tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC September 30, 2015 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
we'll see. >> thanks for joining us. >> sky dive. >> good idea. thanks for joining us. we'll be back at 6:00. developing news tonight. a hurricane takes aim gaining steam as forecasters warn joaquin could make landfall in the u.s. with much of the eastern seaboard already under heavy floods. a new secret service scandal breaking this evening. did top officials order a leak to embarrass a powerful congressman investigating the agency? bombs away, russia unleashes a ferocious air attack in syria. but instead of bombing isis, are they bombing american allies? tonight, the u.s. reacts to a dangerous new turn. and fields of danger. fears over the artificial turf so many kids play on every day. our nbc news follow-up investigation, is there or isn't there a risk of cancer? what happened when we confronted the government with that question?
"nbc nightly news" begins right now. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. >> good evening. the east coast from the carolinas all the way to new york are right now slowly beginning to brace for the possibility of a major hurricane coming ashore this weekend. hurricane joaquin is currently a category 1 storm making its way toward the bahamas, with sustained winds of 85 miles per hour and continuing to gain strength. but by friday it's expected to make a big turn with the east coast in its sight as strong as a category 3 hurricane. and just a short time ago virginia's governor declared a state of emergency. al roker has been looking at the best and worst case scenarios. al, what are you seeing? >> well, lester, it doesn't look great right now. this is a storm that is going to grow in strength.
as you mentioned right now it's 175 miles east-northeast of the central bahamas. 85-mile-per-hour winds moving southwest at 8 so forward speed has started to pick up. we already have hurricane watches and warnings for the bahamas. five to ten inches of rain, some areas up to 20 inches of rain. and as it makes its way toward the bahamas tonight on into tomorrow it becomes a category 3 storm some time friday afternoon. it continues its path paralleling the coast and then making landfall sunday afternoon as a category 2 storm but continues inland as a tropical storm with winds of up to 65 miles per hour and the rainfall amounts anywhere from five to ten inches of rain, gusts to 40 miles per hour starting saturday night, high surf, beach erosion, power outages, flooding. lester, this is going to last right on into monday morning and early monday afternoon. >> i know you'll have updates on the "today" show tomorrow. al, thanks very much. and as millions keep a close eye on joaquin, another big and unrelated system
is already dumping torrential rain up and down the eastern seaboard triggering flash floods from the south all the way up through new england. the first of a one-two punch hitting hard right now. nbc's ron mott with the latest. >> reporter: in maine stranded drivers, one abandoning his car for higher ground. other vehicles bathed to the hood. a day care forced to close, classes canceled, 9,000 without power. by 8:00 a.m. three to four inches of rain had fallen, three to four times as much water the drought stricken area has seen all month, triggering flash flooding in streets and in basements. by this afternoon totals topped half a foot. >> it's the rainy day in the neighborhood. >> reporter: in massachusetts downed trees and branches. one windshield shattered. >> i'm just waiting for aaa. >> reporter: shannon woods got stuck with her kids and had to be rescued. >> everybody's fine. we made it out safely. >> reporter: a rhode island resident captured the pounding there. the drenching region wide.
a massive storm system moving through the mid-atlantic through the northeast into nengds. in frederick, maryland a collapsed roof at a construction company. no one hurt. visible beach erosion in the carolinas where locals sandbagged. virginia was especially hard hit on tuesday. rivers quickly swelling, firefighters making door-to-door safety checks. students at james madison university finding the silver lining. wild, wet weather along the east coast days ahead of a threatening hurricane. ron mott, nbc news, boston. we turn now to a story breaking late this afternoon. another apparent scandal for the secret service. this time reaching all the way to the top levels of the agency's leadership. a new report finds the secret service assistant director ordered a leak of information to embarrass a congressman in retaliation for his aggressive investigations into agency misconduct. nbc's kristen welker has late details. >> reporter: a devastating report for an agency trying to make a comeback. tonight, the homeland security department's inspector general said scores of u.s. secret
service employees improperly accessed agency records of congressman jason chaffetz's 2003 application to join the secret service. he applied then to become an agent and was turned down. chaffetz is the chairman of the house oversight committee and was leading the investigation into a series of recent scandals at the agency. an investigation that continues today. the report said the actions of the secret service employees could be criminal. tonight, chaffetz reacted. >> digesting it, shocked and surprised. >> reporter: according to the report the assistant director of the secret service wrote in a march e-mail to a colleague, some information that chaffetz might find embarrassing needs to get out just to be fair. the report also found employees accessed chaffetz's old job application only 18 minutes after the start of a march congressional hearing he was leading about the latest secret service scandal. his unsuccessful application was then reported a few days later in the daily beast. >> it's a bit scary. if they would do this to me, i just shutter to think what they might be doing to other people.
