tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC October 11, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
geyserville. we're now going to send it over to lers holt. see you back here at 6:00. tonight, inside the inferno as the fire disaster doubles in california. >> our house is burning! no! >> thousands of families come home to find out there's no home left. nbc news exclusive, what president trump said about nuclear weapons that stunned the room before sources say the secretary of state called him a moron. hazing death charges. ten people including fraternity brothers now criminal defendants. authorities say after a game with fatal consequences. new fallout as one of harvey weinstein's accusers tells her story to nbc news. we're also hearing from ben affleck, a day after condemning weinstein, now apologizing for conduct of his own.
and the boy scouts admitting girls, why the girl scouts aren't so happy. "nightly news" begins right now. >> announcer: from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. >> good evening, everyone. thank you for being here. three days in and still no control over the now 22 wildfires burning in california. the situation growing more urgent amid a rising death toll. at least 21. and 3500 homes and businesses destroyed, most in the wine country north of san francisco. the driver of this car racing through a fiery gauntlet to safety and new evacuations are under way as 8,000 firefighters battle for the upper hand. once again tonight our joe fryer leads off our coverage with the latest. joe, good evening. >> reporter: lester, good evening.
you can see what path the fire took here behind me. those homes are okay. but now looking in another direction, a different story. destruction that goes on and on. and with the winds picking up once again tonight, firefighters are working hard to make sure more neighborhoods don't suffer the same fate. this is what it looks like as a sonoma county deputy races to safety narrowly surviving flames that are turning parts of wine country into a wasteland. >> it's all gone. >> reporter: june and jamie clark lost their home of 38 years, narrowly escaping themselves. >> i don't know why i woke up, but if i hadn't, within ten minutes we would have been gone. >> reporter: propelled by hot, dry diablo winds, or devil winds, several fast-moving untamed fires are scorching northern california with some firefighters battling more than flames. >> we have at least a dozen guys in our department that have lost their homes. >> reporter: more resources are on the way with thousands
more now evacuating. the fast-moving fires have already claimed 21 lives and authorities are dealing with hundreds of missing persons reports complicated by destroyed cell towers. 3500 homes and businesses have burned to the ground. drone footage captures the scale of the devastation in santa rosa. row after row of addresses without houses, yet a postal worker is still seen delivering mail. with the region stifled by a blanket of smoke, officials are seeing the worst air quality ever recorded in parts of the bay area. >> there she is. >> reporter: as for the clarks, despite losing everything, they're grateful they survived. >> god's with us. because it could have been way different. >> reporter: one thing they know for sure -- they plan to rebuild. joe fryer, nbc news, santa rosa, california. >> oh, my god. >> reporter: i'm miguel almaguer. >> oh, my god, i don't see our house. >> reporter: this is the moment every family fears. >> it's all gone! >> reporter: the washingtons returning to their home and their lives forever
changed. >> our house is gone! >> i didn't have any of my kids' artwork or picture books or things that were really important to us. >> reporter: the road home for katrina and dan layson is still smoldering. they only returned to brighton drive because their children want to know what happened. >> how do you explain this to them? >> reporter: after their harrowing escape through flames and ash, many are returning to soot and debris. this is coffey park, perhaps the hardest-hit neighborhood. the only thing left standing here is chimneys. even hope has toppled. this was bob and jeannine doherty's dream home. this is what's left today. the retirees searching for anything, but everything is gone. >> it takes your life away. the things that you worked for. the things that you cherished.
>> reporter: tonight, home is where the heartbreak is. houses and lives in ruins. miguel almaguer, nbc news, santa rosa, california. >> so much taken there and so quickly. let's turn now to our nbc news exclusive reporting about president trump's nuclear ambitions. comments he made about the size of the u.s. nuclear arsenal sources say that stunned a top secret meeting shortly before the secretary of state called him a moron. the president dismissed our reporting saying it's not true and that our sources are made up. those sources, however, do exist. in fact, three of them were in the room when the president talked about dramatically increasing the number of u.s. nukes. here's nbc's kristen welker. >> reporter: tonight, president trump denying he talked about dramatically increasing the nuclear arsenal over the summer. >> no, i never discussed increasing it. we won't need an increase. but i want modernization, and i want total rehabilitation. it's got to be in tip top shape.
