tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC February 19, 2019 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
tonight, the passenger jet struck by lightning. the emergency landing as a major storm moves in tonight and tomorrow. 32 states. a dangerous mix of snow, ice and torrential rain. the accidents already mounting. the pickup truck hit by lightning, too. the car trapped under power lines. ginger zee tonight on when this hits and where. also breaking news in the jussie smollett case. after his claims of an attack, federal investigators tonight now asking questions about the letter smollett says was sent to his show, "empire." also, news on those brothers. where they were seen today. tonight, the president responding to "the new york times" report today that he asked his acting attorney general to change the prosecutor in the michael cohen case. did the president want the u.s. attorney that he appointed instead? bernie is back. he will run for president again. president trump responding tonight.
and news on joe biden. the fiance in shackles after that young mother was last seen on surveillance. what prosecutors revealed just today about how they say she was killed. inside syria tonight. we are one-on-one with the young american woman who left the u.s. to become an isis bride. she gave birth. tonight, she's now pleading to come home. and you will hear what she says when we ask, should she be punished? the scare at seaworld. 16 people including an infant dangling in the air for hours. and meghan in america. the duchess and the royal shower. good evening. and it's great to have you with us here on a very busy tuesday night. and we begin tonight with the major winter storm hitting this evening and right through tomorrow. and word of that emergency landing late today. 160 million americans in the path of this storm. a lightning strike, and then that emergency landing, this jet was bound for atlanta. accidents piling up in colorado springs, just a mess tonight.
and from the gulf, blinding rain near birmingham, alabama. two systems merging as we come on tonight. this whole thing stretches from new mexico all the way east to new york. a difficult commute for many in the morning. schools already closed in some places. and so, we have the track for you tonight. abc's steve osunsami leading us off. >> reporter: 164 people were onboard this delta jet when it was struck by lightning today and had to make an emergency landing in chattanooga. >> we were struck by lightning. we're going to land and deal with that on the ground. >> reporter: luckily, no one was hurt. the flooding rains forecast in the south are happening now across alabama, georgia and tennessee. >> we cannot stress enough, do not cross the water. do not try to drive across a roadway that's flooded. >> reporter: this was the slippery travel on highways south of birmingham, and south of atlanta today, hail was bouncing off cars. the driver of this pickup truck in sterlington, louisiana, was struck by lightning today, as he was driving through the rain. he walked away from this fireball uninjured. flood watches stretch from
louisiana to pennsylvania. the storm causing all this rain in the south will merge tonight with this storm that sent cars spinning out of control in albuquerque, new mexico, this morning. police report at least 22 accidents with injuries on the slick roads. >> and steve osunsami with us live tonight from atlanta. you can see slow going behind steve tonight. it's not just the blinding rain for the ride home there, but this is going to continue for days, steve? >> reporter: it is, david. i don't know if you can see this behind me, there's actually a wreck on the downtown connector here in atlanta that was caused most likely by this rain. the rain is expected to continue through the weekend as another storm moves in. david? >> all right, steve, thank you. let's get more on that from chief meteorologist ginger zee, back with us tonight with the track and the timing. this is massive, ginger. >> reporter: it is, impacting so many people, david. snow totals already coming in, wichita, kansas, just west of them, seven inches. and we're going to see snow totals like that in places like the twin cities. washington, d.c., especially
north and west, could end up with up to a half foot. so, let's go ahead and time it out. this is the critical part. if anybody hits the roads tomorrow, if you are in the twin cities or chicago or washington, d.c., you're all along that frozen precipitation, so, you start as snow. move that warm front farther north, it's going to end up coming through philadelphia during the day on wednesday. we just saw a travel advisory issued right here in new york city. we'll go snow, sleet and rain like we have almost the entire winter, david. >> all right. i know you'll be tracking it straight through "gma" in the morning. ginger, thank you. in the meantime, we turn next tonight to president trump, this evening responding to a report that broke in "the new york times" today, indicating the president asked his acting attorney general to change the prosecutor in the michael cohen case in the southern district of new york. that the president allegedly wanted the u.s. attorney that he appointed to oversee the case. tonight, right here, the president's response, and here's abc's chief white house correspondent jonathan karl. >> reporter: president trump today denied a report in "the new york times" that he asked former acting attorney general
matt whitaker to interfere in the investigation of his personal attorney, michael cohen, an investigation that implicated the president himself. >> there's a lot of fake news out there. no, i didn't. >> reporter: the president's appointment of whitaker was controversial from the start. whitaker was a staunch trump supporter and harsh critic of special counsel robert mueller. mr. president, what do you say to all the criticism of matt whitaker and the calls for him to recuse himself, given what he's said about the russia investigation? >> well, matt whitaker, i don't know matt whitaker. >> reporter: but "the times" reports that not long after whitaker got the job, the president asked him to put a person he believed would be more sympathetic in charge of the investigation, specifically, u.s. attorney geoffrey berman, who had recused himself because of his ties to the president's lawyer, rudy giuliani. it never happened. at his contentious hearing before the house judiciary committee earlier this month, whitaker didn't deny discussing the investigation with the white house. >> did you ever have any
