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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  November 25, 2015 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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and get a babysitter. >> are you planning out the night for us? >> i'll advise you. >> thanks for joining us. kate snow joins us next with nightly news. ars. the president says there is no credible threat to the u.s. this holiday weekend. but as millions take to the road and sky, tonight a warning of a dangerous lapse. our nbc news investigation revealed at major airports. tragic mistake. military officials now blame human error for the deadly u. strike on a hospital, revealing the crew lost vital systems and carried out the attack any way, on the wrong target. to the streets. another night of protests in chicago as new questions are raised about the video showing a police officer fatally shooting a teen-ager 16 times. and buyer beware, this year black friday may not have the biggest savings. the best days to find the best deals on the
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hot items. "nightly news" begins right now. good evening. on this night before thanksgiving, and the long weekend when it is estimated nearly 50 million americans are traveling away from home, the president made a special appearance meant to reassure the nation. president obama said he knew americans are asking each other whether it is safe to fly or gather. they understood that families are discussing fears of terrorism around the dinner table. and he essentially asked americans to trust him and trust law enforcement authorities. as of today, the president said they know of no specific and credible intelligence indicating a plot on the homeland. we begin with national correspondent peter
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alexander at the white house. >> reporter: a pre- holiday show of force from the streets of manhattan to the white house. where president obama flanked by his top national security advisers tried to reassure anxious americans. >> i want the american people to know that we are taking every possible step to keep our homeland safe. >> reporter: the message in effect, we'll do the worrying, you do the celebrating with the reminder to everyone to stay alert. >> if you see something suspicious, say something. but other wise americans should go about their usual thanksgiving activities. >> a new government advisory offers little detailed information but warns what police already know. attackers could capitalize on the thanksgiving holiday to promote their agenda. the top concern is home-grown extremists with soft targets impossible to protect. >> we have a number of different tourist destinations that are a big part of the economy. we are vigilant to anything happening there. >> reporter: this week hundreds of newly assigned officers to the nypd critical response command prepared for nightmare scenarios.
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simulating active shooters and hostage-takers. >> this is an elite dedicated force, they are trained in counterterrorism and are briefed on counter-terrorism and briefed on the intelligence every day. this is a force for today's threat picture. >> ahead of tomorrow's parade with 3 million expected, police are deploying extra security as crews inflate the trademark balloons. >> i believe we can't live in fear. >> of course it is on our minds, but they want us to live in fear and we feel we can't. >> reporter: paris brought the terror threat closer to home, u.s. security officials are working relentlessly to prevent any attack here. the president made it clear if his team learns about any specific credible threat they will let us all know. he will spend the holiday weekend here with his family before flying to paris for climate talks later in the weekend. >> peter alexander at the white house. thanks. now to an nbc news investigation that raises questions about security with isis claiming responsibility for bombing that russian
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jetliner in egypt and suspicions that an airline employee may have been key to executing the plot. security experts have been warning about the potential insider threat posed by employees who work at airports here in the u.s. the vast majority of airport employees in this country do not pass through a security checkpoint every day the way passengers do. and as nbc tom costello reports, it is a gaping hole that tonight we are seeing firsthand. >> reporter: at jfk airport today, business as usual at the employee entrance at terminal four. select airport workers swipe secure keys and enter a pin and then walked right in. unlike passengers and crew members, no i.d. checks, no metal detectors or explosive scans. no bag checks. it is the same routine captured here on cell phone video last january. no checkpoints inside either, except for the random tsa and airport police checks. nationwide, only miami and orlando airports
