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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  January 4, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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>> some crazy stuff on twitter. >> yeah. >> bye. condition, a high-stake showdown now under way over obamacare. republicans vowing to repeal and replace. democrats vowing to fight. what does it mean for the 20 million americans whose coverage is hanging in the balance? off the rails. a pair of frightening commuter crashes. nearly 150 injured in all. what happened? pillow talk. a rude awakening from the better business bureau. a popular pillow advertised on tv goes from an a-plus rating to an f. word of a new barrage of consumer complaints. first baby at 50. pop superstar janet jackson gives birth shining a light on older moms. tonight, a reality check on getting pregnant at that age.
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and whiz kid, a rhodes scholar with autism goes all the way to oxford. "nightly news" begins right now. >> announcer: from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening. it's looking more and more like obamacare as we know it is on life support tonight as a republican majority in congress today took its first steps toward pulling the plug and making good on its promise to repeal a signature achievement of the obama administration. 20 million americans are covered by the law known as the affordable care act but it became apparent today republicans don't yet have a plan to replace their coverage. today, democrats mindful of that big hurdle huddled with president obama to map out their own strategy to save the law. hallie jackson is on on capitol hill. good evening. >> reporter: good evening. intending to help them pitch the public on whether the health care law should live or die, the battle that could
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stretch years now beginning in earnest. a rare simultaneous showdown just a few minutes and a few hundred feet separating president obama and vice president-elect mike pence rallying their troops for congressional combat. >> make america sick again? is that what the republicans want to do? >> we've got to fix this by replacing it with something better. >> reporter: for the gop, killing the law's politically popular, but policywise, it's a puzzle. >> we're going to get health care at a much lower price. >> reporter: and while donald trump is taking aim at the law overall today tweeting, "it will fall of its own weight," he wants to keep coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and let those under 26 stay on their parents' coverage. the catch? those popular pieces are paid for by the unpopular mandate requiring everyone to get insurance. >> you can't keep the good parts of the aca and remove the rest of the law and still
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have it work. >> reporter: so what will a replacement plan look like? not even republicans know for sure. >> within six months, we should be able to put pen to paper and have a replacement plan. certainly we're not doing that on day one. >> reporter: it will only take 51 votes to tear down the law. republicans can do that on their own. but to build it back up, 60 votes. meaning they'd need democrats to help. >> when you break something that's difficult to begin with, you have to own it in a big way. >> reporter: are you prepared to own the political fallout potentially? >> i think the most important thing for the president-elect and for the leaders here in congress is that we keep our word to the american people. >> reporter: today's strategy sessions, just the start. hallie jackson, nbc news, washington. >> this is tom costello in historic gettysburg, pennsylvania, where this woman manages a civil war themed art gallery. she's covered under obamacare but having voted for trump, she wants to see it
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replaced. what's not working about obamacare for you? >> the red tape. it should be as simple as me paying the premium, me going to a doctor that i want to go to. >> reporter: she admits she didn't have insurance before obamacare and her premiums have stayed under $300 a month. but her deductible has gone from 1700 to $4500. >> and that's a lot of money. >> for me it is. >> reporter: meanwhile, 600 miles away in crestwood, kentucky, this family voted for clinton. obamacare covered the cost of having a baby. losing that coverage, they say, would be a big blow to their hopes for the family farm. >> like most small business owners, we're kind of bootstrapping this. we've been at it a few years. >> reporter: nationwide, the affordable care act, or obamacare, has brought the percentage of americans without health insurance down from 16% to nearly 11%. premiums have jumped dramatically in some states but nationally they are up 20%. slower than the rate before obamacare took effect.
