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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  December 10, 2021 2:06am-2:41am PST

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boosters provide strong protection against the omicron variant. nationwide fears of a winter surge as the unvaccinated fill icus the states deploying the national guard to hospitals. the cross country winter storm we're tracking up to three feet of snow president biden's high stakes call with the ukraine president days after he warned vladimir putin against a russian invasion our richard engel on the front lines in ukraine tonight. former senator and presidential nominee bob dole honored while laying in state at the capitol. and after a tragedy how one community is helping the band play on. this is nbc "nightly news" with lester holt. >> good evening. a verdict as we come on the air in the closely watched jussie smollett trial a chicago jury tonight finding the former "empire" actor guilty on five of six counts related to lying to police about being the victim of a hate-driven attack in
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2019 the verdict coming on the second day of deliberations. rehema ellis has the breaking news for us. rehema >> reporter: lester, jussie smollett stood with his arms crossed and he was stoic as the jury read the verdict. as you point out, he was found guilty of five of six counts not guilty on a charge of reporting a false aggravated battery to police but it was nearly three years ago that he was facing six felony counts of reporting a fake, anti-gay and racist attack against himself and lying to police about it on the witness stand he had always insisted on his innocence saying there was no hoax, but the prosecution told jurors that he had orchestrated a hate crime, paying two brothers to stage the attack smollett now could face up to three years in prison. it is expected his lawyers will appeal, but it is not over with that. the city of chicago is suing him in civil court for $130,000, the cost of the police investigation. lester >> all right, rehema ellis in chicago with
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the breaking news. thank you. in minneapolis, emotional testimony today in the manslaughter trial of a former police officer accused of killing daunte wright during a traffic stop. wright's girlfriend describing her attempts to save him ron allen is there >> i just put my hands on his chest and i just tried to hold it and just tried to scream his name. >> reporter: daunte wright's girlfriend the passenger in his car, describing the moments after former police officer kim potter, charged with manslaughter, had shot him in the chest. >> he was just gasping and just like -- he wasn't saying anything. >> reporter: today the jury seeing more new police video as prosecutors focus on what happened in the minutes right after the shooting wright's car taking off, jumping a median crashing into an oncoming vehicle. >> put your hands up >> reporter: police testifying the first officers to arrive had no idea one of their own had shot wright. one even telling the jury he thought wright was still alive.
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>> did you see movement of the driver >> yes, sir. >> and that would be indicating that at that point in time the driver was still alive, correct >> yes, sir. >> reporter: prosecutors say the minutes after potter shot wright reveal more examples of how she failed in her duties that day. >> she didn't do anything to help him she didn't call for assistance she didn't render aid. she didn't communicate any information about what had happened to her fellow officers. >> reporter: the defense trying to convince the jury wright's attempt to evade arrest for an outstanding warrant caused his death. >> i shot him. oh my god! >> reporter: telling the jury potter's grief and regret are inconsolable the jury seeing this video of potter while he lay dying not far away testimony continuing with more officers who responded that day and more video and pictures showing what happened to wright some of it too graphic to show here lester. >> all right ron, thank you. news of the pandemic tonight, 16- and 17-year-olds have just been okayed for pfizer booster shots the cdc signing off on
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that today as the omicron variant spreads. almost 50 million vaccinated americans have now received booster shots. today's recommendation would potentially make 2.6 million teens eligible but at the current daily rate of deaths, the country may be just days away from reaching 800,000 covid dead some hospitals report walking into their icus is like walking back in time tom costello has the latest >> reporter: today's cdc approval just two weeks until christmas means 2.6 million teens will be eligible to dramatically boost their covid protection before gathering with family and friends over the holidays. pfizer's booster now authorized for fully vaccinated 16- and 17-year-olds at least six months after their second dose. while those initial vaccine doses offer a strong defense against the delta variant, pfizer says its research shows the booster is essential to mounting a strong defense against the
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fast-spreading omicron variant. so far, younger kids are not eligible for the booster. >> i would think that at least for the next several, several months that the kids will be okay because in general they do better than adults when it comes to immune responses. >> reporter: children under 18 make up 22% of all covid cases meanwhile, at hospitals nationwide, many front line doctors and nurses say it feels like the worst days of the pandemic once again. icus filled with unvaccinated covid patients struggling to breathe. from a nurse in arkansas -- >> i'm tired of it us nurses, other coworkers, respiratory therapists, all the medical team, we are tired. >> reporter: to doctors in colorado. >> another day, another shift with no beds here in colorado. >> reporter: and indiana. >> our number of covid patients doubled over the weekend. our icu is full. >> reporter: heather, a critical care nurse in uw swedish american hospital in rockford, illinois.
