tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC February 13, 2018 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
tonight, several breaking stories. the fbi this evening now disputing the story from the white house. the head of the fbi now saying they told the white house four times about rob porter's past. porter resigning after allegations of domestic violence. also breaking tonight, the dramatic rescues unfolding right now. more than a dozen climbers stranded. one climber falling hundreds of feet. cpr now being performed on the mountain. the horror. an 8-year-old kidnapped at walmart, later killed. tonight, the moment the child's mother facing down the suspect in court. this evening, the women at applebee's told to pay the bill and leave immediately. what they were accused of doing the day before, but they weren't there. tonight, applebee's firing three workers. was it a runaway suv? the driver who called 911, saying he could not stop, speeds up to 100 miles per hour.
tonight, the carmaker's response. your money tonight. president trump's cabinet. taxpayers paying for first class tickets from d.c. to new york, trips to the vatican and morocco. even a $25,000 secure phone booth. and chloe kim stealing the show, along with her dad. good evening. and it's great to have you with us here on a very busy tuesday night. and we begin with the domestic abuse firestorm consuming the west wing again tonight. this evening, the fbi contradicting the timeline given by the white house, saying they informed the white house four times about rob porter's past. the president asked again tonight, after offering words of support for porter, does he have any message for the women? two ex-wives accusing porter of abuse. the white house claiming it only fully learned about the allegations last week. but that is not what fbi director christopher wray said today. abc's senior white house correspondent cecilia vega leading us off.
>> reporter: president trump's own fbi director today publicly contradicting the white house's shifting story about when they were first informed of the domestic violence allegations against former staff secretary rob porter. over and over again, press secretary sarah sanders and her deputy, raj shah, have said the fbi was still conducting porter's security background check when his two former wives went public with their claims of abuse. one releasing this photo of her black eye. >> his background investigation was ongoing. >> i can tell you that we were -- the process for the background was ongoing, and the white house had not received any specific papers regarding the completion of that background check. >> reporter: but today, the fbi says, that's not true. in a stunning moment on capitol hill, fbi director christopher wray told the senate intelligence committee his agents actually gave the white house reports on porter four
times, as far back as last spring. >> the fbi submitted a partial report on the investigation in question in march and then a completed background investigation in late july. >> reporter: wray says the bureau sent the white house more information in november, and closed the investigation into porter last month. facing repeated questions about the contradiction, today, white house aides blamed a little known office, the white house personnel security office. >> there's multiple groups here. the white house personnel security office, which is staffed by career officials would have -- may have received information, but they had not completed their process and made a recommendation to the white house for adjudication. >> reporter: none of this has quieted the firestorm engulfing chief of staff john kelly. despite the fbi now saying they gave the white house those four reports on porter, when the story first broke, he praised
porter as a "man of true integrity and honor." is the white house still maintaining that john kelly really had no idea about these allegations of domestic abuse until this story broke? >> i can only give you the best information that i have, and that's my understanding. >> reporter: the white house press secretary now acknowledges they could have handled the porter scandal better, but kelly tells "the wall street journal" he wouldn't have handled the situation any differently, saying, quote, "it was all done right." the president himself had wished porter well, saying porter maintains his innocence, but today, still no message to the women, despite our repeated attempts to ask. mr. president, do you believe rob porter's ex-wives? do you believe rob porter's ex-wives, mr. president? does the president believe the women? >> again, the president takes all of these accusations very seriously. he believes in due process. above everything else, he supports the victims of any type of violence, and certainly would condemn any violence against anyone. >> reporter: but we still haven't heard him say that
