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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  December 18, 2015 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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maybe 21 inches over the next seven days. nice christmas gift. >> yes. >> we hope to see you at six. hillary clinton and a major fight over alleged snooping into secret files. one campaign now going to court. also from russia with love. donald trump's controversial new comment about putin. record rush. over 100 million americans in the busiest holiday escape ever. gas prices plunging, roads and airports packed. we're inside the nerve center where the nation's biggest airline is bracing. on the run, the texas teen who killed the people while driving drunk and stayed out of jail with an infamous affluenza defense and tonight he is gone and the fbi has joined the hunt. and the tanning bed fight against skin
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cancer. millions of americans wouldn't be allowed to use them. "nightly news" begins right now. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening. there's breaking news tonight from the campaign trail. bernie sanders campaign has just filed a federal lawsuit against the democratic national committee. as a major presidential campaign goes to war with its own party. it all erupted today when the dnc accused sanders' staff members of snooping into a massive trove of private data from hillary clinton's campaign. it's a huge drama playing out as the two candidates get set to clash in tomorrow night's debate. and hillary clinton's campaign saying our data was stolen. andrea mitchell has the late details. >> reporter: bernie sanders campaign which caught fire online today got caught snooping on hillary clinton's campaign research, admitting that a low-level staffer and
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perhaps others took advantage of a computer breach in democratic party data files to access clinton's secret voter list. the sanders team quickly fire back, accusing the democratic party of sabotaging them. >> we're running a clean campaign. we're going to beat everybody on the issues. we don't need dirty tricks. >> reporter: bernie sanders campaign fired the staff member who claims he was just trying to prove that the system was vulnerable. >> i did not download any voter file data. i did look -- the only thing i looked at was making sure it was not our data. >> reporter: but documents obtained by nbc news show the damage. for 40 minutes they search key party voters. the party chair long associated with clinton, immediately cut off sanders access to his own voter profiles, potentially crippling his campaign. >> if the shoe were on the other foot and the clinton campaign had
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accessed sanders' campaign, sanders would expect me to react in the same way. >> reporter: today the sanders campaign filed a lawsuit against the democratic party, seeking an injunction, saying it is ham strung without access to its own voter data. sanders supporters exploded online. it is a classic showdown. the outside versus the establishment. sanders a loner with little organization and no entourage, firing up millennials. >> bernie, how are you? >> reporter: attracting huge crowds. now closing in on clinton in iowa. and slightly ahead in new hampshire. tonight the clinton campaign accused the sanders team of stealing its data in what is the first really nasty confrontation two two rivals who have been, until now, remarkably civil. and 24 hours from now they have to face each other in a debate. lester? >> andrea, thanks. and donald trump is making headlines
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again. this time with eye-brow raising new comments about vladimir putin. as a mutual admiration grows between the gop presidential front-runner and the russian leader who has been a major thorn in the side of the u.s. nbc's katy tur has details. >> reporter: from russia with love. vladimir putin famous online for his affection for topless activities is praising america's republican front-runner, saying he has a bright personality, a talented person. and donald trump is returning the flattery. >> when people call you brilliant, it's always good. especially when the person heads up russia. >> reporter: but putin is infamously accuse of ordering up murder. both of political opponents and russian journalists. >> he's running the country. at least he's a leader, you know, unlike what we have in this country. >> again, he kills journalists that don't agree with him. >> well, i think our country does plenty of killing also, joe. >> reporter: since 2,000, 25 journalists
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have died under mysterious circumstances, including anna polluteskaya, known of criteria of the russian leader. but that is just the beginning. annexing of crimea. putin claims crimea belonged to russia. today's donald trump defense that america killed people too isn't sitting with. after being pressed, donald trump did condemn the killing of journalists. but his supporters stand by him, seemingly no matter what he says or who he praises. katy tur, new york. nbc news. president obama today gave what is likely his final news conference of the year and for the third time in a week he sought to reassure americans that the strategy to battle isis is working. he also announced he is commuting the sentences of 95
