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tv   Nightline  ABC  May 18, 2022 12:37am-1:07am PDT

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♪ this is "nightline." >> tonight, high stakes. with the senate up for grabs in november, a heated primary in pennsylvania as voters decide on their nominees. how did donald trump's pick, dr. oz, do? >> we love presidents from pennsylvania. >> what results could mean for the midterm elections. >>. >> norm nfl star herschel walker, trump's friend and senate pick, poised to become georgia's republican nominee. but will past allegations of domestic violence from his ex-wife threaten his campaign? >> put it right to the temple. what did he say? >> i'm going to blow your effing
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brains out. >> what walker told bob woodruff about his complex mental health diagnosis in 2008. >> i'm not insane, guys, i'm human. i'm not nobody special, i'm just herschel. >> why walker says he's now healed. and comforting a community. president biden in buffalo offering healing and strong words. >> hate will not prevail. white supremacy will not have the last word.
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♪ thanks for joining us. tonight, as votes are being counted across the country, five states holding primaries. and in one of the most-watched races of this midterm season, tv's dr. oz who was endorsed by former president trump vying for the republican nomination in pennsylvania's hotly contested senate race. the contest is widely considered another high-profile test of trump's power over his party in the midterms. here's abc's political director rick klein. >> reporter: juju, some of the biggest primary voting of the year so far, some of the biggest surprises. start in pennsylvania where the senate race right now, we just don't have enough information to make a projection. looks like between dr. oz and dave mccormack.
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that means kathy barnett is fading a bit. she may have had an impact and this is what we're seeing so far. dr. oz really strong in northeastern part of the state where donald trump did very well two years ago. over in the west, a big night for dave mccormack, picking up votes even in democratic areas. kathy barnett cutting into both of them in the suburbs of philadelphia where a lot of the vote is outstanding. it might be things are split that even donald trump wasn't able to get his candidate over the finish line. the headline of the night may be north carolina. we've followed this, madison hawthorne the last couple of months. donald trump tried to save his career. what happened, the voters in north carolina said, thanks but no thanks, he will not be returning to congress. a big loss for donald trump and his allies. juju? >> rick, thank you. control of the senate could come down to the crucial state of georgia yet again. the primary there next week features another trump pick. former football star herschel
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walker. the front-runner on the republican ticket. walker is facing questions now about his mental health and allegations of domestic violence and threats that stretch back over two decades. joining me, my colleague bob woodruff, who years ago had a candid conversation with walker and his ex-wife, and you're here with an update? >> it was pretty stunning. what we learned in this interview. first of all, we asked him about his history, his sports, all of that. then we interviewed her, cindy, his ex-wife. she told the story about how he had taken a gun, held it up to the side of her head, a threat to her. we asked him, he did not deny it, but he also said he did not remember it. he explained that because he's got a kind of disorder that made him unable to remember certain things. >> it's such a complex disorder. he was so candid with you in the interview. and yet he's been largely silent about it during the heat of this campaign. >> very quiet about it. he realizes that probably not many people know about it.
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he also doesn't really want to talk about much at all. because he's really actually leading this race. so now he's got it not -- very little time left, but now he's got a really good chance of winning. and that's going to be happening just next week. in a past where winning is everything, herschel walker has eyes on the prize, hoping to win the coveted senate seat in his home state of georgia. >> let's go, herschel! let's go, herschel! >> there goes herschel! >> reporter: he's a football icon and heisman trophy winner, playing for the university of georgia and later the dallas cowboys. a successful businessman and the trump-backed republican favorite in one of the most closely watched contests this year, a race that could once again tip the balance of the senate. >> i'm a kid from a small town in georgia who's lived the american dream. and i'm ready to fight to keep that dream alive for you, too.
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>> reporter: but a lesser-known part of that past now threatens his road to victory, as allegations of violence or threats by three women, including his ex-wife, cindy, are resurfacing. >> he got a gun. and he put it to my temple. >> put the gun right to your temple? >> uh-huh. >> what did he say? >> "i'm going to blow your effing brains out." >> if you put a gun to your wife's head and threaten to blow it off, you're a bad man, and georgians deserve better. >> reporter: while his opponents cry foul, the story is a little more complicated. walker did not deny holding the gun to his ex-wife's head. he said in a 2008 interview with me on "nightline" that he just does not remember. he told me he lives with dissociative identity disorder, once called multiple personality disorder, something we discussed when he was publicizing hisoo bk about living with d.i.d.
