tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC June 17, 2021 2:06am-2:36am PDT
also tonight the record-breaking heat wave 40 million under alert. roadways buckling under the intense heat is there any relief in sight? and the developing tropical threat we're tracking. the delta covid variant and growing concerns it could become dominant in the u.s. the areas most at risk and the new message from the surgeon general. the biden administration's major reversal of trump-era policy on transgender students' rights as battles rage in dozens of states. and the dire new report on the u.s. housing crisis how long will prices soar >> announcer: this is nbc "nightly news" with lester holt. the biden-putin summit reporting tonight from geneva, switzerland. >> reporter: good evening, everyone a critical door was opened today between the usa and russia whether it stays open, even president biden and president putin can't say. the two ending their historic summit meeting here in geneva with vague understandings and
to-do items on issues ranging from nuclear arsenals to cybersecurity. both framing the meeting and tone in terms like productive and positive president biden saying he wanted to establish basic rules of the road between the two nations, saying he pressed the russian president on human rights putin pushing back, turning the tables on some issues. and at the end of it all no clear road map from here about next steps president biden and russian president putin face to face. their highly anticipated summit shorter than expected. afterwards, president biden insisting he achieved his goals at the summit he asked for. >> i did what i came to do. the tone of the entire meeting was good positive there wasn't any -- any strident action taken. >> reporter: each moment carefully choreographed. president putin arriving first at the swiss villa followed by president
biden. pausing in his armored limousine before getting out then mr. biden reaching out for a handshake. the two presidents never meeting alone. secretary of state blinken and the russian foreign minister there too. "i hope that our meeting will be productive," putin says >> thank you like i said outside, i think it's always better to meet people >> reporter: chaotic moments as russian media and russian security pushed and shoved the american press both leaders looking on president biden had said he would confront the russian leader on issues like election interference, putin's crackdown on critics, and recent ransomware attacks on america's food and gas supply that the u.s. blames on russian hackers. in an unusual move president biden not holding a joint press conference with putin afterwards instead, in dueling appearances both sides offering sometimes
differing views of how it went. on cyberattacks, president biden saying he gave putin a list of critical infrastructure that he wants off limits along with this sharp message. >> i pointed out to him, we have significant cyber capability and if in fact they violate these basic norms, we will respond. >> reporter: but no mention of that from putin, who deflected any responsibility, blaming the u.s. >> translator: the majority of cyberattacks are made from the u.s. territory >> reporter: both sides saying they would talk further on the matter on jailed putin critic alexei navalny president biden saying he gave this warning if navalny died in custody. >> i made it clear to him that i believe the consequences of that would be devastating for russia >> reporter: but when putin was asked about navalny, he never mentioned his name, even comparing russia's democracy activists to rioters
at the u.s. capitol. >> translator: people went into u.s. congress with political demands. they are called homegrown terrorists >> that's a ridiculous comparison >> reporter: putin saying he felt no pressure, describing their conversation in personal terms. >> translator: i can say that he's a constructive person, well balanced, and experienced. he recalled his family and conversations he had with his mother it is all appealing. >> reporter: president biden suggesting russia is eager to lower tensions >> i don't think he's looking for a cold war with the united states >> reporter: while the two leaders agreed to return ambassadors and to start talks on arms control, no movement on other thornier issues. >> he denies any involvement in cyberattacks he downplayed human rights abuses. he refused to say alexei navalny's name so how does that add up to a constructive meeting >> if you don't
understand that you're in the wrong business >> reporter: later president biden apologized for that answer and was asked again about what was game here. >> if you were in my position and you said i don't think anything's going to happen, it's going to be really rough, i think you're going to really be bad. there's a value to being realistic and put on an optimistic front an optimistic face >> all right let's bring in peter alexander and andrea mitchell, who are both here with me in geneva peter, i'll start with you. what's the white house position on how this went >> reporter: yeah, lester, president biden is making the argument that he accomplished his goals on this trip, restoring america's leadership and its alliances, and that he directly confronted vladimir putin saying he is not against russia, he is for the american people still, the summit also revealed serious disagreements. the white house goes home unable to tout any significant tangible progress on russia the president says we'll see what happens but his critics are going to hold him to a very tight timeline >> and, andrea, what did we learn about joe biden on his
first trip as president abroad >> this is the joe biden we knew from the senate and from the white house. he said before heading home that foreign policy is not some secret code, it's all about personal relationships. so he let vladimir putin know exactly where he stands on russian cyberattacks, on ukraine, on alexei navalny, and he set down some clear lines. the only problem is if there is another russian hack is he prepared to take action and at the end of the day he and vladimir putin are no closer to agreeing on much of anything >> all right, andrea and peter, thanks to both of you. let's bring in keir simmons, who interviewed vladimir putin ahead of today's summit. keir, what's the reaction in russia >> reporter: lester, russian media is portraying president putin as a statesman and the summit as historic television networks here praising putin for taking tough questions at his news conference from u.s. reporters. but his answers were predictable.
