tv NBC Nightly News NBC June 24, 2014 6:30pm-7:01pm EDT
nbc nightly you are ins with brian williams. on our broadcast tonight, the front lines, richard engel goes inside the fight for iraq. more americans now arrive. the insider. going public with what she calls an evil scheme. stunning new allegations of a cover-up in the growing scandal at the v.a. the clinton's money, bill clinton jumps to his wife's defense in an interview with david gregory, with their post white house wealth now suddenly an issue. and without warning. the summer threat that has even some meteorologists worried. tonight separating fact from fiction, where the danger is concerned. "nightly news" begins now.
good evening, you're about to see an up close look at the effort to defend baghdad. isis has been grabbing up a lot of real estate while approaching the capitol city. richard engel embedded with an iraqi military unit. more u.s. military advisers arrive just today and as so much of that nation has already crumbled. richard is back inside baghdad to start us off. richard, good evening. >> good evening, brian. secretary kerry was here today at an emergency mission to try to hold this country together. iraq is increasingly breaking into three distinct pieces. as we saw today, the iraqi armed forces are mostly just trying to hang on to what they still control. >> iraqi troops today retook a village from islamic extremists in western iraq. but capturing one small town
won't change the tide here. isis now moves in whole convoys of u.s. based humvees, flying their black flags, carrying weapons abandoned by the iraqi army, and gaining recruits along the way. some of them just children. >> if there's anyone who can stand up to the isis advance, it may are major general ahmed bahjad, commander of iraq's 17th army division. we rode with him to an area troops used to call the triangle of death. the militants consider this a strategic place, he said. they want to take these roads to cut baghdad off from the rest of the country. >> had is the iraqi army's front lines south of baghdad. we are now 20 miles south of the city. the militants control positions. they arrived right on baghdad's
doorstep. >> at 41, he's iraq's youngest two-star general. his father is shiite, his mother, sunni, he does not want a religious war. he does want american air strikes to confront the terrorists, he says. most of his 15,000 troops are u.s. trained, but they don't have u.s. grade firepower. no tanks, no air support. in his ornate office. he says u.s. troops should have stayed to finish equipping us to make us 100% ready. now, the general and his men are all that stand between a violent insurgency and the iraqi capi l capitol. offcamera, some of the soldiers, the privates and the sergeants complained about corruption. they said they even have to kickback some of their pay to junior officers. they didn't seem to share the general enthusiasm for this fight or to defend baghdad. brian? >> richard engel starting us off
from baghdad tonight, thanks. in or new wall street journal pole out just today, fully 71% of respondents say the war in iraq wasn't worth it. as we've been reporting, john kerry just left there. he had to travel secretly to baghdad and put on body army for his own protection. andrea mitch sell traveling with kerry and asked him about those military advisers, some of whom just arrived today. >> opposition leaders here today said they don't want american intervention. even as our special forces are beginning to end in small groups with the iraqi command. >> well, that's not intervention. what we're trying to do is help the -- and i understand what they don't want, and president obama and the american people don't want that either, but we are not here in combat role, we are not here to fight. the president has no intention,
none whatsoever of returning american combat troops to iraq, to go back to where we were. that's not in the cards. >> andrea mitchell with john kerry in baghdad, in this country tonight for the first time, one of the insiders in the growing scandal involving va hospitals is breaking her silence. she's a scheduling clerk at the v.a. in phoenix who says she went to the inspector general after being told to keep a secret list of more than 1,000 veterans waiting for medical care. someone at the v.a. in phoenix altered patient records to hide at least a half a dozen different deaths. our report tonight from tom costello. >> reporter: at the epicenter of the growing v.a. scandal in phoenix, pauline dewinter was one of the first to go to investigators. >> i feel horrible for what i've done. i cannot erase my role in this evil scheme. >> reporter: she claims she was ordered by v.a. managers to keep a secret list of veterans who
