tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS February 16, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
♪ ♪ captioning sponsored by cbs >> this administration is running like a fine-tuned machine. >> pelley: tonight, we'll take a look under the hood. >> to be honest, i inherited a mess. >> pelley: after the president's first extraordinary solo news conference-- >> i'm not ranting and raving. i'm just telling you, you know, you're dishonest people. >> you said today you had the biggest electoral margin sinces ronald reagan. >> well, no, i was told-- i was given that information. i don't know, i was just given-- we had a very, very big margin. >> reporter: is putin testing you? >> there has never been a presidency that has done so much in such a short period of time. >> on the travel ban, would you accept that that was a good example of the smooth running of government? >> yeah, i do, i do. let me tell you about the travel-- >> were there any mistakes in that? >> wait, wait, wait.
because i sort of enjoy this back and forth. how many times do i have to answer this question? i do get good ratings. you have to admit that. this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: this is our western edition. today, we learned the length of the president's fuse-- 28 days. after four weeks of being blocked by courts, challenged by congress, and held to account by the public, president trump called a hasty news conference and went on offense with the familiar tools that built his career-- bluster, bravado, exaggeration, and a few loose facts. >> i turn on the tv, open the newspapers, and i see stories of chaos, chaos. yet, it is the exact opposite. this administration is running like a fine-tuned machine. >> pelley: and with that machine, mr. trump boasted he has accomplished more in less time than any president in
history. but the media, he said, are blinded to that by hate. over the hour and 15 minutes, mr. trump defended mike flynn, the national security adviser he fired. he said alleged contacts between his campaign and russia are a ruse, and he bent history out of shape with a boast about the election. the president quoted an approval rating of 55%, but most other polls, like this from pew research, generally agree it's lower. our coverage of a remarkable event at the white house begins with major garrett. >> mike flynn is a fine person, and i asked for his resignation. >> reporter: president trump did not criticize his former national security adviser for discussing u.s. sanctions against russia in phone calls he had with russia's ambassador during the transition. instead, the president said he fired flynn for lying to vice president pence about those conversations.
>> i don't think he did anything wrong. if anything, he did something right. he was coming into office. he looked at the information. he said, "huh, that's fine." that's what they're supposed to do. the thing is, he didn't tell our vice president properly, and then he said he didn't remember. so either way, it wasn't very satisfactory to me. >> reporter: it is a potential violation of the law for a private citizen to conduct u.s. foreign policy. the president said he did not instruct flynn to discuss sanctions with the russian ambassador. >> i didn't direct him, but i would have directed him because that's his job. >> reporter: the president blamed the intelligence community for leaking classified information about the contents of flynn's communications. >> i've actually called the justice department to look into the leaks. those are criminal leaks. >> reporter: and mr. trump lashed out at the media. >> the leaks are absolutely real. the news is fake. because so much of the news is fake. it's so important to the public to get an honest press. the press-- the public doesn't believe you people anymore.
now, maybe i had something to do with that. i don't know. but they don't believe you. >> reporter: the president did acknowledge recent news reports about russian provocations. you mentioned the vessel, the spy vessel off the coast of the united states. >> not good. >> reporter: there was a missile test many interpreted as a violation of the agreement between the two countries and a russian plane buzzed a u.s. destroyer. >> not good. >> reporters: is mr. putin testing you, do you believe, sir? >> no, i don't think so. i think putin probably assumes that he can't make a deal with me anymore because politically, it would be unpopular for a politician to make a deal. i can't believe i'm saying i'm a politician, but i guess that's what i am now. because, look, it would be much easier for me to be tough on russia, but then we're not going to make a deal. and don't forget, we're a very powerful nuclear country, and so are they. >> reporter: but do they damage the relationship-- >> they all happened recently. no, i'll see what happens. >> reporter: --do they undermine this country's ability to work with russia? >> they all happened recently, and i understand what they're doing. because they're doing the same thing-- now, again, maybe i'm not going to be able to do a deal with russia, but at least i will have tried.
