tv ABC World News Tonight with David Muir ABC December 8, 2018 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
cowboy's owner says despite the size, the steer is playful and gentle. we tonight, states of emergency. the massive storm system slamming the south. whiteout conditions. the snowmaker moving east, stretching from texas into the carolinas. dramatic water rescues. store shelves empty, as families rush for supplies. also breaking tonight, the white house shakeup. president trump confirming recent reports, announcing chief of staff john kelly will be out by the end of the year. tonight, who's next in line? also, inside the court filings against michael cohen. prosecutors alleging what he first said in court. the president directed his longtime fixer to violate campaign finance laws. president trump now responding. paris lockdown. the city of lights. the major sites shutting down. police firing tear gas as
protests turn violent for the fourth straight weekend. plus, the deadly stampede inside an overcrowded nightclub. what witnesses are telling us about the terrifying scene. and the high-speed chase at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. what police did to stop a suspect on the run. and good evening. thanks for joining us on this saturday. i'm tom llamas. and we begin tonight with the massive storm system sweeping across the south. heavy snow and rain making its way to the east. creating whiteout conditions in texas. look at that right there. with parts of the state getting close to a foot of snow and flash flooding in houston. first responders there on the move, saving trapped victims from rising waters. that system stretching more than 1200 miles from texas to the carolinas, expected to drop more than a foot of snow in some spots. up to half a million customers could lose power. abc senior meteorologist rob marciano starts us off from north carolina. >> reporter: tonight, an early
season winter storm continuing to slam the southern half of the country. in texas, nearly a foot of snow falling in lubbock, blanketing roadways, making driving treacherous. this police car struggling to stay on the road. to the south, over 7 inches of rain inundating the houston area, turning some roads into rivers. car after car under water, some abandoned completely. high-water rescue teams out in force, pulling this driver to safety. >> i didn't know how high the water was going to get. >> reporter: and now, this powerful storm barreling east, putting millions from oklahoma to the carolinas in the throes of dangerous weather. a combination of salt brine up to 30,000 gallons of it, heavy equipment, of course, to help move 5,000 tons of rock salt to treat these roads and that's just for charlotte alone, one of many southern cities trying to beat back this winter storm. road crews unaccustomed to heavy snow preparing for the worst. tonight, residents stockpiling
supplies. the shelves at this grocery store picked bare. virginia and north carolina under a state of emergency in anticipation of what could be a crippling storm. >> parts of the south bracing for snow. let's get right to rob with the forecast and the latest on this storm. >> reporter: good evening, tom. it's a cold rain here in charlotte. but it's about to change to snow. check out the advisories. they still stretch from texas to oklahoma. now winter storm watches and warnings extended to include richmond. lot of rain with this. it's an intensifying system. flooding rains as it moves off toward the east. cold air farther south. significant snowfall at the high elevations. significant snowfall especially at the higher elevations. that's where you'll see up to and over a foot potentially. along the highly populated i-85 corridor, including charlotte, winston-salem, we could easily see plowable snow.
power outages as you mentioned. dangerous driving conditions right into monday. tom. >> rob, thank you. now to the breaking news out of washington tonight. president trump revealing his chief of staff, john kelly, is leaving by the end of this month. the departure of the retired marine, four-star general, once tasked with bringing order to the oval office. is just the latest shift in president's inner circle. abc's david wright is at the white house with more. >> reporter: en route to the army-navy game, president trump announced the west wing is losing a key player. >> john kelly will be leaving. i don't know if i can say retiring. but, he's a great guy. john kelly will be leaving at the end of the year. >> reporter: chief of staff john kelly's marching orders were to bring some discipline to a chaotic white house staff. >> he will do a spectacular job, i have no doubt, as chief of staff. >> reporter: he's had mixed success. kelly fired omarosa manigault in the white house situation
room, an encounter she secretly recorded. >> hi. >> i'm only going to stay for a couple of minutes. these are lawyers. we're going to talk to you about leaving the white house. >> reporter: he's clashed openly outside the oval office with john bolton over immigration issues. an altercation with corey lewandowski reportedly got physical. some members of trump's inner circle bristled at kelly's efforts to limit direct access to the president, and trump clearly doesn't like to be managed. >> look, we get along well. there are certain things i love what he does. and there are certain things that i don't like that he does. >> reporter: when he first took on the chief of staff job, kelly joked that it wasn't exactly his first choice assignment. >> but i did something wrong and god punished me, i guess. >> reporter: but duty called, and kelly stepped up. kelly was reportedly planning to announce his departure monday. but today, president trump stole his thunder. >> we'll be announcing who will be taking john's place.
