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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  May 18, 2017 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT

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this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. reporting tonight from washington.
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mr. trump's own justice department appointing a special counsel to investigate. margaret brennan is at the white house. >> there was no collusion, and everybody, even my enemies, have said, there is no collusion. >> reporter: president trump said the appointment of special counsel robert mueller to probe russian election meddling is dividing the country. >> well, i respect the move, but the entire thing has been a witch-hunt, and there is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign, but i can only speak for myself and the russians -- zero. >> reporter: the president strongly denied interfering with the f.b.i.'s investigation. >> did you at any time urge former f.b.i. director james comey in any way, shape, or form to clez or to back down the investigation into michael flynn? and also -- >> no. no. next question. >> reporter: and mr. trump dismissed democrats' claims that he may have obstructed justice. >> i think it's
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everybody thinks so. >> reporter: despite saying last week that he had decided to fire comey before he met with attorney general jeff sessions and deputy attorney general rod rosenstein, today the president said he acted in part on rosenstein's recommendation. >> i also got a very, very strong recommendation, as you know, from the deputy attorney general, rod rosenstein. but when i made that decision, i actually thought that it would be a bipartisan decision. >> reporter: but behind closed doors on capitol hill, rosenstein briefed senators on his version of events, including when he wrote a scathing memo about comey's conduct. democrat claire mccaskill. >> he did acknowledge that he learned comey would be removed prior to him writing his memo. >> reporter: today president trump also said that former democratic senator joe lieberman is a leading candidate to head the f.b.i. scott, sources also say that president trump is so frustrated with the fallout from
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shake-up of his senior staff. >> pelley: margaret brennan, thanks. the special counsel appointed to investigate is former f.b.i. director robert mueller, who worked under both republican and democratic administrations. mueller will act in the role of a prosecutor with the power to issue subpoenas and empanel his own grand jury. jeff pegues has new develops now in the russia case. >> reporter: sources say individuals connected to the trump campaign may have been coordinating with the russians as far back as april 2016. that's seven months before the presidential election. a former u.s. government official tells cbs news, "you could see the hallmarks throughout, including conversations picked up by electronic intercepts." some of the contacts appear to be business related or innocuous, but sources tell cbs news investigators also discovered multiple contacts that were cause for concern. the f.b.i. is
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paul manafort, foreign policy adviser carter page, and the former national security adviser michael flynn. but it is unclear if there are other trump associates under investigation. flynn joined the trump campaign in february of 2016, a three-star general, he had previously headed the defense intelligence agency but was fired by president obama. friend -- flynn was selected as mr. trump's national security adviser shortly after the election. the u.s. intelligence community became especially concerned during the transition that sensitive information being provided to the trump team could be passed on to the russians. flynn was also fired by president trump just 24 days into his term for lying to vice president pence about his contacts with russian ambassador sergey kislyak. former director of national intelligence james clapper said flynn changed after leaving the military. >> what do you think changed
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>> i don't know. that could be. i'm speculating. i really don't know whether he just became angry about it. i don't know. >> reporter: but there was something changed? >> well, it appeared to me, yes. >> reporter: russia was looking for relief from sanctions imposed by the obama administration, and investigators want to know if any trump associates made any promises. but, scott, more than 100 days into his term, president trump has not removed any sanctions. >> pelley: jeff pegues, thanks. jan crawford has more now on the special counsel. >> we had total independence, and that's what the special counsel is. >> reporter: former republican senator john danforth was the last special counsel to investigate possible wrongdoing by the executive branch. in 2000 he cleared the clinton administration in the 1993 siege of the branch davidian compound near waco, texas. >> the american people should be
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going to be an investigation that will be done independently. >> reporter: in authorizing the appointment, deputy attorney general rod rosenstein gave former f.b.i. director robert mueller entered powers to investigate any links and/or coordination between the russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of president donald trump as well as other matters that may arise directly from the investigation. federal regulations give mueller day-to-day independence over how to run it and whether charges should be brought. and if rosenstein were to try to block any of mueller's actions, he would have to explain why to congress, which has several committee investigations of its own that may well take a back seat to the special counsel. >> it's going to be done by people who are in the business of conducting professional investigations and in the making political points. >> reporter: and you can be sure, says danforth, mueller will not tolerate leaks from
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team to the media. jan crawford, cbs news, washington. >> pelley: dean reynolds has been talking to voters in trump country. lee county, illinois. >> reporter: at bill and dick's barbershop in dixon, illinois, guy vol was getting a haircut and weighing the news of a special counsel investigating the trump campaign. >> everybody is looking for something to dig at. they're looking. it's a witch-hunt. that's what he tweeted this morning. >> reporter: a lifelong republican, a trump supporter and an avid consumer of conservative media, vol blasted the president's critics. >> they keep saying the russians interfered in our elections. how did they interfere? i never hear that talked about on tv. >> reporter: dixon sits astride the rock river, where ronald reagan was once a lifeguard. it's the seat of lee county, which donald trump won by 20 percentage points. >> i like the way he recognized that there is a country out here. it consists from coast
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not coast and coast. >> reporter: around the corner at books on first, trump supporter steve uber said he's had with it the news media. >> i almost tune off the news anymore because it's all about how he's behaving, not what he's really doing to help our country. >> reporter: but ken novak said the president seems too defensive, especially about russia. >> he tweets out that this is just a witch-hunt. you know, why didn't he just come out and say, okay, let's investigate it and be done with it. >> reporter: how do you react to talk of impeachment already? >> i think he's probably going to be be impeached sooner or later, but the problem is that, you know, let's get to the facts first before we go that far. >> reporter: just about everyone we spoke to her agreed that the last few months have been a pretty bumpy ride for mr. trump, scott, but as one local businessman put it, "trump is in the a politician, and he doesn't operate like one. ".
