tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC November 23, 2016 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
he told the crowd his daughters, malia and sasha, couldn't take anymore dad jokes. >> it's thanksgiving, we have to hear dad jokes and grandpa jokes. >> bye, folks. tonight, the getaway, tens of millions take to the road and the air -- the most in years. inside the new command center as the tsa tries to avoid a repeat of scenes like this. the wrong route? late details tonight, federal officials now say the driver in the school bus crash that killed five children should not have been on that road. building a team -- president-elect trump names two women to top jobs, plus an exclusive inside the massive secret service plan to protect the new first family. high alert -- lester's look inside the nypd's bomb squad on guard this holiday after a recent attack. showtime, tens of millions will watch. how do these giants of thanksgiving rise to the occasion? "nightly news" begins
right now. >> announcer: from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. >> good evening i'm kate snow in for lester on this thanksgiving eve. and the rush is on. from coast to coast, with nearly 49 million of us expected to travel and see family and friends over this holiday weekend, that would be the largest number of thanksgiving travelers since the great recession. nine years ago. great recession nine years ago. throughout the day we've seen relatively calm scenes at many major airports, but that may be because so many americans chose to drive. the roads are jammed tonight. and that's where we begin, with our tom costello. >> if you're watching tv right now, look what you're missing. >> outer loop of the beltway, still a big mess. >> the thanksgiving
crush. it started on the west coast, tuesday night, nearly 49 million of us traveling this holiday. with gas now averaging just $2.13 a gallon, the vast majority are driving in tallahassee, this video blogger picked up his son from college. >> the gas prices down here. you get rolling. >> and driving up i-95, headed for boston. >> traffic has been light so we're lucky so far. hopefully we'll do as well in new york. >> meanwhile, a potential record-breaker in the air. with as many as 2.6 million people expected to pass through airport security today and sunday. when the harmon family arrived at reagan airport this morning, they found this. >> have you ever seen a line this long at this airport? >> no. have not. >> never. never been this long. >> fortunately, it cleared fast. the tsa has been under pressure to avoid a repeat of the long lines that stretched for hours last spring. since then, adding more dog teams and thousands of new screeners. >> 23,200 passengers went through a tsa
pre-check. >> opening this new airport command center that checks every realtime tsa checkpoint at the 30 busiest airports. >> this shows us how many lanes they opened. one hot spot today, a power outage in louisville that slowed things down for an hour. the tsa chief. >> sunday is predicted to be the largest day of the weekend. that's when everybody comes home. give yourself time. >> as always, the biggest variable -- snow in minneapolis today. while in l.a., comfort dogs to ease the stress. nationwide, the average tsa wait time was under 30 minutes. so far today. back out here on the roads, aaa says right about now is the worst time to be hitting the roads. as for the return, the peak travel volume will be saturday at 4:00 so if you can, return home either early on saturday or early on sunday. is when you should start driving. kate? >> great advice, tom costello, thanks. with millions of us traveling over the
next few days, al roker is here with a look at the holiday storms, how is it looking? >> not too bad, kate. heavier rain moving into the pacific northwest. wet weather with snow into the upper great lakes and for tomorrow, not too shabby. heavy rain continues in the pacific northwest. light snow and wet weather in the northeast and new england. let's look at saturday, as far as travel is concerned. looking at the airports, a little problem at laguardia, but the rest of the eastern half of the country looking good. out west, the only problem, san francisco, delays due to showers and wind. boston logan because of a storm system developing along the northeast coast. as far as the roads are concerned, i-95, a bit of a problem. i-80, san francisco to reno, and then on sunday, we expect to see more of the same, the northeast looking kind of rough. out west, we've got snow, and problems in l.a., again due to some more heavy rain. kate? >> al, thanks so much. late details tonight involving the deadly school bus crash in tennessee. federal investigators now say the driver was not on his designated route.
and should not have been on the road where the bus crashed nbc's kerry sanders is in chattanooga. leadership late today the national transportation safety board revealed that the school bus that crashed in tennessee had diverted from its route and was not on a reasonable doubt approved to drive children home. >> one of the things we're exploring is, is a, has he done it before? and b, if so, why? >> police announced that the driver, 24-year-old johnthany walker had no trace of drugs or alcohol in his system. the bus was not equipped with a black box recorder. but officials were able to recover other important data from the record. >> what this bus had was three video cameras, we're bringing in an electronics expert late they are week. >> according to relatives of some of the victims, walker was a known problem.
