tv ABC World News With David Muir ABC February 14, 2017 6:30pm-7:00pm EST
tonight, breaking news. the white house bombshell. new reporting after president trump's national security adviser is forced out. the white house now says president trump demanded his resignation. general mike flynn, and the phone calls with the russian ambassador. also, tonight we learn the u.s. justice department signaled concern about general flynn 17 days ago. what concerned them. the fbi interview with flynn. our team standing by. the tornadoes touching down outside houston. severe storms. damaging winds. on highly alert tonight at america's tallest dam. a rain storm set to hit as they helicopter in massive boulders and bags of rocks. and the close call. actor harrison ford piloting his own plane, coming dangerously close to a 737.
mistaking the taxiway for the runway? good evening, and it's great to have you with us here on a tuesday night, and we begin with a major shakeup inside the trump white house. national security adviser michael flynn forced to resign after what the administration is calling an erosion of trust. that issue, flynn's call with the russian ambassador on the same day president obama was improposing new sanctions on russia because of their meddling in the u.s. election. at first, flynn denied talking about sanctions, and mike pence went on national tv to back him up, but fbi agents listened to the calls and heard differently, and the u.s. justice department aall righted the white house the this 17 days ago. we begin with jonathan karl. >> reporter: a surprising revelation from the white house today -- the president has known for nearly three weeks that national security advisor michael flynn deceived the vice president and the public about
his conversations with the russian ambassador to the u.s. yet it wasn't until last night that the president fired him. >> a level of trust between the president and general flynn had eroded to the point where he felt he had to make a change. >> reporter: the story begins on december 29th, when president obama sanctioned russia for meddling in the election. that same day, less than two hours after sanctions were imposed, flynn spoke with the russian ambassador. but flynn insisted to pence and others he did not discuss sanctions, a claim pence then repeated on national tv. >> those conversations that happened to occur around the time that the united states took action to expel diplomats had nothing whatsoever to do with those sanctions. >> reporter: but on january 26th, the justice department told white house counsel don mcgahn, who immediately told the president that flynn wasn't telling the truth. intelligence agents had been listening in on the ambassador's
calls and had discovered that sanctions were discussed. justice officials believed russia could blackmail flynn by threatening to expose his lie. why would the president, if he was notified 17 days ago that flynn has misled the vice president, other officials here, and that he was a potential threat to blackmail by the russians -- why would he be kept on for almost three weeks? >> well that's not -- that's -- assumes a lot of things that are not true. the president was informed of this, he asked the white house counsel to review the situation. the first part of it was clearly to understand the legal aspect of this. and that was simply concluded, there was no legal aspect. and then what happened, the president evaluated the trust aspect. >> reporter: flynn was not fired right away. in fact, two days after learning of his deception, the president had flynn by his side for a phone call with russian president vladimir putin. it wasn't until friday after "the washington post" broke the
story flynn had discussed sanctions that flynn changed his story, and apologized to the vice president for misleading him. on air force one that night, the president was pressed by reporters. >> what do you think of reports about talking to the russians about sanctions mean? >> i don't know about the reports. i haven't seen it. what story was that? >> reporter: as the story escalated, radio silence from the president, who ignored questions about flynn. finally this late yet. >> general flynn does enjoy the full confidence of the president. >> reporter: about six hours later, flynn was out. but today, more mixed messages. this morning, conway said flynn resigned. this afternoon press secretary sean spicer said he was fired. >> the evolving and eroding level of trust as a result of this situation and a series of other questionable instances is what led the president to ask for general flynn's resignation. >> reporter: flynn, a retired three-star general, was one of candidate donald trump's most influential and fervent advisers, firing up the republican convention with his blistering attacks on hillary clinton. >> lock her up! lock her up! >> lock her up. that's right.
yep. that's right. lock her up. >> reporter: he's been criticized for his close ties to russia. this 2015 picture showing him sitting alongside putin. still, president trump has explicitly denied that anyone on his team was in touch with the russians during the campaign. can you still say that nobody in the trump campaign, not even general flynn, had any contact with the russians before the election? >> my understanding is that what general flynn has now expressed is that during the transition period -- well, we were very clear that during the transition period, he did speak with the ambassador -- >> reporter: i'm talking about during the campaign. >> i don't have any -- there's nothing that would conclude me that anything different has changed with respect to that time period. >> reporter: for months, the president has raised eyebrows with his effusive praise of vladimir putin. >> put season a killer.
