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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  January 21, 2018 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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thanks for watching. tonight, shutdown day two, the blame game intensifies, but is a compromise in the works? as hundreds of thousands of federal workers prepare to stay home. tonight we look at the impact on the military. our exclusive interview with the vice president as he's criticized for a controversial move during a visit to volatile region. surreal scenes from north korea, lester holt inside the country as it prepares to compete in the winter olympics. the american federal prosecutors say is a senior isis commander, and what his mother in new jersey has to say about it. back flips, head locks, spine busters, the enduring popularity of a pop culture force now 25 years old. and from
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linebacker to teacher, finding a way to warm up his class and inspiring america. >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with kate snow. good evening, with the start of the workweek tomorrow morning federal employees are waiting to hear whether they'll go to work or not. even after two days of negotiations lawmakers have failed to reach a compromise to end the government shutdown with members of each party pointing the finger at the other for causing this mess. we begin with nbc's kelly o'donnell. >> reporter: 35-year federal employee talana morton smith, an i.t. specialist dreads the unwanted job she could face tomorrow. >> i will begin shutting down the operations at our agency. i will receive my furlough letter. >> reporter: on shutdown day two, the white house switchboard is taking no calls. >> we apologize, but due to the lapse in federal funding we are unable to take your call.
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>> reporter: but it is a working sunday on capitol hill. where senate party leaders slam their political paralysis over the budget and immigration. republicans blame democrats. >> this shutdown was a political miscalculation of gargantuan proportions. it doesn't need to go on any longer. >> democrats blame the president. >> a dysfunctional president. hence, we are in a trump shutdown. >> reporter: behind the scenes, desperation and urgency, two dozen senators of both parties have been meeting privately working on options. to strike a compromise. >> we are trying to be helpful in showing them that there is a path. >> we want to see a commitment to take up immigration. and with a belief that we'll get to a good result for d.r.e.a.m.ers. >> reporter: the president did not spend the day in deal-making mode. officials say he spoke only to republican leaders, not democrats, and called two cabinet secretaries to check on the shutdown's impact at veterans
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affairs and homeland security. senator lindsey graham has been frustrated with mixed signals from the white house. >> i think the president's in a good spot in terms of understanding what deal will work. you've just got to commit to it. >> reporter: top white house officials including the chief of staff, the budget director, and the head of legislative affairs have been working the phones with a broader group of lawmakers, and then relaying those conversations to the president. sources here describe the state of negotiations as fluid, even hopeful, but not yet confident they can reopen the government tonight or before the workweek begins again. kate? >> kelly o'donnell at the white house. kelly, thanks. and for the latest on where things stand on capitol hill, let's bring in our congressional correspondent kasie hunt who's been following this all day long. what do we know? >> these negotiations are minute to minute. we just confirmed at nbc news that leader schumer on the democratic side and leader mcconnell on the republican side talked. they met here at the
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capitol. that's the first real conversation they've had since friday as this shutdown has unfolded. jeff flake and lindsey graham have been in a high stakes game of shuttle diplomacy going back and forth. they were leading the bipartisan meeting kelly o'donnell talked about that was ongoing throughout the day here on capitol hill. so out of that meeting between schumer and mcconnell an nbc source tells us that while they don't have a deal at this hour, they are also not at loggerhead. that's potentially a glimmer of progress. my sources are also saying that at this point we expect that it's likely that the government will still be shut down tomorrow. that could change. there is a key vote potentially scheduled overnight. so we'll obviously be watching all of that closely. but again, they are all still here in washington trying to work this out. workers, of course, coming back to washington. this is the first real workday on monday. so those impacts are really going to start to be felt. >> kasie hunt on capitol hill, thanks. hours after the
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government shutdown began a helicopter crashed in california killing two soldiers on a training mission. it was a stark reminder the military continues to train, fight, and face danger even if congress fails to provide immediate funding. hans nichols has the details. >> reporter: the helicopter crashed around 1:00 a.m. saturday morning in fort irwin, california, killing two pilots on board. they were among the troops of the fourth infantry division. training in the mojave desert this month. the division's commanding general said our heartfelt prayers and condolences go out to family and friends during this difficult and painful time. those grieving families won't receive the $100,000 death benefit normally paid out within 36 hours until the government shutdown ends. around fort irwin that news doesn't sit well. >> the family is now not only lost a loved one, but now having to wait on the
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government. >> reporter: less than 24 hours before the accident defense secretary jim mattis took aim at congress, warning a shutdown would force a furlough of half of the pentagon's 740,000 civilians, affect intelligence operations overseas and training for reserve forces. >> for too long we have asked the military to stoically carry success. at any cost attitude. as they work tirelessly to accomplish the mission with now inadequate and misaligned resources. >> reporter: troops overseas good a little good news. they were initially told the shutdown would shut off the nfl broadcast of the playoffs, but today the pentagon deemed the armed forces network essential. now they're able to watch the big games. >> relief for them. hans, thank you. the shutdown reverberating across the globe with the vice president today taking the unusual step of criticizing democrats during a speech to troops on the front lines near the syrian border.