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continue the listen to the voters. dean, thank you very much. well, mr. trump leaves tomorrow on a trip that the white house describes as an attempt to unite major religions against radical islam. he will visit all the faiths of abraham, islam in saudi arabia, judaism in israel, and christianity at the vatican. the senior white house official told us today that during the visit, the saudis and other muslim countries will pledge to cut off funding for terrorism. then mr. trump will be off to brussels for nato summit and sicily for the g-7 economic summit. we asked mark phillips to tell us about the president's image overseas. >> i think that there's a sense of horrified fascination here in europe. >> reporter: fascination and fear. according to jonathan powell, who ran the british prime minister's office during the tony blair years, and who knows about dealing with u.s. presidents. when they're preoccupied with political intrigue at home, he
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says, foreign leaders can't rely on them. >> if this is going to be the next two or three years, totally consumed with these issues in washington, unable to focus on international relations, that leaves a very serious vacuum. >> reporter: a vacuum they're trying to avoid at nato, which president trump will visit next week. officials there are reportedly planning to put strict time limits on discussions about military spending and fighting terrorism so the president doesn't tune out. but if there's a sense of anxiety, there's a sense of humor regarding the president, too. donald trump has long been the butt of jokes, now satire shows find the material irresistible. >> what was the official reason for the shocking dismissal of james comey. >> because he's bad at his job. he's so bad at his job that i am still the president. [laughter] >> reporter: tv satire is one thing, but when vladimir putin starts dropping one-liners about
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about how the president gave russian foreign minister sergei lavrov classified intelligence? i'll have to reprimand lavrov, putin joked this week, for not sharing those secrets with russian intelligence. lavrov seemed the find it hilarious. it's how you tell 'em. what european leaders have historically wanted from u.s. presidents is consistency and engagement. the fear being privately expressed by some officials here, scott, is that this president is embarking on his first foreign trip with his mind elsewhere. >> pelley: mark phillips in our london newsroom. mark, thank you. roger ailes, the architect of the fox news channel, died today. doctors say he had a brain hemorrhage after falling last week. ailes was 77. anna werner has more on the man who was once called "the loudest voice in the room." >> reporter: roger ailes went from a 27-year-old tv introducer
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nixon to the american people in 1968. he helped elect ronald reagan and george h.w. bush, too. by 1992, ailes had retired from politics and soured on the news media, as he told charlie rose then... >> if you want to have tremendous political influence and still be a womanizer, drug abuser or an alcoholic, you only have one choice of career, and that's journalism. >> reporter: but four years later, ailes would become founder and c.e.o. of the news channel. >> caution. >> reporter: with conservative comment traitors like bill o'reilly, why did viewers watch? he told rose in 2001... >> they think perhaps points of view are being eliminated and some stories are being eliminated on other channels, and that's why we're winning. >> reporter: h.w. bush said ailes wasn't perfect by called him my friend. fox host sean hannity called him a second father, but critic like dr. jeffrey jones, director of journalism's peabody awards, said no one had done more harm to american democracy in the last generation. >> i mean, the s m
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very enthused. >> reporter: many believe fox news' support for president trump helped get him elected inch a 2014 autobiography, ailes is quoted in 2010 telling facebook news executives, "i want to elect the next president," but ailes' reign would not make it to election day. numerous women at fox news, including former anchor gretsching carlson, alleged he sexually harassed them. facing a lawsuit, ailes resigned. ailes' wife said she's profoundly sad and heartbroken at her husband's passing, calling him a loving husband and father to their son and patriot, scott. >> pelley: anna werner, thank you. coming up next on the "cbs evening news," a man who says he heard voices runs down two dozen pedestrians in times square. later, a family shares its grief after a deadly shooting.
