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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  March 15, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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tonight, russian spies charged. a stunning turn. the feds indict putin's intel officers for orchestrating a massive hack attack on a major american company. hundreds of millions of yahoo! customers hit. tonight, protecting your privacy. still no evidence. as president trump speaks for the first time about his claim that president obama wiretapped him. what he's saying now. salesman-in-chief. with the gop's plan facing headwinds, the president hits the road for a hard sell, and also weighs in on his taxes. exploding headphones. a passenger sleeping on an airplane wakes up to her face charred by flames. are lithium ion batteries to blame? and in living color. the amazing technology helping a young man see the world in a whole new way.
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the video bringing so many to tears. "nightly news" begins right now. good evening to our viewers in the west. a new case of russian cyber-eddling was alleged today, but in this case, it was personal. what federal prosecutors are describing as a russian-sponsored computer hack that targeted a half billion everyday email users, and the feds are naming names, identifying two russian intelligence agents and a pair of hackers, accused of orchestrating the massive hack predating the suspected russian interference in the 2016 election. but unlike that case, for the first time, russian spies have been criminally charged with hacking by the u.s. government. justice correspondent pete williams has details.
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>> reporter: it was one of the largest data breaches ever. >> yahoo! is dealing with a massive security breach. >> yahoo! is working with law enforcement. >> yahoo! claims the hack was done by a state-sponsored actor. >> reporter: the massive cyber attack on yahoo! launched three years ago made off with information on 500 million user accounts. now the justice department says it was directed out of here, the moscow headquarters of the fsb, the successor to the cold war kgb, and run by the very russian unit responsible for investigating cyber crimes. >> the involvement and direction of fsb officers with law enforcement responsibilities makes this conduct that much more egregious. >> reporter: federal prosecutors charged two fsb officers with running the attack and accused them of hiring two known criminal hackers to do the actual intrusions. one of the hackers, a canadian, was arrested yesterday in toronto the other three charged are in russia. the u.s. asked the russians to arrest them, but that's not likely. the fbi says the russians were
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in it for intelligence, so they could spy on specific yahoo! users, russian journalists and politicians critical of the government, and u.s. diplomats and government officials, including unnamed obama white house employees. the fbi says the hackers were in it for the money, paid by the russians, and allowed to exploit credit card numbers and other data they stole to launch fraud schemes. cyber experts say russia is depending more on hackers to do the dirty work. >> the hackers have better skills, better technology, better training, and second, it gives the russian intelligence agencies plausible deniability. >> reporter: officials say no decisions have been made about whether and how to retaliate. the u.s. could kick out russian diplomats as happened in december, or impose more economic sanctions, as it has already over ukraine. in an exclusive interview for tomorrow's "today" program, matt lauer asked u.n. ambassador nikki haley about russia's hacking. and meddling in the u.s. election. what should the president do in response? >> take it seriously. we cannot trust russia.
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we should never trust russia. >> law enforcement officials say tonight the yahoo! hacking case revealed today has no connection with the long-running investigation of russia's attempts to influence the election. lester? >> pete, on another matter, there's late word there's been a court ruling regarding the president's revised travel ban. what are you hearing? >> lester, a federal judge in hawaii tonight has blocked enforcement of president trump's revised executive order on travel, so that means it will not take effect as it was supposed to tomorrow. judge derek watson says the 90-day pause on issuing visas from six muslim countries amounts to religious discrimination. the judge says he can't turn a blind eye to mr. trump's campaign statements and intention to ban all muslim immigration. so for now, nothing changes. the original executive order was already blocked so the u.s. will continue granting visas from the six countries. no comment from the white house but the government will almost certainly appeal. >> pete williams with that breaking news tonight, thank you. let's circle back to the top story the yahoo! hacking case.
