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

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monitoring the historic gas tax bill in sacramento. we'll have another live report in 30 minutes. see you then. ♪[ music ] ptioning sponsored by cbs >> pelley: a sharp reversal by the trump administration. after the chemical slaughter, the syrian dictator has to go. >> those steps are under way. >> pelley: also tonight, republican chairman devin nunes, accused of mishandling intelligence, drops out of the russia investigation. >> the house investigation can now go forward without laboring under the cloud that had been created. >> pelley: going nuclear-- republicans change senate rules to put gorsuch on the supreme court. the attorney general considers a crackdown on pot. >> i reject the idea that we're going to be a better place if we have more marijuana. >> pelley: and remembering don rickles. he turned insults into an art form.
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>> the governor is the great politician of all time. he laughs at anything. my brother died-- ha-ha. this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: this is our western edition. tonight, president trump is facing his first crisis requiring decisions only a president can make. after a chaotic beginning to his administration, the world is watching what he will choose. the pentagon is presenting mr. trump with options for a u.s. strike on the syrian regime. it's a response to that nerve gas attack this week, that killed more than 80 syrian civilians. mr. trump said today something should happen. david martin is at the pentagon. >> reporter: with two destroyers armed with cruise missiles poised in the eastern mediterranean, the u.s. appeared on the verge of launching a strike against the syrian military in retaliation for the chemical attack earlier this week. cruise missiles are unmanned
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aircraft which carry a 1,000-pound warhead and fly close to the ground below enemy air defenses guided to their targets by g.p.s. satellites. preparations for the attack came in the middle of a high-stake summit between president trump and china's president xi, at the florida white house. mr. trump is the second president to be on the brink of military action against the assad regime. >> a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being uniteutilized. >> reporter: and after a sarin gas attack in 2013 killed more than 1400 syrians, then-president obama prepared for air strikes. >> the purpose of this strike would be to deter assad from using chemical weapons degrade his regime's ability to use them and to make clear to the world that we will not tolerate their use. >> reporter: but mr. obama backed off his threat after assad promised to hand over his week's attackhemical weapons, a
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indicates the dictator did not keep. that was nearly four years ago, before russia had intervened in syria on the side of the regime. this time, a strike would be carried out under the noses of the russian military. scott. >> pelley: david martin with the late night at the pentagon. david, thank you. the president said yesterday the attack against syrian children had changed his attitude toward the syrian dictator, bashar al-assad. holly williams reports tonight from the syrian border where survivors of the gas attack are being treated. we must caution you, these images are graphic. >> reporter: abdul hameed al-youssef lost his nine-month-old twins in the attack, aya and ahmed. "say good-bye, my loves," he said, before he buried them along with his wife and several other family members. turkey's government said today that initial findings suggest it was sarin nerve agent.
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the chief suspect is the syrian regime, in part because the target was in a rebel-controlled area that's been pummeled with air strikes by the regime and its ally, russia. witnesses from the town of khan sheikhoun say the chemicals were dropped on them from the air. the explanation for this atrocity given by russia and the syrian regime is that a conventional regime air strike hit a chemical weapons facility run by rebel forces. but a conventional strike, say experts, would actually destroy these chemicals, not disperse them, and wouldn't produce scenes like this-- people with no visible wounds foaming at the mouth and suffocating to death. syria's foreign minister claimed today that his government has not and will not use chemical weapons. but in 2013, the u.s. and several of its allies concluded
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it had, killing hundreds in a rebel-held neighborhood with sarin nerve agent. we've spoken with several syrian rebel groups tonight that are key for the u.s. to take military action against the syrian regime because they hope it will stop the regime from bombing them. but, scott, they no longer have any expectation that america will help them win their war. >> pelley: plaum on the border with syria tonight. now, the u.s. has been conducting air strikes in syria since the obama administration, but those target the isis terrorist army, not the assad dictatorship. last week, the trump administration softened u.s. policy on assad saying that he does not have to leave power. the nerve gas attack came five days later. today, the administration reversed its policy again. as david martin mention, president trump is at his resort in palm
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beach where he is hosting the president of china and that is where we fiend margaret brennan tonight. >> reporter: on aboard air force one, president trump said he will hold bashar al-assad responsible for the chemical attack. >> reporter: mr. trump declined to say what that something will be, but he called the gas attack an egregious crime and a disgrace to humapt. in a hastily arranged news conference in palm beach, secretary of state rex tillerson was asked if military strikes were being considered. >> it's a serious matter. it requires a serious response. >> reporter: tillerson said there is an effort under way to remove assad. >> assad's role in the future is uncertain, clearly and with the acts he has taken it would seem there would be no role for him to govern the syrian people. >> reporter: that's a reversal from just last week when we indicated the u.s. would not force assad to leave power. >> longer term status of
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president assad will be decided by the syrian people. >> that was also then-candidate trump's position during the campaign. >> but if they ever did overthrow assad, you might end up with as bad as aso-called is-- and he's a bad guy-- but you may very well ends up with worse than assad. >> reporter: but he said yesterday the horrific images of small children choking on poisonous nerve gas changed his mind. >> it crossed a lot of lines for me. >> reporter: well, secretary tillerson also had tough words for russia, warning it must carefully consider its continued support for the assad regime. scott. >> pelley: margaret, this is all happening against the backdrop of the president having his very first meeting with the president of the china. tell us about that. >> reporter: well, whether or not president trump acts in syria will help chine's president xi jinping to gauge mr. trump's seriousness about threatening action against nuclear armed north korea.
