tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC August 18, 2016 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
thanks, jessica. see you at 6:00. >> see you later. >> bye. bay area dot com, and on facebook and twitter. breaking news tonight. caught in a lie. the tale of the tape in rio. surveillance footage revealed as police accuse ryan lochte of making up a story about being robbed with team usa swimmers. a stunning turn of events. double disaster at both ends of the country. raging fires and floods. so bad they can't even count the number of mes destroyed. face of war. a 5-year-old boy dazed, covered in dust, pulled alive from the rubble of a horrifying air strike in syria. the latest atrocity in aleppo shocking the world. and conspiracy theories about hillary clinton's health. outlandish claims fueled by the far right. the clinton campaign hitting back hard. "nightly news" begins right now.
this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt reporting tonight from the olympic summer games in rio. good evening. did they make the whole thing up? the olympic games here being overshadowed tonight by the stunning announcement by rio de janeiro police today that ryan lochte and three other american swimmers were not robbed at gunpoint as lochte had publicly claimed. tonight surveillance video suggests a series of events at a rio gas station early sunday morning that supports some elements of the americans' story including being held at the point of a gun but contradicts much of what lochte has previously told nbc news. miguel almaguer is working the story for us and has late details. miguel? >> reporter: lester, good evening. two american swimmers were here at this police station by our account for at least five hours. at times they were joined by officials from the u.s. governments office. it's clear investigators still
have many questions. what's unclear is if they got all the answers they were looking for. tonight brazilian police say american swim star ryan lochte is not a victim but a vandal. after days of confusion, police now say lochte, jimmy feigen, gunnar bentz and jack conger were not robbed. instead police say the swimmers damaged this gas station bathroom, breaking a mirror and a soap dispenser. the athletes then paid around 50 u.s. dollars for the damage. the incident caught on a series of closed circuit videos. this footage shows the swimmers leaving a party at club france at 5:47 a.m. the swimmers then say they got into a taxi. by 6:06 a.m. they're at this gas station. this video shows them near the bathroom when an attendant walks up, they run out. brazilian officials say the swimmers tried to leave and the station called police. at 6:09 a man approaches the cab appearing to point a gun at the car for nine seconds.
three minutes later the swimmers get out. one appears to pull money from his wallet. another puts his hands up. at 6:56 a.m., the four men arrive back at the athletes village. both the video and police account are inconsistent with what ryan lochte told the "today" show's billy bush on sunday. >> we got pulled over in our taxi. a guy pulls out this gun. he cocked it, put it to my forehead, said get down. i put my hands up, like whatever. >> reporter: when lochte spoke to matt lauer by phone last night he changed some of the details admitting he was not pulled over on the street but was indeed at the gas station at the time of the incident. as for the gun -- >> i pointedly said to him, you had said before it was placed on your forehead and cocked. he said, no, that's not exactly what happened. >> reporter: police say two security guards pointed guns at the swimmers. the swimmers were then asked to wait for
police to arrive, but police say they refused to stay. lochte returned to north carolina earlier this week. today posting this video to a fellow swimmer on instagram and taking it down a few hours later. but the three other swimmers remain in rio. last night bentz and conger were pulled from their planes, detained for hours and questioned by police. some brazilians are demanding an apology from the swimmers.