conversations with anybody about reassigning or firing any personnel, including u.s. attorneys, with the southern district of new york? >> congresswoman, i sit on top of the department of justice, as you mentioned. >> reporter: but he did say the president never pressured him to interfere with the investigation. >> at no time has the white house asked for nor have i provided any promises or commitments concerning the special counsel's investigation or any other investigation. >> reporter: president trump vehemently denied "the new york times" report. >> did you ask acting attorney general matthew whitaker to change the leadership of the investigation into your former personal attorney michael cohen? >> no, not at all. i don't know who gave you that. that's more fake news. >> all right, jon karl with us live tonight from the white house. and jon, there's also news tonight about president trump's former adviser, roger stone, who has been indicted by the special counsel, robert mueller. he's now under fire, after posting a picture on instagram of the judge in his case, and beside her head, what appeared to be the crosshairs of a gun?
>> reporter: and roger stone has now issued a formal apology to the court, david, for posting seen as both tasteless and threatening. and now, stone has been asked to -- summoned to appear before the court to explain himself. >> the judge clearly not happy in that case. jon karl, our thanks to you tonight. in the meantime, we turn next to the case that made national headlines. the young mother, last seen in surveillance at a grocery store with her 1-year-old daughter. tonight here, stunning testimony at a hearing for patrick frazee, accused in her murder. kelsey berreth was his fiance and mother of his child. she was last seen on thanksgiving day, and prosecutors are now revealing how they believe she was killed. abc's kayna whitworth in colorado tonight. >> reporter: patrick frazee back before a colorado judge as prosecutors lay out stunning new details and a possible motive in connection with the disappearance of kelsey berreth. nearly two weeks after she was last seen on this grocery store surveillance video, berreth's parents told investigators they found blood spatter in her
bathroom. tests revealed the young mother's blood in multiple locations in the home and efforts to clean it. frazee told police the last time he saw berreth was thanksgiving, november 22nd, but prosecutors say cell phone location data shows berreth and frazee's phones together in the same location several days later. berreth's phone eventually located 700 miles away in idaho. frazee's friend krystal lee kenney admitting she put it there. >> we wouldn't know where the murder happened in the apartment, which room or wherever it happened, without her testimony. >> reporter: prosecutors say kenney told them she was romantically involved with frazee since march of last year, and that frazee told her berreth was an abusive mother. he allegedly asked kenney to kill berreth by bringing her a starbucks caramel macchiato, her favorite, laced with poison. kenney says she posed as a neighbor, bringing berreth the drink, but never poisoned it. prosecutors say he tried to convince kenney three more times
to kill berreth, giving her a metal pipe and later telling her to use a bat. prosecutors say that patrick frazee blindfolded kelsey berreth and beat her to death with a baseball bat himself, then left the scene of the murder to have thanksgiving dinner with his family. her body still hasn't been found, and frazee hasn't entered a plea. david? >> all right, kayna whitworth. kayna, thank you. next, to that breaking news in the jussie smollett case. a new twist in the case tonight, after those two brothers seen in the surveillance image told investigators that smollett paid them to orchestrate the attack. where they were seen today. and federal authorities are now asking questions about the letter that smollett said was sent to the show he's on, "empire." abc's eva pilgrim from chicago again tonight. >> reporter: tonight, a b kbc n has learned theny and u.s. postal inspection service have now investigating whether "empire" star jussie smollett himself played a role in sending this racist, threatening letter that arrived at "empire's" chicago studio before the alleged attack. >> smollett jussie, you will die
black [ bleep ]. there was no address. but the return address said in big, red, you know, like, caps, "maga." did i make that up, too? >> reporter: a law enforcement source telling abc news the brothers in this surveillance video alleged smollett was upset that the letter didn't receive more attention and say the actor then paid them to help orchestrate and stage the attack. detectives are working to investigate that claim. tonight, the brothers seen leaving the courthouse with their attorney providing no comment. police say they were continuing to cooperate with the investigation. authorities are still waiting to question "empire" star jussie smollett about the alleged attack. >> i can't tell you what color their eyes were, i can't tell you -- and i did not see anything except the second person, i saw running away. and the first person, yeah, i saw his stature. i gave the description as best as i could. >> reporter: smollett denying he was involved in the attack. his attorneys telling abc news that he "is angered and
devastated by reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with. he has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that jussie played a role in his own attack. nothing is further from the truth, and anyone claiming otherwise is lying." smollett's team has reached out to legal heavyweight mark geragos, who has represented high profile clients like michael jackson. they talked to him about representing smollett. no decision tonight. david? >> eva pilgrim tonight. eva, thanks. next this evening, bernie is back. vermont senator bernie sanders officially announced today he's running for president again. in a video, he says he started the political revolution in 2016 and that he now wants to finish it. he joins a growing field, 11 other candidates already in the race on the democratic side. and tonight, what president trump is now saying about bernie sanders running. and what we know about joe biden tonight. abc's mary bruce on the race for 2020 already. >> reporter: tonight, bernie is back. >> i'm running for president.