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nonviolent drug offenders. the most he's ever commuted at once. the president also thanked congress for passing a $1.1 trillion spending package. it will prevent a government shutdown through next fall. the fbi has joined in the search for a texas teen who killed four people while driving drunk, then made national headlines when he stayed out of jail with an infamous aplu enza defense, his lawyers arguing he didn't learn consequences after growing up wealthy. and now after failing to check in with a probation officer, he and his mother are missing. nbc's gabe gutierrez reports from texas. >> reporter: tonight the manhunt for ethan couch is expanding. the fbi and the u.s. marshal service joining the search after he missed a mandatory meeting with his probation officer. >> i believe he ran after his last visit with the probation officer. it makes sense he would want as much of a head start as they could get. >> reporter: known as
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the affluenza teen, couch was sentenced to ten years after driving drunk and crashing near ft. worth in 2014. >> there is another child in the ditch. oh, my god. >> reporter: four people were killed and nine injured. his blood alcohol level three times the legal limit. during sentencing they argued the teen didn't understand the consequences of his action due to his affluent upbringing. that drew outrage on social media. >> this is not a clinically recognized mental disease, defect or disorder. it is a little bit of voodoo and smoke and mirrors that were used by couch's attorney at the sentencing hearing. >> holly boyles and her daughter died in the crash. >> quite honestly, since day one, ethan couch has never been held accountable for his mistakes. >> reporter: couch is believed to be on the run with his mother. today his attorney said we have not been provided with any additional information concerning ethan's situation. because of the obvious uncertainty surrounding this matter it would not be appropriate for us to make any additional
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public statements at this time. the local sheriff calls couch his most-wanted fugitive. >> do you have any idea where he could be? >> no. no. i don't have any specific idea where he could be. i fear he has gone a long way and i won't be shocked if he's out of the country. >> reporter: the sheriff said that couch has already violated his probation by failing to check in. if caught he could face up to ten years in prison. authorities are now offering a $5,000 reward for any information leading to his arrest. lester. >> gabe, thank you. tonight president obama and the first family are embarking for a two-week vacation in hawaii. on the way, he will stop in california to meet with families of victims of the san bernardino terror attack. and we're learning chilling new details about other terror plots that were aborted before that attack from the only person charged in the investigation. we get more from nbc news national correspondent miguel almaguer. >> reporter: it is at this quiet campus, riverside city college, where according to a 36-page criminal complaint,
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enrique marquez and long-time friend syed farook planned an attack in 2011. thplot to attack this busy library and a packed cafeteria. marquez told investigators he and farook would drop pipe bombs from the second floor area down below. then, as students ran out of the cafeteria, they would shoot them one by one. the abandoned plots were designed to, quote, maximize the number of casualties. >> it is crazy you would want to hurt so many people that you know. >> reporter: the complaint alleges the two also targeted the riverside freeway at rush hour. farook was to throw pipe bombs on to the freeway and walk along stalled cars shooting into them. marquez would fire from a hillside. >> i think it is plenty dangerous enough without maniacs shooting and bombing you on it. >> reporter: facing a judge for the first time this week, marquez has been charged with three felonies. prosecutors say there is no evidence he
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participated in the attack that left 14 dead. but the assault rifles marquez bought were used in the shooting. after learning of the bloodshed, marquez himself called 911, telling the operator, they can trace all the guns back to me. the operator at one point asking, you said he used your gun. marquez, yes, oh, my god. tonight the shock is gone. but not the grief. miguel almaguer, nbc news, san bernardino. a lot on the minds of americans as they prepare for the holidays which for many of us includes travel plans. a holiday travel surge like this one in new york city tonight under way across the country, unlike anything we've seen before with more than 100 million people expected to be heading out of town, driven by cheap gas and mild weather in many places. as nbc's tom costello tells us, the folks who get us there are bracing for the holiday crush. >> reporter: on the ramp at dfw in dallas, the morning push, as the busiest travel day
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going into the winter holidays kicks into high gear. american airlines, the nation's biggest, moving 650,000 passengers today alone. the only weather hangup today on the west coast. >> san francisco ground delay program. >> reporter: at the new state-of-the-art command center, they track every one of the planes, watch the weather, even monitor social media for customer service issues. 7,000 conversations a day. scott ramsey is in charge. >> if we have passengers issuing a complaint, they'll deal with them realtime. >> if somebody said my flight is delayed or miss my connection, how will they help? >> they start an instant conversation with the people on board. >> reporter: all airlines will carry 38 million passengers over the next two weeks. many customers taking advantage of low airfares. >> for the timing, i think the price is okay. >> reporter: but it is not just ticket prices that are low. gas is hovering near $2 a gallon. a seven-year low.