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>> we have young people we have old people i'm easily taking care of people my age and definitely younger than me. >> reporter: the situation so serious in the northeast the governors of new york, new hampshire and maine are sending national guard troops to help in the hospitals. >> our hospitals are being stretched thin health care is jeopardized for those who need it and our health care workers, as heroic as they are, are more exhausted than ever before we're at a tipping point. >> reporter: december 2021 feeling a lot like december 2020 >> and, tom, back to the boosters for teens. there is not complete agreement among doctors about the need for them. >> not at all, including dr. paul offit on the fda's advisory panel for vaccines he doesn't think teenagers need boosters he doesn't think they will get that sick right now from covid or the mutations he's more concerned about heart inflammation with teenage boys than he is really about covid. but, again, we have full approval now from the fda and the cdc,
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lester. >> tom costello, thank you. we're tracking the first big winter storm of the season sweeping across the country winter weather alerts are up across 17 states from the west coast to the great lakes. up to three feet of snow forecast in some areas. by the start of the weekend, it is expected to bring severe weather to the southeast and mid-atlantic i want to turn now to the crisis in ukraine with fears of a potential russian invasion president biden holding another high stakes call. this time with ukraine's president. kristin welker is at the white house. what do we know about today's call, kristin? >> reporter: lester, the white house described the call as warm, saying that it lasted nearly 90 minutes and that president biden reaffirmed the u.s. commitment to ukraine's sovereignty. it comes two days after the president had that video call with russian president vladimir putin warning him not to invade ukraine. but russian troops have not moved back from the border so far.
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multiple officials here say the u.s. is preparing tough economic sanctions if mr. putin escalates the crisis. lester >> okay, kristin >> and on the frigid border between ukraine and russia tonight, tensions remain very high richard engel is on the front lines with ukrainian troops. >> reporter: the front line between ukraine and russia is on high alert tonight. all leave canceled for the troops, who will be spending the holidays in the trenches muddy today. often frozen solid these positions are designed to stop or at least slow down a russian advance. they could be tested with about 100,000 russian troops, tanks and artillery massed along three sides of the ukrainian border and by pro-russian militias already inside ukraine this is the most dangerous flash point. ukrainian troops occupy these trenches 24/7 and russian soldiers are only 50 yards away according to the ukrainian soldiers here those russian
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backed troops fire on them almost every day. and it wouldn't take much for an escalation here to trigger a much wider war. >> when some side start that attacking, it's -- it have casualties no matter what they do. >> reporter: lieutenant evan showed us his front line position, a rubber factory devastated by an eight-year war with pro-russian separatists that now has the potential to trigger the biggest conflict in europe since world war ii he is under orders to exercise maximum restraint. >> we have no reasons to start the war. >> reporter: to avoid giving russia a pretext to attack. >> putin, i think not stop in the ukraine. if we don't stop it here, they go further. >> reporter: nearby, ukrainian troops showed us the separatist positions they say they're backed, armed and advised directly by moscow ukrainians say putin
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has all the troops he needs in place to invade and now is just looking for a reason russia says all it's trying to do is defend the pro-russian community here in ukraine. today putin accused the ukranian government of carrying out what looks like a genocide against it. in just 60 seconds, rapper travis scott's first interview since that deadly concert what he's saying to victims' families. amid a historic opoid epidemic, new york's controversial step to save people from drug overdoses.
