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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  December 13, 2016 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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>> ooh! rats at the eiffel tower? >> yes. a problem there. >> we will leave you on that note. thanks for joining us here. "nbc nightly news" is next. >> bye. tonight, confirmation showdown, as donald trump picks the powerful ceo of exxonmobil, with close ties to vladimir putin, to be america's secretary of state. tonight, concerns being raised even by big-name republicans, setting up a critical fight. horror in aleppo. with the war-torn city on the brink of falling, terrified messages coming from inside. a frantic exodus to escape the slaughter. car talk. the new plan to change the way we drive. imagine your car connected to every other car around. sensing a potential accident before you even have time to react. dangerous appliance recall. the largest of its kind in history. in millions of kitchens, do you have one of these in yours? and a matter of faith. a young girl blazing a trail, and inspiring
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america. "nightly news" begins right now. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening. after a lengthy and very public casting call through the lobby of trump tower, the president-elect ended the suspense today over one of the most coveted jobs in his administration. donald trump picking an oil company ceo to be his secretary of state. with no government experience, rex tillerson, the exxonmobil boss, is being praised as a seasoned international deal maker in business, and it is those business connections, specifically his ties to russia, that are raising the most serious concerns about him tonight. and putting trump at odds with members of his own party. nbc's kristen welker starts us off with the latest. >> reporter: tonight, president-elect donald trump, likely setting up his first confirmation fight with members of his own party, officially
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tapping rex tillerson to be his secretary of state. touting what he calls tillerson's deep understanding of geopolitics. the pick of the exxonmobil ceo, praised by republicans, including condoleezza rice, who has business ties to exxon, but also others like bob corker. still some key gop senators wary of his ties with russia. marco rubio saying, he has serious concerns. trump's team digging in. >> he's very good at being a diplomat, and the good lord didn't put oil in all freedom-loving democracies across the world. and yet rex tillerson was able to make this work. >> reporter: and it comes on the day of what is perhaps mr. trump's most surprising meeting at trump tower yet. kanye west. >> we've been friends for a long time. >> reporter: west, uncharacteristically tight-lipped today. >> i just want to take a picture right now. >> reporter: and later tweeting he wanted to discuss multi-cultural issues. it's not clear if west will have a role, but former rival, texas governor rick perry, now poised to be tapped for energy secretary.
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the very agency perry famously forgot during a presidential debate while listing the departments he's eliminating. >> the third one i can't, sorry, oops. >> reporter: trump also saying his adult sons will, his business interests, and no deal will be done during his term in office. >> these things have a cumulative effect. it would serve him to be more transparent, the better. >> reporter: tonight a top transition source telling nbc news, mr. trump has tapped former navy seal and montana congressman ryan zincy to serve as interior secretary. mr. trump will appear in wisconsin later tonight. the latest stop on his thank you tour. lester? >> kristen, thanks. back to the tillerson pick, reaction has been swift and loud from washington to moscow. his close ties to vladimir putin and how that will figure in a potential confirmation fight. we have it all covered starting with our chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea
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mitchell who was the first to break the news about the tillerson pick over the weekend. good evening. >> good evening. donald trump said he wants his secretary of state to reverse what he called years of misguided foreign policies. hiring him precisely because he's an outsider with no experience in diplo diploma diplomacy. in rex tillerson, trump has found someone like himself, no government experience, a successful businessman, whom trump aides praise as trumpian. >> i have tremendous respect for him. he's a world class player. >> reporter: born in wichita falls, texas, joining exxonmobil more than four decades ago. from engineer to chairman and now ceo, now dealing with foreign governments in nearly 50 countries. but it's his ties to one country now under the microscope. >> my relationship with vladimir putin, which dates back almost 15 years now, i've known him since 1999. and i have a very close relationship with him. i don't agree with everything he's doing. >> reporter: improving the tense relationship with russia was a trump campaign promise. >> wouldn't it be great if we actually got along with russia? >> reporter: but
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tonight critics are pointing to exxonmobil's efforts to fight climate change rules and tillerson's opposition to sanctions on russia. >> coziness with vladimir putin is very alarming and should have eliminated him, frankly. >> reporter: some republicans critical too after tillerson received a friendship medal from putin. >> when he gets the friendship award from a butcher, frankly, it's an issue that i think needs to be examined. >> reporter: married with four children, tillerson is a past president of the boy scouts, embracing their decision to allow gay scouts and leaders. >> he wrestled with it, he prayed on it, and he ultimately decided, i have to do what's good for the boys. >> reporter: his loyalty to scouting shaped his values. >> we have a duty to this country, as citizens, to participate in our government. >> reporter: a texas oil man who, if confirmed, will test whether his skills as a global business leader can work in the world of diplomacy.
