tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC December 4, 2017 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
muir is coming up. tonight, president trump and his legal team with a new strategy. they say a president technically cannot obstruct justice. also tonight, president trump's new message to michael flynn, who is now cooperating with the fbi. the other major headline, the president now making it clear. he is fully behind alabama senate candidate roy moore, despite more than a half dozen women coming forward with allegations. the president saying, quote, i like a fighter. go get 'em, roy. the high school soccer coach tonight behind bars, allegedly luring a 17-year-old student away with him. tonight, she's now standing beside her parents. what the family now says. the major storm at this hour. blizzard conditions and heavy snow. and the brutal cold moving in across the country right behind it. temperatures plunging 30 degrees. the multimillion dollar settlement involving a daughter who died after going to the
dentist to get her wisdom teeth pulled. and the american tourist attacked and killed by a shark. good evening. and it's great to have you with us here on a monday night. and we begin with president trump and his words for michael flynn, after his former national security adviser pleaded guilty to lying to the fbi. now cooperating with robert mueller. the president now saying, i feel badly for general flynn, going on to say of the fbi and flynn, that they destroyed his life. and tonight, the president and a new legal strategy from his team. arguing a president cannot obstruct justice. abc's chief white house correspondent jonathan karl leading us off. >> reporter: at the white house today, the president offered words of sympathy for his former national security adviser, michael flynn. >> well, i feel badly for general flynn. i feel very badly. he's led a very strong life. >> reporter: over the weekend, a decidedly different tone from the president, when he was asked if he stands behind flynn.
>> do you stand by michael flynn, sir? >> we'll see what happens. >> reporter: flynn's plea bargain is a big red flag for the white house. he has agreed to cooperate fully with special counsel robert mueller. >> i think what we're beginning to see is the putting together of a case of obstruction of justice. >> reporter: the president seems determined to undermine that case, by slamming the fbi, tweeting that its reputation is, quote, "in tatters, worst in history." >> i will say this. hillary clinton lied many times to the fbi, nothing happened to her. flynn lied and they destroyed his life. i think it's a shame. it's very unfair. >> reporter: but former fbi director james comey has testified that he had no reason to believe clinton lied to the fbi. he is defending the agency he once led, quoting his own words to congress after he was fired by president trump. >> i want the american people to know this truth. the fbi is honest.
the fbi is strong. and the fbi is, and always will be, independent. >> reporter: over the weekend, the president's own story seemed to change. he has said before that he fired general flynn because he lied to the vice president. but this weekend he tweeted, quote, "i had to fire general flynn because he lied to the vice president and the fbi." that tweet could become a problem. the president had not previously acknowledged knowing flynn lied to the fbi when he fired him. james comey says trump urged him to drop any investigation into flynn, a possible obstruction of justice if the president knew at the time that flynn had committed the crime of lying to the fbi. now, the president's personal lawyer, john dowd, said it was he who wrote the president's tweet. but it has not been disavowed by the white house. and the president continues to deny that he ever asked comey to go easy on michael flynn. >> and jon karl with us tonight from the white house. and jon, the president's lawyer saying he wrote that tweet from
the president's account. that got a lot of attention, tweeting for the president. now, the lawyer says, i'm out of the tweeting business, i did not mean to break news. but in the meantime, jon, the president's lawyers are going with a new legal strategy tonight when it comes to obstruction of justice? >> reporter: the president's lawyer is arguing that the president, because of the nature of his job as the head of the executive branch, cannot, by definition, commit obstruction of justice. david, it's a variation of nixon's line that if the president does it, it's not illegal. >> jon karl at the white house tonight. jon, thank you. and you heard jon report there that the president's lawyer is now making this new argument that a president cannot obstruct justice. the president's lawyer, john dowd, saying, quote, the president cannot obstruct justice, because he is the chief law enforcement officer, and has every right to express his view of any case. so, let's bring in our chief legal analyst, dan abrams, tonight for the bottom line on this. because dan, i've been reading what legal scholars have been writing all day on this. everything from, this is absurd,
to, he's got a point here. >> reporter: it's a little bit of both. it's not credible to argue that the president simply can't obstruct justice no matter what the facts are. but he may have a point that just the firing of james comey alone wouldn't be obstruction of justice, because that's within the purview of the president. i think it's fair to say they're going to need more than what we know today to file an obstruction charge. >> but dan, a lot of people are going to be scratching their heads tonight, because we know presidents who have faced impeachment have faced obstruction of justice charges. the articles of impeachment against richard nixon mention obstruction of justice. the articles against bill clinton did so, as well. but you heard the president's lawyer in the last 24 hours saying that a president cannot obstruct justice. >> reporter: well, this hasn't been addressed in the criminal context at all. but as you point out, with nixon, it never even made its way to the congress. with clinton, he wasn't convicted by the senate. this is clearly a strategy by president trump's team as they prepare for the next phase of this case, and there are a lot of unanswered legal questions when it comes to the president.
