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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  April 5, 2017 6:30pm-7:01pm EDT

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know coming up next from new york. here now is scott captioning sponsored by cbs >> pelley: the president says syria crossed a line. >> that attack on children yesterday had a big impact on me. my attitude toward syria and assad has changed very much. >> pelley: and the u.s. response: >> i'm in the saying i'm doing anything one way or the other. >> pelley: also tonight, tornado warnings go up across the south. destructive storms hit the region, and more are on the way. the i.r.s. is getting ready to send private debt collectors after dln -- delinquent taxpayers. and living stronger. you don't want to cross swords with this quinqagenerian. she is as sharp as ever. >> once my knees give out, hopefully by then they'll be able to put new ones in that
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still work, and i'll just keep going. this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: today the president raged against the murder of children in yesterday's chemical attack in syria, but when pressed he seemed unable to express a policy on the syrian civil war. president trump took several questions at a rose garden news conference today alongside the king of jordan, facing his first international crisis when mr. trump was asked about syria, he changed the subject, blamed the obama administration, and described himself as "flexible." last week the trump administration reversed u.s. policy and said that the syrian dictator could remain in power and not be held accountable for crimes in the six-year-old war. the apparent nerve gas attack happened five days later. major garrett begins our coverage. >> i want to thank you both very
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much. >> reporter: in the oval office with jordan's king abdullah, president trump called the syrian regime's chemical weapons attack on civilians an affront to humanity. >> are you for a new policy, mr. president in. >> you'll see. >> reporter: that's as close as the president came to telegraphing what's next beyond a personal reassessment of syrian dictator bashar al assad. >> can i quickly ask you if the chemical attack crosses a red line for you in. >> it crossed a lot of lines for me. when you kill innocent children, innocent babies, babies, little babies with a chemical gas that is so lethal that people were shocked to hear what gas it was, that crosses many, many lines beyond a red line, many, many lines. and i will tell you it's already happened, that my attitude toward syria and assad has changed very much. >> reporter: mr. trump touted his ability to change course. >> i like the think of myself as
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a very flexible person. i don't have to have one specific way, and if the world changes, i go the same way. i don't change. well, i do change. and i am flexible. and i'm proud of that flexibility. >> reporter: the president did in the rule out a military strike to punish what is likely a war crime. >> one of the things i think you've noticed about me is militarily i don't like to say where i'm going and what i'm doing. >> reporter: mr. trump has blamed president obama for inaction that kept assad in power. >> i now have responsibility, andly have that responsibility but i'll tell you, that responsibility could have been made a lot easier if it was handled years ago. >> reporter: when president obama contemplated military action over assad's use of chemical weapons in 2013, the then-private citizen trump fired off a series of tweets warning against a horrible, costly
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attack with worldwide hell to pay, concluding, "there is no up side and tremendous down side." >> i inherited a mess, whether it's the middle east, whether it's north korea, whether it's so many other things. >> reporter: when pressed today for specifics on syria, the president changed the subject. >> as you know, i'll be meeting with the president of china very soon in florida, and that's another responsibility we have, and that's called the country of north korea. we have a big problem. we have somebody that is not doing the right thing, and that's going to be my responsibility. >> reporter: secretary of state rex tillerson said it was time for russia to "think carefully about their continued support for the assad regime." scott, a senior administration official flatly rejected moscow's contention that the chemical weapons came from a rebel stockpile. >> pelley: major garrett at the white house, thanks.
