tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS May 17, 2017 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
>> pelley: breaking news, a special independent counsel has been named to head up the investigation of the trump administration and russian interference with the u.s. election. congress wants the fired f.b.i. director to testify. >> i'll use is subpoena pen if ssneceary. >> pelley: also tonight, mr. trump says he's a victim. >> no politician in history has been treated worse or more unfairly. >> pelley: and gisele bundchen's at odds with the nfl over her husband tom brady. >> he had a concussiont las year. i mean, he has concussions pretty much every year that we don't talk about, but he does have concussions.
been treated worse or more unfairly. it has been another day of momentous events, and jeff pegues has the latest. >> reporter: the tipping point came yesterday when it was revealed that former f.b.i. director james comey had taken notes about his february meeting with president trump. the meeting took place a day after national security adviser michael flynn was fired for lying to the vice president about his contacts with russian ambassador sergey kislyak. in his memo, comey wrote that president trump said, "i hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting flynn go. he is a good guy." that raised the specter of obstruction of justice. and today deputy attorney general rod rosenstein decided that the justice department could no longer run the investigation. he authorized a special counsel to ensure a full and thorough investigation of the russian government's efforts to interfere in the
presidential election. rosenstein's pick of robert mueller to run the investigation puts a veteran law enforcement official at the helm. mueller is best known for leading the f.b.i. for 12 years after the 9/11 attacks. before that he led the u.s. investigation of the pan am 103 bombing in 1988. more recently in private practice, he conducted the probe of domestic violence in the nfl. the white house has denied comey's account of the february meeting, and it continues to lash out at those leaking to the press, but some former and current u.s. government officials believe it is their "patriotic duty" to expose the truth. it is unclear who at the justice department and f.b.i. may have seen comey's memos. d.o.j. today declined to comment on whether attorney general jeff sessions or rosenstein had read them. sexes was forced to recuse himself from the russia investigation after revelations about his own contacts with the
kislyak, but he did play a role in comey's firing. ambassador kislyak, who melt with the president last week, is central to the f.b.i.'s investigation. in december, u.s. intelligence picked up intercepts of flynn and kislyak discussing president obama's just-announced sanctions on russia. cbs news has learned that investigators believe feynn may have been acting on orders from someone else. james clapper was the director of national intelligence at the time. >> were you concerned that obama administration policy and this nation's national security was being undermined by somebody internally? >> i will simply say that we've had a long standing principle in our country of one president at a time. >> reporter: was that adhered to in this case? >> well, you can draw your own conclusions about this. >> reporter: it is now up to robert mueller to come to those conclusions, scott. he will have the power the
investigation uncovers. >> pelley: jeff pegues, thanks. the white house has not been under siege like this since 1998 during the impeachment of president clinton on charges of obstruction of justice. this has been the most challenging week in a chaotic four months. monday we learn police department trump shared top-secret intelligence with russian diplomats. yesterday the f.b.i. story broke. today mr. trump was defiant at the u.s. coast guard academy graduation. margaret brennan is joining us now. margaret? >> reporter: well, scott, the white house has not responded yet to this breaking news. the communications team has been huddled for about 30 minutes now trying to craft some kind of response. a few officials did walk by that upper press area where we were gathered and simply said, we just don't want to comment yet. and all of this happened as the white house was interviewing candidates to replace james comey at the f.b.i. >> no politician
i say this with great assurety, has been treated worse or more unfairly. you can't let them get you down. >> reporter: a defiant president trump rallied grand jury waiting coast guard cadets by recounting his own approach to diversity. >> you will find that things are not always fair. you will find that things happen to you that you do not deserve and that are not always warranted, but you have to put your head down and fight, fight, fights. >> reporter: sources say the president's own frustration is at a high point. he's doubting his top advisers, even son-in-law jared kushner, who supported firing f.b.i. director comey despite the ongoing russia investigation. the white house is also trying to contain fallout from president trump's decision to share classified intelligence with top russian diplomats.
today in moscow, russian president vladimir putin dismissed the scandal as "political schizophrenia." putin even said he would share transcripts of the president's comments with the u.s. congress if the white house wants. white house spokesman sean spicer says he was unaware of any russian recording of the meeting and said the public should rely on the accounts given by national security adviser h.r. mcmaster. >> what the president shared was wholly appropriate. >> reporter: president trump today said he's trying to ignore the media firestorm. >> i didn't get elected to serve the washington media or special interests. i got elected to serve the forgotten men and women of our country, and that's what i'm doing. >> reporter: scott, a senior white house official told me that the administration's plans to broker a deal with russia in syria have not advanced as planned in large part because of what they see as bogus media reports about the president's ties, alleged ties to moscow.