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chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell was with him. >> reporter: the vice president offering troops an unusually partisan message. at a u.s. air base near the syrian border. >> a minority in the senate has decided to play politics with military pay. you deserve better. >> reporter: the white house won't comment on immigration. until democrats reopen the government. >> aren't republicans in control of the senate? >> as you know, andrea, the legislation requires too often 60 votes. and so in a very real sense the democrat minority is in the driver seat here. >> reporter: the service members here can't help worrying about what's happening back home. >> reporter: how do the troops feel about the shutdown and what they see going on in washington? >> everybody wonders if they're going to work the next day, going to be able to pay their bills. >> reporter: earlier the vice president was lectured by jordan's king abdullah, he was angry about president trump's decision to move the u.s. embassy in israel to jerusalem. >> for us in
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jerusalem, key to muslims and christians as it is to jews, keys to peace. >> it hoped to visit, but was told he would not be welcome. how can you have a peace process when the two sides are so far apart, and the palestinians are not even meeting with you. >> we understand our allies and friends in the region might have a difference of opinion on that. we agreed to disagree. >> reporter: tonight he arrived in jerusalem, where the new u.s. embassy may open as soon as next year. even as the u.s. faces another crisis. nato ally turkey striking u.s. backed kurdish fighters in syria. pence telling me turkey should deescalate, and now. now to north korea where lester holt spent time today in a part of that country rarely seen by the outside world, a ski resort where north and south korean athletes are expected to train for the winter olympics, far
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different scenes from what we're used to seeing in north korea. lester? >> reporter: kate, we traveled about four hours east of pyongyang to visit a ski resort that has significance in the recent talks we've been watching between the north and south over the winter olympics. this, we're told, is a place where athletes from the north and south will be training together. we were also invited here, i would suspect, because it is not what people expect to see in north korea, a modern ski resort. it's got patriotic music and videos playing from a screen here, and a lot of families out enjoying themselves. we've spoken to some of those families, expressing optimism the two countries are speaking together, a sense of pride that they will be competing together in the winter olympics. and also some expressing a sense of greater security, given a chance to ratchet down some of the tensions. none of this, of course, erases the issues of the nuclear program here that is
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drawing the attention and criticism from around the world, and certainly the crippling sanctions that have caused so much hardship in this country, not evident here obviously, but something that they are dealing with here. we'll continue our reporting this week on "nbc nightly news" but we'll send it back to you in new york. >> fascinating, lester. thank you so much. we have an unusual look tonight at a senior commander of isis, a man federal authorities say was born and raised here in the united states. and now his mother is acknowledging for the first time that it's her son who appears in an isis propaganda video. justice correspondent pete williams with that story. >> whose affects we will leave for the enemy. >> reporter: he calls himself abu hamza the american. appearing in a recent isis video and calling for terror attacks in the u.s. >> show resolve and place your trust in allah. he will pave the way for you. >> reporter: months after this video came out last year, federal
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prosecutors figured out his real name is zulfi hoxha. he grew up in the new jersey seaside community of margate. now his mother says that's him in the video. >> yeah, yeah, this is my son. >> reporter: she told reporter ted greenberg of wcau that she's surprised and upset. >> did he ever talk about terrorism before he left? >> no, no, no. >> reporter: now posted on the door is a note saying the family is devastated. a man who managed a restaurant where hoxha was a busboy says he saw signs of trouble. >> we know you're going to open up a newspaper someday and see you're in al qaeda. >> reporter: federal investigators say hoxha left the u.s. three years ago traveling first to turkey then slipping into syria. just six months later, investigators say, he showed up in an isis video beheading a kurdish soldier. recently filed court documents say hoxha has become a senior isis commander. >> to find an american on the battlefield for isis, as a propagandist, as an
