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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  March 7, 2018 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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>> buy an in and out burger tonight. >> i do like my in and out. >> lester holt joins us next with "nightly news." we'll see you at 6:00. >> bye-bye. tonight, the massive massive nor'easter slamming the east coast. states of emergency declared. heavy snow, powerful winds, coastal flooding, even thundersnow. the second major storm in a matter of days. a dangerous commute home for millions tonight. thousands of flights canceled. we're tracking the threat. president trump sued by the adult film star he allegedly had an affair with. what she's now claiming about her hush money deal. at a time when the white house is in damage control over its latest high-profile resignation. the v.a. under fire. the shocking new report alleging failed leadership in a major hospital that put our veterans' lives at risk. the police officer killed responding to a 911 call. the second tragedy in a matter of months for a small town force. and the wounded
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warrior now wearing a different uniform. >> it gave me the outlet and it gave me that sense of brotherhood and camaraderie that i really missed. >> serving his country again as a paralympic star. in is nbc "nightly news" with lester holt. >> good evening, and welcome to our viewers in the west. as we come on the air, homeward bound commuters here in the densely packed northeast corridor are struggling through a major snowstorm. the second powerful nor'easter to slam the region in less than a week. tonight, snarling highways and disrupting transit service. here's what it looks like right now in new jersey and new york at this hour. new york and philadelphia among the big cities in the path of the fast-moving storm burying twisted trees and downed power lines left over from last friday's storm. the heavy, wet snow raising the misery level for thousands who are without power and heat in some cases for a sixth straight day. this while thousands of flights to and from the region are
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canceled leaving displaced passengers across the country. nbc's stephanie gosk has our report. >> reporter: battling a nor'easter is never easy. battling two in less than a week is taking its toll. >> march is no good. >> reporter: throughout the northeast, the cleanup from the first storm is being buried by a heavy, wet snow. in some places piling up over a foot. a teacher was struck by lightning in new jersey during a rare weather phenomenon known as thundersnow. >> don't take this for granted. take it seriously. take precautions. >> reporter: more than 2,000 flights canceled today. >> this is exhausting, actually. >> reporter: tens of thousands of people remain without power in the region. >> we've been out of power since friday, and we've been so cold. >> reporter: for laurie and terry who live north of new york city, no electricity also means no water. >> this should last us maybe a couple of days if we're conservative.
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>> reporter: power crews even in the driving wind and snow installed new poles and new lines. >> one street we go down, you got poles down. then you go down the next street and you got more poles down. >> reporter: the local power company is calling in reinforcements while some are calling for the head of that company to be fired. along the coast, massive waves flooded roads and homes. in massachusetts, communities still under water from last week's storm could be facing even more water if a weakened seawall fails. >> we just really don't know. it's going to be a day at a time, you know, it's a day at a time right now. >> reporter: while a bus carrying the northeastern women's basketball team got stuck in philadelphia. everyone pitching in to push it out. at times today, the snow fell 2 inches per hour bringing normal life to a halt. snowman takes the edge off? >> yep, yep, a little bit. >> reporter: the heaviest part of this storm is coming at the worst possible time. rush hour.