>> reporter: can we conclude there will be no response to these particular provocations? >> yeah, i'm not going to tell you anything about what response ondo. i don't talk about military response. so when you ask me, what am i going to do with the ship, the russian ship, as an example, i'm not going to tell you. but hopefully i won't have to do anything, but i'm not going to tell you. >> reporter: the president's pick to replace flynn as national security advisor, retired vice admiral robert harward, has turned down the position today after the white house refused to replace senior staff on the n.s.c. hired by flynn. scott, the president did make one personnel announcement, naming alexander acosta his second nominee to lead the labor department. >> pelley: major garrett at the white house. thank you, major. the president said he has ordered an investigation into who leaked classified information to the media in the flynn affair. he blamed obama holdovers in the intelligence agencies, but this kind of information is also circulated in congress and the white house. mr. trump, who once invited russia to hack and leak hillary clinton's emails, said these
leaks were un-american, and the leakers would pay a big price. jeff pegues has more on the russia investigation. >> can you say whether you are aware that anyone who advised your campaign had contacts with russia during the course of the election? >> no, nobody that i know of. >> reporter: president trump was asked by three reporters if any of his campaign staffers were in regular contact with russian operatives during the election. he denied any connections to the kremlin and dismissed the investigation. >> russia is a ruse. i have nothing to do with russia. haven't made a phone call to russia in years. >> reporter: the f.b.i. counter-intelligence unit is investigating whether the trump campaign coordinated with the russian government to undermine the candidacy of hillary clinton. that accusation is found in a 35-page dossier compiled by a former british spy. it singles out former campaign chairman paul manafort and foreign policy adviser carter page.
in an interview with cbs news, page acknowledged traveling to russia close to 100 times since 1991. but he denied working with the russian government. >> i've only said hello to a few russian officials over the course of the last year or so. >> reporter: manafort has also denied any inappropriate contact with russian officials. last fall, u.s. intelligence agencies concluded that russia had carried out a series of cyberattacks targeting democratic party computer networks. >> hacking is a very hard thing to prove. so it could be somebody else. >> reporter: for months, president trump refused to agree with the intelligence community's assessment, but today in brussels, mr. trump's defense secretary endorsed the conclusions. >> right now, i would just say there's very little doubt that they have either interfered or they have attempted to interfere in a number of elections in the democracies. >> reporter: the complexity of u.s.-russia relations was on display today when the chairman
of the joint chiefs met with his russian counter-part to discuss the fight against isis. scott, that russian general is considered to be the mastermind of those election-related cyberattacks. >> pelley: jeff pegues tonight. jeff, thank you. mr. trump also said he will issue a new travel ban next week. his earlier, temporary ban on all refugees and on citizens of seven predominantly muslim countries is blocked in court. today, the president listed about 20 presidential orders that he says the media won't cover. we have covered them, and chip reid has found that not all of them are what they seem. >> i don't think there's ever been a president elected who in this short period of time has done what we've done. this administration is running like a fine-tuned machine. >> reporter: democratic senator dick durbin says that is wildly off the mark. >> every new administration has its growing pains, but consider
his. he had to dismiss his acting attorney general. he faced an executive order which was rejected by three different federal courts. and then he had to take the resignation of his national security adviser. that's never happened to any president in history. fine-tuned machine? off to a pretty rough start. >> reporter: the president complained that congress is blocking him. >> i can't get my cabinet approved. >> reporter: but democrats say his cabinet nominees are so controversial, they deserve to be blocked, or at least delayed. one, labor department nominee andrew puzder, withdrew his name just yesterday. on the economy: >> to be honest, i inherited a mess. >> reporter: in fact, he inherit an unemployment rate of less than 5%. by contrast, president obama inherit an economy in the deepest recession since the great depression. on foreign affairs, mr. trump bragged about early progress. >> we've already begun enormously productive talks with many foreign leaders.
>> reporter: but his calls with the leaders of taiwan, australia, and mexico may have resulted in more controversy than success. some of the president's executive orders have been little more than symbolic statements. for example: >> we've stood up for the men and women of law enforcement, directing federal agencies to ensure they are protected from crimes of violence. >> reporter: and as for the wall on the southern border: >> i met with general, now- secretary kelly, yesterday, and we're starting that process. >> reporter: there's no new funding from congress, and no plan to get mexico to pay for it. president trump was asked by reporter april ryan today if he was going to work with the congressional black caucus on his urban agenda. the president then asked ryan, who is african american, if she wanted to help set up a meeting. later today, the white house thought better of it and decided to reach out to the c.b.c. on its own. scott. >> pelley: chip reid on capitol hill. thanks.
