tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC February 16, 2018 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
tonight, breaking news as we come on the air in the west. the major earthquake. the images coming in right now. also, the fbi's stunning admission. they had been warned about the shooter in florida six weeks ago. a call to an fbi tip line. how do they explain this to the 17 families who lost loved ones? also developing tonight, the massive indictment in the robert mueller investigation breaking today. 13 russians, 3 russian companies, not only operating overseas, but operatives right here inside the u.s., and tonight, the american pleading guilty and who is now cooperating with robert mueller's team. tonight, the new report involving then-candidate donald trump and a "playboy" play mate. raising serious questions again. the play mate allegedly paid by a tabloid just before the election. why was her story never published?
the major headline this evening when it comes to the deadly flu. thmolost yet, reported in just the last week. do not let your guard down. what you need to know tonight. and the storm set to hit this weekend in the northeast, and tonight, the rare ef-1 tornado already confirmed. good evening, and we are just back in the west tonight and we begin with that headline breaking a short time ago. a powerful earthquake hitting mexico. a magnitude 7.5. buildings seen swaying in mexico city. abc's kayna whitworth with the images coming in at this hour. >> reporter: tonight, the powerful 7.2 earthquake sent people scrambling into the streets. dust filling the air. inside buildings, overheadlights swaying. people bracing for safety. the warning sirens blaring in the streets and on television.
and reports of some damage, this after that devastating 7.1 quake that rocked the capital of mexico city, killing hundreds and leveling countless structures. tonight, the worry that aftershocks could be on the way. kayna whitworth, abc news, los angeles. >> kayna whitworth leading us off with this west coast edition tonight. in the meantime, we are just back from florida where this evening, the president has now landed and where families have begun to lay their loved ones to rest. all of this as the fbi makes that alarming admission that they were warned about the shooter weeks ago. they had been told he had access to guns and a, quote, desire to kill. suspect nikolas cruz is charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. newly obtained surveillance video shows him walking to a mcdonald's shortly after the attack, after dropping his ar-15 trying to blend in with the other students leaving the school. abc's chief national correspondent, tom llamas, leads us off from florida again tonight. >> reporter: tonight a stunning admission from the fbi.
the agency admits they were warned about nikolas cruz six weeks ago but they dropped the ball. >> we are part of this community. as this community hurts, so do we. >> reporter: the bureau revealing that on january 5th, a person close to nikolas cruz called the fbi tip line with "information about cruz's gun ownership, a desire to kill people, erratic behavior and disturbing social media posts." and this, the potential of him conducting a school shooting. the fbi says the information should have been assessed as a potential threat to life, but no further investigation was conducted at the time. >> we truly regret any additional pain that this has caused. >> reporter: the news sending a shockwave through this community. >> 17 innocent were taken from us, because they failed to do this. they failed our school and they failed parkland. >> reporter: this was actually the second tip the fbi received about cruz. in september, video blogger
ben bennight alerted them to a disturbing comment on his youtube page. a user with the name, nikolas cruz posting, i'm going to be a professional school shooter. >> thought that to be odd and disturbing. >> reporter: the fbi investigated, but turned up nothing. and tonight, a new glimpse of cruz from the minutes after the massacre. abc news obtaining this surveillance video showing cruz walking into a mcdonald's shortly before he was arrested. according to law enforcement sources, cruz told investigators he heard voices in his head, telling him to conduct the attack. in the community where he grew up, neighbors like shelby speno describe a history of violence. >> you remember seeing police there at his house often when he lived near you guys? >> the police were in the driveway a lot. >> reporter: police today revealed they received 20 calls about cruz over the past few years. several people telling us how he tried to hurt and kill animals. >> the first thing was the