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andrea mitchell, nbc news, washington. >> reporter: i'm richard engel in moscow, where the kremlin couldn't be happier with the way trump's cabinet is shaping up, especially with rex tillerson as potential secretary of state. vladimir milov is a former russian minister of energy. >> it's absolutely a gift for putin. >> reporter: tillerson is best known here for making a deal with an oil giant called rosneft. that's its headquarters over there. just over the moscow river from the kremlin. and analysts say the company is like a cash cow for president putin and his inner circle. mikel, an energy analyst says the dividends earned by rosneft end up in one place. >> this is the personal purse, or wallet, of the russian president. >> reporter: and that wallet could grow significantly. and tillerson is at the center of it. exxonmobil and russia's rosneft have an outstanding oil deal in the arctic, russia valued at $500 billion. a deal so important,
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after it, he was given that russian medal of friendship. but the deal is on hold because of u.s. sanctions. >> obviously the conflict of interest is something that is written on mr. tillerson forehead. >> written on his forehead? >> written on his forehead. >> conflict of interest? >> yes. >> as far as russia's concerned? >> hundred percent. >> reporter: as secretary of state, tillerson will be able to push for the lifting of the sanctions against russia, something he lobbied for as a ceo. richard engel, nbc news, moscow. now to the brutal four-year-long battle for aleppo that appears to be near its end this evening, the russian government, allied with the syrian regime, said today that military action has ceased in eastern aleppo, claiming syrian forces have taken control of the city from rebels. as our bill neely reports, civilians are still scrambling to get out of aleppo, amid horrifying reports of executions. >> reporter: they escaped a slaughter today.
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thousands fleeing aleppo's last battleground. the young and sick, the old and helpless, besieged for months, trudging from the ruins of their homes. they've fled a relentless onslaught by regime and russian forces, crushing what's left of the rebel east. but not everyone escaped. terrified civilians, sending what they called their last messages. >> the assad militias are maybe 300 meters away. no place now to go. it's the last days. >> reporter: no word tonight of one child, 7-year-old bana, whose latest message read, this is my final moment to either live or die. the horrors are clear on aleppo's streets. shelling and air strikes, claiming hundreds of lives. we can't verify this video, or many claims, but the u.n. is alleging regime militias are executing civilians in cold blood. >> they've been going
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door to door, executing people on the spot. >> reporter: president assad's troops are celebrating victory, over this symbolic city of the revolution, and denying they're committing atrocities. as soon as people heard we freed this area, he says, they feel safe. but few can be safe. even as the regime boasts that aleppo's rebels have stopped fighting, that they'll be allowed to leave, though it's not clear where, and that the battle here is over. the exodus of misery isn't over. nor is this war in so many places beyond aleppo. bill neely, nbc news, beirut. switching gears and back in this country on the weather front tonight, things are about to go from frigid to worse for nearly 30 million people. a temperature plunge below to zero -- below zero in several places and more snow. nbc's ron mott has the latest. it is still pretty slick outside. >> reporter: as
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temperatures plummet across the country, blizzard conditions in indiana, blamed for this multi-car pileup. elsewhere, a few close calls. in michigan, slick streets sent this school bus off-road. in minnesota, a driver was pulled from her suv after it slid into a frigid pond. a dog in illinois found itself in a similar jam. >> nothing else was going through my mind except saving my dog. >> reporter: the bitter cold snap is expected to last several days. this morning, 12 below in wisconsin. over the next week, 1 in 7 americans feeling the bite of subzero frost. >> in some cases, it's going to feel like it's 40 degrees below zero or more. parts of the midwest are going to stay below the freezing mark for at least two weeks. >> reporter: in chicago, residents are preparing to hunker down indoors. >> probably get two, three more bags of salt. ♪ we wish you a merry christmas ♪ >> reporter: outside, vendors at this market protecting against frostbite. how are you staying warm? >> heaps of layers. >> reporter: millions
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bundled up and bracing for another brutal arctic punch. chicago and other areas could see some of their coldest temperatures in two years with this system. the forecast windchill tonight as low as 8 below zero. tomorrow, twice as brutal, 16 below. lester? >> ron mott, thank you. now to developing news that could change the way all of us drive, the government plan to require cars to talk to each other, using wi-fi to avoid collisions that we might not see coming with our own eyes. nbc's tom costello explains. [ sirens ] >> reporter: it happens every 15 minutes. someone dies in a traffic accident. but traffic safety regulators say vehicle-to-vehicle, or v-to-v technology could prevent up to 600,000 crashes. here's how it works. using wi-fi connections, your car would be in touch with every other car in a 300-yard radius, even cars you can't see, sharing information about upcoming cross traffic that isn't stopping, warning the cars ahead have hit