himself. the cameras were in front of him today, and he didn't say it. >> again, the president dictated to me specifically that comment yesterday, which i read out to you guys. >> so, let's get to cecilia vega, live at the white house again tonight. and cecilia, as we've been reporting since late last week here, rob porter was working with a temporary security clearance. you've been asking why there are so many in the white house, more than a year into this administration, working with temporary clearance, jared kushner among them. and today, the president's own director of national intelligence sounding the alarm about this very issue. >> the access has to be limited in terms of the kind of information they can -- they can be in a position to receive or not receive. >> so, cecilia, you've been pressing the white house. do they have any explanation tonight why so many are on a temporary clearance? >> reporter: this is a question they are still this many days in, david, refusing to answer. sarah sanders did say today they are just following a process set by past administrations. i've got to tell you, we spent the day here working the phones, talking to people in past administrations. many of them tell us it would be
unheard of for this many aides this close to the president to still not have a permanent security clearance a year into the first term. >> all right, cecilia vega on this story again tonight. meantime, there was something else today from the leaders of america's top intelligence agencies. today, sounding the alarm, going so far as to say the u.s. is under attack, by the russians who meddled in the 2016 election and who are about to do it all over again. abc's chief justice correspondent pierre thomas was at the hearing. >> reporter: tonight, this dire message -- >> frankly, the united states is under attack. >> reporter: president trump's six top intelligence officials warning the russians are already targeting the upcoming 2018 midterm elections. >> we need to inform the american public that this is real, that this is going to be happening and the resilience needed for us to stand up and say, we're not going to allow some russian to tell us how to vote. >> have you seen russian activity in the leadup to the 2018 election cycle? >> yes, we have seen russian
activity and intentions to have an impact on the next election cycle here. >> reporter: abc news has learned that the russians plan not only to use social media to sow discord through fake news, but are probing state election systems to see if they can be infiltrated. we reported in the september before the 2016 election that 21 states were targeted by russian hackers. and this stark assessment from the republican chairman of the senate intelligence committee. >> we've seen some activity at state-elected officials that were attempts electronically to search those individuals. so, we assume that there's still the intent. >> reporter: some senators criticizing president trump, who recently said this -- >> could very well have been russia, but i think it could well have been other countries, >> we cannot confront this threat, which is a serious one, with a whole of government response when the leader of the government continues to deny that it exists. >> it's remarkable that you have
all the leaders of the intelligence committee, but you still don't have the president of the united states acknowledging the level of this threat. >> all right, let's get to pierre thomas with us live tonight, as well. and pierre, there were pointed questions today about who exactly is in charge of this effort to combat russian interference. is any one agency overseeing this, protecting the u.s.? >> reporter: david, all the agencies say they are doing their part, but tonight, it appears no single intelligence or law enforcement agency is in charge of responding to the russian cyber threat. david? >> pierre thomas, our thanks tr mountain rescues playing out in the west at this hour. authorities say one climber falling 700 feet on mt. hood. several others trapped. others performing cpr until rescuers can arrive. another group of climbers stranded nearby. and abc's kayna whitworth with the images coming in right now. >> reporter: tonight, a daring rescue attempt playing out on the top of oregon's highest peak, mt. hood. two climbers waving blankets and jackets, another performing
chest compressions on a climber that had fallen some 700 feet. the situation turning even more desperate as they shield the injured climber from falling rocks and snow. >> there was a report from one one of the persons involving in the climbing, quote, it was like a bowling alley. >> reporter: a medic repelling down to the climbers, airlifting him to the hospital, but he later died. at the same time, another rescue of a second group stranded on the other side. one of them injured, as well. >> the ice was just really bad. i saw a lot of people up ahead struggling that started earlier on, and, yeah, just decided to turn back. >> reporter: david, it's a race against time. the sheriff's office saying they are desperate to get everyone off that mountain, because they're expecting a snowstorm to move in tonight. david? >> all right, kayna whitworth, thank you. next tonight, the emotional courtroom scene in florida playing out today. the mother facing down the defendant accused of brutally abducting and then killing her 8-year-old daughter from a walmart. the medical examiner today breaking down while showing autopsy photos. here's abc's steve osunsami.
