tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC December 20, 2018 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
tonight, breaking news as we come on the air. defense secretary james mattis is out, sending his resignation to the president. it comes just 24 hours after the president abruptly announced that he's ordering the withdrawal of u.s. troops from syria. the president saying the war against isis essentially has been won. drawing outrage, even from republicans, and now defense secretary mattis is resigning. also at this hour, will there be a government shutdown after all? just days before christmas. the president now saying he will not sign a spending bill without money for his border wall. also breaking as we come on tonight, the major storm system barrelli up the east dangerous driving, airport delays, just as millions travel. already bringing tornadoes. families huddled in their bathroom. ginger has the new track. the major airport shut down tonight.
a drone spotted 50 times today alone, grounding all flights. the military called in. and now the americans stranded. the plane crash in atlanta. several dead, right into a park. new reporting tonight in the case of the missing mom last seen on surveillance, pushing that grocery cart. the two-day search of the fiance's property. harvey weinstein going to court to get his case thrown out today. what the judge said instead. and the children, 9 and 10, home alone, when an armed intruder breaks in. what they do to save their own lives. and tonight, the deadly blast. new video just coming in. that explosion leveling a city block. good evening. and it's great to have you with us here on a thursday night. and we have several breaking headlines as we come on the air tonight. just a short time ago, we learned of the bombshell resignation of defense secretary jim mattis. general mattis will leave in february. a major departure, and it comes just a day after president trump made that sudden announcement,
ordering all u.s. troops to be withdrawn from syria, essentially saying the war against isis had been won. secretary mattis, a four-star marine general, the last of what the president called his generals, to remain in the administration. there were reports of tension between the defense secretary and the president for quite some time, those differences had become more apparent in recent weeks. the defense secretary who now in his resignation letter saying the president has a right to have a secretary of defense whose views are better aligned with his. abc's chief global affairs correspondent martha raddatz leading us off. >> reporter: the news tonight coming amid a growing backlash over president trump's decision to pull out of syria, and that video, where he said it was honoring american troops, including those who gave their lives. >> they're all coming back and they're coming back now. we won and that's the way we want it and that's the way they want it. >> reporter: some of the president's closest allies call
it a disaster, rejecting his claim that isis has been defeated. >> to say they're defeated is an overstatement and is fake news. it is not true. >> reporter: and now, just one day later, defense secretary jim mattis handing in his resignation, making clear he has deep disagreements with the commander in chief. in a letter to the president dated today, mattis writes, "we cannot protect our interests without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies." mattis adding, "we must be resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours." he specifically cites china and russia, telling trump, "because you have the right to have a secretary of defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, i believe it is right for me to step down from my position."
president trump has hinted he and mattis aren't always on the same page. >> i think he's sort of a democrat, if you want to know the truth. but general mattis is a good guy. we get along very well. he may leave, i mean, at some point, everybody leaves. >> reporter: tonight, the president tweeting, "a new secretary of defense will be named shortly. i greatly thank jim for his service." >> martha, we're both pouring over this letter from defense secretary jim mattis tonight, his resignation letter, and in it, he says, "i have always held the belief that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique alliances and partnerships," doubling down on that point. you've known general mattis for a long time. resigning in this way was truly extraordinary this afternoon. >> reporter: really astonishing, david. this is a man whose life has been about service and sacrifice. he cares deeply about our troops in this country. he had said he would never leave the post as long as he felt his valued and productive.