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>> if health insurers feel that everything is uncertain, will they drop out of the aca marketplaces? >> reporter: deborah admits she's conflicted. she wants obamacare repealed but she needs the coverage. >> and i have no issue with paying my fair share, but it's got to be a fair share that i can afford. >> reporter: in its simplest form, that is the very dilemma facing the new republican congress. tom costello, nbc news, gettysburg, pennsylvania. now to our nbc news exclusive report on president-elect trump's escalating feud with the u.s. intelligence agencies, including a new firestorm over his comments about controversial wikileaks' founder julian assange and brand-new details about his upcoming briefing on the intelligence conclusion he's raised doubts about, whether russia tried to influence the election. nbc news senior investigative correspondent cynthia mcfadden has new information tonight. >> reporter: today, vice president-elect mike pence
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weighing in on what seems to be growing distrust between donald trump and the intelligence community he will soon lead. >> i think, given some of the intelligence failures of recent years, president-elect has made it clear to the american people that he's skeptical about conclusions from the bureaucracy and i think the american people hear him loud and clear. >> reporter: the latest sparring began last night with trump chiding the intelligence community about postponing his briefing on evidence they say proves that russia interfered in the u.s. election. "the intelligence briefing on so-called russian hacking was delayed until friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. very strange." officials in washington were outraged. two intel agencies spokespersons contradicting mr. trump telling nbc news last night that the meeting had always been scheduled for friday. but the facts are not that clear. a senior intelligence official tells nbc that donald trump's transition team was told to expect a briefing on the russian
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hacking case early this week. but yesterday, mr. trump was told the russian report was not ready. the dust-up about the meeting's timing is more evidence of the strain developing between the president-elect and the intelligence community. adding to the overall misery, trump quoting wikileaks' founder julian assange this morning, denying that the russians gave them the hacked democratic e-mails. said russians did not give him the info. but this morning, republican speaker paul ryan spoke out strongly against assange. >> i think the guy is a sycophant for russia. >> it's absolutely astonishing. who would ever imagine you'd have a republican president-elect siding with an accused sex offender, julian assange of wikileaks, someone who has hostility against the united states and every day it's a new degradation of the intelligence community and damaging his own prospects for a successful presidency. it's really just astonishing.
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>> reporter: president obama is expected to be briefed on the final russia report tomorrow. one senior official, a career intelligence officer directly involved, says if intelligence was merely reporting the obvious, we wouldn't need it. analysts need to admit degrees of uncertainty and mr. trump needs to trust the professionals, all of which is becoming increasingly complex. it is still unclear who will brief mr. trump, although it is expected to be the leaders of the various intelligence agencies themselves. the meeting will take place at trump tower. lester? >> cynthia, thank you much. now to a high drama playing out in south carolina in a courtroom where dylann roof, an avowed white supremacist, is representing himself as a jury decides whether to sentence him to life or death for a horrific mass murder spree inside a historic charleston church. nbc's gabe gutierrez
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has the details. >> reporter: jurors had already seen these videos of dylann roof planning his massacre and unanimously found him guilty but today during sentencing, the mass murderer spoke to them in person for the first time. i'm not going to lie to you, he said, there's nothing wrong with me psychologically. he offered no apology for the killing of nine black churchgoers at the historical ame emanuel church. inste instead, prosecutors read aloud portions of his journal. "i am not sorry," he wrote, "i have not shed a tear for the innocent people i killed." the first witness for the prosecution was the widow of the reverend pinckney. >> every day, i think about him every day. >> reporter: the courtroom was tense as prosecutors played her 911 call as she huddled in a locked office after hearing the gunshots her 6-year-old daughter whispered, "daddy's dead?" "no, baby, no," her mother responded through tears. but pinckney knew her husband of 16 years was gone. after the emotional testimony, roof chose not to cross-examine her.