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the commute is treacherous and secondary roads are quickly becoming impassable. this is going to be another cold, dark night for a lot of people. the good news, lester, is that it's going to clear out of here quickly. it will all be gone by tomorrow. >> might i add, spring isn't all that far away. stephanie gosk, thank you. for weeks now we've been hearing about the porn star, the president and the payoff. while it certainly reads at first like a salacious gossip headline, the questions being raised are potentially serious. tonight that actress known as stormy daniels is raising the stakes, suing president trump over an agreement that she says involved hush money meant to buy her silence about the nature of their relationship days before the election. the suit once again putting focus on that money and whether its trail leads to the president. nbc chief white house correspondent hallie jackson takes us beyond the sordid details to those new questions. >> reporter: for stormy daniels, in south carolina, another meet and greet, but tonight's headlines aren't
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coming from this strip club. instead, from court, with a new lawsuit centering on a mysterious $130,000 payment. daniels' lawyer says it's hush money to guarantee the adult film actress would never talk about what he describes as a sexual relationship with donald trump in 2006 and 2007. now daniels is arguing that nondisclosure agreement is not valid because it was never signed, she says, by president trump. the contract was signed october 28th, 2016, just a week and a half before the election. with hillary clinton leading in the polls, not long after that infamous "access hollywood" tape surfaced. the president's lawyer says he did facilitate that six-figure payout but hasn't said what it was for. while michael cohen says neither the trump organization nor the trump campaign reimbursed him, he has not said whether the president himself personally did. >> there's no question the president knew about it at the time. >> reporter: the white house denying the allegations of a relationship. as for the money --
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>> did he know about the payment at the time? >> not that i'm aware of. >> have you asked the president this question? >> yeah, i've had conversations with the president about this. there was no knowledge of any payments from the president, and he's denied all of these allegations. >> reporter: legal experts say the fact daniels accepted the money could hurt her case. >> even if stormy daniels returned the money now, a court could conclude that when she accepted it originally, she intended to be bound by the contract. >> reporter: and tonight, nbc news has learned the president's longtime lawyer, michael cohen, about two weeks ago obtained a temporary restraining order in a private arbitration proceeding intended to keep daniels from talking about this nondisclosure agreement. neither cohen nor his lawyer responded to our request for comment. lester? >> hallie jackson at the white house. thank you. president trump is preparing to move forward with his pledge to sign new tariffs on steel and aluminum. the move triggering the surprise resignation of the president's chief economic adviser gary
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cohn. just the latest in a revolving door at the white house. for more on the apparent turmoil, we turn to nbc white house correspondent kristen welker. >> reporter: tonight, after u.s. and global markets had a rocky ride, jitters mounting over chief economic adviser gary cohn's resignation. >> well, i'm concerned that who the president will turn to for advice. >> one of the problems here is the white house is getting hollowed out. >> reporter: the white house trying to downplay the volatility. isn't the message from the markets, though, that they're concerned about gary cohn's departure? >> i think if you look at the overall message of the markets, it's that we're doing much better under president trump than we were doing before he took office. >> reporter: cohn is the latest member of the president's inner circle to head for the door. in all, 43% of top-level positions have left the trump white house. a higher turnover than trump's four most recent predecessors each had in their first two years. today sarah sanders denying this white house is in chaos. >> if it was, i don't think we would be able to accomplish
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everything that we've done. >> reporter: but even the president acknowledged this week -- >> i like conflict. >> reporter: cohn's departure was prompted by his opposition to the president's threat of new tariffs on steel and aluminum. many republicans and foreign allies have warned that could spark a trade war. now under pressure, the white house is signaling some countries including mexico and canada could be exempt. >> we're not trying to blow up the world. >> reporter: former white house chief of staff leon panetta -- >> when there is chaos and disruption in washington, it is ultimately going to affect the way you make your living wherever you're living in this country. and that's what scares the hell out of people. >> reporter: the president could announce those new tariffs as early as tomorrow. tonight, 107 house republicans have written a letter to president trump urging him to target so-called bad actors like china and to exempt u.s. allies. lester? >> kristen welker, thank you. there's a scathing new report out concerning the quality of healthcare that the v.a. is providing
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some of the men and women who served our country. the department of veterans affairs once again under fire. one of its major hospitals accused of putting patients' lives at risk and squandering millions in taxpayer dollars. nbc's gabe gutierrez has more on this story. >> reporter: at one of the nation's largest v.a. medical centers in washington, d.c., officials knew of staggering problems for years, but did not fix them. according to a new report from the office of inspector general. patients put under anesthesia before doctors realized they didn't have the right equipment for surgeries. in some cases, staff ran across the street to a private hospital to borrow supplies. >> clearly lives were put at risk. that's why it's important that we deal with this on an urgent basis. >> reporter: the report revealing waste on a stunning scale. over three years the medical center rented in-home hospital beds for 3 patients for $877,000 when it could have bought the 3 beds for $21,000. investigators discovered a culture of complacency among
