tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC March 18, 2018 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
>> we'll see you at 6:00. have fun on the slopes. >> biojo welcome to "world news tonight." president trump, his most direct attack on the special counsel yet, going after robert mueller by name, tearing into comey, and into just-fired deputy director of the fbi andrew mccabe. is the president setting the stage to fire the special counsel? also tonight, data grab and the elections. the former insider speaking out. what he says about collecting personal information on facebook, claiming to use it to influence the way people vote. the company he worked for, and their ties to the trump campaign. under arrest. the married father who disappeared with a teen from pennsylvania, running away to cancun on a one-way flight. now he's in police custody. high-flying horror. a cirque du soleil performance takes a deadly turn. the aerialist thrown. the audience stunned.
and now the investigation. how did this happen? the raging inferno in a major american city. residents told to get out. and, spring slam? the severe weather threat moving east tonight. will it snow on the first day of spring? sam champion standing by with the track. and good evening. thanks for joining us on this sunday. i'm tom llamas. we begin tonight with president trump, and his most direct attack on special counsel robert mueller yet. the president on twitter, sparing no one close to the russia investigation. unloading especially on mueller. insisting the special counsel is running a partisan witch hunt. also blasting andrew mccabe, a firing trump's attorney used to insist the investigation should be shut down. the attacks re-igniting questions about whether trump will fire mueller.
and if not, will he cooperate? here's tara palmieri. >> reporter: tonight, president trump escalating his attack. now targeting the very top of the russia investigation. tweeting his strongest rebuke yet at special counsel robert mueller. "the mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion, and there was no crime, witch hunt!" >> the russia story is a total fabrication. i call it the russian hoax. the entire thing has been a witch hunt, and there is no collusion. >> reporter: trump has consistently undermined the investigation, but this latest direct shot at mueller comes as his lead attorney is calling for the case to be shut down. lawmakers on both sides of the aisle warning trump that firing mueller will have severe consequences. >> if he tried to do that, that would be the beginning of the end of his presidency because we're a rule of law nation. >> this would undoubtedly result in a constitutional crisis, and i think democrats and republicans need to speak out about this right now. >> reporter: tonight, mueller's team combing through new evidence. a source telling abc news fired fbi deputy director andrew mccabe has been
interviewed by investigators, and handed over memos detailing his interactions with trump. >> you cannot stop the men and women of the fbi from doing the right thing, protecting the american people, and upholding the constitution. >> reporter: mccabe was axed ahead of an inspector general report that accuses him of leaking, and then not being truthful when asked about it. he has denied wrongdoing. he says he's been singled out in the aftermath of fbi director james comey's firing. trump blasting mccabe and his memos with a tweet, "spent very little time with andrew mccabe, but he never took notes when he was with me. i don't believe he made memos except to help his own agenda, probably at a later date, same with lying james comey. can we call them fake memos?" republicans now urging trump to show restraint as his frustration nears a boiling point. >> if you've done nothing wrong, you should want the investigation to be as fulsome and thorough as possible. >> let's bring in tara palmieri.
president trump tweeted that mueller's team is biased politically. but that wasn't exactly correct? >> reporter: that's right, tom. president trump tweeted, why does the mueller team have 13 democrats and zero republicans? we checked. 13 of the investigators are registered as democrats, but four are unaffiliated with either party. the leader of the investigation was registered as a republican. tom? >> tara, thank you. next tonight, the big data grab in elections. and a former insider speaking out, describing to abc news tactics used to get personal information on facebook. which was then used to influence voters. here's james longman. >> reporter: tonight, a data company tied to president trump's 2016 campaign is under investigation by facebook, accused by the internet giant of mishandling more than 50 million americans' personal information. >> if you are looking at trying to create information weapons,
the battle space that you operate in is social media. that is where the fight happens. >> reporter: in 2014, when just 24 years old, self-confessed politics geek chris wylie worked for that company, cambridge analytica. the organization helps political candidates better target voters online. speaking for the first time on american television, wylie claims cambridge analytica, using a third party, took data from the facebook accounts of up to 50 million americans. weaponizing the internet? >> weaponizing the internet. absolutely. >> reporter: he says cambridge analytica would create online quizzes. when facebook users opted in to those innocent-looking tests, they were actually giving cambridge analytica access to not just their data, but that of all of their friends. >> it is sort of like the digital shadow of yourself. so, when you think about what you do on social media, you curate your identity. so when you like things, when you follow things, you reveal
all these little clues, and, if we have enough of those clues we can start to develop a portrait of who you are. >> reporter: and armed with that info, wylie says the company had a questionable power. >> cambridge analytica will try to pick at whatever mental weakness or vulnerability that we think you have, and try to warp your perception of what's real around you. >> reporter: now, facebook has banned chris wylie, that third party, and cambridge analytica. the company denies any wrongdoing, and says it doesn't use or hold facebook data. two years later, the firm went on to work for the trump campaign, but says it never used that data in question. the campaign itself denies using cambridge analytica's data, saying it relied on information from the rnc. and any claims that voter data were used from another source to support the victory in 2016 are false. but wylie says some of the familiar phrases heard on the campaign trail were actually tested years earlier. >> we tested things like drain the swamp.