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mental health experts say it's exceedingly rare for defendants to represent themselves in death penalty cases. >> just because he's been found competent to stand trial doesn't mean he hasn't been found to have a serious mental illness. he does fit the profile of somebody with schizophrenia who doesn't understand he's ill. >> reporter: during her testimony, the prosecutor asked reverend pinckney's widow why she thinks roof spared her and she said to continue his legacy. inside the courtroom, her strength was a sharp contrast to the soft-spoken roof who says he's representing himself to prevent his lawyers from revealing his mental health tests. prosecutors plan to call more than three dozen witnesses in the coming days before a jury decides whether roof should be put to death. lester? >> gabe gutierrez, thank you, gabe. now to the pair of frightening commuter crashes in the northeast. first, in brooklyn where over 100 people were injured when a
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long island railroad train lifted off the tracks. none of the injuries were life threatening there. in philadelphia, early this afternoon, dozens were hurt when two trolleys collided. the good news, all of the injuries were minor. the family of a teenage student shown on video being body-slammed by a school police officer is now speaking out. they've pulled her out of school and say she's suffering injuries in the aftermath of the incident caught on camera. that officer is now on paid leave. let's get the latest on all of this from nbc's kerry sanders. >> reporter: a day after 5'2", 105 jasmine darwin was body-slammed by a uniform police officer in a high school cafeteria, the 15-year-old today complaining of body aches and a throbbing head. it's hard to look at? >> yes. horrible to watch. >> reporter: the nine-second video taken in rolesville, north carolina, followed a fight between two girls, one of them jasmine's older sister. can the officer say, look, she put herself in the middle of a
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fight? >> no. it doesn't matter. he shouldn't have did it to a child. >> reporter: the family, with their attorney, freddie rabner today. >> i'm not naive enough to think that there are not times that officers have to get physical. a 105-pound girl not involved in the conflict is not one of those times, kerri. >> ruben de los santos, the school resource officer, is on paid administrative leave tonight. he's been unavailable for comment. this video was shot at the same high school about three months ago. the mother of the boy says her son was man-handled and then pepper sprayed by different school resource officers. it reflects a national trend, one or more violent incidents in 65% of america schools. tonight, jasmine and her attorney went to the police department to file a complaint. her mother says her daughter will never go back to that high school. kerry sanders, nbc news, rolesville, north carolina. millions in the
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southeast from atlanta to raleigh, north carolina, are bracing for a new blast of winter weather. parts of the region may see several inches of snow from friday night into saturday, up to eight inches in north carolina, combined with plunging temperatures and sleet and freezing rain, it could all add up to a nightmare for travelers. still ahead here tonight, maybe you've seen the infomercials for these popular pillows. why the makers may have sleepless nights ahead. also, superstar janet jackson, a mom for the first time at 50. tonight, a reality check if you're thinking about joining the growing trend of having a baby later in life.
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the infomercials are all over tv. maybe you've flipped past them yourselves. now the better business bureau is cracking down on the makers of the popular mypillow, accusing the company of deceptive advertising. nbc's miguel almaguer explains. >> you get the best sleep. >> reporter: the infomercial and its now infamous sales pitch. too good to be true? yes, says the better business bureau, which is giving the my pillow maker a reason to lose sleep. the bbb revoking the minnesota company's accreditation, its a-plus status now changed to an f rating after hundreds of complaints about deceptive advertising. >> this was an example of a retailer trying to have consumers perceive a great bargain that actually
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wasn't there. >> reporter: the bbb says mypillow never really went on sale. the price per pillow never changed. the organization says pictures didn't match products and so-called full warranties left some consumers paying for a refund. company ceo mike lindell, the man behind the pillows, sold 25 million times over, says he is disappointed. >> you go from an a-plus to an f because they don't want me to continue an ad that's very helpful to my customers for christmas? i think it's the most disturbing thing i could ever think of. >> reporter: tonight, mypillow may still be a popular product but the corporate dreams of an a-rating have now become a nightmare. miguel almaguer, nbc news. we're back in a moment with the iconic store chain shutting down locations all across the nation.
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tonight, one of the nation's
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biggest names in retail says it's cutting back on stores. macy's will move forward with closing 68 locations and slashing 10,000 jobs. the announcement comes after a disappointing holiday season of sales which macy's blames on an increase in online shopping. celebratory news for pop superstar janet jackson announcing she's a mom for the first time at the age of 50. a joyous occasion for her and her family, and it's also shining a light on older moms. nbc's kristen dahlgren reports on something that doctors say they are seeing more often. ♪ >> reporter: at 50 years old, this may be janet jackson's most talked-about hit. >> my husband and i are planning our family. >> reporter: this week, when the singer gave birth, the internet erupted, congratulations from high-profile friends and family, criticism from those who say 50 is too old, and questions. >> around 50, 51, many patients are actually going
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into menopause. >> reporter: doctors put the chance of getting pregnant naturally at 50 around 1%. but dr. jennifer wu at new york's lennox hospital is seeing more and more older patients, thanks to technology, including the use of younger donor eggs. in 2014, 743 babies were born to women 50 and older. that's up from just 144 in 1997. but it's not without dangers. >> there are increased risks for problems like down's syndrome. also, for the mom, there's increased risk of high blood pressure and diabetes during the pregnancy. >> it was very, very hard. >> reporter: this single mom used donor eggs when she decided to have her children at 49 and 51. what's the hardest part of having a baby in your 50s? >> when i'm in my 80s, they will be in their late 20s or how am i going to be at their graduations? >> reporter: and doctors say science is no guarantee. >> in the end, there's a limit to what we can accomplish.
