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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  November 29, 2018 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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after the rain. >> we have the final word with the green on the radar. >> moving to the south clearing out in the north bay. next storm 11:00 p.m. friday and saturday morning. >> lester holt is next with nightly news. tonight, michael cohen's guilty plea. the president's former lawyer and fixer admits lying during the russian investigation about dealings during the trump campaign for a trump tower. the president now lashing out. >> he's a weak person and what he's trying to do is get a reduced sentence. >> the president's dealings with russia during the campaign now under the microscope. also, the president suddenly cancels a private meeting with putin at a high-stakes summit. breaking right now, a flash flood emergency in the wildfire-scarred area of california. a code red rescue mission under way. stunning, new murder charges in the mansion inferno
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mystery. who prosecutors say executed a family and torched their home. the future of air travel is here. no need to scan your passport or even carry a ticket. the airport now allowing passengers to check bags, go through security and get on the plane by scanning their face. handle with care? a postal worker caught on camera throwing a package on a family's front lawn, then accused of lying about why she did it. and the little girl who wanted to know why she couldn't get an nba superstar's shoes in girls' sizes. tonight her letter to steph curry, his letter back, and a big change on the way. >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening, everyone. unfolding tonight, the mueller investigation chocking up its seventh guilty plea today, this one putting president trump's business dealings with russia during his presidential campaign under the spotlight. the plea came from his disgraced former lawyer, michael cohen,
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admitting he lied to congress about his work on a proposed real estate project in moscow for the trump organization. president trump tonight says cohen is still lying. our pete williams has details. >> reporter: lester, michael cohen revealed in court today that during the presidential campaign, while president trump was praising vladimir putin, cohen and others in the trump organization were trying to get russia's help to build a big trump tower project in moscow. it's dramatic proof that cohen is now cooperating fully with robert mueller's investigation. michael cohen was back in federal court pleading guilty to an explosive, new charge, saying that he lied to congress when he told house and senate investigators last year about discussions between the trump organization and the russian government over plans to build a trump tower in moscow. cohen said he lied when he told congress that the dealings with russia ended in january 2016, before the presidential campaign was heating up. in fact, he admitted they continued for at least another six
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months, and he briefed trump family members. he also lied to congress when he said he was not in touch with any russian officials about the project and had no plans to travel there. cohen now says he e-mailed dmitry peskov, one of vladimir putin's closest aides, trying to get the russian government's help with the project and talked on the phone with one of peskov's aides for 20 minutes. cohen said today he did talk with the trump campaign officials about going to russia and even suggested that mr. trump could go there to pursue the project after becoming the republican party's nominee for preds in mid-july. cohen said today the deal was abandoned june 14th, which is the same day the "washington post" reported that russians hacked into democratic computers. in court, cohen said he made these misstatements to be consistent with mr. trump's political messaging and out of loyalty to donald trump. in a court filing, special counsel robert mueller said cohen also lied to congress, "in hopes of limiting the ongoing russia investigations."
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>> but obviously, this is a very significant plea and statement. it means that when the president was representing during the campaign that he had no business interests in russia, that that wasn't true. >> reporter: other than cohen's lies to congress, today's charges don't allege any other illegal conduct. there was nothing illegal about the trump organization trying to get a project going in moscow. legal experts say today's charges suggest that mueller wanted cohen's testimony in court today to build a case against others in the trump orbit. >> additional charges down the road, if any, could include lying to congress, as mr. cohen admitted to, but it could be other charges as well. it could be people involved in transactions that in and of themselves were illegal. we don't know yet. >> reporter: mueller's team has now found there was at least some outreach by the trump organization to vladimir putin for business reasons. now the question, was that conduit used for anything else? pete williams, nbc news, washington. >> reporter: i'm
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kristen welker. president trump today unleashing a new arsenal of attacks against michael cohen. >> he's a weak person, not a very smart person. what he's trying to do is end -- and it's very simple -- he's got himself a big prison sentence, and he's trying to get a much lesser prison sentence by making up a story. >> reporter: cohen has been a frequent target of the president since july when the former fixer who once said he'd take a bullet for mr. trump started cooperating with the special counsel after pleading guilty to violating campaign finance laws stemming from that hush money payment to stormy daniels. >> well, it turned out he wasn't a very good lawyer. >> reporter: tonight, the president's attorney, rudy giuliani, telling nbc news president trump's written answers to mueller about plans to build a trump tower in russia were consistent with what cohen said. it all comes as the president has been intensifying his attacks against mueller, tweeting today before the cohen news broke, the probe is an illegal joseph mccarthy-style witch hunt and asking, "did