incident where he had the gun and shooting the chickens. that was concerning to me. i thought oh my god, of all people i wish didn't have a gun. >> really alarming to hear about those warnings inside that neighborhood. tom llamas with us again tonight outside the jail where nikolas cruz is being held, and you're learning tonight about a possible guilty plea? >> reporter: david, we just learned this information. the broward public defender has just told abc news that he is willing to have nikolas cruz enter a guilty plea in exchange for the prosecution to take the death penalty off the table. he says this will spare the community a trial, and even more heartache, david. >> tom llamas leading us off again tonight. tom, thank you. as we mentioned, president trump is in florida at this hour. he had promised to visit that community. he was headed to florida to spend president's day weekend arriving with the first lady, but he also arrives in florida. the families, many who accept his prayers and condolences, but many who also are demanding action on two fronts, on mental health and on guns. in the meantime, the funerals have begun. 17 lives lost, 14 of them students, children, three of them adults, a teacher and two
coaches. i sat down with 12 students who survived and there was something i carried with me since. what they all said about their teachers, one of them whose hand was shaking as she tried to get them into a classroom and to safety. >> reporter: tonight, a community, a country in mourning. the first two victims of the 17 lives lost are laid to rest. 18-year-old meadow pollack's funeral was held today, shortly after another service for alyssa alhadeff. a talented soccer player and creative writer. her mother saying, "all she had to offer the world was love." joaquin oliver, who just became a u.s. citizen last year. alisson torres, shows me her image from her phone of joaquin. so many remembering his humor, his smile. senior nicholas dworet had just earned a college scholarship. his friend, jonathan, pulling out his phone too to show me nick's photo. >> this is my classmate, nick. he was actually going to -- he was on the national team for swimming. he committed to the university
of indianapolis a couple, like, two weeks before this happened. a great classmate, a great person, always so nice. >> reporter: 37-year-old football coach, aaron feis. beloved by so many. >> coach feis, he put his body on the line, he stopped multiple bullets from hitting students so he was one of the most well respected coaches, teachers, administrators at our school. everyone loved him and, always a positive vibe so just seeing him putting his life on the line for his students just shows how courageous one can be. >> reporter: he was one of several who put their students' lives before their own. and tonight, something that struck us. the students who told me every one of their teachers with a hero. drew telling me about mrs. rubenstein who kept everyone calm as she tried to get everybody back inside the classroom to hide. her hand shaking as she tried to get her key into the door.
>> i saw her trying to unlock her door, and her hand was shaking and at that point, i knew this wasn't a drill. this was real. and we got back in the class, and she told us to be quiet, and calmed us down. she tried to let us -- warn us about what was going to happen, when the s.w.a.t. was going to come in, so i want to thank her. >> so many of the teachers were the heroes in this. because they either took you behind the teacher's desk or behind the file cabinets as you mentioned, and in your case, into the closet. what would you like to say to her tonight? >> i would just like to say thank you so much, and she just wanted to relax us, and i knew what she was doing, and i knew that she wanted to be emotional, but she couldn't for us because if she was, then so many other people would have broke down. >> and when you finally do get back to school, how many of you have teachers you want to thank? yeah. the whole group. they helped keep you safe and calm. >> every teacher deserves to know that they are a hero, even if it's not noted, they are a hero. >> and it is noted tonight.
those brave students who want their teachers to know they are grateful, and the students who also told me they want action from lawmakers. in the meantime this friday night, the major indictment unfolding today in the russia investigation. 13 russian nationals and 3 russian companies accused in the effort to meddle in the election, and not just from afar. they say they were here in the u.s. too. the indictment signed by robert mueller claiming russian agents were posing as americans. their aim to help donald trump's campaign and damage hillary clinton. tonight, what we learned right here, the rallies and campaign events planned by russians in this country, attended by american voters. here's abc's chief justice correspondent, pierre thomas, now. >> reporter: tonight, the stunning allegations inside robert mueller's indictment. that the russians were not only meddling in the 2016 election from afar, at least once, they were right inside the u.s.