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v.a. leaders. v.a. secretary david shulkin told them he did not recall being told of the problems. today he called the findings unacceptable. >> this, to me, represents a failure of the v.a. system at every level. >> reporter: investigators did not find evidence of direct patient harm, but veterans were put at risk. james preston of maryland says he's undergone cancer treatments there since 2002. >> when i walk through that door, there's an expectation that i had that i'm going to receive professional medical care. >> reporter: in response to the investigation, the v.a. says it's bought more than $3 million worth of surgical instruments and is trying to improve its accountability. following the latest in a string of scandals. gabe gutierrez, nbc news. now to the tragedy striking a small town in missouri. one officer killed, two others injured in a shootout with a suspect last night. this is the second time a member of that police force has fallen in just a matter of months. nbc's ron mott now
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with the story and a warning, some of what you're about to see and hear you may find upsetting. >> shots fired. >> reporter: 30-year-old clinton, missouri, cop, christopher ryan morton, honored at a major league baseball game in 2014 for his service in afghanistan, was killed in a shootout tuesday night inside this home. heard here after responding to a 911 call. >> morton, you good? >> no. i'm hit multiple times. one in each arm. both legs. and head, the vest. >> reporter: two other officers were also wounded. it was the second time the small police department 75 miles southeast of kansas city has lost an officer in the past seven months. >> you could definitely tell a difference whoever's inside, their weapon was much bigger than what the police had. >> reporter: the suspect ex-con james e. watters was later found dead in the house. police say officer morton, who previously
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worked for the department before leaving, was inspired to return after clinton officer, gary michael, was shot to death during a traffic stop just last summer. >> another tragic event for this community and especially this police department. >> reporter: online, condolences for a small town police department grieving yet again. ron mott, nbc news. we turn to california now. one of a handful of states that extend protections to people living in this country illegally. they're known as sanctuary states. tonight, that policy has california locked in a bitter war of will and words with the federal government which has now sued the state over the policy. as national correspondent miguel almaguer reports, attorney general jeff sessions is leading the charge. >> reporter: in sacramento, new battle lines drawn in what the governor calls the war against california. protesters greeting u.s. attorney general jeff sessions amid a fierce fight over immigration raids. >> this is a press stunt by the highest
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law enforcement officer in the land. >> reporter: the justice department is suing california for hindering enforcement of federal immigration laws and endangering federal agents. >> how dare you? how dare you needlessly endanger the lives of our law enforcement officers to promote a radical open-borders agenda. >> reporter: sessions blasted oakland mayor libby schaaf who warned the public as federal agents were fanning out for an immigration raid. but sessions says 800 undocumented immigrants got away. >> her actions support those who flout the law and boldly validates illegality. >> how dare you distract the american people from a failed immigration system. >> reporter: a sanctuary state, california limits cooperation between local and federal immigration enforcement. >> they've been part of the economy. millions of people. now they treat them like animals and round them up and dump them in cells or on the
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border. >> reporter: tonight a new front on the immigration battle that many are calling sessions versus the state of california. miguel almaguer, nbc news. a massive three-alarm fire has left at least one person dead and another unaccounted for at an apartment building under construction in denver. some workers jumped from the third floor to escape the flames. officials say six people were injured including a firefighter. the cause is now under investigation. there is a lot more to share with you tonight. still ahead, police revealing the powerful poison used on that former russian spy and his daughter. who is behind the mysterious attack? also the woman who won that huge powerball jackpot. more than half a billion dollars, claims her prize. but there's more to it than that.
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we're back now with a new twist in a case right out of a cold war spy novel. british investigators revealing today that a former russian spy and his daughter were targeted for assassination on uk
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soil with a nerve agent. a poison so powerful one of the first responders is also still in the hospital. we get the very latest now from nbc's keir simmons. >> reporter: scotland yard making the stunning announcement this afternoon. former russian spy sergei skripal seen here in a store just weeks ago was deliberately targeted. poisoned along with his daughter, yulia. >> this is being treated as a major incident involving attempted murder by administration of a nerve agent. >> reporter: that nerve agent so powerful investigators are still wearing hazmat suits. a police officer first at the scene hospitalized in serious condition. and skripal and his daughter critically ill. these images are said to show them sunday just before the attack. the video not independently confirmed by nbc news. that surveillance video was recorded here. the couple made it across this bridge to a park bench before collapsing. police not revealing
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the nerve agent used and have not named any suspects. >> the fact that a nerve agent was used strengthens the likelihood that this was a state sponsor of some sort, and russia is the chief suspect, of course. >> reporter: skripal was jailed by russia for secretly assisting british intelligence then sent to the uk after a spy swap. his case echoing the deadly radioactive poisoning in the uk of another former russian spy, alexander litvinenko. tonight the kremlin again denying any involvement. keir simmons, nbc news, london. we're back in just a moment with a surprise visitor to the high school in florida where that mass shooting took place. one student calling it the greatest moment of my life. and just why are people hearing laughter when they turn on amazon's alexa? some say it's downright creepy.