it might be on an interim basis. >> all right, david joins us now from washington. on that point, david, what are we learning tonight about possible successors to kelly? >> reporter: well tom, we're told that the front runner is likely to nick ayers, he's 36 years old, considered a political whiz kid. currently serving as mike pence, the vice president's chief of staff. in that capacity, he regularly attends the president's weekly lunch with the vice president. tom. >> david wright for us tonight, thank you. now to those bombshell court filings from federal prosecutors in new york and the mueller investigation. one accusing president trump's former attorney michael cohen of violating the law. for the first time directly implicating president trump in possible felonies. the fallout is far and wide. and the president is firing back. abc's lana zak with latest. >> reporter: tonight, president
trump lashing out at special counsel robert mueller's latest court filing in the russia investigation, going as far as to say he's clear of any blame. >> as far as the report that we see, according to everybody i've spoken to -- i haven't read it -- there's absolutely no collusion, which is very important. >> reporter: but for the first time, a separate filing by the southern district of new york directly implicates mr. trump in felonies. involving hush payment money payments coordinated by michael cohen to karen mcdougal and stormy daniels for alleged affairs. cohen had claimed then-candidate trump directed those payments. prosecutors now agree, saying, "in particular, and as cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of individual 1." individual 1 being president trump. though, the president has repeatedly called michael cohen a liar, said he would do anything to minimize his prison sentence. >> he's a weak person and not a very smart person. he's got himself a big prison sentence, and he's trying to get a much lesser prison sentence by making up a story. >> reporter: the mueller sentencing memo says cohen
claimed a russian national with ties to the kremlin reached out to him back in 2015. cohen told mueller's team that the russian urged them to set up a meeting between trump and president putin. "the person told cohen that such a meeting could have a 'phenomenal' impact, not only in political but in a business dimension as well." cohen says he did not pursue the meeting. today the president says he never would have wanted it. >> the last thing i want is help from russia on a campaign. >> reporter: mueller also explaining why the plea deal with former trump campaign chairman paul manafort fell apart. in a filing mueller claims manafort lied about contacts with russians, and that even after pledging to cooperate with prosecutors and not contact trump officials, they have evidence that "manafort had been in communication with a senior administration official up through february 2018." i asked president trump today about those payments and the alleged felonies. he didn't answer me but his attorney rudy giuliani is on twitter saying that the president is not implicated in campaign finance violations and that no responsible prosecutor
would bring a criminal case. >> lana, thank you. and this programming note -- much more on the investigations tomorrow on "this week" anchored by martha raddatz. be sure to tune in. next, to the change in the top ranking military position. president trump announcing general mark milley his choice to head the joints chief of staff. succeeding joseph dunford, milley is a four-star general and chief of staff of the army who has commanded troops in both afghanistan and iraq. dunford is supposed to serve until next fall. the president saying the transition date is to be determined. heading overseas now, to the tense streets of paris, landmarks on lockdown. angry protesters torching vehicles and ripping down barricades. in a fourth weekend of violent clashes. riot police firing water canons and tear gas into the crowd. abcs foreign correspondent james longman is right in the middle of the chaos. >> reporter: a continuing crisis for france tonight.
