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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  February 16, 2016 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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well. >> rain tomorrow. >> thanks for joining us. lester holt is next. >> bye, folks. breaking news tonight. slamming trump. president obama comes out swinging late today. a harsh attack on the gop front-runner and firing back in a blockbuster battle over the supreme court. buried and blown away by record slow and a ferocious tornado outbreak. a massive storm stretching over 1,000 miles. to catch a serial killer. the grim sleeper trial in los angeles. after a decades-long cold case mystery, how a bite of pizza may have caught an infamous murderer. slashing the price of prescription drugs by as much as 95%. how people are going around their insurance companies and saving big money. and the fur is flying. the competition is fierce and we're behind the scene as the best on four legs compete for best in
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show. "nightly news" begins right now. >> announcer: from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening. as he laid out the ground today for a major battle with senate republicans over a supreme court nomination, president obama also waded deep into the race for president. at a news conference late this afternoon, taking on donald trump and other republican candidates, saying being president is a serious job. it's not hosting a reality show. his remarks come just four days away from the next major test in the race for president, with trump maintaining his national lead among republicans in our new nbc news survey monkey poll, and jeb bush lagging behind, some wondering if south carolina could be his last stand. and for democrats, the focus remains on winning over african-american voters. we have all sides covered starting with nbc's peter alexander in columbia, south carolina. hello, peter.
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>> reporter: hey, good evening, to you, lester. tonight the president is weighing in on the republican race to succeed him. dismissing the party front-runner. here in south carolina, donald trump is favored to win, and jeb bush is desperate for a comeback. so much for southern charm. the leading republicans today in another ferocious round of fighting. even president obama piled on. >> being president is a serious job. it's not hosting a talk show or a reality show. it's hard. >> reporter: donald trump responded late tonight. >> he has done such a lousy job as president. [ cheers and applause. >> reporter: in any other year, south carolina should jeb bush's to lose, the state that's embraced his family multiple times before. heavy on moderate republicans and veterans. but today with donald trump again dominating, bush is polling a distant fourth, facing new urgency to jump start his stalled campaign.
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>> is south carolina jeb bush's last stand in this race? >> no, it isn't. the obituaries have been written, i mean, like once a week, and we're in it for the long haul. >> helping carry that load, george w. bush. >> i man i am proud to call my big little brother, jeb bush. >> reporter: with trump relentlessly attacking w. over 9/11, jeb recalled an iconic moment. >> my vision of my brother is sitting on the mound in yankee stadium throwing high heat. i can't envision donald trump doing that. >> reporter: if karl rove was the strategist steering 43's success, jeb's team is split between his campaign and the right to rise super pac. >> if the right to rise super pac has taught us anything, it's that you can spend $100 million on tv, and it's not necessarily going to get you to the top. >> reporter: finishing sixth in iowa, fourth in nam, analysts agree bush needs to beat his establishment rivals here. >> how is third place in this state something you can
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celebrate as a victory? >> i will celebrate beating expectations. >> when do you win a state? when does jeb bush -- >> i can't tell you that. >> reporter: but late today bush sent a separate message, tweeting this picture of a handgun with his name engraved, adding ammunition to a bitter fight. peter alexander, nbc news, columbia, south carolina. >> reporter: i'm kasie hunt, covering the democrats, where african-american voters are the focus today. hillary clinton courting black leaders, hoping for an endorsement from reverend al sharpton. >> only you know, and you're not telling. >> reporter: in a major speech in harlem, picking through the consequences of racism. >> these inequities are wrong, but they're also immoral. and it will be the mission of my presidency to bring them to an end. >> reporter: clinton is relying on decades old ties to stay ahead in south carolina, where a new cnn poll shows her ahead of bernie sanders 56% to 38%. sanders met with faith leaders there today
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and campaigned with erica beganer, whose father died after a new york city police officer put him in a choke hold. >> he marched are martin luther king. he stood with jesse jackson, so basically he's -- >> reporter: sander is hoping to make up at least some ground with african-americans, even as his success in other early states has been powered by working class white voters. >> some of the groups that she won in 2008 she's now losing against bernie sanders. >> many in that group feeling left behind and angry, pushing their party to the left. last night, bill clinton, comparing that to the tea party on the right. >> then that's going on now in our party. >> reporter: drawing a sharp rebuke from sanders today. >> we should not be making silly remarks. >> is there a comparison? >> no, there's no comparison. >> reporter: sanders doesn't need to win a majority of black voters to have a pass for the nomination, so their campaign's focus is on young african-americans. he'll campaign tonight at a historically