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even cheaper in many cities. a reason 91 million americans are hitting the road this year. >> we do expect to see more people. >> they are silly if they don't take advantage of it. >> reporter: on the ground in michigan today, a 50-car pileup in whiteout conditions. 3.4 million are traveling by train and bus. back in dallas tonight, they are just getting started. hoping the mild weather lasts until everyone is back home safely. listen to this stat. american airlines tells me they are dealing with a million checked bags today alone, lester. the busiest travel day of this entire holiday period is going to be january 3rd. everybody rushing to get home. the least busy travel day, christmas eve, christmas day, new year's eve and new year's day. back to you. >> tom costello, thanks for the tour. a revered treasure in the catholic church is bound for sainthood. mother teresa who devoted her life to helping the poor in india will be made a saint after pope francis recognized the second of two miracles attributed to her.
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she will most likely be canonized in september, around the 19th anniversary of her death. still ahead tonight, some say it is as bad as the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s. the synthetic drug that triggers bizarre, sometimes deadly behavior in users. how easy it is to get.
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there is growing alarm over an addictive drug known as flakka. it causes paranoid and even deadly behavior. in south florida, it is being compared to the crack epidemic of
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the '80s and it's often sold through the mail. our senior correspondent cynthia mcfadden has the story from the epicenter of the epidemic. ft. lauderdale. >> reporter: ft. lauderdale is under siege. from a new synthetic drug called flakka. it is creating a crisis for county resources in sending 20 users a day to the overwhelmed emergency room. >> they have super-human strength. they're psychotic, belligerent. it takes a lot of people to hold them down. >> reporter: people often stripping off their clothes as temperatures soar up to 105 degrees. flakka-related deaths in broward county in the last year, 60. >> of all of the drugs i've seen, cocaine, amphetamine, oxycontin, this is the absolute worst. >> reporter: part of its appeal, it is so cheap. five bucks will get you high? >> five bucks will get
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you high. >> i remember just running, feeling like people were chasing me. >> reporter: in march, stephanie thought she was smoking pot. but it was laced with flakka, a white granular powder. >> where did you end up? >> on top of a bridge. and i was still seeing people chasing me and i was paranoid, so i jumped. >> falling into the water. most flood raids these days are for flakka. this raid yielding 140 doses and multiple users. down the street at the ft. lauderdale bus terminal, we saw three deals go down in under an hour. >> the guy in the white t-shirt with the black pants. >> the heavy-set guy? >> yeah. >> he's clapping his hands. >> known dealer. >> yes, ma'am. >> reporter: flakka is manufactured in china. it has been easily bought online and delivered in the mail here in the u.s. >> some of the companies even offer, if your product is seized by authorities, we'll replace it free of charge. >> reporter: dealers could get rich quick. a kilo that cost
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$1,500 online has a street value of $50,000. >> this is the silicon valley of drug smuggling. >> reporter: and it doesn't take a large drug smuggling organization to bring it in. sometimes the organization is a college kid who hires his friends. >> there is not much of a barrier here for a start-up. >> we're calling it the devil's drug. >> reporter: ray runs a drug rehab center in ft. lauderdale and says flakka users present a challenge. >> we're not as inclined to accept them in our program because we know they might relapse. they pose safety threats to the rest of our residents. >> reporter: but he decided to take a chance on stephanie. now eight months clean and living, she says, for her daughter. >> i know for sure i'm lucky to be alive right now. it is by the grace of god that i'm alive. >> reporter: flakka, also known as gravel, has spread to other parts of the country, including chicago, houston and kentucky as well as new york. under appreciate yur from the u.s., the
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chinese made the manufacturing and exporting of flakka illegal. the effects here in the u.s. is yet to be seen. >> frightening stuff. cynthia, thank you. when we come back. feel like catching some rays? why you may not be able to any more in tanning beds. thousands of people
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came out today to run the race for retirement. so we asked them... are you completely prepared for retirement? okay, mostly prepared?
