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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  February 19, 2020 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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great shooter. the moment everyone will remember. >> wr >> way to go. >> up next, the democratic presidential debate live from las vegas on nbc, the debate debut of mike bloomberg. we'll see you after the department. breaking news of the high stakes debate night here in las vegas. just a short time from now, six 2020 democrats facing off on our stage michael bloomberg making his debate debut. the first major test of the billionaire's campaign, but his rivals ready to attack and bernie sanders out to a double digit lead inew polls what to watch for as the candidates clash also tonight, the extraordinary video. nascar star ryan newman holding hands with his daughters, walking out of the hospital his miracle recovery less than two days after the horrific crash at daytona the safety advances he demanded that may have saved his life the grim discovery. the bodies pulled from the water after a car
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plunges off a ferry near a luxury island how did it happen? how nbc news exclusive, real i.d. chaos. the white house pushed back the deadline to get the new license you'll need to fly >> my message to them is, act on it. we can't wait any longer >> delay >> delay, delay this thing. >> at the dmvs, long lines and frustration. the surveillance video. the armed robber holding up a restaurant the couple inside newlyweds and off-duty cops, saving the day and harry and meghan revealing when they'll say their official farewell. will they still be able to call themselves royals? >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt, reporting from las vegas, the site of tonight's democratic debate good evening, everyone the stage is set tonight for a high stakes democratic debate a critical moment in this battle. five candidates who have been behind these podiums before and then there is the sixth, newcomer michael bloomberg, the billionaire former new
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york mayor who has surged into the top tier of this race now for the first time is about to go toe-to-toe with his fellow challengers including bernie sanders, looking to cement his lead just three days before the nevada caucuses but there is a lot on the line for everyone on this stage tonight. kristen welker starts us off >> reporter: tonight the democratic candidates out in force before hitting the critical cal debate stage >> i feel good i'm ready for this debate >> reporter: one of the keys to watch, how will former new york mayor michael bloomberg do in his debate debut with his rivals blasting him for spending $380 million of his own money on ads >> you shouldn't be able to buy your way into the presidency. >> reporter: and signaling they'll go after him, after the controversial past police practice stop and frisk for which he has apologized >> his policies humiliated and offended hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people. >> reporter: and today, former vice president joe biden looking to revive his
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campaign, hinting in his new digital ad that he will go after bloomberg over this criticism of obamacare. >> the health care bill that does absolutely nothing to fix the big health care problems in this country. it is just a disgrace. >> reporter: we caught up with biden today. what's your message to bloomberg? >> become a democrat >> reporter: bloomberg firing back in his own digital ad, highlighting biden's past praise of him >> mike has what every public official should have passion, matched with principle. >> reporter: we asked nevada voters about bloomberg today. >> bloomberg's coming in late to this race are you willing to give him a chance? >> i'll listen i'll listen. i'm give him a chance. >> i would like to hear what's going to be said, what's going to be promised >> reporter: how will bernie sanders handle the scrutiny with a double digit need our latest poll? mayor pete buttigieg previewing a message >> we're welcoming
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people into the movement that will defeat donald trump. >> reporter: lester, a third factor to watch, can biden, warren, klobuchar and buttigieg do enough to grab attention and stand out with bernie sanders breaking away from the pack? >> a lot of pressure on the stage tonight kristen, thank you very much. i'll be among the moderators at tonight's debate here in las vegas we start at 9:00 eastern here on nbc. hope you'll join us. for his part, president trump is taking new aim at the justice department today despite pleas from attorney general william barr that he stop tweeting about their cases. >> reporter: president trump tonight just hours after his attorney general told people close to the president he was considering resigning, firing off a barrage of new tweets, again ignoring william barr's warning that he butt out of justice department criminal cases. the president amplifying conservative allies' attacks on the department including one calling on barr to clean house at the doj. barr publicly silent on the issue today but a justice
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department spokeswoman insists he has no plans to resign. still, officials are bracing for the president's reaction to the sentencing his long time friend roger stone tomorrow back home in chicago, after president trump commuted his sentence -- >> i'm returning home today from a long exile, a freed political prisoner >> reporter: -- sgrad former i wi disgraced former illinois governor rod blagojevich. >> president trump is tough and outspoken but also has a kind ocrtrumpoct >> drain the swamp that's what we're doing. >> reporter: today tweeting, rod blagojevich did not sell the senate seat true, but he was convicted of trying to profit off the seat barack obama vacated >> i've got this thing. and it's [ bleep ] golden and i'm just not giving it up for [ bleep ] nothing. >> reporter: also tonight, lawyers for wikileaks founder julian assange are claiming in court that a now former