jasmine mateen, whose 6-year-old daughter died, said she complained in person and writing. >> it was about him slamming on brakes on purpose, making all the kids hit their heads. >> 9-year-old cordayja jones died in the accident. her aunt said the fourth grader had also complained about the bus driver. >> she had said one time before to my mom, granny, that man drives like a fool. >> walker's public defender did not respond to requests for comment. and today, school officials and the tennessee governor repeatedly ignored questions about the allegations. >> why would you not want to answer if you had been notified about this driver's record by a parent? >> the governor has to leave. so thank you -- >> the governor can leave. but the school representatives can answer. >> 11-year-old cordarius lost his younger sister in the accident. >> the last time i see her was when we go to bed and i said good night, i love you. >> reporter: he now treasure you ares a scrolled on the bottom -- love. kerry sanders, nbc news, chattanooga, tennessee. president-elect donald trump made more appointments to his cabinet today this time he turned to two prominent republican women, one of them a vocal critic of trump in the past. we get details on that tonight from
nbc's kristen welker. >> raise our families, care for our loved ones. >> president-elect donald trump with a thanksgiving message for the nation. >> it's my prayer that on this thanksgiving, we begin to heal our divisions and move forward as one country. >> it comes as he's trying to diversify his cabinet today. tapping two women, including 44-year-old south carolina governor nikki haley to serve as the ambassador to the u.n. haley, whose parents emigrated from india is a rising star in the republican party she was sharply critical of trump during the primary. >> i will not stop until we fight a man that chooses not to disavow the kkk. >> reporter: but taking a more measured tone after meeting with the president-elect last week. >> i did vote for him. and i was absolutely thrilled to see him win. >> reporter: haley earned national praise for leading the call to take down the confederate flag in south carolina, in the wake of the emmanuel a.m.e. church massacre.
while she opposed the muslim ban, she supported -- governor haley made eight international trips, but lacks foreign policy experience. >> she's going to have to navigate this role. because of course, it involves a realm of knowledge that she doesn't have. sort of directly in her portfolio. >> reporter: if confirmed, haley's appointment could strengthen trump's hand. the move elevating south carolina's lieutenant-governor henry mcmaster, an early ally to governor, giving trump a political edge in a key southern state, a transition official disputing that was a part of the decision. mr. trump's second female pick? betsy devos for education secretary. a billionaire republican donor and school choice activist. who opposes common core, and wants to expand school voucher programs. the move was praised by school choice advocates like jeb bush and decried by the nation's largest teachers union. mr. trump will spend the thanksgiving holiday here in palm
beach with family and isn't expected to make any more major announcements until friday at the earliest. kate? >> kristen welker down in florida. thank you. new york city officials are taking extra steps to secure tomorrow's macy's thanksgiving day parade. after an al qaeda publication suggested the parade would be quote an excellent target. officials stress there is no known threat to the parade. but extra barriers will be in place and dogs capable of sniffing the scent of explosives will be out of the air will be working the crowds. it was just two months ago of course the city was rocked by a bomb that exploded in manhattan's chelsea neighborhood. another was removed and disarmed by the nypd's elite bomb squad. tonight, in an nbc news exclusive, lester spends time with members of that team, who risk their lives to get that bomb off the street before it could kill. >> reporter: it was a miracle no one was killed. a bomb exploding in the heart of manhattan,
and where there's one, experience tells police there's often a second. in this case, it was discovered four blocks away. >> unequivocally, we could say anybody in proximity would receive a very serious, if not life-threatening injury. >> reporter: the device in chelsea's neighborhood turned out to be linked to a broader plot that began in nearby new jersey, where the suspect was later apprehended and wounded during a shoot-out with police. now for the first time, members of the nypd bomb squad who removed and disarmed the chelsea bomb are telling their story. detectives jason halleck and timothy brady were the primary technicians that night. in a perfect world it never goes off and you've got evidence, right? is that the main goal? >> that's our ultimate goal. it doesn't always work the way we planned. we have to change up our plan. >> you're working against the clock in case like that? >> well, you could be. you don't know if it's timed. you don't know if it is timed, what the time is. so you want to get everybody out as quick as possible.
secure them. but it is new york city, so it's very difficult to clear an entire area. that's why we removed it from the scene and brought it to a safer scene for our own facility. >> reporter: to do that, they used a robot and a special containment vehicle to cart the still live device to a remote police facility. and that's where halleck had to get up close. what is that like when you're literally face-to-face with what you are strongly believe is an explosive device? >> one of complete remission, i just don't think about it, i'm so focused on what it is and completing it and finishing it. >> reporter: to give an idea what it was like, the team invited me to pull on the bulky 90-pound protective suit.