>> reporter: the comments coming after nbc news' exclusive report about a july 20th meeting in a secure room in the pentagon called the tank, a meeting that immediately preceded secretary of state rex tillerson calling the president a moron. at the time, the president said the meeting, which included the defense secretary, vice president and others, was very good. >> they're tremendous people. pentagon. nothing like it. >> reporter: but three officials present in the room say the meeting was at times tense including when the president was shown a chart of the history of the nuclear arsenal peaking in the late 1960s at more than 32,000 weapons. the president told his team he wanted the u.s. to have that many. the current number stands at 4,000. and while some in the room didn't take the president literally, others were surprised. >> the officials in the room explained to the president that not only are there budget constraints to increasing the size of the nuclear arsenal but there are also treaty obligations. >> reporter: mr. trump's opinions on nuclear proliferation have varied.
at times insisting he's against it but also tweeting before inauguration, the united states must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability. >> in the best possible interpretation, the president's opinions on nuclear weapons are uninformed. increasing the number is foolish and dangerous. >> reporter: and in disputing the nbc news report, the president took the extraordinary step appearing to attack the first amendment tweeting about nbc and the networks, at what point it is appropriate to challenge their license? >> it's frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write. >> reporter: in a statement, the defense secretary said recent reports that the president called for an increase in the u.s. nuclear arsenal are absolutely false. nbc news has never reported the president actually called for an increase, just that he talked about it. there are no plans to increase the arsenal. lester? >> kristen welker at the white house tonight, thank you. tonight, new developments on a
hazing death investigation that's rocking a major american university. ten young men now face charges after authorities say a drinking game at an lsu fraternity went way too far, ending with one student's death. nbc's blake mccoy has details. >> reporter: one by one they turn themselves in, fraternity brothers, now criminal defendants, charged in the hazing death of lsu student maxwell gruver. the 18-year-old freshman found unresponsive at the phi delta theta fraternity last month. >> i think they should be severely punished for what they've done. >> reporter: the autopsy report out today shows gruver died from acute alcohol intoxication with aspiration. his blood alcohol level was 0.495 at the time of his death, six times the legal limit. the arrest report outlines a game called bible study where pledges were told to drink if they couldn't answer questions about the frat correctly. eight current and two former students are charged with hazing. one, matthew naquin, is also charged with negligent homicide. according to witness
statements, he targeted gruver and was most aggressive. one attorney spoke today. >> they're all devastated. whether they're charged with a criminal crime or not, they're all devastated. >> reporter: this is the second high-profile hazing death this year to result in charges. the other at penn state. >> i hope that these recent cases are messages to students and schools as well that clearly something needs to change. >> reporter: lsu's president calls gruver's death devastating and has kicked the frat off campus. today the national chapter said the alleged behavior is in full violation of its policies. as for maxwell gruver's family, his mom posted to facebook. "my son is dead now. you brothers will have to live with it every day for the rest of your lives." blake mccoy, nbc news. there are several new developments tonight in the scandal swirling around movie mogul harvey weinstein. one of weinstein's accusers is telling her story to nbc news as more women continue to come forward. and actor ben affleck, a day after condemning weinstein, is now
apologizing for past behavior of his own. here's nbc's anne thompson with more. >> reporter: the number of women now accusing harvey weinstein of some kind of sexual misconduct is more than 20, including dawn dunning. >> i felt humiliated. i was embarrassed. i just felt so taken advantage of that he, you know, had -- i thought he was really going to help me. >> reporter: then 24, dunning thought the movie mogul cared about her acting ambitions until she says his female assistant brought her to weinstein's hotel room. >> he just cut right to the chase and said, these are contracts for my next three films. i'll sign them, but i want you to have a threesome with me and my assistant. >> reporter: dunning says she fled. these stories making weinstein a pariah in the business he loves. the academy that awards the oscars will meet saturday to discuss weinstein's membership. he's facing blistering criticism from friends like former disney chairman jeffrey katzenberg, telling weinstein in an e-mail
published in "the hollywood reporter" you've done terrible things to a number of women over a period of years. weinstein's wife, designer georgina chapman, leaving him. in a statement weinstein saying, i support her decision. i am in counseling and perhaps when i am better we can rebuild. weinstein captured by tmz cameras today reportedly seeking treatment for sex addiction. >> sex addiction is about sex. sexual harassment is about power and humiliating women. they shouldn't be confused. >> reporter: now the scandal tainting ben affleck. a day after the actor condemned weinstein's alleged actions, affleck forced to apologize for groping actress hilarie burton in 2003, tweeting, i acted inappropriately. resetting the standards for professional behavior in the business of make believe. anne thompson, nbc news, new york. we have a dramatic new account tonight of the moments when the las vegas gunman began to fire the weapons he stockpiled