often waited for months for medical care, way beyond the v.a.'s own 14-day rule. >> i put them in my desk drawer. i didn't know what else to do with them. >> reporter: if a patient died, she noted it on their appointment request, but in a disturbing revelation, at least seven times someone at the v.a. removed or altered her note that a vet had died while waiting for care. and she says it's happened within the last few weeks. >> and another blow had gone in and erased my death disposition to entered in error. >> reporter: she decided to act after one particular case involving a vet. sally believes that vet was her father-in-law, thomas breen, who in september complained of blood in his urine, he died on november 30th, having never seen a doctor. pauline called in december to schedule an appointment. >> i cursed at her, screaming, crying that he was dead already. and she got very emotional over the phone, and she said, i promise you i'm going to help
you. >> reporter: multiple agencies are now investigating the v.a., in a letter to president obama, the letter of special council writes of 50 pending cases, all of which allege threats to patient health or safety, in v.a. facilities from alabama, colorado, new york and puerto rico. >> if conduct is denied for patient care, until this culture changes, it's going to be hard for the v.a. to move forward. >> reporter: the allegations made in phoenix are completely unacceptable and must be investigated. the v.a. also tells nbc news, it is taking action to accelerate access to care, and get them off waiting lists and into clinics. >> tom, thanks. big scare late today, in and around indianapolis, as a tornado made its way through several neighborhoods uncomfortably close to the indianapolis motor speedway,
where people were rushed into a basement structure when the storm hit. thankfully, no reports of any injuries. the feds are out with their final report on the asiana crash last year in san francisco. they blame poor oversight. ntsb says the pilots overrelied on automated systems, they didn't fully understand. partly because of insufficient training. the nose was too high, the tail too low, as it clipped the seawall at the end of the runway. bill clinton jumped to his wife's defense today after comments hillary has made about their post white house wealth during a recent book tour. bill clinton pushed back on accusations from critics that his wife is somehow out of touch. we get our report tonight from our political director and chief white house correspondent chuck todd. >> reporter: bill clinton tried
to do what he does best today, explain away a thorny political problem. >> we go to our local grocery store on the weekend. we talk to people in our town, we know what's going on. >> reporter: the trouble for hillary clinton began when she said this. >> we came out of the white house not only dead broke, but in debt. >> it is factually true that we were several million dollars in debt. >> reporter: today david gregory asked bill clinton about the way she described their finances. >> can you understand that can strike people as being out of touch? >> yeah, but she's not out of touch, and she advocated and worked as a senator for things that were good for ordinary people. and before that all her life, i remember she was working on trying to -- believing in paid leave for pregnant mothers in the 1970s. >> reporter: even before her husband came to her defense, she tried to explain the difference
between her newfound wealth and that of more established rich politicians. telling the british newspaper, the guardian, because we pay ordinary income tax, unlike a lot of people who are truly well off, not to name names, and we've done it through the dint of hard work. the clintons net worth has come from three sources, books. she got $8 million for the first memoir, he got $15 million. the government, a senate salary close to $170,000 and $200,000 as secretary of state. and speeches. both command well over six figures per appearance. of course for hillary clinton, this isn't about money, it's about reception. >> when she gets caught in explaining away how much money she makes, this helps to feed into this perception that she's really just still part of washington. part of the establishment. >> you know, brian, this issue of being in touch with average americans is more complicated for mrs. clinton. consider this, it's been 22 years since she's been able to
walk alone outside without secret service protection. it's not a bubble she chose. but it adds to her challenge with connecting with every day americans. >> chuck todd in our d.c. newsroom tonight. a reminder, david gregory will have much more on this interview with the former president on sunday on "meet the press." we want to turn to the growing humanitarian crisis on the border with the u.s. and mexico. a huge spike of children making their way into this country illegally. and authorities struggling with where to put them. stephanie gosk takes an inside look at what some say could be behind this surge. >> reporter: the immigrant attention facility in brownsville, texas is bursting. 500 unaccompanied undocumented children in a space built for half that. just some of the 52,000 that have crosses the border since last october hoping to stay. today congress wanted to know what is being done.