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>> it can do different things for you. you don't want the herschel that play football, babysitting your child, you want a different person. when i'm competing, i'm a totally different person. >> first thing i thought was he had the devil in him or something. >> reporter: in 2008 i spoke with cindy grossman, college sweetheart, wife for 19 years, mother of his son. >> i saw voice changes. >> any way you can tell me the difference in his voice, from one alter to another? >> raspy. he would say things like he didn't know who i was. >> his own wife? >> right. >> he didn't recognize you? >> he'd refer to me as "miss lady." >> did he forget what your name was? >> i don't think he knew. >> really? >> uh-uh. it's hard to explain even his physical countenance, it would change. >> reporter: after retirement from football, walker said as many as 12 of his distinct alternate personalities began to
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assert control. in 2001 with a loaded pistol he says he thought about kill along man over a trivial business dispute. in your book you write, the visceral enjoyment i'd get from seeing the small entry wound and spray of brain tissue and blood, like a fourth of july firework. >> right. >> you got into a position where you were really about to commit murder? >> i don't know whether commit murder. the thing is, i'm not going to shy away from violence. >> did you want to kill that guy? >> oh, yeah, i did want to kill him. yeah, i did. >> he tells the story that he was on the edge of wanting to kill someone. >> oh, yeah. i was -- probably one of them. >> do you think he wanted to kill you? >> he said he did. >> he said that to you? >> put the gun to my temple. >> he had the gun right to your head? what did he say? >> "i'm going to blow your effing brains out." i must have had the strength of god in me, because i looked him in the eye and i said, "go ahead, pull the trigger, i know
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where i'm going, do you know where you're going?" >> reporter: walker did not deny he threatened his wife. but claimed he had no memory of it. do you not remember something like that because you think that was another alter? or do you want to get out of having to talk about it? >> no, no, no, no. no, if i can tell you -- i'm talking about everything else. if i can remember, i'll talk about it. >> he says he doesn't remember a lot of details of these. >> he may not. but i certainly do. >> reporter: cindy said it wasn't just the one incident. there were other physical confrontations, including choking and multiple threats with different weapons. in 2001, police were called to their home in irving, texas. officers reported that walker talked about having a shoot-out with police. his gun was subsequently confiscated. cindy has not responded to multiple requests for comment. in addition to cindy, other women have made allegations against the former football star. in 2002, a former dallas cowboy
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cheerleader told police walker had played threats to her and was having her house watched. abc news has reached out to her, but she declined to comment on the incident. in 2012, micah dean, who said they had an on again, off again relationship for two decades, told police walker had "lost it" after she tried to break up with him, said he threatened to sit outside her apartment and blow her head off. at the end of the interview with police she said, "i don't know if i should report this," that she doesn't want to get him in trouble. still, the officer decided to document what he called extreme threats made to her. micah died in 2019, but in a statement from the walker campaign, dean's mother says the family was never aware of the allegations and they're very proud of the man herschel walker has become, we love him, pray for him, and wish we lived in georgia so we could vote him
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into the united states senate. dean's mother and stepfather also served on the board of renaissance man, inc., a company walker led. in an interview with axios last year, walker denied the claims by dean and the former cheerleader, saying people can't just make up and add on and say other things that's not the truth, and said he's never broken the law. walker also told axios he's accountable for his actions with his ex-wife and addressed his d.i.d. diagnosis, but was vague, saying he's better now than 99% of the people in america, just like i broke my leg, i put the cast on it, it healed. in 2008, walker told me he had been in therapy for d.i.d. and was doing well. >> i totally changed from back then to where i'm at today. a lot of people may have these problems, but they are too ashamed or they're too scared to come out and say something. i'm not ashamed, because guys, i'm human. i'm not nobody special, i'm just
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herschel. >> reporter: dr. jay douglas bremner specializes in trauma-related psychiatric disorders and says a full recovery is not typical. >> the treatment is long-term. so there's no quick fixes. and i would say that the goal would be more management of symptoms in some cases it can be eventual integration of personalities. >> reporter: even though he has not treated walker, he has treated patients with d.i.d. >> whether anyone with d.i.d. would be able to recover enough to highly function as a u.s. senator, i couldn't say never. although all i can do, again, is just repeat my experience that in general, d.i.d. is a highly symptomatic disorder, and it has impairment on work and social function. >> reporter: in a statement to abc news, a spokesperson for the walker campaign said, this is an obvious political hit job, eight days before an election,
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orchestrated by herschel's primary opponents who are failing to get any sort of fraction. voters will see through it. herschel addressed these issues in detail with bob woodruff 14 years ago, even wrote a book about it. the same reporters who praised him for his courage are now trashing him because he is a republican. it is shameful and is why good people don't run for office. up next -- >> herschel, please say a few words. >> inside herschel walker' decades-long relationship with donald trump. >> herschel walker is only in this position to win the republican primary strictly because of donald trump and donald trump's word. >> and what walker's opponents have to say about his candidacy. >> if his name wasn't herschel walker, we wouldn't be having this discussion today. gillette introduces the all new gillettelabs with exfoliating bar. a razor designed to give you a quick and easy shave. it combines shaving and gentle exfoliation into one efficient stroke.
