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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  January 23, 2018 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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academy has a lot of new, younger members selecting the diversity of this year's nominees. >> thanks for joining us. we'll see you back here at 6:00. bye. >> bye. % tonight, it has happened again. a mass shooting at an american school. authorities say a 15-year-old opened fire. >> we started to take off. kids were scrambling over other kids and it was horrible. >> tonight the dead and injured and the search for answers. the russian investigation gets closer to the president as muler has interviewed sessions and comey. we just returned from a look at one of the most mysterious places on the planet. tonight we'll show you what we saw in north korea. how safe are e-cigarettes? the report we've been waiting for for years. how vaping help some kick the habit while getting others hooked. and neil diamond's sudden
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announcement ♪ "sweet caroline" the legendary singer announces his diagnosis of parkinson's. reaction pouring in from one of the all-time greats. this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening to our viewers in the west. glad to be with you tonight. they are the three words that have chilled us so many times. another school shooting. this time it's happened at a high school in kentucky where teachers and students huddled in fear. others fleeing in panic as shots rang out near the start of a school day. a 15 year old boy killing two and leaving 17 people injured. 14 of them shot. it happened in the rural community of benton, kentucky. gabe gutierrez is there tonight with the latest. >> reporter: the chaos erupted just before 8:00 a.m. >> marshall county high school. >> reporter: as students gathered in a common area. >> got one shot in the head, one in the back.
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>> reporter: hundreds of teenagers, running for their lives from marshall county high school in benton, kentucky. >> i heard, like two shots, and i turned around. and behind me i see this big figure of a person, and i just see like fire coming from a gun. >> reporter: 17 people injured, 14 of them shot. two 15-year-olds died. >> this is a wound that is going to take a long time to heal. >> reporter: police say a 15-year-old student barged into the school with a handgun and opened fire. >> he was apprehended. there's no way of knowing how far it would have went. >> reporter: this person was seen led away in handcuffs. how did you get out? >> well, i mean, we just ran. that's all i can say. >> reporter: this senior, his hands still shaking, says he and others had barricaded themselves in a classroom. >> i had seen one of the students that had been injured. i had to back away. i couldn't look at it anymore.
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>> reporter: a photographer captured these images after he just dropped off his daughter at the school. >> just minutes later. i hadn't made it more than a mile down the road. she was calling back, saying daddy, there's been a shooting. >> reporter: after he made sure his daughter was safe, he waited at the main office with three our students. >> i was talking. and we ran out together. i lost him. i don't know where he went. >> reporter: kentucky state police say the 15-year-old suspected shooter is in custody and will be charged with murder and attempted murder. investigators believe he acted alone, but so far they have not revealed a motive. >> a horrifying tragedy. thank you gabe gutierrez. tonight there are new signs that the russia investigation is getting closer to president trump. robert mueller's investigators have now interviewed attorney general jeff sessions, a key player in the trump campaign and the trump administration. nbc correspondent kristin welker
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has been on the case from the start and pushed the president himself today in the oval office about that revelation. >> reporter: nbc news has learned tonight, james comey, the former fbi director who led the russia probe and jeff sessions, the attorney general who was forced to recuse himself, have both been interviewed by special counsel robert mueller's team. a justice department official says sessions sat for hours of questions just last week. comey was interviewed last year about memos he wrote about his interactions with the president a source close to comey revealed. >> no, i'm not at all concerned. not at all. i didn't, but i'm not at all concerned. thank you all very much. >> reporter: it's not clear what the special counsel asked sessions, but the attorney general was instrumental in the firing of james comey. mr. trump telling lester, it was at the root of his decision to fire comey.
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>> i said, this russia thing with trump and russia is a made-up story. >> reporter: as the investigation gets closer to the president, mr. trump is escalating his battle with the very department that's investigating him. this morning, slamming the fbi, after revelations they're missing five months worth of text messages between fbi agent who was removed for writing disparaging messages about then candidate trump to a then fbi attorney who worked on the mueller team. the president calling it one of the biggest stories of all time. the white house also lashed out at reports that current fbi director christopher wray threatened to resign to protest pressure he was getting from sessions and others to fire andrew mccabe. >> he didn't at all. he did not even a little bit, nope. and he's going to do a good job. >> reporter: and tonight, conversations are ongoing between the president's legal
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team and the special counsel, which will seek to interview mr. trump. sources familiar with the matter tell nbc news that could happen in a matter of weeks, lester. >> kristin welker at the white house. tragic new details on the hotel terror attack in afghanistan. a number of american citizens were among the 22 killed in the siege in kabul, though they have not yet been publicly identified. richard engel now with the latest. >> reporter: the americans were killed during this brazen terror attack on a hotel in the middle of kabul this weekend. bombs going off as six taliban militants, wearing afghani uniforms, burst into the hotel. parts of the hotel caught fire during the assault. more than 100 people managed to escape. some lowering themselves to safer floors on bed sheets as the gunmen moved through the hallways. americans are still hunted in
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kabul, despite the 16-year-long american war to pacify. troop levels were increased to 14,000 and the administration is considering adding 1,000 more on top of that. the commitment open-ended. typically insurgencies take at least a decade if not two to resolve. this is a long-term operation. it will get worse before it gets better. >> reporter: america's longest war getting longer. american soldiers and civilians in the cross hairs. even at their hotel. richard engel, nbc news. now to our journey inside north korea. suspicious of outsiders and now a nuclear power unafraid to confront the west. we spent two days on the ground trying to see with our own eyes what life is like under the iron rule of kim jong un and whether its recent olympics overture signals a possible reset. they're images we rarely see.