>> dan abrams, who will be following this every step of the way with us. dan, thank you. and one more development tonight involving the special counsel, robert mueller's team, this evening. a veteran fbi agent who was removed from the russia investigation. we learned that robert mueller removed peter strzok back in august after learning that strzok had sent potentially ant anti-trump text messages. abc news has also now confirmed from a source that strzok played a key role in how then-fbi director james comey announced the results of the hillary clinton e-mail investigation. recommending that comey describe clinton's actions as, quote, extremely careless, rather than, quote, grossly negligent. its a felony to mishandle classified information in a quote gross lly innocen lly neg. we turn next tonight to roy moore, the senate candidate in alabama. tonight, the president fully putting his weight behind moore. even amid allegations of sexual misconduct from eight women. the president now saying, i like a fighter. go get 'em, roy. here's abc's senior national correspondent tom llamas tonight. >> reporter: on air force one, president trump made it official. calling roy moore to endorse
him. even though moore has been accused of molesting teenage girls. moore tweeting the president told him, "go get 'em, roy." eight women have accused moore of a range of inappropriate behavior, including sexual assault. >> he basically laid out some blankets on the floor of his living room and proceeded to seduce me. i was a 14-year-old child trying to play in an adult's world and he was 32 years old. >> reporter: the president has expressed doubts. >> roy moore denies it. that's all i can say. he denies it. and by the way, he totally denies it. >> reporter: but senate majority leader mitch mcconnell, at first, quick to side with moore's accusers. >> roy moore should step aside. the women who have come forward are entirely credible. he's obviously not fit to be in the united states senate. >> reporter: now, mcconnell has changed his tune. >> do you believe that judge moore should be in the senate? >> i would let the people of alabama make the call.
>> reporter: moore has denied all accusations of sexual misconduct. campaigning almost exclusively in churches to rally evangelical voters. >> what a man sows, so shall he reap. >> reporter: today, moore tweeting, "thankful for president trump's support. can't wait to help him. #draintheswamp." >> tom llamas covering this campaign for us. and tom, the election now just one week away. so far, no plans for the president to travel to alabama to campaign for roy moore? >> reporter: david, that's right. but on friday night, the president is going to have a rally in pensacola, florida. that's so close to the alabama border, it's part of the mobile media market. tonight, the moore campaign tells me they welcome that impact, because the president's people are roy moore's people. david? >> tom llamas, our thanks to you again tonight. next, to your money, your taxes, and the president's tax plan. the senate passing it at 2:00 a.m. saturday morning. there is no pressing deadline here, but republicans in congress are furiously working to get this done before christmas, as the president has asked. but at what cost? with changes to the bill
handwritten, even in the margins. and tonight here, a reality check. who benefits most? abc's mary bruce back on the hill for us. >> reporter: tonight, republicans still relishing their late-night victory on tax reform. >> the tax cuts and jobs act as amended is passed. >> reporter: while democrats are reeling, outraged over what they say was a rushed process. >> they're sending around their edits as we speak. >> reporter: edits scribbled in the margins. >> can you tell me what that word is? >> reporter: and now comes the hard part -- hammering out the differences between the senate and house versions. the bill is the most sweeping change to the nation's tax code in 30 years. republicans are promising relief to the middle class, but most americans earning less than $75,000 a year are projected to pay more over the next ten years. while in 2027, one analysis says the top 1% would receive 62% of the benefit. for weeks, republicans have been downplaying these estimates.