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the mystery winner of a $560 million powerball jackpot has finally claimed her prize, but we still don't know who she is. a lawyer accepted the payout today on behalf of a trust set up for the winner from new hampshire who is suing to keep her identity secret. her lawyer says she will be donating up to $50 million to charity. this was the first full day of classes at the high school in florida where a gunman killed 17 people three weeks ago. the spirits of the students were lifted by a surprise visitor. miami heat superstar dwyane wade. as they crowded around him, wade said he was inspired by their response to the shooting. one student called wade's appearance the greatest moment of his life. and if you have alexa, amazon's virtual assistant, maybe you've heard what a lot of people are now complaining about. random laughter coming out of the devices that have alexa. take a listen. [ laughter ] some are calling it scary and creepy. amazon says it's working to fix the
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issue. we're going to take a short break here. when we come back, "those who serve." a remarkable army veteran representing our country in a new way and going for gold. general. new at 6: the ba
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politician who says he )s proud to be called an embarrassment. plus, stormranger picking up scattered rain right now. when we could see a stronger storm arrive. finally tonight, "those who serve." with the opening of the paralympic games in pyeongchang later this week, i want to share with you a story tonight about a team usa athlete who has literally faced battles on the road to where he is now. a soldier who suffered a debilitating battle injury and is now serving with a new band of brothers on the ice. rico roman has been putting on a uniform to represent his country for more than 15 years. first on the battlefield. and now on the ice.
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an army staff sergeant in 2007, roman was on his third tour of duty in iraq when his vehicle hit an ied. >> when i looked down and seen my leg and seen what had happened, i knew i was out of the fight. >> reporter: out of that fight, maybe, but despite losing a leg, roman was soon ready for new challenges. >> the first time i seen a handcycle and i said, wow, look at this wik. it's got three wheels. i was like, i can ride that thing. here we go. here we go. >> reporter: as part of his rehab, he tried sled hockey. >> it was so much fun because i remember taking off my leg and having it in the locker room and, you know, we had all guys different -- missing different body parts and it didn't really matter. all that mattered was, like, you know, hey, when we get on that ice, you know, let's see what you got. >> reporter: in the rink, roman found what he felt he lost when he left the military. >> gave me that sense of brotherhood and comrade that i really missed.
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>> reporter: captain josh pauls calls roman the ultimate teammate. >> he's always positive. he's the oldest guy on the team, but he always comes out with the enthusiasm of an 18-year-old. >> reporter: in sochi four years ago, roman and his teammates captured gold. >> my name is rico roman, and i'm a team toyota athlete. >> reporter: now, he's featured in ads for toyota and comcast. owner of nbc universal. >> but there might be somebody that's home with a disability that has no clue about disabled sports or sled hockey. just like i didn't know. and by showing these commercials, hopefully we can get the next generation of paralympians in here. >> a gold medal paralympian whose goal now is to inspire others. we appreciate you spending part of your evening with us. that is "nightly news" for tonight. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thanks for watching, and good night.
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the national fight...has become very local. oakland )s mayor has strong wors for the trump administration... after the attorney general calls her out. the news at 6 starts right now: good evening and thanks for after the attorney general calls her out. the news at 6:00 starts right now. evening. thanks for being with us. >> i'm jessica aguirre. the battle lines have been drawn. the trump administration is suing california. today attorney general jeff sessions scolded several california leaders, including
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oakland mayor libby schaaf. sessions accusing her of endangering law enforcement by tipping off the community to raids. schaaf wasted no time firing the a.g. he's the one vilifying the bay area community. >> now too sacramento. let's begin with sam brock in town in oakland. the mayor in an uncomfortable spotlight tonight. she is in the spotlight, raj. that's the perfect characterization. theville i have indication of undocumented immigrants being portrayed as hardened criminals. mayor schaaf took issue with his look at crime. he made it feel like there's more violent crime and the numbers bear out there's less. with sanctuary cities like san francisco and oakland in the sights of the federal government, the shear fury over lawsuits and


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