cbs news political director john dickerson is joining us now from the set of "face the nation." john, there was something you noticed today about the president repeating that his national security adviser had done nothing wrong. >> that's right. the michael flynn episode is about what penalty there is for not telling the truth in the trump administration. and today we got about the fourth explanation from the president on what his relationship was with michael flynn. the president said flynn had to resign because the former national security adviser had lied to the vice president about a conversation flynn had with the russian ambassador. but the president was fuzzy on what flynn had lied about. the president suggested that flynn's conversation with the ambassador was a "no big deal" outreach that takes place during a transition. >> mike was doing his job. he was calling countries and his counter-parts. so it certainly would have been okay with me if he did it. i would have directed him to do it if i thought he wasn't doing it. i didn't direct him. but i would have directed him
because that's his job. >> but that was the original story. the reason this became a firing offense is that flynn lied about talking to the russian ambassador about sanctions. the obama administration had issued in retaliation for russian meddling in the election, possibly undermining u.s. foreign policy. when the vice president asked him about the conversations with the russian ambassador, flynn said he had not talked about sanctions. that's why he was asked to resign. but as the president described what happened, he wasn't clear about that. >> pelley: and, critically, those conversations happened before the president was inaugurated when flynn was still a private citizen. now, the president can do very little going forward without the support of congress. how do you think congress viewed this news conference? >> the president loves to play to a room, even it's a room full of reporters, and today was the president getting back to the old-time religion, what worked for him on the campaign-- the freewheeling, the ping-ponging with the press, the ridiculing
doesn't have one at the moment, even did some impersonation. but the problem for the hill is the republicans fear that the president, while he has lots of power with the grass roots, what makes them anxious is his unpredictability and his lack of focus. they need him to be specific and push a specific message even when that's sometimes a complicated message. and today's performance didn't necessarily show he could do that. >> pelley: john dickerson. we'll see you sunday on "face the nation." and today, the president made a claim about the size of his electoral victory, a claim that wasn't remotely true. >> you said today that you had the biggest electoral margin since ronald reagan with 304, 306 electoral votes. in fact, president obama got 365 and-- >> well, i'm talking about republican, yeah. >> president obama 330, george h.w. bush, 426 when he won as president. so why should americans trust-- >> well, no, i was told-- i was given that information. i don't know. i was just given-- we had a very, very big margin. >> i guess my question is why
should americans trust you when you ciewz the information they receive of booing faked when you are provided information? >> i don't know. i was given that information. actually, i've seen that information around. but it was a very substantial victory. >> pelley: substantial, but not quite as substantial as the president said. mr. trump claimed 306 electoral votes. well, two republican electors in texas went rogue. he only got 304. three states put mr. trump over the top, and his margin of victory in those three states combined was more than 77,000 votes-- 77,000-- out of a total of 129 million cast nationwide. and, finally, there was one other reason for the news conference. today, the moment it was over, mr. trump's team went online with a fund-raiser saying, "i can't do it alone. i need you by my side to get the truth to the american voter."
coming up next on the cbs evening news, immigrants walk off the job to send the president a message. and later, a sports hero's secret connection to a civil rights icon. well, when you have copd, it can be hard to breathe. it can be hard to get air out, which can make it hard to get air in. so i talked to my doctor. she said... symbicort could help you breathe better, starting within 5 minutes. symbicort doesn't replace a rescue inhaler for sudden symptoms. symbicort helps provide significant improvement of your lung function. symbicort is for copd, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. it should not be taken more than twice a day. symbicort contains formoterol. medicines like formoterol increase the risk of death from asthma problems. symbicort may increase your risk of lung infections, osteoporosis, and some eye problems. you should tell your doctor if you have a heart condition or high blood pressure before taking it. symbicort could mean a day with better breathing.
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named marianne gaspard. i became curious where in africa she was from. so i took the ancestry dna test to find out more about my african roots. ancestry really helped me fill in a lot of details. >> pelley: many shops in america were closed today when migrant workers walked off the job to america were closed today when migrant workers walked off the job to demonstrate their worth. jericka duncan has this. >> reporter: hundreds took to the streets of washington today with one clear message: >> we're not bad people. we want to work. we want to pursue the american dream. >> reporter: those words were echoed across the country as thousands rallied from chicago to raleigh to minneapolis. and scores of businesses, including restaurants, were shuttered. it was all in solidarity with immigrant workers who say president trump's deportation policies threaten their livelihoods and their future in this country.