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fully screen every worker every day. surprisingly the nation's airports decide for themselves whether to screen employees. but an airport police union says it is a dangerous security gap. three years ago they wrote the tsa urging mandatory screening for all airport employees at the biggest airports, including tsa officers. >> when are we going to learn our lessons from the past and be proactive rather than reactive. >> homeland security called for fewer access points and more random employee screenings. after the metrojet bombing in egypt, security experts are warning against radicalized employees with access to airports and planes. homeland security secretary jeh johnson today. >> most airport workers every day are not screened. does that need to change? >> we are evaluating whether more is necessary right now. that is something that i and tsa have been focused on as recently as today. >> reporter: the problem, many airports
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complain they can't afford the manpower to screen every employee every day. tonight jfk airport terminal executives are not responding to our calls for comment. but the tsa said the airport does do background checks and does conduct random patdowns and bag checks but it is not every employee and not every day. tom costello, nbc news, washington. today turkey released what it calls proof that a russian fighter jet was warned repeatedly that it was violating turkish air space before it was shot out of the sky. the incident is threatening to send the region spiraling further out of control. richard engel joins us from istanbul with more. good evening, richard. >> reporter: kate, today the dispute between turkey and russia got even worse. turkey released audio recordings of what it said were repeated warnings sent over radio to the russian bomber. >> turkey said that the jet was warned ten times and that in the moment it didn't know
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the nationality of the approaching aircraft. but the russian navigator who ejected from the jet said he heard none of this. experts say it is possible they weren't tuned into the same channels. it appears they are not watching the same radar either. turkey released a flight path showing the russian jet cutting across an outcropping of turkish territory. russia gave its own version of the route, claiming its jet was on the syrian side the whole time. isis is taking advantage of all of the divisions among the enemies and launched an unprecedented campaign of incitement, calling for attacks on the united states. it is a scare tactic, the simplest form of terrorism. and this is on the agenda of francois hollande when he travels to moscow tomorrow put this behind turkey and russia and put some sort of coalition together. kate. >> richard engel reporting from turkey. protests under way for a second night in chicago as we learn more about past
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complaints against the officer at the center of the firestorm. and as stephanie gosk reports, there are new questions about that video that shows him firing 16 shots, killing an african-american teenager. >> reporter: the night before thanksgiving protesters are still in the streets of chicago. demonstrations triggered by yesterday's release of dashcam video showing the moment 17-year-old laquan mcdonald was shot and killed by police last october. officer jason van dyke emptied his 9 millimeter handgun, firing 16 rounds. among the questions being asked now, why is this video silent? five patrol cars with dash cams were on the scene but only one video emerged, with no sound of gunshots, no recording of what was said. the superintendent of the chicago police department doesn't know why. >> there is supposed to be and it is supposed to happen in a couple of different
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instances and this is one of the things that we're working on. >> van dyke is charged with first degree murder. his lawyer said the cop fired in self-defense. gunshot wounds riddled mcdonald's body. 16 of them from head to toe. city records show this is not the first time van dyke's conduct has been questioned. the officer was named in 20 citizen complaints, including allegations of unnecessary physical contact and drawing his weapon. he was found not at fault each time. four cases remain open. journalist jamie calvin fought for ten years to obtain records of thousands of complaints against chicago police department, including those against van dyke. >> the issue reflected by officer van dyke's record but is a much, much larger issue is the failures of the accountability mechanisms in the city. and you know, we've tragically seen the ultimate cost in the case of laquan mcdonald.
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>> reporter: this is a small group right now, but as you could see, a pretty disruptive one. they've shut down a large intersection here in the center of chicago. there are other groups that are planning an even larger protest on black friday at the magnificent mile. they are hoping to have an economic impact on the city so that their voices are heard. state. kate. kate. >> in chicago tonight. new developments in the deadly u.s. air strike that killed dozens at a doctor's without borders hospital in afghanistan. the u.s. military today called it a tragic mistake that could have been avoided. as chief pentagon correspondent jim miklazewski tells us, the attack was the result of several crucial errors. >> reporter: it was a devastating attack. the u.s. air strike on the hospital in kunduz killed 30 civilian doctors and patients. today the top u.s. commander in afghanistan offered no excuses. >> this was a tragic but avoidable accident caused primarily by human error.