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in fairness, syria is the problem from hell that has grown only more complicated as the years have gone by. one of the most experienced reporters in the region is our holly williams. holly? >> reporter: scott, the problem is that the u.s. does not have any good options in syria. it's tried diplomacy, both with the syrian regime and with its ally, russia, and that hasn't succeeded in ending this conflict, which has already killed hundreds of thousands of people. another option is some kind of direct military intervention against the syrian regime, for instance, with air strikes. the problem is that would increase the likelihood of a collision with a russian aircraft, and the u.s. would also risk being drawn into a conflict with russia. that helps explain why the u.s. has very deliberately avoided that option so far, instead focusing its air strikes and its troops in syria on the fight
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against isis. now, the syrian war zone is a very fractured and complicated place with lots of different militias and rebel groups, some of them the u.s. supports with their ammunition and weapons, and others it has labeled as terrorist groups. in that environment, scott, it is very difficult for the u.s. to find effective and reliable part masters on the ground. >> pelley: holly williams on the border with syria tonight. holly, thanks. against this back drop, there was a shake-up today at the white house among the president's national security advisers. steve bannon, his political guru, was taken off the national security council. his place there had been controversial, and chip reid is following that. >> reporter: just eight days after his inauguration, president trump named chief political strategist steve bannon as a member of the principles committee of the national security council. bannon served in the navy but has little foreign policy experience. his previous job was head of
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breitbart news, an ultra conservative and highly controversial web site. putting him on the nsc stunned many foreign policy experts, including michael morell, former acting c.i.a. director and cbs news senior security contributor. >> having something like ban whereon in the room brings politics enter a room where there should be no politics. >> reporter: also alarming critics was the apparent down grading of chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, four-star general joseph dunford, who was removed from the principles committee along with the director of national intelligence. today the president reversed those decisions in addition to removing bannon from the nsc. the moves appear to be a victory for the national security council, lieutenant governor h.r. mcmaster, who replaced michael flynn after he was fired for misleading the vice president about his conversations with the russian ambassador. the white house today downplayed the changes, calling them a realignment and streamlining of a massive bureaucratic
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organization that they claim was created under the obama administration. the white house says bannon was placed on the nsc as a check on flynn. now that he's gone, they say, and new that mcmaster has made clear he shares bannon's vision, there's in need for beenon to stay on. apparently bannon is plenty busy with his other duty, scott. the white house says he only attended one national security council meeting. >> pelley: chip reid, thanks. today mr. trump said that president obama's national security adviser, susan rice, committed a crime, but he cited no evidence. rice has acknowledged that during the transition she asked for the names of trump associates caught up in surveillance of foreign officials. now, surveillance of foreign officials is routine, as are the conversations with members of an incoming administration. when a u.s. citizen is heard on such a call, his or her name is omitted to protect privacy, but
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rice and others were authorized to learn the names if necessary. today in an interview with "the new york times," mr. trump did not say what law rice had allegedly broken, but he said, "i think it's going to be the biggest story." he would say more, he said, at the right time. it was a month ago that mr. trump said his phones had been tabbed last year on orders of president obama. he promised evidence in the future, which has not yet been forthcoming. ivanka trump recently joined her father's team of advisers, which also includes chief of staff reince priebus, chief strategist steve bannon, and ivanka trump's husband, senior adviser jared kushner. "cbs this morning's" gayle king asked ivanka trump about reports of discord within the team. >> is everyone getting along in the white house? there are reports that there are warring factions within the white house? is there any truth to that
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whatsoever? >> there's a lot of these palace intrigue stories. >> house of cards, game of thrones. >> i try the stay out of all that. i think it is healthy and good to have people who don't always agree on every single issue. you want that diversity of opinion at the table. and i do think we have a lot of different viewpoints at the table. but they're not at odds with one another. i think anyone you ask will say that that's a positive thing and that's a from ducktive thing and this lends itself to a better outcome. there are great teams at the white house, and a lot of the people doing so much work every single day are not the names that you're reading about. >> pelley: tomorrow the president will welcome chinese leader xi jinping to his florida estate. two days of talks will include north korea's nuclear program. and as if on cue, the north koreans test fired a missile
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last night. david martin has more. >> reporter: the latest test failed nine minutes into flight, making it only 40 miles before pin wheeling into the sea, but it also exposed gaps in u.s. intelligence. initially thought to be a new, two-stage solid fuel missile like this, it turned out to be an old, single-stage liquid-full missile. >> what i'm concerned about most nights is north korea. >> reporter: just yesterday general john hyten, the man in charge of shooting down any incoming missile, told congress he's never sure what's coming next. >> those are very concerning moments because every time they launch we're in the sure if this was a theft missile or not. >> reporter: this missile was not a threat, but coming days before president trump meets with chinese president xi, it did seem to carry a message -- nothing the two presidents do will stop north korea from developing a nuclear arsenal. the u.s. responded with a cryptic message of its own.
