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tv   Nightline  ABC  March 7, 2017 12:37am-1:07am EST

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[ cheers and applause ] this is "nightline." tonight, the wire. president trump doubling down on his explosive claims that former president obama wire-tapped him during the campaign. >> i'm just going to let the tweet speak for itself. >> but 48 hours later, still zero proof. multiple intelligence officials pushing back on the unsubstantiated allegations. >> there was no wire tap against trump tower during the campaign. >> what we know now. plus, gone guru. >> always thought i was from a different planet. >> he's the weight loss wizard who changed countless lives. but now friends of richard simmons say he's vanished into thin air. >> he disappeared. he stopped returning my e-mails, my phone calls. >> creating a podcast to solve
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the mystery of his sudden absence. and the jackson tribe. >> the king of pop's kids are all grown up, what they're doing now, and the lessons prince michael says he learned from his father's music video. but first the "nightline" 5. number one in just 60 seconds.
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♪ ♪
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good evening, thank you for joining us. president trump still offering no proof to support the unprecedented and inflammatory accusations he made to twitter this weekend, that president obama wire-tapped trump tower. fbi director james comey has asked the department of justice to publicly refute the claim and now intelligence officials have rejected the allegations as well. will there now be a congressional investigation? here's abc's david wright. >> reporter: even for a white house that's developed a reputation for alternative facts -- >> the bombshell accusations. >> president trump lashes out at his predecessor. >> accusing president obama of tapping his phones. >> reporter: the controversy that erupted this weekend was of an entirely different magnitude. first thing saturday morning at mar-a-lago trump tweeted out a plot worthy of a tom clancy novel. trump flat out accused obama of tapping the wires here at trump tower. accusing the former psi
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spying to him on the eve of the election. terrible, he tweeted. nothing found, this is mccarthyism. offering no evidence whatsoever, trump accused his predecessor of mettling in the very sacred election process. bad, or sick, guy. >> if this happened, martha -- >> if, if, if, if, if. >> why is the president saying it did happen? >> look, i think he's going off information that he's saying that has led him to believe that this is a very real potential. >> reporter: president obama's spokesman flatly denied it. the fbi director asked the justice department to publicly refute it. and the former director of national intelligence came out to deny it as well. >> there was no wire tap against trump tower during the campaign conducted by any part of the national intelligence community. >> reporter: and a president can't just order a wire tap. the process has legal safeguards, and creates a paper trail. >> this is something that goes through the
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and typically, they would then take it to a secret court, the fisa court. which would mean a judge would also sign off on it. so the notion that president obama single handedly decided to wire tap donald trump is basically nonsense. >> reporter: none of that seems to trouble the white house. president trump is now calling for a congressional investigation. >> it's important to note that there's an equally outlandish narrative on the other side. the other narrative also in the mix is that the trump campaign may have colluded with the russian government to mettle in the 2016 election. again, allegedly. no proof of that either. no smoking gun of collusion. but more than a little smoke. >> in terms of the russian intrusion into the election, you stand by all that you've said? >> absolutely. >> reporter: there is a full fbi investigation under way now into whether the russians or how the russians mettled in the u.s. elections, but according to jim
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he left in mid january, at that point he said he knew of no evidence whatsoever that showed collusion between the trump campaign and the russians. >> reporter: best anyone can tell, the president's wire-tapping tweets seem to trace back to a theory put forward last thursday by conservative talk radio host mark levin. >> barack obama and his surrogates who were supporting hillary clinton and their party, the democrat party, who were using the instrumentalities of the federal government, intelligence activities to surveil members of the trump campaign. >> the next day, breitbart media jumped on the story. that article made the rounds in the white house. we now know from white house sources that trump went off to palm beach this weekend in a foul mood. erupting in anger at his senior staff in a tense oval office meeting. a tv camera positioned in the rose garden to film the president's departure, caught a glimpse of the scene. you can see steve bannon
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gesturing. sources say trump was anger about the controversy surrounding his attorney general. democrats have been calling for jeff sessions to resign ever since he admitted that he didn't tell the senate judiciary committee the truth about his c contacts with russian officials. >> if there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the trump campaign, communicated with the russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do? >> i'm not aware of any of those activities. i have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign, and i didn't -- did not have communications with the russians. >> reporter: last week, "the washington post" broke the news he did meet more than once with the russian ambassador. so sessions changed his story. >> in retrospect, i should have slowed down and said, but i did meet one russian official a couple of times. that would be the ambassador. >> reporter: trump stuck by sessions despite
