Lone Star, Extinguished
It's wednesday february seventeenth. Everything's bigger in texas especially the power outages start here lives on the line. Millions are asking. How did cold weather lead to an electrical catastrophe. Texas has its actual own chunk of the electric grid vape. We'll break down what went wrong. And why the issues light deep in the heart of the grid. They said you can't take an ex president to impeachment. Court said fine. We'll take an irregular court. Lawyers could really try to unearth documents and emails electronic communications with the senate trial in the rear view mirror. Members of congress are pursuing new investigations the assault on the capital. And it's like a jigsaw puzzle with a national treasure. Americans rebuild walter dom invective could be more like jenga or reporter goes into notre dom to learn how difficult and dangerous it is to rebuild from. Abc news this is start here. I'm brad milkey. We lost power last night and it trickled on and off probably ten times when power goes off in a neighborhood. It can feel like an inconvenience early chance to eat and you have to rush my teeth or anything so after a while you start to worry about food staying good and see without lots of flashlights. At night. Three jackets three pants. Three socks and boots on from there. Every hour it gets progressively more dangerous. We haven't have power for the last day and a half my house last night. Breach to fifteen degrees inside and he was horrible which is why the power outages in texas. Week or so alarming. We are following breaking news. Millions of people in texas are without power. Right now is the state looks to conserve energy and relieves stress on the electric grid. I'm seventy years old. And i'm scared in houston woman and an eight-year-old girl dying carbon monoxide poisoning after a car was left running in garage to help generate heat as last night. More than three million. Texans had lost power as like the entire country of uruguay. Just turn the lights out and the reason given to us. Was you know we got these ice storms. But what does that actually mean we call it. The senior science writer for our partners at five. Thirty eight maggie curtis here. Hey maggie hi. how are you guys doing. Good so intuitively. I get why hurricane can knock out power to a place right like it. Makes the electricity poles. Come down like the water causes short circuiting but freezing. Temperatures eletricity still works in freezing temperatures. So why did this happen. Well power lines are still physical objects that can get damaged by cold for one thing so you have lots of different places in a electrical grid. Where cold weather just things down. And that is everything from an ice storm. Freezing the lions outside of your window weighing them down to the point that they crash to transformers exploded and was like fireworks. Going off for july can mean d natural gas coming out of the ground at the production site is freezing at. You know at the site of production. We're down there doing everything we can to literally put heaters in the ground to get those lines back up that can mean people workers at power plants not being able to drive to the power plant. Because it's just too icy. There's lots of different ways that whether of this extreme in a place that does not expected to be that extreme can really just start messing with the entire system by the problem is the weather is causing the outages but the weather is also causing the man to look at that moment. People need their heaters on more than ever. They need services more than ever. Why texas looks like we're seeing other power outages but we're talking about ten thousand three million. What happened in texas. Well there's a number of different things happening here and some of it has to go back to the fact that our electric grid is not a. It's not like a brand new state of the art design system anywhere in the united states and one of the things that were sort of seeing happening here with texas is that texas is like a whole other country. In north america. there are three electric grids. The western interconnection the eastern interconnection and the urquhot interconnection texas has its actual on chunk of the electric grid like the electric grid is is divided into three parts everything east of the rocky mountains everything west of the rocky mountains and texas literally texas is on its own littoral. Yes yes yeah. That's not an exaggeration. Policy direction comes primarily from texas public utility commission guided by the texas legislature. And it is like that because politics basically like. There's no technical reason why it has to be that way. There's no reason why that's even remotely an ideal situation or caught a similar to an air traffic controller. It doesn't own the airplanes or runways but it steps back and make sure everything is flowing properly and efficiently and what it ends up. Meaning is that texas can't share electricity or get electric city from the rest of the country very easily. It's possible but it's not a very simple thing to have like there's blackouts can say. Oh shoot like we need to get 'electricity from wherever colorado someone right right and this is not always a bad thing. I mean like one of the things where you see benefit to having the setup is that it ends up driving up the cost of electricity. Sometimes which means that. There's a big impetus to build more electricity. Which is a big part of why. Texas has led the nation in win development over the last couple of decades because they have all of this incentive to build more power generation. Usually they're thinking for the peak of summer which is a really great time to get wind power in texas. They're not really planning for the peak of winter. Seventy to eighty of them about ten percent are physically off-line right now physically are not working. So if you've seen. I'm sure some of the stuff around blaming wind power for these outages by working outta well. I mean when turbans still work in minnesota brian. We get a large portion of our electricity from wind. Turbines and part of that is because minnesota has. You can buy a car and upgrade all these upgrade packages while the same is true of wind turbines and all the ones in minnesota have the cold weather package installed