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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  May 31, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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tonight, clear to testify, fired fbi director james comey gets the go ahead to speak publicly. what will he say about his conversations with president trump as new subpoenas that fly in the russia investigation. climate deal cliff hanger, sources telling nbnews the president is leaning toward withdrawing from a historic agreement sparking a storm of controversy. backlash against comedian kathy griffin out of a job over a shocking photograph the trump family condemning her actions. fire on board, a laptop forces an emergency landing, why safety experts are so concerned. seeing clearly, patients trying a new alternative to lasik. doctors say the results are remarkable. inspiring america, a lesson in kindness,
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a stranger helping make a dream come true. "nightly news" begins right now. good evening to our viewers in the west. i'm savannah guthrie in for lester tonight and the stage is set for what could be the most dramatic showdown in washington to take place in a generation. fbi director james comey, fired by president trump will testify before congress telling his story publicly for the first time, and setting up a he said he said with the president of the united states. will comey confirm what he reportedly has told friends, that the president leaned on him to lay off parts of the russia investigation? and tonight, as congress issues a blizzard of new subpoenas, hillary clinton is making her most blunt comments to date, accusing trump allies of coordinating directly with the russians.
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nbc's andrea mitchell leading us off tonight. >> reporter: tonight james comey has the green light to testify to congress as early as next week. permission from special counsel robert mueller and expected to be asked about what the president said to him about the russia probe. nbc news previously reported comey told friends he felt pressure to back off from the investigation. this as the house intelligence committee approved seven subpoenas, four for michael flynn, trump lawyer michael cone and their businesses on the russia probe and three for classified reports related to whether former obama officials improperly accessed the identity of trump associates and intelligence reports. rice strongly denied it to us. >> did you leak the name of mike flynn? >> i leaked nothing to nobody and never have and never would. >> reporter: meanwhile, hillary clinton blasted russian spies for hacking her campaign manager e-mails and working with american political operatives she said to target her campaign with false messages on the internet. >> the russians, in my
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opinion, and based on the intel and counter intel, people i've talked to, could not have known how best to weaponize that information unless they had been guided, and here -- >> guided by americans? >> guided by americans. >> reporter: who did she say created the top message, top campaign fundraiser and the president's son-in-law. >> they came to jared kushner and basically said, we will marry our operation, we will marry that with the rnc on two conditions, you pick steve bannon and you pick kellyanne conway. bannon had been running the breitbart operation supplying a lot of the untrue, false stories. >> reporter: clinton also said donald trump and bernie sanders could get angry about issues but voters didn't accept that from a woman but above all she blames her loss on james
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comey, for reviving the investigation just before election and telling voters he had been investigating russia for months. savannah? >> andrea mitchell in washington, thank you. president trump meanwhile is keeping the world in suspension tonight about his plans tonight regarding the paris accord. reports today the president was about to drop the hammer on that agreement sent a ripple across the globe but tonight some activists are holding out hope. nbc white house correspondent kristen welker with the enormous impact it could have. >> reporter: tonight, mounting anticipation as president trump inches closer to a final decision on the paris climate agreement. two administration officials tell nbc news mr. trump is leaning toward pulling out of the obama era accord. >> very soon. you'll find out very soon. >> reporter: mr. trump called climate change a hoax vowed to pull out of the deal calling it a jobs killer. >> we will scrap the $5 trillion obama clinton climate action
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plan and the klein power plan. >> reporter: the non-binding agreement asks the nearly 200 participating countries to reduce toxic emissions along a political lightning rod and west wing with daughter ivanka trump and son-in-law jared kushner urging him to stay in. but nationalists like steve bannon pressing him to pull out. 22 republican senators wrote a letter asking him to withdraw saying the deal places too many regulations on the energy sector. and hurts the economy. >> he promised his constituents i wasn't going to be part of these economy killing, environmental regulations. well, that was a promise he made, he's going to keep it. >> reporter: supporters of the paris deal stress it's critical to protect the environment and national security and warned the earth had the hottest year on record, which will only worsen if the president pulls out. creating more heat waves, coastal flooding and stronger storms like super storm sandy. 33 big companies have pressed the president to stay in, arguing the deal is also good
