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tv   Nightline  ABC  December 2, 2017 12:37am-1:07am PST

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this is "nightline." >> tonight, flynn flipped. former national security adviser michael flynn pleading guilty to lying to the fbi about conversations with a high-level russian official, promising full cooperation with special counsel robert mueller's investigation into possible collusion between russia and the trump campaign. reaction from the white house and what it means for the president. plus the road to royalty. prince harry and his bride to be showered with love in their first outing as fiances. but life wasn't always a fairy tale for meghan markle. a look at her humble beginnings with the people by her side. >> i remember thinking, oh my gosh, this girl has talent. >> the struggles in her first marriage that left her single to mingle with royalty. and get lost.
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in new york. like your favorite 10-year-old troublemaker. inside the plaza hotel's new "home alone 2" vacation package that lets you party like it's 1992. but the price might make you go -- >> aahhhh! >> first the "nightline 5." >> i'm never going to be able to sleep with this cold. i'll take a sick day tomorrow. >> on our daughter's birthday? >> moms don't take sick days. moms take nyquil severe. the nighttime sniffling sneezing coughing aching fever best sleep with a cold medicine. i'm joy bauer. as a nutritionist i know probiotics can often help. digestive advantage. it's tougher than your stomach's harsh environment, survives 100 times better than the leading probiotic. >> number one in just 60 seconds.
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good evening. thanks for joining us. we begin with stunning developments that appeared to catch even the white house off guard. former national security adviser michael flynn's guilty plea now opening the way to his fully cooperating with special counsel robert mueller's investigation. the former general telling associates if needed he's prepared to testify against president trump himself. what does it mean for all the president's men? >> this is an abc news special report -- >> major news in the russia investigation -- >> robert mueller has charged lieutenant general michael t. flynn -- >> the president himself learned of it when he read it if the news. >> reporter: the cloud of suspicion hovering over the white house grew darker today. >> make no mistake, mueller approved this deal to get something. >> flynn's extremely angry at the white house tonight -- >> reporter: shortly after 10:00
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a.m., potential national security adviser michael flynn pleads guilty to lying to the fbi about his contacts with the high-level russian official. flynn telling associates he's prepared to testify against president trump and his closest advisers for special counsel robert mueller's investigation. >> the next president of the united states, right here! >> reporter: according to a flynn confidant, he's willing to say it was trump himself, as president-elect, who directed him to reach out to russian leaders about fighting isis. reaction to the stunning development was swift. >> clearly he's willing to lie about those contacts. and lie to the fbi. and i'm anxious to hear from him a fuller explanation of who directed him to have these contacts. >> this is so significant. you're talking about someone's national security adviser. someone with a military background who pled guilty to lying to the fbi, to the federal government. >> i know everyone's -- i give democrats and liberals this moment. >> reporter: flynn is yet another team trump member found to have indus closed
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interactions with russian officials along with attorney general jeff sessions, jared kushner, carter page, george papadopoulos, paul manafort, and donald trump jr. >> bob mueller, special counsel, is a diligent, methodical investigator. and this is simply another step along the way to uncover what happened here. and then today's news is just a dramatic step. >> reporter: melinda hague is a former federal prosecute history worked for mueller. >> the investigation has reached a member of the inner circle of president trump, somebody who served as a close adviser to the president. we are one step away from the president, really. >> reporter: this was the only glimpse of president trump today. >> any comment on michael flynn being indicted, sir? >> reporter: a few minutes later the white house abruptly cancels a planned photo op with the libyan prime minister. the president's lawyer released a statement that seemed to distance the white house from flynn saying, in part, nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other
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than mr. flynn. >> i think on its face it has a lot to do with people other than general flynn. >> reporter: one of those people, the president's son-in-law. documents released today say a very senior official in the transition team told flynn to contact the russian ambassador about a u.n. resolution involving israel. we are now told that person was jared kushner. ivanka trump's husband. flynn now admitting he lied about his discussions of that u.n. resolution. flynn also admits to lying to the fbi about a phone call with russian ambassador sergei kislyak on december 29th last year. the same day president obama announced sanctions against russia for interfering in the u.s. presidential campaign in 2016. something the u.s. intelligence community confirmed, stating, russia's actions favored donald trump. flynn falsely told the fbi and vice president mike pence that he didn't talk about the sanctions with kislyak. but in february, intelligence leaks reportedly from wiretaps of kislyak's phone calls showed
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that flynn had asked that russians not escalate the situation. >> very surprising to think that general flynn would not understand and believe that any conversation he had with ambassador kislyak would not be picked up by a wiretap. >> reporter: flynn forced to resign less than a month into his nsa post. at the time, trump insisted flynn's sin wasn't that he reached out to the rugs, b russ that he lied to vice president pence. >> he was doing his job. the thing is he didn't tell our vice president properly, and that he said he didn't remember. so either way it wasn't very satisfactory to me. >> reporter: the day after flynn resigned, president trump met privately with then-fbi director james comey who told congress trump made a request. >> i understood him to be saying that what he wanted me to do was drop any investigation connected to flynn's account of his conversations with the russians. >> reporter: trump ultimately fired comey in may. >> i think it's hard to believe
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that the special counsel is not investigating whether the firing of the fbi director, jim comey, was intended to shut down the investigation of general flynn. >> reporter: firing comey is what prompted the appointment of special counsel mueller. today comey tweeted, but justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream." the scales of justice now centering around michael flynn, who faces up to five years in prison. it's a stunning fall from grace for the retired three-star general. >> mike flynn spent more than 30 years in the army. he was well respected as an officer. he was considered a very brilliant intelligence officer. but there was a point after he became head of defense intelligence agency where his leadership went awry. >> reporter: at the republican national convention, he famously called for hillary clinton to go to prison.