>> pelley: margaret brennan, thanks. now, last night the house oversight committee asked the f.b.i. to produce all of the notes of former director comey's conversations with the president. jason chaffetz chairs that committee. he's joining us now from utah. mr. chairman, how does the appointment of a special prosecutor change your plans to investigate this? >> look, the house has its own equity, and we will continue to pursue our own investigation and still plan and hope to have a hearing with director comey as early as next week. i do applaud and i do think that the department of justice, if they saw fit to appoint this special counsel, director mueller, impeccable credentials. i think he'll provide a great deal of comfort on both sides of the aisle. he's a real professional. people will have great trust in him. he served in the obama administration. he served in the bush administration. but amazing credentials. he'll do a great job. >> pelley: do you expect to have the fired f.b.i.
witness chair on wednesday? >> we've had a little bit of trouble contacting him. his telephone number changed since he left the department of justice, but we have formally noticed the hearing for next wednesday, 9:30 a.m. eastern time, and i've got some flexibility. it comes with an asterisk because i haven't spoken with director comey yet, but we do hope the hear from him and see the documents. remember, nobody has actually seen these documents some we have to secure those document, as well. >> pelley: what documents are you asking for? >> well, you know, the "new york times" report said that there were these documents and notes that director comey had taken, but we haven't seen the content of those. they've only been read out to a reporter, at least part of them have been. so we want to see what those documents are, and then we'll talk to director comey and understand from his perspective how did he take the information and the conversation with president trump. what was his reaction to it?
anything about it, and if so, what did he do, and if he didn't, why not? >> pelley: do you intend to have this hearing in public? >> yeah. i think it's important that the public gets to hear. this you have democrats and republicans both peppering the former director with questions. he's well seasoned in doing this, but it really should be in public. >> pelley: republican jason chaffetz, the chairman of the house oversight committee. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> pelley: nancy cordes is on capitol hill with the reaction there. nancy? >> reporter: scott, democrats are hailing the appointment of a special prosecutor as a victory and a good first step, and the move will be welcomed by small but growing number of republicans, as well. in fact, just today alaska republican lisa murkowski put out a statement saying that these white house problems are eroding public trust and it may be that we need the look to an independent commission or special prosecutor to regain that crib
party debates just how damaging these comey memos are and what they mean for the president's future. >> if the allegations are true, yes. >> reporter: michigan's justin amash today became the first republican to say the president's actions mile merit impeachment. >> i think it's pretty clear i have more confidence in director comey. >> reporter: the latest allegations have deeply rattled many republicans. >> it would be very serious, and i would think that the justice department would take a look at that. >> i think it's reaching a point where it's of watergate size and scale. >> reporter: three republican-led committees have sent letters to the f.b.i. seeking any notes or memorandum prepared by their former director, memorializing interactions he had with presidents trump and obama. >> obviously republicans ought to be concerned. >> reporter: but for every concerned republican, there are several others who doubt the report. >> a lot of it is all speculat
>> i'm convinced that the president did nothing that he thought was outside the best interest of this country. >> reporter: and house speaker paul ryan urged critics not to rush to judgment. >> it is obvious there are some people out there who want to harm the president, and i'm sure we're going to want the hear from mr. comey about why, if this happens as he allegedly describes, why didn't he take action at the time? >> reporter: the "washington post" is reporting tonight that paul ryan's number two, house majority leader kevin mccarthy told ryan and other republican lead centers a private conversation last year that he thought that russian president vladimir putin was paying donald trump. his aides initially told the paper that he never said that until they were confronted with the existence of an audiotape. just a few moments ago, scott, mccarthy told reporters that it was a bad attempt at humor. >> pelley: nancy cordes on capitol hill for us. nancy, thank you. the class
the president divulged to the russian diplomats involved isis plans to bring down jetliners by hiding bombs in laptop computers. charlie d'agata is learning more. >> reporter: amid the bombed-out ruins of mosul university, u.s. officials say they've uncovered plans that isis was developing a new type of bomb that could pass through an airport scanner undetected. we joined iraqi special forces here just days after the hard-fought battle to recapture the university in january. it's long been believed that mosul university was the center of a militant bomb-making projects, using the squall's equipments and labs. u.s. officials now believe that research includes a new generation of more powerful explosives that could be concealed in a computer. when isis overran modes l in 2014, they also captured the city's international airport and with it all the modern security scanner and screening equipment