>> i can walk in it, with some effort. but i can't imagine doing anything that required any dexterity or quick movements. >> you're obviously seeing in the suit, you don't have a lot of dexterity. but the other thing, the pretty hot day ands sweat was pouring into my eyes. >> reporter: the nypd has seen an uptick in reports from suspicious new yorkers reawakened to a unsettling fact. >> we're right in the crosshairs of the terrorist. >> reporter: and bombs are weapons of their choice. homemade, lethal and indiscriminate. to disarm one is to save countless lives. >> not only taking care of it without it detonating on you. which is a big plus. to collect the evidence and the perpetrator actually caught, is a great feeling of satisfaction. >> the suspect in the new york and new jersey attacks has been indicted on federal terrorism charges. and a frightening moment at new york's grand central station this morning. an e-cigarette exploded in a man's pocket. he was working behind the counter as you can see at a wine store when it happened. one of his co-workers says it looked like fireworks, there were projectiles and he
could smell fumes. amazingly, a transit spokesman said the victim's injuries appeared to be minor leg and hand burns. still ahead tonight -- taking back thanksgiving. with more stores staying closed this year, we'll tell you what to buy and when to find the best deals. also, just what was that fireball streaking across the sky? this holiday shopping season, there's a backlash what are you supposed to do? drive three-quarters of a car? now if you had liberty mutual new car replacement™, you'd get your whole car back. i guess they don't want you driving around on three wheels. smart. with liberty mutual new car replacement™, we'll replace the full value of your car. liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance. hey, need fast try cool mint zantac. it releases a cooling sensation in your mouth and throat. zantac works in as little as 30 minutes. nexium can take 24 hours.
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against the recent trend of stores opening on thanksgiving day. this year some companies are choosing to stay closed, giving workers the day off. while other stores will open to give shoppers a jump-start on black friday. jo ling kent reports on what stores to hit and when. >> reporter: for the last three years, maria has pulled double duty on thanksgiving. preparing an enormous feast for 30 family members. before rushing off to open the mall doors to shoppers on thanksgiving night. >> having to leave my own thanksgiving dinner when i'm the host, it's sad. >> reporter: so this is where you would come on thanksgiving? >> it is. >> reporter: this year is different. maria has the day off because morristown mall outside philadelphia has chose ton close on thanksgiving day. it's one of dozens of major companies now bucking the trend of opening on thanksgiving, as retailers worry opening early may steal some of black friday's thunder. without increasing overall sales. even the mall of america putting up the closed sign. but other stores like
macy's best buy, walmart, target and kohl's doubling down. throwing open their doors on thanksgiving. k-mart kicks off at 6:00 a.m. jcpenney opens at 3:00 p.m., will give away $500 coupons at the door. toys 'r' us will open at 5:00 and stay open 30 hours straight. but retailers say thanksgiving is not the only day to land great discounts, black friday has the best deals on tvs, drones and home appliances. cybermonday is also great for electronics, beauty products and kitchenware. and the deepest discount on toys come the second week of december. although the hot it's items could be sold out. and hold off on buying any winter clothes until the week before christmas. bekovic is grateful she won't be working the crowds this year. >> i'm happy to be spending it with my family. >> reporter: giving thanks for the things point can't bay. jo ling kent, nbc news morristown, new jersey
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new challenges ahead for the secret service. new challenges ahead for the secret service. the agency tasked with keeping the first family safe. donald trump's large family including children and grandchildren making the mission more challenging. and more expensive. we get exclusive details now from cynthia mcfadden. >> as the soon-to-be first family gathers for thanksgiving, it's clear they'll need a bigger turkey than usual. according to internal homeland security documents reviewed by nbc news, at least 150 secret service personnel are joining them. here the 45-vehicle convoy arriving late last night at mar-a-lago. >> we're sort of in uncharted waters. >> jonathan wekrow happen protected every living president. >> we haven't had to protect adult