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>> lock her up acti, that's rig. yep, that's right, lock her up. >> he didn't go out there, i don't think, planning on saying "lock her up." but when he heard the crowd, you could just see him when you were there in the convention, he was just feeding off that crowd. but when you get that sort of power and attention mixed with that bitterness, i think that's probably what really changed mike flynn. >> reporter: in a statement released today, flynn said in part, it has been extraordinarily painful to endure these many months of false accusations of treason and other outrageous acts. such false accusations are contrary to everything i have ever done and stood for. my guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the special counsel's office reflect a decision i made in the best interests of my family and of our country. i accept full responsibility for my actions." it was just after the election that president obama had expressed his profound concerns
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to trump about flynn's trustworthiness. and sally yates, the then-acting head of the department of justi justice, alerted the white house counsel that flynn had lied to the vice president about his contacts with russians and was vulnerable to blackmail. >> we were concerned that the american people had been misled about the underlying conduct and what general flynn had done. >> reporter: four days later, trump fired yates citing her refusal to support his travel ban. >> i would be surprised if the special counsel is not now looking into the firings of sally yates and trying to determine whether the president fired sally yates for reasons connected to general flynn and not for reasons connected to the travel ban. >> reporter: despite the president's insistence -- >> russia is fake news. russia, this is fake news put out by the media. >> reporter: evidence continues to grow that appears to point to the contrary. adding to the confusion, trump has also failed to enforce the sanctions against russia,
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overwhelmingly approved by congress as punishment for the country's 2016 meddling. >> looks like the russians, whatever you think of all these stories, get exactly what they want. they get to meddle in the election, undermine faith in american democracy, and start to get the policy outcomes in terms of a president who's a lot less tough on them than they might otherwise have. >> reporter: so many asking why does the president of the united states have such a fondness for a country that's openly hostile to america? >> this story is a head-scratcher for even staunch allies of the white house. they cannot figure out why president trump seems to have a soft spot for russia. >> reporter: the president could pardon flynn but not without severe consequences. >> this investigation goes all the way to reportedly the president's son-in-law. and according to some it goes all the way to the president. it seems to me that under these circumstances, if the president pardoned general flynn, it would be political suicide. up next, from an apartment over a garage to buckingham
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palace. the road to royalty for meghan markle. what bad knee?u'll ask what throbbing head? advil makes pain a distant memory nothing works faster stronger or longer what pain? advil.
