tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS April 4, 2017 6:30pm-7:01pm EDT
captioning sponsored by cbs >> pelley: atrocity in syria. president trump says the suspected chemical attack that left dozens dead was a result of president obama's "weakness." also tonight, susan rice denies putting out the identities of trump associates caught up in surveillance of foreigners. >> i leaked nothing to nobody. >> pelley: it sounded frighteningly real. >> "distric "dad, they're takina van." and a guy comes on the phone and says, "we've got your daughter." >> pelley: but kidnapping was a con. and one of the most powerful men you've never heard of. he can open doors at the vatican.
this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: even by the horrors of the syrian civil war, what happened today will stand out as a crime against humanity. 58 civilians, including women and children, were killed and about 300 others wounded by what appears to be nerve gas, a weapon banned by the civilized world. the attack came five days after the trump administration signaled that the syrian dictator would not be held accountable for the legislature of his people . the trump administration said bashar al-assad could remain in power, a reversal of obama-era policy that said assad had to go. despite the appeasing change in his policy, mr. trump blamed today's attack on president obama calling it a "consequence of the past administration's weakness." what we're about to show you is hard to watch, but it should be
seen. holly williams begins our coverage. >> reporter: the attack on the village bears the telltale signs of a chemical weapon. inflicted on civilians, apparently, including these lifeless victims. we can't independently confirm this was a chemical attack but notice how many of the victims have no visible wounds as you would normally expect from an air attack or missile. survivors pant and gasp for air, some of them foaming at the mouth. and this medic demonstrates how his patients' pupils don't respond to light. >> nonreactive to light. nonreactive to light troarpt that all strongly suggests exposure to a toxic nerve agent. >> we're going to collect all the clothes as evidence. we're collecting them in sealed bags as evidence.
anyone that wants this evidence to investigate it, please contact me. >> reporter: the syrian regime denies any involvement, but idlib province is a syrian rebel stronghold, regularly pounded pd with air strikes by the regime and its ally, russia. suspicion will also fall on the regime because of an earlier chemical attack in august 2013, thought to have killed hundreds. the u.n.'s chemical weapons watchdog concluded it was sarin nerve agent. russia also denied it was responsible today. its direct intervention in the syrian civil war has propped you want regime and helped it win back territory. but it hasn't come close to ending this conflict, and nightmarish scene likes these. the u.n. chemical weapons watchdog has already gun investigating today's attack. though the security situation inside syria will make gathering
evidence difficult. and, scott, the united nations security council will hold an emergency meeting tomorrow. >> pelley: holly williams along the syrian border. holly, thank you. after that nerve gas attack in 2013 that holly just mentioned, president obama threatened air strikes, but instead, he struck a deal to destroy syria's chemical weapons. in 2014, a u.n. agency certified that all of the known weapons had been incinerated, but after today, it would appear that something was left over. mr. trump's reflex, blaming mr. obama for today's attack, strikes some even in the trump administration as millis guided. here's margaret brennan. >> reporter: the gravity of the images led president trump to issue a statement condemg the chemical attack as reprehensible and heinous. he then shifted to politics blaming president obama's "weakness and irresolution," for not following through on the air strikes he threatened in 2012. >> and a red line for us is we
start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. >> reporter: when a defiant assad carried out the large-scale chemical attack in 2013, mr. trump warned on twitter against any u.s. action. now that mr. trump is president, he has reversed his position as spokesman sean spicer indicated in an off-camera briefing today. >> america's credibility was at stake, and i think the president wants to point out that there was a red line, and they did cross it. we did talk about-- we did have alternatives to regime change, and they weren't taken. >> reporter: a number of u.s. national security officials told cbs news that they also fault mr. obama for not stopping the syrian slaughter. but they were shocked today at the campaign-like language of the sitting commander in chief. the white house could have issued a sober, serious
statement. instead, they needlessly chose to play politics, one u.s. official said. it's hard to imagine anyone could see images of victims foaming at the mouth and think that statement was appropriate. >> we've seen this movie before. >> reporter: republican senator john mccain also urged action. >> it is another disgraceful chapter in american history, and it was predictable. >> reporter: secretary of state rex tillerson initially declined to comment on the attacks, but then, scott, late this afternoon, issued a statement that was devoid of domestic politics, which said that both russia and iran "bear great moral responsibility for these deaths." >> pelley: meg at the white house. well, it was one month ago today that president trump claimed that his phones were tapped last year on orders of president obama. osince then, white house officials have been searching for evidence to back him up, and they've latched on to the fact
that u.s. intelligence routinely listens to the calls of foreign officials. it appears that after the election, some trump advisers were on the other end of those calls, as you would expect. the white house suggests there is something sinister in that surveillance, and today, a former top obama official said it is just standard procedure. here's chip reid. >> i leaked nothing to nobody. and never have and never would. >> reporter: former national security adviser susan rice denied that she publicly revealed the identities of trump associates picked up during surveillance of foreign targets. >> there's no equivalence between so-called unmasking and leaking. the effort to ask for the identity of american citizen is necessary to understand the importance of an intelligence report in some instances. >> reporter: u.s. citizens' identities are hidden or masked in intelligence reports gathered on foreign targets. several white house officials have the power to request the