bombs. on our trip, there were certain no-go areas. iraqi forces kept us well away from entering the most sensitive buildings, warning that isis had booby-trapped them. a commander told us isis had also torched some of the facilities in order to hide evidence, but it appears what was left behind has given u.s. officials new cause for concern. the threat from isis has already led in part to the u.s. banning electronics on flights from ten airports in the middle east and africa. scott, talks are now under way on whether to expand that ban to cities in europe. >> pelley: charlie d'agata in the london newsroom. now, in syria, u.s.-backed forces are closing in on the city of raqqa, the isis capital. families are fleeing the batting, and holly williams is inside syria. >> reporter: in the desert west of raqqa, there is an exodus. in the only vehicle they have, their belongings caked in
they stream out of villages where isis is losing territory. some shepherding the animals that are their livelihood. many women throwing off the black veil that isis forced them to wear. "they wanted to suffocate us, to cover us," said busaina al hamoud, who told us she lived under isis for three years and had her 13-year-old son smuggled out of the country, fearing he would be recruited by the extremists. aisha attia is seven months pregnant and told us she fled her home three days ago. thousands of people are now camped in the open with precious little water and no medicine. inside raqqa the u.s. believes a 3,000 to 4,000 isis fighters, killers and executioners. they're expected to fight to the death as america's kurdish partners tighten the noose.
they recaptured the town of tabqa and its dam earlier this month, just 25 miles from raqqa. their commander rojda filat told us they'll reach the city by next month and could capture it by the end of the summer. that's a long time for these people, who have escaped isis only to find themselves stranded in the wilderness. holly williams, cbs news, west of raqqa. >> pelley: coming up next on the "cbs evening news," a surprising revelation from gisele bundchen on "cbs this morning." st-selling brand? you make it detect what they don't. stop, stop, stop! sorry. you make it sense what's coming. watch, watch, watch! mom. relax! i'm relaxed. you make it for 16-year olds... whoa-whoa-whoa!!! and the parents who worry about them. you saw him, right?
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cbs this morning. >> he had a concussion last year. he has concussions pretty much every year, but he does have concussions. >> reporter: those remarks by bundchen sparked controversy, because over brady's 17-year career, he has never been officially diagnosed with a concussion. now many are wondering, did the patriots' star quarterback or team choose not to report the concussion, or did bundchen get it wrong? concussions have become a health issue in the sport. last year the nfl, which has been criticized for not swiftly addressing head injuries, introduced new rules concerning its concussion policy. teams can now be fined hundreds of thousands of dollars and possibly lose draft picks if they fail the take players out of games. over the last decade, researchers have linked a degenerative brain disease c.t.e. to football players and athletes with repetitive brain trauma. professor lee igel was codirector of the sports and society prog a
>> when a player like tom brady sustains concussions and they go unreported but then it's revealed at some point later down the line, it makes it tougher for other players to want the report concussions, and that's not only at the professional level, it trickles down and out and around to the youth level, as well. >> reporter: bundchen expressed concern for the toll football has taken on her husband. >> i don't think it's a healthy think for anybody to go through like a... like that kind of aggression all the time. >> reporter: the nfl says there are no records to indicate that brady suffered a head injury or concussion. scott, tom brady, the new england patriots, and the nfl players' union have no comment. >> pelley: jericka duncan, thanks. still ahead, a deadly swarm of tornadoes.
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>> pelley: we're back at the white house with with the breaking news. the justice department has appointed a special counsel for the russia investigation. former f.b.i. director robert mueller will look into russian interference in the presidential election and all other matters that arise from that case, including president trump's dismissal last week of f.b.i. director james comey. the chairman of the house oversight committee told us his investigation will continue, and he expects comey will testify publicly next wednesday. it has been a turbulent two weeks for the president, and today he said, "no politician in history has been treated worse or more unfairly." that's the "cbs evening news" from the white house. for all of us at cbs news stronger is rebuilding a new'
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never, evertive up. things will work out just fine. >> president lashes out at critics and media. are democrats looking to take down the president? >> this is bigger than president trump. this is about the sole of our democracy. >> bodyguards to the president of turkey stand accused of beating dc protesters. >> one guy held my neck and put my arm on my back. >> will there be target for diplomatic immunity? we start tonight with breaking news. the department of justice is appointing a special council to investigate russian government efforts to influence the 2016
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