>> had this is a crisis. these children are making a dangerous journey based on misinformation. >> reporter: adults are detained and deported. unaccompanied minors are treated differently. they're passed on to health and human services and then guard n guardians in the u.s. until deportation services. in other words, they stay for months or years. that's what happened to ruby. almost a year ago, the 15-year-old who did not want her real name used says she left honduras, the murder capitol of the world. thousands leave every year. when we asked why, she told us, people are scared of getting murdered, threatened. they want a better life. pregnant, she says she travelled by bus through the mountains, narrowly escaped kidnappers on the mexico/u.s. border. she now faces a complicated
legal process. >> 60% of children may be granted some form of status to remain in the united states. >> reporter: allowing unaccompanied minors to stay is creating a misconception. >> if i were a parent in guatemala, won the i see that as a free pass? >> i don't see it as a free pass, particularly the danger of migrating over 1,000 miles. >> reporter: on the ground, there is no easy fix, the government struggles with border security and a growing humanitarian problem. still ahead for us here tonight, in a flash, several close calls captured on video. all of them seem to be at this time of year, and what meteorologists have to say about the threat and disproving some dangerous myths. (woman) the constipation and belly pain feel like a knot. how can i ease this pain? (man) when i can't go, it's like bricks piling up. i wish i could find some relief. (announcer) ask your doctor about linzess-- a once-daily capsule for adults with ibs with constipation
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outside. that has meteorologists concerned and also trying to bust some of the dangerous myths surrounding lightning. our report tonight from nbc's katy tur. >> reporter: it comes in a flash, striking at random, anything in its way. sudden but deadly, just ask sean o'connor. >> i heard a loud crash. >> reporter: the georgia father was doing yardwork, when a bolt knocked him out of his shoes. >> i see the damage it did to the boot, and the fact that i walked away with just scrapes and bruises and a minor headache. it kind of sinks in how lucky i was. >> reporter: since 2006, there have been 268 deaths from lightning strikes, including 7 this year. and most of the victims were men. according to noaa, the incidents peak when thunderstorms and outside leisure activities peak. the summer months. most of the deaths happen while the person was fishing, boating,
camping or farming. a bolt ripped a camera right out of a storm chaser's hand. and just two weeks ago, a truck in canada was stopped in its tracks. >> lightning could strike at a distance of 10 miles from the storm. if you hear thunder, you should move inside immediately. >> you might think that the rubber tires on the car protect you. that lightning only strikes the tallest objects or if it takes legislation than 30 seconds to hear thunder after a lightning flash, you're close enough to be in danger. all myth. the truth is, your car's metal frame keeps you safe by diverting the electricity, it can hit anything of any height. and if you can hear thunder, you're in striking distance. experts say the best protection this summer is awareness. the only safe place is inside. katy tur, nbc news, new york. we are back in a moment with the scene from today featuring the queen and the iron throne.
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we want to send our very best to joan london who annou e announced she is fighting an aggressive form of breast cancer. she's 63 years old, her late father was a cancer surgen. news from the u.k. today where the eight-month hacking trial has ended. andy coalson was found guilty of conspiracy, while rebekah brooks, a former editor under rupert murdoch was cleared of all charges. prime minister cameron said he's sorry he ever employed coalson. as one of the few people on earth who has a throne. it was hard to tell if the queen of england was impressed by the throne from "the game of thrones." she saw some of the memorabilia
from the show currently being filmed in belfast. he's on most people's list of the top five players in the world, and yet he has this problem, the governing body is likely to issue its punishment soon. as for the u.s. team coming off this weekend's tie game, they need only to tie germany in their next game to make the knockout stage. a rare moment in congress today where they took a break from their usual dysfunction, paralysis and infighting in the form of a song. while some of the performances were less than fullsome the feeling was there during a bipartisan rendition of "we shall overcome." meant to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the civil rights act in 1964. you dress so fine you threw
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our nifinal story here tonit is about an 11-year-old girl who is using her timewisely. before she is robbed of the sight she has. she isn't making it stop her. we get this story tonight from peter alexander. ♪ >> reporter: like a lot of 11-year-olds, lily loves music. the trouble is, without enlarging the page, she can't see the notes. >> it's frustrating. my music is blown up and bold. >> reporter: doctors say lily's window is closing.
one day she'll lose her vision completely zhu to asher syndrome. >> without your hearing aids, what can you hear? >> nothing. >> reporter: the diagnosis is frightening and confusing. >> you have a baby, you plan this wonderful life for them. and things just don't end up that way sometimes with these obstacles that are put in front of you. you have to make it really hard to make it that perfect life. >> reporter: leading the charge, lily herself. she started raising money for an annual vision walk coordinated with the foundation fighting blindness. over the last five years lily's raised nearly $100,000. not only did she form a team, her little sister abby launched one too. >> i don't want her to be blind. i just think it's really special to help her. but not only her, to help
everybody. >> for me, the story hits close to home. my little sister, my best friend rebecca has asher syndrome too. >> she thinks she's learning something from me, but in reality, i'm the one that's benefiting. >> reporter: lily's family knows she's facing more challenges ahead. >> if you knew your child wasn't able to see by this point, where would you go, what would you see? >> reporter: they've checked off the grand canyon and disney world. >> i want to see the golden gate bridge, the statue of liberty, the eiffel tower. i would like to be able to explain to others how it looks and what it's like. >> reporter: motivating others to help make it happen. peter alexander, nbc news, manchester, michigan. >> that's our broadcast on a tuesday night. thank you for being here with
whoopi takes on the rumors today. >> we want to clear it up. jen aniston and justin theroux crawl to the alter. their hot new york night and new details on their top wedding planning. breking couples news. robin thicke's desperate now plea to get back paula. and caught on camera choking out the paparazzi. plus, susan sur ran ran don talking love and marriage and getting up close and personal. >> this is "extra" at universal studios hollywood, the