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their brakes, or of an approaching ambulance, of an accident ahead, or slow-moving traffic. you, the driver, would then get visual or audible alerts. our automatic braking might kick in. >> the car can have a 360-degree field of vision, if you will, electronically and sense other cars out of our line of sight as drivers. >> reporter: connected vehicles could transmit slippery or icy road warnings. if it sounds like science fiction, audi is already rolling out technology that tells drivers how soon upcoming traffic lights are about to change. the key is to coordinate all the technology, so different car makes and models are talking to each other on the same frequency. >> human beings are fallible and while technology has its challenges, it has the greatest potential to save lives. >> reporter: the obama administration wants to require new cars to to come with v-to-v in just a few years, but will the trump administration go along? today the automotive industry would only
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say it's studying the proposal to see how it complements other advanced safety systems that are starting to be included. but some day, your car's wi-fi chat with other cars, could keep you alive. tom costello, nbc news, washington. president obama united with vice president biden today for what may be the final bill-signing of their administration. the president approved a massive bipartisan medical research bill that includes billions for the cancer moonshot program championed by biden, whose son beau died from cancer last year. our peter alexander has more. >> reporter: in a city badly polarized by politics, a rare moment of unity. a powerful tribute to joe biden's career, and beau biden's memory. >> god willing, this bill will literally, not figuratively, literally save lives. >> reporter: the $6 billion bill invests in a cancer research moonshot and pays to fight other diseases and opioid abuse. called the 21st
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century cures act. >> i think the senate came up with a better name when they named it after beau biden. >> reporter: remembering the life of the vice president's son who died of brain cancer in 2015. this effort has reinforced the bond between two men -- one who lost his mother -- >> she was two and a half years younger than i am today when she passed away. >> reporter: -- the other who lost a son. >> i know he loved you, and you were wonderful to beau. >> reporter: the vice president today channeling his grief into hope. >> how many times have you heard a patient say, doc, can you give me just three more weeks, so i can walk her down the aisle? or just give me another two months, it's my first grandbaby. >> reporter: what's likely the last bill-signing of this presidency, building a legacy meant to last. peter alexander, nbc news, washington. another day, another record close on wall street. the dow creeping ever closer to the 20,000 milestone, closing up 114 points to 19,911.
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it comes just a day before the federal reserve is widely expected to raise interest rates after years of rock bottom lows. still ahead, danger in the kitchen. the alarming defect that's led to the largest kitchen appliance recall in history on a product in millions of american homes.
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we're back now with a big consumer alert, the largest kitchen appliance recall in history.
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it affects eight million cuisinart food processors. very popular in american homes, perhaps even yours. tonight there are concerns they could be dangerous after several reports of injuries. we get details from nbc's miguel almaguer. >> reporter: it's one of the most popular products in homes across the country, but today cuisinart says eight million food processors could pose a hazard to consumers. tonight, there are at least 69 reports of metal pieces from the blade breaking off into processed food. 30 cases of mouth lacerations and tooth injuries from fractured metal have also been reported. >> turned it over and one of the notches actually was cracked all the way through. >> reporter: dana zucker heard the news this morning, hours after she used her cuisinart that's now on the recall list. >> it's really concerning to me. we hear the brand cuisinart, we trust cuisinart, it's been in our lives a long, long time. >> reporter: with the blades called a hazard, the massive recall includes 22 different models made
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over 19 years. >> with the holiday season upon us, with all the cooking that's going on, including in my own house, and the risk of injury being as severe as it is, we need consumers to act. >> reporter: if you see four rivets like these on your blade, there's a good chance your cuisinart is affected. you can also check the model number to see if you're part of the recall. cuisinart is offering free replacement blades, telling consumers to check their website or call their 800 number, but many are complaining they can't get through. the company is asking for patience. with no guarantee the new blades will arrive in time for christmas. miguel almaguer, nbc news, los angeles. we're back in a moment with not one but two celestial events duelling for your attention in the sky tonight.
