tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC February 16, 2018 6:30pm-7:00pm EST
tonight, breaking developments as we come on the air. the fbi's stunning admission. they had been warned about the shooter in florida six weeks ago. a call to an fbi tip line. how do they explain this to the 17 families who lost loved ones? also developing tonight, the massive indictment in the robert mueller investigation breaking today. 13 russians, 3 russian companies, not only operating overseas, but operatives right here inside the u.s., and tonight, the american pleading guilty and who is now cooperating with robert mueller's team. tonight, the new report involving then-candidate donald trump and a "playboy" play mate. raising serious questions again. the play mate allegedly paid by a tabloid before the election. why was her story never published?
the deadly flu. the most children lost yet, reported in just the last week. do not let your guard down. what you need to know tonight. and the storm set to hit this weekend in the northeast, and tonight, the rare ef-1 tornado already confirmed. good evening, and we are just back tonight from florida where this evening, the president has now landed and where families have begun to lay their loved ones to rest. all of this as the fbi makes that alarming admission that they were warned about the shooter weeks ago. they had been told he had access to guns and a, quote, desire to suspect nikolas cruz is charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. surveillance video shows him walking to a mcdonald's shortly after the attack, after dropping his ar-15 trying to blend in with the other students leaving the school. tom llamas leads us off from florida again tonight.
>> reporter: tonight a stunning admission from the fbi. the agency admits they were warned about nikolas cruz six weeks ago but they dropped the ball. >> we are part of this community. as this community hurts, so do we. >> reporter: the bureau revealing that on january 5th, a person close to nikolas cruz called the fbi tip line with "information about cruz's gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior and disturbing social media posts." and this, the potential of him conducting a schoolg. the fbi says the information should have been assessed as a potential threat to life, but no further investigation was conducted at the time. >> we truly regret field office, we truly regret any additional pain that this has caused. >> reporter: the news sending a shockwave through this community. >> 17 innocent were taken from us, because they failed to do this. they failed our school and they >> reporter: this was actually the second tip the fbi received about cruz. in september, video blogger ben bennight alerted them to a
disturbing comment on his youtube page. a user with the name nick has -- nikolas cruz posting, i'm going to be a professional school shooter. >> thought that to be odd and disturbing. >> reporter: the fbi investigated, but turned up nothing. and tonight, a new glimpse of cruz from the minutes after the massacre. abc news obtaining this surveillance video showing cruz walking into a mcdonald's shortly before he was later g to law enforcement urces, cruz told investigators he heard voices in his head, telling him to conduct the attack. in the community where he grew up, neighbors like shelby speno describe a history of violence. >> you remember seeing police there at his house often when he lived near you guys? >> the police were in the driveway a lot. >> reporter: police today revealed they received 20 calls about cruz over the past few years. several people telling us how he tried to hurt and kill animals. >> they first thing was the incident where he had the gun and shooting the chickens. that was concerning to me. i thought oh my god, of all
people i wish didn't have a gun. >> really alarming to hear about those warnings inside that neighborhood. tom llamas with us again tonight outside the jail where nikolas cruz is being held, and you're hearing about a possible guilty plea? >> reporter: david, we just learned this information. the brower public defender says he is willing to have him enter a guilty plea in exchange for the prosecution to take the death penalty off the table. they want to do this to spare this community a trial, and even more heartache. >> thank you. as we mentioned, president trump is in florida at this hour. we promised to visit that community. he was headed to florida to spend president's day weekend arriving with the first lady, but he also arrives in florida. the families, many who accept his prayers and condolences, but many demanding action on two fronts, on mental health and gones. the funerals have begun. 17 lives lost, and four of them children. a teacher and two coaches.
i sat down with 12 students who vo survived and there was something i carried with me since. what they all said about their teachers, one of them whose hand was shaking as they tried to get them into a classroom and to safety. >> reporter: tonight, a community, a country in mourning. the first two victims of the 17 lives lost are laid to rest. friends and family gathered at 18-year-old meadow pollack's funeral today. her service shortly after another funeral for alyssa aldaheff. a talented soccer player and creative writer. her mother saying "all she had to offer the world was love." joaquin oliver, who just became a u.s. citizen last year. alisson torres, shows me her picture of joaquin. senior nicholas dworet had just earned a college scholarship. so many remembering his humor, his humor. his friend, jonathan, pulling out his phone too to show me nick's photo. >> this is my classmate, nick. he was on the national team for swimming.
he committed to the university of indianapolis a couple, like, two weeks before this happened. a great classmate, a great person, always so nice. >> reporter: 37-year-old football coach, aaron feis. loved by so many. >> coach feis, he put his body on the line, he stopped multiple bullets from hitting students so respected coaches, teachers, administrators at our school. everyone loved him and, always a positive vibe so just seeing him putting his life on the line for his students just shows how courageous one can be. >> reporter: he was one of several who put their students' lives before their own. and tonight, something that struck us. the students who told us every one of their teachers is a hero. drew telling me about mrs. reubenstein who kept calm trying to get everybody back in side.