>> a lot of killers, you got a lot of killers. you think our country is so innocent? >> reporter: but today, the press secretary said this -- >> the irony of this entire situation is that the president has been incredibly tough on >> jon karl with us there. you reported there knew for 17 days that sanctions came up with that conversation between michael flynn and the russian ambassador. we saw vice president pence defend flynn on national tv, but when did the vice president find out? >> reporter: david, tonight, we have learned that nobody at the white house, not the white house counsel, not the president told vice president pence about that until the story broke late last week in "the washington post," and he read it in the newspaper. >> he read it himself in the paper. jon karl, leading us off. thank you. as jon reported here, it was the u.s. justice department that alerted the white house about their concern involving flynn. intelligence authorities going back and listening to those phone calls after something suspicious prompted them to do so. president obama's sanctions kicking russian diplomats out of the u.s., and russia,
mysteriously, no retaliation. abc's justice correspondent, pierre thomas on the trail tonight. >> reporter: flynn's spectacular fall started with a hunch by the intelligence community. it began when president obama issued those tough december sanctions, kicking russian officials out of the u.s. for hacking the democrats. >> our goal continues to be to send a clear message to russia. >> reporter: but stunningly, putin didn't retaliate, even inviting american children to a kremlin party. donald trump tweeting at the time, "i always new he was very smart." but suspicious of putin's failure to counterpunch, the fbi and intelligence community started digging, uncovering the bombshell conversations between flynn and the russian ambassador. acting attorney general sally yates and others wanted to notify the white house, but fbi chief james comey was concerned that the investigation was at too sensitive a stage and could be compromised. but as trump surrogates repeatedly backed flynn's
version of events, yates decided she had to act, warning white house officials that they had been misled. she worried flynn was at risk of russian blackmail. today sean spicer insisted then-president-elect trump never told flynn to discuss the sanctions. >> did the president instruct him to talk about sanctions? >> no, absolutely not. no, no, no. >> reporter: spicer also seemed to blame yates for the delay in notifying the white house. >> why did it take so long? i think the first question should be, where was the department of justice in this? they were aware of this. >> reporter: late today we also learned that the fbi interviewed flynn the week after the inauguration. sources declined to comment on what flynn said, but if he wasn't completely honest, he could be accused of lying to the fbi, a felony. >> and pierre thomas with us live tonight from the fbi. a new interview published with general flynn skpr, conducted yesterday while he had a job, and they said he crossed, quote, no lines and the president urged him to get out and talk more.