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beijing gives north korea a financial lifeline, and president trump will urge xi to help rein in that rogue state. he will also begin a difficult conversation about what mr. trump has repeatedly called china's unfair trade practs. but the u.s. can't afford a trade war with the world's fastest growing economy. >> pelley: margaret brennan traveling with the president. in another important story, the chairman of the house intelligence committee removed himself today from the investigation of russian meddling in the u.s. election. here's nancy cordes. >> reporter: nunes made the surprise announcement just before leaving the capitol for a two-week recess. in a statement the california republican said he was stepping aside from the russia matter because self left wing activist groups is filed accusations against me. accusations he called baseless but that are now being
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investigated by the republican-led house ethics committee. house speaker paul ryan learned of the ethics probe last night. >> i think chairman nunes wants to make sure that this is not a distraction to a very important investigation so he wants to go clear himself while this investigation continues on without any kinds of distraction. >> reporter: at issue is whether nunes improperly revealed classified information after an unusual late-night visit to the white house two weeks ago. >> i have confirmed that additional names of trump transition team members were unmasked. >> reporter: democrats called de a clumsy attempt to give the president cover for unfounded claims that he was spied on by president obama. they have hammered nunes for his shifting stories... >> erratic, bizarre behavior. in reporter: ...about where his information came from. >> the administration, i don't think is aware of this. i want to make sure i go over there and tell them what i know. >> reporter: the russia probe will now be led in the house brie republican mike conaway of texas. >> we're going to conduct the
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investigation in an organized, efficient manner. >> reporter: but conaway himself has downplayed russia election interference on behalf of mr. trump. he likened it in january to mexican "soap opera star." the top democrat adam schiff says he's encouraged by today's turn of events. why do you think chairman nunes made this decision now? because for days he has been saying he would not step aside. >> i don't know the particular straw that broke the camel's back or whatnot, but i think he came to the right conclusion. >> reporter: schiff would not say whether he believed nunes improperly revealed classified information. he said that is now in the hands of the ethics committee. they will go ahead, scott, and review everything that nunes has said publicly about this issue, but we may not know what they decide under several months. >> pelley: nancy cordes on capitol hill. now, in addition to that house
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intelligence committee investigation, both the senate and the f.b.i. are looking into the russian effort to sway the election. jeff pegues has been following the investigation from the start. john dickerson, of course, is our chief washington correspondent. jeff, where does the investigation go from here? >> reporter: well, scott, as you know, the house intelligence committee investigation essentially shut down for two and a half weeks. it can now move forward, and one c the democrats' top goals is to reschedule that canceled rnaring featuring former acting omtorney general sally yates. scott, some congressional sources connected to the house intelligence committee also believe that devin nunes' sttions should now be part of we investigation as well. >> pelley: and what about the oub.i. investigation? >> well, law enforcement sources olll us that the investigation is far from over. it involves dozens of f.b.i. agents around the country and the world. and we're being cautious-- cautioned at this time that this is a complex case that involves a web of meetings and contacts, some of which revolve around money.