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a look inside the secretive world of north korea. it began on our flight into the country. propaganda films, in-flight entertainment. they are announcing we have just crossed into north korea about an hour into our flight, over a frozen mountainous landscape. the next day we're taken from our guesthouse through the capital streets. government escorts determine where we can go, watching and listening to every move. pictures shot without permission, certain buildings, groups of people, military, we are told to delete. we're passing through central pyongyang now, it's about 8:30 on a sunday morning. lots of people out walking. we see them on the bicycles. what we don't see are a lot of cars on the road. the city filled with murals and signs, images of the kim family which has ruled this country since its founding. this one saying let's achieve new victory.
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a reminder north and south korea are still technically at war. but now the olympic break through. we are taken outside pyongyang, a source of pride for a country trying to present a new and modern face to the world. while most are believed to live in poverty, this appears to be a get away for the north korean elite. and now it's one of the sites where north and south korean athletes will train to compete in the olympics under a united consider reason -- korean flag. they will also have a hockey team. >> translator: i'm overflowing with pride and i believe from this opportunity the whole world will envy us. >> reporter: we sat down with the executive secretary of north korea's olympic committee and part of the delegation that negotiated with south korea. are there any concerns about combining some of these teams so close to the olympics?
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>> translator: hockey is a team sport that needs to train together. however, we are the same people who share the same language, same culture and same blood. >> reporter: on the face of it, there is nothing to suggest this period of olympic detente will have anything to do with the nuclear standoff. some argue, however, that it does strengthen the hand of kim jong un. just weeks ago, kim jong un unleashed another threat at the u.s. claiming he has a nuclear button on his desk and that the u.s. is in his range. for a world holding its breath over an olympic peace breakthrough, a senior north korean official tells nbc news its nuclear program will continue. you think the north koreans will launch one of these this year? >> oh, certainly. i think they may take a break for the olympics. but i don't see any reason for them to stop testing. >> reporter: dr. jeffrey lewis specializes in nonproliferation.
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we met with him in california before our trip. he showed us exclusively a detailed model and technical assessment of north korea's most advanced missile tested last november. any doubt that this missile that you think you've replicated can reach the continental united states? >> oh, no doubt whatsoever. all the way down to mar-a-lago. >> reporter: north korea has been hit with punishing sanctions, but lewis showed us new commercial satellite photos that suggest they may be illegally exporting coal. the u.s. says the sanctions are hurting north korea. on the ground, people are defiant when asked about the nuclear standoff. >> translator: because we have our dear supreme, kim jong un, we have no fear and are always ready. if the u.s. is firing at us, even though we love peace, we are not fearful. >> reporter: for people in the united states who will see this, what do you want them to think about the dprk? >> translator: even though those people are sanctioning us to
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make our life hard, we will still pull together to make our country strong. we are not the people the americans think we are. >> reporter: but it's impossible to know what people on the street really think. with government officials listening to our conversation. one thing stood out, the answers are similar everywhere we traveled. the inescapable thought as you walked through the streets of north korea is the question of how can the united states head off a nuclear confrontation. the fact is north korea is now ha nuclear power, unwilling to relinquish that power and how we deal with that reality remains one of the critical questions of our time. and while south korean leaders hope that competing under the same flag with north korea will help ease tensions, today we're hearing from a former north korean assassin. she warns that kim jong un has dark motives.
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>> reporter: she's a former north korean spy and a mass killer. kim jong wii put a bomb on a jetliner months before an olympics. it exploded killing all 115 on board. she was caught and named the man who gave her orders. kim jong il, the father of today's leader kim jong un. >> reporter: your goal was destroy the plane, destroy the olympics. >> translator: yes, i was a robot, she says, brainwashed. south korea was our enemy. the olympics went ahead. the u.s. designated north korea a sponsor of terror. the victims remembered here. many here are convinced north korea's methods today are equally ruthless, using weapons to sow fear. trying to destroy south korea. >> reporter: kim jong-un aims to
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break the ties. she says he's using the games to buy time for his nuclear program. she was sentenced to death for the bombing but pardoned by south korea. she lives in hiding today, fearing kim will kill her. a traitor in his eyes who completed her mission but turned on the regime. nbc news, seoul. there was a major scare overnight from alaska all the way down the west coast when a powerful 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck undersea in the gulf of alaska. the force triggered tsunami warnings and evacuations. many residents waking up to warnings on their phones. but after several tense hours, the warnings were canceled with no reports of injuries or property damage. there's a lot more ahead. still to come, are e-cigarettes safer than traditional cigarettes? and the impact vaping is having on our kids. also neil diamond sharing heartbreaking news with his fans, why he says he is done with the stage.