>> reporter: he insisted his conversation with the russian ambassador was not about sanctions, but about the diplomats obama expelled last year, and he said that the president expesed confidence in hear, even though sean spicer said trust eroded to the point of his resignation a few hours later, david. >> you can imagine the reaction pouring in from democrats and republicans. republican senator john mccain saying this is an administration in significant disarray. abc's mary bruce tonight. >> reporter: amid growing question about the trump team's ties to russia, from senate republicans tonight, deep concern. >> obviously there's an administration that's in significant disarray as far as national security is concerned. >> reporter: top republicans like senate majority leader mitch mcconnell say it's, quote, highly likely, the senate will
investigate michael flynn's conversations with russian officials. will you call on flynn to testify? >> we won't exclude that. >> reporter: but some republicans are more reluctant. >> that seems to have resolved itself with the white house taking some decisive action. >> reporter: congressman jason chaffetz, the chair of the house oversight committee, vigorously led the investigation into hillary clinton's e-mails, but says he has no plans to investigate flynn's ties to russia. >> we've been asking for months for basic oversight. our chairman jason chaffetz has not lifted one finger. >> reporter: chaffetz is, however, investigating whether white house counselor kellyanne conway crossed a line by promoting ivanka trump's brand on television. >> she is just -- it's a wonderful line. i own some of it. i'm going to give a free commercial here. go buy it online! >> reporter: today, the office of government ethics said there is "strong reason to believe" conway violated ethics rules and recommended "disciplinary action against her." this as chaffetz demands answers
into these pictures -- the president and the japanese prime minister at mar-a-lago, huddling with advisors after learning north korea launched a missile, club members witnessing it all, some posting pictures on facebook raising security questions. so you'll look at mar-a-lago, you'll look at kellyanne conway and the ivanka brand, but not the trump team's ties to russia? >> at this point, i am holding out all my options. >> holding out options, mary bruce. live on the hill tonight, and how likely is it we'll see general flynn called to the hill to testify? >> reporter: through growing calls to call him to testify, and the chair of intelligence committee says he plans to cast a wide net in this investigation looking into all contacts between the trump team and the russians, david. >> mary bruce on capitol hill for us. mary, thank you. one more note before we move on here. russia with curious military moves tonight. the first making headlines, a russian spyship spotted in
international waters off the coast of delaware. authorities say this is unusual, but similar moves have been made before, and the second concern in the black sea. russian jets flying within 100 yards of the navy's uss porter. the russians say it never happened. they have secretly deployed a cruise missile, an apparent violation of a treaty. they have made very clear our concerns about russia's violation. back here at home tonight, severe weather throughout the gulf at this hour. at least four confirmed tornadoes. one of them in texas, packing 100 mile-an-hour winds, damaging homes there. the storms are on the move, and abc's phillip mena is in texas. >> reporter: tonight, heavy rain, straight line winds, and multiple confirmed tornadoes pummel the south. >> this wind and rain is picking up like crazy. >> reporter: in houston, slick roads and a dangerous commute. watch again as this driver
fishtails on a major highway. northwest of the city, a high school senior killed on her way to school, her vehicle colliding with an 18-wheeler. businesses and schools sheltering in place. these gymnastics students taking cover in a foam pit. in the storm's wake, roofs ripped off. >> it touched all the way to the ground and there was debris flying. it does go clockwise just like they said. >> reporter: parts of homes winding up in trees. a tree falling onto this junior high, and trampolines turned into flying projectiles. david, a mother and her two young children were inside this mobile home when the tornado flipped it over. miraculously, they survived. david? >> phillip mena with us tonight. thank you. next this evening to new u.s. sanctions announced against a foreign leader tonight. steve mnuchin calling the vice president of venezuela an international drug trafficker. that leader lashing out at the u.s. tonight calling it an
imperialist aggression. the concern over drugs is just one symptom of a country with the world's largest oil reserves spiraling into ruin, and you're about to witness families struggling for food and medicine. some eating meals every other day. abc's matt gutman from venezuela. >> reporter: we met up with second-grade teacher vanessa, and she invited us into her class. she says some of of her students have fainted from hunger [ speaking in a foreign language ] >> reporter: just milk. these kids aren't asking for candy or fast food. >> leche. [ speaking a foreign language ] >> reporter: when the food began to vanish, so did vanessa's students. the upturned chairs on the desk, an unofficial role call. [ speaking a foreign language ]