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york's times square. the n.y.p.d. quickly ruled out terrorism. michelle miller is at the scene, but we want the caution you, this video is graphic. >> reporter: this surveillance video shows the moment the car plowed into a crowd, leaving a trail of bloodied and injured pedestrians on a sidewalk before it came to a crashing halt. alyssa elsman, an 18-year-old tourist from michigan, was killed. ann donahey believes she would have been killed, too, if she hadn't crossed the street. -car knocks into the building. there are people screaming. there's blood everywhere. >> reporter: around lunchtime, a speeding honda traveling southbound on 7th avenue made an abrunt u-turn and dove against traffic, jumping the curve at 42nd street where the first pedestrian was struck. the car continued down the side walk for three and a half blocks, mowing down pedestrians along the way.
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it finally came to a stop after smashing into metal barriers. the driver, 26-year-old richard rojas, ran from the car and tried to outrun police, before being tackled and taken into custody. rojas, a former member of the navy, is being tested for drugs and alcohol. police say he has two prior d.w.i. arrests. eyewitnesses tell us if not for those metal posts now underneath that car, there would have been many more injuries, even deaths, scott. they were erected shortly after terrorists overseas began using cars and trucks as weapons of mass destruction. >> pelley: but no indication of terrorism here. michelle miller, thank you. rock singer chris cornell hanged himself last night following a concert in detroit. ♪ back home. back home ♪ won't you come this was his performance last month
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his partner tried to get their car to stop. according to an arrest warrant, oliver shot multiple rounds from his patrol rifle as the vehicle drove past him. jordan, sitting in the front passenger seat, was shot in the head and later died. his 16-year-old brother vidal was the driver. have you replayed that moment in your head? >> every night. i can't even sleep. >> reporter: at first police said the teenager's car backed up aggressively toward the officers. but balch springs police chief jonathan haber later changed his tone after seeing the officer's body cam video. on may 2nd the chief fired oliver. >> if the car was leaving the scene and he wasn't posing a threat to anyone, why shoot? but you're literally shooting like you're playing target practice. that's how it... in my mind, it's like he was hunting. >> reporter: oliver faces a murder charge. charmaine and odell say the pain of jordan's death is something they will have to live with forever.
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every day i look at the pictures i wish i could see him. >> reporter: the family is pushing for major changes in police policy, scott, starting with having outside agencies investigate police shootings. >> pelley: omar villafranca, thanks. we're back in just a moment. rheumatoid arthritis. before you and your rheumatologist move to another treatment, ask if xeljanz is right for you. xeljanz is a small pill for adults with moderate to severe ra for whom methotrexate did not work well. xeljanz can reduce joint pain and swelling in as little as two weeks, and help stop further joint damage. xeljanz can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections, lymphoma and other cancers have happened. don't start xeljanz if you have an infection. tears in the stomach or intestines, low blood cell counts and higher liver tests and cholesterol levels have happened.
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>> pelley: bob schieffer gets the last word on a president and what might have been. >> reporter: scott, i interviewed john mccain the other night during a chaotic week, and he said, "bob, we have seen this movie before." so i'm thinking, what if this movie had a slightly different plot. what if president trump had taken barack obama's private advice to get general flynn to resign in the beginning? what if he had cut flynn l
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he was under federal investigation? what if he had gone on national television and said, "i've told f.b.i. director comey to get to the bottom of this russia situation. no one wants to clear it up more than me because we have work to do?" what if he had joined republican and democratic leaders in praising the selection of robert mueller, a special counsel, instead of calling it a witch-hunt?" but he didn't. i don't know what answers the special counsel will find, but it brings me back to something else john mccain said the other night, "this has reached watergate size and scope." >> pelley: thank you, bob. thanks to the jones day law firm for this view of the capitol and for all of us at cbs all around the world. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs
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the entire thing has been a witchhunt and there was no collusion. >> president donald trump tweets he is the target of a witchhunt.>> senator mccain on protesters. >> this is not an easy day. the stars of fox news 1 roger ailes. >> also coming tonight, public school chancellor wilson is in the studio to discuss the school lottery system and recent reports that some people with connections might be going to the front of the line. but first, president donald trump has slammed the new independent investigation into his cagn


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