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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  September 28, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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through thursday. more coming up at 6:00. >> it's good will and grace weather. >> perfect tv viewing weather. >> lester holt joins us next. >> see you back at 6:00. in puerto rico. tonight, a deepening crisis in puerto rico. chaos and confusion over emergency aid that's bottled up, and the white house under fire over the response. our team reaching remote villages cut off in desperate need. emotional homecoming. congressman steve scalise makes a surprise return to the capitol for first time since the baseball practice shooting that nearly took his life. payback time. word from tom price facing a firestorm over leaving taxpayers on the hook for pricey private jet flights. tragedy at yosemite. a sudden slide on the iconic el capitan. climbers with no chance to get out of the way. and cancer diagnosis. julia louis-dreyfus goes public with her battle with breast
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cancer and sends a message about healthcare. "nightly news" starts right now. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is nbc "nightly news" with lester holt. good evening to our viewers in the west. thank you for being here. so close yet so far. the essential provisions a thirsty and hungry puerto rico has been crying out for over a week now. are reaching the island only to run up against a distribution roadblock. adding frustration on top of misery. think for a moment about living in a road where grocery store shelves are bare, there's no clean water, you can't buy gas to get to work and, of course, no work, no pay. the trump administration today waived rules that prevented some ships from delivering goods, but the root of the problem runs much deeper. nbc's gabe gutierrez is there with the latest. >> reporter: tonight thousands of shipping containers sit at
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san juan's main port. a distribution bottleneck stifling the relief effort. >> it is extremely heartbreaking. >> reporter: jose with the shipping company says it doesn't make a difference that today the trump administration temporarily waived the jones act, a nearly century old law that rules that only u.s. ships supply the island. >> we deliver. the problem is the distribution on the island. >> reporter: with little phone service in puerto rico, communication is crippled. private truckers aren't showing up for deliveries. the former general in charge of coordinating military relief efforts after hurricane katrina is blasting the trump administration. >> that needs to be fixed. >> reporter: but the acting homeland security secretary is defending the federal response. >> the relief effort is under control. it is proceeding very well considering the devastation that took place.
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>> reporter: today the defense department dispatched a three-star general to puerto rico. the white house saying there are now enough resources on the ground including 10,000 federal relief workers and 7200 troops. >> president trump has put people first and paperwork second. he's had us cull out and pull out all the stops. >> reporter: but at the cruise port, we saw mounting frustration. thousands of hurricane maria evacuees standing in sweltering heat to board a royal caribbean cruise ship en route to the u.s. virgin islands, then florida. >> we don't have water, like nothing. >> reporter: amy tempranaro is waiting to get on the ship. >> you literally can't get out. desperation. people start getting antsy and crazy. you literally cannot get off this island. >> reporter: gabe is at the port right now. let me give folks a peek behind the curtain. we've had great difficulty communicating with you and teams on the ground there. you've got sophisticated equipment. tell me this, are the relief workers facing the same issues
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with communications? >> reporter: lester, you don't realize how essential phone service is until it's wiped out. we've spoken with fema search and rescue crews that say they've had a tough time speaking with local officials. power crews say they're not fixing lines yet, just clearing debris because they can't talk with headquarters. until phone service improves, until people communicate, this recovery is at a virtual standstill. >> gabe gutierrez and his team have been there since before that hurricane struck. the devastation across puerto rico is truly hard to imagine. cities and rural areas alike left in ruins. and tonight our team has made its way to the remote villages cut off by debris. eight caravans unable to get in. residents unable to got out. an increasingly dire situation. and nbc's gadi schwartz takes us there. >> reporter: in corozal, puerto rico, she's looking for things that survived hurricane maria.