>> economic forecasting has been just about as accurate as those late night psychic hotlines you see advertised after "the tonight show." >> reporter: and there are serious questions about to pay for all this. republicans insist economic growth will cover the cost of the plan. but two estimates say it will add $1 trillion or more to the deficit over the next decade. even a conservative estimate puts it at over $500 billion. this, after republicans have railed for years against adding to the deficit. >> we have to get our debt under control before we move any further down the road. >> reporter: you are confident this bill will pay for itself? >> oh, yeah, i think it will pay for itself and then some. and if i'm wrong, like every other republican, we'll pay a price. >> mary bruce live on the hill for us tonight. and mary, as you reported, republicans say this plan will pay for itself. we just heard it from senator graham there, even though several analyses show it will not, including a nonpartisan committee that republicans have relied on before. that committee says it will cost
$1 trillion. and we're learning about the republicans efforts to discredit the committee they once turned to? >> reporter: david, republicans have reportedly been circulating talking points that aim to undercut that estimate. questioning the timing and substance of that report. republicans insist these numbers are simply not accurate. >> all right, the deadline far closer tonight than the tax plan is this possible government shutdown, mary. congress also working to avoid a shutdown by the end of this week. and you've learned tonight that chuck schumer and nancy pelosi have now accepted an invitation to the white house after that meeting fell apart last week? >> reporter: david, last week, democratic leaders canceled that meeting with the president, after he tweeted that there was no deal to be made here. now, that meeting is back on for this thursday. as for the looming deadline, republican leaders insist there will be no shutdown. david? >> a very busy week ahead. mary, thank you. next, to the supreme court tonight, clearing the way for president trump's travel ban, even as it is being challenged in federal courts. the ruling allows the administration to fully enforce the ban on travel to the united states by residents of six
mostly muslim countries. this week, the ninth circuit and the fourth circuit will hear arguments challenging the ban's legality. after they decide, the case will return to the supreme court for a final decision. we turn to other news tonight, and a 17-year-old high school senior is back home in florida after allegedly being lured on a 1,000-mile trek from home by a 27-year-old soccer coach. police catching up with the pair in upstate new york. and today, the daughter standing beside her parents as the family spoke out. abc's linzie janis in florida. >> reporter: standing side-by-side, clinging to their daughter, the parents of 17-year-old caitlyn frisina relieved she is back home in florida, after disappearing with a soccer coach from her high school. >> we are looking forward to a very merry christmas and an extremely bright future for caitlyn. >> reporter: the coach, 27-year-old rian rodriguez, who once gave frisina private soccer lessons -- >> do you love her? >> reporter: -- now awaiting extradition on felony charges of interfering with the custody of a minor.
>> there are indicators that there was a relationship that started in august or september. >> reporter: according to a police affidavit, before the pair disappeared, friends of frisina say she texted them, saying rodriguez "wants her to leave the country with him" and she was "scared." frisina later climbing out of her bedroom window after erasing her phone. her father telling police he took the sim card from that phone and discovered lewd snapchat messages she exchanged with rodriguez. the pair on the run for nearly a week, spotted twice on surveillance cameras in south and north carolina, before being detained friday in new york, less than 100 miles from the canadian border. david, rodriguez has not yet entered a plea, but the police investigation isn't over. so, he could face additional charges. david? >> linzie janis, thank you. next, to that proposed mega merger that could bring major changes to health care for many in this country. cvs drugstores offering to buy
aetna health insurance company for $69 billion, in a bid to become a one-stop shop for americans' health care. mean egg, you could get a checkup from a doctor there and your prescription right there at the store. federal regulators tonight must still approve that merger. next, winter weather alerts in eight states at this hour. a storm heading east across the country. plunging temperatures for much of the country this week. blizzard conditions tonight in the northern plains. snow and wind closing schools in grand forks, north dakota. we knew it was coming. behind it, that bitter cold later this week. meteorologist rob marciano tracking it all for us. hey, rob. >> reporter: hey, david. nearly everybody east of the rockies going to deal with a massive temperature swing. right now, we've got those blizzard conditions up in minnesota and parts of the dakotas, and severe thunderstorms along the cold front, from record-breaking high temperatures from kansas city up through minneapolis. the rain and the warmth will squeeze east. that cold air, it's going to feel 50 degrees colder tomorrow morning in minneapolis. the heaviest snows around the lakes. the cold air is going to expand to the south and east and by thursday morning, boston, all
the way down to mississippi, temperatures will feel like they're below freezing. near zero degrees in minneapolis. cold stuff, david. >> rob marciano. rob, thanks to you. overseas tonight, a massive show of force in asia. the u.s. and south korea now conducting simulated war drills tonight, with hundreds of aircraft, including american stealth jets. it comes days after north korea test-fired its most powerful missile yet. yet, north korea tonight saying its those drills involving the u.s. that are now bringing the peninsula, quote, to the brink of nuclear war. there is still much more ahead on "world news tonight" this monday. the american tourist attacked and killed by a shark. the scuba diving trip turning deadly. the dive instructor hurt trying to save her. there's also news tonight about the death of that missing toddler. the suspect in court today. and the multimillion dollar settlement involving a daughter who died after going to the dentist to get her wisdom teeth pulled. there's a lot more news ahead. ♪ if you have moderate to severe plaque psoriasis,... ...isn't it time to let the real you shine through?