unmasking of those anonymous people if they feel it will help them understand the intercepted communications. white house spokesman sean spicer today questioned whether rice's motivation was political. >> it depends on the purpose of why they were asking and what they were trying to accomplish. >> reporter: rice said she requested the names only to understand why they appeared in intelligence reports. >> allegation is that somehow obama administration officials utilized intelligence for political purposes. that's absolutely faults. >> reporter: retired general michael hayden ran the c.i.a. and n.s.a. during the george w. bush era. >> the process as scribe descrooibed is perfectly normal and on its face does not in any way constitute a smoking gun. i have no yet idea about her motivation. >> reporter: conclude man adam schiff is the top democrat on the house intelligence commit, which is investigate ties between russia and the trump administration. >> i think the suggestions that this is some kind of a partisan
exercise that is was targeting donald trump are designed to distract us from the russia investigation and not much more than that. >> reporter: another democrat on the intelligence committee, joaquin castro of texas, said today that he thinks people will probably go to jail as a result of the russia investigation, but, scott, the white house continues to deny any improper connection to russia or its attempts to interfere in the u.s. election. >> pelley: chip reid in our washington newsroom. chip, thank you. well, we have not been hearing much lately from one key member of mr. trump's inner circle, his daughter and new presidential adviser, ivanka trump. well, that changed today when she sat down with "cbs this morning" cohost gayle king. >> reporter: you know, you say that you are your father's daughter, and we all get that. you also talk about the critics and you have a couple that say why isn't ivanka speak out? where is is she on planned
parenthood? where is she on gay rights. where is she on climate change you? are being held personally accountable for not speak up. what do you say to your critics? >> i would say not to conflate lack of public denouncement with silence. i think there are multiple ways to have your voice heard. in some case, it's through protest and it's through going on the nightly news and talking about or denouncing every issue you disagree with. other times it is quietly and directly and candidly. so where i disagree with my father, he knows it, and i express myself with total candor. where i agree, i fully lean in and support the agenda and hope that i can be an asset to him and make a positive impact. but i respect the fact that he always listens. it's how he was in business. it's how he is as president. >> pelley: there's much more
news in that interview, and gayle will have it. be sure not to miss tomorrow's "cbs this morning." law enforcement in the u.s. is warning of a spread of a cruel scam-- fake kidnapping. and anna werner has more about that. >> she was screaming, "dad, they're taking me in a van. i don't know what they're going to do. hell me." >> reporter: larry lutes got the phone call when he was at work. >> the guy comes on the phone and said, "qeef weave got your daughter." >> reporter: his daughter's kidnappers demanding $10, 000. >> they said, don't talk to anybody. get in your car and start driving right now or we'll kill your daughter." >> reporter: believing her life was on the line, lutes went to the bank too get cash and drove through the night, wiring the money to mexico as he was
directed. son his wife, daughter, wondered why her husband hadn't come home. and the next day discovered the money was missing. so at that point, all you knew was he had taken $10,000 out of the bank, and he was nowhere to be found. >> that's right. >> reporter: but that was just the start. now, her phone rang. this time, the callers told donna they'd kidnapped her husband. >> and if i didn't get them money, they were going to put a bull net his head. >> reporter: did you believe them? >> oh, yeah. >> reporter: what's that like? >> horrible. horrible. it's horrible. you're physically ill. >> reporter: like her husband, don afs also told to wire the cash from different locations . finally, her children contacted the police who stopped her from wiring any more money with a startling revelation. >> "it's a scam." i'm like, "no, it's not." and they're like, "it's a scam." >> reporter: the lutes habit victims of a fake kidnapping scheme, and they weren't alone. >> but this is a nationwide
problem. >> reporter: n.y.p.d. detective lieutenant john rogan told us organized crime rings call victims at random, convincing them they've kidnapped their loved ones. why would you say it's so effective in many of these caizs? >> i believe it's effective because they're planning on everyone's good nature in wanting to get their family members back gl. >> reporter: they don't have to actually kidnap anything exwb, do they? >> they do not have to kidnap anybody. they say the home and wait for the money to be require to the location they desire. >> reporter: the luteses were finally reunited 28 hours after larry received the first phone call. what was your reaction. >> big hug. >> oh, yeah. >> big hug and cry. >> reporter: but they'd lost $17,000. what would you say to people who might say, "i would never fall for that." >> well, you would, because it's like a gamble. you're gambling with somebody rea'slife. >> you won't jeopardize somebody you love over money. you just wouldn't do that. who is going to take that
chance? >> reporter: new york city police told us hundreds of these calls are made, they believe arct random, and they say victims, scott, including people at the highest levels of fortune 500 companies. >> pelley: anna werner, thanks. next on the cbs evening news. advertisers leave bill o'reilly. advertisers leave bill o'reilly. sexual harassment is a factor.