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she finds vinegar and wd-40. >> the windows were shaking. the water was going through the door. >> reporter: she's the type of woman that holds your hand while she shows you where she once slept. >> there was my room. there's my bed. >> reporter: candida and her son julia. >> paradise lost. >> reporter: down the road others holding on to each other as they make the long trek for gasoline. every day you walk seven miles? >> to find gas. >> reporter: in these rural areas gas cans are the first steps in getting back to work. this man waiting near a washed-out bridge, a government welfare manager, wants to get back to giving aid to pregnant women. the woman supervising the roadwork, an engineer who has lost everything. she says that even though she lost her house, the reason why
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she's here is because she loves her country, she loves puerto rico, and this is what she can do to help. in even more remote areas black hawks are flying in food to people like veronica and her 2-year-old son. his mother worries about their future. back in the black hawk -- >> i want to be busier. >> reporter: soldiers anxious for more orders to help as they fly over devastation like the ruins of candida's home. gadi schwartz, corozal, puerto rico. in washington today -- cheers and tears as congressman steve scalise made a surprise homecoming to the capitol. his first time back since the baseball field shooting almost took his life. kristen welker has the emotional moment for us. >> reporter: just 15 weeks after nearly losing his life, a powerful homecoming. congressman steve scalise on crutches walking on to the house floor, a bipartisan standing ovation, a fight he wasn't sure he would win. >> i'm definitely a living example that miracles really do happen. >> reporter: it was june 14th when a gunman opened fire on republicans practicing for a congressional baseball game. scalise was shot in the hip, gravely wounded. >> when i was laying out on the ballfield, the first thing i did
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once i was down and couldn't move anymore was i just started to praise. >> reporter: today praising capitol hill police who helped save his life, officers crystal griner and david bailey. >> crystal couldn't be with us today, but david bailey is with us. david, you are my hero. you saved my life. thank you so much. >> reporter: emotions overflowed on the house floor. >> our prayers have been answered. >> today we are team scalise. >> reporter: from the halls of congress -- what did you say to congressman scalise today? >> first, i had to tell him i love him. >> reporter: all the way to the white house. >> we're so excited. what happened to him, just horrible.
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we are so happy. >> reporter: senator jeff flake was with scalise on that ballfield. >> being out there, hearing those prayers that he was talking about. it was a day i'll never forget. >> reporter: searing memories as scalise marks a new beginning. >> it felt incredible just to feel the love and warmth from my colleagues being back working with them. >> reporter: showing that while parts of him may have been shattered, his spirit never was. kristen welker, nbc news, the capitol. a remarkable moment in washington today. there's late word about the controversy swirling around health secretary tom price facing scrutiny over his frequent use of private jets costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollar. the president says he's not happy and the secretary appears to have gotten the message. our chief white house correspondent hallie jackson has details on price's new process. >> reporter: late tonight the health and human services secretary promising to pay back taxpayers for pricey plane travel that's putting his job in peril. the president not pleased. tom price just moments after getting a flu shot looking for a booster from his boss. >> we're going to work through this and, as i think we've still got the confidence of the president.
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>> reporter: but the president today when nbc news asked -- tom price says he has your confidence. is that true? silence. price now promising to write a check for his seat on private flights that, according to politico, at times mixed government business with personal to the tune of more than $400,000. price says he'll only fly commercial from now on, no exceptions, and will cooperate with two reviews into the travel acknowledging he was not sensitive enough to taxpayers and regrets the concerns including some from president trump himself. >> aam not happy about it and i let him know it. >> reporter: price's mea culpa. >> we'll conduct a full review and see what happens. >> reporter: because price is only paying for his seat, he'll only pay about $51,000 of that reported $400,000 price tag according to a spokesperson. all of it has republican senators concerned. chuck grassley wants the white house to explain what they're