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you ever see an investigation more in search of a crime?" still, today's charges putting a new spotlight on mr. trump's business dealings with russia, which he dismissed during the campaign. >> i will tell you right now, zero. i have nothing to do with russia. >> reporter: including to lester last year. >> i have nothing to do with russia. i have no investments in russia, none whatsoever. i don't have property in russia. >> reporter: the president saying today nothing's changed. >> i didn't do the project. i decided not to do the project. there would be nothing wrong if i did do it. i was running my business while i was campaigning. there was a good chance that i wouldn't have won, in which case i would have gone back into the business, and why should i lose lots of opportunities? >> reporter: in yet another shot at mueller, giuliani accused him of playing politics, saying he once again files a charge just as the president is leaving for a meeting with world leaders, saying he did the same thing before the president's
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summit with putin in helsinki. >> and soon after cohen's guilty plea, the president abruptly canceled a meeting with vladimir putin at the g-20 summit in argentina. nbc's hallie jackson is there. >> reporter: the president abruptly calling off that meeting with vladimir putin less than an hour after calling it the right move. >> i think it's a very good time to have the meeting. >> reporter: so, what changed? the white house says the president, minutes after boarding air force one, spoke with his secretary of state, his chief of staff, and his national security adviser, and decided to cancel the one-on-one. the kremlin found out when the president tweeted about it, suggesting he's sending a signal after russia fired on, then seized three ukrainian ships in a widely condemned act of aggression. >> getting a full report on the plane as to what happened. >> reporter: the black sea confrontation happened sunday, and the president said he'd get a full report on it tuesday, so it's not clear why he waited to cancel the
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talks until today, less than three hours after michael cohen's guilty plea. while the putin face-to-face won't happen, another critical meeting will, with china's xi jinping. the threat of more tariffs on the table. >> i think china wants to make a deal. i'm open to making a deal. but frankly, i like the deal we have right now. >> reporter: and another interaction here could get uncomfortable. president trump informally face-to-face with the crown prince of saudi arabia, who's under fire after the brutal murder of columnist jamal khashoggi at the hands of the saudis. the president wants to maintain ties with that country, but even his own allies want the president to confront the crown prince directly, lester. >> hallie jackson in buenos aires tonight. thanks. now to breaking news in california. a flash flood emergency in areas just hit by those devastating wildfires. joe fryer is in our los angeles newsroom. joe, what are you seeing there? >> reporter: lester, swiftwater rescue teams are in place ready to jump into action. with reports of several flooded roads and highways in northern california,
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one to two inches of rain fell within an hour. the heaviest downpours happening around paradise, the town that was recently devastated by wildfire. there are now mandatory evacuations in that area. southern california is also on alert, worried about mudslides like this one, which shut down a highway 75 miles east of l.a., and more rain is in the forecast tonight, lester. >> and we know this is a big fear after those fires. all right, joe, thanks. a disturbing, new twist in the case we're following about that family found dead, their mansion set on fire days before thanksgiving. the homeowner's brother now charged with murder. here's nbc's ron allen. >> reporter: as a massive fire consumed their new jersey mansion, investigators say keith caneiro, wife jennifer, and children jesse and sophia had already been killed, their home set ablaze after being shot and stabbed in the early-morning hours of november 20th, allegedly by paul caneiro, keith's older brother. >> this one is the most brutal case that i've seen in my experience here. >> reporter: the two
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brothers had been in business together. >> do you think you have an idea of why he did this? >> our theory and our belief is that this was the -- the motive was financial in nature. >> reporter: tonight, paul caneiro is facing arson and quadruple murder charges. he was already in custody accused of torching his own nearby home that same day. >> the fire at his home served two purposes. one was to destroy evidence and the other was to create some type of a roos or an appearance that his larger or overall family was somehow targeted. >> reporter: paul caneiro maintains his innocence on all charges. meanwhile, the rest of the family is preparing to bury their relatives, killed allegedly by one of their own. ron allen, nbc news, colts neck, new jersey. the trial began today for the man accused of killing a woman when he drove into a crowd protesting against a white nationalist rally in charlottesville in 2017. with more on that, here's nbc's catie beck. >> reporter: unforgettable, horrific images from charlottesville, virginia, in august 2017. white nationalists and