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republican congressman in 2017 offered assange a pardon behalf of the president. if assange agreed to say russia was not involved in leaking democratic emails during the 2016 election nbc news has not obtained the lawyer's full statement tonight, that former republican congressman and the white house both disputing assange's lawyer's claims, the white house calling it a complete fabrication and a total lie. and late tonight, president trump is expected to name richard grenell, the ambassador to germany, as his acting director of national intelligence grenell is a long time political operative and a fierce ally of the president who is viewed as divisive, facing heavy criticism for his outspokenness, lester >> all right, peter, thank you. let's turn to what now is probably the most remarkable story of the day nascar driver ryan newman walking out of the hospital in florida just two days after that devastating crash at the end of the daytona 500. nbc's sam brock is there tonight. >> reporter: tonight,
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a sight that stunned the car racing world ryan newman walking out of the florida medical center, holding his daughters' hands, after standing on his own two feet, all smiles >> crash, into the ball, into the air >> reporter: less than 48 hours earlier, a fiery crash at the daytona 500 left many fans and drivers wondering if he would even survive >> ryan newman is known as a tough, hard nosed race car driver. he's harder than everyone else. he also, away from the track, you see him with his daughters, you see this side of him that is completely different than the driver side. >> reporter: geoff burton is newman's friend and a nascar and nbc analyst. he said some rough crashes led newman to passionately champion safety changes in the sport for years. >> he pushed nascar and he pushed them to make it better and he pushed the tracks and he pushed his competitors to make things better. we need that kind of advocacy >> reporter: from a head stabilizing
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feature to newly designed cars with stronger cages and better driver's seat position known as rocketman, newman is beloved by fans what was your reaction when you saw this picture? >> god is on his side. look at him, it looks like he didn't crash >> wow just wow to see him standing up and hugging his girls, that's awesome >> reporter: and newman's shattered car is now at a lab in north carolina for testing, with nascar hoping to use that data to make even safer cars in the future lester >> sam, it had to be the picture of the day, him and his daughter thank you very much. there is breaking news unfolding in germany tonight, reports that at least eight people have been killed in two separate shootings outside of frankfurt. it's unclear at this hour who carried out the shootings. we'll continue to monitor the situation. also tonight, the video touching hearts across the world a father shielding his young daughter from the horrors of war in syria with the power of laughter. as the video spreads all over social media, dad and daughter are speaking out to our
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richard engel. >> reporter: as syrian troops close in on one of the last remnants of antigovernment opposition in northwest syria, this is how one family is coping abdull abdullah al muhammad turning the war into a game for his 3-year-old daughter, telling her the falling bombs are fireworks. [ laughter ] this video, humanizing the nine-year war. sympathy is pouring in but no help. i caught up with them by skype how are you? >> she speaks some english. hi, i am richard nice to talk to you. it must take a lot of discipline to keep up your spirits for her sake "i'm scared," he says. "i know maybe the next bombs will land on our heads and that other bombs are killing people i'm not laughing at what's happening but only so my
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daughter can laugh and if a bomb does hit us, at least we'll die laughing." the village is surrounded they can't escape the advance, like 900,000 who already have in recent months. so al muhammed is giving his daughter what he can even if it only keeps her mind safe >> oh, i get kisses too? thank you. >> reporter: richard engel, nbc news, london >> beautiful, yet tragic in canada, a massive 200-feek pileup left dozens of people injured, nine of them seriously, just outside montreal. the chain reaction was likely caused by a sudden whiteout in the area there is new drama in the harvey weinstein trial on the second day of jury deliberations. weinstein's attorneys have been pushing to toss a juror off the case nbc's gabe gutierrez is at the courthouse
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>> reporter: just after harvey weinstein walked into court, his defense team was on offense, asking the judge to throw out one of the jurors. nbc is not identifying the woman, who wrote an upcoming novel. the judge is allowing her to stay. "my finding is nonetheless that she just hasn't done anything wrong," he said the defense team first raised their concerns during jury selection but they were rejected by the judge >> it's clear one of the last jurors lied on her questionnaire and omitted some very important information that could be very integral to this case. >> reporter: prosecutors argued she did not lie because she said one of her hobbies is novel writing. >> from the beginning of this trial, the defense has been laying the groundwork for an appeal in the event that mr. weinstein is convicted. >> reporter: today the jury, made up of seven men and five women, asked questions about mimi haley's testimony, regarding a
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sexual encounter with weinstein two weeks after she alleges he assaulted her. jurors also asked to reread emails between haley and weinstein which continued for years following the alleged assault. the jurors had more questions about the testimony of other key witnesses. they resume deliberations tomorrow lester >> all right, gabe gutierrez in new york tonight, thanks. we'll be right back in 60 seconds with a mystery tonight after a deadly plunge. also our nbc news exclusive, a plea by airports to delay a big security change.