we started testing before they gained prominence in american political discourse. >> reporter: wiley left the company after a year. he says he's coming forward now because he felt bad about the impact of his work. particularly following the u.s. election. tom? >> james, thank you. next tonight, a 44-year-old father of four is in custody after allegedly disappearing to mexico with a young girl. kevin esterly now in miami, facing possible extradition after his arrest in mexico. the teen now home safe in pennsylvania. but there are still questions about the suspect, and the charges he may face. he's erielle reshef. >> reporter: tonight, a freshly minted mugshot for this married father of four, arrested after leaving the country with this pennsylvania teen. mexican officials say 16-year-old amy yu and 45-year-old kevin esterly were located in puerto morelos, mexico, ending a nearly two-week
international manhunt. esterly, detained in front of an apartment complex, now in a miami jail, awaiting extradition. authorities confirming amy is unharmed and in good health, reunited with her mother in allentown. this, as new details emerge about esterly's alleged relationship with amy, his eldest daughter's close friend. >> it grew to be a situation where kevin was taking amy out of school on a regular basis, pretending to be a father figure, but it was more than that. >> reporter: esterly's wife stacey speaking to abc news through her attorney. claiming she repeatedly confronted her husband about the teen. >> it was reaching a breaking point. >> reporter: esterly now faces a third-degree felony charge of interference with the custody of a child. police are not ruling out additional charges. tom? >> erielle, thank you. we head overseas to an election day in russia. vladimir putin casting a ballot
for a fourth term in a presidential election there was no doubt he would win. then addressing the mounting questions about russia's alleged role in a nerve agent attack in the uk. here's terry moran, in moscow. >> reporter: tonight in red square, vladimir putin triumphant. winning a fourth term as president. after his victory speech, he denied that russia had anything to do with the nerve agent attack in britain on a former spy and his daughter. calling it a fantasy and rubbish that someone would do something like this on the eve of presidential elections. putin's in total control of russia, and nothing here was left to chance. a main opponent, victor navalny, a protest leader, banned from running after being charged with corruption just before the race began. and, check this. brazen ballot stuffing, caught on camera.
look at them stuff votes in. this woman casts a stack of votes. the odd thing is, putin didn't need all this. he's hugely popular, as we found at a moscow polling station. "i voted for my current president putin," she tells us. "he guarantees us peace and a good life." but peace is exactly what britain and western allies say putin is threatening. russians don't believe the weapon attack report. the only certain reality is that putin will rule russia for another six years, at least. tom? >> terry, thank you. back here at home, a performance in florida taking a deadly turn. an aerialist thrown to the ground, and he did not survive. whit johnson has the details. >> reporter: a tampa audience, hundreds captivated as acrobats swing overhead. then, horror.
these images showing the performer plummeting to the hard stage below. >> they had a performer that fell from an unknown height. >> reporter: cell phone video capturing the chaos, and emergency response. >> they were even scared to touch him or move him so i feel like us as the audience, we were scared to move or speak. >> reporter: the tragedy happening saturday night in tampa, florida, at the show "volta," by cirque du soleil. >> neither one of us has ever seen anything like that, and it was shocking to everyone. >> reporter: tonight, cirque du soleil confirming the man who fell is yann arnaud, a veteran aerial straps specialist. he was taken to a nearby hospital, where he later died. on his instagram page, arnaud posting this video of his "volta" solo act. tonight, the circus company releasing a statement saying, the entire cirque du soleil family is in shock, and devastated by this tragedy. but it's happened before. in the past decade, cirque du soleil has had several on-stage accidents, including its first fatality in 2013.