>> reporter: this latest embarrassment comes as the agency was rebuilding after a series of black eyes. in 2012 several agents were dismissed after soliciting prostitutes during an official presidential trip in colombia. last september a man jumped over the white house fence and made it all the way inside the executive mansion. this past march two senior agents ran into a security barrier after drinking at a retirement party. a major step back after earning high praise from the president for protecting the pope. >> i wanted to make a special commendation of our secret service. >> reporter: late tonight dhs secretary jeh johnson apologized to chaffetz and said, quote, those responsible should be held accountable. he expressed confidence in director joe clancy who according to the report didn't know this was going on. lester. >> kristen welker tonight, thank you. a stunning turn today in syria. russian air strikes coming just two days after the war in syria was topic a for president obama and
putin at the u.n. but the question this evening is whether russia is targeting isis or syrian rebels supported by the u.s., adding to anxiety surrounding one of the most dangerous places on earth. here's senior white house correspondent chris jansing. >> reporter: thick black smoke billowing in the skies over syria. death and destruction on the ground after russian air strikes opened a dangerous new phase in an already complicated and bloody war. >> this kind of action by the russians is ill advised and will backfire. that approach is tantamount to pouring gasoline on the fire. >> reporter: vladimir putin today saying the target is isis. russia releasing a video claiming terrorist targets were destroyed, but the real target appears to be opponents of syrian president assad, russia's ally. a direct challenge to the u.s. which wants assad out. >> strikes of that kind would question russia's real intentions fighting isil or protecting the
assad regime. >> reporter: the russian moves come just two days after this visibly frosty meeting at the u.n. president obama and putin agreeing to coordinate military action in syria. but the u.s. got just an hour's notice today with a russian official bizarrely knocking on the door of the u.s. embassy in baghdad with the news. >> this prevents american interference it also immasculates american influence there. there's nothing we can do. >> reporter: critics of the u.s. strategy pounced. >> into the wreckage. into the wreckage of this administration's middle east policy has now stepped vladimir putin. >> reporter: u.s. officials say they aren't surprised given russia's military buildup in recent weeks to bolster the assad government. >> it's been collapsing. he's trying to prop it up. i think that's hardly someone in a strong position. >> reporter: already the syrian war has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and sent even more fleeing. now russia has raised
the stakes further with dangerous and unpredictable consequences. all this has the administration just really reeling. late today secretary of state john kerry met with his russian counterpart in a meeting that was not on the schedule but lasted for an hour as one high ranking congressional democrat just told me it's hard to put a positive spin on a situation that is very clearly alarming, lester. >> chris jansing at the white house. thanks. there will be no government shutdown. congress today passed a short-term bill to fund the government open past the midnight deadline. the bill angered some gop lawmakers who wanted to use this must-pass measure to strip planned parenthood of its federal funding. tonight we're getting a look at a new batch of e-mails from hillary clinton's days as secretary of state. but that may be overshadowed by news concerning the long-running congressional benghazi investigation and a comment made by a top republican about how that investigation has hurt hillary clinton politically. that's something democrats say has been the goal of the hearings all along. we get the fallout
from nbc's andrea mitchell. >> yeah, it's like an obstacle course. >> reporter: hillary clinton dodging more obstacles. but amidst all the bad publicity over e-mails, today an unlikely political lifeline from the likely next speaker. republican kevin mccarthy saying the committee investigating benghazi and clinton's e-mails was created to destroy her candidacy. >> everybody thought hillary clinton was unbeatable, right? but we put together a benghazi special committee, a select committee. what are her numbers today? her numbers are dropping. why? because she's untrustable. but no one would have known any of that had happened had we -- >> i agree -- >> reporter: that's exactly what bill clinton has been saying. >> they look at the field and they say who do we not want to run against. and then they dribble out stuff and they attack. >> reporter: hillary clinton with the reverend al sharpton
