tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS March 30, 2017 6:30pm-7:01pm EDT
family we will see you tonight . captioning sponsored by cbs >> pelley: the russia connection: a former f.b.i. agent gives investigators an ominous clue. >> follow the trail of dead russians. >> pelley: also tonight, intrigue at the white house. secret meetings with secret sources about secret documents. >> why all the cloak and dagger stuff? >> pelley: a rare famine emergency. the starving look to the heavens for help. danger afoot. why deaths are rising more rapidly among walkers than drivers. >> ignition and liftoff. >> pelley: and cutting the astronomical cost of space travel. the first spacex launch with a second-hand rocket. >> this is a very big deal if they can pull it off.
this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: there are two important developments tonight in the investigation into the russian plot to sway the u.s. presidential election. we learned today that a lot of those crazy conspiracy theory stories masquerading as news in the days before the election were not written by american partisans. they were concocted by an army of russian disinformation specialists who had been ordered to sow confusion among the american voters. also today, "the new york times" reported that the white house has been secretly feeding information on the investigation to the republican chairman of the house intelligence committee. we'll begin there with major garrett. >> reporter: "the new york times" named two national security staffers, eznar wattnick and michael ellis, they
said devin nunes gave trump information. last week nunes viewed classified documents in a secured facility on white house grounds. he then briefed the media and the president. at the time, white house spokesman sean spicer said white house staffers were not nunes source. >> it doesn't really seem to make a ton of sense, so i'm in the aware of it, but it doesn't really pass the smell test. >> reporter: today the white house would neither confirm nor deny the "times" report. >> i'm not commenting on the reports, major. we are not going the start commenting on one-off anonymous sources that publications publish. >> if it were wrong, would you tell us? >> i'm not going to get into it. >> reporter: in a letter, the white house invited the leaders of the house and senate intelligence committees to view classified information it said was relevant to the committee's investigation. the white house said the evidence turned up in the ordinary course of business. adam schiff is the top democrat on the house intelligence committee. he says today's report raises even more questions about the
actions of the white house and chairman nunes. >> and they can present it to the white house staff or the president himself at any time. so why all the cloak and dagger stuff? >> reporter: the white house contends this incidental cliques of information on trump transition officials may have broken the law. scott, the two staffers named by "the new york times" did not respond to requests for comment. >> pelley: major garrett at the white house. major, thank you. there are three parallel investigations into the russian attempt to sway the election. one by the f.b.i., the house investigation that major just mentioned, and another by the senate intelligence committee. the senate hearing today opened a window on what the russians have been hiding, and jeff pegues is following that. >> this russian propaganda on steroids was designed to poison the national conversation in america. >> reporter: top democrat man warner and the rest of the senate intelligence committee heard details today about
russia's vast information warfare campaign, which involves at least 15,000 operatives worldwide, writing and spreading false news stories and conspiracy theories online. witnesses said the effort goes back years and often starts with russian-backed media. the ongoing campaign has targeted president trump himself. former f.b.i. special agent clint watts. >> i can tell you right now today accounts tweet at president trump during high volumes when they know he's online and they push conspiracy theories. >> reporter: many of the fake news stories began with real events. last august during an active shooter scare at new york's j.f.k. airport, watts says russian fake news writers added to the panic. >> we watched social media trolls pump fake stories out which ramped up that fear. >> reporter: the russians also tried to manipulate a protest at a u.s. military base in turkey into a major terrorist attack and tried to sow unrest in the u.s. by inflaming protests such
as occupy wall street and the black lives matter movement. the russians also used sophisticated hacking like that of the democratic national committee. cyber security expert kevin mandia says they stole much more than what has been released on web sites like wikileaks and guccifer 2.0. >> what we've seen publicly released is probably under 1% of what we attribute to the russian government stealing. report and the hacking continues. marco rubio. >> within the last 24 hours at 10:45 a.m. yesterday, a second attempt was made again against former members of my presidential campaign team who had access to our internal information, again targeted from an i.p. address from an unknown location in russia. >> reporter: watts also told congress the russians may now be trying to cover their tracks. there have been a series of arrests and a number of
