tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS March 31, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
thank you for watching today at 5:00. ahead at 6:00, outrage over an ad campaign for new luxury apartment complex. ♪[ music ] ptioning sponsored by cbs >> pelley: mike flynn offers to sing. and the president changes his tune. >> if you're not guilty of a crime what do you need immunity for? >> pelley: but he now backs flynn's request for a guarantee against prosecution. also tonight-- >> oh, my god! >> pelley: fire brings down an interstate. a witness says a truck driver was texting when he plowed into a church bus filled with seniors. a new tactic in the war on cancer-- enlisting the immune system to join the battle. and steve hartman "on the road" in the worst place to live in america. >> i believe the phrase was "absolute worst place to live in america."
this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: this is our western edition. today, the president intervened in the investigation of whether his aides colluded with russia to sway the presidential election. president trump said his fired national security adviser michael flynn should ask for immunity from prosecution in return for his testimony. presidents usually take great care to be silent on investigations because what they say could be seen as pressure on prosecutors and f.b.i. agents. and mr. trump's tweet this morning could be seen as a signal to a key witness. flynn was fired for lying to the vice president about contacts he'd had with the russian ambassador to the united states, and previously, mr. trump's campaign manager, paul manafort, was fired for his pro-russian contacts. we'll start our coverage tonight with major garrett. >> i will tell you that the president's view is he should go up there.
he should testify. >> reporter: white house spokesman sean spicer said michael flynn fired as national security adviser in february for lying to the vice president, should testify before congress and the f.b.i. as part of their investigations into russian interference in the presidential election. this morning, president trump tweeted, "mike flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch-hunt." were you trying to tell the justice department to grant immunity to michael flynn? were you trying to do that, mr. president? was that your intention, mr. president, sir? mr. president, was that your intention, mr. president? what does he mean by that? >> what he means is he supports mike flynn's attempts to go up to congress and be very clear with everything they ask and what they want. >> reporter: right, but he could have just said, "i testified." >> the president is very clear he wants mike flynn took to go and be deeply open and transparent. >> reporter: even if he doesn't obtain immunity. >> he wants him to do what is necessary, to go up there and talk to the committee of jurisdiction to get this matter behind him. >> reporter: last night, flynn's
attorney confirmed that negotiations with the house and senate intelligence committees were ongoing but no deal for immunity has been offered. even with congressional immunity, flynn might still be subject to prosecution by the justice department. during the campaign, flynn said this when hillary clinton associates sought immunity in the probe of the democratic nominee's private email server. >> when you are given immunity, that means you probably committed a crime. >> reporter: mr. trump echoed that sentiment two days later. >> and if you're not guilty of a crime, what do you need immunity for? >> reporter: then, top house intelligence committee democrat adam schiff arrived at the white house to review classified documents relevant to the investigation. in a statement, schiff called flynn's immunity request "a grave and momentous step." after leaving the white house, congressman schiff said that he- - in a statement that he reviewed all the same classified information given a week ago to the republican chairman of the intelligence committee. scott, congressman schiff said that violated protocol, and he urged the white house to share
that information with the full house intelligence committee. >> pelley: major garrett at the white house. the f.b.i., house, and senate are all running parallel investigations into this, and flynn's lawyer is seeking immunity from congress. jeff pegues has learned new details tonight about the f.b.i.'s criminal investigation. >> reporter: cbs news has learned that f.b.i. agents are looking into whether trump campaign associates were coordinating with russian operatives as early as march of 2016. sources say agents are examining whether individuals sympathetic to the trump campaign directed hackers to specific information in democratic party computer systems. at the time, both mr. trump and hillary clinton had emerged as their party's most likely nominees. according to this declassified intelligence assessment, it was march when russian hackers began cyber operations aimed at the u.s. election.
by may, u.s. officials say the russians had stolen large volumes of data from the d.n.c. starting in june, websites like guccifer 2.0, and wikileaks began posting the hacked documents. in august, trump confidant, roger stone, tweeted about clinton campaign chairman john podesta. "trust me. it will soon be podesta's time in the barrel." then on october 7, wikileaks began publishing podesta's personal e-mails. it was the same day the department of homeland security and director of national intelligence publicly accused russia of carrying out the cyber attacks. today, a year after the russian operation began, sources say the f.b.i.'s investigation is nowhere near over. it involves dozens of agents in washington, new york, and london. the n.s.a. and c.i.a. are also gathering intelligence from inside russia.