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black college in atlanta. lester. >> kasie, thank you. funeral arrangements have been announced for late supreme court justice antonin scalia. on friday he will lie in repose in the court's great hall. on saturday, a funeral will be held at the national shrine in washington, d.c. meanwhile, the battle continues over replacing scalia, which the president also addressed late today as our andrea mitchell reports. >> i expect them to hold hearings. i expect there to be a vote. >> reporter: in california, the president responding for the first time to the republican roadblock against his filling the vacancy on the high court. >> i'm amused when i hear people who claim to be strict interpreters of the constitution suddenly reading into it a whole series of provisions that are not there. >> reporter: but will his nominee even get a hearing? a small crack today in the republican hard line from the powerful judiciary chairman chuck grassley, in charge of any confirmation hearings,
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telling iowa radio -- >> i would wait until the nominee is made before i would make any decisions. >> reporter: but grassley tonight telling nbc he is not open to a confirmation. tonight the president also revealing what he wants in scalia's successor. >> we're going to find somebody who is an outstanding legal mind, somebody who cares deeply about our democracy and cares about rule of law, and any fair-minded person, even somebody who disagreed with my politics would say would serve with honor and integrity on the court. >> reporter: the president has a list, said to include sri srinivasan of washington, d.c. and jane kelly of iowa, confirmed as federal judges three years ago unanimously. also washington appeals court judges merrick garland, long on the president's list, all though older at 63. and patricia millett, an experience the litigator. but who would scalia choose to replace
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himself? there were clues in a dissent he wrote last june, when he called for more religion and geographic diversity on the court, noting all studied at harvard or yale law school, five catholics and three jews. not a single evangelical christian. four including scalia from new york city. and meanwhile tonight, law enforcement officials and the owner of the ranch where scalia died are completely discounting speculation about foul play, saying a pillow found in his bed was above his head, not over his face. and the reason replacing scalia is so politically fraught, his death representing a seismic shift in a court that has had a conservative 5-4 majority for half a century. another big story we're following is a monster storm dumping record snow to the north and spawning a tornado outbreak in the south. a massive system stretching well over 1,000 miles. nbc's blake mccoy with all the weather whiplash details now. >> reporter: this is one of 15 possible
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tornadoes reported as a powerful storm moved across south florida. surveillance video captured from a condo complex shows heavy rain and whipping winds. >> it just sounded like a big freight train coming through. >> it was going through like crazy. >> reporter: the storm damaging homes, cap sizing boats, and sending beach chairs flying into the ocean. fueled by el nino, it's part of a massive system spanning 1,600 miles up the east coast, where further north, in brought snow and ice. freezing rain made for a treacherous commute in washington, d.c. in eastern pennsylvania, a jackknifed semi caused this chain reaction crash. >> folks just start running into the back of each other. there's probably about five to six trucks behind us right now. >> reporter: in parts of new york, the storm dumped snow and lots of it. across western new york, the snow really piled up on tuesday morning. here in buffalo, how about six inches in five hours? both cities smashed daily snowfall
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records. >> they said we're right in the bull's-eye here. this is no surprise. >> reporter: on the west coast, they're breaking records too. heat records. southern california flirting with 90 degrees today weather whiplash from coast to coast. blake mccoy, nbc news, new york. in southern california today, an accused serial murderer is facing justice after a decades-long mystery that has terrified areas of los angeles. the so-called grim sleeper trial is attracting attention from across the country not only for the nature of the crimes but also the way this infamous cold case was finally cracked. nbc's steve patterson has detailed. >> reporter: accused serial killer lonnie franklin walked into court today, nicknamed the grim sleeper because of a 14-year gap in his alleged kill spree. >> the evidence in this case will tell a story, a story of a serial killer who stalked the streets of south los angeles. >> reporter: starting the summer of 1985, prosecutors say
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franklin murdered nine women and one teenage girl. >> almost all of them were hidden under debris, behind bushes, in dumpsters, or covered with dirty mattresses left in alleyways or other trash. >> reporter: an 11th victim survived, now expected to testify as a star witness. authorities say an advance in dna technology broke open the case. >> this case is one of those precedent-setting cases in that they're using what we call familial dna to get to the dift. >> police had taken a dna sample from franklin's son. that sample closely resembled dna found at the crime scene. so the police trailed franklin to get his dna, eventually lifting it from a pizza crust and other items in his trash. they say it matched, leading to an arrest in 2010. franklin has pled not guilty and his lawyers expected to challenge the reliability of the dna evidence.