>> that's not very good for our image. >> reporter: at this police substation, this was the scene after they were questioned by investigators. that's the americans leaving right now. and when they drove away, they drove off to the chant of liars, liars and people yelling, you should be ashamed. tonight in rio security has been stepped up. police say their investigation is ongoing. the americans are now gone, but the anger isn't. lester, i have been covering and coming to brazil for the last decade. i have never quite seen a scene like this one. the u.s. olympic committee has said all the swimmers were cooperating with investigators. and we have late word tonight that swimmer jimmy feigen is now talking to police at this hour. lester? >> miguel almaguer here in rio tonight. he is the boldfaced we want to bring in our colleague from nbc sports, the host of nbc olympic primetime coverage, bob costas. many brazilians were incensed at the idea that the americans would make up the story. after so much american success on the playing field, what kind of stain might this leave on these games? >> i don't know about the games overall, but it certainly doesn't help ryan lochte. the other swimmers aren't helped by it either but he's the bold-faced name. swimmers generally don't make their money off competition, off
prize money. they make it off endorsements. this is going to hurt him. this is going to stain his reputation. >> do you think an apology is in order if what the brazilian authorities are saying is true? >> i think an apology is in order just as a general matter of decency, but i also think it's a matter of diplomacy. it seems to me unlikely that ryan lochte and his colleagues wind up in a criminal court, but somehow this has to be untangled, and it is a public relations mess. the brazilians are sensitive about the reputation that rio has for street crime. there's legitimacy in that reputation, but if a false claim has been made in the spotlight of the olympic games, they want that claim to be cleared up. they want an apology, and they want it to be made clear that in this particular case they are not at fault. >> all right. bob costas, always good to have you on. thanks so much. >> thanks, lester. now to a pair of disasters unfolding in separate parts of the country at home. in louisiana, relentless flooding is forcing new evacuations. and in california fire threatens thousands of homes but some refuse to evacuate. we have it all covered beginning with nbc's jolene kent in hesperia, california.
jolene, good evening. >> reporter: lester, good evening. the destruction here is rampant. but just now developing, a few evacuations being lifted. one of the major losses is the popular summit inn. it sits on historic route 66. this was the scene here 48 hours ago. today cecil stevens surveys the damage. >> it makes me sick at my stomach to see it. >> reporter: he owned the summit inn for nearly 50 years entertaining celebrities like pierce brosnan and clint eastwood. >> i know where every light switch is. you know, i know where every plug is in this place. >> reporter: the marshall fire just won't quit. threatening homes and businesses as more than 80,000 people are forced to evacuate as firefighters labor day and night. the mill creek hot shots are working 16-hour shifts. >> because it's really
hot the first day and didn't get much sleep. >> reporter: crews tirelessly defended the lutle creek community center surrounded on three sides by fire. one problem, many residents are refusing to leave despite mandatory evacuation. 83-year-old john hockaday is sheltering in place spraying his home with a garden hose. >> i'm going to go down with the ship. >> reporter: six firefighters were briefly trapped while coming to the aid of stubborn home owners. >> if we ask you to leave, you have to leave. >> reporter: there is some good news. a critical rail line has resumed operation with shipping containers on the move again. and interstate 15 linking los angeles to las vegas has reopened. and residents slowly reunited with their furry friends. but with 34,000 structures still on the brink, the end of this monster inferno is nowhere on the horizon. jolene kent, nbc news, hesperia, california. >> it's not easy, i'm going to tell you. >> reporter: this is gabe gutierrez in louisiana where the destruction is overwhelming. >> it's pretty hard. it really is difficult to see all this, but we're going to get through this. >> reporter: in a blistering editorial baton rouge's main newspapers urging
president obama to cut his vacation short and visit louisiana. today he played golf at martha's vineyard, as homeland security secretary jeh johnson toured the flood zone. >> of course, the president can't be everywhere. i can tell that you the president has been closely monitoring the situation. >> reporter: the death toll now at least 13 including 20-year-old allie buddy whose car was swept away. another extended family losing 13 homes. >> everybody got flooded. cars, houses. >> reporter: jesse moses survived katrina. she's now at a shelter again. >> it's like i'm going back to being homeless again. >> reporter: old wounds reopened. gabe gutierrez, nbc news, louisiana. there is breaking news tonight from the clinton foundation, the charity that bears the names of bill and hillary clinton. the foundation tells nbc news should hillary clinton be elected president, it will no longer accept foreign and corporate donations, a subject
which has been a source of scrutiny during this campaign. also nbc news has learned exclusively that bill clinton has not given a paid speech since last november and will not if his wife is elected. meantime tonight the clinton campaign is hitting back hard on conspiracy theories being stirred up about hillary clinton's health. we get details from nbc's andrea mitchell. >> reporter: tonight hillary clinton's campaign firing back at what aides call deranged conspiracy theories about her health. critics claiming this is not just the candidate joking with reporters but something worse. >> it almost seems seizuresque to me. >> reporter: a conservative website questioning whether she needs pillows to prop her up. and here's donald trump's new campaign ceo last week. >> i'm not saying that, you know, she's had a stroke or anything like that, but this is not the woman that we're used to seeing. >> reporter: then this blast from the candidate monday. >> she also lacks the mental and physical stamina to take on
isis. >> reporter: all of it despite a two-page medical report from clinton's doctor a year ago concluding he is in excellent physical condition and fit to serve as president of the united states. >> and fit to serve as president of the united states, fully recovered from a concussion in 2012. clinton's report more detailed than this note from trump's doctors saying, quote, if elected mr. trump, i can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest person ever elected to the presidency. allegations that this secret service agent was carrying a device to give her injections. the truth according to the secret service, that is a standard flashlight. clinton's reaction a hardy life. >> reporter: can you tell us how your health is. >> reporter: clinton, a year younger than. andrea mitchell, nbc news washington. >> a shocking and pitiful image has given a new face to the war raging in syria.