among the 13 russians indicted today, yevgeniy prigozhin, a russian oligarch with ties so close to the kremlin, he's known as putin's chef. the russian operation expansive. >> it employed hundreds of people in its online operations with an annual budget of millions of dollars. >> reporter: the russians allegedly sent operatives to america traveling throughout nine states. >> in order to hide the origins of their activities, the defendants allegedly conducted what they called information warfare against the united states. with the stated goal of spreading distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general. >> reporter: the question now, will president trump still call the mueller investigation a witch hunt. as recently as july saying this tab russian -- about the russians, that it could be someone else. >> well, i think it was russia, >> reporter: but tonight, the indictment makes clear investigators are convinced the >> they paid real americans to engage in political activities. >> reporter: american voters had no idea the russians were behind them, as they joined what they
thought were real political groups. they were also connecting with what was described as unwitting individuals associated with the trump campaign and other political activists. >> the defendants allegedly conducted what they called information warfare against the united states. with the stated goal of spreading distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general. >> reporter: the question now, will president trump still call the mueller investigation a witch hunt. as recently as july, saying this about the russians, that it could be someone else -- >> i think it was russia, and it could have been other people and other countries. >> reporter: but tonight, the indictment makes clear the russians were launching attacks at, quote, disparaging hillary clinton and supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate donald j. trump. abc's dan harris in a nondescript building in st. petersburg, where some of those russians, part of "internet research agency," were writing their material to get americans
riled up. our team obtaining a hidden camera look inside the operation. >> easy. easy. >> reporter: they kicked dan out, but tonight, mueller's indictment indicates their work was already done. >> pierre thomas with us tonight. that was a telling moment when they did not want dan harris or our cameras there, and there was one other major headline that broke today, an american who pleaded guilty, pierre, and who is now cooperating with the special counsel. what have you learned? >> reporter: that's right, mueller announced the guilty plea of richard pinedo from southern california who admitted to committing fraud by helping the russians set up fake american identities, david. >> pierre, thank you. next, the affair between a "playboy" play mate and donald trump before he was elected president. the report in "the new yorker" allegedly involving money spent just before the election for her story, which was then never published. why wasn't it? here's abc's senior white house correspondent, cecilia vega. >> reporter: at the white house today, an abrupt change of
plans. president trump bound for florida, boarding marine one alone. the first lady was supposed to be with him, instead she left separately and met him at air force one. it comes as the president faces explosive new allegations about a nine-month affair with a "playboy" play mate, and new questions about whether she was paid to stay silent days before the presidential election. "the new yorker" reports trump met the woman, karen mcdougal, in 2006 at the playboy mansion, where he was taping an episode of "the apprentice." >> come on over. wow. >> reporter: the magazine obtained what they say is eight pages of mcdougal's writings. detailing the alleged affair, which reportedly took place less than two years after donald and melania trump married, when their son barron was just an infant. mcdougal writes that after they had sex on their first date quote "he offered me money. looked a at him, plus felt sad, plus said, no thanks. i'm not that girl. i slept with you because i like you. not for money. he told me you are special."
in 2015 at the time of a republican debate, mcdougal tweeted this old photo. according to "the new yorker," "the national enquirer," run by david pecker, who calls president trump a personal friend, paid karen mcdougal $150,000 for the exclusive rights to her story, but they never printed it. journalist ronan farrow, who broke the story, says the enquirer's motive was clear. >> people in tabloid business call this catch and kill. and it's, you know, acquiring a story to bury it. >> reporter: farrow's report claims the affair happened around the same time mr. trump allegedly became involved with adult film actress stormy daniels. this week the president's longtime personal attorney acknowledged he paid daniels $130,000 just before the election. michael cohen says neither the president's business nor his campaign was part of the transaction. but he has not said whether the president knew about the payment. daniels, staying mum. >> do you have a non-disclosure agreement? >> do i?
>> reporter: and tonight in florida, the president and first lady walked off air force one together. >> and cecilia vega with us live tonight from the white house, and cecilia, strong reaction to this story from the white house at this hour? >> reporter: yeah, david. they are denying both alleged affairs. of this latest one, the white house calls it fake news saying, quote, the president says he never had a relationship with mcdougal. the publisher of "the national enquirer" said that suggesting that that tabloid hold influence over this president is quote, laughable, david. >> cecilia vega rounding out another week at the white house. thank you. we turn next here tonight to the new flu numbers from the cdc. 22 children have died. the worst of this flu season. the total lost now, rising to 84.
look at the map tonight, a high level of flu activity remains in 43 states. they say do not let your guard down. there is much more on "world news tonight" this evening. the storm set to hit this weekend, and the ef-1 tornado already confirmed. rm rp sta rob marciano standing by with the storm track for us. and the grandmother calling the authorities after what she discovered in her grandson's journal. why it's so important given what we witnessed this week. that's coming up. and the deadly truck accident on the highway. several vehicles involved in this. a it lo more news ahead.