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>> reporter: an ac-130 gunship pounded the hospital run by doctors without borders with heavy artillery. 211 shells in 25 minutes. but it was the wrong target. the intended target was an afghan military headquarters seized by the taliban. but the hospital was more than 400 yards away. and nearly destroyed in the attack. it was a tragedy of errors. in violation of protocol a special operations commander called in the air-strikes without ever seeing the target. many of the electronics critical to combat operations were not working properly and the crew aboard the plane failed to correctly identify the target they were about to strike. >> the investigation found that some of the u.s. individuals involved did not follow the rules of engagement. >> reporter: officials here say that audio tapes from the plane show that the flight crew at first questioned whether the air strikes were even legal. but launched the
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assault any way. one senior defense official called those recordings damning. doctors without borders called the u.s. military to say the hospital was under attack but the shelling continued for 17 more minutes. >> it really, for us, demonstrates a gross negligence in terms of the responsibility of u.s. forces to distinguish between civilian targets and military targets. >> reporter: and the group called again for an independent impartial investigation. jim miklaszewski, nbc news, the pentagon. now to the race for 2016 on a week when many of the most heated political battles are moving off the campaign trail and over to thanksgiving tables around the nation. many of the candidates are taking a breather. but as our hallie jackson explains, they are leaving on a bit of a political cliff hanger. >> reporter: from candidates, a kind of presidential pardon. >> i'm pardoning it for being ugly. >> reporter: giving turkeys a break, while they take one. most off the campaign trail for the holiday.
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>> the holiday presents an opportunity to maximize your exposure to voters, whether it is at thanksgiving day parades. >> reporter: still a slower holiday week makes momentum key. whether you have it or you don't. like ben carson, slipping double-digits in the latest iowa poll. at the same time ted cruz surging there. to within striking distance of donald trump who issued this warning last week. >> if he catches on, then i guess we'll go to war. >> the two, the political bromance cooling on a collision course. >> no one could predict what trump is going to say next. but from cruz point's of view, he will play this very cool. >> but watch for cruz to draw distinctions on policy if he is attacked by trump. who spent his thanksgiving week with family. a rare appearance by his wife on the campaign trail. >> good evening. he will be the best president ever. >> reporter: another pre-holiday family outing for the rubios, after the florida senator now in the top
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tier sat down with natalie morales today. >> is this where you saw yourself at this point in the race? >> it is an unpredictable year. we've never had an election like this. i would say we are pleased with where we are in the campaign. >> rubio beginning airing ads this week. he is not the only one. candidates and committees will flood tvs in the first four voting states, including here in south carolina, with $5.5 million of political commercials. >> hallie jackson in south carolina tonight. still ahead, should you avoid the long lines and the elbows on black friday this year. why the experts say you might be able to score even bigger savings if you do.
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we're back now with the frenzy about to be unleashed and we're not talking about the airport rush or thanksgiving feast. we're talking about the black friday bonanza, which will actually start at a lot of stores even before the turkey is cold. but did you know for many items black friday is increasingly a bad day to buy. nbc's olivia sterns tells us when the best deals are actually available. >> reporter: outside of this best buy, in southern california -- tents already up. shoppers waiting to get first dibs on black friday deals. in phoenix, jarvis johnson is also sleeping out, determined to get the lowest price on electronics. >> they say the early bird gets the worm.
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i'm the early, early, bird and i'm going to get the biggest worm i can get. >> reporter: like millions of americans they are convinced black friday sales are the best deals of the year. but experts say they may be flat-out wrong. >> we saw that almost 20% of items on black friday itself are more expensive than they were about a week ago. >> one reason, many retailers, including best buy are offering even deeper discounts online. this year more than ever shoppers will be using smartphones. both to compare prices and also find deals in realtime. plus many stores will actually send you special discounts if you are using their app. so when will you find the best deals? >> earlier in the season, you will see better deals on things
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like small appliances, electronics, toys and games. >> reporter: experts say for jewelry and electronics, try thanksgiving day. for toys, wait until cyber monday. and for clothes, the closer to christmas, the deeper the discount. that said, if you want some of the hottest gifts of the year like toys from the "star wars" movie or camera drone, you may want to shop now and pay the price. olivia sterns, nbc news, new york. at the white house today, a last-minute reprieve before thanksgiving as the president joined by his daughters pardoned abe, this year's national thanksgiving turkey. the president referred to him as totus, or turkey of the united states. his friend, honest, was also pardoned. honest and abe will spend their days on a virginia farm now. when we come back, easing on down the road to stardom, the fresh face at the center of nbc's next musical extravaganza, "the wiz live."