which includes things like heaters sang and stuff like that and texas did not now. We had rotating outages in nineteen eighty nine and two thousand eleven after two thousand eleven. The public utility commission recommended updating winterizing these power plants but it was not mandated. The reason why it was seen as a costly mandate for a weather event that we really only see every ten to twenty years. of course. we're in one right now and that decision seems rather obvious. We have reached out. But it's not just wind right when you were looking at the data coming in over this weekend about where the outages were happening in texas a far greater proportion of their lost generation capacity was coming from natural. Guests are not going to pull power from first responders. You know fire station. Police departments hospitals and so that gives them very limited capability to take some people off line. Put them back online. Take other people off line and keep rolling so instead this other places that demand that natural gas so there's a lot of natural gas going to heating and there was not enough natural gas left for some of those power plants. God and so then. This is a wakeup call. i just wanna just. Who exactly is a wakeup call to. Yeah well i'd say it's definitely a wakeup call to the people that are running the electric systems because some of this is gonna have to be about like your infrastructure upgrades. I wrote a book about the electric grid about a decade ago and One of the things that i learned from that is that our infrastructure electrical infrastructure. All over this is very very old. Documents obtained under the freedom of information. Act show that before the campfire. Pg new the forty nine steel towers the carry the electrical line. The failed needed to be replaced entirely. There's a bunch of houses in america. That are still operating a knob and tube wiring. Because there's not a big incentive to spend your rennovation money on something like that if it's still working on intel it catastrophically fails alaska minneapolis. Minnesota boston new york. They'll lose power when it gets cold because they build their facilities differently. The question is are we willing to do that. And it's the same thing with the grid as a whole and again we're talking about catastrophic events that also means that in a shifting climate when you might be catastrophic weather events smushed even closer together. It's even bigger deal right. Nagy kurth there in minnesota. By the way what are we talking about. Here is in positive. Territory. oh no it's actually. It's great today. It's like ten degrees. And i went outside and i was like all okay from our friends at five. Thirty thank you. Thanks a lot. Since being inaugurated president biden has barely left. The white house made a quick trip to his home in delaware but otherwise he's remained in dc because a lot going on wisconsin or folders the devil up there. They got a lot that changed yesterday. When biden went to milwaukee capped the town hall on cnn. What is the plan and recommendation to get. Students back into the brick and mortar buildings. As parents of four children. I find it imperative that get back to school safely as possible. Say god bless son. No purgatory for you for kids home. I really mean and by the way the loss of being able to be in school is having significant impact on the children and parents as well. He was there to teach his plan for nearly two trillion dollars in covert relief. Biden's team has said he wants to do this. More tickets plans outside the beltway. Constituents fired up. After all polling shows most americans actually agree with the idea of a big rescue package. So what's the difference between this week and last week. Why not do it then will this week. Biden is the only show in town as the riders reached the top of the stairs. They were within one hundred feet of where the vice president was sheltering with his family wall. Pence was locked in a room. Just outside the senate chamber as that mob was closing in. Donald trump took to twitter to twitter to attack pence for not having courage for not having the courage to overturn the election as we lived the events of january sick during last week's impeachment trial of former president trump. That was the sole thing. People in washington were talking about was. How did this happen. How dangerous had the last few months been for democracy and who should be held. Responsible biden is betting that congress is ready to focus on what he wants to do. Covert relief but with trump's acquittal. The end actually be a long way off. Remember forty three republican senators voted to acquit trump. Many of them sang just. Because this isn't the senate business. He's a private citizen. Now will yesterday. A member of congress sued trump as a private citizen. And what happens next. Could continue to shape how we view the events of january six. Let's go to abc senior investigative reporter. Aaron katersky aaron. What's happening here brad. There is going to be a lawsuit against the former president along with his attorney. Rudy giuliani and to extremist groups. The proud boys and the oath keepers and it was filed by one of the most powerful democrats in the house congressman bennie thompson of mississippi that share of the house homeland security committee and he said it republican leader in the senate mitch. Mcconnell openly encouraged this kind of litigation trump is still otto for everything he did while he was an office as an ordinary citizen unless the statute of limitations has run. Still allowable for everything you did. While there's an office didn't get away with anything in his speech on the senate floor. Following former president trump's acquittal mcconnell said we have criminal justice system in this country we have civilization and former presidents are not immune from either. I saw the moving of the furniture blocking the do i heard the shot where A citizen was killed and so chairman thompson appears to have taken mcconnell up on the offer and he is saying that trump giuliani the proud boys. The oath keepers all conspired to incite the riot of january sixth and in doing so violated the ku klux klan act. What is the ku klux klan act. It's actually in some ways almost drafted for this situation. Even this states