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controversy. >> should sessions recuse himself from ffininvestigationso your campaign and russia? >> i don't think so at all. >> reporter: but hours later -- >> i have no decide stod recuse myself from any existing or future investigations of any matter relating in any way to the campaigns for president of the united states. >> reporter: white house sources tell abc news that's why the president was furious at that oval office meeting. >> in the president's mind, this is weakness. this is acting guilty, acting like you've done something wrong. because in his mind, it makes sessions look guilty, and he thinks it was just an absolutely terrible mistake. >> the bottom line of this meeting, from what your sources are saying, is that reince priebus, the chief of staff, and steve bannon, the senior adviser, suddenly decide they're not going to go on air force 1? >> leaves without his two top people on the trip. >> it's sounding like an episode of survivor, these two guys temporarily voted off the
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>> the tribe has spoken. >> reporter: two of trump's most trusted aides temporarily sidelined. although neither of them got voted off the island. and the end result of this is that the president is left to his own device? >> right. >> literally? >> his own tweetable device. >> reporter: those tweets so explosive that cleaning up after them has become a full time job in the west wing. today on the morning shows -- >> the bigger question, let the house intelligence committee do its job. >> that's not true. >> reporter: and all day long on cable -- >> if the president of the united states said that, he's got his reasons to say that. he's got some convincing evidence that that took place. >> reporter: the talking point seemed to be that he's the president. he must know what he's talking about. today's white house daily briefing, a bit unusual as a result. >> saw these cameras outside the white house right now. we're not allowed into the briefing room today because cameras weren't allowed for
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gaggle with sean spicer today. that's different. >> reporter: inside the briefing room, sean spicer stuck to the party line. . i'm just going to let the tweet speak for itself. there's no question that something happened. the question is, is it surveillance, is it a wire tap? >> all they'll say is the president's statement speaks for itself. >> the key here, donald trump has a track record of doing just this kind of thing. he's spent years as a private system fueling the right-wing theory that barack obama was not an american citizen. after the election, he claimed there are three million people who voted illegally against him. no proof. no proof for the birther issue. and now once again with the fbi and the wire taps, no proof. >> reporter: the maelstrom is all but eclipsing other important news, the new travel ban, the long awaited obamacare replacement proposal, and more north korean missile launches. instead of getting to the bottom
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washington is off chasing russians, the other chasing the ex-president and a wire tap that might not exist. all of it eroding trust, spreading doubts and clouding some very important issues. i'm david wright for "nightline" in new york. next, missing richard simmons. why the fitness guru's friends say they haven't seen him in years. and later, the jackson kids are back. why prince michael says "smooth criminal" is his favorite of his father's music videos. ♪ ♪ this this is my body of proof. proof of less joint pain and clearer skin. this is my body of proof that i can take on psoriatic arthritis with humira. humira works by targeting and helping to block a specific source of inflammation that contributes to both joint and skin symptoms. it's proven to help relieve pain, stop further joint damage, and clear skin in many adults.
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♪ ♪
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richard simmons has been a hero to thousands of weight watchers across the world. dedicating his life to helping people maintain a healthy diet and work-out plan. his devoted followers would love to thank him, but they can't. he reportedly hasn't been seen by even his closest friends for years. here's abc's nick watt. ♪ ♪ >> keep those legs going, come on! >> reporter: richard simmons, evangelist, showman, guru, sweating to the oldies, for decades. >> hold the stomach in. >> reporter: his signature, short shorts, a tank top and a smile. he doled out love, and he doled out weight loss advice to everyone he met. >> i gotta lose some weight. >> don't eat in the car, that's number one. >> reporter: he embraced it. always accessible, omnipresent. then in early 2014, just
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appearance, simmons suddenly vanished, retreating behind the walls of his west hollywood home. bereft fans asked why and conspiracies swirled. let's discuss the two main theories at that time. now, three years later, simmons, still out of the spotlight, and his disappearance from public life is the subject of the number one itunes podcast, "missing richard simmons." >> three years ago to the day, richard simmons stopped being richard simmons, and i want to find out why. >> i met him in 2012, i wanted to tell his story way before any of this happened. the fact that he disappeared like he did, just kind of made it more urgent. >> reporter: a producer for "the daily show," one of many who got hooked on the work-outs, became friends with the fun-loving fitness fanatic. >> sup
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hilarious and rude in a really funny way. he tells amazing stories. he cries every class. >> come on, this is for you! >> reporter: he's looking for answers. >> after about a year, year and a half, i started talking to people. nobody was just thinking, he's fine, he's just taking time off. nobody thought that. >> reporter: february 15th, 2014, simmons didn't show up to teach his regular class, his students bewildered. >> it's 11:35, okay, now he's five minutes late. >> then it got to like 12:05, and we were like, what is happening. >> like, i don't know if richard's coming. >> and then people started leaving and someone subbed for him. >> reporter: november last year, his studio doors closed for good. he opened slimmons in 1974, and said he opened it because other gyms in los angeles didn't really want overweight