today. >> i think they have really sort of showed their hand they're really worried about running against me. so they want to keep knocking me down. >> reporter: but today the state department under court order released 6,000 pages of e-mails from 2010 and '11. 215 now upgraded to be classified, but this time none top secret. in one e-mail clinton jokes to an aide about china hacking the system writing, i just checked and i do have your state but not your gmail. so how does that happen? must be the chinese. in another the white house operator doesn't believe she is who she is. she writes, i told him i had no idea what my direct office number was since i didn't call myself. and i just hung up. still to come, four more monthly e-mail releases. october 30th, november 30th, december 31st and january 29th. the last just three days before the iowa caucus and ten days before the new hampshire primary. clinton will get her chance to testify to that benghazi committee october 22nd. a public hearing she says she welcomes. the committee said tonight its work is driven by the facts. lester. >> andrea, thank you. the vatican now confirms that pope
francis secretly met with kim davis during his trip to the u.s. davis is the kentucky clerk who was jailed for denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples. davis and her husband met with the pope away from the public eye in washington. davis says the pope hugged her and claims he thanked her for her courage. still ahead tonight, nearly a year after an nbc news investigation raised questions about a potential health danger lurking on the artificial turf so many of our children play on. why isn't the government answering our questions about it? also, a terrifying landing for this passenger plane and the people on board as the wing scrapes against the runway.
we're back now with our nbc news investigation that we first reported on last year. and the concern has only continued to grow. the story affecting millions of american families with children playing sports on the most common artificial turf made of ground up tires. when one soccer coach saw players getting cancer, she started keeping a list. and now even more families have come forward in the past year. so we went back to the government to press for answers about what's being done to settle the debate as parents worry are their children safe. nbc's stephanie gosk reports. >> reporter: the list is getting longer. these young faces are all soccer players, all goal keepers, all diagnosed with cancer. >> come to the right. >> reporter: coach amy
griffin keeps taking names. after we interviewed her last year, her list gathered from around the country has nearly doubled from 34 to 63. 15 have died. they and their families are all concerned that the artificial turf they play on made them sick. many contacted amy after our original story. >> this is the stuff everybody's talking about. >> i got a bazillion e-mails, lots of phone calls, mostly from people that had said i've always wondered about this. >> reporter: those tiny black dots that get into eyes, ears and even mouths, are ground up car and truck tires called crumb rubber. made up of the same chemicals found in most tires including known carcinogens. crumb rubber is used in thousands of fields and playgrounds around the country. austin everett was one of the first goal keepers on griffin's list. she died three years ago from non-hodgkins lymphoma at the age of 25. >> i realized oh, my
god, the thing she loved most probably killed her. >> i don't know how she does it. she doesn't get to be a parent anymore. and you see a picture of austin, all you see is life. >> reporter: but no study has ever proven that turf causes cancer. and worried parents looking for guidance from the federal government won't get any. after our series aired, the consumer products safety commission seemed to roll back its own 2008 assessment that crumb rubber is safe. >> safe to play on means something to parents that i don't think we intended to convey. and i don't think we should have conveyed. >> reporter: so what does that mean? is it safe or not? the cpsc declined our request for an interview to ask the commissioner. meanwhile crumb rubber turf companies claim dozens of existing studies prove their product is not dangerous. laura green is an m.i.t. trained toxicologist who has recently consulted for the industry. >> it's always been true that a carcinogenic gas is used to make tires.
