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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  July 8, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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let's break here. we'll be back at 6:00. see you then. on this saturday night, what did they say? what vladimir putin revealed today about his closed-door conversation with president trump. the white house saying only that the president handled it brilliantly. show of force. u.s. bombers joined by planes from south korea and japan in a display of air power as the president says something has to be done about the north korean threat. the heated debate over removing confederate monuments in the south. and an angry confrontation between the ku klux klan and its opponents. great escape. a dangerous inmate breaks out again from a maximum security prison. this time with some high-tech help, maybe even a drone that flew in tools. and "inspiring america." he's one of the boys
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of summer, excelling at the game he loves. his disability, no challenge to him. "nightly news" begins now. >> announcer: from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is nbc "nightly news" with kate snow. >> good evening. with the close of the g20 summit in germany, what is clearer tonight is just how much the international landscape has shifted since president trump took office. president trump departed on air force one this afternoon. white house officials on the plane called the trip a great success. the president himself saying his meeting with vladimir putin was tremendous. but perhaps the biggest headline was how the u.s. stood alone, challenging global leaders on key issues. we begin with hallie jackson in hamburg. >> reporter: heading from hamburg home, president trump leaving a g20 summit that, at times, felt more like 19 on 1. the u.s., mostly on
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its own on trade and climate. but it's the russia relationship now raising the most questions. president vladimir putin publicly pushing his own account of his talk with president trump as a senior administration official tells nbc news the president pressed putin for 40 minutes on moscow's meddling in the 2016 election. >> as far as i could, i answered these questions. he noted them and agreed, but you have to ask him how he really felt about it. >> reporter: nbc's keir simmons asking through a translator about putin's denials. >> when you said you didn't intervene in the u.s. election, what did he say? >> he asked me questions. i answered. i clarified.
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and i think that he was satisfied with my answers. >> reporter: top white house officials today declining to dispute russia's characterization of the conversation saying the president would be happy to make a statement himself, but he did not in germany. skipping the customary overseas news conference, instead saying only this -- >> rex and i had a tremendous meeting yesterday with president putin. >> everybody is trying to nitpick what he says and what he doesn't. talk is one thing. actions are another. he confronted president putin and made it the first thing he talked about. we have to now see where it goes from here. >> reporter: that meeting with russia the most significant of the more than a dozen discussions he had with foreign leaders. at one point his daughter ivanka filling in for him at the main table. while the president appeared more comfortable personally on the world stage, he also seems more isolated on policy points like trade, and especially climate. after pulling out of the paris agreement promising to renegotiate it. the communique released today singles out the u.s. and pointedly calls the deal irreversible with the white house downplaying the divisions. >> you get 20 of your friends to agree to where to have dinner tonight is really hard. >> reporter: but even tonight, the president cannot shake the
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shadow of russia. as late today "the new york times" is reporting on a meeting during the campaign between a kremlin-linked lawyer and donald trump jr., jared kushner and then campaign chair paul manafort. the president's son tonight is confirming that meeting to nbc news calling it simply introductory, saying they discussed a russian adoption program, describing it as not a campaign issue at the time. kate? >> hallie jackson, thanks so much. at a meeting with the chinese president at the summit today, president trump again reiterated that something has to be done about north korea. those comments as the u.s. staged a show of force in the region today. a pair of b-1b bombers flew 2,000 miles from their base in guam right up to the demilitarized zone that divides north and south korea. they were joined by planes from south korea and japan. our pentagon correspondent hans nichols joins me now. what do we know? >> you can call this a dry run or target practice. what's clear is the united states and its allies want to send an unmistakable message to kim jong-un. so en route, the b1s were escorted by south korean f-15 fighters and u.s. f-16s.