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with the serious cyber breaches we're seeing that seem to be happening more and more often, how do you protect yourself from criminal hackers after your personal information? nbc's gabe gutierrez has strategies you need to know. >> reporter: there's no indication the russian hackers used the stolen user information to commit mass identity fraud and prosecutors say they only spied on specific high-value targets. instead they launched spam marketing schemes which may have caused some people to see unwanted ads. but it's all raising questions about the safety of all email servers. >> but at its core i don't think yahoo is necessarily any more vulnerable an any other e-mail service. >> reporter: more than 205 billion emails are sent every day, that's expected to grow by 3% a year. >> it's very troubling. >> reporter: cyber security expert adam levine says the threat goes beyond email, social media, like pictures people post, tagged with locations, are easy tools for criminals. >> these photographs can lead burglars to your home or
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stalkers into your life or kidnappers to your kids. >> reporter: so how can you protect yourself? not just the basics, use long complicated passwords and keep software up to date. but also turn off gps location services and automatic icloud backups and delete old e-mails you don't need. they preserve information hackers can use to access your other accounts. lester, another important tool to protect our e-mail, what's called two-factor authentication. head to your computer, to your e-mail settings, whether it be yahoo! or g mail, input your mobile number. and the next time you login to a new machine, the security code is sent to your phone, you need your password and that security code to login, another added layer of security to protect your personal information. >> even if i have your computer and your password, it's useless? >> right. you need both that information simultaneously, much harder for hackers to get in. >> gabe gutierrez, thank you. tonight a republican and
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democratic house intelligence leaders say they have still seen no evidence to support president trump's claim that president obama wiretapped him. now mr. trump is speaking out publicly about his claim for the very first time. we get the latest from nbc's white house correspondent hallie jackson. >> reporter: tonight a new suggestion from the president that it wasn't simply a wiretap president obama had installed at trump tower, like he originally claimed, but maybe more surveillance, hinting at more to come. >> wiretap covers a lot of different things. i think you're going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks. >> reporter: it's another interpretation of his explosive tweet 11 days ago, still providing no proof. >> now you have to decide are you going to take the tweets literally, and if you are, then clearly the president was wrong. >> reporter: that's the house intelligence committee's top republican revealing he has seen no evidence of the president's claim. so he wants congress to keep investigating.
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so what's the president basing his accusation on? it's still not clear. but his attorney general says it didn't come from him. >> reporter: did you ever give him any reason to believe he was wifetapped by the previous administration? >> look, uhm, my answer is no. >> reporter: now time is running out for the fbi director on capitol hill tonight to either back up his boss or admit the president's wrong, with some lawmakers out of patience, warning the administration's out of time. >> we'll issue a subpoena to get the information. we'll hold up the deputy attorney general's nomination until congress is provided with information to finally clear the air. >> reporter: senator lindsey graham wants james comey to confirm publicly the fbi is looking into whether russia got involved in the 2016 election, announcing today comey promised answers but didn't say when. comey himself is in the hot seat monday, as at least four congressional committees are now investigating any interference from the kremlin. >> it is very much a drip, drip, and the problem with drip, drips
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is that they create puddles that then become pools. >> reporter: no matter what happens, it will probably be politically significant, either the president made a serious accusation that turned out to be false or he revealed surveillance on an unprecedented level. lester? >> hallie jackson at the white house thank you. president trump is on the road again appearing at a rally this evening to sell the gop plan to replace obamacare. days after a nonpartisan report projected it would result in 14 million more uninsured americans by next year, and the president also responding to the leak of his 2005 tax returns. nbc's peter alexander has more. >> reporter: tonight for the first time president trump making his pitch on health care, arriving in nashville to deliver a booster shot to the gop's obamacare replacement plan that one top republican says is mortally wounded. >> my whole life i have heard people say we need a businessman to run this country, and for crying out loud, here is our chance. >> reporter: tonight house speaker paul ryan says he and
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the white house are on the same page. >> we jointly drafted this legislation, house, senate and white house, so we are working on this together. the president's all-in on this. >> reporter: but the bill still faces fierce resistance from conservatives. here in music city, songwriter amanda paige cornett doesn't like obamacare or the replacement plan. >> it needs a lot of work. >> reporter: recovering from double wrist surgery after a car wreck, she's worried about losing her coverage next year. >> what they've given us to look at for the proposed reform is like moving chess pieces on a broken chess board. >> reporter: earlier in michigan, the president made no mention of health care, instead touting jobs. >> breaking news, general motors announced that they're adding or keeping 900 jobs right here in michigan. >> reporter: but most of the new hires will be workers readded after 1,100 gm layoffs announced last week. also tonight president trump is reacting after msnbc's rachel maddow reveals part of his 2005 federal tax returns obtained by