>> reporter: the details surrounding the rape and murder of 8-year-old cherish perriwinkle are so disturbing, even the medical examiner today was fighting tears in court. >> i'm sorry. i have to take a break. can i just have, like, five minutes? >> reporter: the girl's mother says she was shopping at a dollar general in 2013 when she and her three girls were approached by 61-year-old donald smith. rayne perriwinkle says he was promising to help them buy clothes, so, she agreed to pile her family into his van and ride with him to a walmart. >> he looked into my face and told me i was safe. >> reporter: what she didn't know was that smith was a registered sex offender. he is seen on this surveillance camera walking out of the walmart with her 8-year-old daughter. the girl was found dead in a creek the next day. >> i was yelling, "call 911, my daughter's been taken." >> reporter: this was that call for help. >> he wanted her to buy these really tall shoes that were women's shoes, and i told him no, i said, they're too high for
her, i wouldn't even wear shoes that high. maybe he was grooming her. i hope to god he doesn't kill her and i hope to god he doesn't rape her. >> reporter: smith has pleaded not guilty. if he's convicted, he could be sentenced to death. david? >> steve, thank you. we're going to turn next tonight your money. members of president trump's cabinet under fire again for wracking up huge travel bills and you're paying for it. epa chief scott pruitt spending thousands of dollars on first class flights, claiming it's for security reasons. pruitt reportedly spotted flying first class between washington, d.c. and boston, just this morning. there were also flights to morocco, to rome, and a $25,000 secure phone booth for the office. abc's mary bruce tonight, getting answers on your money. >> reporter: with his high-flying lifestyle under scrutiny, today, the epa chief scott pruitt was at it again, reportedly spotted on a 90-minute flight from d.c. to boston in first class. over just a few weeks in june, travel costs for pruitt and his team totaled more than $90,000,
including a $1,600 first class ticket from d.c. to new york. six times the price of coach. and more than $36,000 for a military jet from cincinnati to new york, so pruitt could catch a $7,000 flight to rome, where he and his team took in the sights before official meetings, visiting the vatican and sampling the local delicacies. just a few weeks ago, another first class international trip, this time, to morocco. all on the taxpayers' dime. pruitt is now under investigation, just the latest in a string of administration officials under fire for their expensive travel tastes. health secretary tom price was fired after more than two dozen work trips on luxury private planes. are you concerned that there's a trend here, a pattern that we're seeing? >> well, without personalizing it, i think everybody ought to fly coach. and i've always felt that way. you get there roughly at the same time.
maybe a few seconds slower. >> that response from a republican senator tonight. mary bruce live on the hill. and mary, scott pruitt was already facing scrutiny for installing that secure $25,000 phone booth you reported on before? >> reporter: yeah, david, pruitt seems to be very concerned with his security. in fact, the epa tonight is citing security concerns as one of the reasons why pruitt has been traveling in first class. but it's unclear how a first class seat is somehow better protected. tonight, no direct response from the epa to that question, but a former epa law enforcement official tells us the whole idea is, quote, patently absurd. david? >> mary bruce, getting answers tonight. next this evening, president trump suffering another legal setback in the battle over the dreamers. a second federal judge now in new york today temporarily blocking the trump administration from ending the daca program. a federal judge in california issuing a similar ruling last month, and those court rulings are expected to possibly push back the deadline to end daca. right now, that deadline set for march 5th. now, to the winter games tonight. the 17-year-old american
snowboarder winning gold. she tweeted about ice cream before her run. and why her dad is suddenly a star, too. abc's matt gutman from pyeongchang again tonight. >> reporter: gold was okay, but 17-year-old snowboarder chloe kim had her sights on history. before her final run, she'd mathematically clinched gold, but in that third run, she became the first woman ever to land back-to-back 1080s in the olympics. afterwards, the california teen said she was, quote, stoked. >> i'd hate to go home with the gold medal knowing that i could have done better, so, i think that third run was just for myself. >> reporter: and right there, winning hearts, was chloe's father, holding that very dad-like homemade sign. he emigrated from south korea to california in the '80s, calling chloe's victory his american dream. >> my dad's always like, oh, chloe, i'm a celebrity now, like, i need a bodyguard. and i'm like, okay. >> reporter: but trouble for others on team usa. in the final run of the women's
luge, emily sweeney loosing losing control, skidding, then slamming her head into the wall. her parents reacting in horror and anguish. somehow sweeney walked away, but had to spend the night in the hospital. one of the most popular sideshows here -- hello, ladies. -- the north korean cheerleaders. they have these minders, everywhere you go and if you get too close, they just push you right away. and you can say the second part of the charm offensive here, david, was the visit, high profile visit, of kim jong-un's younger sister. now, she delivered an important message to south korea's president, an invitation to visit the north. so far, no word on whether or not he is going to accept that invitation. david? >> all right, stay tuned on that front. matt gutman, our thanks to you tonight. and one more note from overseas this evening. the scandal threatening israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu now. israeli police recommending that netanyahu be charged with corruption in two separate cases. netanyahu insists the charges will end up being, quote, nothing.