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a tragic story from porterville, california, in the central valley, where a massive fire at the city's library left at least one firefighter dead and another unaccounted for. two 13-year-old boys were arrested and booked on suspicion of manslaughter the firefighter who died was a captain who had been with the department for 13 years. and the coast guard is investigating a deadly ferry accident in the waters off a luxury island in miami. somehow a car plunged
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off the boat here is miguel almaguer >> reporter: tonight, the u.s. coast guard has not said why a car with two women inside plunged off the fisher island ferry as it was crossing the waters of miami. we now know emma afra and viviane brahms were unresponsive when search teams found their new mercedes at the bottom of the shipping channel hours later. the investigation into the deadly accident will focus at the edge of the boat, where the car appeared to plow through a thin barrier. >> right now we've got six divers searching the area >> reporter: the women were departing the private community of fisher island, known for its enclave of million-the car mansions and wealthy residents. the only way in and out via boat the coast guard saying u.s. vessel safety regulations do not mandate the use of blocks but this ferry had chocks, safety devices similar to these. the operator of the ferry saying it will fully cooperate with investigators. >> it's always a
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tragedy when we lose a life at sea and certainly this is no exception. >> reporter: with the coast guard declining further comment, marine inspectors are just beginning their work into a tragedy on the water. miguel almaguer, nbc news now our nbc news exclusive, the nation's airports warning the trump administration of a looming crisis many state dmvs struggling with demand for the new real i.d. that you'll soon need to fly here is tom costello >> reporter: tonight, growing concern that tsa checkpoints could become choke points on october 1st. flights delayed, passengers unable to leave or return home the nation's airports now warning of a looming meltdown >> so the nation's airports have told the administration, this is a crisis. and my message to them is, act on it. we can't wait any longer >> reporter: delay >> delay delay this thing >> reporter: the problem? while states have now issued 95 million real i.d.'s, that's just 34% of the total two-thirds of americans have just over seven months to
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upgrade or risk not being able to fly. nationwide, dmv offices are packed with frustrated citizens trying to upgrade their licenses, making appointments months in advance and bringing the required paperwork. from new york -- >> it's hot in there lines out the do people are very upset, frustrated >> reporter: -- to california >> i didn't want to wait in a five-hour line so i had to take off today, you know, with an appointment to get my real i.d. >> reporter: congress passed the real i.d. law after 9/11 to create a single national standard for all 50 states. i.d.'s that are verified from multiple sources and harder to counterfeit, designated by a star or state logo. but many states are behind new jersey can't keep up washington state suggests getting a passport is faster oklahoma won't start issuing real i.d.'s until april 30th oregon won't start until july >> if we worked 24/7, we would have to do seven a minute to get
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the number of licenses out by october but there's no way that we can do seven a minute >> reporter: tonight, no indication that homeland security will extend the deadline. but it now will allow states to accept documents electronically >> tom, this raises so many questions, chief among them, if the administration doesn't move this october 1st deadline, what options are there for passengers >> reporter: yes, travelers could still use a military i.d., a federal i.d., a passport, or a global entry card if they don't have a real i.d., lester >> all right, tom, thank you. we're learning more about how and when prince harry and meghan markle plan to make their exit as senior members of the royal family our keir simmons has new details. >> reporter: harry and meghan, beaming after a trip to the u.s., despite a source close to the couple telling nbc news they may not be able to use their "sussex royal" brand in the future. the "royal" label on their instagram page and official website would have to be
