tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC April 18, 2019 3:30pm-4:01pm PDT
tonight, inside the mueller report. the moment the president reportedly said "this is the end of my presidency." the evidence robert mueller uncovered, the report revealing the president wanted robert mueller fired. and who he wanted to do it. and tonight, why did robert mueller stop short on obstruction of justice? pierre thomas and dan abrams standing by. president trump's response tonight. >> no collusion, no obstruction. >> this evening, what the mueller report reveals. was the president saved a number of times by members of his own team who refused to do what he asked? jon karl live at the white house. and tonight, democrats erupting in anger, demanding robert mueller testify before the american people. mary bruce on the hill.
also breaking tonight, the tornado watch, as we come on the air. already a number of reported tornadoes. the severe storm threat from new orleans all the way east. tonight, tomorrow, good friday and passover. and rob marciano has the track and timing tonight. what caused the fire at the notre dame cathedral. tonight, what we have just learned. here in new york city, the scare inside st. patrick's cathedral. what authorities have now revealed. the major change tonight for anyone taking an uber. they say it's necessary to protect you. and the "jeopardy" whiz tonight. breaking his record last night. how is he doing it? good evening. and it's great to have you with us here on a thursday night. and for the first time tonight, the american public is learning what robert mueller found. he has not spoken in nearly two years, but tonight, the evidence uncovered by mueller and his team speaks for itself. we knew mueller found no collusion, but it was president trump's pick for attorney
general who then declared no obstruction of justice. but tonight, the mueller report is hardly a clean bill of health. 448 pages long, and a staggering amount of detail, far more damning to the president than the troeshg initially indicated. tonight here, the moment the president reportedly said "this is the end of my presidency." and this evening, did several members of the president's team save him by refusing to do what he was and inning they do? abc's chief justice correspondent pierre thomas leading us off. >> reporter: today, special counsel robert mueller driving into work, silent, as he has been nor fearly two years. but now, his 448-page report is out, and it speaks volumes. mueller tonight declaring, "if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state." but they did not. instead, in painstaking detail, mueller painted a picture of a president who relentlessly sought to use top white house
staffers, political aides and the justice department itself to curtail the investigation. >> the report recounts ten episodes involving the president. >> reporter: ten episodes looked at as possible obstruction. the report vividly describes the moment in the oval office when then-attorney general jeff sessions informed trump a special counsel had been appointed. "the president slumped back in his chair and said, oh, my god. this is terrible. this is the end of my presidency. i'm blanked. how could you let this happen, jeff?" less than a month later, the report says the president repeatedly pressured then white house counsel don mcgahn to get mueller fired. "the president called mcgahn at home and directed him to call the acting attorney general rod rosenstein and say that the special counsel had conflicts of interest and must be removed. call rod, tell rod that mueller has conflicts and can't be the special counsel." mcgahn recalled the president telling him, "mueller has to go.