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for trade. the only other major countries not part of the deal, syria and nicaragua. >> in terms of u.s. leadership, i think it's disastrous. >> reporter: no matter what the president does, cities and states say they will make their own rules. >> when we talk about heat waves and major storms, we're talking about people losing lives in boston and we cannot let it happen. >> reporter: meanwhile tonight, confusion after the president tweeted just after midnight quote, despite the constant negative press followed by the series of letters covfefe. that went viral. today press secretary sean spicer saying, the president and a small group of people knew exactly what he meant. savannah. >> kristen welker at the white house, thank you. now to the backlash over the shocking viral photo that everyone that saw it found offensive including the president and first lady. it shows comedian kathy griffin holding up a mocked up bloody image of president trump. and while she has apologized, it has already cost her a
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high profile job. and a warning to the viewers, the images are graphic. we get more from nbc's stephanie gosk. >> i went too far. i made a mistake, and i was wrong. >> reporter: the apology came hours after the images went viral. kathy griffin holding a bloodied likeness of president donald trump's head. >> the image is too disturbing. i understand how it offends people. >> reporter: it was not enough for the president tweeting this morning, kathy griffin should be ashamed of herself. my children, especially my 11-year-old son baron are having a hard time with this. sick. the first lady followed. as a mother, a wife and a human being, that photo is very disturbing and makes you wonder about the mental health of the person who did it. >> this is fake blood. just so you know. >> reporter: the 56-year-old joked during the photo shoot about the possible reaction from law enforcement. >> we have to move to texas today because we're going to go to prison, federal prison. >> reporter: not a joke for the secret service. which looks into any possible threat to the president. people weren't
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laughing online, either calling it disgusting, repugnant shocking. chelsea clinton tweeted this is vile and wrong. it is never funny to joke about killing a president. >> you don't even know what you're talking about. >> reporter: today cnn said she would not host the new years eve live show and senator al frank n was tough but not ready to cancel an appearance with griffin in july. >> she did make a very heart-felt apology. i think she's thinking she was making some artistic statement, but that image has no place in our political dialogue. >> reporter: at a time of deep political divisions, a rare agreement over what defines bad taste. stephanie gosk, nbc news, new york. and now to a scare in the air, a laptop catching fire on a cross country flight forcing an emergency landing and also raising concerns as the trump administration is considering banning personal electronics larger than a cell phone on board flights to the u.s. from europe. safety experts say this incident shows why that could pose a
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new risk. nbc's tom costello explains why. >> reporter: at the gate in grand rapids michigan, jetblue 915 after a smoking laptop forced an emergency landing. >> it was pretty scary to see smoke on the plane. we're at 35,000 feet. >> reporter: now aviation safety experts say it should be a red flag warning to homeland security that placing all electronics larger than a cell phone in the cargo hold on flights from europe could be dangerous. on friday, homeland security secretary john kelly insisted lithium ion batteries are dangerous if loose but pose little risk if in a device. >> and the device is not on, it's quite safe i'm told by all the studies. >> reporter: but the faa has long warned about the fire danger. in a report issued just last week, the faa counts at least 48 fires or smoke incidents involving lithium batteries or chargers in the last 17 months including
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cell phones, tablets, laptops, e cigarettes, cameras and power tools. many of them off. this passenger's headset caught fire causing burns. safe the experts are warning of the danger of loading so many devices of the cargo hold where passengers and crew members can't put out a fire. >> i have significant concerns because we know there are a number of lithium batteries that will spontaneously create thermal run away and create the potential for fire. >> reporter: while cargo holds have special fire suppression systems, would that handle a runaway lithium eye on battery fire? an faa safety alert warns flight crews to use water. a company called plane guard sells cases for in flight fires but no u.s. airlines have bought one. homeland security tells nbc news it's still planning on the so-called laptop ban on european flights in the coming weeks. it's working on that. safety experts concerned about the fire danger, though, savannah. >> tom costello, thank