mysterious deaths around the world. >> follow the trail of dead russians. there have been more dead russians tied to this investigation who have assets in banks all over the world. >> reporter: today russian president vladimir putin denied that moscow meddled in the election. scott, he stole a phrase that was made famous by the first president bush, replying to an interviewer, "read my lips: no." >> pelley: jeff pegues in our washington newsroom. as president, of course, mr. trump is the head of the republican party, but today rather than healing the divisions in the g.o.p., he issued a threat to the party's most conservative members. chip reid is at the capitol. >> reporter: a week ago the house freedom caucus gave president trump a standing ovation and even after they helped kill the republican health care bill, the president didn't seem angry. >> i'm disappointed, but they're friends of mine. >> reporter: but today he declared political war on his "friends," writing in a tweet, "the freedom caucus will hurt
the entire republican agenda if they don't get on the team and fast. we must fight them and dems in 2018." caucus member justin amash of michigan fired back in a tweet dripping with sarcasm. "no shame, mr. president. almost everyone succumbs to the d.c. establishment." later he called the president a childish bully. >> it's constructive in fifth grade, but it may allow a child to get his way, but that's not hour our government works. >> reporter: reports say caucus member mark sandford says the president wants someone to run against him in next year's republican primary. paul ryan told "cbs this morning"'s norah o'donnell he's unhappy that mr. trump wants to work with democrats to pass health care. >> the president of the united states is saying he's going to work with democrats. >> i want a patient-centered system. i don't want government running
health care. >> reporter: that prompted bob corker to join the firing squad. >> we have come a long way when the speaker of one party urging the president not to work with the other party to solve a problem. republican ted cruz said republicans need to stop aiming their cannons at each other, but apparently, scott, all it takes is an angry tweet from the president to set the republicans' guns ablazing. >> pelley: chip reid at the capitol. north carolina's controversial law dictating which public restrooms transgender people must use was repealed today. north carolina was under enormous pressure from canceled conventions and companies leaving the state. as mark strassmann explains, change was finally forced by court action, not judicial, basketball. >> those in favor vote aye. those opposed no. report nothing about today's vote to overturn north
carolina's bathroom law eased hard feelings on either side. conservative republican senator dan bishop. >> this bill is at best a punt, at worst it is a betrayal of principle. >> reporter: juaquin carcano, a transgender male, also felt betrayed. >> democratic lawmakers promised to have our backs, to help protect us, and that was just empty promises. >> reporter: for the last year, north carolina law mandated that people use public bathrooms that match the gender on their birth certificates. civil rights and l.g.b.t.q. groups were outraged. newly elected democratic governor roy cooper promised a clean repeal. but under the new law, state lawmakers can still regulate public bathrooms. and it prohibits local municipalities from passing non-discrimination ordinances through 2020. >> north carolina! >> reporter: what pressured state lawmakers to act was the state's love affair with basketball. the ncaa set a deadline of today to overturn the law or lose the
chance to host ncaa championship events through 2022. >> you resent that basketball? >> yes. that's what's forcing people to make a decision over our lives? report what's now critical but still unclear is whether companies that have boycotted the state over the last year believe this new law goes far enough. scott, the ncaa said that they hope to make a decision on what they believe some time next week. >> pelley: mark strassmann, thanks. in a major reversal in america's policy on the syrian civil war, today secretary of state rex tillerson signaled that the u.s. will no longer insist on the removal of syria's dictator, bashar al-assad. assad's war on his own people has killed 400,000 and triggered a global refugee crisis. secretary tillerson spoke today after meeting with turkey's president and elizabeth palmer
is in ankara. >> reporter: in a brief photo op, secretary of state tillerson wore his best diplomatic smile, and so did president recep tayyip erdogan. but behind closed doors, turkey has some serious bones to pick with the united states. top of the list, the war against isis in syria, right on turkey's border. with few soldiers of its own on the ground, the u.s. has teamed up with a battle-hardened kurdish force called the y.p.g. but to turkey, the y.p.g. is a bitter enemy and a terrorist group. it is demanding the u.s. cut off its support, something mr. tillerson would not promise to do. >> what we discussed today were options that are available to us. they are difficult options. let me be very frank. these are not easy decisions. >> reporter: that didn't satisfy the turkish foreign minister, who accused the u.s. of fighting one terrorist group, isis, with another, the y.p.g.
so much of this region is currently violent and unstable. both turkey and the u.s. want to change that. and at the very end of the news conference, mr. tillerson appeared to signal a policy shift to that end. >> i think the status and the longer-term status of president assad will be decided by the syrian people. >> reporter: now, that's what the russians have been saying for some time, scott, although if decided by the syrian people is actually code for elections, it's hard to see how that can work with one quarter of the syrian population having fled the country. >> pelley: elizabeth palmer in the turkish capital tonight. thanks, liz. more than 100,000 people are in imminent danger of starving to death in the east african country of south sudan. the famine emergency is the result of a civil war that has wiped out agriculture and a rainy season that has cut off half the country.