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instead of the usual condemnation calling it a provocative act in violation of u.n. resolutions. secretary of state rex tillerson says, "the united states has spoken enough about north korea. we have no further comment." a signal the old rules of dealing with north korea, the policy known as strategic patience, are out the window. the greatest threat would come from an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the united states. the north koreans are closing in on one. >> they already have the capability to deploy a missile. the question is when will they be able to make a nuclear weapon. >> reporter: north korea's next step would be to conduct an underground nuclear test. u.s. intelligence is watching the site where previous tests have been conducted and is warning a test could come at any time. scott? scott pelley david martin at the pentagon tonight. thanks. severe storms are predicted tonight from the gulf of mexico to the midwest. in the south, tornadoes, hail, and flash fladz threatened
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millions. mark strassmann is in georgia. >> reporter: severe weather gripped much of the southeast all day. in south georgia, a noon tornado tore through several buildings. weston, georgia, resident calvin friedman. >> it was really bad because the top on the whole house started peeling off. so we knew it was really serious storm. >> reporter: flash flooding bloated atlanta's peach tree creek. vehicles were suddenly floating, and first responders had to make rescues in rafts. at least five reported twisters touched down in georgia and south carolina, where severe weather was forecast to rumble through in three separate waves. an uber driver shot this video of flash flooding near columbia. wbz chief meteorologist eric fisher. >> it's been a really active start to the stormy season across the u.s., well ahead of the pace of the past few years. today one of the most active days we've seen.
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we'll track these severe storms right into the day tomorrow. >> reporter: this is an agricultural business. scott, the manager told us he sent all of his employees home about 11:00 a.m. it was the right call. 90 minutes later a twister barreled through here and left this business in ruins. >> pelley: mark strassmann for us tonight. mark, thank you. coming up next on the "cbs evening news," the i.r.s. changes tactics for dealing with tax delinquents. and later, life lessons from a fencing coach. daily use treats ed and the urinary symptoms of bph. tell your doctor about your medicines, and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sex. do not take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, or adempas® for pulmonary hypertension, as this may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. do not drink alcohol in excess. to avoid long-term injury, get medical help right away for an erection lasting more than four hours. if you have a sudden decrease or loss of hearing or vision, or an allergic reaction, stop taking cialis and get medical help right away. ask your doctor about cialis.
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(de♪p breath) (phone ringing) they'll call back. no one knows your ford better than ford and ford service. right now, during the big tire event, get a $140 rebate by mail, on four select tires. ♪ >> pelley: the internal revenue service is hiring private debt collectors to go after people who have not paid their taxes. jericka duncan has that. >> reporter: two years ago 79-year-old mary van essendelft was scammed out of her retirement savings, nearly $100,000. >> they said i shouldn't call anybody or do anything because the house was bugged and the phone was bugged.
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>> reporter: essendelft thought she was talking to the i.r.s. >> he said he was a representative and sounded like the real mccoy. >> reporter: since 2013, nearly two million americans have been called by people posing as government agents. to date more than 1,000 of them were duped into paying $55 million to criminals. >> just hang up. >> reporter: over the years the i.r.s. has created several public service announcements warning taxpayers that they do not call to collect money. but now that's changed. federal law mandates the i.r.s. allow private debt collectors to call people who owe back taxes. here's how the new program works. the i.r.s. will notify taxpayers by letter first when their account is being turned over. the agency assigned to your case will then also send you a letter. after that, they could call you to discuss payment options. the agency gets a 25% commission on the money it collects. >> i think unfortunately the
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i.r.s. is creating a system where more people who are vulnerable will be taken advantage of. >> reporter: ira rheingold is executive director of the national association of consumer advocates. >> it makes absolutely no sense on policy grounds, on budgetary grounds. it's a rule that's only going to cause havoc for consumers. >> reporter: the i.r.s. says payment should never be sent to a private agency or person. payment should only be made directly to the i.r.s. or the u.s. treasury. >> pelley: jericka duncan, thanks so much. up next, embattled bill o'reilly up next, embattled bill o'reilly gets support from the fox watcher in chief. and markets continue to rise and fall... predictable is one thing you need in retirement to help protect what you've earned and ensure it lasts. introducing brighthouse financial. a new company established by metlife
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>> pelley: now it's at least 44 sponsors that have dropped bill o'reilly's show on the fox news channel. advertisers have been leaving since "the new york times" reported o'reilly and fox paid $13 million to settle various sexual harassment claims.