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and the b-1s dropped dummy bombs on a target in south korea. on the return flight, joined by japanese f-2 fighters. so a three-country, ten-hour mission meant to stress the importance of alliances. and, kate, the first u.s. response to north korea's july 4th test of an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach alaska was to fire precision missiles with south korea. >> what sort of military options does the u.s. have right now? >> not good ones. at least not ones without adverse consequences. pentagon officials stress that north korea's capacity to inflict civilian
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casualties is almost unimaginable. thousands of camouflaged artillery pieces within range of some 25 million people in and around seoul. as secretary mattis told a few reporters at the pentagon this week, we don't set red lines. we deal with reality. >> hans nichols, our pentagon correspondent, thank you. iraqi forces backed by u.s. advisers appear to be in the final stages of driving isis out of a key iraqi city tonight. isis has held mosul for three years now, and the battle to retake it has gone on for nine months. we get the latest from nbc's matt bradley. >> reporter: guns that once shot to kill, now fire in celebration. iraqi soldiers feel victory in mosul is imminent. days ago, nbc news crews were on the front lines with iraqi troops as they pinned down the remaining isis fighters to their last few square yards of the city. the group announced over social media they will fight to the death. that's because mosul is key. it's where abu bakr al baghdadi announced the so-called caliphate three years ago. this iraqi soldier says al baghdadi vowed he would never give mosul back. look where we're standing now. across the middle east, isis is on the run. u.s.-backed troops have surrounded the
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group's syrian capital of raqqah, but isis still has small towns in eastern syria and western iraq. but mosul is the prize. by far, the largest city under isis control. this woman says no one suffered more than the people of mosul. tell that to the world. the fighting left nearly a million people homeless and leveled a huge city. but those are problems for tomorrow. today, iraqis are looking forward to a hard-won victory. matt bradley, nbc news. in this country, another kind of battle is going on tonight against a raging wildfire that threatens dozens of homes in california. the fire doubled in size overnight, and a scorching heat wave sure isn't helping. we get more from nbc's steve patterson. >> reporter: out west, 40 wildfires fueled by scorching temperatures are burning across 11 states. >> there goes the shed. >> reporter: in
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northern california, at least ten structures destroyed by a fast-moving fire. >> we're seeing a fully-engulfed home at this time. >> reporter: farther south near santa maria, 200 homes evacuated when the so-called alamo fire exploded overnight, doubling in size. low humidity, high temperatures and strong winds fueling a blanket of flames along the countryside. >> your heart drops when you look out and you see the giant orange glow behind you. it is not a good feeling. >> reporter: in all, more than 3,000 firefighters battling blazes in california alone. in british columbia, canada, close to 170 fires burning across the providence, forcing nearly 7,000 evacuations. but the biggest threat, the heat. searing record-breaking temperatures in southern california's third heat wave this year. a record 122 in palm
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springs. 103 in nearby rancho cucamonga. >> it's hot. it's really hot. >> we drink water all day long. >> reporter: so hot, many take their daily walks early to avoid air that feels like an oven. >> it makes a difference. we can walk faster and don't sweat too much. >> reporter: and the extreme heat, triple-digit temperatures is expected to continue through next week. >> the prolonged heat takes a toll on the body and the resources in any area. so the longer these heat waves last, the more dangerous they tend to become. >> reporter: back in los angeles, just look around here. this is what fire crews are worried about. weeks of hot, dry temperatures turning brush like this into tinder, raising the danger for even more fire. kate? >> steve patterson out west, thank you. as president trump approaches six months in office, he has not hesitated to tout his accomplishments, even though major goals such as health care reform and fixing the country's infrastructure remain just that, goals. but the president has achieved some of what he set out to do. nbc's kasie hunt has a reality check at the six-month mark. >> reporter: the promises were bold -- >> i guarantee we're going to build that