her handshaking as she tried to get her key into the door. >> he was trying to get the key in the door, and her hand was shaking. i knew this wasn't a drill. this was real, and we got back in the class, and she told us to be quiet, and calmed us down. tried to warn us about what was going to happen, when the s.w.a.t. was going to come in, so i want to thank her. >> so many of the teachers were the heroes in this. they took you behind the desks or the file cabinet, and in your case, into the closet. what would you like to say to her tonight? >> i would just like to say thank you so much, and gentlesh wanted to relax us, and i knew she wanted to be emotional, but she couldn't for us because if she was then so many other people would have broke down. >> and when you finally do get back to school, how many of you have teachers you want to thank? yeah. the whole group. they helped keep you safe and calm. >> every teacher deserves to know that they are a hero, even if it's not noted, they are a
hero. >> and it is noted tonight. those brave students who want their teachers to know they are grateful, and the students who also told me they want action from lawmakers. in the meantime this friday night, the major indictment unfolding in the russia investigation. 13 russian nationals and an american accused in the effort to meddle ithe election, and not just from afar. they say they were here in the u.s. too. the indictment signed by robert mueller claiming russian agents were posing as americans. their aim to help donald trump's campaign and damage hillary clinton. tonight, what we learned right here, the rallies and campaign events planned by russians in this country attended by american voters. here's abc's chief justice correspondent, pierre thomas, now. >> reporter: tonight, the stunning revelations inside robert mueller's indictment. that the russians were not only meddling in the 2016 election from afar, at least once, they were right inside the u.s.
the group's leader and among the 13 russians indicted today. yevgeniy prigozhin, a russian oligarch with ties so close to the kremlin, he's known as "putin's chef." the russian operation expansive. >> it employed hundreds of people in its online operations with an annual budget of millions of dollars. >> reporter: the russians allegedly sent operatives to america traveling throughout nine states. and that's not all. the russians allegedly set up campaign-style rallies inside the u.s. in battleground states like north carolina and virginia. according to the indictment, this rally was less than three months before the election, and was organized by the russians. >> the russians also recruited and paid real americans to engage in political activities. >> reporter: american voters had no idea the russians were behind them, as they thought they were real political groups, groups with names like secured borders and heart of texas. the russian imposters began
communicatg with ucitizens incl olitical d with the trump ac >> the defendants allegedly conducted what they called information warfare against the united states. with the stated goal of spreading distrust towards the candidates and the political >> reporter: the question now, will president trump still call the mueller investigation a witch hunt. as recently as july saying this about the russians. that it could be someone else. >> well, i think it was russia, and i think it could have been other people in other countries. a lot of people interfered. >> reporter: but tonight, the indictment makes clear investigators are convinced the russians who were working from overseas came here to the u.s., and were launching attacks aimed at quote "disparaging hillary clinton and supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate donald j. trump." abc's dan harris in st petersburg at a non descript building in st petersburg where some of those russians, part of "internet research agency," were writing their material to get
americans riled up. our team obtaining a hidden camera look inside the operation. >> easy. easy. >> reporter: they kicked dan out, but tonight, mueller's indictment indicates their work was already done. >> pierre thomas with us tonight. that was a telling moment when they did not want dan harris or our cameras there, and there was one that broke today, an american who pleaded guilty, pierre, and who is cooperating with the special counsel. what of you learned? >> reporter: that's right, mueller announced the guilty plea of richer pi from southern california who helped the russians set up fake identities. >> thanks. next, the affair between "playboy" play mate, and donald trump before he was president. the money spent just before the election for her story which was then never published. why wasn't it? here's abc's senior white house correspondent, cecilia vega. >> reporter: at the white house today, an abrupt change of
plans. president trump bound for florida, boarding marine one alone bound for florida. the first lady was supposed to be with him, instead she left separately and met him at air force one. it comes as the president faces explosive new allegations about a nine-month affair with a "playboy" play ma, and new questions about whether she was paid to stay silent days before the presidential election. "the new yorker" reports trump met the woman, karen mcdougal, in 2006 at the playboy mansion, where he "the apprentice." >> come on over. wow. >> reporter: the magazine obtained what they say is eight pages of mcdougal's writings. detailing the alleged affair, which reportedly took place less than two years after donald and melania trump married, when their son barron was just an infant. mcdougal writes that after they had sex on their first date quote "he offered me money. looked a at m, plus felt sad, plus said, no thanks.