despite his denials, investigators believe the operation was authorized by russian president vladimir putin himself, and it involved both cyberattacks and information warfare. >> this is actually what happened to us. >> reporter: according to testimony yesterday before the senate intelligence committee, 15,000 operatives worldwide participated in spreading false news stories and conspiracy theories online. those activities are also part of the f.b.i.'s investigation, including who paid for them. law enforcement sources say one theory is that trump associates could have been motivated by money. scott, sources tell us the f.b.i. wants to get this investigation absolutely right so that the public will trust the result, whatever that turns out to be. >> pelley: jeff pegues breaking the news here tonight. jeff, thank you. for some insight into this, let's bring in john dickerson, the anchor of the "face the nation"
and our chief washington correspondent. john, what do you see in the president's tweet today on flynn and immunity? >> well, normally, a president would want to steer away from a bad story. the president could have talked about his supreme court nominee or he could have talked about jobs, which is the issue that voters care the most about. instead, he offered that legal advice to flynn and said the investigation was partisan. that's an attempt to make the whole business seem like a political muddle, a democratic plot. but the problem is that james comey, the director of the f.b.i., is leading one branch of the investigation, and for the last self months, democrats have been blaming director comey for his investigation of hillary clinton during the last election. so he's hardly a democratic stooge. >> pelley: now, democrats say that the house investigation has been tainted because the chairman of the intelligence committee there has been cooperating with the white house. how is that going to shake out? >> well, there are two challenges for the chairman period of time first is that one, which is he too close to the president whose team he is investigating? is his investigation fact based or is it partisan?
and has he become an advocate for the president's point of view? but if his serious claim that obama aides or allies exposed trump campaign staffers that were inadvertently caught in surveillance, if that claim turns out to be true then that will overshadow those complaints about coziness. what's harder to shake is the second challenge, last week devin nunes claimed a whistleblower source gave him information, and he said he had to share it with the white house right away, which was unaware of it. but now reports suggest his source was someone in the white house. so, needless to say, they were aware of it. so his story seems misleading. but the chairman now says those news reports about his sources were wrong so we're in for more back-and-forth. >> pelley: john dickerson. we'll be watching sunday on "face the nation" when john's guests include the u.s. ambassador to the united nations, nikki haley. the lawsuit that candidate trump swore he would never settle was settled today.
president trump has been ordered to pay $25 million to former students who say they were cheated by real estate seminars that went by the name of "trump university." more than 3,700 people will get at least 90% of their money back. there is word tonight that terrorists are developing a bomb that could be carried on to a plane undetected and our transportation correspondent kris van cleave has the latest on this. kris. >> reporter: scott, u.s. intelligence officials tell cbs news terrorist groups such as al qaeda and isis, have been perfecting and testing a bomb small enough to fit in a laptop computer that could get past airport scanners. the new intelligence suggests the terror groups have been testing the new bomb on airport scanners they've obtained. this concern prompted the u.s. and u.k. to ban laptops and other large personal electronics from carry-on luggage on flights from certain designated countries. now, last year, a laptop bomb blew a hole in the side of
somali airliner. the plane was able to land safely. in a statement to cbs news this evening, the department of homeland security says, "terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include smuggling explosive devices on board." u.s. officials have been gathering information on the threat over time. scott, some supporting intelligence was obtained in the january raiding in yemen that killed naval seal ryan owens. there is late word tonight that three people have been arrested in a fire that destroyed an interstate highway bridge in atlanta. mark strassmann is there. >> reporter: to metro atlanta, nor >> reporter: to metro atlanta, notorious for its terrible traffic, this missing section of i-85 looms like a commuting abyss. 400,000 motorists typically cross here every day. russell mcmurray heads up georgia's department of transportation. >> we're not able to give you a firm estimate this moment, but you should know that this will