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we don't really want an 80-year-old woman having babies. >> reporter: an important reality check for women hoping they, too, can push the limits of fertility. kristen dahlgren, nbc news, new york. as president obama prepares to leave the white house, our nation's military offered president obama one final salute. the armed forces held a farewell ceremony for the president at a base outside the nation's capital. the president thanked them for their sacrifices and said there was, quote, no greater honor than serving as their commander in chief. when we come back, the inspiring young man who overcame the odds to achieve something that only others dream about. downed trees and blocked roads.
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and it's not over yet. ===jeff/wx wall=== another major storm moving in over the weekend. up to 6-inches of rain in the forecast. i'll tell who's facing the biggest flooding threat. ===next close=== finally tonight, it's an academic honor only the best of the best receive every year. a young man with autism has made the grade with the guidance and sacrifice of his devoted mom. rising all the way to the elite ranks of rhodes scholar. our harry smith has his incredible story in our "inspiring america" report. >> reporter: jory fleming and his service dog daisy confidently wend their way across the university of south
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carolina campus. jory has a number of disabilities, not the least of which is autism. >> my majors are geography and marine science and then i have a minor in geophysics. >> reporter: of course. what's your grade point average? >> currently, it's a 4.0. one more semester, we'll see. >> reporter: that's kind of a joke because jory will be studying for his master's degree next fall at oxford, one of just 32 americans to become a rhodes scholar. >> i was very surprised. i thought they got the name wrong. >> reporter: to have spent a few minutes with the younger jory, you would understand the distance he traveled. he checked every box on the spectrum, screaming, hypersensitivity, no eye contact, incapable of communication. >> i don't think there was a magic key. there was a lot that i tried and it didn't work, a whole lot that i tried and it didn't work. >> reporter: one thing that did work was federer. jory loved birds and kelly got him one. soon, jory took
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flight. >> of course, animals don't use language to communicate. it's kind of like me. i'd rather not use language sometimes. >> reporter: his mind was full of images, not words. he figured out a way to connect them. >> my goal wasn't to change him, it was really to bring out the best in him. >> reporter: jory's mother forsook a medical career to home school her son, and together they have uncovered an important truth. >> the road may have had a lot of potholes and bumps and diversions, but eventually it got to where it needed to go. everybody can have something that they can contribute, they just may not know how. >> reporter: jory is ready for oxford. you wonder if oxford is ready for him. harry smith, nbc news, colombia, south carolina. and that's going to do it for us on a wednesday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night.
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/swe're at the tail end of onet of storms ... but another, stronger system is ready to move in. right now at 6:00, we're at the tale end of one set of storms, another stronger system ready to move in. we're tracking when it will hit and what's being done to brace for what could be a monster storm. >> the news at 6:00 starts right now. thank you for joining us. >> raj and jessica have the night off. rain is falling in much of the bay area, we have team coverage tonight. let's begin with jeff ranieri, what are we looking at right now? >> the ground is so extremely saturated from a lot of this happening in a 36 hour period. look at the tremendous totals here up in the north bay, over
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four inches in kent field. 4 to 7 inches on average for the santa cruz mountains, back to walnut creek over 2. morgan hill, 2 1/2. even some light to moderate rain that's lingering. our mobil doppler radar, it is it producing this after storm effect and really reducing visibility, from san francisco down through woodside. again this weekend we have a new storm system that's shaping up out here in the pacific, and this could bring us in a 24 hour period for some parts of the bay area, 2 to 5 inches of rain, we're going to wrap up the flooding concern, where it could be the highest. throughout this hour. >> thanks a lot. tom jensen is live in the santa cruz mountains. i understand it's a mud dwi mess on some of the roads out there? >> it definitely is, all around the area, on the roads and off the roads, can you see the ob

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