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there is a major weather threat if you are traveling this thanksgiving. the west coast getting hit with snow and extremely high tides
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known as king tides. but the real danger is tomorrow when the system moves into the middle of the country. rain and a wintry mix are expected to disrupt travel in the central plains. on friday it moves into the midwest with the threat of flooding. we learned today that frank gifford, the legendary nfl hall of fame player and broadcaster and husband of kathie lee gifford suffered from the brain disease known as cte when he passed away back in august. that is chronic traumatic encephalopathy. it is linked with repeated hard hits to the head. in a statement the family said it is sharing the news so that gifford might inspire others suffering from the disease and so his family might be a small part of the solution to what it called an urgent problem concerning anyone involved with football. the family said it will continue to support the nfl and recent onfield rule changes to make the
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game as safe as possible. for its part, the nfl said the health and safety of players remain its highest priority. when we come back, a young star who beat out hundreds to land one of the most coveted roles of the year. hour. ===take vo=== the
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airline's apology and its explanation. take vo jess plus, thieves stealing from your recycle bin. the bay area crackdown... and the penalty for anyone who gets caught. next close next.
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==take sot== from 5p -- back half of we're approaching an annual tradition here on nbc. a live musical around the holidays. this year it is "the wiz live." as rehema ellis tells us, the big role went to a talented young woman on the verge of stardom. >> in her very first audition for a major show, shanice williams won a beloved role. >> you are dorothy. >> beating out 600 other actresses in new york. >> when they told me, i was like this is crazy. i was so grateful. >> gratitude from the 19-year-old new jersey native, following diana ross' lead. now starring in the revival of "the wiz" with some of her idols, queen latifah. and stephanie mills who played dorothy 40 years ago on broadway, now she is auntie em.
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>> what a cast. >> i'm like how is this my first job and i get to work with all of these people. it's crazy. >> the director says from the beginning he knew shanice was special. >> when she came in the room, she opened her mouth and she had the right sort of support to deliver the song and she wasn't trying to copy someone. >> the yellow brick road. >> reporter: an only child, her parents say she grew up listening to "the wfrp iz" soundtrack and putting on her own little shows. >> she loves singing and dancing and ballet, you name it, she wanted to do it. >> and now it is her turn to be someone else's inspiration. >> i'm happy because it shows younger girls and no matter the age, that dreams actually do come true. >> shanice williams, living what is true for her in a timeless story about friendship, courage and no place like home. rehema ellis, nbc news, new york.
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and you could see much more of the making of the "wiz live," tonight on nbc i honestly thought i was going to get shot in the back. i really did. >> the man accused of killing an oakland muralist is connected to a slew of other crimes. we're learning about the stolen gun used plus we uncover more stolen or missing weapons in the bay area. good evening and thanks for joining us. i'm jessica aguirre. >> and i'm raj mathai. this case is unraveling quickly. it started with a stolen gun and tonight it's leading to a lot more. the gun used to kill oakland artist antonio ramos may have
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been used in several other crimes. we first exposed the issue of guns stolen from officers earlier this month. tonight steven stock has some new numbers about this problem but first jodi hernandez joins us from the oakland police department and, jodi, another possible victim is stepping forward now. >> reporter: that's right. investigators say diana was robbed at gunpoint six days after the killing of the muralist, and they say the same suspect is responsible. tonight she is sharing her story and speaking out about that stolen gun. >> i mean, it's definitely not an easy thing to go through. >> reporter: the actress is still shaken after coming face-to-face with an armed robber. ♪ >> reporter: she was shooting a music video with well-known musician on 23rd and telegraph in oakland last month when a man with a gun stole their equipment and belongings. her instinct was to

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