call me back when you do it." mcgahn refused, deciding that he would resign rather than trigger what he regarded as a potential saturday night massacre." at the time, the president denied he was trying to oust the special counsel. >> mr. president, have you thought about or considered leading to dismissal of the special counsel? >> i haven't given it any thought. >> reporter: the president made no secret of his fury with sessions for recusing himself. >> i have now decided to recuse myself. >> i'm very disappointed with the attorney general. >> reporter: according to the report, sessions told investigators the president had asked him to unrecuse himself, but he would not. in fact, mueller writes, "the president's efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the president declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests." and while mueller stopped short of taking a position on obstruction, his words suggest congress now has a role to play. he writes, quote, "we concluded
that congress has authority to prohibit a president's corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice." still, attorney general bill barr cleared the president and today, i asked him, is that what mueller wanted? the special counsel indicated that he wanted you to make the decision or that it should be left for congress? >> special counsel mueller did not indicate that his purpose was to leave the decision to congress. i hope that was not his view. i didn't talk to him directly about the fact that we were making the decision. >> reporter: obstruction not the only part of the special counsel's report. more than half those 448 pages devoted to russian interference in the election. mueller writes, "the investigation also identified numerous links between the russian government and the trump campaign." among the trump aides involved, campaign advisers carter page and george papadopoulos, campaign chairman paul manafort, attorney general sessions and the president's son-in-law, jared kushner. still, mueller determined a
prosecution would encounter difficulties, proving that campaign officials or individuals connected to the campaign willfully vie lated the law." mueller also examined that trump tower meeting involving donald trump jr., manafort, kushner and a russian lawyer they believed had dirt on hillary clinton. the special counsel determining "the government would unlikely be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they had general knowledge that their conduct was unlawful." >> russia, if you're listening, i hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. >> reporter: according to mueller, the russian intelligence service, the gru, was listening. "within approximately five hours of trump's statement, gru officers targeted, for the first time, clinton's personal office." mueller's team says the president's aides and his family also worked to spread the divisive messages russia had posted on social media. but the special counsel said "the evidence does not show the
trump team acted in coordination with russia." >> pierre thomas live at the justice department tonight. and pierre, we already know the mueller investigation led to other criminal investigations, but we had no idea the number, now revealed in the mueller report today. there are 14 other investigations? >> reporter: that's right, david. the aftershocks of mueller will continue even though his work is done. according to his report, his investigators uncovered 14 cases of possible criminal activity that were outside of his jurisdiction. he only identified two suspects in those cases, one of them michael cohen, who soon goes to prison. so, there's 12 other cases being investigated by the justice department and the fbi we don't get know about. >> the mystery surrounding 12 other criminal cases tonight. pierre thomas leading us off, thank you. let's get right to dan abrams, watching this all day long with us. and dan, i wanted to get to that line from robert mueller today, it got a lot of attention. he said, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice,
we would say so. we are unable to reach that judgment. they were unable to clear him. what did we learn in this 448-page report that helped answer that question why? >> reporter: there are two broad reasons. one, it's hard to find obstruction of justice when you're talking about a president who has got wide power and authority, for example, to fire someone. but i think most importantly here, is that they applied justice department precedent, which says that you cannot indict a sitting president. robert mueller made it clear that was very important. he could have found that there wasn't enough evidence, but as we -- as you just pointed out, he could not say that based on where the evidence took him. >> he could have cleared him, he couldn't do that. there was something else he said, he said congress has the authority here, got a lot of ears perked up on capitol hill, of course, and we heard what pierre asked the troerns today. did mueller want congress to decide this? did mueller know the a.g. was going to clear the president himself? and you heard the a.g. say that mueller didn't indicate the purpose was to leave this to congress, but he added, i hope that wasn't his view, but he
acknowledged he didn't know what the view was. >> reporter: kind of amazing that the two of them had not coordinated this coming into it. i think it is also clear, though, that there is a divide between robert mueller and the attorney general on the issue of obstruction of justice. and you even heard william barr talk about the fact that he did not agree with some of the legal theories that robert mueller was using. clear when up read the report that mueller thinks that there was evidence of obstruction, specifically on particular instances. barr made it clear he looks at it all, he does not think there's obstruction. >> that was the first view of a potential break between the two. >> reporter: absolutely. >> dan, thank you. the president and his legal team tonight calling it a total victory for the president. let's bring in abc's chiefs white house correspondent jonathan karl late tonight. here's what the president said right after the report was revealed. >> i'm having a good day, too, it was called no collusion, no obstruction. >> and jon, it would appear tonight, you've been reporting on this, that when it comes to
obstruction of justice, the mueller report now indicates that the president might have been protected repeatedly by members of his own team who refused to carry out his orders, even some of them threatening to quit. >> reporter: david, i count seven senior advisers or aides to the president who refused to do things that could have obstructed -- could have obstructed justice. the bottom line is that these people very close to the president could have saved him from himself by declining to follow his orders. the president, though, is offering no apologies whatsoever, in fact, look at what he just tweeted from air force one. "i had the right to end the whole witch hunt if i wanted. i could have fired everyone, including mueller, if i wanted. i chose not to." and then he added, "i had the right to use executive privilege. i didn't." so, the president adamant that he could have obstructed the investigation if he'd like to, he could have ended it by firing everybody. >> doubling down, saying he could fire mueller. all right, jon karl, thank you.