that no longer was the case. it seems clear that the situation was intolerable for mattis and clear that this is in protest to trump pulling out the troops in syria. and trump is also considering pulling a substantial number of troops out of afghanistan, as well. david? >> all right, martha raddatz leading us off tonight. martha, as you know, also breaking at this hour, it appears there could very well be a government shutdown after all. just days before christmas. and the president is now saying he will not sign a spending bill without money for his border wall. abc's mary bruce on the hill with new reporting tonight. >> reporter: just when it seemed president trump was preparing to sign a bill that would keep the government running, but would not fund his border wall, tonight, a dramatic about-face. >> we need the wall. the democrats know it. everybody knows it. >> reporter: it came after a conservative revolt. outrage that the president might be backing down from his signature promise. >> this turnaround that looks like he just caved. >> not funding the wall is going to go down as one of the worst,
worst things to have happened to this administration. >> it looks like a lot of people's worst fears may be realized. >> reporter: it seemed the president was listening, summoning house speaker paul ryan and top republicans to the white house. >> the president informed us that he will not sign the bill that came over from the senate last evening because of his legitimate concerns for border security. >> reporter: back on capitol hill, the president's move sending his own party into a tailspin. house republicans now scrambling to vote on a short-term fix to keep the government open and provide $5 billion for the president's wall. what happens when that vote fails? right now, it doesn't seem you have the support. what happens if this vote fails? that's a nonstarter. i think they know that. >> reporter: the big question tonight, will the president shut down the government over his wall? which he isn't even calling a wall anymore. >> i give them a little bit of
an out, steel slats. we don't use the wall necessarily, but it has to be something special to do the job. steel slats. >> let's get to mary bruce with us live on the hill tonight. mary, the government set to shut down now at midnight tomorrow. right now, the president doesn't appear to have the votes to get funding for his border wall, though, right? >> reporter: yeah, david. right now, bottom line, any attempt to fund the president's wall as part of a deal to keep the government running does not have enough support to pass in the senate. the ball will then be back in the president's court. ultimately, if there is a shutdown, it will likely be the president's decision, and david, he has said he's willing to take the blame. >> and we have to remember, it affects millions of americans and workers who don't know what's going to happen, just before christmas here. mary will stay on this. thank you, mary bruce. in the meantime, to the storm system on the move at this hour, after two systems combine. the system now as one barrelling up the east coast, just as millions travel for christmas. dangerous driving, delays at major airports are very likely. two confirmed tornadoes already
in florida from this today. damaging this home in polk county. flooding in lakeland, florida. that rain now moving north. flood watches, in fact, tonight, from florida all the way up to maine. blinding rain for drivers. we have the new track and the timing for you tonight, and abc's victor oquendo with this. >> reporter: tonight, tornado sirens warning families to take cover, as millions hit the road for the holidays. in manatee county, florida, a confirmed ef-0 tornado. >> as it got lighter, we've seen the devastation. all i can say is, thank god that we were okay. >> reporter: and south of orlando, one person was injured after another confirmed tornado tore through this home, collapsing part of the roof. the system that spawned these tornadoes now moving up the east coast to raleigh, washington, d.c., new york city and boston. rain falling two inches an hour in spots, flooding roads in tampa and making driving treacherous. >> i've seen a couple of accidents already where cars appear to have hydroplaned off the roadway. >> reporter: winds gusting to 60
miles an hour in jacksonville, downing power lines in hillsborough county. and with nearly 3 million heading to an airport today, authorities warning there will be delays and cancellations. this storm is making travel very difficult across the southeast. our captain just told us that there are ground stops in orlando, jacksonville and right here in atlanta. back on the ground, northeast of tampa, at least 70 homes damaged at this mobile home community. thankfully, no one was injured here, but many forced to stay with family and friends just days before the holidays. and here in orlando, the roads are a mess. today predicted to be one of the busiest days on the roads in many places. more than 100 million people are expected to take a road trip during the holidays. now those storms bearing down on the northeast. david? >> victor oquendo, thank you. let's get the timing for all of this. chief meteorologist ginger zee is tracking it all for us to help us get through this and carefully. hey, ginger. >> reporter: hey there, david. it is a bad combination, as victor was just saying.
so, we'll get straight to the maps, so i can tell you when it's going to be in your backyard. looking here, along that low, the flood watches that are in effect from florida and georgia, all the way up to maine. so, interstate 95, so many people will be traveling that, and that's going to be a mess, especially by tomorrow morning, because we've got the light stuff now with the warm front, but really, there will be three rounds. that's 7:00 a.m. you're looking at. so, philadelphia, very wet. we could see two to four inches of rain in pockets, up to boston. and then another low comes in, a really wet and windy, don't forget that, gusts up to 45 miles per hour. david? >> ginger zee with us tonight. ginger, thank you. and next tonight, to that major airport shutdown. all flights halted tonight after a drone scare, seen 50 times today alone. officials calling it tonight a deliberate act. the chaos at gatwick, the second-largest airport in the uk, canceling hundreds of flights. the military has been called in tonight, stranding tens of thousands of passengers. american travelers among them. abc's james longman is there tonight. >> reporter: every single plane at one of europe's busiest
airports grounded tonight. a drone, police say, is deliberately disrupting operations, leaving tens of thousands stranded. helicopters circling. officers with long guns on alert. a massive operation underway to locate the mystery pilot whose been sending a drone in and out of gatwick airspace since wednesday night. >> we'll do everything within our power to find those responsible. >> reporter: in the terminals, chaos. >> please, please -- >> reporter: this departure board says it all. passengers stuck on grounded planes for hours, or diverted as far away as amsterdam. this new york student, angry and disappointed. >> why don't we just shoot the thing out of the air? >> reporter: this simulation shows what a drone could do to a moving plane. watch again. the experiment demonstrating why officials are taking extraordinary measures. the british military now going in. their specialized equipment is hoped could down the industrial-type device. >> so, let's get to james longman with us tonight, live outside gatwick. more than 700 flights in and out of that airport, you were telling us, canceled today alone. officials are not calling this
terror-related, but they do say that these drone flights are, quote, highly targeted, james? >> reporter: that's right, david. and because of that, this airport is shut with no real idea as to when things will be back to normal. but tonight, a police spokesman did tell me they have not ruled out shooting that drone down. david? >> all right, james longman at gatwick airport in the uk tonight. thank you, james. next here, new developments in the case of the missing mother from colorado, last seen on that surveillance, that grocery store on thanksgiving day. authorities have now searched her fiance's sprawling property for two days. and tonight, abc's clayton sandell reaching out to that fiance. >> reporter: 28 days since she went missing, and tonight, the mystery around kelsey berreth's disappearance is growing. authorities now appearing to focus on her fiance, patrick frazee. police say he was the last person to see kelsey berreth. today, he wasn't talking. nothing you'd like to say? can you talk to me? why haven't you spoken out about kelsey, patrick?