. >> pelley: today, several sponsors pulled out of the number one program on the fox news channel. political talk show host bill o'reilly is the target of numerous claims of sexual harassment. here's dean reynolds. >> just listen to the rhetoric on the left. >> reporter: the advertising exodus from "the o'reilly factor" resulted from this front page "new york times" investigation. it found that five women who had accused bill o'reilly of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior in recent years had received cash settlements totaling about $13 million, the
money coming from o'reilly and fox. by late this afternoon, more than a dozen brands had pulled their commercials from the show, which generated more than $400 million in revenue in the last three years alone. mercedes benz said it withdrew its ads because oflet" importance of women in every aspect of our business." hyundai called the report, "disturbing" while allstate said, "we are concerned about the issues surrounding the program." if they called you and asked you what they should do, what would you tell them? >> i'd tell them to bite the bullet and fire the guy because he's a reputational harm and a big risk going forward. >> reporter: ron iori is a crisis communications consultant. >> it seems to me that they're going to have to do something and make some kind of a move but they're torn because it's a lot of revenue they could lose if they move him out of his position. >> reporter: in a statement, o'reilly said:
he said no one had ever complained about him to fox's human resources department and that he, "put to rest any controversies to spare my children." >> hi, i'm bill o'reilly. >> reporter: orile denot mention the issue during his program last night. the accusations of boorish behavior are similar to those lodged against former fox news chairman roger ailes, who left the company last summer with a multi-million-dollar severance while denying any wrongdoing. fox news advertising sales executive referred to those rebellious sponsors tonight scott, saying in a statement, "we value our partners and are working with them to address their current concerns about 'the o'reilly factor'." >> pelley: up ntony romo signs with a new team. the most shocking result was that i'm 26% native american.
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other side effects include gas, stomach-area pain and swelling. talk to your doctor about managing your symptoms proactively with linzess. >> pelley: if you take a close look at the coat of arms of the holy see, you will see two keys. they are a symbol that the pope is the keeper of the keys to heaven. every other earthly key at the vatican is kept by the man you're about to meet in this report from seth doane. >> reporter: it's one of the big bizziest tourist sites on earth, but at 5:00 a.m., giannii crea has it to himself. his job sheer as ancient as these tools. he's a clavigero, or key man. he and his team are responsible for opening 300 doors at the
vatican museums every morning. there are nearly 2800 keys in his charge. he's the first in the famed gallery of maps. now it's only for you. >> si. >> reporter: "yes, it's emotional to be in the museum all alone," he said. "i'm privileged in this job." the doors he oppose reveal masterpieces, pinturicchio, and rafael. this is van gogh. your job would be the envy of many art historians. "i have the chance to appreciate some of the most important pieces of art in the world," he said. sometimes the doors themselves impress. "this is the oldest key," crea explained. "it's from the 1700s, key number 401." let most important key, though, does not have a number, and it's kept inside a sealed envelope.
as the lights came on inside the sistine chapel pwsistine chapelr him, this is far more than a job. "it's extraordinary. it's incredible," he marveled. "i cannot say anything because this artwork speaks for itself." as the sun rose, he let us peek at bramante's spiral staircase. the doors were open and the museum ready. does this ever get mundane? "no, absolutely not," he insisted. "every day i discover something new here-- a work of art, a painting, something." the vatican museums sees more than six million visitors a year, but no one gets to see it quite add gianni crea does. seth doane, cbs, news, vatican city. >> pelley: seth's got a pretty good job, too. that's the cbs evening news for tonight. for all of us at cbs news all around the world, good night.
. tonight, mel b black mailed at the hands of her husband? her shocking claims of sexual extortion and emotional terror. then, j. lo's red hot touch. why a-rod's stock is rising just because of his girlfriend. then justin theroux keeping his marriage to jenster anis on hot. plus his plan to keep them working together. >> harder than you might think. >> then. >> oh! >> how amy schumer got goldie hawn to come back to the big screen. >> am i going to be funny anymore? >> our exclusive with the comedy duo. >> perfect. >> now, for april 4th,