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the sister of victim mary lowe is hoping for justice. >> i want her to see her killer and recognize what he did to her for no reason. >> reporter: police believe there could be other victims because these photos were found in franklin's home. the trial expected to last up to four months. steve patterson, nbc news, los angeles. if you're one of the estimated 40 million americans with student loan debt, listen up. a houston man says he was arrested by a team of u.s. marshals without notice for a nearly 30-year-old student loan. nbc's janet shamlian looks into the story. >> reporter: like millions of americans, paul akers has debt from college loans. last week, u.s. marshals showed up at his houston area home to help collect it. >> i went to my garage, opened the garage door, and walked out with my hands up. >> reporter: ache beers claimed he was handcuffed and shackled for nonpayment of a $1,500 loan from 1987, 29 years ago. >> surreal. i think it's so
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unrealistic that you can treat a citizen as if he's a drug dealer. >> reporter: court documents show notices were sent to akers starting ten years ago, and he acknowledges he does owe the money, and he's not alone. student debt is skyrocketing. there's more than $1.2 trillion of it out there, and more than 70% of bachelor degree grads will leave school with a student loan. akers says he was briefly put in a cell before being brought before a judge and collection lawyer, ordered to pay over time, $5,700 for the loan, which includes interest, and another $1,300 for the u.s. marshals service. tonight, the u.s. marshals service says akers refused multiple requests to appear in court, dating back to 2012. >> the people in debt out there shouldn't be afraid the u.s. marshals are going to come and kick their door down. this was an extreme case. it was escalated by mr. akers himself. >> reporter: while not offering a specific number, u.s.
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marshals -- defaulted on very old student loans. student loans can feel like a prison sentence. for one man, his unpaid debt landing him in chains. janet shamlian, nbc news, houston. still ahead tonight, battling the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs. some people are saving hundreds a month on their medications, and we're going to show you how they're doing it. also the grammys were one to remember for more than just the music.
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we're back now
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with the cost of prescription drugs, which keep rising. a third of americans say they're paying more than they did just a year ago even for generic drugs according to "consumer reports." tonight we look at a new company, a startup that wants to shake up the drug industry and bring down the cost of generic drugs. some are already saving big. nbc's olivia sterns has details. >> reporter: tammy powell, a nurse outside chicago, struggled to pay for her own $400 prescription drug bill. every month, even with insurance, taking cymbalta for next pain plus medications for high cholesterol and blood pressure. she was searching for cow up coupons. >> when i got to the pharmacy, they would run the code, and it wasn't real. >> then she stomach bed upon blink health, drugged marked down by as much as 95%. >> almost everyone takes medications at some point in their life, and most people are overpaying. >> reporter: blink was
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founded by brothers matthew and geoffrey chaiken to bypass insurance companies. >> when you hahere's how blink works. normally your doctor writes a prescription. you go to your insurance company, and the insurance company goes to the drug maker. prices are based on what kind of insurance you have. blink goes straight to the drug maker, so you click on your drug, pay online, and print out the receipt to take to your pharmacy. blink features over 15,000 medications at 60,000 pharmacies nationwide. mostly generics. and not the super expensive cutting-edge drugs. but consumer advocates say this approach could be the future. >> a lot of people have high deductible plans. you may not realize kind of what's going on until you try to actually fill the prescription. >> reporter: back in chicago, tammy says her $422 bill has been cut to just $77 a month. >> what did you think when you saw that at first? >> i wanted to cheer. nobody wants to spend
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their money on medicine if you don't have to. >> reporter: saving money and time to enjoy life's precious moments. olivia sterns, nbc news, chicago. we're back in a moment with a huge discovery, one of the biggest of its kind, and it's worth millions.