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doing to make sure all cabinet secretaries are being fiscally responsible when they travel. tonight, the white house is facing a barrage of questions struggling to explain how the republican tax plan matches up with the president's promises about benefits for the middle class and not breaks for the wealthy. peter alexander has those details. >> reporter: tonight, fresh off branding his tax plan a win for everyday americans -- >> it's called a middle class miracle. >> reporter: now growing questions. will all middle class americans get a tax cut? doubts fueled in part by the president's top economic adviser refusing to say that's true. >> i cannot guarantee that. you could find me someone in the country that their taxes may not go down. >> reporter: democrats today pouncing. >> the president and his parade of millionaires are executing a middle class con job. >> reporter: experts say a guarantee is not possible because the details are limited. the plan increases the standard deduction and keeps mortgage interest and charitable deductions but appears to get
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rid of many others. >> what there are are eliminations of deductions that middle class earners take, and that way they could actually see an increase in what they pay even though their tax rate is going down. >> reporter: tonight questions about this presidential promise, that the rich won't benefit. >> it's not good for me, believe me. >> reporter: in fact, mr. trump's blueprint slices the top tax break to 35%. while eliminating some. >> the idea that the rich don't benefit from this is patently false. >> reporter: how would the tax plan benefit him personally? tonight the white house is refusing to say. the president's top economic adviser insisting americans care more about what's in their own wallets than what's in his. >> peter alexander tonight, thank you, peter. now to tragedy at yosemite
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national park. deadly rock slides at the famed el capitan. massive boulders coming down without warning, striking people, leaving them with no time to try to get out of the way. this is at the peak of rock climbing season. nbc news national correspondent miguel almaguer has word of a new slide tonight. >> reporter: it happened again moments ago and there was no warning, now eight rock slides. >> i can still see it falling. >> reporter: one boulder the size of an apartment building careening down the face of el capitan killing one person, a second seriously injured. >> the last thing i saw was him at the rappel, and then, turned back and they were gone. >> reporter: el cap is a top destination for some who live on the edge. this tragedy comes at the peak
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of climbing season. >> we couldn't see if we were on the summit. we are all safe. >> reporter: today it's still unclear what is triggering these slides. tonight with part of yosemite closed this is a dangerous reminder what mother nature can do. miguel almaguer, nbc news, los angeles. tributes are pouring in tonight for an american icon who built a multimedia empire by pushing and often breaking boundaries. hugh hefner, founder of "playboy" has died at 91. cynthia mcfadden with a look at his life and legacy. >> reporter: it was a revolution waged in a red silk robe with an $8,000 loan and a photograph of marilyn monroe, hugh hefner changed the way that americans look at women and sex. beginning with the first issue of "playboy" back in 1953. the magazine an instant success. >> it's probably the most famous nude in the world. >> reporter: certainly the most
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profitable. as hefner's empire quickly exploded. hefner launched his business at a very different time. six decades ago, the word "pregnant" couldn't be said on "i love lucy." >> hello there. glad you could join us this evening. >> reporter: hefner challenged what he saw as the priggish, repressed attitudes that were part of his midwestern methodist upbringing. his magazine was shocking to some, banned by others. the u.s. post office at one point refused to deliver it. all the while copies of the magazine carefully hidden under mattresses became secret treasures for generations of teenage boys. at its peak in the 1970s "playboy" sold 7 million copies a month while making bunny ears as famous as the golden arches. >> the day that you are willing to come out here with a cottontail attached to your rear end -- >> reporter: those who said they bought "playboy" to read the articles may have been telling the truth.
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interviews with those like fidel castro, jimmy carter and muhammad ali all considered must-reads at the time. he ran his empire from his bed. life is too short, he said, to live somebody else's dream. mission accomplished. cynthia mcfadden, nbc news, new york. there's more to tell you about tonight. still ahead emmy award winning actress julia louis-dreyfus revealing her battle with breast cancer. the passionate plea she's making on women's behalf. on the brink of flu season, how bad will it be this year?
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today there was a surprise announcement by one of the most acclaimed actresses on television. julia louis-dreyfus, the emmy-winning queen of comedy and star of "veep" and "seinfeld" revealed she's battling breast cancer and issued a call the action. catie beck has details. >> reporter: the day after she broke the record for winning the most emmys in a single role -- >> thank you so, so much. >> reporter: -- beloved comic actress julia louis-dreyfus learned she had breast cancer. today on twitter, the 56-year-old wife and mother went public to send a message. one in eight women get breast cancer. today i'm the one. the good news, she wrote, is that i have the most glorious group of supportive and caring family and friends and fantastic insurance through my union.