president-elect in a long time. >> that makes the job tougher. it's a big family. 18 in all. melania trump and barron, then four adult children, their three spouses, and eight grandchildren. >> you see everyone around the president becomes a target? >> absolutely. wherever the president goes, he's drawing the attention of every bad guy in the world. >> mr. trump has long been a fan of the secret service. >> these are incredible people, incredible individuals and they are tough. >> but still, living with agents 24/7 takes some getting used to. >> just think about you, at your home. tonight. four strangers just show up. and they're standing in your kitchen. >> once mr. trump becomes president there will be about 920 secret service personnel assigned to him and his family per day. about 80 more than the obamas. none of this comes cheap. according to classified documents reviewed by nbc news, the daily cost is already well over $2 million. including reimbursing the trump organization for secret service
seats on his plane. this weekend in mar-a-lago, a source involved in the protection operation says it's a $7 million thanksgiving. cynthia mcfadden, nbc news, new york. president obama today fulfilled a long-standing tongue-in-cheek white house tradition. pardoning the turkeys, tater and tot, who will live out their days in virginia but this year, it was president obama's nephews by his side. not his daughters. the pun-maker in chief said sasha and malia are fed up with the corny-copia of dad jokes. and a spectacular moment in the skies over florida monday night. burst of light soaring overhead, illuminating the entire sky. it might have look liked an alien invasion, but it turned out to be a meteor called a fireball. when we come back, there really is a magic to it, isn't there? the macy's thanksgiving day parade. such an impressive display doesn't come together overnight. overnight. right now, final
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outrage when a police officer is attacked - is backfiring. ===jess/take vo=== there's outrage - but's it's not the outrage officers were hoping for. ===raj/vo=== and, nbc bay area responds...the 4 tips you need to know if you're flying during the holidays. ===raj/next close=== next. right now, final preparations are under way for the 90th annual macy's thanksgiving day parade. right now,w, final preparations are under way for the 90th annual macy's thanksgiving day
parade. tomorrow morning an estimated 50 million people will watch enormous balloons float past our studio here down 6th avenue in new york. as kristen dahlgren found out what happens before they take flight is every bit as awe-inspiring. >> on manhattan's upper west side today, child-like wonder, watching giant storybook characters come to life. it's a journey that starts here at macy's new jersey warehouse. >> take a look at the size of just his ear. >> that's charlie brown. getting some last-minute patching to his enormous hand-painted shirt. >> it's never-ending. it's continuous upkeep. >> a year-round operation. led by macy's john piper. >> it feels a little like we're in santa's workshop here. >> for 90 years, the macy's thanksgiving day parade has been the stuff of holiday dreams. it started as the christmas parade. with animals from the central park zoo. a few years later, giant balloons took
flight. and for a while, were released at the end of the parade. felix the cat was one of the original characters. back this year, as an almost exact replica. >> every one of them has a magic about them. >> the red power ranger's arm is the size of a school bus. but they start out much smaller. scale models help engineers figure out how to make them fly. >> that's our job. take what looks like it's impossible and make it come true. >> here's a secret -- each of these floats has its own license plate. it's still got to get from here to new york city. that means this three-story float needs to be disassembled so it can fit through the lincoln tunnel. a massive task. matched only by the size of the smiles when it all comes together on parade day. >> it makes it all worthwhile. so much fun. and a reminder -- you can watch the parade
here on nbc tomorrow starting at 9:00 a.m. that will do it for us on this wednesday night. i'm kate snow in for lester. i'll see you back here tomorrow. for all of us at nbc news, have a great night. the protests for the off that are getting ambushed? runs=04 where is that outrage? where are the protests for the office being ambushed. >> san jose's police union is calling for action, and getting it. but not the way they expected. the news at 6:00, starts right now. >> good evening, and thanks for being with us. >> south bay officers sent a message asking people to have their backs, but that message may have backfired. the police union released a new web ad today calling for more public outrage, when an officer is attacked. instead, the union video is being attacked by the naacp as hateful and dangerous.
robert honda is live from poa headquarters much i know you spoke to someone caught in the middle of this. >> the san jose poa says it wants this blue lives matter message, to be part of the holiday conversation. and it certainly has generated conversation, but some say, not unity. >> we are drawing a line in the sand and this is going to stop now. >> the san jose poa leadership unveiled the ad today, to condemnationwide protests on officers. they displayed a thanksgiving table with pictures of fallen officers, saying the pain felt by their families should be part of the holiday conversation. >> we owe it to them, to have their memories discussed at thanksgiving dinner tables tomorrow.