there is still much more ahead on "world news tonight" this tuesday. was it racial profiling at applebee's? tonight, three workers have been fired. the runaway suv. the driver calling 911. speeds hitting 100 miles per hour. tonight, the carmaker's response. look at this. the midair scare, and an emergency landing tonight. we'll tell you where. and bill paxton, after his death following a heart procedure, his family now filing a lawsuit tonight. we'll tell you why when we come back. (vo)just one touch.ith with fancy feast creamy delights,
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gas pedal is stuck in my car. >> reporter: 28-year-old joseph cooper was driving alone on i-95 monday when he says he lost control. >> he's going about 100 miles an hour. >> reporter: authorities trying everything to get that vehicle under control. >> i need you to try and turn on your cruise. >> i'm trying, ma'am. [ bleep ] i'm about to hit somebody. >> reporter: traveling some 50 miles, dodging other drivers. >> i'm switching right lanes right now. get out the way. >> reporter: authorities clearing traffic, deploying those stop sticks multiple times. >> deployment was successful. >> reporter: eventually stopping the car. >> guy seemed shaken up, a little disturbed. the car was smoking when we came up to it. >> reporter: tonight, bmw calling what happened implausible, saying this vehicle had multiple safeguards, including software to override the accelerator. david, the automaker says they are happy to work with florida police to investigate what caused this incident along this busy highway. as for the driver, he was treated and then later released from the hospital. david? >> victor, thank you. when we come back, the midair scare, and an emergency landing. the flight from california, the images just coming in now.
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are you giving me a kiss? named after actor matthew mcconaughey. so, how do we look together? or harry, the wire haired fox terrier, named after prince harry. wow, you've got a big year ahead of you. so far, four of these four-legged super stars have already made it into tonight's final. only three spots left. is he going gray from all the stress? being this good looking isn't easy. salt and pepper is a good look. especially with the pup-arazzi on your tail. smile for the camera. linzie janis, abc news, new york. >> big stakes tonight. i'm david muir. i hope to see you right back here tomorrow. good night. . midair scare.
imagine staring at this shaking exposed engine while on a f f ff over the pacific ocean. we want to make sure that all students are safe and everyone gets the care they need. >> tonight we are tracking down what happened to almost a dozen students. conversation on making election day a holiday. here in california. >> announcer: live, where you live, this is abc7 news. >> a flight from san francisco making an emergency landing to hawaii. take a look at this united airlines passenger photo. one of the two engines failed over the pacific the engine's cover flew off. passengers heard and felt the jet vibrate. yeah, pretty scarey looking
stuff. let's take a look at what happened when flight attend prepared for an emergency landing in honolulu. you can hear the chant brace, brace, brace. mr emergency crews waited on the runway. flight boeings triple seven is designed to fly for three hours over water over the pacific ocean. parents are awaiting answers after ten children got sick ingesting some substance. fire department officials say crews treated ten students in