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for simmons, all shapes and sizes, everyone welcome. not only did he stop teaching, one day he stopped returning my e-mails, my phone calls. i thought, well, that stinks. that's a drag. then i realized he wasn't calling anybody. or e-mailing anybody. >> reporter: david garcia, who lost 160 pounds, sweating to the oldies, same deal. >> the last time i saw richard was here in this building in early february 2014. >> it snowballed and people started speculating all over the place. >> reporter: in a phone call to nbc last march, simmons insisted he's fine. >> you haven't seen the last of me. i'll comeack and i'll come back strong. >> it was unusual that it was only a phone call and not in person. >> reporter: today simmons publicist of 27 years told us, we didn't cooperate noor collaborate with this podcast. the truth is that richard is fine and willingly enjoying his life outside the spotlight, while still working behind the scenes to help those millions who desperately need his love
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and assistance. these unfounded attempts to diminish the legacy of this true american treasure are simply shameful. chris connelly profiled simmons in 2009, taking us inside his west hollywood home where simmons would personally call those across the country struggling to lose weight. >> this is mary faith. she began at 375 pounds, and now at 169. hey, it's richard simmons calling. how are you? >> reporter: sometimes he would do this dozens of times a day. not trying to sell them anything, except the value of diet and exercise. >> how many times have i personally told you how terrific you are? >> i know. >> how many? how many! >> millions. >> reporter: yes, we love him for his enthusiasm, his exercise videos, and over-the-top tv appearances. here on cnn's american morning. >> i love richard simmons. thank you. [ laughter ] >> reporter: but it's his
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that make him a true legend. >> i don't have to work anymore. i don't have to make a phone call anymore. i don't have to do one more leg lift. this is my passion, and this is my mission. >> reporter: but despite his extroverted public persona, his personal life has always been a little solitary. >> do i get lonely sometimes? sure, you're on the road, you're not home, my dogs and my housekeeper, i'm attached to them. they're my, my sturdiness in my life. >> reporter: when was the last time you were in love? >> i don't think i'm in love with a person, as much as i'm in love with what i do. no one should feel sorry for richard simmons. because i think i'm one of the most loved people in the whole world. >> reporter: yes, there's a lurid tabloid fascination, but also now a genuine concern. dan with his chart-topping podcast says he just wants answers. >> he's an interesting, gentle guy. and i think that's part of why people like him. i think that's part of why people are worried about him now. because you feel that sensitivity, and you sort of
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>> reporter: so far the podcast has explored the questions and conspiracies. >> i'm here to talk about dalmatians. this brings us to richard's disappearance number two, the dog theory. >> reporter: but found no evidence or answers. >> this isn't a witch-hunt. i just wish him well. i haven't talked to anybody who thinks richard simmons is fine. >> reporter: i'm nick watt for "nightline" in beverly hills. if you're a podcast fan, subscribe to our abc podcast for "nightline." you can find all of our on itunes, the abc news app, or at abc news podcast.com. and next -- ♪ ♪ >> they beat it for a few years, but now they're back. why michael jackson's grown children are returning to the limelight. abc news "nightline" brought to you by viagra. can take viagra when they need it. ask your doctor if your heart is healthy enough for sex.
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and finally tonight, michael jackson's music isn't his only legacy. ♪ billy jean is not my lover >> reporter: his mom may not be billy jean,
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the king of pop dad. prince michael jackson is now 20 years old and very much his own man. while his sister paris announced her signing to. >> troy: mg models days ago and blanket remains out of the spotlight, the eldest son of the pop legend is paving his own hand. from acting to going behind the lens producing a video. ♪ ♪ >> reporter: telling abc's robin roberts, his father's affinity for highly produced videos taught him a thing or two. >> i found out that skream was one of the most expensive videos to make. >> ma >> reporter: even taking a pause to let the world know his favorite video. >> if i had to pick a specific, i would choose "smooth criminal." >> when did you first realize that your father was the king of pop? >> we
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his performances and i'm used to seeing most females passing out. what blew my mind was big, muscle-bound dudes fainting. >> as for whether his dad would support his whiskers, he doesn't know. >> would he support that beard? >> i don't know. hopefully, it just grew up and we'll see what happens. ♪ ♪ i'm bad >> thank you for watching abc news, and as always, we're online, abc news.com and our "nightline" facebook page. thanks for the company, america, goodnight. >> i can't say for sure that someone's going to win the $1 million today, but i do know that if they do, you're not gonna want to miss it. so stay where you are. it's time to play "who wants to be a millionaire." [cheers and applause] [dramatic music] ♪ hey, everybody, welcome to the show. are you guys ready to play "millionaire" today? [cheers and applause] all last week, we were playing getaway week where con
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in addition to playing for $1 million, were also playing for a getaway package for someone special in their life, and one of those players is still going strong in his game. so from bay ridge, new york, let's welcome back dan pawson. [cheers and applause] dan? >> good to see you again. >> see you. [cheers and applause] welcome back, dan. yeah, we were playing getaway week where, you know, at $5,000, you could earn and win a getaway package for someone you love dearly, and you were playing for your mom. >> mm-hmm. >> someone who obviously means quite a lot to you. >> yes. >> and at the very least, us kids, we could give our mom a little getaway. >> it's--if that's the least we could do. >> but you're also now in the middle of a great game. you've taken care of mom; now it's about you. you're at $7,000. [cheers and applause] you're 8 questions away from the million. just 4 away from that next threshold of $50,000. and i know you have your eye on that $50,000. so are you ready to get back to it? >> i am ready. >> all right, 2 lifelines still remain-- "50/50" and yo "

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