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developments in the death of a teenage girl in minnesota, after dental surgery. parents suing the dentist for the death of their daughter, who died after going to have her wisdom teeth pulled. here's abc's adrienne bankert tonight. >> reporter: sydney galleger was a vibrant, active 17-year-old. the competitive diver and skier died in 2015 after going into cardiac arrest while under general anesthesia while getting her wisdom teeth pulled. sydney's parents sued the oral surgeon, dr. paul tombach, alleging negligence and that his staff did not appropriately respond to this medical emergency. the minnesota family alleges that during the surgery her heart rate dropped dramatically, she had no pulse and became unresponsive. she was declared brain dead at the hospital a week after that routine dental procedure. the family ultimately settling out of court for $2 million. dr. tombach did not admit wrongdoing, and after a temporary suspension, he had his license reinstated. the american dental association says parents should always ask, will my child be conscious or
unconscious during the procedure? and does the person administering the anesthesia have up to date training in emergency resuscitation? and david, the ada says to ask for instructions or emergency contact information in the event there are concerns or comely cases after surgery. david? >> adrienne, thank you. when we come back here tonight, the new headline in the death of that missing toddler. the suspect, the mother's boyfriend, charged and in court today. there's also news tonight about the american tourist killed in a deadly shark attack. where this played out, right after the break. david. what's going on? oh hey! ♪ that's it? yeah. ♪ everybody two seconds! ♪ "dear sebastian, after careful consideration of your application, it is with great pleasure that we offer our congratulations on your acceptance..." through the tuition assistance program, every day mcdonald's helps more people go to college. it's part of our commitment to being america's best first job. ♪
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tiger shark while scuba diving. the shark grabbing hold of her legs. her dive instructor attacked, too, while trying to fight off the shark. the instructor survived. president trump shrinking two national monuments in utah. signing proclamations to dramatically scale back bears ears by more than 80%, and the grand staircase escalante by nearly half. the president claiming he's, quote, reversing federal overreach. the sites spanning several million acres that contain large amounts of oil, gas and coal. native american and environmental groups are now protesting those moves. and it took two stakes, the pontiac silverdome standing strong after demolition crews tried to bring it down yesterday. the contractor blaming a wiring issue. so, they tried again today. the explosions going off as planned and eventually reduced to a cloud of dust and debris in just seconds. didn't want to give up. when we come back on a monday night, the battle of the christmas lights in neighborhoods across this country. you be the judge when you see this.
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ask your doctor or pharmacist about prevnar 13®. finally tonight here, it's beginning to look a lot like christmas. and tonight, right here, the families who are determined to do christmas big. here's david wright. >> reporter: 'tis the season for christmas competition. how many lights do you have? >> you know what, we don't have a huge light count. >> reporter: peter tomasello is being modest. he's competing in abc's "great christmas light fight", airing tonight. his gingerbread house on long island, about as lavish as any you're likely to see. we've seen a few. from lucy spatto's house in the
dyker heights section of brooklyn -- >> those were brought in here by a crane. >> reporter: what? >> yeah, by a crane. to me, i like my whole house filled up. i don't like to see a space. >> reporter: -- to cranberry, new jersey, and keith shaw's giant christmas tree. >> there's over 47,000 on this tree. rockefeller center has 45,000 on their biggest year. >> reporter: displays this big have been known to cause problems with neighbors. in fairfield, connecticut, police had to step in to keep the peace. here on long island, that's not an issue. is there a cutoff time, or -- >> there is. we are respectful. >> reporter: david wright, abc news, new york. >> brought in by a crane. "the great christmas light fight", tonight, 8:00 p.m. eastern. thank you for watching. i'm david muir. i hope to see you right back here tomorrow. until then, good night.
toll booth worker who was killed on the bridge. and police are at odds about when to write a ticket. new guidelines that are causing confusion. plus, city workers are getting ready to walk off the job and the strike could last longer than just tomorrow. high winds causing problems across the bay area. gusts up to 40 miles per hour in some stops. i'm dan ashley. >> and i'm dion lim. >> we're halfway through this wind event and certainly on the breezy side. gusts near 40 miles an hour. peak gusts up around the region. oakland at 39 miles per hour. palo alto, santa rosa, winds are
still active at this hour. 29 in napa and 22 is the current gust in hayward. the wind advisory is in effect until tomorrow morning, 10:00 in the morning on tuesday. once the winds move out, though, another threat moves in tuesday night. we detail that in a few san jose police chief and union are not happy about new county guidelines. officers are being encouraged to hand out more citations rather than make arrests when it comes to certain crimes. janine is joining us live. janine? >> reporter: this policy is sending confusion and the wrong message to the community. >> we're basically saying, go ahead and come in santa clara county, commit a