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in his first interview since that deadly concert in houston last month, rapper travis scott is expressing anguish and addressing victims' families here's miguel almaguer. >> my intentions, you know, wasn't to -- you know, wasn't to harm their family at all. >> reporter: in his first interview since the tragedy at his concert, travis scott expressed remorse but
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said he's not to blame. >> the travis scott show or, you know, an actual show, you know wasn't the bottom line factor of what happened here. >> reporter: in a lengthy conversation, scott spoke with tv and radio host saying he did everything he possibly could on the night of november 5th. while headlining his own festival, 10 were killed during a crowd surge and hundreds injured. but the show in houston went on for more than 30 minutes as the rapper says he was unaware of the mayhem unfolding. >> you didn't hear those screams? >> no, man it's so crazy because i'm an artist, too any time you can or something like that, you want to stop the show. >> reporter: and this week with hundreds of lawsuits filed seeking billions in damage, scott denied legal liability and asked for several claims to be dismissed 21-year-old axel acosta died in the chaos.
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>> this is all part of a culture that travis scott created himself and now he tries to pretend he was surprised he's a victim he's no victim. >> i have a responsibility to figure out what happened here. i have a responsibility to figure out the solution >> reporter: tonight travis scott breaking his silence, but not satisfying critics miguel almaguer, nbc news. we turn now to our series one nation overdosed. amid the pandemic, the u.s. set another tragic record, more than 100,000 drug overdosed deaths in a 12-month period. now new york city is taking a controversial step to save lives jacob soboroff with our nbc news exclusive. >> reporter: since the beginning of last week, inside that facility across the street, the city of new york allowed people to use illegal drugs like heroin and fentanyl under the supervision of a professional to stop them from dying of an overdose. sam rivera is the facility's executive director >> some people might call it crazy.
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i use a different c word to be courageous enough to do this and we're seeing already 17 lives reversed. come on. >> reporter: 17 people overdosed since you opened last week. >> all of them survived. >> reporter: as kaitlyn took us on a tour of the number of lives saved grew by one. so an overdose happened just now? >> yes it is 100% reversible. >> reporter: new york city, a physician says opening the facility is based on science. have you talked to the commissioner of the nypd about whether or not they will be arresting people that go into these facilities >> yes we have had very productive conversations. we have a common mission, which is to save lives and nypd and other local law enforcement will not enforce in overdose prevention centers. >> reporter: when we were inside, there were half a dozen clients using drugs.
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>> no more improperly discarded syringes on the streets, in schools, on subway stations you will find way less -- >> safely, securely without having to worry about overdosing. >> reporter: the voice behind the divider belonged to a man named oz who told us he's a marine corps veteran and was using heroin as we spoke. >> i've gotten more help here than i've gotten from the va. >> reporter: not everyone is convinced. some worry about sanctioning what is an illegal activity others over what it could mean for the neighborhood there is a worry amongst people in the community. >> they don't want syringes in the street they don't want any paraphernalia on the street okay we agree. >> reporter: that's how you are going to stop it? >> that's how we stop it. >> reporter: a reduction strategy used around the world for decades now open in the united states jacob soboroff, nbc news new york. up next, we'll tell you about the big change brewing at starbucks where history was made today.
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for the first time today workers at a starbucks store, one of almost nine thousand in this country voted to form a union. it happened in buffalo, new york, where union organizers said workers were embolden as they worked through the pandemic workers at another starbucks in buffalo voted not to unionize. a third store still uncertain. china is facing international outrage after an independent tribunal accused the government of committing genocide against the muslim uyghurs in a new report out today keir simmons with more now from london.