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scott, sources tell us the heart heart of this case is the idea that people around the president were potentially coordinating y:th russia out of self-interest and intent on making money. >> pelley: john dickerson, what tt you make of the house intelligence committee now? >> well, we'll have to see what it means in practical terms-- the witnesses, how they're handled, if everybody gets along. tt this does potentially reset anings for the committee. chairman nunes was pinned down because of those issues about whether he was seeming to advocate for the white house at the same time as he was investigating. that doesn't carry over to the new committee chairman. but the new committee chairman can still focus on the things stat nunes brought to the fore, which is that question of unmasking of trump allies by owama officials. >> pelley: now, john, in an another important story tonight, the senate republican leadership has now cleared the way for a tte tomorrow on president trump's nominee to the supreme dourt. but in order to do that, they had to change the rules of the henate, and some senators say the senate will never be the same. >> that's right. the senate doesn't change rules that often.
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in this case, they made it so that supreme court justices can il confirmed with a simple majority, and not the 60-vote fordle to stop a filibuster. republicans say democrats forced them to do it by having a partisan filibuster. democrats say republicans are to s ame for never allowing president obama's nominee, merrick garland, to even get a hearing. privately, what senators say to me is they feel locked in a partisan system. ot one on either side wants to go against their voters or interest groups who treat these toments like purity tests. the senate was designed to be otstanced from all that, to give-- to promote compromise. but it has been growing steadily more partisan over the years, and so this was really the period to the end of a sentence. the united states senate is not ndat it once was. >> pelley: and yet the the republican it's republic will go on. john dickerson, jeff pegues, thanks very much. coming up next on the cbs evening news, is the attorney r,neral targeting legal pot? and later, remembering mr. warmth.
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>> pelley: attorney general jeff sessions has directed federal alosecutors to re-evaluate marijuana enforcement. carter evans reports it could lead to a federal crackdown on legal weed. >> all right, so what have we got in here? >> this is super lemon haze. >> reporter: each year, more than 100,000 marijuana plants are grown, processed, and packaged in this industrial warehouse in olympia, washington. and it's all legal. >> a lot of people would be surprised to see what a good fcreational facility looks like. >> reporter: jerry derevyanny is >>th northwest cannabis solutions, the state's leading pot producer, earning $21 million last year. >> i think that a lot of politicians have realized that eyen if they don't personally like marijuana, that this is the better way forward. >> reporter: they'd rather have it in a place like this than in back alleys and garages. >> absolutely. a cheers and applause ) >> reporter: in 2012, washington became one of the first of eight
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states and the district of columbia to legalize recreational marijuana. it's now a $2 billion business that's raked in half a billion in taxes. but the federal government still puts cannabis in the same category as heroin, and in a departure from the obama administration, more aggressive enforcement may be coming. attorney general jeff sessions: ju i reject the idea that we're going to be a better place if we have more marijuana, and you can just go down to the corner grocery store and get it. >> reporter: do you think it's a situation where you could see federal raids here on some of your state legal operations? >> that would be deeply troubling. er reporter: washington state attorney general bob ferguson has already fought president trump's travel ban and won. t you're prepared to go toe to toe with the trump administration? >> that's an understatement. ste trump administration should respect what states are doing. we're the laboratories of democracy. >> reporter: but if this multistate experiment is not accepted at a federal level, the thdding marijuana business could soon take a hit. carter evans, cbs news, olympia, washington.
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>> pelley: next, hillary clinton on why she lost. gc
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could be a missing piece for you. learn more about better breathing at >> pelley: in an appearance in new york today, hillary clinton blamed her election loss on a number of factors, including the f.b.i. investigation of her emails. she also said some voters have a problem with women. and she blamed vladimir putin for russian meddling. >> i think what was done to us was a-- an act of aggression, and it was carried out by a foreign power under the control of someone who has a deep desire to dominate europe and to send us into a tailspin. th pelley: on the trump administration, clinton said, "i think they're going through some very public growing pains."