but it's never been true, never, that once the tires are made, once they're in use and once they're crumbled that they liberate that or any other carcinogen. >> rom freddy is one of the biggest companies ceo. he wants the efrp -- the epa stamp of approval. >> why can't the epa act? there's more than enough information for them to act. it is time to look at this information and act. and put parents' minds to rest. >> reporter: on this point the opposing sides actually agree. the federal government is failing. >> how can they possibly in good conscience not do anything about it? it's mind boggling. >> reporter: the epa says more research needs to be done but isn't sponsoring any. we've reached out on more than ten occasions to speak with anyone at the agency about this issue and we're told no one would talk. the head of the epa according to a spokesperson just
doesn't have time. so we tracked down administrator gina mccarthy ourselves. administrator, is crumb rubber safe to play on? >> i can't tell you anything right now. >> reporter: will you tell me why you won't talk to us? >> i didn't say i wouldn't speak with you. >> reporter: that is the response, ma'am. there is new research under way on the state level. california launched a three-year study. and the washington state department of health is looking at coach griffin's numbers. but until she sees new results, the coach says she'll keep going. >> i realize if i drop the ball, then everything stops, all the conversations seem to stop. so if i can just keep carrying it forward until someone else picks up the phone, then i guess that's my job. otherwise this last year would have been a waste. >> we reached out again today for interviews. the cpsc declined and epa did not return our message. tomorrow night we will take a look at how communities are grappling with this issue without guidance from the federal government.
how about this for a white knuckle landing at an airport in texas. an american eagle jet rocked to one side and scraped its wing against the runway. a plane spotter captured the moment while testing out a camera. fortunately no injuries were reported. the plane has been taken out of service to be looked over. caitlyn jenner will not be charged with a fatal crash that happened in california in february. jenner's cadillac escalade was involved in a chain reaction crash that killed another driver. prosecutors say jenner was driving slightly slower than the speed limit and claimed they couldn't prove a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. jenner still faces a number of civil lawsuits. and racing icon
tony stewart says he's retiring from nascar after the 2016 season. stewart is a three-time champ but he's been in a slump failing to win a race in over two years. he also missed much of the 2013 season after breaking his leg in a crash. and stewart is being sued by the family of a driver he struck and killed on a track last year. when we come back, a decades old mystery that began with a touching photo is solved for the long awaited embrace. next at 6 we're following
county jail. the changes being made at the facility. =janelle/take wx computer= plus: we're tracki the rain moving through the bay area right now. ===next close=== next. ====short open=== ===jess//2-shot=== thanks for joining us. i'm je finally tonight, the heartwarming answer to a mystery that has nagged at a woman her entire life. a decades long search that ended with a single post on social media. here's rehema ellis. >> reporter: it's the moment amanda dreamed about. a heartfelt reunion 38 years in the making inspired by these photos showing a 3-month-old amanda severely burned in an accident being cradled by a young nurse. one of the photos appeared on the cover of a medical center report in 1977. amanda's family had a copy. she says growing up she would stare at that photo wondering about the kind nurse. >> people would ask me who's the woman holding you, and i never had a name.
>> reporter: finally, two weeks ago amanda posted this message on facebook. with photos of her and the mystery nurse. she wrote, i would love to know her name and possibly get a chance to talk to her and meet her. within 24 hours she heard from another nurse who said she worked with the woman in 1977. >> i said, oh, my god, that's sue burger. >> reporter: yesterday they were reunited. >> the emotion i felt i wasn't prepared for when i saw her. >> reporter: back in 1977 susan burger was just 21, fresh out of nursing school. amanda was one of her first patients. and she never forgot her. >> all i could think of is when i picked her up she just melted in my arms. >> reporter: today amanda has a cherished new photo. >> i get to know the woman in the picture now. >> reporter: no longer a caring stranger, now a friend. rehema ellis, nbc news, new york. that will do it for us on this wednesday night. i'm lester holt.
for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. ===jan//2-shot=== and i' janelle wang in for raj nbc bay area news begins with breaking news. and good evening, everyone. i'm jessica aguirre. >> and i'm janelle wang in for raj mathai. eight santa clara correctional deputies are now on leave as the sheriff investigates multiple issues at the santa clara county jail. three deputies face murder charges in the alleged beating death of inmate michael tyree in august. five other deputies have been put on leave but the sheriff has not said why. now at the same time we're learning that a preliminary autopsy report shows no
definitive cause of death for another inmate, 33-year-old walter roaches who was found dead in his cell monday. the report did say there was no sign of foul play or acute injury. still no definitive cause of death, and it could be weeks before an exact cause of death is determined. you can download our nbc bay area app. it's free. you can get the latest news right to your smartphone. so can the county be trusted to pick the right ambulance company? santa clara county, many say the new plan could create more problems than it solves when it comes to questionable wait times. damon trujillo with the story you'll only see on nbc bay area. >> reporter: cities and fire departments across the