the same man who we met inside the kremlin, defensive and blaming america. the question tonight as president putin arrives home here in moscow, will president biden's personal touch and warnings have any long-term impact in just 60 seconds, the brutal when will it end and concern increasing about the delta coronavirus variant and why so many are still not getting vaccinated
in the west no relief from that dangerous heat wave tens of millions still facing triple-digit record-breaking temperatures, straining power grids and causing new drought and wildfire concerns. here's miguel almaguer >> reporter: the oppressive stifling heat wave searing the west is tonight delivering some of the most dangerous temperatures of the year, threatening to shatter nearly 200 records through the weekend. some 40 million americans already under heat advisories, watches or warnings.
>> it's going to be extremely hot. >> reporter: in california death valley living up to its name, soaring toward 128 degrees. cities like las vegas and phoenix teetering at roughly 115. >> the massive heat >> reporter: after three days of triple-digit heat in salt lake city -- >> melts your face off kind of day. >> reporter: -- even billings was baking at 108 yesterday. from california to colorado there is little relief in the forecast the west cooking and roads cracking in the extreme weather. >> thank you for calling generator supercenter. >> reporter: in texas many are buying generators, fearing the power grid that failed in the record cold may resort to blackouts in this historic heat. in california power companies are also urging residents to conserve power to
avoid outages. even nightfall isn't bringing cooler temperatures. already facing a mega drought, the west is also on the brink of another epic fire season one disaster triggering another as it just began to heat up. miguel almaguer, nbc news we're also keeping an eye on a potential tropical threat in the gulf of mexico there is a good chance it will become a tropical depression by friday the gulf coast from east texas to the florida panhandle could get four to twelve inches of rain tonight america getting rid of covid restrictions but facing a growing threat from the delta variant of the virus in the u.s. just under 175 million have received at least one vaccine dose but that's only about 400,000 more than yesterday's number here is blayne alexander. >> reporter: tonight experts predict the delta variant, first discovered in india, could soon become the dominant covid strain in the u.s >> it is more transmissible and possibly more dangerous in terms of causing severe disease. >> reporter: all of it only accelerating the rush to get
americans vaccinated but the biden administration is running out of time to hit its july 4th goal, 70% of americans with at least one shot so far only about 53% of the country is partially vaccinated but some states are barely hitting a third of their population the lowest rate in southern states like georgia, alabama, louisiana, and mississippi, where only 28% of the state is fully vaccinated a new poll out today gives some insight into why the rates are lagging. 37% of those asked point to vaccine hesitancy. but nearly double that number say they faced barriers in trying to get the shot and even as scenes like these are becoming more familiar, dodger stadium hosting the largest sports crowd since the start of the pandemic, still some setbacks, with a royal caribbean cruise ship forced to postpone setting sail after eight crew members tested positive for covid >> on one hand we're seeing a number of states loosening restrictions but on the other hand we're hearing this dire
warning about the delta variant. is this a confusing message? >> well, blayne, i think what you're hearing is really a message for two different populations, which is that if you are vaccinated, you are still in good shape. but if you are unvaccinated there are still reasons to be cautious, to still wear a mask, to still avoid indoor gatherings >> reporter: and this week vice president harris will travel to atlanta, part of the administration's focus on boosting vaccinations in the south. lester >> all right, blayne, thank you. you can make a plan for when and where to get vaccinated visit planyourvaccine.com for more late tonight the house passed a bill that would make june 19th a federal holiday after it was unanimously passed by the senate it's known as juneteenth, a day commemorating the end of slavery. president biden is expected to sign the bill, establishing the holiday as juneteenth national independence day now to our series "america the vulnerable." and the country's digital divide
the biden administration says broadband should be treated as esseo help bridge that gap. but as jake ward reports, some states have road blocks >> reporter: high school teacher michelle galloway spent months struggling to connect with students from her north carolina farmhouse during the pandemic >> sometimes i would cry after a class. >> reporter: at times the slow internet made it nearly impossible to communicate. >> i had one student to hold up a sign saying "miss galloway, ask that question again. so i wrote it out and held it up >> reporter: high-speed broadband internet needed for video conferencing has always been hard to get in rural america. because companies make less money connecting remote communities than they do cities. but wilson, north carolina, is an exception you wouldn't think that a place like this has world-class broadband speeds, but the truth is it does >> reporter: but in order to actually connect all of these houses crews have to install fiberoptic cable like these.