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the website dcreport.org. >> i have no idea where they got it but it's illegal, and you're not supposed to have it and it's not supposed to be leaked. they've done it before. and i think it's a disgrace. >> reporter: the two pages stamped "client copy" showed trump paid $38 million in federal income tax on $152 million of reported income, after writing off more than $100 million in losses. tomorrow the white house is expected to unveil its budget blueprint for the coming year, with massive cuts to both the state department and environmental protection agency. congressional staffers familiar with the plan tell nbc news it includes $54 billion in additional defense spending and significant new spending in both immigration enforcement, and veterans care. lester? >> peter alexander with the president in nashville, thank you. amid an improving economy the federal reserve is hiking interest rates for the second time in three months. that means the cost of borrowing is going up. it affects every american
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thinking about buying a house or a car or paying off that plastic. nbc business correspondent jo ling kent has the news that's hitting home. >> reporter: tonight the federal reserve taking action that affects your credit card, mortgage and car loan. fed chair janet yellen announcing the benchmark interest rate will rise a quarter of a point. what message are you trying to send consumers with this particular rate hike? >> the simple message is the economy is doing well. we have confidence in the robustness of the economy. >> reporter: this growing confidence in the u.s. economy has some impact on consumers, not much at first but a sign of higher rates to come. for credit cards a $16,000 debt for the average american means paying an additional $40 a year. the average car loan of $25,000 will cost an extra $36 a year. the biggest impact on people shopping for a new home, a $200,000 mortgage could cost an additional $353 a year, and if the fed raises rates two more times this year as expected, that mortgage could cost $720
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more per year. that expectation has already sent home buyers rushing to secure a lower rate. mortgage applications jumped more than 3% last week. samantha good is glad she's already locked in. >> my realtor told me that rates are going to be going up so that i should act quickly. >> her decision saved her over $2,000 a year in borrowing costs. >> i didn't just save money right away. i'm saving money throughout the whole future of my home. >> reporter: as for interest rates on your savings account, retail bank rates won't move up dramatically for now. >> the federal reserve is weaning the economy off of this medicine of low interest rates, and what that means for borrowers is that that cost is going up. >> reporter: the price we pay for a growing economy. jo ling kent, nbc news, washington. tonight, the big dig is on as cities and towns across a big part of the country try to get back up and running, some places buried under more than two feet of snow, and for many, it is still pretty dangerous going on the roads.
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and airports across the northeast are working through a backlog of delays and cancellations. also today 19 million faced winter weather advisories, after 150,000 lost power or heat. still ahead, midair horror, a passenger's headphones explode during a flight while she was wearing them. is a type of battery that so many of us have in our devices to blame? also the boy whose story touched a lot of us when a camera captured the moment the whole world changed right before his eyes.
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we're back now with new concerns tonight after a fire on board a plane. another incident suspected of being started by exploding batteries. this time the batteries may have caught fire inside a passenger's headphones as she was sleeping. the images of her charred face and hands making headlines around the world. we get details from nbc's tom costello. >> reporter: the injuries were horrific, a passenger's face, hair and skin burned after the batteries in her headphones suddenly caught fire on a flight from china to australia. the victim told investigators she was asleep listening to music when suddenly she heard an explosion. "as i went to turn around, i
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felt burning on my face," she said. "i grabbed them off and threw them on the floor. they were sparking and had small amounts of fire." with passengers choking on the fumes from burned plastic, flight attendants doused the fire with water. still no confirmation on the type of batteries involved but lithium ion batteries are a global safety concern. >> we're getting rapid calls and reports of kids trapped on the third floor. >> reporter: in harrisburg saturday, a 3-year-old died from a fire that investigators say started with lithium ion batteries in a hoverboard. other fires and injuries from exploding ecigarettes laptops and last year, galaxy note 7 cellphones. >> it was brown. it was electronic smoke. it was that brown green-gray real ugly stuff. >> reporter: researchers at underwriters laboratory show us the dangers that batteries pose. >> they all have a flammable solution inside of them, a solvent that will burn if it gets too hot or there's an internal failure of the battery of some sort. >> reporter: already under
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recall, 500,000 hoverboards and all of those gaction note 7s. >> these are things consumers live with and keep in their purses and pockets every day. >> reporter: the concern now, lithium ion batteries are common today in many and not most wireless headphones. tom costello, nbc news, washington. we're back in a moment with why some of america's top olympians are now refusing to play the game.