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you. tonight police say a potential disaster has been averted at the trump hotel in washington d.c. a man arrested found with an assault weapon and ammo in his car but it's still unclear what, if anything, he was planning. our justice correspondent pete williams with the details. >> reporter: shortly after getting a tip that a man that checked in last night at the trump hotel had weapons, washington d.c. police and secret service agents had him in custody. >> i believe that the officers and our federal partners and in particular the tipster coming forward averted a potential disaster here in the capital. >> reporter: why the man came to the trump hotel six blocks from the white house remains a mystery. police say 43-year-old brian mulls of pennsylvania checked into the hotel around 1:00 a.m. and told the parking attendant he had guns in his car. around the same time, pennsylvania state
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police relayed word from a friend that mulls was headed to washington with guns and talked about the man that blew up the oklahoma federal building in 1995. about 2:00 a.m. investigators knocked on his door and asked if he had guns and he said yes in the car. a police report says he had a pistol, assault rifle and 90 rounds of ammunition. law enforcement said he wanted to stay in the hotel to show his support for the president. >> an interview of mr. mulls was conducted by agents of the field office that revealed he posed no threat to secret service protectees. >> reporter: officials say mulls has given conflicting information why he came here but no indication he intended to harm anyone. for now he's accused of possessing unregistered firearms. he'll be charged in court tomorrow. pete williams, nbc news, washington. there has been massive bomb blast in afghanistan and attack in what's supposed to be the most secure part of the capital. at least 90 dead and 400 injured including americans. our chief foreign correspondent richard engel with more.
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>> reporter: new security footage of what witnesses say was the biggest bomb they heard in kabul and that's saying a lot. in a city that has seen decades of war. at 8:30 a.m., rush hour, a tanker truck packed with explosives killed dozens. >> explosion. >> reporter: detonating in front of the german embassy in the heart of the diplomatic quarter. it was so powerful, it left the crater the size of a backyard swimming pool and shook buildings for a mile around. >> the way the house was shaking, it was quite a big blast and scary because i didn't know whether the house would hold up. >> reporter: among the injured, the state department says 11 american contractors working in kabul. none of their injuries are said to be life threatening. the taliban denied it carried out the attack which killed mostly afghan civilians on their way to work. in claim from isis, either, which earlier this year rampaged
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through a kabul hospital sending patients and visitors on to window ledges. the trump administration has been struggling to find a new policy for afghanistan, the u.s. military dropped the so-called mother of all bombs on isis last month. but today's carnage shows little has changed. u.s. officials say the trump administration is considering sending up to 5,000 more american troops to afghanistan to reinforce the 8400 already there. to stop the bleeding in a war that seems to be on the back burner of washington's agenda. savannah. >> richard engel, thank you. still ahead, want to throw away your glasses or contacts but worried about lasik surgery?
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we're back now with news that could maybe better vision for you or your family members. it's a new procedure just approved in the u.s. doctors say it could be a better less invasive alternative to lasik for some patients. nbc's dr. john torrez with details. >> reporter: in suburban cleveland, 44-year-old tina nowell struggled with glasses and contacts for most of her life. >> i feel like my glasses restrict me from doing things. simple everyday tasks. >> reporter: her doctor recommended a procedure called smile approved a few months ago in the united states. dr. ronald kruger prom the cleveland clinic says for some
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patients, it's more effective than lasik. >> a lot of people know about lasik, what is the difference between the two? >> i often say s.m.i.l.e. is like a laparoscopic incision. she was able to go back to work the next day. fewer patients report dry eye. >> because it's less invasive, it doesn't dry your eyes out as much. >> reporter: the procedure is fda approved for people nearsighted and do not have a stigmatism. and could be expanded to more patients down the road. for now it costs around $5,000 for both eyes. it's not covered by insurance. for tina noel, it was a good investment. >> it could just be in my mind, driving so much clearer, the sky
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seems bluer, the grass seems greener. >> reporter: freedom from glasses, thanks to a technique to see life more clearly. dr. john torrez, nbc news, cleveland. coming up next, touching the sun, nasa announcing a historic mission.