to reconstruction of it was passed in the seventy one and it is a a law that made it illegal to conspire to do anything that would keep congress from doing. It's business that were marauders to attempting to block it and initially. It was meant to protect southern states. Senators from constituents who might have been angry In in the aftermath of of the civil war is particular. Statute has virtually never been invoked since. Then which i think speaks volumes. About how extraordinary. The events of china is sixth floor. But here bennie thompson believes it was written just for this moment because he said that trump and giuliani the oath keepers and the proud boys all tried to keep congress from doing. It's business from certifying. The election results and he said they nearly succeeded but errantly. What is the likelihood that anyone would actually get held responsible for something that just seemed to snowball like did because the even the whole point impeachment managers were making was yeah. There wasn't one moment. Were someone said. Let's go kidnaps members of congress. Let's go storm. The capital there that that moment didn't exist that's why they had to build their case and trump got acquitted and they built it through video and audio. But what were they missing. What what kinds of things might a civil lawsuit in federal court unearth. What about emails. Or what about a text messages. Or or or Recollections of private conversations that could be subpoenaed through a discovery process ultimately the the impeachment trial was a political process and it led to a political result. This suit is being filed in court of law where the rule of law applies and so lawyers. Assuming this all goes forward and you can bet the former president's going to do whatever he can to try and derail it but assuming it goes forward lawyers could really try to unearth documents and emails electron communications anything that would build out a fuller narrative. There's still more evidence that the american people need and deserve to hear and in that spirit bread. This may not be the only thing to try and build a more full accounting of what went on on january six. Well and that's the thing erin is. Is this just a democratic member of the house several democratic members of the house saying you know we didn't see the result we wanted over in the senate we're going to keep this in the american consciousness right now. We just want to keep beating this drum or are there things. They think they can get out of these that they didn't get in the impeachment trial. Is it just about attention. Or are there actual outcomes. They're looking for brad. We're about to get our first hearing involving the response of capital police and house speaker. Nancy pelosi says she wants to invoke a nine eleven style commission to thoroughly investigate. What happened on january. Six then make recommendations for how to prevented in the future and a few minutes after donald. Trump's tweet he didn't reach out to check on the vice president's he called senator to ask about delaying the certification and while that may not come with a constitutional or legal punishment it could certainly help shape former president trump's legacy if the narrative that the democrats have presented holds that he knew full. Well that this insurrection was underway and did nothing to stop it. The lawyers are fairly confident that as a private citizen now he cannot use the shield of his office about an hour past before i was able to really know what was going on and to get out of the gallery area into what i thought was a more secure area that turn out To be a hot spot for gerona virus the congressman thompson says that as an individual. He was harmed by what went on on january. Six then is entitled to these financial awards from a court that would come directly out of former president trump's pocket and to the point about just the number of ways in which you can see this is at an impeachable offenses at a criminal fences civil one. This congressman filed a civil lawsuit with the assistance of the nwa cpi who says this should also be seen as an attempt to disenfranchise black voters. So like you said. Aaron the question of which legacy will be cemented as this all plays out. Thanks a lot thank. You are here in france. Ever thought they'd be relying on an obscure. American to keep notre dame intact or team goes inside the cathedral after the break. It's time to enjoy the view. Wherever the day takes you come on now. No fear the view girls are here. Biggest names unafraid to share their views. And hold nothing back. Talk about fame's on this show that people don't talk about and now. Abc's the view is available. As a podcast. With whoopi joy. Sarah sunny meghan and diana. This is gonna be good. Enjoy the view podcast. Listen for free on apple podcasts. Or your favorite podcast app. Every weekday afternoon. I remember flipping on the tv in april. Two thousand nine hundred and seeing something. I never imagined notre dom cathedral burning the pictures from paris at this hour just catastrophic. It was heartbreaking to watch the ladders. Were not telling us those. Were not strong enough to the point where i was like. Oh my god is. The notre dame cathedral literally burnt the ground. Before my mom's the spire of the eight hundred fifty year old. Notre dame cathedral collapsed caving in the roof and golfing this historic. landmark inflames. Since then it's become difficult to describe. Just how close. It came to being demolished and how difficult it will be to rebuild. We'll guess what yesterday. Abc's foreign correspond. James longman got an exclusive tour inside and he found the future of notre dame might actually rest on the work of a dead american professor james. Now because james. I was not ready for this. I was expecting to hear. Hey here there's patching the cement working happening behind me and yet to hear you. This sounds actually a lot more complicated and really a lot more. What are you seeing there. Yeah i mean actually. It was a total surprise to us. We were led inside the not true damn compound you have to go through this kind of decontamination process. It's getting on some kind of starship because of the lead. We're actually not even allowed into this part. Because they're so worried about lead