police and the fbi searching his 35-acre property over the weekend for any sign of berreth. the 29-year-old mother and pilot last seen thanksgiving day at a grocery store with the couple's 1-year-old daughter. a search of berreth's home found uneaten cinnamon rolls left behind. on november 25th, mysterious text messages, one from berreth's phone, saying she was going to miss work. later that day, police say her phone pinged in idaho, nearly 700 miles from home. frazee's lawyer says he continues to cooperate. now, police wanted to speak with him in person. we don't yet know if that has happened. for now, they are not calling frazee a suspect. david? >> clayton, thank you. now, to major developments involving harvey win steieinste headed to court today hoping to get his sexual assault case dismissed. tonight, what the judge said instead. abc's linsey davis was at the courthouse. >> reporter: harvey weinstein leaving court today, one step closer to standing trial for rape. >> how do you feel? >> reporter: the judge ruling he would not dismiss the criminal
case against him. >> we remain confident, despite the court's ruling today, that ultimately, at a trial of this case, mr. weinstein will be completely exonerated. >> reporter: initially, weinstein faced six counts related to allegations by three women, including charges of rape and sexual assault. but one of those charges was later dropped after potential inconsistencies in one accuser's story. weinstein's attorney argued that her "perjured testimony contaminated the grand jury proceedings." and called for the remaining five counts to be dismissed. the judge disagreed. >> we just left the courthouse where harvey weinstein was not acquitted or dismissed. >> reporter: leaders of the me too movement and several actresses, including marisa tomei -- >> why was it important for you to be here today? >> to stand for survivors. >> reporter: -- emerged from the courtroom saying they were relieved the case would move forward. weinstein is expected back in court in march for a pretrial hearing. he still faces multiple civil suits, as well, and also
important to note that he has maintained all along that he has never had any nonconsensual sexual encounters. david? >> all right, linsey davis with us again tonight. thank you, linsey. in other news tonight, acting attorney general matt whitaker has chosen not to recuse himself from overseeing the special counsel investigation, although he was openly critical of mueller and the investigation on cable news. a doj ethics official concluded that although it was a close call, out of an abundance of caution, suggesting whitaker should step aside, because of an appearance of conflict of interest. but he chose not to. meantime, we have learned tonight, the president's nominee for the permanent a.g. spot, william barr, submitted a 19-page memo to the doj back in june strongly objecting to the special counsel's investigation into the president and possible obstruction of justice. another brutal day for investors and your 401(k). the government shutdown showdown contributing to the uncertainty again tonight. the dow falling sharply, plunging 464 points this thursday to the lowest level in 14 months. for the month now, the dow is down more than 10%, on track to
be the worst month in nearly a decade. there is still much more ahead on "world news tonight" this thursday. the deadly plane crash in atlanta. no survivors. the jet going down in a park. several dead. we'll take you to the scene. also, the children, 9 and 10, home alone when an armed intruder breaks in. what they do to save their own lives. and made in america christmas is back. we've been asking you for weeks now for your one thing, your ideas pouring in, and we loved them. we'll go down the list with some very eager american workers right there, hoping you'll buy. stay tuned. about myself. but believe me... i'm not your average consumer. that's why i switched to liberty mutual. they customized my car insurance, so i only pay for what i need. and as a man... uh... or a woman... with very specific needs that i can't tell you about- say cheese. mr. landry? oh no. hi mr. landry! liberty mutual customizes your car insurance so you only pay for what you need.
