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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  April 6, 2017 6:30pm-7:01pm EDT

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family we will see you tonight captioning 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
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form. >> the governor is the great politician of all time. he laughs at everything. my brother died-- ha-ha. this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: tonight, president trump is facing his first crisis requiring decisions that only a president can make. after a chaotic beginning to his administration, the world is watching what he will choose. tonight, the pentagon is presenting mr. trump with options for a u.s. strike on the syrian regime, a response to that nerve gas attack this week that killed more than 80 syrian civilians. nerve gas is banned by international convention. its use is a war crime. but syrian dictator, bashar al-assad, has inflicted it repeatedly against civilians who rebelled against his rule six years ago. today, mr. trump said, "something has to happen." holly williams reports from the syrian border where survivors of
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the attack are being treated. >> reporter: abdul hameed al-youssef lost his nine-month-old twins in the attack. aya and ahmed. "say gone, 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. 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
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experts, would actually destroy these chemicals, not disburse them. and wouldn't produce scenes like this-- people with no visible wounds foaming at the mouth and suricating 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 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: holly williams near the syrian border. now, the u.s. has been conducting air strikes in syria
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since the obama administration, but those target the isis terrorist army, not the assad dictatorship. last week, the trump administration soften u.s. policy on assad saying that he does not have to leave power. then the nerve gas attack came five days later. today, the administration reversed its policy again. president trump is at his resort in palm beach, where he is hosting the president of china, and that's where we find margaret brennan tonight. >> reporter: on board air force one, president trump said that he'll hold bashar al-assad responsible for the chemical attack. >> and he's there, and i guess he's running things. so something should happen. >> reporter: mr. trump declined to say just what that "something" will be, but he called the gas attack an egregious crime and a disgrace to humanity. 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.
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>> 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 that he has taken, it would seem that there would be no role for him to govern the syrian people. >> reporter: that's a reversal from just last week, when he indicated the u.s. would not force assad to leave power. >> longer term status of president assad will be decided by the syrian people. >> reporter: 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 assad is-- and highs bad guy. but you may very well end 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: secretary tillerson also had tough words for russia, warning that it must carefully consider its continued support for the assad regime. scott. >> pelley: margaret brennan
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with the president tonight. so, what are president trump's military options? jan crawford is at the pentagon. >> reporter: defense secretary james mattis will brief the president at mar-a-lago about military options. the u.s. could use either precision-guided weapons dropped by aircraft or tomahawk cruise missiles launched from ships at sea. cruise missiles are less risky because manned aircraft would be exposed to both syrian and possibly russian air defenses. cruise missiles are unmanned aircraft which carry a 1,000-pound warhead. they fly close to the ground below enemy air defenses, guided to their targets by g.p.s. satellites. potential targets include syrian command bunkers, suspected chemical weapon sites and syrian military forces, particularly their air force. 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
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seeing a wheel bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. >> reporter: and after a syrian gas attack in 2013, killed 1400 syrians, then-president obama prepared for air strikes. >> the purpose of this strike would be to deter assad from using chemical weapons to, 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 down from his threat after assad promised to hand over his stockpile of chemical weapons, a promise this week's attacks suggest the dictator did not keep. now, president trump has spoke with senate armed services committee chairman john mccain who has long supported establishing a no-fly zone in syria. scott, mccain says the great failure of the obama administration of not following through its threat of air strikes. >> pelley: now, all of this is happening as the president prepared prooeps for his first meeting with the leader of china, and margaret brennan, as we said before, is at
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mar-a-lago. margaret, what can you tell us about the summit meeting? >> reporter: well, whether or not president trump takes action on syria will help china's president xi jinping to gauge mr. trump's seriousness about taking action against nuclear-armed nort north korea d chee has threatened. beijing provide aid life line to north korea. he'll also start a difficult conversation about what mr. trump repeatedly called china's unfair trade practices. but the u.s. can't afford a trade war with the world's fastest growing economy, so tonight, he's going to drop that campaign bluster and try to strike a friendship with president xi. >> pelley: high stakes. margaret brennan for us tonight. margaret, thank you. in another importantistic the chairman of the house intelligence committee removed himself today from the investigation of russian med ling in the u.s. election. here's nancy cordes. >> reporter: you in ness made
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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 "several leftwing activist groups have filed accusations against me." accusations he called "baseless, "baseless," but that are now being havinged by the republican-led house ethics committee. house speicher paul ryan learned of the ethics probe last night. >> i think mr. niewnes wants to make sure there is not a distraction and wants to clear himself while the investigation continues on without any kinds of distractions. >> reporter: at issue is whether niewnes 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 it a clumsy attempt to give the president cover for unfounded claims that he was spied on by
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president obama. they have hammered nunes for his shifting stories... >> erratic, bizarre behavior. >> 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 by republican mike conaway of texas. >> we're going to conduct the investigation in an organized, efficient manner. >> reporter: but conaway himself has downplayed russia's election interference on behalf of mr. trump. he likened it in january to "mexican soap opera stars" who campaigned for democrats in las vegas. stitial the intelligence committee's 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. >> you know, i don't know the particular, you know, straw that broke the camel's back or whatnot, but i think he came to the right conclusion. >> reporter: schiff would not
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say whether he believes nunes improperly revealed classified information. he said that's 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 for several months. >> pelley: nancy cordes on capitol hill. now, in addition to that house intelligence committee investigation, both the senate and the f.b.i. are looking into the russian effort to sway want 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 of the democrats' top goals is to reschedule that canceled hearing featuring former acting attorney general sally yeats. scott, some congressional sources connected to the house intelligence committee also believe that devin nunes' actions should now be part of the investigation as well.