so many have seen and shared pictures of this traum sized little guy after a rescue. he's being treated in the same secret underground hospital we took you inside earlier this week. as richard angle will reports he's brought new attention to a war many accused the world of ignoring just 5 years old, and his feet barely hung over the edge of a seat in an ambulance. dazed, he didn't cry, as he wiped away blood and the dust from a building that collapsed around him in an air strike. his silence somehow reminded the world today of its silence in the face of the atrocities in aleppo. omran was pulled out alive wednesday. five other children died when the building they were in was hit during the relentless syrian/russian offensive on rebel-held areas in aleppo. the image of omran's face spread like wildfire on the internet. one tweet called him
the real representative of the syrian people. >> stop killing syrian innocent people, civilians. our children need to live in peace. >> reporter: the doctor who treated omran said today there were many more severe cases no one is paying attention to. >> we need to protect our hospital, our doctors, our medical workers from airstrike. >> reporter: omran is recovering. his family now wants to escape. the same choice another boy's family made a year ago, aylan kurdi, whose body washed up on a beach. he, too, was a symbol of syria's youngest victims. now there's a new one. tomorrow there may be another. richard engel, nbc news. >> little children and powerful images. still ahead tonight, the wnba star taking her first shot at olympic glory. the touching reason why it's so hard to be apart from her number one fan, her sister. also in the battle
heart back home. nbc's stephanie gosk has one of rio's untold stories. >> rebound. ends up with delle donne. >> reporter: in basketball the shooting guard is the playmaker, the scorer, not typically the tallest on the court unless it's elena delle donne. the 6'5" wnba star scores more than 20 points a game, sinks her free-throw 93% of the time and was the 2015 mvp. rio is her first olympics. >> it's such a different feeling when you've got usa across your chest. >> reporter: elena started playing basketball when she was little, scrappy one on one with her big brother, gene. >> no freebies. we were going at it trying to win. >> reporter: did you ever cheat? >> oh, any time i got the chance, yeah. >> reporter: she grew up in delaware, the daughter of ernie and joan delle donne. elena's older sister lizzy was born with serious disabilities including being both blind and deaf. she connects through touch. >> she has so many disabilities and so many things that haven't gone her way.
but she still smiles, she still has a laugh that will make everybody in the room crack up. >> reporter: the two sisters are very close. being apart isn't easy. >> she can't talk to her on the phone. she can't text her. she can't communicate with her other than being with her. >> reporter: in 2008 elena got the call that every high school girl who plays basketball hopes for, the uconn huskies wanted her on the team. she accepted and went up to connecticut, but almost immediately the self-described homebody knew it wasn't right. >> my heart wasn't in the right place for it. and i knew i needed to do something else. >> reporter: elena took time off from the sport but did eventually play again for the university of delaware. >> here comes delle donne. >> reporter: in 2013 she was drafted by the chicago sky. now she balances the demands of the wnba with running a year-long basketball camp alongside her fiancee amanda clifton. the camp is open to both children with special needs and
those without. >> one, two, three. >> i'm more proud of that than basketball. that's the person she is. >> reporter: elena says lizzy has given her something that sometimes seems rare among professional athletes -- perspective. >> at the end of the day i'm putting a round basketball through a little hoop, and there's other people out there doing so much more in this world, and she's one of them. >> reporter: stephanie gosk, nbc news, rio. we're back in a moment with fears of a new zika zone in the u.s.