the united nations says five million people there can't be sure where their next people is coming from, but for some it's coming from the sky. debora patta is there. >> you're clear to drop. >> reporter: hope for the village of maar is pinned on the skies. the scorched village has not had food for six months. jubilant laborers hired for the day rushed to help sort the supplies dropped by the red cross. it's too dangerous to bring food to maar by road, so air drops are the only way to get some kind of nutrition to this community. food is the latest weapon in the civil war where aid convoys are regularly ambushed by warring militias. despite months of waiting, villagers line up patientsly to get their food, including nyaruach chuol, the 110-pound bag of sorghum and beans weighs
about the same as she does. the food will help feed her family of ten, now facing a cholera outbreak on top of the food shortages. her father, chuol jotijiok, is wasting away. "i have a sore stomach," he says. "there is nothing to eat but leaves and fruit. sometimes i have nothing." but not everyone gets help today. ujiwami bei bol is new to the region and not registered with the red cross. she fled the fierce fighting 300 miles away. "we were sleeping and then the war came to us," she said. "i saw the soldiers shoot my children and burn my house to the ground." heavily pregnant, she fled with her two surviving children, walking for 24 days to find safety. amazingly, she gave birth to a healthy boy in the bush along the way, but her gamble didn't
work. there is no extra food. "i don't know anyone here," she says. "i just sit under a tree and hope people will help me." but everyone here already has too many hungry stomachs to fill. there just isn't room for one more. debora patta, cbs news, south sudan. >> pelley: coming up next on the "cbs evening news," why pedestrian deaths are climbing rapidly. proof of less joint pain and clearer skin. this is my body of proof that i can take on psoriatic arthritis with humira. humira works by targeting and helping to block a specific source of inflammation that contributes to both joint and skin symptoms. it's proven to help relieve pain, stop further joint damage, and clear skin in many adults. humira is the #1 prescribed biologic
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21-year-old daughter casey's dreams of being a reporter were cut short when she was hit and killed in a crosswalk by a distracted driver by ocean city, new jersey. >> it's incomprehensible to me sometimes to think that other families are going through what we're going through, but there are thousands and thousands of families doing that. >> reporter: since casey's death, the number of pedestrians dying in crashes have soared, up 22% in the last two years, to nearly 6,000 deaths in 2016 alone, the highest in decades. have people just forgot on the look both ways? >> people have forgotten. they're too busy looking at their phones. >> reporter: jonathan adkins runs the highway safety administration which did the study. he said distracted walkers and drivers are the issue. so is alcohol. 15% of the crashes involved a drunk driver while 34% of those killed were walking drunk. >> we've done a really good job of encouraging people not to
drink and drive, but we don't see messaging about not drinking and walking. >> reporter: whatever the cause, the accidents can happen in an instant. this woman was lucky. she survived. but so many others, like casey feldman, never made it home. >> she was beginning her life. she was about to become that reporter. it was all taken away in just a few seconds. >> reporter: this increase comes as communities across the country are working to become more walkable. scott, the majority of these crashes happen at night, often on rural or suburban roads. >> pelley: kris van cleve for us tonight. kris, thanks. coming up, for millions march is going out like a lion. your eyes work as hard as you do. but do they need help making more of their own tears? if you have chronic dry eye caused by reduced tear production due to inflammation, restasis multidose™ can help... with continued use twice a day, every day, one drop at a time.
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manuel bojorquez is at the kennedy space center. manuel? >> reporter: well, scott, that falcon 9 rocket took off from that pad behind me and minutes later landed back on earth after delivering a satellite into space, proving that reusability could save millions in future launches. >> we have commit and we have liftoff. >> reporter: kennedy space center's pad 389a has launched space history, from abol low -- >> the space shuttle spreads its wings. >> reporter: -- to the space shuttle. >> liftoff of the falcon 9. >> reporter: now spacex is hoping to achieve another milestone. >> you can see it descending there. > reporter: by relaunching a rocket, the falcon 9, after successfully landing it on earth last year. >> that will help lower costs. >> reporter: cbs news space consultian bill harwood. >> just like a science fiction movie, landing bull's-eye right on the target.
>> reporter: it's like launching a rocket over the empire saint building. spacex has stuck the landing eight out of 15 times. it's still risk kim although this rocket landed back on earth about a year ago, spacex says it can have them ready for relaunch in about four months. the goal is to make that even faster. gwynne shotwell is spacex president and c.e.o. >> as far as doing it as soon as you land, taking it over to the launchpad an reflying it again, we might be a couple years away from that, but that's certainly the intent, as well. >> reporter: but reusing a rocket is only the first step before the giant leap spacex hopes to make, a mission to mars. manuel bojorquez, cbs news at kennedy space center. >> pelley: and that's the "cbs evening news." for all of us at cbs news all around the world, good night.
tonight a new twist in maks's dancing injury. >> we're going to see how it unfolds. >> what his fiancee is telling "e.t." why he could be out much longer than we thought. >> then -- >> i shouldn't have said that. >> -- stark confessions in vegas. the mom guilt. why ben affleck kept his sin city day short. and why chris pib ne is taking all off. his hair, that is. >> yeah, yeah. >> plus inside the o.r. for mama june's final weight loss journey to a size 4. >> it's more famous than i am. >> and our fast and furious behind the scenes exclusive, raining cars, a nuclear submarine chase, the stunt that had never been attempted before. >> it's going to blow people's minds.