take at least several months to get this rebuilt. >> reporter: during rush hour yesterday, a still-unexplained fire suddenly raged underneath this overpass. within a half hour, intense heat wilted steel that reinforced the concrete-beam bridge and a section roughly 180 feet long pancaked below. remarkably, no one was hurt or killed. for commuters, motoring misery ensued. >> geez! >> reporter: mark mcdonough, the state's commissioner of public safety, said this sprawling stay city has to learn how to live without i-85. >> if that's part of your routine until this is fixed, you gotta get the map out and you gotta start looking at alternate locations. >> reporter: tell that to commuters like pat smith. >> it's frustrating. it can be very upsetting. >> reporter: the 63-year-old retiree drives into atlanta to see her grandchildren. >> it's very difficult. because it's bumper to bumper. you have to allow a lot of extra
time to get where you're going. >> reporter: the u.s. department of transportation has kicked in $10 million to help with repairs out here, but this project's price tag will soar. scott, take another look. one span of the highway collapsed. but a bridge inspector out here told me the state is going to have to replace a damaged area that is three times that size in both directions. >> pelley: mark strassmann for us tonight. mark, thank you. there is a report tonight that texting while driving may be why 13 members of a texas church choir were killed on wednesday. omar villafranca has these late developments. >> reporter: jody kuchler watched as the erratic pickup driver plowed head on into a van carrying senior citizens returning from a church seminar, killing 13 on board. >> reporter: kuchler told us by phone when he ran up to the truck, the driver, 20-year-old
jack de young, was injured but alive. >> and i said, "son, do you realize what you just did?" and he said, "i'm sorry, i'm sorry." >> reporter: kuchler and his girlfriend followed him before the wreck, and made this call to the sheriff's department: they took pictures and recorded young as several cars swerved out of the truck's path. >> reporter: the lone survivor from the bus is in critical condition. the driver of the truck is stable. scott, the n.t.s.b. plans to talk to both of them. >> pelley: omar villafranca, thank you. coming up next on the cbs evening news, remarkable results from a new cancer treatment. cancer treatment.
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>> pelley: >> pelley: we have word tonight of a significant advance in treating a form of cancer that will strike 70,000 americans this year. dr. jon lapook tells us the results are so good, the f.d.a. is putting the treatment on a fast track. >> reporter: three years ago, thomas sandoval, was looking forward to the birth of his second child when he was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer called lymphoma. despite chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, the cancer returned before his daughter's first birthday. >> everything is at stake. thoughts in my head of not being around for my daughter, my son, my wife. it was a pretty tough time. >> reporter: he is alive today because of an experimental form of immunotherapy called car-t. normally our immune cells are good at killing invaders like bacteria but bad at fighting cancer. with car-t, a patient's own immune cells are removed from the body, reprogrammed to find and destroy cancer cells, then put back into the blood stream.
today moffitt cancer center and m.d. anderson reported test results of patients with advanced lymphoma who failed previous therapy and were treated with car-t. dr. frederick locke helped lead the trial. >> it puts a g.p.s. navigation on the front of the cell so when they're infused back in they know where to go and kill the lymphoma. >> reporter: about eight months after a single treatment, 39% of patients had no evidence of cancer. >> that's actually quite remarkable knowing that these patients at best, only one out of 10 of these patients, could have complete disappearance of their lymphoma with standard chemotherapy. >> reporter: side effects included flu-like symptoms and confusion. there were three treatment- related deaths. the f.d.a. will review these results and could make a decision on approval, scott, by the end of the year. >> pelley: great advance. dr. jon lapook, thanks, doc. the f.d.a. says 13 lots of epipens and epipen juniors are being recalled.
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>> pelley: today, a former deputy was sentenced to 40 years for manslaughter in the shooting death of a six-year-old boy in marxville, louisiana. in 2015, derrick stafford and another deputy fired 18 shots into a car after a chase. the driver was wounded. his son, jeremy mardis, killed. an officer's body camera showed that the father had his hands up. the other deputy faces a murder trial. gilbert baker the artist and gay rights activist who designed the rainbow flag died today in new
york. the flag was first flown in san francisco in 1978. gilbert baker was 65. what's the buzz at spring training? bees made a microphone their hive as the padres and rockies played yesterday in peoria, arizona. but in the ninth inning, they stormed the infield. everyone hit the deck, grown men brought to their knees by bees. we'll be back with steve hartman. hartman. liberty mutual stood with me when this guy got a flat tire in the middle of the night, so he got home safe. yeah, my dad says our insurance doesn't have that. what?! you can leave worry behind when liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance.