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back now with an amazing escape caught on camera. dramatic video showing someone jumping from a fuel tanker on a denver interstate. officials say it blew a tire and crashed into the median, sparking a fire that shut down the highway. now to a big announcement from nasa, a journey to touch the face of the sun. scientists are getting ready to launch a spacecraft, that would take them as close as they have ever gotten to the center of our solar system. >> reporter: blasting off next summer, nasa is taking place exploration to new heights, the first mission to the sun in
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its outer most atmosphere called the coronan. >> solar probe will be the hottest, fastest mission. i like to call it the coolest hottest mission under the sun. >> reporter: reaching speeds of 430,000 miles an hour, fast enough to travel from new york to tokyo in less than a minute, the parker solar probe will need to with stand temperatures of 2500 degrees. no spacecraft has ever come this close to the sun. >> solar probe has a really unique mission. it's really the first mission to a star. >> reporter: the mission to shed light on the sun, providing insight about the physics of stars, the dynamics of space weather and solar flares that could impact our satellite and power grids. >> until you actually go there and touch the sun, you really can't answer these questions. >> reporter: the out of this world mission ends in june 2025, and
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it may forever change the way we see and understand the sun from planet earth. miguel almaguer, nbc news, los angeles. >> pretty exciting. coming up next, he was walking six miles to work each way but a chance encounter put this teen's future on a much different path. the bold move he )ll make if
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president trump breaks the climate deal. =jan/vo= plus, pushing back last call in bars. the vote that brings california one step closer to extending the 2 am deadline.
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===next close=== next. finally tonight, the story of a hard-working teen who was scraping together every cent in the hope of going to college but thanks to a twist of fate, that day arrived much sooner than he ever expected. nbc's kevin tibbles has our inspiring america report. >> reporter: it's been a journey for this young man's dream to be a teacher. >> everyone says education is key, i'm trying to get the key to life. >> reporter: 18-year-old tareq is from a family of nine kids. he was bussing tables and walking six miles each way to and from work. desperate to save money for college. >> i had to get out there and walk. >> reporter: one frigid winter night, jacob and his son spotted tareq walking on the side of the road. >> should we pick him up? i said yeah, i think we should. >> reporter: after
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talking, apprehensions on both sides were laid to rest and jacob heard of tareq's goal to teach. jacob mentors kids at a local boxing club and got to thinking. >> it's not always about how much money you can make in this world but how much of a difference you can make. >> we were always taught to help someone in need. in any situation, that could be you. >> reporter: that's jacob's younger brother joshua, a student at wichita state. he told the school tareq's story and it helped organize funding. >> we reached out to the community, family donated calculators, bought him a laptop, book bag, supplies. >> reporter: when tareq hit the books, there was no looking back. he's made the dean's list and remains determined to teach. >> i felt like that would be good to show the next generation. >> reporter: you got a ways to go, have you got it in you? >> yeah, i know i got it in me. >> reporter: thanks to a chance encounter, he's on the road to fulfilling that dream. kevin tibbles, nbc news, wichita, kansas. that will do it for us on a wednesday
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night. i'm savannah guthrie in for lester. i'll see you tomorrow morning on today. for all of us at nbc news, thank you so much for watching. and have a good night. the paris accords matter globally to be sure, but they also matter right here at home. >> right now at 6:00, waiting on a decision from president trump. will the u.s. pull out of the paris climate agreement? already some in silicon valley are taking a stand. the news at 6:00 starts right now. good evening. thanks for joining us. i'm janelle wang sitting in for raj mathai. >> and i'm jessica aguirre. the world is washington president trump especially tonight. hours ago, governor brown put pressure on the president calling states to forge an alliance to support the paris
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climate deal. nbc confirms president trump is leaning toward pulling the u.s. out of that agreement in which nations make voluntary efforts to reduce carbon emissions. >> but president trump, when he talks about a hoax in the face of all legitimate science, in the academies of science from all the major nations of the world, he's off on his own track here. >> now, the president's decision is also leading to a threat from elon musk. the tesla ceo says he'll quit as an advisor if the president backs away from that agreement. business tech reporter joins us live inside the warehouse of the company. also watching what the president does next, scott. >> reporter: very much, jessica, as you said. we heard from governor brown today. we heard from elon musk. let me show you this warehouse. this is inside the solar warehouse full of solar panels on their way to roofs here in silicon valley. they say the green tech economy has been very good tom

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