cars on fire, clashes police near some of paris' most famous landmarks, and for the first time, armored trucks with water canons deployed in the french capital. this, the fourth straight saturday of nationwide protests. an estimated 120,000 out on french streets tonight, nearly 1,400 arrests, more than 130 including police injured. there's been this endless back and forth between police, and now there's tear gas in the air and it is very, very strong. some protesters throwing tear gas canisters back at police. celebrated tourists destinations, like the eiffel tower, today closed. it all started last month in response to a new fuel tax. but that issue became a rallying cry for what's now dubbed "the yellow vest movement." thousands united in anger at a rising cost of living, and deep mistrust in the system. and there's particular personal dislike for president emmanuel macron.
but early arrests by police averting a repeat of last week's chaos, when some yellow vests stormed the iconic arc de triomphe. but the hardliners remain, and their response to broken politics seems to be breaking everything else. >> james longman joins us from the heart of paris. another round of cleanup is set to begin. is paris preparing for more protests? >> reporter: well, there's been a call for more protests next week, tom, and if you take a look at this -- the damage that we can expect if that happens, broken windows, boarded up shops, all this began because of a hike in the fuel tax. but basically what's happened, that's been repealed but that is not just what protesters want. they want far more than that. they want it to go further. tom. >> james, thank you. next to the panic at a packed italian nightclub. at least five teenagers and a mother crushed to death. dozens hurt in that stampede. abc's julia macfarlane with what may have set the crowd off now. >> reporter: tonight, italian
police reviewing this bystander's footage. watch as this railing begins to break, and then chaos as the structure gives way completely. dozens falling on top of each other. it happened just outside a nightclub in central italy, as hundreds of people left the venue after a stampede inside. local police say five minors, and one mother were killed, crushed in the chaos. dozens injured. the crowd filled with mostly teens on hand to watch a popular italian rapper. "they were falling and trampling over each other, also having a hard time breathing," this young man said. tonight, police investigating claims that someone in the crowd used an irritant spray, triggering the stampede. police are also looking into whether the club was over its legal capacity, saying the venue sold tickets to nearly twice as many people than it was permitted to hold. tom. >> julia, thank you. back here at home to the arrest in the kidnapping and murder case out of north carolina.
police say an eighth grader was grabbed while heading out the door on her way to school. the fbi now charging a 34-year-old suspect with her murder. here's abc's zachary kiesch. >> reporter: wearing hania aguilar's favorite color, purple, mourners packed a local high school gym to say good-bye the 13-year-old girl was taken from her front yard and murdered last month. today, on the same day as her funeral, the fbi and local police announced the arrest of 34-year-old michael ray mclellan, in connection with her death. authorities say aguilar was waiting outside of her home to go to school when mclellan forced her into a family member's idling suv and drove off. the suv spotted on surveillance driving away after the kidnapping. >> just came and stole the truck, left in the truck with a child in the car also, a little girl. >> reporter: investigators say forensic evidence found in the suv and on hania's body led to mclellan who's already in
custody in north carolina on unrelated charges. mclellan has been charged with multiple felonies in connection with hania's death. including forcible murder and rape. mclellan is currently being held without bond and is scheduled to be back in court on monday. tom. >> a horrific story, thank you, zachary. there's much more ahead on "world news" this saturday -- classroom attack. the disturbing incident caught on camera. a teacher comeing with sis course forcibly cutting her students' hair while singing the national anthem. what the school is now saying and the charges she'll face. plus, armed and dangerous. take a good look. the prison inmate breaking loose, still shackled. escaping in a police van. inside the urgent manhunt at this hour. and the high-speed highway chase that sent this car flying. the police in hot pursuit. the daring move that stopped their suspect. stay with us. stay with us.