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the bad news is that not all women are so lucky. so let's fight all cancers and make universal healthcare a reality. america knew her best as elaine benes from the hit comedy "seinfeld," later as the self-centered vice president on the hbo series "veep." >> and whether you voted for me -- >> reporter: and a three-time host of "saturday night live." off camera, she's an advocate for cancer research and doctors say when celebrities share their diagnosis, it makes a difference. >> i've personally seen women come into our clinic to say, i read this story. do i need to be considered for this particular testing or treatment? >> reporter: the american cancer society said women over 55, like louis-dreyfus should have mammograms every two year. while she's in treatment, hbo says they'll shoot around her schedule, like so many wishing her a quick recovery and more laughs to come. >> no soup for you.
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>> we'll be back with the viral video of the toddler who stole the show and a snack from prince harry.
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tonight, federal health officials say that bracing for a potentially rough flu season. it's never a fun time of year, but officials say this fall and winter could be especially miserable because of the particular strain, h3n2 that is popping up. an adorable moment caught on camera when prince harry, attending the invictus games in toronto, didn't realize his popcorn was being stolen by the toddler sitting next to him. when the prince finally noticed the snack thief, he agreed to share. harry is friends with the girl's parents. her dad is a british paralympian. what would the presidents cup golf tournament be without a few presidents? barack obama, george w. bush and
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bill clinton all helped tee off the competition in new jersey today. golf star phil mickelson got in the act taking a selfie or at least half a selfie with the trio. up next, the rookie nfl star who decided others needed his paycheck more than him.
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finally, as the disaster continues to unfold in puerto rico in the wake of hurricane maria, there are also many who still need help after hurricanes harvey and irma. in houston, a city devastated by the floodwaters from harvey, an nfl star is making a very personal gift to help victims recover. our joe fryer has tonight's "inspiring america" report. >> reporter: like any good quarterback, deshaun watson has a play for every possible scenario, even a hurricane. >> i'm going to do a little surprise. >> reporter: this week the houston texans rookie threw a surprise at three stadium employees who lost cars and homes during hurricane harvey. >> you all do for us every day and never complain. i really appreciate you all. so i wanted to give my first
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game check to you all to help you all out. >> thank you so much. >> no problem. >> reporter: in all watson donated about $27,000 from his base salary of $465,000. this 22-year-old knows firsthand about the power of philanthropy. growing up in georgia with a single mom and three siblings they received a house through habitat for humanity. >> just be around the family and be happy and be safe and not worry about anything happening was pretty helpful. >> reporter: on the night he was drafted, watson read a letter from his mom deane who has been battling cancer. >> as i look back, we were not supposed to be here. >> reporter: days later, he bought his mom a car. grateful for all he has received, this young quarterback is now honored to give back. >> hopefully it will help. >> reporter: joe fryer, nbc news. >> what a great story. we appreciate you spending part of your evening with us. that is "nightly news" for this
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thursday night. i'm lester holt. and for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. right now at 6:00, breaking news, a second rock slide at yosemite. but this time muchriomñ bigger. a park visitor is med a vacced out. search and rescue krous on the ground and we are live at el capitan with the latest details. the news at 6:00 right ñbwr. thank you for joining us jessica aguirre. >> raj mathai. rock slide at yosemite are not uncommon but back-to-back it's certainly unnerving especially since this is the height of the rock climbing season. tracking the story online and on air last couple hours.
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this is new video in the newsroom. the big plume of smoke you can see through theg[.t trees. sergio joins from us the yosemite. what did it smell and feel like and how many injuries? do we know. >> raj, i can tell you it was a bright sunny afternoon. suddenly we noticed it was dark as if storm clouds coming in a. and then we could smell dirt basically. we realized there had been another slide and we started getting reports of a second one. and then we started realizing this one was likely a whole lot larger. i want to$qt show you right now there is a whole line of cars that are steaming out of where the rock slide happened. we understand that?zu!ñ there w- there is debris on the road. there are a few cars close to where the slide happened. we talked with at least one of the people -- one of th]>(hv vehicles we talked with the people inside. they say they were clouded in this dust that came off


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