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removed. >> none of this changes the love that the queen has for her grandson harry and granddaughter-in-law meghan it comes down to the law. >> reporter: after revealing plans to step down, tonight we've learned the date of their official departure from royal life march 31st the duke and duchess plan to attend several events in the uk before then. and beginning in april they will no longer have an office at buckingham palace but say they plan to be in the uk regularly one of harry's first events after stepping down from royal life will be his beloved invictus games for wounded servicemen and women in may his military titles will remain. but he will not use them, a sacrifice for a man who says he was born to serve. these arrangements will be reevaluated in 12 months' time, i'm told, leaving the door open to harry and meghan but also giving buckingham palace the ability to make changes if the new
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arrangements are not seen to be working lester >> all right, keir, thank you. up next for us, how date night turned into a lot more for one crime fighting couple now, we know the trump strategy-
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try to win by attacking, distorting, dividing. mr. president: it. won't. work. newspapers report bloomberg is the democrat trump fears most. as president, universal healthcare that lets people keep their coverage if they like it. a record on job creation. a doable plan to combat climate change. i led a complex, diverse city through 9-11 and i have common sense plans to move america away from chaos to progress! i'm mike bloomberg and i approve this message. an armed robber probably mailde the mistake of his life when he walked into a restaurant in louisville, kentucky the other night. our gadi schwartz explains >> reporter: a romantic date night between two newlywed cops caught on
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surveillance video then trouble when they see a man at the cashier being threatened by a man with a gun detective chase mckeown and his officer nicole were off duty but made a plan >> i see him moving the phone, i'm like, no, i'm going to help. >> reporter: the two pulling their weapons and quickly giving chase to the suspect taking off, then caught police say he had a stolen gun and is now facing charges of attempted robbery. the mckeowns say they've only been married for two months, choosing the restaurant raising cane's because it was special to them. law enforcement has always been close to their hearts they met on the job when she was aid dispatcher and he was a beat cop >> a lot of nights working the roads and hearing her voice all night long >> reporter: now a crime fighting and and partners for life. gadi schwartz, nbc news >> that's one heck of a date night
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up next for us, after years in foster care, a real welcome home
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let's share with you now the day one boy has waited half his life for here's catie beck. >> reporter: 8-year-old nike could fill an album with family photos. but these special moments of holidays and vacations are with a foster family. >> we got him when he was 4. he showed up at our doorstep at midnight and we have had him
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ever since >> i thought i would never get adopted. >> reporter: but they didn't know if they could have him forever. not until monday >> at this time i am officially granting you adoption [ cheers and applause >> reporter: 300 people packed in a texas courtroom to see the family pledge to nike his second grade class, church friends, even a superhero, signed swag from his favorite football team, the dallas cowboys, and t-shirts merging the names of mom and david, david and kristi schwartz, and nike's love of "star wars." may the schwartz be with you >> it was very special. it was surreal >> reporter: the big event likely added a few new pages to nike's family album. >> you see, every one of those people in the courtroom is his family, he knows now >> awesomeness and awesomeness feels like happiness. happiness feels like joyfulness >> reporter: and a first official picture of what home looks like catie beck, nbc news >> what a terrific,
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lovely moment that was. that's "nightly news." join us tonight as i'll be among the moderators of our democratic debate starting at 9:00 p.m. eastern. for now, from las vegas, i'm lester holt thank you for watching and good night watching and good night
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♪ let us create the political revolution this country needs. >> the stakes could not be higher. we cannot afford to miss the mark or to miss this moment. >> i will bring this country together instead of tearing it apart. >> i can't do it alone. i need your help to climb that mountain. together we're going to beat donald trump. >> 2020 is our time to change who makes the rules. >> i am running to restore honor to our government and build a country that we can be proud of.


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