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tonight in what is being called the most comprehensive analysis of its kind, new research is out on the dangers of e-cigarettes. the national academy of medicine says vaping is likely less harmful than traditional cigarettes but warns it can be addictive too, leading teens to smoke regular cigarettes. nbc news national correspondent miguel almaguer has details. >> reporter: millions of americans use them, many giving up cigarettes for electronic ones, believing they are safer and less addictive. now a new study concludes e-cigarettes are likely to be less harmful than conventional cigarettes, but they're also addictive. >> vaping truly got me off the cigarettes, and i think it's a healthier alternative. do i think it's perfect? no.
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>> reporter: the 600 page report from the national academy of sciences, engineering and medicine says e-cigs might help people drop cigarettes, but the long-term effects from vapg are unclear. the study also finds e-cigarettes can hook teens and young adults, raising their risks of becoming traditional smokers. >> there is some evidence that vaping or smoking e-cigarettes among youth who have never smoked may lead they will to start smoking cigarettes, and whether they continue to smoke long term, we don't have data on that. >> reporter: the vaping industry says the study has flaws and the e-cigarettes are a much better alternative for adult smokers. >> i've been two years clean of the regular cigarettes. but i'm constantly vaping, i do still have that nicotine addiction in my brain. >> reporter: tonight some answers many have been waiting for. but while e-cigarettes are popular, their long-term health risk remains unknown.
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miguel almaguer, nbc news, los angeles. coming up, the oscar nominations are out. did your favorites make the cut this year? and she's making history. the senator and working mom who is about to do something no senator has ever done before.
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may qualify for home internet at a discounted rate of $10 a month. no commitment, deposit, or installation fee. visit to learn more. the nominations are out for the 90th academy awards and the race for best picture is shaping up to be anyone's guess. "the shape of water" leads including best picture where it's up against three favorites, like "three billboards outside ebbing, missouri." and "lady bird." jordan peele became the fifth black film maker to get a best director nod as his smash hit "get out" snagged four nominations. an american icon has died, the real life rosie the riveter. her identity was a mystery for decades until she was identified
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just two years ago as the inspiration for the iconic factory worker. naomi parker fraley was 96 years old. and a big announcement from illinois. tammy duckworth today is set to become the first u.s. senator in history to give birth while in office. she is due this spring after she celebrates her 50th anniversary. this will be the second child for duckworth, a decorated army veteran who lost both legs fighting in the iraq war. neil diamond is leaving the stage. the singer going public with his private battle. we'll be right back. shopping ca
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next at 6: who may be to blame - and the high price shoppers and the store are paying for the problem. plus a new storm hits on wednesday. i )ll tell you where .75" of rain is possible that )s next right now at 6: a heated debate at san francisco
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finally tonight, the legendary neil diamond, thanking fans for all their love and support after revealing his private battle with parkinson's disease and announcing his retirement from the stage. cynthia mcfadden now with diamond's reluctant farewell. ♪ there wasn't nothing but a heartache ♪ ♪ in the middle of a bad dream >> reporter: this is a complicated week for neil diamond, who had delighted audiences with his music for half a century. ♪ >> reporter: tomorrow he turns 77. sunday, he'll be honored with the lifetime achievement award at the grammys. but it's what he shared yesterday that's bringing headlines. he has parkinson's disease and will no longer tour. canceling a planned swing through australia and new zealand. ♪ song sung blue
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>> reporter: he posted this statement on his website. my thanks go out to my loyal and devoted audiences around the world. you will always have my appreciation for your support and encouragement. this ride has been so good, so good, so good. thanks to you. ♪ hands ♪ touching hands >> reporter: he says he will keep writing music and recording it. and while he may no longer play stadiums, his fans, at least in boston, will make sure his music always will. ♪ sweet caroline >> reporter: as they do in the eighth inning of every red sox game. ♪ >> reporter: cynthia mcfadden, nbc news, new york. >> and we're sending our best to neil diamond tonight.
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we appreciate you spending part of your evening with us. that is nightly news for this tuesday night. i'm lester holt, thank you for watching, and goodnight. right n a heated debate at san francisco city hall. a packed house and no shortage of opinions over who should lead the city right now. right now it a6:00, a packed house and no decisions over who should lead the city at this point in time. thanks for joining us. i'm jessica aguirre. >> i'm raj hathai. the acting mayor may be forced out. at issue, should the mayor stay on as actor mayor until the special election if june or does the high profile position give her an unfair advantage in the election. she does want the job full-time.
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roz plater joins us at city hall with the latest. roz? >> things were heated even before the supervisors got to the items on the agenda about pointing at interim mayor. that board of supervisors waiting to get in. now she became the acting mayor because she is board of supervisors president and continues to serve as supervisor. in in the audience argued she shouldn't hold any three positions. others say why is it even different than in 1978 after the mayor was assassinateed. >> madam dianne feinstein, president of this board. there was no debate.


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