>> reporter: the vermont senator sparked a progressive movement in 2016, taking on the establishment and hillary clinton. >> the american people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails. >> thank you. me, too. me, too. >> reporter: but this time around, he's got more competition. some who also support his old rallying cries, like medicare for all and free college tuition. >> you know what's happened over three years? all of those ideas and many more are now part of the political mainstream. >> reporter: senator elizabeth warren this weekend unveiling her plan for universal childcare. >> america's middle class is under attack. >> reporter: but other democratic candidates are blunt about some of these progressive promises. >> i am not for free four-year college for all, no. thank you. >> let me ask you then this, because -- >> and i wish -- if i was a magic genie and could give that to everyone and we could afford it, i would. >> reporter: and while sanders calls himself a democratic socialist, his opponents, like
senator kamala harris, want no part of that label. >> i will tell you, i am not a democratic socialist. >> reporter: but sanders' fans are still feeling the bern. on the first day of her campaign, harris raised $1.5 million. sanders today raised more than twice that amount. still this year, sanders faces another hurdle. he's up against six female democratic candidates, while facing accusations from women who worked on his 2016 campaign about sexual harassment by male staffers. the senator has publicly apologized. >> all right, so, let's get to mary bruce, she's live up on the hill tonight. and mary, president trump was asked today about bernie sanders. the president saying, quote, personally, i think he's missed his time, but i like bernie, is what the president said. and mary, a lot of talk about one democrat who is still publicly on the fence, former vice president joe biden. this was the video, mary, you saw this weekend, getting a lot of attention. the president of armenia there on the left. you could see what he asked, he said, are you running? but it was really hard to sort of lip read for joe biden's answer there. so, what are we hearing from
biden's team tonight, is he running, when will he announce? >> reporter: well, publicly, david, biden says he has not made a decision yet. he says he thinks there's a tendency in the u.s. to start this whole process too early. but that he will have a decision to announce soon. and david, sources close to the former vice president tell us they get a sense that he is likely to run. >> all right, stay tuned. mary bruce tonight. mary, thank you. we are inside syria tonight. our james longman, one-on-one with that young american woman who left the u.s. to become an isis bride. she gave birth to a son. and tonight, she's now pleading to come home. and what she says when james asks, should she be punished? our team from syria again tonight. >> reporter: tonight, the american isis bride's first television interview, explaining why she left alabama at just 19 to join the terror group. >> i heard that the caliphate was announced. i thought it was obligatory for me to go. >> reporter: four years later, hoda mothana wants to come home with her 18-month-old child. do you expect people to have sympathy for you? >> i hope so, yeah. >> reporter: upon arriving into
syria, she says, her only choice, marriage. her first two husbands dead on the battlefield. you were given a list of men and you could choose a man from that list. does that sound crazy to you now? >> it sounds very crazy. >> reporter: we would see the videos, the beheadings, the murders and it was shocking. >> we would see dead bodies in public, we would see kids seeing dead bodies in public. >> reporter: she claims she was radicalized on twitter, and once she joined isis, sent messages of hate. >> reporter: the americans wake up, go on drive-bys and spill all of their blood. do you think you deserve a punishment for what you did? >> maybe therapy lessons? maybe a process that will ensure us that we'll never do this again. >> reporter: people watching will say to themselves, well, therapy isn't enough. >> i know that. maybe speaking against them, which i am definitely planning to do, definitely wanting people to not make the same decision that i've made.