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>> reporter: tonight china's human rights record condemned again just days after the u.s. announced a diplomatic boycott of the beijing games. in this court-like setting in london today, a judgment from an international tribunal. >> the prc has committed genocide. >> reporter: uyghur muslims, a minority group from western china, have been speaking out witness after witness saying things like punishments including savage beatings, sleep and food deprivation police officers took the children away by force. among the evidence the panel has reviewed, leaked documents alleging china's president authorized this treatment this uyghur gave evidence she has documented 232 re-education camps, 257 prisons. >> there is a genocide going on there are millions of people being locked up in this so-called re-education camps. >> reporter: we
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traveled to istanbul where thousands of uyghur refugees live in exile here a recreation of a chinese re-education camp the refugees say are being used in china right now. they call them concentration camps with torture rooms this is an interrogation room >> yes this is a tiger chair. >> reporter: a tiger chair? >> you call it a tiger chair. >> reporter: but even outside china, uyghurs don't feel safe. her husband was arrested in morocco earlier this year. she is left with their young children and fears he will be sent to a chinese prison. >> i should stay strong i have three children. >> reporter: while we were with her, she gets a call from him in prison. what did he say? >> he said he was really scared. >> reporter: families divided by chinese authorities who accuse uyghurs of trying to create a separate country. these issues are
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purely china's domestic affairs the chinese embassy in washington told us we are firm in upholding national sovereignty, security and development interests. their statement ending stop making irresponsible remarks. are you scared >> no. >> reporter: why not >> i think the worst is happening already and it can't be worse than this. >> reporter: the u.s. has already accused of china of genocide. while this week more countries joined america's diplomatic boycott of the beijing games. lester >> keir, thank you. coming up, after a tragedy banding together and inspiring america.
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a poignant moment at the u.s. capitol. elizabeth dole placing her head on the casket of her husband, former senator bob dole lying in state at the capitol rotunda. president biden called dole one of our greatest patriots. a memorial service will be held tomorrow at the national cathedral. bob dole died sunday at 98. and, finally, another outpouring musicians banding together and inspiring america in a powerful tribute. here's kate snow. >> reporter: on the friday before thanksgiving, a bus carrying the andrews high school band to a playoff football game in texas was hit head-on, injuring about half the students and killing their band leader and driver. >> it shook us to the core. >> reporter: 100 miles away, music store assistant manager chris wheeler heard the band had lost their instruments and might not be able to
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play in their annual holiday parade. >> my idea was to have kids from our region, you know, come in, march the parade, you know, for them. >> reporter: did you think you would just get a handful? >> honestly, yes. >> reporter: instead about 1,200 band kids showed up from texas a high school donated instruments to the andrews players and without ever rehearsing together, they all played jingle bell rock. >> band kids do what band kids do they just did their thing. >> reporter: lauren settle came from more than an hour away to play french horn >> i kind of expected it to be a somber thing, but it was really a celebration of family and life and music. >> reporter: does it make you emotional >> it does it does. i mean, this was the right thing to do. you know, to try to help them know that, hey, life goes on. we still have purpose
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and what better way to do it than through music and unity, you know >> reporter: unity that allowed the band to play on kate snow, nbc news. and that's "nightly news" for this thursday. thank you for watching i'm lester holt. please take care of yourself and each other. good night [cheers and applause] ♪ ♪ ♪♪ it should've been different but it wasn't different was the ♪ ♪ same old story "dear john" and
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so long ♪ ♪ it should've fit like a glove it should've fit like a ring ♪ ♪ like a diamond ring a token of true love ♪ ♪ should've all worked out but it didn't ♪ ♪ she should be here now but she isn't ♪ ♪ there's your trouble there's your trouble ♪ ♪ you keep seein' double with the wrong one ♪ ♪ and you can't see i love you you can't see she doesn't ♪ ♪ but you just keep a holdin' on ♪ ♪ there's your trouble ♪ ♪ so now you're thinkin' 'bout all you're missin' how ♪ ♪ deep you're sinkin' 'round and 'round and draggin' down ♪ ♪ why don't you cash in your chips why don't you call it a loss ♪ ♪ not such a big loss chalk it up to better luck ♪ ♪ could've been true love but it wasn't ♪ ♪ it should all add up but it doesn't ♪ ♪ there's your trouble there's
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your trouble ♪ ♪ you keep seein' double with the wrong one ♪ ♪ and you can't see i love you you can't see she doesn't ♪ ♪ but you just keep holdin' on ♪ ♪ there's your trouble ♪ ♪ there's your trouble ♪ ♪ there's your trouble ♪ ♪ there's your trouble ♪ ♪ there is your trouble ♪♪ [cheers and applause] >> kelly: what's up! welcome to "the kelly clarkson show"! let's hear it for my band y'all! yes, michelle and her audience requested "there's your trouble" what's your connection, michelle? cute dress.
