tv CBS Evening News CBS July 9, 2019 6:30pm-7:00pm PDT
♪ ♪ captioning sponsored by cbs >> axelrod: on the "cbs evening news" this tuesday, a member of president trump's cabinet is now in the crosshairs over the deal he worked out in jeffrey epstein's sex trafficking case. >> labor secretary alex acosta standing in defiance after a firestorm of calls for him to step down. >> it is now impossible for anyone to have confidence in secretary acosta's ability to lead the department of labor. >> detectives are gathering evidence after a toddler fell to her death from a cruise ship. >> the girl's grandfather apparently lost his grip while holding her near a window. >> axelrod: battening down as a potential tropical storm bares down on the gulf coast. >> beaches along the mississippi coastline are closed due to blue-green algae blooms sweeping
the gulf coast. >> our business has just tanked. >> axelrod: and we remember ross perot, a self-made billionaire and presidential candidate who called them as he saw them. >> there will be a giant sucking sound going south. >> axelrod: good evening. i'm jim axelrod. and this is our western edition. the calls are growing louder labor secretary alex acosta to resign over his handling of the secret plea deal that gave the wealthy investor jeffrey epstein an uncommonly light sentence in a sex trafficking case 11 years ago. acosta was a federal prosecutor in south florida at the time. today president trump weighed in saying acosta's "very good at his job," but mr. trump did add he will take a closer look at the case. and in the oval office, paula reid had a chance to ask the president about his relationship with epstein. >> reporter: president trump once considered jeffrey epstein a friend, but today he distanced himself from the convicted sex offender.
>> i was not a fan of his, that i can tell you. >> reporter: but mr. trump told "new york" magazine in 2002 that epstein was a "terrific guy" and shared his interest in "beautiful women," though he noted epstein's preference for those on the younger side. but now mr. trump says the two haven't spoken in years. do you still think jeffrey epstein is a terrific guy? >> i had a falling out with him a long time ago. i don't think i've spoken to him for 15 years. >> reporter: on monday federal prosecutors unsealed new charges of sex trafficking against epstein, who has long been accused of preying on young girls at his homes in new york city and palm beach. according to prosecutors, victims were initially recruited to provide massages to epstein, which would be performed nude or partially nude and typically include one or more sex acts. a search of his $77 million townhouse turned up hundreds and perhaps thousands of photos of underage girls. epstein also faced sex trafficking charges in 2007, but federal prosecutors in miami
made a secret deal that gave him a prison sentence of just 13 months and immunity from federal charges. that was arranged by president trump's labor secretary alexander acosta who was the u.s. attorney at the time. a federal judge later ruled that arrangement violated victims' rights because they weren't told about the deal. today acosta defended his decision on twitter, writing, "federal prosecutors insisted that epstein go to jail and register as a sex offender." the president said he felt badly for acosta. >> i can tell you that for two and a half years he's been just an excellent secretary of labor. >> reporter: but the calls for acosta's resignation are mounting. >> it is now impossible for anyone to have confidence in secretary acosta's ability to lead the department of labor. >> reporter: house speaker nancy pelosi tweeted, "secretary acosta must step down." but senate majority leader mitch mcconnell says he's deferring to the president.