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operational leader is rare and quite surprising. >> reporter: if the u.s. ever captures him, he'll be charged with terrorism, a massachusetts man who helped him get to syria is now serving 28 years in prison. pete williams, nbc news at the justice department. this weekend marks four months since hurricane maria tore through puerto rico. the recovery effort may not grab daily headlines anymore, but volunteers are still on a mission to bring vital supplies there. tonight gabe gutierrez revisits a group of veterans who've gone above and beyond. >> reporter: in the mountains of puerto rico, clara bell santana sleeps in what's left of her shredded home. desperate, she says, struggling without power, hardship on top of heart ache. her sick father died on christmas day. >> they are americans. they deserve help. they deserve support. and they deserve not to be forgotten. >> reporter: we first
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met jason matty, an iraq war veteran in october. he and other volunteers rushed in supplies. >> people are hurting really bad right now. >> this social media post went viral. since then he's launched his own nonprofit. veteran disaster relief. among the new volunteers, jose lebron, a retired air force veteran from san antonio, and lysette gonzales, a cleveland police officer. >> i saw his post and contacted his wife and said how can i get involved? >> reporter: together they're traveling through the mountains, bringing food, water filters, and medical care to lines of people still waiting for help. 70-year-old israel ortiz strums his guitar to dull the pain. diabetic and bedridden in sweltering temperatures. >> reporter: why do you do this? >> i don't think that i could look myself in the mirror and know that i walked away from people here.
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>> reporter: it's incredible how much a donated generator can mean when a man realizes he has power and the fan for the first time in four months. on this island, amid the heartbreak, there are reasons to celebrate. >> you just feel a joy in your heart that you potentially saved their life. to be a part of that is incredible, incredible. >> reporter: gabe gutierrez, nbc news, puerto rico. still ahead tonight, inside america's new boomtowns fueled by our insatiable appetite for online shopping. also, a television milestone in the world of sports entertainment. the fans just call it fun.
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as we learned the other day, amazon has narrowed the field of potential locations for its second corporate headquarters to 20 metropolitan areas. 50,000 jobs are at stake. with online shopping now dominating retail, the centers that ship out orders are now all over the country. business correspondent jo ling kent reports on one town getting a big boost. >> reporter: not long ago, tracy was a sleepy town in california's central valley. nowadays, big brands hike home depot, pepsi, and amazon are setting up enormous warehouses known as
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fulfillment centers to fill america's insatiable appetite for online shopping. as these warehouses hum with activity, they're unboxing another benefit. jump starting local economies. with new businesses opening to support the influx of workers. >> we were busy right away. >> reporter: in fact, kevin gipel left his fulfillment center job to open a restaurant. >> we've seen a lot of young early 20s just getting started, getting their first jobs in distribution and fulfillment. >> reporter: tracy has lured companies for as low as $1 a year plus major tax rebates and deferments. >> what have you seen the last year in terms of job growth? >> it's been huge. since 2014, we've added over 6,000-plus jobs. in the last quarter alone, our sales tax revenue went up 35%. >> reporter: as more traditional retailers close their doors, fulfillment center boomtowns are springing up across america. the average pay, $12 to $14 an hour.
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even these jobs may not last forever as automation plays a bigger role. >> this isn't a silver bullet. it's hope and opportunity. but it has to be levered. and that means taking the proceeds from the proceeds from this and investing in the community to make it more durable over the long haul. >> reporter: but for gipel the time is now. >> this is what people call the american dream. >> yeah, i think so. >> reporter: a new kind of dream right out of the box, tracy california. when we come back, the raw success of a wrestling powerhouse, 25 years in the making.