inhalation. You need a specialized mosque in order to go in. The amount of lead that melted was lining the roof into the cathedral. Basically the reason why that roof collapsed on two hundred tons of lead on not reef poisonous. Substance is everywhere. Now it's embedded in the stone in the metal in the woodwork. And it's everywhere in the air so you have to wear these kind of tie suits marching around and we will lead not i into the cathedral itself but to attend nearby. Here they've done here is they recuperated everything they found all the bits of woodwork carpentry. The mason they needed to retrieve that was found scattered along with the floor of notre after the fire where the chief archaeologist is busy with her team trying to piece together the pieces of stone that fell about distance. Some thirty meters from the roof of notre dame all. It's basically an enormous puzzle and put them together and work out where they went. Originally in order to these stones. Back in to rebuild the roof ocular america one hundred talent the guy behind it is an american. His name is andrew talent belgian american. I should say. And he absolutely loved notre dame he was not historian a professor of vassar and he dedicated his life to not dom happens in two thousand fourteen. There about twenty two plan of not and that's the one you're using victim. Well sadly he died in two thousand eighteen so he never saw the fire but his the plans that they're using now in in in notre dom to try to rebuild the church and it's pretty extraordinary to head archaeologist said to me his the only plans that survived because for that specific part they don't have any others say americans rebuilt not down victim. But why does that matter so much. If obviously this is not gonna. It's not all going to be original. Would everything there are. Parts that just got burned. What is the problem with having stone air that stone there well. They have to work out with renault. These particular stones were structurally sound. Shit kevin from the roof. That's the worst thing. They might have cracked a block rather than the defines early so they have to take these out clean them properly get rid of all the lead and then either get them into a position where they can be put back into the church all use them with this cutting edge laser technology to then four new pieces of stone using them as a model to then Make new stone. That can be used to rebuild notre dame. So it's a long long process. Somebody blocks They're gonna have about ten originals. That make it into this and the only just started really piecing these bits of stone together because the main part of the project so far the last two years has actually been just to try to stabilize that building. One of the weakest parts of the hull structure between these two towers and that was what was really worrying. Onlookers on that night and has worrying. Engineers tech's ever since still not filled completely secure because of the roof that gaping hole in the roof which i managed to climb up on the roof and how to look down through the big hold about spy collapsing. Levinson ends of what was once volt at this place. Miss still welcome to skill the building now and so. Then what will this end up looking like james like. What is the plan is it. Are people going to go to paris and several years. Wow that's not dahmer's is going to look like something different. They have tried very much to keep to the original plan. There were there was a kind of a of competition if you like. Different architectural designs of what the new not dominant light. But it's actually now going to look exactly the same as it did the day before it went up in flames but there have been big delays. Because this thing is so complicated. They've got something like ten thousand separate pieces of wood. They need to sort. The hit originally wanted to get this thing properly roofed in order for visitors to be able to come back by the olympics in paris which is due to be held in twenty and twenty four. No one here is saying that's not going to happen. But they're very very cautious about saying that it is it does feel it's going to slip but it is a huge symbol of national pride for the french. You're saying that wrong. With assad still looks incredible is other and so it was a real pleasure actually to see all these different workers coming together with their different skills to try to rebuild their national emblem fascinating stuff. I james longman there in paris. Thanks so much thanks. Thanks brad and one last thing. The filing was one hundred pages long but a judge's ruling could just been summed up in three words. No take back sees we told you about this case a while ago revlon. The makeup company needed a ton of financial help and took out. Nearly a billion dollars in loans from these outside lender revlon hired city group as its banker so city groups job was to make revlon's interest payments but one day last year instead of sending the usual eight million dollars in interest the lender see that city group sent them. Eight hundred million will judge has now ruled. That's the end of it. The lenders that held onto the money get to keep about half a billion dollars. Now there are rules thing. If you mistakenly pay someone you're entitled to get back the reason that doesn't work here. The judge said is the rule only counts. If it's a clear mistake at the time and the judge says that if you're in the lender shoes this clearly looked like citigroup was deciding to pay off. Revlon's debt. They were giving you all your money back at once in fact. Here's a quote from the ruling to believe that citibank one of the most sophisticated financial institutions in the world had made a mistake. That had never happened before the tune of nearly one billion dollars that would have been borderline irrational. Meaning the lenders. Now get to keep the money. Group is furious and a struggling. Makeup company is free and clear with its best financial foundation in years. Not revlon can give away all of its makeup for free for at least a few teams what it should be right. Remember start. Here is smart speaker friendly. That means you can get us playing at home while you're making your coffee putting on your makeup whatever it is or all these stories at. Abc news dot com the abc news app him.