tonight, democrats on the hill are furious, arguing that the mueller report is far more damning than what the attorney general told the american people weeks ago. and they're already asking robert mueller to testify now before the american people. so, how soon could we see that? abc's mary bruce on the hill tonight. >> reporter: tonight, democrats want robert mueller to explain, before the american people, why he stopped short of making a call on obstruction of justice. and if he agrees with the attorney general that trump should be cleared. >> the attorney general did a grave disservice to the country by misrepresenting significant parts of the mueller report. >> reporter: they want mueller to testify on the hill next month, and barr says he isn't going to stand in his way. >> i have no objection to bob mueller testifying. >> reporter: democrats say the report is damning, and far worse than what the attorney general told the american people. >> the mueller report outlines disturbing evidence that president trump engaged in obstruction of justice and other misconduct. >> reporter: tonight, in a statement, democratic leaders nancy pelosi and chuck schumer
say mueller's report paints a disturbing picture of a president who has been weaving a web of deceit, lies and improper behavior. but they say you wouldn't have known any of that, because mr. barr has been so misleading. democrats have been demanding the full report and the underlying evidence. >> release the mueller report. >> reporter: and now, they plan to subpoena to get it. >> the responsibility now falls to congress to hold the president accountable for his actions. >> does that mean impeachment? >> that's one possibility. there are others. >> reporter: but republicans say it's time for democrats to let it go. >> i think generally people are ready to move on. >> he says it's time to let it go. it's clear the democrats are not ready to move on, mary. would appear they want an unredacted version of the mueller report. they also want mueller on the hill, answering questions. they want to ask him, and we heard this from so many people today, did he want congress to answer the question of obstruction? and was he okay with william barr's clearing of the president? >> reporter: yeah, david, key
questions that democrats want answered. now, tonight, both the house intelligence and judiciary committees have sent formal requests to mueller, asking him to testify here on the hill before the end of next month. now, we reached out to the special counsel's office to see if mueller plans to accept, and david, they are not commenting. >> all right, mary, thank you. our coverage of the mueller report for tonight. we'll have much more first thing in the morning on "good morning america." in the meantime, we are follow egg an urgent tornado watch as we're on the air tonight and severe weather from new orleans all the way east tonight. at least 15 reported tornadoes in the last 24 hours. this one in oklahoma. its fierce winds destroying this home. and these storms are in a collision course with good friday, passover and easter coming. abc's victor oquendo is in louisiana tonight. >> reporter: tornado sirens warning families to take cover in mississippi, as dangerous storms hammer the south. >> polkville is under the gun right now. very dangerous storm moving into
that area. >> reporter: high winds flipping cars. >> this is a live shot of the walmart parking lot in clinton. >> reporter: in arkansas, interstate 30 inundated. in houston, trees on cars, storage sheds flattened. a tree tangled in power lines, setting fire to this house with a family asleep inside. >> i'm just so thankful to god, because my kids were in that room. they sleep where the attic is at. >> reporter: overnight, drivers taking coverer. baseball-sized hail shattering windshields north of ft. worth. at least eight reported tornados from texas to oklahoma. david, we're on lake pontchartrain just outside new orleans. it rained here all afternoon. now, this area stretching east to florida's panhandle is under a tornado watch tonight. winds could top 70 miles per hour. more tornadoes are likely. david? >> victor oquendo with us live tonight. victor, thank you. let's get right to rob marciano, who has been tracking this system all week for us. hey, rob. >> reporter: hey, david. radar is active, so, let's get
