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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  October 24, 2017 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT

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tonight, a pair of republican senators unleash an extraordinary rebuke of president trump. >> mr. president, i rise today to say enough. >> senators decry what they deem a lack of truth and decency. >> and when such behavior emanates from the top of our government it is something else, dangerous to a democracy. >> white house now responding. did the mission change? twist in the deadly ambush on u.s. special forces. our team in cuba and new evidence on the trail of alleged sonic attacks on american diplomats. highway horror, teens charged with murder, tossing rocks off overpass with
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>> took away a child's father and love of my life. targeting cancer, doctors report amazing results in patients out of options. tumors disappearing. change in store as pair of big brands split up. after a century. also the loss of a beloved tv star. >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening and thanks for being with us. in a year of stunning unheard of political moments you had to pause to take in how extraordinary it was to hear not one but two u.s. republican senators publicly rebuke the integrity and character of sitting president in the terms we heard today. from bob corker, president trump has debased the united states. and this from jeff flake as he announced retirement plans. >> reckless, outrageous and undignified behavior has become excused and countenanced as telling it lit
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when it is actually just reckless, outrageous and undignified. and when such behavior emanates from the top of our government, it is something else, dangerous to a democracy. >> flake and corker unburdened of re-election worries, with little to lose, speaking their truth to power today, at time when president can ill afford to lose republican support for his agenda. chief white house correspondent hallie jackson with details. >> we must be unafraid to stand up and speak out as if our country depends on it, because it does. >> reporter: in a remarkable relentless critique of donald trump, jeff flake announcing he'll retire rather than work with a leader he finds dangerous to democracy. >> principles that underlie our politics, the values of our founding, are too valuable to our survival to allow them to be comprose
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because politics can make us silent when we should speak, and silence can equal complicity. i have children and grandchildren to answer to. and so mr. president, i will not be complicit or silent. >> reporter: the senator's voice, thick with emotion. >> when we remain silent and fail to act, when we know that silence and inaction is the wrong thing to do because of political considerations, might make enemies, alienate the base, we dishonor our principles. foresake our obligations. those things far more important than politics. if we simply become inured to this condition, thinking it is just politics as usual, heaven help us. without fear of the consequences and without consideration of the rules of what is politically safe or palatable, we must stop pretending that degradation of our politics and conduct of some
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branch are normal. they are not normal. >> reporter: neither was today. extraordinary on every level as a political earthquake shakes the gop so hard it splinters. and senator bob corker is accusing the president of debasing the u.s. on the world stage. >> i don't think there's any question that's the case. just the way he conducts himself and goes to such a low level. >> reporter: corker never called donald trump a liar but suggested he is. capping a morning in which the president slammed head of the foreign relations committee as a lightweight and incompetent. by lunchtime as the president visited capitol hill, some senators had popcorn, ready for a show. corker and president never talked. drama came when flake announced he would leave the senate. early 2019. politically at jeopardy at home in risky re-ti
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for the next year he and other republicans could block parts of the president's agenda, stalled so far. no health care reform, no infrastructure package, no tax cuts yet. no margin for error in the party. >> does the president feel he's winning? >> i think he feels america is winning. >> reporter: white house dismiss senators' comments as simply petty. >> the people of this country didn't select somebody to be weak but somebody to be strong. when he gets hit, he's going to hit back. >> reporter: and bob corker tweeted again about the adult day care that's the white house. worth remembering he was early supporter of then candidate trump. donald trump from the very beginning divided his own party and now the attitude at white house towards republicans is get on board or get out. lester. >> hallie jackson, thank you. for perspective, turn to political director and "meet the press" moderator, chuck todd. corker and flake have little to lout
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put other republicans in with this? >> it's clear we have a fight for the soul of the republican party. but right now not litigated on issues but character and personality. i will say this, it is putting on one hand, corker and flake are not alone. on the other hand they're free to make the charges since neither one plans to run for re-election in '18. it creates a divide inside the party that will play out not just in primaries with trump versus the establishment but general elections where corker may become asset to democrats. everything is going to be thrown up into the air. that's for sure. >> all right, chuck. thank you. new developments into the investigation into the deadly ambush in niger on u.s. special forces. and new questions on whether the mission they were on changed to include hunting down a top terrorist. hans nicholls with details.