in his hotel room. the first shots were directed inside the hotel at two employees. one of them is now telling his story to nbc news. our justice correspondent pete williams has more. >> reporter: six minutes before stephen paddock began to rain down bullets on a country music concert, a hotel security guard responding to an alarm on the 32nd floor was wounded when paddock fired 200 rounds through his room door. and a hotel engineer had just arrived when he heard gunfire. >> i was about a third of the way down the hallway, and i started to hear shots go off. >> reporter: you could hear it at the start of his radio call. >> call the police. someone's firing a gun up here. someone's firing a rifle on the 32nd floor down the hallway. the rounds started coming down the hallway. i could feel them pass right behind my head. something hit me in the back, and i took cover. he looked like he fired down the hallway when i got close to the door. i told myself, you know, remain calm. if i freak out right now, it's only going to get me killed or injured. >> reporter: las vegas
police are looking at when that word was received from the hotel and whether it could have been relayed faster to the s.w.a.t. team making its way to the 32nd floor. mandalay bay's owner says it believes the latest police timeline may not be accurate. and as investigators continue to search the hotel room and stephen paddock's houses, local and federal officials say an autopsy has found no abnormalities in his brain and still no word on motive. pete williams, nbc news, washington. there's new developments in the deadly ambush on the american soldiers in niger. u.s. military intelligence officials have concluded an isis affiliate is responsible for that attack on special forces, a patrol, a week ago. four u.s. green berets were killed when they were overwhelmed by 40 to 50 militants in vehicles and on motorcycles. a critical decision is coming in a matter of days about the future of the iran nuclear deal. tonight we've learned that president trump is expected to announce on friday that he will refuse to certify the deal without completely
backing out of it. it's a move that's against the advice of his top advisers. nbc news chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell explains. >> reporter: tonight multiple administration, congressional and diplomatic sources tell nbc news president trump has decided to tell congress iran is not complying with the spirit of the landmark nuclear deal. >> we're going to be announcing that very shortly. >> reporter: the decision to be announced friday goes against the initial advice of his top advisers. defense secretary james mattis when asked last week if he thinks the deal is in america's national security interests. >> that's a yes or no question. >> yes, senator, i do. >> reporter: the sources say the white house will present this as a larger strategy to crack down on iran's missile program and support for terrorism. demand congress increase pressure on iran plus covert military action against iran's forces in syria, iraq and yemen. >> a nuclear deal that actually works would be good for everybody. this one has serious flaws.
>> reporter: despite the president's campaign promise to scrap the agreement -- >> we get nothing. we get nothing. this was a deal at the highest level of incompetence. >> reporter: the president will not withdraw from it. so critics say he'll just talk tough to satisfy his base. >> but this is more of a political maneuver than a strategic decision. >> reporter: tonight iran's president rouhani told his cabinet the u.s. decision will make america the rebellious state, not iran. last month rouhani telling lester -- >> translator: no one will trust america again. >> reporter: britain's prime minister and other allies are warning the president that his policy will weaken the nuclear deal and signal north korea it is a waste of time to negotiate with the u.s. lester? >> andrea mitchell tonight, thank you. still ahead as we continue here, the boy scouts announcing a historic change, but it's intensifying a major feud with the girl scouts. also, new fallout for that police officer who provoked national outrage when he slapped handcuffs on a nurse who was only doing her job. we'll be right back.
back now with a historic change for an organization that's helped shape the lives of american boys for over a century. the boy scouts announcing today they will now welcome girls, too, but not everyone likes the idea, including the girl scouts. nbc's kristen dahlgren has more. >> reporter: after more than a hundred years, you no longer have to be a boy to be a boy scout. >> the reason for the change is that our parents have asked for options to serve their whole family. >> reporter: a unanimous decision that, starting next year, girls can join cub scouts but will be
in girl-only dens. girl dens in boy scouts start in 2019 with a path to the coveted eagle scout. >> they'll have the opportunities for an advancement track that is identical to boy scouting but maintains the opportunities for them to have leadership with their own girl gender. >> reporter: the move intensifying a growing feud with the girl scouts. in august the girl scouts' president sent a letter to the boy scouts accusing them of a covert campaign to recruit girls away from the girl scouts, calling the proposed plan reckless. today they went even further. >> i talked to the general counsel today, and they are exploring what type of legal actions can be taken perhaps to get them to retract their congressional charter. >> reporter: the move comes with the boy scouts seeing a fairly steady decline in membership over the past 20 years, but for 16-year-old sydney ireland it's nothing but good news. >> it's indescribable how great it feels. >> reporter: she's longed to be an eagle scout like neil armstrong, steven
spielberg and her big brother. >> everybody should have the ability to be part of such a great organization. >> reporter: now, she says, she'll get her shot, and she doubts she'll be alone. kristen dahlgren, nbc news, new york. we've got more to tell you about here this evening. coming up, a little boy reunited with his best friend through the kindness of strangers.