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back now with that bizarre scene inside a california classroom. a high school teacher caught on camera waving a pair of scissors, belting out the national anthem, cutting clumps of her students' hair. now, she's facing charges. abc's clayton sandell has the details. >> reporter: this california teacher's star-spangled meltdown. ♪ what so proudly we hailed >> reporter: taking her from the classroom to the courtroom. 52-year-old margaret geiszinger pleading "not guilty" to a host of charges including cruelty to a child, assault and false imprisonment, leaving jail last night. the chemistry teacher arrested wednesday after grabbing scissors and appearing to forcibly cut this high school student's hair to her rendition of the national anthem. >> i hope i never have to see her at that school again. >> reporter: then chasing others, grabbing this girl's hair before she gets away.
the school district says geiszinger was "promptly removed" from the classroom and won't be back. saying, we are reviewing all available information and will take the most severe employment action appropriate. the student who got that unwanted trim now has a lawyer. >> he couldn't believe what was happening, he frankly didn't know what to do. >> abc could not reach gieszinger for comment. state records show her teaching credentials were suspended twice in the past, though the reasons are unknown. if she's convicted she could face three and a half years in jail. tom. >> clayton, thank you. and when we come back -- the holiday heist caught on camera. thieves swiping christmas charity. what they used to pull it off. and the young kid waiting for this hug for so long. don't miss it. for so long. don't miss it. creased risk for pneumococcal pneumonia - a potentially serious bacterial lung disease that can disrupt your life for weeks.
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residents on edge tonight as he remains at large. officials say there was a firearm in that van he took. and that he's armed and dangerous. now to the high-speed chase through south oklahoma city, take a look at this, that driver barrelling down the road going more than 100 miles per hour. police closing in behind her. their pit maneuver sending that sedan spinning through the air and then slamming into a telephone pole. the driver was taken into custody. in minnesota, two grinches caught on camera stealing the season's goodwill. thieves outside a grocery store using cutters to swipe the salvation army red kettle, running off those donations. they could be facing felony charges. and some nice holiday news out of south florida. an emotional reunion for one military dad and his son in miami beach. this army ranger surprising his boy at school after six months being deployed. that look on his face, disbelief, burying his head in his father's arms. that heartwarming hug making up for so long apart.
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a special kind of santa showing up for the ones that need him the most. >> feliz navidad. >> reporter: trade reindeer for lowriders and santa's outfit, for a zoot suit and fedora, and you have the legend of pancho claus. >> it started in 1981 as a children's play. it was a version of the night before christmas. >> reporter: but after the play, richard reyes started hearing stories of kids in his community who were too sad to be happy about christmas. >> my community started believing that i was a real pa pancho claus. telling me these sad stories about families in need. >> reporter: so reyes decided to turn fiction into reality, making sure kids who needed christmas the most, had something to celebrate. >> pancho claus helping children for nearly 40 years hit some setbacks. he says he suffered two heart attacks and that corporate
donations fizzled after hurricane harvey. >> thank you. feliz navidad. >> reporter: but he's not letting that slow him down. he's set up a go fund me page and making a public appeal. >> we're really depending on people bringing toys to us. we're doubling our efforts of getting toy boxes to different locations. we'll just see what happens with the grace of god. >> reporter: so spread the word, the legend of pancho claus is real, he'll tell you himself. >> i want you to roll down the window and say to the night, feliz navidad todo, if you have one all right. >> thanks so much for watching. i'm tom llamas in new york. "good morning america" and "this week" in the morning and i'll see you right back here tomorrow night. have a good evening. good night.
>> tonight on abc 7 news at seeing red. santa con. they say they have had enough. oakland teachers planning to walk out of school and why. it has been one month since the camp consumed an entire town. where we stand tonight days after residents were let back in. abc 7 news at 6:00 starts now. >> if you stepped outside at all in san francisco today, you couldn't miss it. streets were lined with wanna be santas celebrating christmas early. holiday revlers are participating in the 24th santa con.
we'll go in the middle of it all. >> reporter: ready or not, here comes santa con. ready to party. >> we are all from l.a., jersey. here to have a good time. >> it is the holiday season. everyone has a great time. >> this is a place it can hold a lot of people. >> reporter: check out the line for the golden gate tap room. stretched around the corner. the security guard busy checking i.d.s and searching bags. >> just hope everybody has a good night, stay save. >> reporter: the city's remembering and parks department denied santa con a permit for safety reasons but santas still showed up. >> this is going to happen no matter what. whether the city likes it or not. >> reporter: some totally dread santa con