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niger's capital, special forces thought that contact with the enemy was unlikely. but according to two military officials, the elite special forces changed their mission in the field from reconnaissance to pursuit of suspected isis recruiter. spent the night camped out looking for target. in morning met with village elders where investigators suspect they were intentionally delayed. ambushed and waited an hour before calling for air support. minutes later a drone with surveillance arrived. >> two hours after initial contact was made, initial french mirages areiched overhead. >> reporter: battle continued into the evening when american wounded were evacuated. dead loaded on helicopter by american contractor but la david johnson was missing. 2 1/2 days after the ambush, body discovered by nigerien
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chase across the globe. >> stop going to libya, said go to philippines. can't go there. running out of places to go. >> reporter: in africa roughly 6,000 american troops deployed in niger, cameroon and somalia. 4,000 troops, biggest outpost in djibouti. launch pad for missions into yemen. army service records of those killed indicate they had limited combat experience, potentially raising more questions about why they ended up on such a risky mission in west africa. hans nichols, nbc news. pentagon. nbc news exclusive an alleged sonic attacks against american diplomats in cuba. first time the cubans investigating it are speaking out, denying their country had anything to do with it to andrea mitchell who went to the havana neighborhood at the center of the mystery. >> reporter: the u.s. embassy in havana virtually shut down, u.s./cuba relations in
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now two dozen u.s. embassy staff reporting ailments. president trump blaming the cubans. >> i believe cuba is responsible. >> reporter: first interview, cuban investigating team, top security officials and doctor pushing back. did you do it? >> translator: without hesitation, i'm telling you no. >> reporter: colonel says nearly 2,000 people looking into the charge that u.s. diplomats were targeted with sonic weapon, suffering a range of symptoms, hearing loss, headaches, nausea, even mild traumatic brain injury. >> translator: cuba doesn't peace possess this technology, has never had these weapons. >> reporter: this is the sound they reported to have heard. document from the cubans said it was not at acoustic levels damaging to health. and american experts telling us there's no
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symptoms. >> never been physiological response that reflects the symptoms reported ever caused by sound waves of any type. >> reporter: we went into the hotel room of one of incidents. he said there were vike vab vibrations through this window. cubans say they interviewed more than 300 neighbors, conducted medical exams, air and soil samples, studied insects and electromagnetic waves. nothing panned out. >> translator: not even one person was sick. >> reporter: not one person in the neighborhood was affected the same way? >> none. >> reporter: hardliners involved to derail relations? no way. third country? russia? no other country could have done it? >> translator: don't have definitive answers but cuba has never allowed nor would ever allow territory to be used in this way. >> reporter: cuban
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won't allow him to talk to the american doctors on the case. >> medically let's do it together and find what is happening. there are people that want to discover why. >> reporter: today the fbi was in havana meeting with cuban investigators. u.s. officials tell nbc news that in classified briefing, administration officials didn't blame for cuba for the incidents when they went to the hill, even though president trump is holding them responsible. lester. >> both sides think it's mystery. >> and cubans denying they had anything to do with it. >> andrea mitchell, thank you. horrific incident on the highway in michigan. five teens charged with murder, accused of throwing rocks off overpass on to car below, one smashing through windshield and killing young father of four sitting in passenger seat. incident leaving families and authorities asking why.
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nbc's blake mccoy has more for us. >> reporter: a young father is dead from a senseless act his fiance is struggling to comprehend. >> he took away a child's father and love of my life. his stupid act took away a life. >> reporter: from this overpass near flint, michigan, last week that police say a group of teenagers threw a six pound rock that crashed through the windshield of the car kenneth white was riding in, striking him in the chest and head. >> those kids may have thought it was a prank but not a prank when you're throwing six pound rocks at vehicles. >> reporter: today the five teens appeared in chains, remaining mostly silent at arraignment, entering not guilty pleas as victim's family listened through tears. judge denied bond, high schoolers will be tried as adults and could face life in prison. >> willful and wanton act that resulted in somebody's death. these people should haveno
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>> reporter: hurled at least 20 rocks hitting at least eight cars on the highway below. police say the oldest suspect, 17-year-old kyle ainger, turned himself in. four other teens were arrested shortly thereafter. tonight a call for justice for family pulled apart. >> terrific man and father. >> you've taken his life for nothing. >> reporter: prosecutor doesn't believe the teens intended to kill anyone on the overpass but adds they should have known better. attorneys for two of the teens believe the charges will change once it's determined the exact role each teen played. lester. >> blake mccoy in michigan for us, thank you blake. nearly five weeks since hurricane maria devastated puerto rico, three quarters of the island without power still.