cirque du soleil is canceling the rest of its weekend "volta" shows in tampa. police are investigating the accident. tom? >> whit, thank you. we head to puerto rico, now nearly six months after a hurricane slammed into the island. still more than 100,000 without power. the grid in a state of, quote, "devastation." eva pilgrim is on the island tonight. >> reporter: it's been nearly six months since hurricane maria ravaged puerto rico, leaving most of it in the dark. tonight, maribel rodriguez is still waiting for the lights to turn on. maribel is one of the island's 100,000 customers still without power. spending some $3,000 on gas for the generator to power her home at night. she claims she doesn't qualify for fema dollars because her home is in, quote, "living condition." after maria hit we found roads caked with debris. families forced to make a
white-knuckle crossing with only a wire to hold onto. this bridge has now completely collapsed. today, we found a new bridge being built, a sign of recovery. and in the air, the army corps of engineers flying helicopters, lifting power poles across the countryside, and dropping workers on them, trying to restore power to towns like morovis. >> it's the biggest challenge ever as far as devastation to an electrical grid system in the united states. >> reporter: in san juan, life starting to return to normal. tourism slowly coming back, but for maribel and others, the recovery continues. maria caused more than $100 billion in damage, and more than 130,000 people have left this island since. tom? >> eva, thank you. and much more on the ongoing
issues in puerto rico tuesday on "good morning america." we turn to the weather. snow in high plains. and storms in the south. in tennessee, powerful thunderstorms. winter showing no sign of letting up, even with the first day of spring tuesday. here's sam champion. you were telling me there's a new development with the weather pattern? >> yes, this storm just got a lot more complicated. let's get right to the board and show everyone what's going on. we start with the possibility of severe storms tonight. watch where the low is. from dallas to the florida panhandle, those storms will be strong to severe tonight into tomorrow morning. this area from nashville, chattanooga, huntsville, this is a particular risk for strong storms. and could even be a strong tornado there. and as the low ejects, still low, rain in washington, d.c. but snow into south jersey and philly.
here's the totals we've got for you. and four to eight inches in the mountains of virginia and west virginia. and just a little bit south of that, around norfolk, when the first low leaves, a second low could redevelop there. that means we could have another storm on the coastline, wednesday into thursday. i just want everyone paying attention. >> sam, thank you. there's still much more ahead on "world news tonight." the police tip, putting officers in the right spot to stop shoplifters. and the homeoner that rented out a house, the renters that allegedly turned it into an animal house. how to protect yourself when trying to make extra money. and the dangerous takedown all caught on camera. the suspect who got away, but not for long. stay with us. nick was born to move.
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back now with the rental back now with the rental gone wrong. looking to make money on airbnb, a woman learned a hard lesson about vetting her renters. here's zachary kiesch. >> reporter: chelsey mcgovern decided to rent her two-bed, one-bath home in texas to make some extra money, but now she's spending thousands after one renter turned her property into a real life "animal house." >> they had no respect. >> reporter: she says she rented her home to a young man. >> red flags that i did not listen to that ended up biting me in the butt. >> reporter: in a big way. she says she found hundreds of kids overflowing into her front yard. >> you're walking through my yard. >> reporter: the tiny home trashed, jello shots plastered everywhere, broken glass, and the stench of cigarettes still hanging in the air. the damage, so far, about six grand. her homeowners' insurance, no help, since she had rented it out. so she turned to airbnb's million dollar guarantee. so far they've shelled out $3,200 to help with repairs. how important is it for you to do your homework?
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finally tonight, you don't have to love basketball to love this next story. finally tonight, you don't have to love basketball to love this story. the power of sister jean on the cou court. they did it. a last-minute shot and a lucky bounce. and just like that, loyola chicago entering the sweet 16. we've told you before about this team. early on, upsetting the university of miami with the buzzer-beater three-pointer. but what makes them special is their secret weapon. a 98-year-old nun who is cheering and praying for them every step of the way. >> it's the guardian angel right
there. sister jean. >> after last night's big win, each player giving her a hug. the internet exploding with sister jean memes, like this one with her dunking over tennessee. and she's so cool, she even has her own custom-made nikes. this was just before the start of the game. >> don't let those tennessee team members scare you with their height. height doesn't mean that much. >> but truth be told even sister jean didn't have them advancing this year. >> i didn't have them in the sweet 16, but now they'll be going farther than that. >> we'll all be cheering her on. thanks for watching. i'm tom llamas in new york. have a great evening. good night.
tonight on abc news at 6:00, a young girl one of two people wounded in a suspected road rage shooting. one day after a raging fire a building is not the only thing devastated. how it's affecting those who made a living on the block. and securing the ceiling of a bay area taco bell. we'll show what you went wrong. >> abc 7 news at 6:00 starts now. >> good evening, thanks for joining us. i'm eric thomas. >> i'm deon lim. law enforcement is looking for someone who shot two people. >> they were eastbound 80 her clees on willow avenue where the gunman opened fire. lillian kim is live with the developing details. lillian? >> reporter: eric and deon, the chp is hoping for tips from the
public. the shooting happened 9:00 p.m. interstate 80 between hercules and rodeo. investigators believe the shooting was a result of road rage. two people were shot, a woman in a passenger seat suffered moderate injuries and a young girld believed to be 5 to 6-year-old suffered major injuries. there are few details beyond that, not even a description of the vehicle, from where the gunshots were believed to have come from, which is why the chp is asking members of the public to call them if they witnessed the incident or saw or heard anything unusual on interstate 80 last night. >> if they saw something at that time where they could have heard it or actually seen the incident as it actually occurred gunshots going off, seen it, just anything out of the ordinary, like that, at that time, and they were just going to that corridor at that time, if they could call 1-800-tell-chp. >> reporter: again, the