how did this happen? it turned out, a lot of people fell short, of even the average length of retirement. we have to think about not when we expect to live to, but when we could live to. let's plan for income that lasts all our years in retirement. prudential. bring your challenges. we have an update now on a story that sparked a lot of outrage around the country about a utah police officer. he has been fired after he was caught on camera forcibly handcuffing and arresting a hospital nurse who said she was protecting patient confidentiality by refusing to draw blood from an unconscious car crash victim in july. the officer's watch commander was also demoted. just two months after it went into effect, chicago's soda tax has fizzled out. the county board repealed the controversial measure today. it was originally passed to raise revenue and fight obesity. but critics claimed it wasn't working and instead hurt
low-income shoppers. a happy reunion that really shows the kindness of strangers. 4-year-old john downey and his family were on a road trip to a birthday party in iowa when he accidentally left his best friend, pup pup, at a rest stop. get this, a mom and her kids found the lonely stuffed animal and created a facebook post looking for the owner. it went viral, and the rest is history, as they say. best friends back together again. how great is that? up next, the emotional moment a family finally gets the news they waited weeks for in the aftermath of hurricane maria. i'll be right back. >> announcer: "nbc nightly news" is brought to you by pacific life, protecting generations of families for 150 years. that's the power of pacific.
finally, it's been three weeks of uncertainty for people who simply can't reach loved ones in puerto rico after hurricane maria, but tonight we're with one family when they finally make the connection they've been waiting for. here's gabe gutierrez. >> reporter: in the wake of hurricane maria, not even a third of the island's cell towers are working. >> as long as we find out, yeah. >> reporter: for felix vazquez and his wife dawn, the last three weeks have brought a
deafening silence. >> it's been horrible. it's been horrible. >> reporter: from their home in westport, connecticut, they desperately tried and failed to reach her mother, carol bruno. >> we sent e-mails daily. >> reporter: for some relatives on the u.s. mainland frustration is mounting, posting cries for help on social media. >> we've gone above and beyond to find her and we have not stopped. >> reporter: so we travel from san juan to the town of manati to look for carol. we pull up to her address. are you carol? and there she is. how hard has it been to not be able to speak with your family? >> well, it's been extremely hard, but you know, we tried. >> reporter: she still hasn't spoken to her son until we offer her our satellite phone. >> hi. >> hi! mommy, hi! >> oh, my god, carol! >> i love you. >> i love you, too. you're okay? >> hello? >> hello. >> yeah. >> reporter: tonight, this family is finally
reconnected. >> bye. we love you so much. >> reporter: gabe gutierrez, nbc news, manati, puerto rico. >> so many people still living in a communications blackout. happy to see them make that connection. we appreciate you spending part of your evening with us. that is "nightly news" fo i came and got my family out and i went to the fire station to go to work. >> the wind just flaired ured u. >> we don't want to watch our city burn. >> we are expecting some extreme fire behavior and growth of our incidents. that's going to lead us to challenges. there are plenty of challenges tonight. the news at 6:00 starts now. good evening and thanks for being with us. >> we want to take you back outside over the north bay. sky ranger right above the north
bay. we're looking right now at the area of geyserville. the so kn285 reports of missing persons. doesn't mean they are all missing. the tubbs fire forcing new evacuation orders. that fire now 28,000 acres large and at this point crews have it at 10% containment. that shot is on both sides from geyserville a geyserville. this is the neighborhood we have been talking so much about. coffey park. decimated by the flames on sunday night. for all those people who lost their homes and thousands down there, this is the only way to see their neighborhood really through the photos and video. the hope moving forward to prevent this from happening to more
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