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westside highway tracking it all. hey, rob. >> reporter: hi, david. the winds are picking up here, and bringing in that cold air here. and the saving grace is it's a fast mover. this morning, it was going through arizona and new mexico. by tomorrow morning, already crossing the mississippi river. by 5:00 p.m., the wet snow is through pittsburgh, d.c., philly. 10:00 p.m., new york, new england, and snow by 7:00 a.m., it's nearly clear of boston. we have winter storm watches from there. allentown through provincetown, and widespread areas of 3 to 5 inches of snow away from the coastline. maybe over a foot in some spots. the key is how strong this gets, and sunday morning, it will be tricky to get around regardless. david. >> it is still mid february. all right, rob. thanks. have a good weekend. when we come back here tonight, the warning this evening from millions of pet owners. the dog food recall involving seven major brands. we'll have that for you. and the images i mentioned coming in at this hour. the deadly collision. several vehicles involved on the highway when we come back. you', you may be at increased risk for pneumococcal pneumonia that can take you out of the game for weeks,
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threat in washington, and we're learning more now. 18-year-old joshua o'connor accused of plotting to shoot up a school. authorities say he flipped a coin to decide which one. the teen's grandmother calling 911 after discovering the threat written in his journal. >> what i'm reporting is i'm finding journal entries from my grandson. >> uh-huh. >> and he is planning to have a mass shooting at one of the high schools. >> so many crediting that grandmother. she told police she found a semiautomatic rifle hidden in a guitar case. the deadly truck collision in california tonight. at least five people were killed when a semi truck crashed through the central divider on the freeway. several vehicles were involved in that accident. and that consumer tonight. smuk
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finally tonight here, making sure this country remembers the victims. here's the broward county sheriff. >> i want to pay homage to those families and to the victims. carmen schentrup. meadow pollack. peter wang. nicholas dworet. christopher hixon. my very, very, very special friend who i'll miss, aaron feis. luke hoyer.
alaina petty. jaime guttenberg. martin duque anguiano. alyssa alhadeff. helena ramsay. scott biegel. joaquin oliver. cara loughran. gina montalto. and alexander schachter. may they rest in peace. and may god comfort their families. >> and to those families, we won't forget. good night. preparing for a bay area school shooting.
fiend out what oakland teachers are focused on now days after the attack in florida. plus hanging on for dear life on a cliff above a san francisco beach. the dramatic rescue of three people captured by sky 7. i'm michael finney work some help and hacks to get your credit score up. 7 on your side is just ahead. >> announcer: now, from abc7, live breaking news. >> and that breaking news is in mexico, where a 7.2 earthquake rocked the central part of the country late this afternoon. this is video of people taking to the streets in mexico city, about 225 miles away from the epicenter near pinotepa in the pacific coast state of oaxaca. >> the usgs reports it was a relatively shallow quake. those tend to do more damage. so far, no major damage has been reported. several aftershocks have been reported the largest a magnitude 5.8. >> you recall a power of power ofl earthquakes struck the country in september killing more than 300 people. good evening.
i'm dan ashley. >> i'm kristen sze. the president is in florida right now to meet those affected by the school shooting that left 17 people dade. >> an hour ago he and the first lady praised the first responders. two of the victims were laid to rest today. seven are still in the hospital. >> the president said he visited with some of them. he has not announced plans to visit parkland where the shooting took place. >> the fbi admitted it made a major mistakes. >> let's begin with maggie rulli in parkland. >> what if that was your child that was shot three times in the heart n the head n the hand? think about it. >> reporter: the first of 17 funerals begins today for the victims of wednesday's mass shooting. >> my home away from home was attacked brutally and tragically. >> reporter: just hours ago president trump landed in florida, visiting parkland to meet with first responders, survivors, and the parents who lost their