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>> hi, kelly, i am such a huge fan of "the chicks." "there is your trouble" takes me back to a time when i was in college and i was in love with someone who was in love with someone else. >> kelly: the triangle. >> yes, it's bad. but the song sounds bad but it's about moving forward and are accepting reality for what it is, which is something that i love about them, they tell it like it is. i think it helped me through that time, so thank you for singing it. >> kelly: i love that time in country music in general. >> it was so good, wide open spaces. >> kelly: thank you so much, i love singing "mack the chicks, you won't want to miss a moment of this hour, chrissy metz is here! and then you can see -- eugenio derbez is joining us! plus one of the biggest artists
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on the planet, cl is here! [cheers and applause] and you will meet a san diego woman who is helping a homeless share their voices and get back on their feet with the power of music it's a beautiful story that you don't want to miss. but first i want you to meet a woman you have seen on the stage and screen for 20 years as a dancer, singer, an actress. she does all the things and now she has a children's book that i am obsessed with called "the sun, the moon, and the stars." let's say hello to rachel montez minor! [cheers and applause] hi, rachel! it's always good to see you coming and know that i love your husband ricky miner i've known for years and he was playing with us a couple of months ago, did he have a good time? >> he had the best time. look at him, look at him! he had the best time. he loves the playing music and loves you, kelly, thank you so much. >> kelly: i love him so much, he is one of the people that you
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can depend on. who is in this band, got it. but you said that the children's book came to you in a dream, i love that inspiration, so what happened? >> yes, i was with my daughter and it came to me in a dream and it was a whole book that was really a message from the stars. >> kelly: i love that comes to what is a book about? >> rachel: the book is about our connection to each other and our connection to the universe. we shone like the sun, we grow like the moon, we sparkle like the stars. and our glow can really help each other even through our darkest nights. it's about being connected to the universe and to humanity. >> kelly: my kids will freak out over this book, rachel, thank you! i wake up and get inspired to write a song, because i have the same feeling that i get when writing. and somebody will come in and i'm like don't, let mama get her thought out. >> rachel: when i was writing
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the book, ricky was like what are you doing? and i was like go away! but we included a lullaby and ricky wrote the music called "you are always loved" so if you get the audiobook you can hear the lullaby and rocker child to sleep with the message that they are always loved. and my daughter makes a special guest appearance at the end of the lullaby, she is three. >> kelly: she is adorable. i love the lullaby, it's so cool and it's like we run out as parents, so thank you for a new one. my parents asked me to keep singing and i am like i am out. i don't know anymore. i'm so excited about your book! we love you and your family! come back! everybody, rachel's book "the sun, the moon, and the stars" is out now. and everyone in the audience is getting one to take home! let's move to the first guest, you know her around the
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extremely popular to its return january 4th, also hosting a crafting show that i love on discovery plus called meet your maker show down, take a look. >> chrissy: today you will face two challenges come after the first round one of you will be eliminated. >> goodbye! >> girl! >> got you. speak out the remaining three will enter the show down talent and show their work to the gallery. then one of you will be crowned the maker champion and walk away with $10,000! who doesn't want that? >> kelly: my favorite girl is the one that said bye to the others. please welcome chrissy metz! [cheers and applause] ♪ ♪ [cheers and applause] ♪ ♪


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