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largest government contract to rebuild the power grid there but congress has questions as residents continue to struggle. gabe gutierrez with the latest. >> we can do tuna. >> reporter: juan ruiz is struggling to prepare meals for a neighborhood desperate for power. >> we have many cases they told us this is the first food i'm having today. i don't know what i'm doing tomorrow. >> reporter: largest contract awarded to rebuild the power grid is under scrutiny, up to $300 million for whitefish energy, just two years old, from montana, two full-time employees when maria made landfall. >> doesn't pass the smell test. whitefish has received a fishy contract here. >> reporter: whitefish, montana, is the home town of u.s. interior secretary ryan zinke, though his office says he had nothing to do
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company now has more than 300 workers in puerto rico and said it has experience in mountainous regions. >> others not willing to take the risk and get an plane to ask for business. >> reporter: puerto rico's power authority went bankrupt in july after a long history of maintenance and corruption allegations. recently appointed ceo says whitefish could mobilize fastest. today governor slammed the army corps of engineers' response so far. >> there is no sense of emergency where i'm calling for quick results. >> reporter: army corps insists it's work g hard to meet the governor's goal to restoring power to 95% of the island by mid-december. gabe gutierrez, nbc news. still ahead, future of fighting cancer. new approach to target the disease, seemingly miraculous results for some patients even when all else has failed. bigger jackpots, major changes for one of america's most popular lotteries. tell you about it wh
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represented the worst of the worst. lenders trying to keep student loan rates high. corporations sending jobs overseas. and of course the enron scandal. now, enron ed is lobbying for donald trump's agenda. like cuts to virginia school funding, and taking away healthcare from thousands of virginians. enron ed gillespie. he's not lobbying for you. all right. we're back with that story about doctors calling an exciting development in the future of fighting cancer. new approach called precision oncology, doctors study a tumor's genetics to figure out what drug might work, especially people fighting advanced cancer when everything else has failed. nbc's rehema ellis with the early results.
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months derek laurie thought he had back pain from driving tow truck. >> one day couldn't walk anymore. >> reporter: couldn't walk? >> no just got out of the bed and hit the floor. >> reporter: stage iv cancer, spread throughout a third of his body. radiation didn't work. >> waste away in hospital. didn't get chance to say goodbye. >> reporter: desperate, he entered a groundbreaking trial. treats tumors based on genetics, not where found in the body. one pill twice a day. felt better within a week. tumors, those black spots, disappeared. this is the same person? >> like the light switch of the cancer turned off. >> reporter: researchers studied the dna of derek's tumors, searching for genetic mutations, found one, causes small percentage of 17 types of cancer from salivary, to lungs, to breast. doctors prescribed an ex
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target this abnormality. >> knew the mutation and knew we had a medicine to block it and shut it down. >> reporter: doctors seen a 76% success rate in patients with this rare mutation. feeling like a new man? >> brand new man. >> reporter: a super targeted approach, offering new hope in the battle against cancer. rehema ellis, rochester, new york. coming up, end of century-long era for two famous names in american retail. flush to get through this. follow me. choosing a plan can be super-complicated. but it doesn't have to be. unitedhealthcare can guide you through the confusion, with helpful people, tools and plans. including the only plans with the aarp name. well that wasn't so bad at all. that's how we like it. aarp medicare plans, from unitedhealthcare.
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opera." and in movies, voice of rafiki, "the lion king." retail divorce. sears will no longer sell whirlpool branded appliances. including maytag and kitchen aid. didn't agree. will continue to sell kenmore, some manufactured by whirlpool. do you like mega millions? lottery is making changes. beginning this weekend, raising ticket prices from $1 to $2, bigger starting jackpots from $15 million but longer odds of winning the big prize, 1 in 303 million. up next, play ball, why a ticket isn't only hot thing about be tonight's game one. that help them save on their car insurance. any questions? -yeah. -how do you go to the bathroom? great. any insurance-related questions? -mm-hmm. -do you have a girlfriend? uh, i'm actually focusing on my career right now,
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ticket in town. $1,000 for a cheap seat. and to sit behind the dugout, $15,000. the los angeles dodgers haven't been this close to glory since 1988. >> i'm so excited, so happy. >> reporter: the houston astros are just four wins away from their first championship. but for many players taking the field tonight, this is so much bigger than baseball. enrique hernandez plays with p.r. on his hat and mind. his mother watched from storm-battered puerto rico, on a television powered by a generator. >> not a day goes by i'm not thinking about what goes on back home. >> reporter: houston is playing to win for a city that's lost so much, spending time in shelters, donating millions to rebuild, houston strong on jerseys and in their hearts. lori rozen lost everything but finds hope in this team. >> their hearts are with houston
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and houston's heart's with them. >> reporter: this world series a reason to cheer for both teams on the field. nbc news. los angeles. we appreciate you spending part of your evening with us. that is "nightly news" for this tuesday night. i'm lester holt, for all of us, thanks for watching and good nigh t. . ♪ lin-manuel miranda: i was on vacation when hurricane maria hit puerto rico. i was in constant contact with my parents as we waited for word
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island, like so many other puerto ricans. i was trying to find a way to do something with my time while we waited for communication. i can tweet money for aid, i can tweet for people to donate, but at a certain point, that doesn't feel like enough. and i started writing this song. ♪ say it loud and there's music playing. ♪ ♪ say it soft and it's almost like praying. ♪ female: the tony, pulitzer, and grammy winner is out with a new song, it's called "almost like praying." he calls it a love letter to puerto rico. puerto rico is in your heart, and they're obviously really suffering right now. so, tell me about this project and how you pulled this together. lin-manuel: well, this happened--you know, like many people, i have family on the island.


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