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♪ welcome back. we turn now to herschel walker's long relationship with donald trump and how the past allegations of domestic abuse could impact next week's senate primary. here again, my colleague bob woodruff. >> let me hear herschel walker, come on! get it out! >> reporter: peach state legend herschel walker is the front-runner for the republican campaign for the georgia senate asset that raphael warnock flipped to blue last year. >> politics has become a cult of personality on the republican side in a lot of ways. donald trump obviously being the biggest example of that. donald trump has animated his base, and he has elevated
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herschel walker in a way he hasn't with other candidates in georgia. >> reporter: his relationship with the former president goes back decades. the two first met in the early '80s after the heisman trophy winner was drafted into the short-lived usfl by a team once co-owned by donald trump. next, a contestant on "the celebrity apprentice." >> i really had a great time on "the celebrity apprentice." >> reporter: preaching to the faithful in the 2020 republican national convention. >> i pray every night that god gives him more time. give him four more years. he's my president. i'm blessed to call him friend. >> herschel walker has been loyal to trump for decades. herschel walker is only in the position to win the republican primary strictly because of donald trump and donald trump's support. >> reporter: 14 years after our first sit-down, we tried to speak to walker again following
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multiple unanswered e-mails and calls to the campaign. >> we're trying to do a story about the campaign. >> okay. >> is anybody here that can talk to us? >> reporter: we were told they were all out to lunch. but across town, one of walker's primary opponents, georgia's agriculture commissioner gary black, was happy to speak with us. >> if his name wasn't herschel walker, we wouldn't be having this discussion today. >> when we interviewed his wife, cindy, 14 years ago, she claimed multiple threats that s that sh from him, including when he said to her, "i'll blow your brains out." what does that tell you about him? >> at that moment, deeply troubled, for sure, on many levels. there will never be redemption from that type of behavior in a political environment and the threats he has made, in my opinion, is a disqualifying action. >> reporter: for black, it's not just walker's past that concerns
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him. it's a campaign built on what he says is a bloated resume. marked by no-shows at the two republican debates. >> the absence of herschel walker today speaks volumes based on my words. >> where the heck is herschel walker? >> what i fear is when you don't show up now, when you don't tell the truth now, then we're not going to be able to count on you to show up in the future or tell the truth in the future. i think that's very dangerous. >> reporter: but none of this seems to bother the republican establishment. senate minority leader mitch mcconnell telling axios he supports him. >> i think walker is completely electable, and we're fully behind him. >> reporter: on the ground in georgia, we talked to the republican lieutenant governor, jeff duncan, about walker's former wife's allegation in 2008 that he threatened her with a gun. does that seem like somebody that could be the senator? >> troubling to hear a scenario like that played out. i certainly -- first time i've
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kind of heard those intimate details of what you just described. but, you know, i'm grateful that he has sought out the help that, you know, seems to have transitioned him from that horrible, dark moment in his past. >> for him to be elected, do you think he's got to say something about what happened in his history in terms of violence? >> yeah, i certainly think he's going to have to address it. he's going to have to talk about it and make georgians comfortable that he's moved on from that phase of life. that's just the nature of putting yourself out there for public office. >> reporter: still, some republicans question whether walker would be able to beat a democratic challenger if he wins the republican nomination. especially if that challenger ends up being the incumbent, raphael warnock. >> i think that sits in herschel's hands. if he's going to take the time to understand the issues, articulate what his conservative ba believes are. but if you just simply sit back, tries to rely on the fact that he's friends with donald trump and he's a sports icon, i worry about the potential outcome. >> reporter: georgia voters will
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have their say next week. >> our thanks to bob. when question come back, president biden remembering the victims in buffalo. this is the story of two homes. they both have bugs, but only one has zevo. want a worry-free way to kill bugs? zevo traps use light—not odors or chemical insecticides—to attract and trap flying insects. they work continuously so you don't have to. trap the bugs and simply send 'em away. zevo. people-friendly. bug-deadly.
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♪ finally tonight, president biden today sending a message of hope and healing in buffalo. the president and first lady, dr. jill biden, paying their respects and visit is with the families of the ten people killed in saturday's racist attack on a supermarket. at times both showing emotion.
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but the president had a strong message for buffalo and the nation. >> in america, evil will not win, i promise you. hate will not prevail. and white supremacy will not have the last word. >> buffalo strong. that's "nightline." you can watch all of our full episodes on hulu. we'll see you right back here same time tomorrow. thanks for staying up with us. good night, america.


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