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counter protesters clashing as a car plows into the crowd, killing a woman and injuring dozens more. taye washington was one of them. >> all i remember is the noise and people sliding down my window. >> reporter: a jury will now decide the fate of the driver, james alex fields jr., charged with first-degree murder. in opening statements today, both sides acknowledged fields was behind the wheel. the prosecution told jurors that fields, an admirer of hitler, had posted images of protesters being hit by a car months before, saying, "this case is about his decision to act on that anger." fields' defense claims he was calm that day. it was fear that drove him to speed off. you'll hear james tell the officer that he feared for his safety, that was scared to death. on the stand today, marcus martin, seen in this famous photo, tossed in the air by the impact. more to come in a trial that will likely
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tell two very different sides of the same story. catie beck, nbc news. we're going to turn now to some really disturbing news about life expectancy here in the united states falling to a rate that hasn't been seen in more than a century. nbc's kate snow on what's being done to reverse it. [ sirens ] >> medic two respond for unconscious -- >> reporter: we saw the grim reality ourselves in dayton, ohio, last fall. about how often on a typical shift are you guys seeing overdoses? >> every day. >> reporter: cdc numbers out today show more than 70,000 americans died of an overdose in 2017, a 10% increase over the year before. that's pulling down our average life expectancy, and so are deaths by suicide, the highest rate in at least 50 years. and in the nation's most rural communities, suicide rates are nearly twice that for urban counties. >> who is here for the very first time today? >> reporter: there are signs of progress in dayton when it comes to substance abuse. last year we visited
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laurie arrian's support group, families of addicts. >> it takes a lot to, you know, keep working every day. >> reporter: this year so far, the number of drug overdose deaths is less than half what it was last year in the county. >> meeting people where they're at and increasing our peer support is what i feel like has really made a big difference, so that when someone is ready for treatment, it's there. >> reporter: there are more services for recovery, increased availability of narcan, the overdose antidote, medicaid expansion for treatment and cracking down on dealers of the deadliest opioids. >> we're making a difference. we've made an impact. but i don't feel like we're winning. >> reporter: a glimmer of hope but still not enough. kate snow, nbc news. there were tough questions in congress today for the department of veterans affairs after an nbc news exclusive report about potentially thousands of veterans being underpaid their gi bill benefits. here's hans nichols. >> reporter: tonight,
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americans who fought in iraq and afghanistan asking why they are being short-changed by the va and if they will ever be paid back. >> we must get it fixed for our veterans. it's owed to them. it's in law, and that's what's going to happen. >> reporter: daniel gorman, an iraq veteran, counts on a housing stipend from his gi bill. >> my money is tight living in new york and it's not going to make the rent. >> it was a computer failure after a new law changed how housing aloxss were calculated. va officials privately told congressional aides yesterday the va would not reimburse those veterans who were underpaid. today in public, a different story. >> each and every veteran on the post-9/11 gi bill will be made 100% whole. >> reporter: but advocates say those who serve deserve better. >> the va is not a promise you can take to the bank, and that's what these veterans need right now is something they can take to the bank. >> reporter: hans nichols, nbc news, the pentagon. a program note here, savannah guthrie
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has an exclusive interview with tom hanks, who's joining forces with the elizabeth dole foundation and its hidden heroes campaign to support those who care for wounded veterans. that's tomorrow on "today." we're getting the first look at the next generation of air travel. the first airport terminal in the country to go bio metric, where your face is your ticket to fly. here's tom costello. >> and your flight is one of the first departures using facial recognition technology from curb to gate. >> reporter: at the busiest airport in the world, terminal "f" checkin is now as simple as look, smile, and click. >> found you real fast. >> reporter: delta's outbound international passengers no longer required to scan passports or carry a ticket. it's pretty simple. you walk up to the kiosk, tap facial recognition. the camera recognizes your face from your passport photo already on file and checks you in. when you check a bag, no need for a passport or a ticket. the camera recognizes your face again. by early next year, your face will be your boarding pass.
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facial recognition and i'm on the plane. >> nobody wants to stand in line any extra time, so anything that can speed it up is going to be great. >> reporter: homeland security already uses the cameras for international passengers, scanning their faces. >> how far apart your eyes, your ears, your chin, your mouth. >> reporter: boasting 98% accuracy. now delta is bringing facial recognition to the entire check-in process. >> you don't have to fumble for your i.d., wait for somebody to read it, and it saves you wait times at the airport. >> reporter: next, delta's international detroit flights and maybe domestic flights within two years. but in atlanta -- >> super easy. >> reporter: the future is here. tom costello, nbc news, atlanta. >> pretty neat. just ahead, the postal worker caught throwing deliveries. also, the nba superstar's promise after a little girl's plea. and the teen basketball star inspiring america.