>> and james longman reporting in tonight from eastern syria. he's been reporting from inside syria for several nights now for us. this was really something, james, to watch this interview as you fed it in late today. if this young woman does come back to the u.s., you've learned more tonight about what kind of fate she could face here? >> reporter: well, yeah, she could face severe punishment, david, including jail time. and last night, we told you about a british woman who also traveled here to marry an isis fighter. she wants to come home, too. well, today, she had her citizenship revoked. david? >> all right, james longman, our thanks to you. just excellent reporting from syria for days now. and there is still much more ahead on "world news tonight" this tuesday. two farewells tonight. remembering the style icon and the loss of a baseball legend. also, the former college and nfl football player shot and killed after being called to a high school parking lot. the scare at seaworld. we're learning more. 16 people, including an infant, dangling in the air for hours. and the major surprise. five people off hawaii when suddenly they have company. two humpback whales.
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16 people, including a baby, were trapped on several gondolas for four hours. 50-mile-per-hour winds may have tripped a circuit breaker. rescuers lowering passengers onto boats there. two passings to note tonight. fashion icon karl lagerfeld has died. one of the world's most creative designers, making chanel one of the most successful luxury brands in fashion. "vogue" editor in chief anna wintour remembering her long-time friend as brilliant, wicked and funny. he was 85. and remembering baseball great don newcombe tonight. the dodgers calling him one of the greatest pitchers in team history. one of the first african-american pitchers in the major leagues. he was 92. duchess meghan takes manhattan. she's here in new york for her baby shower. it's believed to be her first trip back to the u.s. since marrying prince harry last year. and the amazing sight off hawaii. >> oh, my god! oh! >> as you can see, she played it super cool. five friends on paddleboards there when they realize they have company. two humpback whales right there with them. when we come back here tonight, we love a good reunion, but this one is really something.
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finally tonight, america strong. the dog that finally came home, 101 days later. we will never forget the first responder and what his camera captured in paradise, california. as he tried to rescue people trapped. we have also reported here on the pets. the ballejos family had escaped in their truck, fire burning on both sides. their beloved dog kingston, a 12-year-old akita, sadly jumped out of the truck in the middle
of the fire. it was an awful moment for the family, because they knew they could not stop. so many of those cars and trucks trying to get out. but tonight, 101 days later, this moment. >> hi, baby. >> reporter: kingston somehow survived. he was found and turned over to a rescue group. the family had put out posters. and that's how they found kingston's family. >> what's up, buddy? >> reporter: tonight, the family is thanking the animal rescue group, friends of the camp fire cats. they have saved so many dogs, too. >> to be able to reunite them with an animal that they thought they had lost is the light at the end of the tunnel. >> 101 days he went missing and he's still here. he used his survival skills to stay alive. he's a true survivor. >> we're just glad kingston is home t
. in two days oakland teachers will go on strike. because of a stalemate on salaries and class sizes. >> families are also preparing. >> it is just parents in a panic mode. not knowing what to do with a child. >> good evening, thank you for joining us. >> oakland is the second biggest school district in the bay area and the reasons for the strike touch on some of the bay area's biggest issues like the cost of living, education and social change. >> which is why we're focused on this story. oakland's plans follow recent strikes in denver as well as los angeles. >> last being, teachers in denver walk off the job for three days before reaching deal on thursday. and los angeles teachers staged a six-day strike last month. >> that walk out ended when teachers settled on a 6% raise. now our team coverage live from oakland.
>> what would it take for teachers to cancel this strike? >> well, the union says shows the proposal first in writing. if we like it, then we'll sit down to negotiate. the district on the other hand said, let's sit down now. so in reality, no one is negotiating. >> the oakland education association has stood foirm what it wants. higher salaries, smaller class sizes, and more nurses and counsellors. for starters, oakland has a teacher retention problem. it loses nearly 19% of teachers every year. that's much higher than the state average. >> we lose one out of five teachers every year. >> the starting rate for a teacher is 46,000 mp a year with an average pay of $67,000 for a more experienced educator. >> oakland teachers cannot afford to live in oakland. >> this independent fact finding report agrees that a