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there's news tonight in the battle over abortion, this time in ohio, where the governor, john kasich, has signed a
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bill banning abortions after 20 weeks. similar to the ban in 20 other states. kasich however, vetoed a separate measure that would have barred the procedure when a heartbeat could be detected which would have outlawed most abortions as early as six weeks. if you gaze upwards, you could catch two duel phenomena in the sky. overnight the annual meteor shower will hit its peak. but it might be hard to see this year, because it coincides with a super moon. when the moon is full and at its closest point to the earth. the moon will be at its biggest and brightest early in the evening. the best time to catch the meteors is just before dawn. earlier this year, we told you about a little boy in afghanistan when went viral wearing a plastic bag fashioned to look like the word -- jersey of his soccer hero, lionel messi. when word got to messi, he sent the boy the real deal,
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complete with autograph. today the two met face to face, ahead of a game in qatar. the boy got to accompany messi onto the field for a team photo. when we come back, on your mark, get set, go! a race to pack 20,000 presents and the little girl who inspired it all. takes a major turn.
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===jessica/vo=== the discovery that lead police to believe someone set the fire as a cover up. ===raj/vo=== plus ... the battle over a baby born in golden gate park. ===raj/next close=== next at 6. ==je finally tonight, an update on a story
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that touched so many of our viewers. last year, we met a girl on a mission to give hundreds of under-privileged kids a gift to open at the holidays. it was a pretty big dream, but this year, she's dreaming bigger. much, much bigger. our jacob rascon has more in tonight's "inspiring america" report. [ applause ] >> reporter: we met faith russell at the finish line, the determined young girl born with spina bifida, who wasn't supposed to walk, running 5ks every month, for operation christmas child. shoeboxes filled with notebooks, toothbrushes and toys sent to children around the world, who would otherwise go without presents. faith would invite everyone to her races on one condition. they had to bring shoebox supplies. >> i just want kids to be happy. and to have hope. >> reporter: they filled 500 shoeboxes last year. and then faith had more faith. but i asked you if you had a goal. you said what?
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>> i would do 20,000. >> reporter: word spread about faith's new goal, to neighbors, churches, and more than a dozen companies. >> wow, we have been working on this for at least eight weeks. it has taken a village. >> reporter: you're not surprised one bit that we're here today? >> no. >> reporter: they've packed 20,001. faith's final box sent to colombia and 13-year-old lisette, you are loved, faith wrote in a letter. >> gracias. >> reporter: what's the point of all of this? >> i just want to let them know they're not forgotten and they're loved and they know about god. >> reporter: the true meaning of christmas, if you ask faith. i'm almost afraid to ask if you have another goal. >> i don't know. >> reporter: 20,000 is good. we're happy? >> yeah. >> reporter: in the end, as the russell family likes to say, they may not come in first, but faith always finishes. jacob rascon, nbc news.
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>> the power of dreaming big. good for her. that's going to do it for us on this tuesday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and have a good night. an esat bay house f into a murder case. the evidence that shifted the investigation . right now at 6:00 a house fire turns into a murder case. the evidence that shifted that investigation. >> good evening, thank you for joining us. >> was it foul play? the death of a widow in the east bay has triggered afternoon investigation. the story has been unfolding throughout the day, but in the past hour, investigators are giving us some past updates. >> reporter: so frightening and a sad situation here in castor
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valley. deputies say a woman who was living in the home behind me was killed, murdered in her garage, and someone tried to cover it up. fire crews found the woman's body in the garage, but we're told she was a 59-year-old wed duo w widow who lived in the home alone. police are hoping that somebody knows something that could help them solve this case. right now they don't have any leads or any information. >> it could have been a burglary that was interrupted and it could have been someone who knew she was a widow and lived there alone. >> officials aren't saying how the woman was killed, only describing it as brutal, but they do believe the fire was set to destroy

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