>> reporter: more than a third of the country's teachers miss school every day to stand in lines like these, hoping to find the staples for their own children. vanessa and her husband have to alternate eating every night to make sure their son eats every day. this is the smile on his face. [ speaking a foreign language ] >> reporter: the future is uncertain here. but vanessa and her family are still holding out hope for change. [ speaking a foreign language ] >> thanks to matt and the team in venezuela. matt will have much more of his reporting, witnessing horrifying conditions in that country on a special edition of "nightline," 12:35 eastern tonight. there is much more on "world
news tonight" this tuesday. we have breaking news on that dam. a new rainstorm moves in. and the alert for the nearly 200,000 people moved from their homes. and harrison ford almost hitting a 737 while piloting his own plan. what we have learned coming up here. while everyone was celebrating the super bowl, police say this man was trying to steal five paintings. how they caught him when we come back. coming back toms kept on my long-term control medicine. i talked to my doctor and found a missing piece in my asthma treatment with breo. once-daily breo prevents asthma symptoms. breo is for adults with asthma not well controlled on a long-term asthma control medicine, like an inhaled corticosteroid. breo won't replace a rescue inhaler for sudden breathing problems. breo is specifically designed to open up airways to improve breathing for a full 24 hours. breo contains a type of medicine that increases the risk of death from asthma problems and may increase the risk of hospitalization
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taxiway instead of runway 20-left, and passed right over an american airlines 737 that was waiting to take off. ford apparently not realizing his mistake asking controllers if the jet was supposed to be below him. it's not the first incident for the star of "indiana jones" and "star wars." >> engine failure, immediate return. >> reporter: two years ago, he crashed landed another plane, details of which he didn't remember. >> how are you feeling? >> i'm doing great, thank you. thank you. i'm back playing tennis, riding my bikes, and having a good time. >> reporter: the faa says the pilot of the small plane did call out the right runway, but the american airlines pilot watched him fly over them. the faa investigation, and the ntsb says it's gathering information. >> thank you. when we come back, the the information in the infamous child kidnapping case that made headlines for decades.
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to the index of other news and to america's tallest dam in oroville, california tonight. crews rushing to fix the heavily damaged spillways. hoisting giant bags of rocks and dropping them in. tonight, some evacuated families being allowed to return, but the evacuation has been replaced with a new warning now that new rain is on the way. a murder conviction in a notorious disappearance after 38 years. 6-year-old etan patz vanished on his way to the bus stop in 1979. tonight, finding a former convenience store clerk, pedro hernandez guilty. a thief caught in the act. breaking into a gallery in boston as the city was celebrating the super bowl win. stealing five pieces of art, including a picasso. holding him down and chasing him down until they survived. tonight, unbeatable. the uconn women's basketball
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♪ ♪ america strong, and on this valentine's day, a reminder that children often have the biggest hearts. a 7-year-old boy we met with help from wfaa. here's linsey davis. >> reporter: don't be fooled by the small body. >> i don't have big crew for this so i could use some more people's help! >> reporter: this little guy has a bigger heart than most. at just 7 years old, kaden newton of rockwall,
texas, already runs a non-profit company called "mac and cheese and pancakes," a business born out of a family trip to a food pantry when he noticed they didn't have kid-friendly foods like mac and cheese and pancakes. >> those are my two favorite foods. >> reporter: he and his family asked people to donate and advertised on social media. within just ten days, their living space all but disappeared, overwhelmed by piles of peanut butter, mounds of mac and cheese -- which kaden tallies by hand -- now in excess of 8,000 donations and counting. >> let's get some mac and cheese in there. >> reporter: an entire truckload of comfort foods for kids who could use it. >> it makes my heart so happy. >> reporter: maybe everything really is bigger in texas. including his heart. >> i'm d
here are today's contestants -- a junior at the united states military academy from natomas, florida... [ cheers and applause ] a junior at stanford university from austin, texas... [ cheers and applause ] and a sophomore at macalester college from atlanta, georgia... and now here is the host of "jeopardy!" -- alex trebek! thank you, johnny. hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the second of our quarter-final matches. after 27 years of marriage, i have learned some important things in life. so i'm going to begin today's program by saying happy valentine's day to my beautiful wife jean. and to all of you also. [ applause ] jennifer, viraj, and hannah, welcome. good luck. here we go into the jeopardy! round.