after a large cable company refused to partner with wilson, the city spent $32 million to create its own broadband network. making high-speed internet a public utility here. available to anyone in the county like gas or electricity. >> we didn't just cherry-pick the most profitable or potentially profitable region >> reporter: only two cities in north carolina are allowed to provide internet this way. because state law backed by the telecom industry now essentially forbids internet as a public utility on the grounds of fair competition. 18 other states have similar laws but just 30 miles north of wilson, rocky mount's mayor says the law is holding his town back >> we've got to have the technology to enable our resident population to live here >> reporter: residents here say the internet offered by private company is so slow many go to the library for a reliable connection >> i have to do online applications, when i
have to apply for jobs or look for rental assistance. >> reporter: michelle galloway is now connected to wilson's high-speed network and says the issue of access could be a learning opportunity for her students >> it would be a wonderful group project. why do 18 states take this perspective on the expansion of broadband internet >> reporter: jake ward, nbc news, wilson, north carolina up next, tips on getting the home you want in a red hot market
back with a new report revealing the staggering scope of the housing crunch in the u.s. stephanie ruhle now with what buyers need to know. >> reporter: on paper daniel and kristen sills are the perfect first-time home buyers >> our credit is impeccable our savings are in check. we have zero debt. but in this market we cannot compete. >> reporter: gave up their budget and widened their search of the boston area but the last house they bid on had 29 offers. >> it sold for about $70,000 or $80,000 over what the asking price was. and it was a 1200-square-foot home >> reporter: one of the biggest issues, the lack of homes for sale 20% fewer compared to a year ago. >> we've sold fewer homes this last decade than any decade going back to the 1960s. so going into the pandemic we were already facing a housing shortage and it's just gotten so much worse >> reporter: a new report finds
the pace of construction slowed, creating a shortage of more than 5.5 million units. >> you can't just flip a switch and create more housing. >> reporter: the advice for buyers, do your research on what homes really sell for, not just the list price and know your budget and your limit when might we see the housing market cool down >> i think the housing market has already started to cool a bit but it's not going to be a situation where buyers are going to get a better deal if they wait >> reporter: competition fierce with buyers making big life changes as we move toward a post-pandemic world. stephanie ruhle, nbc news a major announcement today from the education department saying title ix discrimination protections extend to transgender students that's a reversal from the trump era. it comes as a growing number of states consider laws limiting transgender rights our joe fryer spoke with teens feeling the impact >> reporter: for teens facing adversity we begin with a question about positivity dylan, tell me, in the last year what has brought you joy? >> i know that people have my
back, and that's one of the best feelings in the whole world. >> reporter: a question i asked dylan, sam, and phoenyx, three transgender teenagers. what brings you joy? >> i'd say love and support from people around me >> reporter: heather, do you see that happiness right now? >> i can see the smile. so that's all that matters to me >> reporter: but they'll tell you joy takes time >> finally, i've kind of been able to express myself and finally can get some relief >> evolved out of the cocoon into a beautiful butterfly. >> reporter: now mental health experts worry a recent wave of legislation targeting the trans community, more than 100 bills in over 30 states, is marginalizing kids who already face higher rates of depression and anxiety. what helps, experts say, is getting gender-affirming care like puberty blockers and hormones >> since starting on my gender-affirming care my
confidence and happiness and overall mental health, well-being has just shot up. and i'm doing so much better >> reporter: but dylan lives in arkansas, which is banning such care for minors. >> i'm worried that all of the progress that he has made could come to a halt >> reporter: his family is now part of a lawsuit challenging the law, hoping dylan can continue to get the care that brings him joy >> so it really opens the door to a whole world of opportunities and possibilities when you're not hiding within yourself >> reporter: joe fryer, nbc news you can see more of joe's reporting in a one-hour special "trans america," streaming on nbc news now, tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. eastern we want to welcome two new members of the nbc news family. our correspondent gadi schwartz welcoming their first baby kir and chief white house correspondent kristen
summits are about. proximity. we know that presidents biden and putin sat down today with full understanding of the issues and the positions each had staked out but seeing the handshake, as obligatory as it was, watching them come eye to eye, taking measure of the other, one couldn't help but wonder could they, would they reach an understanding, or would it be a mere photo op? there is no reason to believe that because they met the world is any safer or any less safe than it was yesterday. each had a version to share with reporters about their meeting today. and those words and characterizations will be thoroughly examined from all angles as we process what the lasting impact of the summit will be. chances are it won't be earth-shaking. but perhaps it will be a lot more than just a handshake and a photo. that's "nightly news" for this wednesday in geneva. thank you for watching, everyone i'm lester holt.
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respects ♪ ♪ one quarter at a time ♪ ♪ fill my boots up with sand ♪ ♪ put a stiff drink in my hand ♪ ♪ just prop me up beside the jukebox if i die ♪♪ [cheers and applause] >> kelly: welcome to "the kelly clarkson show"! give it up from my band, y'all! i like it, that was the classic country song "prop me up beside the jukebox if i die." he passed away last year but his music still lives on, we can sing it. our house requested it, so why did you want to hear that?