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that's how we fly. alaska airlines. photo time! let's show them how deep my new ikea sofa goes! whoa, whoa! i told you to put plastic slip covers! it's fine! i will just slip it off and throw it into the wash. what's your dream? at ikea, we help you live it. is everyone looking? make the dream yours. no one's looking! she wasn't quite scrubbing floors for her wicked stepsisters about it meghan markle still a cinderella story. from humble beginnings starring in school plays to battling race mechanism hollywood. now about to marry a real-life prince charming. here's abc's elizabeth vargas with a look at her road to royalty. >> reporter: today a brand-new chapter in the royal fairy tale begins. prince harry and meghan markle
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embarked on their first official engagements as a couple. the american-born actress might be used to the spotlight, but her roots are far from royalty. her story starts here, an apartment above a garage in los angeles. like so many children, including the one who would become her fiance, early in life megan had to endure the divorce of her parents. >> they may have separated when she was around 2, divorced when she was around 6. >> reporter: with an african-american mother and white father, there is something else megan grapples with. >> dealing with profound issues of racism and inequality have not factored into any current princess' life. >> reporter: she's been outspoken about the topic. here she is at a usa network event. >> so some of the slurs that i've heard, the really offensive jokes or the names, it's just hit me in a really strong way. >> reporter: at an early age, meghan was itching to make a
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difference. featured in this nick news segment confronting gender inequality. >> i'm meghan markle, i'm 12 years old -- >> reporter: this came about after a young meghan saw this commercial during a class. >> women are fighting greasy pots and pans with ivory clear. >> i was furious. and i said, i think i'll write a letter. >> reporter: three months after meghan wrote to the president of the company, procter & gamble change the commercial. >> people are fighting greasy pots and pans with ivory clear. >> she had a lot of inner strength. she was spunky, feisty. >> she took our social justice teaching very seriously. >> reporter: christine knutzen and maria palia taught meghan at all-girls school immaculate heart. this fote to have of meghan on the wall has become the student body's star of fame. it was on the stage in the school auditorium where her talent began to bloom. >> she wanted to be the best that she could be on stage or
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wherever that career led her. it was not at all frivolous. it was a very serious pursuit of the craft of acting. >> reporter: that pursuit brings meghan to prestigious northwestern university in chicago. and then to hollywood. where she scores a bit role on "general hospital." >> i have his chart right here, dr. lambert, i don't see the notation -- >> what's the first role you auditioned for? >> "hot girl number 1" in "a lot like love." >> reporter: her big break comes. >> i'll be giving you orientation. >> reporter: thanks to a tv show called "suits." >> i'm not going to repeat myself. >> reporter: but while her star had never been brighter, her first marriage to her long-term boyfriend was falling apart. >> meghan married film producer trevor engleson. it was a marriage that ultimately really wasn't destined to last. >> reporter: then in the summer of 2016, she jets to london. a mutual friend sets her up on a
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blind date with a very visible bachelor. >> it was a blind date. >> a blind date. >> it's so interesting because i'm from the states. you don't grow up with the same understanding of the royal family. i didn't know much about him. >> reporter: she's received a little skepticism for that sound bite. after all, meghan must have been the only woman on the planet who didn't know much about this red-headed royal. >> met for a drink, then i think very quickly into that we said, what are we doing tomorrow? we should meet again. >> reporter: after just two dates prince harry convinces a smitten meghan to join him on an adventure a little further from home. >> i managed to persuade her to join me in botswana. and we camped out with each other under the stars. >> reporter: the couple is able to keep their budding romance from prying eyes for nearly six months. but eventually the secret gets out. >> the royal rumor mill is going crazy with this news. >> the engagement speculation
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began almost immediately. like all royal engagements, everyone is so excited and longing for it to happen. >> reporter: when the big moment finally arrives, it is far from the glare of blinding flash bulbs. >> a standard, typical night for us. >> a cozy night. what were we doing, roasting chicken? >> trying to roast a chicken. >> trying to roast a chicken. just an amazing surprise. it was so sweet and natural and very romantic. he got on one knee. >> of course. >> it was an instant yes from you? >> yes. as a matter of fact, i could barely let you finish proposing. can i say yes now? >> reporter: their courtship longer and more conventional than his famous parents, who met just 13 types before prince charles popped the question. make no mistake, this marriage signals a shift for england's church and for its sovereign. >> harry is marrying an american divorced actress who is three
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years older than he is. is there still a rebellious streak to harry? i don't know, you tell me. >> reporter: this week there was nothing but well wishes for the happy couple. >> we're absolutely thrilled at such exciting news. >> for me personally, i hope it means he stays out of my fridge. >> reporter: there is, of course, one note of congratulations that will always be missing. >> what do you think your mother would have thought of meghan? >> she'd really be over the moon, jumping up and down, so excited for me. but then as i said, we've probably been best friends. so no, it is days like today when i really miss having her around, being able to share the happy news. but i'm sure -- >> she's with us. >> i'm sure she's with us. >> reporter: for "nightline" i'm elizabeth vargas. up next, grab your top boy and your very own cheese pizza.
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finally tonight, a chance to live it up in new york city like your childhood hero. but will it be as fun as it looks when you're the one footing the bill? here's abc digital producer michael koenigs. >> reporter: a lot's changed since kevin mccallister got lost in new york 25 years ago. uber outnumber yellow cabs. iphones replaced polaroids. trump no longer owns the plaza. >> down the hall and to the left. >> reporter: on the 25th anniversary of "home alone 2" the plaza is offering a new vacation for super fans. i decided to retrace the steps of my childhood hero to see if his tricks work. $900 a night, you can live like kevin mccallister. theyhe upgrade. >> the royal plaza suite is $40,000 a night. >> reporter: by dinner time i'd worked up an appetite. >> two scoops, make it three, i'm not driving. >> i could go on forever.
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>> reporter: when my stay was over they ushered me out in style. >> mr. koenigs, here's your very own cheese pizza. >> that new york pizza, priceless. thanks for watching abc news. as always, we're online at abcnews.com and our "nightline" facebook page. good night, america. have a great weekend.
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