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>> pelley: and what about the f.b.i. investigation? >> well, law enforcement sources tell us that the investigation is far from over. it involves dozens of f.b.i. agencies 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. source tell us the haefort case is the idea that people around the president were potentially coordinating with russia out of self-interest and intent on making money. >> pelley: john dickerson, what do 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. but this does potentially reset things for the committee. chairman nunes was pinned down because of those issues of 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 that nunes brought to the fore, which is the question of unmasking of trump allies by
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obama officials. >> pelley: now, john, in an another important story tonight, the senate republican leadership has now cleared wait fair vote tomorrow on president trump's nominee to the supreme court. but in order to do that, they had to change the rules of the senate, and some senators say the senate will never be the same. >> that's right. the senate doesn't change rules that often. in this case they made it so that supreme court justices can be confirmed with a simple majority, and not the 60-vote hurdle to stop a filibuster. republicans say democrats forced them to do it by having a partisan filibuster. democrats say republicans are to blame 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. no one on either side wants to go against their voters, or interest groups who treat these moments like purity tests. the senate was designed to be distanced 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.
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the united states senate is not what it once was. >> pelley: and yet the republican-- the republic gl on. john dickerson, jeff pegues, thanks very much. coming up next on the cbs evening news, is the attorney general targeting legal pot? and later, remembering mr. warmth. ♪ strike a pose ♪ your eyes work as hard as you do. but do they need help making more of their own tears? if you have chronic dry eye caused by reduced tear production due to inflammation, restasis multidose™ can help... with continued use twice a day, every day, one drop at a time. restasis multidose™ helps increase your eyes'
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awww. try this. for minor arthritis pain, only aleve is fda approved to work for up to 12 straight hours with just one pill. thank you. come on everybody. aleve. live whole. not part. jeff sessions has directed federal prosecutors who 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? >> 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 good recreational facility looks like. >> reporter: jerry derevyanny is with northwest cannabis solution, the state's leading
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pot producers, earning $21 million last year. >> i think that a lot of politicians have realized that even 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. ( cheers and applause ) >> reporter: in 2012, washington became one of the first of eight 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: >> i reject the idea that we're going to be 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
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troubling. >> reporter: washington state attorney general bob ferguson has already fought president prt trump's travel ban and won. you're prepared to go toe to toe with the trump administration? >> that's an understatement. >> reporter: but if this multistate experiment is not accepted at a federal level, the budding marijuana business could soon take a hit. carter evans, cbs news, olympia, washington. >> pelley: next, hillary clinton on why she lost.
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of someone who has a deep desire to dominate europe and to send us into a tailspin. >> pelley: on the trump administration, clinton said, "i think they're going through some very public growing pains." 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 layed 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.
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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 an empty chair as fellow champs gary 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.
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>> 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, seam. . >> reporter: no race, no religion. >> i'm a jew and you're an, aitallian 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 ). >> he's sitting there looking at the program going, "where is he saying he makes fun of me? where does he say that?" >> reporter: born 90 years ago in queens, don rickles studied acting after the navy. he got some bit parts in movies. >> i guess it's area 7, mr. bled so. >> did you hear the captain read the operations orders? >> reporter: but short, squat, and bawlgd, he saw his future in nightclubs, not the big screen. >> is that your wife, sir? geez! i'll tell you this-- >> ages three up and.
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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. but rickles explained to charlie rose he wasn't really hurting anyone. >> don't know how, but i have a knack of making fun of somebody and exaggerating without hurting them and doing it in such a way they would say, "that was great." >> reporter: according to many who knew him best, the prince of putt down spiel, was an act. "one of the sweetest and most loving people," jimmy kimmel tweeted today. 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.
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. the almost bachelor bomb shem. cheater, liar, manipulator? the elliss that turned him from fan favorite to enemy number one. >> no. >> you dated a girl for a few months who is on next season. >> we have his interview. >> i have nothing to hide. >> then our hollywood night out with brad pitt. but did this hunk steal a movie role from him? >> here i am. >> and simone biles goes on her first date ever. >> he has a good body. i'm just saying. >> and -- >> you don't realize how many rihanna songs you sing. wah wah wah wah. >> what's the


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