News Wrap: Mueller meets with senators on Russia probe



JUDY WOODRUFF: And now to the day's other
major story. It is in London, where a fast-moving fire
engulfed a high-rise apartment building. It killed at least 12 people and injured scores. We have a report from Dan Rivers of Independent
Television News, and with a warning: Some of the images and sounds may be disturbing. DAN RIVERS: With horrifying ferocity, the
fire consumed Grenfell Tower in minutes, a 24-floor inferno from which there was no escape
for some. Trapped by smoke and flames, residents signaled
their plight from on high as the building disintegrated around them. On this mobile phone footage, the cries for
help are chilling. MAN: Help! Help! MAN: We saw people looking out of the windows,
screaming help, screaming, help, help, flashing their lights and everything. And now all those windows, people are gone,
literally gone. MAN: I saw one person trying to jump out. One actually jumped out, and obviously what
happened. It's just a nightmare. DAN RIVERS: The streets around Grenfell Tower
were soon full of those who escaped its flames, children among those suffering from the acrid
fumes. An exhausted little girl is cradled as the
shock and bewilderment sink in. Many here have lost everything. Some are still unsure what's happened to neighbors,
friends, loved ones. And, above them, the fire raged on. As the sky lightened, the flames continued
to devour the building. This was the view from the SOUTH BANK, the
plume of smoke visible for 20 miles. With daylight, stories of extraordinary escape
started to emerge. SAMIRA LAMRANI, Witness: A lady appeared at
the window, gesturing, body language, from what she was saying, I'm about to throw my
baby, please catch the baby. And the baby, I think, was wrapped in some
sort of bed sheet, blanket. And she threw the baby. As the baby came down — and this was about
approximately from the ninth or 10th floor — a member of the public, a gentleman ran
forward and miraculously grabbed the baby. And, like I said, above you, from the left,
from the right, mostly kids, it was harrowing, torturing screams for help, young kids. And I think also, where the fire was now spread,
people were reaching out from the front window, trying to grasp a bit of fresh air, trying
to breathe in like they were struggling. And there were, at one point, one window about
four or five heads all squeezing their heads through. It was honestly like a horror movie. DAN RIVERS: Some had knotted sheets together
in an attempt to escape. But even this left them several floors short
of safety. WOMAN: People were jumping off buildings. People were screaming, saying, help me, help
me, help me. DAN RIVERS: The cause of the fire is unknown,
but one resident claims it spread from her neighbor's flat, possibly a faulty appliance. WOMAN: The fire started from the kitchen,
but I don't know exactly — from which problem, I don't know. But it was from the kitchen, because the flat
door was open. DAN RIVERS: It's already clear the death toll
will be significant. Up to 600 people lived in Grenfell House in
120 flats. For those who were on the very upper floors,
the odds of survival seem slim. Those fighting the fire confirmed today how
challenging it's been to extinguish. MAN: This was an unprecedented fire in terms
of scale, speed, and spread. And just to reiterate that point, the incident
continues to be a challenging incident for us. DAN RIVERS: There is speculation a gap behind
a recently added external cladding may have created a chimney effect, allowing the flames
to spread. Some had to wait all night before they escaped. This man was still calling for help six hours
after the fire started. At times, he disappeared into clouds of smoke,
but, incredibly, he did finally make it out, one of 65 rescued from Grenfell Tower today. Tonight, while most of the flames have been
put out, the charred shell of the tower block continues to smolder. It may be days before the final death toll
is known, and much longer before the cause of this tragedy is pinpointed. JUDY WOODRUFF: Prime Minister Theresa May
promised a full investigation, and the British government ordered safety checks at other
high-rises undergoing renovations. In the day's other news: Leaders of the Senate
Intelligence Committee held their first meeting with Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating
Russian meddling in the 2016 election. That followed 24 hours of speculation about
Mueller's future. Last night, White House spokeswoman Sarah
Huckabee Sanders told reporters: "While the president has the right to fire Mueller, he
has no intention of doing so." The New York Times reported that Mr. Trump
began contemplating his dismissal shortly after he was appointed. The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved new
sanctions on Russia today over its election hacking. The penalties target those involving human
rights abuses and cyber-crime. The bill also blocks the president from removing
sanctions without congressional approval. Ahead of the vote, Secretary of State Rex
Tillerson warned a House panel against limiting the president's options. REX TILLERSON, U.S. Secretary of State: I
would urge Congress to ensure any legislation allows the president to have the flexibility
to adjust sanctions to meet the needs of what is always an evolving diplomatic situation. Essentially, we would ask for the flexibility
to turn the heat up when we need to, but also to ensure that we have the ability to maintain
a constructive dialogue. JUDY WOODRUFF: The amendment is part of a
broader bill dealing with sanctions on Iran. If it clears the Senate, the measure still
needs House approval. President Trump has now handed off authority
over troop levels in Afghanistan to Secretary of Defense James Mattis. Mattis confirmed it today, but said it doesn't
mean an immediate increase in U.S. deployments. Meanwhile, the U.N. secretary-general, Antonio
Guterres, visited Kabul today. He said there was — quote — "no military
solution" for that country's long-running war. Back in this country, a gunman in San Francisco
shot three people to death at a UPS warehouse, before turning the gun on himself. Police say the man was a UPS employee armed
with an assault pistol. Heavily armed officers searched the sprawling
complex after the shooting started, as dozens of employees poured out of the building. Five people were charged with involuntary
manslaughter today in connection with the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Michigan. The case involves the death of an elderly
man from Legionnaires' disease allegedly brought on by the tainted water. Those charged today include Nick Lyon, a Michigan
state health and human services director. He could get up to 15 years in prison if he's
convicted. The Federal Reserve Board has raised a key
short-term interest rate again, meaning that rates for credit cards and similar debt are
going up. The quarter-point hike is the third in six
months. In Washington today, Fed Chair Janet Yellen
suggested it's a vote of confidence. JANET YELLEN, Federal Reserve Chair: The economy
is doing well, is showing resilience. We have a very strong labor market, an unemployment
rate that's declined to levels we have not seen since 2001. JUDY WOODRUFF: The Fed also announced plans
to gradually start scaling back its bond holdings. That could cause long-term interest rates
to rise. Nearly 200 Democratic lawmakers are suing
President Trump over foreign money ties to his business empire. They say that he never divested from his far-flung
interests, so he is violating, they say, the Constitution's Emoluments Clause. It restricts gifts and benefits from foreign
leaders. The attorneys general from Maryland and the
District of Columbia filed a similar suit this week. On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial
average gained 46 points to close at 21374. The Nasdaq fell 25 points, and the S&P 500
slipped two. And a French pilot successfully crossed the
English Channel in a flying car today. The machine was part dune buggy and part paraglider. It took off from an abandoned runway near
Calais, France, and took just under an hour to make the crossing. The pilot and car landed safely near Dover,
a journey of about 36 miles. Now you have seen it.

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