a third of american service jobs are held by undocumented workers. over 2 million immigrants work in the restaurant industry alone. >> every business on this street is generally open. none of them are today. >> reporter: ben miller from pennsylvania and his wife, cristina martinez, who came here illegally from mexico, own el compadre in south philadelphia. today, they kept their doors closed. do you think taking one day off really makes a difference? >> this is, like, just flexing. >> reporter: in other words, you want to just show-- >> the muscle. >> reporter: the major impact it could have by just one day? >> that's right. we support workers. we support protection for workers, for everyone that's working. >> reporter: nearby, labor tu restaurant is operating with limited staff. owners say they understand why workers like josselin bautista took the day off. >> if we don't work, how hard we
work every single day, this country is not going to be the same. >> reporter: organizers here in philadelphia say at least 80 restaurants shut down or had limited service because of the day without immigrants protest. scott, another event is being planned already for may 1. >> pelley: jericka duncan, and we'll be back in a moment i take movantik for oic, opioid-induced constipation. had a bad back injury, my doctor prescribed opioids which helped with the chronic pain, but backed me up big-time. tried prunes, laxatives, still constipated... had to talk to my doctor. she said, "how long you been holding this in?" (laughs) that was my movantik moment. my doctor told me that movantik is specifically designed for oic and can help you go more often. don't take movantik if you have a bowel blockage or a history of them. movantik may cause serious side effects, including symptoms of opioid withdrawal,
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today, the president signed a bill that canceled an obama administration rule that protected streams from coal mining waste. the president called it a job killer. but the nonpartisan congressional research service said the regulation would have created as many jobs as it eliminated. mr. trump has pledged to bring back coal mining. coming up next, a hometown hero's secret act of kindness. osteoporosis and a high risk for fracture... i can tell you prolia® is proven to help protect bones from fracture. but the real proof? my doctor said prolia® helped my bones get stronger. are your bones getting stronger do not take prolia® if you have low blood calcium, are pregnant, are allergic to it, or take xgeva®. serious allergic reactions, such as low blood pressure; trouble breathing; throat tightness; face, lip, or tongue swelling; rash, itching or hives have happened in people taking prolia®. tell your doctor about dental problems, as severe jaw bone problems may happen, or new or unusual pain in your
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mourners in downtown detroit made perfectly clear, the city just lost someone very special. >> i think mr. ilitch was the most significant person in detroit. he was detroit. he loved detroit. >> reporter: mike ilitch built a billion-dollar pizza empire with little ceasar's, owned the detroit tigers, and won four stanley cups with the red wings. by all accounts, kind and philanthropic, it turns out as good as ilitch was, he was actually even better. >> something i didn't expect. >> reporter: that is rosa parks. yes, the rosa parks, an american icon. after the bus boycott in montgomery, she moved to detroit, where in 1994, a man broke into her home, beat, and robbed her. damon keith is a federal judge and knew both mike ilitch and rosa parks. >> i said, "mike, i don't want rosa parks going back to that bad neighborhood." >> reporter: so ilitch helped arrange for her to move to a much nicer apartment, and then
sent checks like this one for the next 11 years, paying rosa parks' rent for the rest of her life. >> he just believed in helping people. >> reporter: it's only coming to light now after his death because mike ilitch never said a word about it when he was still alive. >> there are people of wealth in this country who are still concerned with the underprivileged and those who are deprived. >> reporter: rosa parks taught us all about dignity and resolve, and when she needed help, along came another teacher with a powerful lesson of his own-- the purest form of giving is when no one knows your name. jim axelrod, cbs news, new york. >> pelley: you can do a lot when you don't care who gets the credit. that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. for all of us at cbs news, all around the world, good night. captioning sponsored by cbs
over. incoming storms creating new flood concerns. good evening, i'm veronica de la cruz. i'm allen martin. new at six: a south bay reservoir go about to spill over storms creating new flood concerns. good evening. i'm veronica de la cruz. >> i'm allen martin. new at 6:00 the anderson reservoir is already beyond 99% full and that's way over a seismic safety limit. it could spell trouble for people along coyote creek in santa clara county downstream. kpix 5's keit do reports. >> reporter: we're right here at the outflow pipes of anderson reservoir and check it out. this is the place to see some massive water flow here in the south county, south part of santa clara county. this is coming out at 3,000 gallons per second. and guess what. that's not nearly fast enough to drain the inflow coming in. storms can dump five times the amount of water that's coming out now. if we get a lot of storms over
these next couple of days we could get quite a show. it's too much of a good thing. the reservoir is now at 99.2%. full. it hasn't been this high in 11 years. "sky drone 5" shows the lip of the spillway the water just 7" from the top. if it exceeds it, it will spend water down the spillway for the first time in more than a decade, the last time in 2006. it was a spectacle then, too. the race is on to drain the reservoir. for the past five weeks the district has been releasing water as fast as possible around the clock. the federal government has limited anderson's storage to 68% in order to prevent a cataro