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a passing to note tonight. former u.n. secretary-general boutros boutros-ghali has died. he was a veteran egyptian politician and diplomat, serving as head of the u.n. for a single term from 1992 to 1996. he was 93 years old. for the first time in more than 50 years, daily commercial flights will resume between the u.s. and cuba. an agreement signed today could lead to as many as 110 flights per day beginning in the fall. right now there are only charter flights. americans must still qualify to visit cuba under rules allowed by the u.s. government, which bars tourism to cuba. last night's grammys had plenty of
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moments that still have people talking. adele had to power technical difficult yis, rasaying microphones fell onto the piano strings. taylor swift, the only woman to have one album of the year twice. a thinly veiled attack against kanye west who recently claimed in a new song lyric that he was responsible for her fame. best rap album winner kendrick lamar earned rave reviews for his powerful politically charged performance, and lady gaga gave a tribute to the late david bowie. >> recently uncovered, one of the largest diamonds on record. it's 404 carats, nearly 3 inches wide and said to be virtually flawless. it was found in the mines of angola, and reports value the rock at over $14 million. when we come back, they're facing some rough competition. who will be westminster's top dog
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this year? >> announcer: "nbc nightly news" is brought to you by pacific life. for life insurance, annuities and investments, choose pacific life. the power to help you succeed. ===raj/take vo=== man and
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finally tonight, we're going to the dogs. behind the scenes as coats are brushed and tails are fluffed, nails are clipped and nerves are frayed. that's because best in show will be awarded tonight at westminster. nbc's morgan radford is there. >> reporter: the doggie glam squad is hard at work, trimming, blow-drying, primping, because looking this good takes time. >> we force dry the hair. >> it took about six hours worth of work. >> hours and hours every week. >> reporter: but when best in show is on the line, you go all out. nobody knows that better than david frye, the show's host. after 27 years, he's hanging up his tuxedo. but even on his goodbye, he's upstaged by uno, a westminster legend. >> who do you have? >> uno's got a vote. >> reporter: spotting the next uno gets easier with experience. joe huber has spent the last 66 years on the dog show circuit. >> can you tell who's
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a winner and who's not? you can? you have the secret sauce. >> seven new breeds are showing for the first time this year, so it's more competitive than ever. odds are on rumor, a 4-year-old german shepherd from wisconsin, weighing in at 65 pounds, celebrated for her quickness and ajillity. charlie, a 4 and a half-year-old skye terrier hailing for florida, known for his beautiful coat and happy personality. or beckett, a brittany spanl from colorado. full name, rainbow splash ruggedly handsome beckett. of course there can only be one top dog. >> we all know that the real best in show dog is the one that's sitting next to you on the coach at home anyway. >> if only our dogs at home were this well trained. morgan radford, nbc news, new york. that's going to do it for us on a tuesday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night.
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what could we do differently where we could be proactive and actually try to get these individuals identified and in custody? >> right now at 6:00, high tech tactics putting a dent in san jose's crime rate. good evening, everyone. thanks for joining us. i'm jessica aguirre. >> i'm raj mathai. a reduction in burglaries. one san jose neighborhood has seen this crime drop by more than 70%. what's the secret? part of it social mediimmediat
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technology. the changing strategy by san jose police. >> reporter: raj, it's a strategy that reflects a major change in attitude by police concerning video evidence. and it's a chainge that needed o be made because of rising burglaries and dwindling staff. the san jose police burglary unit has been slashed to a handful of officers, each assigned to hundreds of cases. standard police procedure kept any video or suspect pictures out of the public eye until there were no more leads, even if it took weeks or even months. >> you have to remember when we put that information out it could cause the suspect to do a few different things. they could flee the area, they could change their appearance or they could destroy evidence. >> reporter: now police have a program that puts images and surveillance video on the department's public web site and on social media almost immediately. investigators say they were startled by the public response. tips have been pouring in on numerous cases, in fact, six suspects have already been

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