>> he serves at the pleasure of the president. >> reporter: president trump signaled today he is standing by acosta. the president suggested that 12, 15 years after the fact, he believes many lawyers and judges will wish they had handled things differently, and jim, it's that understanding that suggests acosta's cabinet position is safe for now. >> axelrod: okay, paula. so the president said he and epstein had a falling out, but did he indicate anything about why they had a falling out? >> reporter: no. and, jim, i pressed him on this repeatedly in the oval office, asking if this falling out had anything to do with criminal allegations. the president would not respond, but james patterson, who has written a book about epstein, says his research revealed that trump kicked epstein out of his mar-a-lago club after complaints about epstein's behavior with young women. but strangely, the white house would not confirm that account. >> axelrod: all right. paula reid at the white house, thank you very much. a grandfather from indiana is under investigation for the death of his granddaughter last weekend aboard a cruise ship in
puerto rico. but today the girl's family said the blame belongs to the cruise ship company. don dahler now with the latest developments. >> reporter: what no one is disputing is 18-month-old chloe wiegand fell 11 stories to her death aboard a royal caribbean cruise ship on sunday. the legal battle lines have now been drawn around the single question: why? the wiegand family's attorney, michael winkleman, says the girl's grandfather, salvatore anello, didn't realize there was an open window. >> he literally thought there was glass there. and he thought that she was going to bang at the glass like she was at a hockey game like she loved to do with her brother. clearly he was wrong. clearly it was a terrible tragedy. and i think it could have been prevented. >> reporter: police originally said anello lost his grip while holding the toddler outside a window. cbs news has learned officials are investigating and will decide whether to charge negligence charges against the indiana i.t. worker. royal caribbean kept its response brief, saying it was
deeply saddened by the her death and out of respect for the family's privacy, "we do not plan to cowm!nt further." the girl's father, alan wiegand, is a police officer in south bend, indiana. that town's mayor, presidential candidate pete buttigieg, re- tweeted a condolence statement by the police department and added, "the city is holding this family in our hearts." the family remains in puerto rico as the investigation continues. falls like this from cruise ships are very rare, but not unheard of, jim. just last week a carnival cruise crew member fell overboard near cuba. he has not been found. >> axelrod: what a brutal story. don, thank you. tonight forecasters are keeping a close eye on a weather system expected to form in the gulf of mexico. they now say it has an 80% chance of developing into a tropical storm some time later this week. if it does, it will be named tropical storm "barry." it could make landfall on saturday, possibly dumping a foot of rain and a surge of seawater along the gulf coast. now to an example of why russian
interference in our campaigns is such a big worry. ed o'keefe tells us how a senseless murder in washington quickly spiraled into a high- level political conspiracy which today we learned was all due to russian trolls. >> reporter: cbs news has confirmed a russian disinformation campaign helped push a bogus theory that hillary clinton's presidential campaign had paid to murder a democratic national committee staffer. police believe the victim, 27- year-old seth rich, was killed after an attempted robbery three years ago in washington. details of russia's involvement are outlined in a new report by michael isikoff of yahoo news, who spent a year investigating. >> we found that russian trolls in st. petersburg tweeted and re-tweeted about seth rich more than 2,000 times. >> reporter: the story resonated with conservative commentators and russian media outlets. >> a brand-new bombshell in the murder. >> of d.n.c. staffer seth rich. >> in the middle of the night.
and police have no leads. >> reporter: it also found its way to the white house. steve bannon, a former senior adviser to president trump, in march 2017 texted a "60 minutes" producer about the rich case, calling it "a huge story" and claiming that it was "a contract kill, obviously." the "60 minutes" producer confirmed receiving the texts but "60 minutes" never pursued the story. the theory has been debunked by local police and the f.b.i. >> it shows just how easy it is to manipulate news in this new era of social media. >> reporter: so we should expect to see attempts to do this again during the 2020 campaign? >> anybody that wants to manipulate american public opinion, planting phony stories on social media is the way to do it. >> reporter: whoever killed seth rich remains at large. his is one of more than 200 unsolved murders here in washington in the three years since he was killed. jim? >> axelrod: ed, thank you very much. joe biden likes to say he was