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could you save 1% more of your income? it doesn't sound like much, but saving an additional 1% now, could make a big difference over time. i'm going to be even better about saving. you can do it, it helps in the long run. prudential bring your challenges today in a move praised by medical experts, the fda proposed unprecedented new rules to ban anyone under 18 from using tanning beds which the fda said dramatically increased the risk of skin cancer. the industry says consumers are already well aware of the risks. for 74,000 new cases of melanoma this year, erica hill reports on this proposal the fda said will save lives. >> reporter: as skin cancer rates rise in the u.s., there is an urgent focus on a known cause. indoor tanning beds. >> we commonly see women in their 20s with melanoma. almost every one of the young women has
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spent extensive time in a tanning bed. >> reporter: the fda now wants to ban all minors under 18 from using indoor tanning beds and have adults sign consent forms acknowledging the risk. a number of states regulate access for miners. 13 states and the district of columbia ban the practice entirely for those under 18. the indoor tanning association says the decision should be left up to parents. doctors see this damage almost daily. >> are these proposals enough? >> no. in my opinion, i wish we could shut down the tanning industry as a whole. i think these ultraviolet boxes, it's a proven carcinogen. >> reporter: at 24, this woman was diagnosed with melanoma. >> i was shocked. >> reporter: two years later this medical
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student sees tanning in a much different light. >> my message would be that tanning does not make you more beautiful and to really take care of yourself. >> reporter: erica hill, nbc news, new york. when we come back, high schoolers about to vote in the first presidential election who could teach the candidates a thing or two themselves. =2shot jess= the rain has
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started. ==take live== next at 6: we'll have the storm timeline in your microclimate forecast. =take terry vo= plus, the force awakens silicon valley. the extravagant way some tech companies made the most of star wars day. =next close= the news is next.
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finally, if you are disillusioned by the sometimes nasty tone of the presidential campaign, think about what it is like for those about to vote for the very first time. tonight we meet young people coming of age as voters who want more from the candidates than cynical sound bites. here is kevin tibbles in our series "america's correspondent." >> reporter: chester is f enough from new york city to be rustic and close enough to commute. a blue- and white-collar refuge. where the morning bus, at the chester academy, is well under way. >> be responsible, be respectful. >> words that are a guiding force at this socially, economically and racially diverse school. he wrote us concerned how respect and responsibility often seem missing on the campaign trail. the fact many presidential candidates stand accused of playing fast and furious with the truth, he says, will come with a price. >> the people that
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violate the public trust really damage us. it has the possibility to turn young people off to government and if they do not embrace their role in that process, then i'm not sure what we'll be left with. >> reporter: the kids are paying attention, many of whom will vote for the very first time. >> if someone is going to hold the keys to your america, to your future, if i can trust them, it is a big, big factor. >> and i'm very proficient with the politicians. they say what they want. what they want us to hear. >> most people are apathetic because they feel they're being lied to. politicians can lie because people are apathetic to the process. >> reporter: kids here know where they will wind up if they don't play fair. are those seeking the highest office in the land listening. >> it would be interesting to have a principal reprimand a presidential candidate. >> reporter: a shiny new generation
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prepares to exercise its right to vote. and it wants honesty, respect and responsibility. kevin tibbles, nbc news, chester, new york. that will do it for us on a friday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us on nbc news, thank you for watching. have a great weekend and a good night.across the bae >> announcer: nbc bay area news starts now. here comes the rain again. tonight several area ace cross the bay getting a soaking, including -- on the right side there, the golden gate bridge. as you can see on the radar, more headed our way right now. thanks for joining us. >> that rain hitting the north bay and san francisco and some parts of the east bay at this hour. want to show awe live look at 580 in richmond, you can see drivers there getting soaked. tonight team coverage on the rain and storms, michelle roberts and ian culla standing
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by with impact on the storms, but we begin with chief meteorologist jeff ranieri. >> heaviest rainfall across marin, napa and is pushing into san francisco. worst commute continues to be the highway 101 corridor here from santa rosa to petaluma, down through san rafael, also sal sleet sleet sausalito. as we head through the next 15 minutes by 6:17, heavier rain on the other side of the bay. it's producing about a quarter-inch per hour. the golden gate bridge is very slick right now. commuters here and across the bay area need to remember to slow down tonight. san francisco, a heavier batch offshore. through chinatown by 6:16 and i'll have details in my microclimate

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