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his 9-year-old sister onayda made it after an armed intruder broke into their alabama home last may, forcing them into a bathroom. >> i'm really scared. >> the police are coming in the back door. you're eventually going to hear us say "police," okay? >> reporter: the gunman not realizing little erik snuck in a cell phone. >> he's right near my room. my puppy's barking at him. >> reporter: the operator working to keep the kids calm. >> the police are inside. but i need you to get into that bathtub and lay down in the bathtub, okay? >> but we're scared to come out. >> okay, don't come out. >> reporter: now, the police department praising the brother/sister team as heroes, rewarding them with gifts. >> the only thing i want to say to them, merry christmas, thank you so very much. >> reporter: david, authorities say the siblings' quick thinking was key. that intruder, now awaiting trial on burglary and several other charges. david? >> alex, thank you. we're just glad they're okay. when we come back here tonight, news coming in this evening about that deadly plane crash in atlanta, right into a park. no survivors. and the new video emerging this evening, the explosion leveling a city block.
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firefighter, injuring 11 in july. investigators say the explosion was caused by a work crew accidentally hitting a gas main. and the final push if you're shipping your own holiday packages, if you want them to arrive in time for christmas. the post office deadline for priority mail express is this saturday. the same goes for u.p.s. next-day air service. the deadline for fedex overnight service, that's tomorrow. when we come back here tonight, made in america christmas. we asked for your one thing, your idea, and we're about to go down the list. at fidelity, our online u.s. equity trades are just $4.95. so no matter what you trade, or where you trade, you'll only pay $4.95.
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i'm dan ashley, it is the new green rush in the salinas valley. local experts solve the mystery finally, made in america christmas. we asked for your one thing. our made in america christmas. you've been sending us your one thing. you'll remember you sent us to that pencil factory in new jersey, general pencil company. mary anne working the line for decades. 54 years. you were just a baby when you started. there was the time you sent us to minnesota, the fair bolt in woolen mills. i love it. you can see it right here. >> yes, made in america. >> reporter: and tonight, donna from california. her idea, fatted calf's bourbon molasses beef jerky. >> i wish i could share some with you, i wish i could show
you, but we ate them all. >> reporter: susanna from san diego, bullibone chew toys. >> every dog should have one. merry christmas. >> reporter: to you, too. sandra from north carolina, with east fork pottery. >> these dishes will last you a lifetime. >> reporter: and tonight, the yeager family, waving from their alabama field. >> hi, from red land cotton in beautiful alabama. >> reporter: red land cotton. family owned, three generations. harvesting 3.5 million pounds of cotton this season alone. 15 workers sewing quilts, towels and bedding just in time for christmas. and from maine tonight -- >> hi, i'm david. >> and i'm dan. >> reporter: hi, david, hi, dan. from maine beer company in freeport, maine. the brothers and their business, 48 workers, 7,200 bottles an hour. donating 1% of sales to environmental nonprofits. a half million and counting tonight. cheers. >> cheers. >> reporter: and from tillamook, oregon, tonight, the tillamook county creamery association. established in 1909.
>> we're very much part of the history, the heritage and the fabric of this place. >> reporter: 85 family-owned farms together in one co-op. 220,000 pounds of cheddar cheese per day. 25,000 gallons of ice cream a day, shipped to all 50 states. all from that tiny town of tillamook with three words in mind -- >> made in america! >> we love your ideas. keep them coming. good night. lots of stuff and plenty of suspects. we're live with the results of
the operation wrecking ball in the bay area and beyond. >> a live look at the most expensive bridge in the bay area. that's the golden gate. see how much art going up to it adds up to as part of our commitment to building a better bay area. i'm spencer christian at pier 39 in san francisco, where a happier holiday season is under way. i'll show you what that means in a moment. after wednesday night's spectacle in the sky, many pointed to extra tresi iatres so we asked the experts. live where you live, this is "abc7 news." stolen, and now seized. a journey that could land dozens inai good lipstic lipstick, and cell phones. >> this is a sample of what's
been confiscated in operation wrecking ball. police showed this off as they announced the results of their investigation. >> melanie woodrow joins us live. when did the investigation begin? >> reporter: this operation came together back in april, following meetings between law enforcement officials and retailers victimized by theft. these are the products and luxury items investigators seized while executing eight search warrants in operation wrecking ball. investigators identified 750,000 in stolen property. $300,000 of which they have recovered, including $16,000 in cash and 46 cells. the investigation led to a dozen arrests, along with warrants for 28 more fugitives. >> these people are ambush style stealing large quantities from all over the bay area. >> reporter: steal