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it's the last
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thing you want to see as you await those gifts you're ordering this holiday season. our kristen dahlgren has video of a postal carrier hurling a package not once but twice. >> this was a package -- >> reporter: the family couldn't believe it when they watched their christmas package delivered via air mail, as in an underhanded heave onto their lawn, all caught on surveillance tape. >> i was angry, i was shocked. i just was in disbelief. >> reporter: not only does the carrier throw the package, she picks it up and then a minute later throws it again, harder. inside the box clearly marked "handle with care" -- >> it was a hess truck for our grandson. >> reporter: the simons say it's happened before. >> this is the third time, and enough's enough. >> reporter: the post office is now investigating, adding, "this is clearly unacceptable behavior that does not reflect the efforts of the thousands of professional dedicated carriers." the postal worker apparently claiming the dog and kids were outside, but the simons say that's not true. >> there was no dogs or kid anywhere. >> reporter: on the tape, you can see
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mrs. simon giving a piece of her mind to that mail carrier, who just might make santa's naughty list this year. kristen dahlgren, nbc news. up next here tonight, the young fan's powerful letter to an nba superstar.
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two-time nba mvp steph curry delivered in a big way after a 9-year-old girl wrote to him asking why his latest signature sneakers were only available for boys. nbc's miguel almaguer has more on how that letter is helping level the playing field for girls. >> curry! >> reporter: he's a three-time nba champ and a two-time mvp. she is a 9-year-old with quick hands and a steady pad. when riley morrison learned her idol's shoes were only available in boys' sizes, she wrote him asking why. "i know you support girl athletes because you have two daughters." >> obviously, he did that for us -- >> reporter: curry, who's played second
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fiddle to the women in his life knew this was one shot he couldn't miss. "we are correcting this now. i want to make sure you can wear my kicks proudly." curry told us all the women in his life, including wife ayesha, are the real mvps, making the shoes available in girls' sizes a slam dunk. >> thanks, steph curry and under armour! >> reporter: miguel almaguer, nbc news. speaking of basketball, up next, the teen who beat all the odds and scored a big scholarship. a bay area offa
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woman to the ground giving her a black eye. what she says started it and what she )s demanding. next at 6 right now at 6: recovering from one natural in tonight's "inspiring america," doctors told his mom he may never talk or walk, but he beat the odds. now his hoop dreams of playing college ball are coming true. here's kevin tibbles.
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>> reporter: when you see him on the court, it's no surprise 18-year-old calen bennett is on his way to playing d-1 basketball. >> i'm a hooper. >> reporter: a dream he didn't think would always come true. calen has autism. the towering 6'10" star didn't even walk until he was 4 or speak until 7. >> i used to not like people at all. like, i didn't like being around, surrounding myself with people at all. >> reporter: his hoop dreams brought him out of that shell, and in turn, kent state discovered him, possibly the first athlete with autism to sign a letter of intent with a d-1 school. he credits his mom with helping him keep his eyes on the prize. >> he was like, i don't think you can do that. i was like, uh-uh, you can do it, and you're going to be great. >> reporter: well wishes now flood his instagr instagram. "you give a mom like me hope." there was a time when
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calin's mom was told he would never talk, let alone dunk. so, let's give him the final word. >> the reason i'm not a quitter is not because of autism. that's not the reason for me. i'm a great basketball player. >> reporter: and a great human being. kevin tibbles, nbc news. >> a success story on every level. that's nightly news for this thursday. disaster, only to face another. right now at 6:00, recovering from one natural disaster only to face another. the areas forced to evacuate again in butte county. >> and collapsing under the rain. the 30 foot hole that opened up for a bay area business. >> and a microclimate weather alert. a live look at the powerful storms start to wind down but yes, another one is on the way. the news at 6:00 starts now. good evening. i'm jessica aguirre. >> and i'm raj mathai. as expected, this storm caused flooding, power outages and downed trees.
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the question now how long of a break will we have until the next storm rolls in. quite a day around the bay area. here is what it looks like in san jose. we'll show you how difficult it was. you probably experienced it yourself. the difficult driving conditions all around. clean-up crews and pg&e crews are in overdrive clearing storm drains and easing flooding and chopping up downed trees. to the north, panic after tragedy, a butte county sheriff is ordering evacuation near the burn zone, flash flooding forcing people out of homes this very evening. we have a team of reporters covering all of the angles of the storm. let's begin with chief meteorologist jeff ranieri and what do you see down the pike. >> i think we have a 24-hour break coming our way and then we'll see the next storm move in. i want to let everybody know it doesn't look as strong as the storm system we dealt with today. we really should say even into last night, this storm started this time last night and it stuck around


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