right to it. the storms, a line of them, moving 40 miles an hour to the east. so, birmingham, mobile, you're next with this. could be damaging. tornado watches remain up. this storm is strengthening, so, more spin, more moisture coming in from the gulf. look for powerful storms in the morning, getting into the carolinas, maybe as far north as d.c. by the evening with damaging storms there. where it's not storming, it will be raining heavily. flood watches posted for the northeast, including new york city tomorrow night. david? >> rob, our thanks to you again tonight. in the meantime, overseas and from paris tonight, police investigators reportedly suspect that an electrical short circuit may have caused that devastating fire at notre dame cathedral. workers are back at the cathedral, shoring up its fra smile parts, but they haven't been able to conduct a full inspection. so far, it appears it was an accident. in the meantime, to the scare and the arrest here in new york city at st. patrick's cathedral. a man walking in with two gas cans, lighter fluid and
lighters, as well. telling police his car was out of gas, taken into custody when they found that wasn't true. and then they discovered he had bought a one-way ticket to rome. abc's gio benitez is at st. patrick's cathedral. >> reporter: tonight, we're learning the man charged with attempted arson after walking into new york's famous st. patrick's cathedral with gasoline, also alledgedly booked a one-way ticket to rome set to leave toda police say 37-year-old marc lamparello was carrying two gas cans, lighter fluid and two butane lighters wednesday night before being stopped by church security. the nypd quickly moving in for the arrest. >> his basic story was that his car had run out of gas. we took a look at the vehicle. it was not out of gas. >> reporter: lamparello, who reportedly was called a brilliant college professor by his father, was arrested just this week at a church in new jersey. david, we are now seeing more officers surrounding st. patrick's cathedral, which does have a sprinkler-like system. so far, police say they haven't
found any link to terrorism. david? >> all right, gio benitez with us tonight. gio, thank you. there is still much more ahead on "world news tonight" this thursday. the major change coming for anyone taking an uber. they say it's necessary to protect you. also tonight, the dramatic underwater cave rescue. the diver trapped for more than 28 hours in a tennessee cave. how they got to him. also right here, the abc news exclusive tonight. you will hear the incredible audio from the brave daughter saving her 12 siblings, some of them locked up. and you will hear what she says to the 911 operator. and the jeopardy champ on a big ten-game winning streak. tonight, he rell veals some of the clues behind his strategy. and can he pull it off again tonight? a lot more news ahead.
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12 brothers and sisters from their parents' captivity. >> and how many of your siblings are tied up? >> two of my sisters, one of my brothers. >> how are they tied up, with rope or with what? >> with chains. they're chained up to their bed. >> reporter: this 911 audio exclusively obtained by abc news would help convict the 17-year-old's parents on charges including torture and false imprisonment. the turpin children, then ages 2 to 29, all looked and sounded young because prosecutors say their parents starved them. and that house? >> sometimes we live in filth. and sometimes i wake up and i can't breathe because how dirty the house is. >> when was last time you had a bath? >> i don't know. almost a year ago. >> reporter: that 17-year-old showing monumental courage. her parents will be sentenced tomorrow, facing up to life in prison, david. >> all right, matt gutman on the case again for us. thank you, matt. coming up, the big change for anyone who uses uber.
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this has been a tragic incident. it's not only shocked the community but shocked our personnel. >> it really has. a grandmother arrested accuse of killing hr own grandchild. thank you for joining us. >> a toddler was not breathing when police found him in a home. on monday afternoon. the child died at the hospital. >> police arrested his grandmother last night in san jose. from the police department with the case that is really weighing heavily on investigators. >> as you said police made the arrest last night in san jose. away from the residence. the community is stunned by the details of this case. >> reporter: unthinkable act that left many people including
the police department absolutely devastated. >> as a father i'm just overwhelmed with emotion and i don't know how this family will deal with it. >> this afternoon, 70 year-old is under arrest for allegedly killing her 3 year-old grandson. police say it happened monday afternoon in the 700 block. they responded to a 911 call and found the boy unresponsive. >> we have never had to respond to that location for abuse allegations. we don't have any knowledge of previous abuse. >> the toddler lived in his home with his aunt what was the guardian. the grandmother was there and was a caretaker. the toddler passed at the hospital. community members were stunned to learn about the case. >> all i see is older people walking the area. or families with baby carriages. it's usually quiet. >> the coroner