once one of the poorest members of the senate, but middle-class joe has gone up a few tax brackets. he released financial records today that showed the former vice president and his wife jill earned more than $15 million in the first two years after leaving office, mostly from book deals and speaking fees. the president continued to fire away at britain's ambassador to the u.s. today. this dust-up started when someone leaked cables from the ambassador that were highly critical of the trump white house. here's major garrett. >> reporter: the state department said today it had not cut ties with british ambassador to the united states kim darroch or received orders to do so. >> we have an incredibly special and strategic relationship with the united kingdom that has gone on for quite a long time. >> reporter: that special relationship with the united kingdom was on display in early june when president trump visited london and shook the ambassador's hand. but on twitter today, the president called darroch a wacky and very stupid guy whom he will
no longer deal with. >> reporter: but tempers flared when "the daily mail" recently published leaked cables from darroch to the british government describing the administration as dysfunctional, unpredictable clumsy, and inept. ambassadors routinely send home candid dispatches from postings, but rarely do they become public. the president's tirade drew the ire of u.k. foreign secretary jeremy hunt, who is vying to be the next prime minister. he vowed to keep darroch on. >> if i am the next prime minister, the ambassador in washington stays because it's our decision. >> reporter: in november, the ambassador described his role to cbs news. >> diplomacy is about protecting and taking forward british national interests and objectives. and that's what i think every
diplomat working for every national government around the world basically sees as his role. >> reporter: in an indirect attempt to smooth things over, britain's trade minister paid a visit today to white house senior adviser ivanka trump. meanwhile, those close to the british ambassador say that while he regrets his dispatches were leaked into public, he doesn't regard them as any more harsh than those sent home by ambassadors from other close u.s. allies. jim? >> axelrod: major garrett, thank you. and we learned today that ross perot has died. he was the original billionaire who tapped into working-class anger as a foundation for a presidential campaign. >> i have lived the american dream. i came from a very modest backgrou >> reporter: one of the wealthiest men in the country when he ran for president in 1992. h. ross perot bought his suits showed morley safer on "60 minutes," drove an eight-year- old oldsmobile. the texan's populist campaign
lasered on stagnant wages and big government. >> best-kept secret in america, 1,200 private jets worth $2 billion flying government officials around. why can't they fly and act like we do? go to the airport, get in line, lose your luggage, eat a bad meal. have a taste of reality. >> reporter: the political reality of 1992 was ripe for populism. perot railed against the gulf war and out-of-control spending. >> you have to cut general spending by $315 billion, business tax increases by $49 billion. >> reporter: he joined bill clinton on the attack against george h.w. bush, framing him as the protector of the status quo. >> wouldn't it be really tragic just to sit here playing lawrence welk music, "wonderful, wonderful, wonderful," until the same thing happened in our country and millions of good, decent people are out of work and you spend 10-20 years to fix it. >> reporter: with his home-spun style...
>> i don't have any speech writers. probably shows. ( laughter ) >> reporter: ...perot became a favorite target of comedians... >> i can't deal with a problem unless i can feel it, smell it, taste it, touch it, and touch it a little more. ( laughter ) >> reporter: ...and won 19% of the vote, the most successful third-party candidate since teddy roosevelt. ross perot died after a battle with leukemia. he was 89. up next on the "cbs evening news" why the cry "don't go in the water" is being heard off the coast of one state. and later, those california earthquakes left a giant scar you can see from space. until i almost lost my life. my doctors again ordered me to take aspirin, and i do. be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. listen to the doctor. take iriousl switching to the aarp auto insurance program from the hartford? let's take a ride with some actual customers and find out.