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all denied by o'reilly. today president trump said those claims were all wrong. he told "the new york times" o'reilly is "a good person and should not have settled with his accusers because he hasn't done anything wrong." an f-16 fighter crashed today near joint base andrews in maryland. the pilot from the d.c. air national guard ejected, suffering minor injuries. he guided the jet to a field 200 yards from a subdivision. there were no injuries on the ground. the new principal of pittsburgh high school in kansas has resigned after student reporters on the school paper exposed her false credentials. the principal's advanced degrees were from an unaccredited university. the school's journalism adviser says the students were just uncovering the truth. nice work. from the pen to a mighty sword next.
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because my eyes are everything. >> pelley: in our series living stronger, we're introducing you to senior members of the american family who are setting an example. tonight a fencing coach. don dahler has her sordid tale. >> seal the blade, touch your blade, release, and go. >> reporter: kristin vines is a no nonsense fencing coach. >> train yourself to be ready. >> reporter: one of the best in the nation. >> good. i come back, you come forward. >> reporter: she drills her class in khateeb, tennessee, on tactics and techniques that have won her state titles. >> do you think people
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understand? >> absolutely not. oh, you're a fencer. they don't get it. >> reporter: but the 56-year-old isn't content to just direct others and sit on the sidelines. vines is a four-time u.s.a. fencing champion who still competes. >> nice. >> reporter: in fact, she won the gold at last year's national championship for women aged 50 to 59. which is better, when you're in the competition or when you see them in the competition? >> i'd rather compete than watch them compete. i can't stand to watch them lose. >> reporter: at 6'2", vine says she may be a little slower than her opponents, but her secret the living stronger is to out work them. when you began this sport 30 years ago, could you ever have imagined you would still be competing at this age? >> no. i figured i would have moved on to something else. yes! >> reporter: and if coaching and winning championships are not enough, vine says there's also a correlation between her obscure sport and the difficult dead language she teaches, latin. >> it's a life lesson.
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how do you react the losing? how do you react to failing? do you quit or do you get up and try again? it's the kids who are willing to get up and try again where i know i've made a difference. >> reporter: one of those she made a difference with is junior seth vestal. he says because of her latin class, he took up fencing. >> it's one of the reasons why i do fence, because she's the coach. >> reporter: how long are you going to gear up and pick up that foil and go on to the strip and compete. >> until my knees give out. and once my knees give out, hopefully they'll be able to put new ones in that still work, and then i'll keep going. >> reporter: which means for years to come, kristin vines will continue to be a towering presence on the fencing strip and in the lives of her students. don dahler, cbs news, chattanooga, tennessee. >> pelley: and that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. for all of us at cbs news all around the world, good night.
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. tonight -- a mama june exclusive. >> how much do you weigh today? >> revealing her weight after her total body formations. >> i'm not eating salads every day. >> what you never knew about the reality star. then mel b says her husband impregnated their nanny. >> plus. barry manilow's big secret after coming out about his marriage. >> we've been together for all these years. >> then harry styles extreme stunt. why is he hanging from a helicopter? and amy schumer on love, wanting kids and herb unique beauty tips. >> the one beauty product i can't live without. toilet paper.

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