i'm not that girl. i slept with you because i like you. not for money.' he told me you are special." over the course of the alleged affair, mcdougal in her written account says mr. trump often paid for her flights, hotels, even introduced her to his sons eric and don jr. in 2015 at the time of a republican debate, mcdougal twis ol"the new yorker," "the national enquirer," run by david pecker, who calls president trump a personal friend, paid karen mcdougal $150,000 for the exclusive rights to her story, but they never printed it. journalist ronan farrow, who broke the story, says the enquirer's motive was clear. >> people in tabloid business call this catch and kill. and it's, you know, acquiri a story to bury it. >> reporter: farrow's report claims the affair happened around the same time mr. trump allegedly became involved with adult film actress stormy daniels. this week the president's longtime personal attorney acknowledged he paid daniels $130,000 just before the election. michael cohen says neither the president's business nor his campaign was part of the transaction. but he has not said whether the president knew about the payment. daniels, staying mum. >> do you have a non-disclosure
agreement? >> do i? >> reporter: and tonight in florida, the president and first lady walked off air force one together. >> and cecilia vega with us live tonight from the white house, and cecilia, strong reaction to this story from the white house at this hour? >> reporter: yeah, david. they are denying both alleged affairs. the white house calls it fake news, quote, the president says he never had a relationship with mcdougal. a publisher of "the national enquirer" had influence over this president is, quote, laughable, david. >> rounding out another week at the white house. next, the new flu numbers from the cdc. 22 children have died. that's the worst week so far. that's more than device as many as the week before. the toll now rising to at least 84. look at the high level of flu activity in 43 states. don't let your guard down. now the cdc is reporting about the effectiveness of the vaccine when it comes to children versus
adults. abc's steve osunsami at the cdc tonight. >> reporter: the family of 6-year-onandez in new jersey is warning parents tonight. they believe their daughter was sent home from the emergency room too soon, and say she died from the flu three days later at another hospital. the first hospital says it's not commenting citing privacy laws, but says it follows all cdc guidelines and protocol. the family is encouraging parents with sick kids to ask more questions. >> request whatever you need. ask for a doctor. say, i don't feel right. i'm not going anywhere. >> reporter: the flu and pneumonia are now killing nearly 4,000 americans each week. >> this week, we are also unfortunately seeing 22 deaths in children. and that's the highest number we have had in one week reported. >> reporter: health officials believe only a quarter of those children got flu shots. which they now believe are about 36% effective overall, and as high as 59% effective for children six months to 8 years
old. doctors say to keep an eye out for a child who gets better and and then gets worse or has a fever that medicine won't bring down, david. >> steve, thanks very much. there is much more ahead on "world news tonight" this friday. the storm set to hit this weekend from d.c., up through philly, new york, boston, and tonight, the ef-1 tornado already confirmed. look at the damage tonight. those images coming in. rob marciano standing by live with the storm track for us. also tonight, the grandmother calling authorities af discovered in her grandson's journal. authorities jumping into action, and why this is so important given what we witnessed this week. that's coming up. and tonight, the deadly truck accident on the highway. several vehicles involved in this. a lot more news ahead.
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in the meantime, 30 million bracing for snow this weekend from d.c. to new york city to boston. let's get right to abc senior meteorologist rob marciano. he is live on new york's westside highway tracking it all. hey, rob. >> reporter: hi, david. the winds are picking up here, and the saving grace is it's a fast mover. this morning, it was going through arizona and new mexico. by tomorrow morning, already crossing the mississippi river. by 5:00 p.m., the wet snows into pittsburgh. 10:00 p.m., and by 7:00 a.m., it's by boston. we have winter storm watches through allentown, and provincetown. away from the coastline, and over a foot in some spots. by sunday morning, it will be tricky to get around regardless, david. >> it is still mid february. all right, rob. thanks. have a good weekend. when we come back here tonight, the warning this evening from millions of pet owners. the dog food recall involving seven major brands. we'll have that for you. and the images i mentioned coming in at this hour. the deadly collision.
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to the index of other news tonight, the grandmother helping to thwart a school threat in washington, and we're learning more now. 18-year-old joshua o'connor accused of threatening to shoot up a school. the grandmother calling 911 after discovering the threatn i. >> what i'm reporting is i'm finding journal entries from my grandson. >> uh-huh. >> and he is planning to have a mass shooting at one of the high schools. >> so many crediting that grandmother. she told police she found a semiautomatic rifle hidden in a guitar case. the deadly truck case in california tonight. at least five people were killed when a semitruck crashed through the dividriver on the freeway. and smuker recalling several dog foods.
the recall includes several varieties of kibls and grits. the company says there is not enough of the drug to pose a threat to pets, but we have much more on our website for you. when we come back on this friday night, something the sheriff said while we were in florida, and we thought he should have the last word tonight. tonight. are defined by the things we share. and the ones we love. who never stop wondering what we'll do or where we'll go next. we the people who are better together than we are alone... are unstoppable. welcome to the entirely new expedition. when you have a cold, stuff happens. [ dog groans ] [ coughs and sneezes ] nothing relieves more symptoms than alka seltzer plus maximum strength liquid gels.
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my very, very, very special friend who i'll miss, aaron feis. luke hoyer. alaina petty. jaime guttenberg. martin duque anguiano. alyssa alhadeff. helena ramsay. scott biegel. joaquin oliver. cara loughran. gina montalto. and alexander schachter. may they rest in peace. and may god comfort their families. >> and to those families, we won't forget. good night.
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