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back with a milestone in the world of smackdown entertainment. tomorrow night wwe's monday night raw will
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mark a quarter century on television. the company calls it sports entertainment, and acknowledges the story lines are planned. one thing's for sure, the fans keep coming. as joe fryer reports. >> reporter: over 25 years monday night raw has earned a reputation for wild story lines. >> i hate you. >> reporter: airing on usa, nbc's sister network, the show may not be for everyone, but it has become a pop culture institution. >> whether it's hugh jackman getting involved in a match or betty white kicking off the show as guest host and taking it to bigger performers, there really is something for everyone. >> reporter: and of course years before he took office, president trump appeared. >> in front of the millions. >> reporter: the rock's movie career was launched here, same for john cena who calls raw the perfect training ground for wannabe stars. >> they have been booed by 16,000.
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they have heard the pin drop silence of 20,000, and they have been cheered. >> reporter: among those cheering, rick aukberger, he's the sign guy, brings posters to each show, sparring verbally with competitors like hhh. >> you came over and pretty much yelled in my face that he's going to win the championship back and he's going to shove it down my throat. >> reporter: raw scored its highest ratings in 1999, an era known for shocking story lines and foul language. 2008 the show went pg, hoping to attract more families. >> we've evolved over the years. we're not the same company we used to be. >> reporter: with more fans watching wwe through social media, and a video streaming service, raw is by no means the company's only platform. after 25 years this monday night mainstay is still on the air, and in the ring. joe fryer, nbc news. when we come back,
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how a teacher who fought tough battles in his first career comes through for the kids in this cold classroom.
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finally, tonight, a recent cold snap left students at some schools in baltimore wearing their coats in the classroom after broken heating systems were not repaired because of budget problems. some schools were closed for days. but one teacher took matters into his own hands. morgan radford tonight on how he is inspiring america. >> everybody should still be busy working right now. >> reporter: standing 6'4", former linebacker aaron maybin is now tackling a new mission. >> there's nowhere else i would rather be a part of the change that i want to see than in the hometown that raised me.
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>> reporter: since leaving the nfl, maybin's been teaching in baltimore, where many classrooms like his have been dark and cold. >> what's the day been like for you guys today? >> cold. >> reporter: maybin posted a video of his shivering students on social media. >> yesterday i had frostbite. >> reporter: it went viral, drawing national attention. but maybin couldn't wait for the city to address the problem. he went door to door asking for hand warmers and blankets. he helped launch a gofunme page that raised $82,000. even major companies like amazon donated coats. finally the kids got back their heat and their smiles. >> many message does it send to these kids that it took all that effort just to get heat turned on in their classroom? >> it tells them they don't matter. why are the kids in this community not prioritized as heavily as the kids a few blocks away? >> reporter: when you say just a few blocks away, you're talking about more affluent,
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whiter schools. >> exactly. >> reporter: now he wants to even the playing field. so how important is school for you? >> real important. >> you want to do well in school. >> yeah. >> reporter: providing a place of hope, even in the darkest of hours. morgan radford, nbc news, baltimore, maryland. great stuff, that is "nbc nightly news" for this sunday night. tomorrow lester holt will be reporting from inside north korea on "nightly news today" and msnbc. be sure to tune in for that. i'm kate snow. for all of us here at nbc news have a great night. who are these people?
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the energy conscious people among us say small actions can add up to something... humongous. a little thing here. a little thing there. starts to feel like a badge maybe millions can wear. who are all these caretakers, advocates too? turns out, it's californians it's me and it's you. don't stop now, it's easy to add to the routine. join energy upgrade california and do your thing.
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of the bay area. right now at 6:00, a wet start to your workweek. rain touching some parts of the bay area. the news at 6:00 starts right now. good evening. thank you for joining us. a new round of rain, the green behind me, picking up where the rain is right now, napa, marin county moving into the north bay for the past hour or so. live look at a couple spots in the bay area. nothing below the north bay yet. maybe a touch in san francisco. before this week is out, we will have relief from a winter drier than normal. >> yeah. we have seen a couple showers in the north bay. we are expecting the storm system to move from the north to

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