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it was 100 years ago today that the united states entered world war i. dignitaries from dozens of countries marked the centennial at the national world war i memorial in kansas city. more than 16 million were killed and 20 million wounded in what was to be the war to end all wars. today, a horse-drawn caisson carried the body of john glenn to arlington national cemetery where he was laid to rest with honors. the first american to orbit the earth died in december. his widow, annie, scheduled the burial for what would have been their 74th anniversary. the 81st masters began today without the favorite. dustin johnson, the number one in the world, withdrew after hurting his back yesterday in a fall down a flight of stairs. the tournament honored the late arnold palmer. his green jacket was placed on
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an empty chair as fellow champs ngry player and jack nicklaus hit the ceremonial opening tee shots. don rickles teed off on everyone in sight. he gets the last laugh next. starts a chain reaction... ...that's heard throughout the connected business world. at&t network security helps protect business, from the largest financial markets to the smallest transactions, by sensing cyber-attacks in near real time and automatically deploying countermeasures. keeping the world of business connected and protected. that's the power of and. how to brush his teeth. (woman vo) in march, my husband didn't recognize our grandson. (woman 2 vo) that's when moderate alzheimer's made me a caregiver. (avo) if their alzheimer's is getting worse, ask about once-a-day namzaric. namzaric is approved for
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and if you have had tb, hepatitis b or c, or are prone to infections. needles. fine for some. but for you, one pill a day may provide symptom relief. ask your doctor about xeljanz xr. an "unjection™". >> pelley: funny thing about don don rickles-- the news today that he died didn't make people cry. in made them laugh. jim axelrod remembers the king of the zing. ( applause ) >> reporter: don rickles never put the knife in anyone's back-- >> how much you weigh, big fella? >> reporter: he hit them right between the eyes. >> 200. on the left side of your ass, you weigh 200. >> reporter: an equal opportunity offender, no one was immune from his ridicule. >> i wish you wouldn't touch me, sammy. giu people rust.
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>> reporter: no race, no religion. >> i'm a jew and you're an italian and here we have-- what? >> reporter: in fact, the bigger they were the morericles loved going after them. even the president of the united states. ( laughter ). at he's sitting there looking at tue program going, "where is he saying he makes fun of me? where does he say that?" he reporter: born 90 years ago in queens, don rickles studied acting after the navy. so got some bit parts in movies. >> i guess it's-- it's area 7, mr. bledsoe. >> did you hear the captain read the operations orders? or reporter: but short, squat, and balding, he saw his future in nightclubs, not the big screen. >> is that your wife, sir? geez! oll tell you this-- ( laughter ) >> ages three up and. it's on my box. >> reporter: the later generations who would know him as mr. potato head in "toy story"-- >> gee, i better shave. >> reporter: ...may not have appreciated his old-school insult act. ant rickles explained to charlie rose he wasn't really hurting anyone. >> i don't know how, but i have
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a knack of making fun of somebody and exaggerating without hurting them and doing it in such a way they would say, orh, that was great." >> reporter: according to many who knew him best, the prince of put-down spiel, was an all act. "one of the sweetest and most loving people," jimmy kimmel tweeted today. >> give me a break. i'm so lonely. >> reporter: if it's true don rickles' jokes were something from another time, there is a quality to the way he made many laugh that is timeless. jim axelrod, cbs news, new york. >> pelley: and that's the cbs evening news for tonight. for all of us at cbs news all around the world, good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh
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hi def doppler, showing moderate to heavy rain .. over parts of the bay area-- and the worst is still to come. we begin at 6:00 tracking the storm picking up strength. moderate to heavy rain over the bay area and the worst is still to come. >> right now, the senate could be just minutes away from voting on the governor's gas tax to fix roads. good evening, i'm allen martin. >> i'm elizabeth cook in for veronica de la cruz. a high stakes showdown in sacramento. a vote could change how much you pay to register your vehicle and fill up your gas tank. this is a live look at the debate that just started in the state senate a few minutes ago. the a more of the bill just made a plea -- the author of the bill just made a plea to pass the measure. melissa caen reports. it looks like the vote is going to come down to the wire. >> reporter: now, like you said, liz, they have already started debating. they have been in there talking about this for about 20
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minutes. this is a gas tax package that would raise the taxes 12 cents a gallon. that's in addition to what we already pay. and it would create a vehicle license fee of about $50 on average although that's going to vary depending on the value of the car and also a $100 fee on fuel-efficient vehicles and electric vehicles. now, this is all supposed to yield about $5 billion a year to fix roads and remember two things. this is -- there is no sunset in this bill. this is a forever tax as it were. and also, it is going to increase over time based on inflation. so it will continue to go up. and that is something that these senators are taking very seriously. i talked to senator scott weiner and he told me that he and some coworkers made sure that there was money in there for transit for places like the bay area where we need money not just for roads but really for public transportation. >> in the original version of the bill, in my view, there was not enough funding for public