mostly by concerns with the afghanistan thewithdraa
theconomy woulpr plan. >> it is about investing in america's future. >> reporter: but a key moderate democratic is urging his party not to rush it through. >> hit the pause button. let's sit back. let's see what happens. >> reporter: and this jobs report comes as federal unemployment benefits for about 7.5 million americans are set to expire next week. the president is pushing for an extension, but today called on states to do whatever they can to help those out of work, norah. >> o'donnell: ed o'keefe, thank you. well, a former catholic archbishop of washington pleaded not guilty today to sexual assault. ex-cardinal theodore mccarrick is charged with assaulting a 16-year-old boy at a wedding reception nearly 50 years ago. mccarrick, now 91 years old, is the only catholic cardinal ever charged with child sex crimes here in this country. today, president biden signed an executive order directing the justice department to look into declassifying some documents
related to the 9/11 attacks. he did so under pressure from families of victims who are demanding to know if saudi arabia helped the 9/11 hijackers. we have more now from cbs's catherine herridge, including an exclusive interview with two former investigators. >> reporter: brett eagleson was yrshehifathere bruce was killed in the world trade center south tower. >> that's my dad. >> reporter: eagleson is now leading a group of 9/11 families battling their own government to release still-secret f.b.i. files from the case. >> it's a ten-year-long investigation, that specifically investigated the role that the kingdom of saudi arabia played in supporting the hijackers. >> reporter: the case could name operation encore centered on the to hijackers that lived in san diego, and who assisted them. is that the first-- they went to in san diego? >> this is it right here. >> reporter: danny gonzalez was an f.b.i. agent that worked on operation encore and showed us
the neighborhood the hijackers lived in. this is his first television interview about the case. >> 19 hijackers cannot commit 3,000 mass murders by themselves. >> reporter: based on what you found, do you believe there was a domestic support network for the hijackers? >> obviously. >> reporter: no question? >> i can't comment on it, but you don't have to be an f.b.i. agent with 26 years of experience to figure that out. >> reporter: gonzalez says the two hijackers, nawaf al hazmi and khalid al mihdhar, were helped by a number of saudis, including omar al bayoumi, who was working for saudi government and has said he randomly ran into the two hijackers at a restaurant in los angeles, and urged them to move to san diego. >> he lived in this apartment complex. >> reporter: there, he helped them find an apartment and open a bank account. the two hijackers even started flight school nearby. >> i can't sit on the sidelines when i know the truth. >> reporter: gonzalez says he is under f.b.i. orders not to reveal certain classified information about operation
encore, as is another formerag e memo before 9/11 warning potential terrorists were taking flight lessons in arizona. both men are now working for the families. >> we have evidence, i have seen it, but i can't get into specifics because of the protective order. >> reporter: the 9/11 families are suing saudi arabia for money. the saudis deny official involvement, and the 9/11 commission report found no connection. but operation encore started two years after the commission's report. it was the team's records from operation encore. >> right. >> reporter: what would the public learn? >> a lot, a lot. >> reporter: would it change our understanding of 9/11? >> sure, yes. >> reporter: successive presidents have kept operation encore secret, citing national security. brett eagleson says the order is a critical first step, but he remains skeptical.
two decades after the attacks eagleson wants his daughters to know the secrets of 9/11... >> your grandpa was a hero in the world trade center. >> reporter: ...and who killed her grandfather. catherine herridge, cbs news, washington. >> o'donnell: and there is still much more news ahead on tonight's "cbs evening news". a commercial space company's rocket blows up on its very first launch. and a recognizable january 6 rioter enters into a plea deal. >> a place where everyone lives life well-protected. ♪ and even when things go a bit wrong, we've got your back. here, things work the way you wish they would. and better protection costs a whole lot less.
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"on the road." >> reporter: inside the vitalia senior residences in strongsville, ohio, 95-year-old frank grasberger sits on a treasure. literally sits. in fact, frank says other than his wife delores, almost nothing matters more to him than this note, which he carries everywhere. >> i never leave without it.ve . >> w >> reporter: why did it matter so much that you have it with you all the time? >> because it is something that somebody thought of me that much. >> with when he had that letter with him, he has a feeling of faith and trust and love. >> reporter: to understand how a letter can do all of that, you first need to know that frank is a world war ii veteran, and back in 2009, athird grader wrote to thank him for his service. "if it wasn't for you, we would never have freedom. i am so happy you made sacrifices. your friend, dashauna priest." to frank, that simple thank youh
came to symbolize a life well served. >> i am tickled to death i have a letter like this. >> reporter: he wanted to thank the author. >> we never could find her. he says before i close my eyes, i have to find her. i have to find her.te >> reporter: just about everyone who works here was well aware of frank's attachment to that letter and his decade-long desire to find the little girl who wrote it. so the staff did some sleuthing. and lo and behold-- >> hey! >> reporter: dashauna is now 21. she vividly remembers writing the letter as a school assignment because she so admired people in uniform. >> it is like, wow. >> i get to write to a veteran. >> yeah! >> reporter: so it was like an honor? >> whe >> yeah. >> reporter: an honor that continued. >> so here she is. >> reporter: when dashauna surprised frank in her national guard uniform. can't im >> that is fantastic, oh, i love you so much. >> you can't imagine the feeling ihad when she stood next to me.
it just took my breath away, it really did. >> i thought, where's his heart pills? because i thought, oh, there is it, this is the big one! >> i'm telling you, this is a god send, it really is. >> reporter: fortunately, frank's heart only swelled, and may never return to its original size. so there is the beginning of something? >> yes. a friendship. ( laughs ) family, not friendship. >> there is love there, deep down in the heart. she's like my third daughter, she really is. >> it started with a letter, love and affection and it is ending with family.uld make a lf >> reporter: who knew a simple thank you could make a life complete? steve hartman, "on the road," in strongsville, ohio. >> o'donnell: and that letteratr saying thank you meant so much to him. it is an important reminder. we will be right back. ce.
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you can watch us later. that is tonight's "cbs evening news." i am norah o'donnell. ha - hi everyone and welcome to the legal help center. today we have legal professionals standing by to answer your questions and give you a free consultation. so if you've been injured in an accident that was not your fault and you don't have an attorney, give us a call right now and we'll let you know how much your case is potentially worth. now, this is a service to you, the viewers. there are legal professionals available right now offering you a completely free consultation. so if you've been injured in an accident and you're sitting at home right now thinking of how you're going to pay those medical bills or get your car fixed, we can help. go ahead, take action. pick up that phone right now.