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the u.s. women's hockey team says it's boycotting the upcoming world championships on home ice over wages. players are seeking a contract with usa hockey they say "includes appropriate compensation." the players have had contracts only in olympic years and they are seeking a deal that covers them in all other years. california here we come. that's what a lot of folks might say when they hear the list of happiest cities put out by a personal finance website. eight of the top ten cities are in california, including fremont, san jose, irvine, san francisco, huntington beach, san diego, oakland, and santa rosa.
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also sneaking in are sioux falls, south dakota, and washington, d.c. the magazine says the rankings are based on emotional and physical well-being, income and employment, and community and environment. so why did the alligators cross the road? a nature photographer caught a whole parade of them on camera near a florida swamp. we have sped up the video showing gator after gator after gator, more than a dozen in all, ranging from 2 to 12 feet. photographer says he used a long lens so he could keep his distance, as well as keeping his arms and legs. when we come back, the boy in the video that's moved millions, opens up about the moment life changed forever. >> announcer: "nbc nightly news" is brought to you by pacific life, helping generations of families achieve long-term financial security for over 145 years. 20 mines ago.===jesvo=== plus ..
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next. next cle=== s we' goi to finally tonight, what if your entire life you couldn't see the world the same way as everyone else around you. a few days ago we showed you the emotional moment when the eyes of a colorblind boy were suddenly opened to every color of the rainbow. now he's opening up to nbc's
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kristen dahlgren about how his life is forever changed. >> reporter: this is how cason earlbeck saw the world, until this moment. >> open your eyes. i could see his lips start to curl a little bit and i knew that it had worked. >> reporter: captured on video, the colorblind fourth grader seeing the world in full color for the first time. >> the sky. it was blue. >> reporter: thanks to special glasses made by california company nchroma. they don't work for everybody but optical filters allow many with color deficiencies to see a more normal spectrum. what color shirt do i have on now? >> a little bit of a lighter brown. >> reporter: put the glasses on. >> pink. that's easy. >> blue. darker blue. >> reporter: the earlbecks first saw the glasses a few years ago. cason even started saving in his piggy bank for the $300 price tag. >> he was relentless, and i mean relentless.
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>> reporter: then his parents surprised him. >> i just didn't really understand what people actually saw, and that day was amazing. >> reporter: now others are sharing their colorful moments online. >> this is blue? >> yes. >> reporter: for cason, there is a lot to catch up on, cartoons, video games, maybe redoing a few family vacations. >> go to the beach, just go on long car drives, i can look at stoplights. >> reporter: living life in technicolor, and never looking back. >> can you see the differences? >> reporter: kristen dahlgren, nbc news, johnston, iowa. >> a whole new world for him. that's going to do it for us on this wednesday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night.
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we're going to fight this terrible ruling, we're going to take our case as far as it needs to go, including all the way up to the supreme court. >> right now at 6:00, fighting back yet again. as we speak, president trump in nashville tennessee with a message to the courts. the revised travel ban was blocked by a judge in hawaii. good evening, and thanks for being with us, i'm raj mathai. >> we've been tracking this story since we came on the air at 5:00. >> unprecedented judicial reach.
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that's what president trump is calling the block of his travel ban. nbc bay area's peggy bunker joins us now with the latest. the president really didn't hold back again. >> late today a federal court in hawaii blocked the revised travel ban just hours before it was to take effect. that was to happen at midnight, the original travel ban caused scenes like this across the nation. president trump signed the executive order just days after his inauguration. san francisco's ninth circuit court called it unconstitutional. six states in more than a dozen cities and counties went back to court, including san francisco and santa clara county. late today it was strike two for president trump. >> this new order was tailored to the dictates of the ninth circuits in my

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