the state department acknowledged today that a $400 million cash payment to iran was contingent on the release of american detainees. the u.s. withheld the cash until the four u.s. citizens were safely out of iran. but officials insist the united states returning that iranian money from a decades-old account was conducted separately from the negotiations over the
detainees and the u.s. did not pay a ransom. both of those events happened on the same day, january 17th. there are concerns about a possible new zika zone in florida. a source telling nbc news two new cases were likely contracted in miami beach. that is outside the area in miami that's already been declared an active transmission zone. florida's total homegrown cases now 35. up next here tonight, who's really got bragging rights here in rio? team usa's men or women? what a son did to find the
person who ripped off his 95-year-old father and other seniors in the east bay. ===janelle/take vo=== plus ... a big win in rio... a huge loss at home. the olympic team member in need of help after the "clayton" fire. ===janelle/next close=== next. the american medal count here has surged to well over 90, but the bigger story may be in who's leading the way. usa women have earned nearly double the number of golds won by the men and lead in the overall count. it's hardly a one off. >> it is a u.s. sweep. >> reporter: almost as easy as counting one, two, three. >> and the three americans come and shut out the rest of the world. >> reporter: brianna rollins, nia ali and kristi castlin swept the podium in the 100 meter hurdles last night. >> a great time to be a woman in usa. >> reporter: the clean sweep a first for u.s.
women in any olympic track and field event. and that wasn't the only first on the field last night. tia bartoletta and brittney reese finished one-two in the long jump also leaping into history. at the beach 38-year-old kerri walsh jennings, a three-time olympic gold medalist and her teammate, april ross, took bronze. walsh jennings becoming the oldest female medalist in beach volleyball. >> to be on that podium together was absolutely humbling and inspiring, and it will be with me the rest of my days. and it was pure joy. >> reporter: team usa arrived in rio with the largest women's contingent in olympic history and recent history at their back. well, this is a story that really began in london and continued over to rio, isn't it? >> no question. because in london, the u.s. women won about 60% of the american gold medals.
so you could see this coming. >> reporter: in women's gymnastics team the so-called final five tumbled into history winning its most medals in a single olympics. olympics rookie simone biles led the way winning four golds. there is simone manuel in the 100 meter freestyle swim becoming the first african-american woman to claim gold in an individual swimming event. >> i'm just so blessed. >> reporter: then, of course, there's katie ledecky. >> ledecky is a gold medalist. >> reporter: going home with five medals, four of them gold. the seeds of the american women's success here weren't planted overnight. >> no, you know, i think title nine was gigantic. title nine has been in place now for over four decades, but it allowed funding. it allowed women to get into things and be able to make the most of their talent, and i think we're now seeing the benefits of that being paid off really in spades. >> reporter: the message to little girls watching at home -- >> we all have the potential to be great. we all have a purpose. so always believe that and just fulfill our dreams because there's always some destiny for each and every one of us.
>> and that will do it for us. primetime olympic coverage begins at 8:00, 7:00 central. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, good night from rio. lives. we're on the firelines -- outside of l-a -- as flames race toward homes. ==raj/2-shot== news if they're risking their lives. we are on the fire lines outside of l.a. as flames race toward home. ins toni6:00 starts right now. thanks for being with us on this thursday evening. i'm raj mathai. >> i'm janelle wang . the threat remains tonight, nowhere near containment. a live look from our helicopter in the l.a. area, you can see this wild fire still raging in san bernardino county. d evso-called blue cut fire is peop4% contained.
it is burning about 60 miles east of l.a. and evacuation orders are still in effect for thousands of people. lore than 32,000 acres have burned. ghtwrnor brown has declared a state of emergency. nbc bay area cheryl hurd is live in the community of rightwood near the fire. these folks are among those still being told to stay away. >> reporter: that's right. evacuation orders are still in effect here in wrightwood, but some people are ignoring them. in fact, a lot of people have decided to stay because they think that the danger is over, but authorities are telling me tonight that that is not the case. on day three of this wildland fire, when you drive around all you see is devastation. homes burned to the ground. animals being saved and a famous restaurant, the summit inn, gone. the restaurant has been a landmark and a hot spot for the rich and famous since the 1950s.