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>> reporter: inside this ice shanty in northern minnesota-- >> here we go! >> reporter: there's a fish out of water. >> oh, yeah, look at that. >> reporter: and i'm not talking about the walleye. >> is that a keeper or a tosser. >> reporter: chris ingraham is dressed in his pea coat and boots with the tags still on appears out of place. he works for "the washington post" and the only reason he is out here is because of an article he wrote in 2015 about a seemingly innocuous department of agriculture study that ranked places in the country on scenery and climate and chris concluded the absolute worst place to live in america-- drum roll, please-- red lake county, minnesota. and that was it. >> so i published the story. the story goes up at, like, 9:32 on a monday. by 9:37, the hate mail started rolling in. >> reporter: no way. >> like on social media and it was fast and furious and it was like nothing i had ever seen before. >> reporter: and all of it from the same zip code.
>> we got some people take it personally. >> yeah, we took offense. >> how does this person have a clue? >> he obviously didn't know what he was talking about. >> reporter: just about everyone in town took a shot at the messenger, except jason brumwell, who took a different tack. >> i wanted him to come here and see it for himself, put his money where his mouth is, i guess. >> reporter: so jason invited chris for a visit, and chris agreed, flew out here for his first visit in august of 2015. >> so i pull up to the courthouse, and i get out of the car, and there is a marching band playing. >> reporter: a marching band? >> yes air, marching band. there were no pitchforks, i was really happy, no torches, no nothing. just a bunch of beaming, smiling people. and when i got back i couldn't stop thinking about the place. >> reporter: when brings us to the most unbelievable part. at the time chris and his wife were not happy living outside of d.c. they hated the high cost of living and the commute. last year they packed up their twin toddlers and moved to? you guessed it, red lake county.
but this was the worst place to live in america. >> i believe it was "the absolute worst place to live in america." that's what the spreadsheet said. coming out here and getting that ground truth that kind of changed my perspective on it. >> reporter: and the data did not factor in the people. >> it did not factor in the people. >> hey, chris! >> reporter: today, chris still writes for the "post" but he works from home giving him time with his family and the internet trolls he now considers friends. thane it's easy for some reporters to lob judgments and generalizations but it takes real integrity to make this kind of correction. steve hartman, "on the road," in red lake county, minnesota. >> pelley: and that's the cbs evening news for tonight. for all of us at cbs news all around the world, i'm scott pelley. see you sunday on "60 minutes." good night.
round... in the public showdown between california's chief justice.. and the trump administration. a battle over immigration another nasty round in the public showdown between california's chief justice and the trump administration. the battle is primarily over i.c.e. agents showing up to courthouses. good evening, i'm elizabeth cook. >> i'm allen martin. the feds are now firing back after criticism from the chief justice. her request was made clear in sacramento on monday. >> asking them to refrain from making immigration arrests in our california state courthouses. [ applause ] >> reporter: in a letter obtained by cbs news, dated wednesday, u.s. attorney general jeff sessions and homeland security secretary john kelly take issue with the chief justice's previous use of the term stalking saying, it has a specific legal meaning in american law which describes criminal active. they defended the arrest in
courthouses saying i.c.e. does not engage in sweeps and they said courthouses are safer for agents because visitors are screened to search for weapons. a law professor says this now very public battle is unprecedented. >> and i think it's unfortunate that the attorney general responded in a hostile way an aggressive way rather than acknowledging the potential concerns and, and, and -- and i think the reasonable concerns that the chief justice of california expressed to the attorney general. >> reporter: also today, san francisco district attorney george gascon took issue with the feds' response to the chief justice. >> the realities is that there are many ways for law enforcement to do their work safely and pick people up that they have a warrant or probable cause to pick up. a courthouse isn't the place to do that. >> reporter: he accuses the feds of making an end run around the the due process protections. if they want to make an arrest, he has three words for them: get a warrant.