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>> reporter: while the water looks enticing, mississippi officials have warned beach- goers to stay out. the culprit is a toxic algae bloom. >> we're scared actually, so we're staying here in the pool. >> reporter: the problem started up river, where major flooding along the mississippi forced officials to relieve pressure on levees by opening this spillway in louisiana. the freshwater dump can alter the salt levels in the gulf. it also carries agricultural run-off, including fertilizer, which along with warming gulf waters, could fuel the outbreak, now extending along 40 miles of mississippi coastline. the algae blooms can cause a host of ailments including rashes, nausea and diarrhea in people and animals. alison robertson, a researcher at dauphin island sea lab, says the water adviry is out of an abundance of caution. >> a very, very low chance of any kind of human health effects associated with being in the >> reporter: still, business owners along the coast are worried. tourism there accounted for more than $2 billion in 2018, and
more than 28,000 jobs. >> i have been in business 38 years. i don't think i'll be back next year. >> reporter: barny foster's jet- ski business in biloxi thrives or dies by the water. last year was good, so he invested in 28 new jet-skis. >> they came in here on july 3 at 6:00 p.m. and shut us down. they told us we could not put those skis in the water, pretty much we would get arrested. >> reporter: but the warnings came before the july 4 weekend, so some vacationers have stayed away. he'll now have to sell some of the jet-skis to stay afloat. >> and that's what we're doing with all these skis. we're fixing to haul them to georgia and sell them. >> reporter: officials are also cautioning against eating seafood from the affected areas, at least for now. that spillway sending all that water this direction could be closed next week, but there is no telling how long the algae will linger. jim? >> axelrod: manny bojorquez in gulfport for us tonight, thank you. still ahead, you know those extra fees tacked on to your hotel ll
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♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ >> axelrod: those powerful earthquakes that shook southern california last week left a crack so large it can be seen from space. satellite photos show the area near the epicenter outside ridgecrest before and after the quakes. the crack runs through the desert and across a highway and has become a much-photographed attraction. today the district of columbia sued the marriott corporation claiming the worldwide hotel chain hides the true price of its rooms by tacking on extras including resort fees, amenity fees, or destination fees. the suit claims that can add anywhere from $9 to $95 to the room price, earning the company hundreds of millions of dollars. marriott had no comment. new york mets' first baseman pete alonso was already having one heck of a rookie year when he took it next level last night. alonso won the home run derby in
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>> axelrod: today at major league baseball's all-star game, a very special 11-year-old will be recognized for her very special insight. cbs news special correspondent james brown introduces us. >> terrorist, you're part of isis, aren't you? these words felt like a punch in my stomach. >> reporter: asma kaukab is a fifth grader in elementary school in valley stream, new york. in of ing teased because of her muslim faith. >> wearing a hijab, a head covering worn by muslim women, is part of some of the things we do. sometimes i want to take it off so kids won't say anything to me anymore.
>> reporter: why did you decide to write an essay about this at all? >> well, i kind of wanted to help other people go through the same things i do. >> reporter: and do you think it did help? >> well, i think it did. >> reporter: it certainly helped her teacher, karin savino, understand. how surprised were you about the content of her essay? >> it's hurtful. our school seemingly is a wonderful place, and it's sad that she had that experience. >> reporter: asma was born in america. her parents are from pakistan. she shared her experience as part of the breaking barriers program at her school, developed by major league baseball, scholastic and sharon robinson, the daughter of ckie robinson. it culminates with a nationwide essay contest. >> we have lessons from history, but we want to make it contemporary. we learn so much from children across the country and what they're experiencing. >> reporter: in april, asma's essay was picked out over 10,000 entries as the best in the
country. two weeks later robinson came to see asma read her essay to the entire school. >> now people are starting to include me more, and they don't exactly say mean things to me. and they kind of invite me to play games with them. so it's gotten better. >> so nice to meet you. your essay was awesome. >> reporter: things got better outside of school, as well. asma's grand prize includes an all expenses paid trip to the all-star game. >> please welcome essay contest winner asma kaukab. >> reporter: last night, before the home run derby, she was honored by thousands in cleveland. >> everyone should respect each other no matter your opinion, race, country or beliefs are. we should all respect everyone, no matter what we believe in. >> reporter: out of the mouths of children. james brown, cbs news, new york. >> axelrod: congratulations, asma, and thank you. that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. i'm jim axelrod. we'll see you back here tomorrow.
right now at 7 . the bay area city that has the highest minimum wage in the country is having second thoughts tonight. but why? they were in the middle of the wine country fires of 2017. and now, we know a little bit about what they picked up in their blood, what that means formerly all of us here in northern california. a land battle is brewing in santa clara county were real estate developers want to build a sand mine right here, but a local native american tribe says it is sacred land. in the new kpix5 news at 7 starts now with the effort to roll back emeryville's minimum wage. good evening i am ken bastida. >> i am elizabeth cook. andria borba is live for us i