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wall. repealing and replacing obamacare. rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels. >> reporter: and the claims are brash. >> never has there been a president, with few exceptions, in the case of fdr, he had a major depression to handle -- who has passed more legislation, who has done more things than what we're doing. >> reporter: but what's the reality for president trump halfway through his first year in office? in a word, it's been tumultuous. within days of his swearing in, president trump signed executive orders temporarily banning immigrants from six predominantly muslim countries. pulling the u.s. out of the trans-pacific partnership. ordering the construction of a wall on the border with mexico. the travel ban was quickly blocked by the courts, though months later the supreme court upheld most of it. >> a partial victory for the administration. >> reporter: sitting on that court was associate justice neil gorsuch appointed by
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president trump and confirmed by the republican senate. >> the great accomplishment so far, substantively, has been the nomination and confirmation of justice gorsuch. >> reporter: but otherwise, despite plowing through routine business -- >> we've passed and signed 38 pieces of legislation, which nobody likes to talk about. >> reporter: the major pillars of the republican agenda are gridlocked. there's no talk of a major infrastructure bill. overhauling the tax codes has been delayed, and senate republicans were forced to delay a vote to repeal and replace obamacare. >> is your effort to repeal obamacare dead? >> no, no, we're continuing to talk about it. it's a very complicated subject. >> reporter: doubts are growing about the bill back home as the president finishes a trip overseas, backslapping with russian president vladimir putin before a two-hour meeting yesterday. again rattling america's long-standing allies, shaken already by his decision to pull out of the paris climate accords and reluctance to defend nato. >> people used to looking at america as part of a community of nations, as a trusted member of nato, as a responsible leader, as the largest, the most powerful democracy the world over are startled and increasingly alarmed with what they see from donald trump. >> reporter: a president so far without many major
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legislative accomplishments, but the beginnings of a lasting legacy. kasie hunt, nbc news, washington. >> much more on the trump presidency tomorrow morning on "meet the press." former cia director john brennan and republican senator lindsey graham will be among chuck todd's guests. in the south, the powerful debate over removing confederate war monuments was met today with an angry confrontation between the ku klux klan and counterprotesters in charlottesville, virginia. we get more from kerry sanders. >> reporter: anger today in charlottesville, virginia. kkk opposition to a city order to take down a statue of robert e. lee, a general who led the confederate army. the virginia decision follows new orleans' removal of a general
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lee statue there in may. this push to remove celebratory symbols of the civil war south took on new credibility two years ago after nine african-americans were murdered in a south carolina church. dozens of symbols of the confederacy have been removed or renamed. still the southern poverty law center estimate more than 1,500 relics of the confederacy remain on display. >> the confederate monuments are a part of history, but an ugly part of history. they honor slavery and have no place in the 21st century. >> reporter: few have as close a link as miss iris. >> talking about my daddy. >> reporter: at 94, she's the only surviving child of lewis gay, a confederate soldier who fought in a conflict that first divided our country in 1861. >> my family died for it, and that should stand for something. >> should those statues still stand today? >> yes. they stand for a part
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of history. >> reporter: ms. iris' father, 82 years old when she was born, is buried here in rural florida. on his grave, csa, confederate states of america. some are now asking, where does this end? tombstones to confederate soldiers in cemeteries like this could also be perceived as offensive. >> in another 50 years, they won't even know there ever was a civil war, probably. >> reporter: a history that still divides. >> it's time to take that monument down. >> it's a monument of peace. >> reporter: america's civil war. now a country fighting again over how the confederacy should be remembered. kerry sanders, nbc news, providence, florida. still ahead tonight -- breaking out. just wait until you see how an inmate planned and carried out his escape from a south carolina prison, including tools possibly flown in. also, we'll meet an inspiring young man who wasn't going to let a disability stop him from playing the game that he loves.
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we're back with what might be called this year's version of the great escape. a man serving a life sentence for kidnapping used a cell phone and possibly a drone to pull off a high-tech prison break this week in south carolina.
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it was the second time he had escaped from prison. nbc's morgan radford tonight on how it unfolded. >> reporter: tonight, 46-year-old jimmy causey back in custody after a daring escape earlier this week. authorities believe he used a cell phone and a drone to break out of prison. a trend they say is becoming far too common. >> these people are incarcerated, physically, but they're still continuing their criminal ways from behind bars. >> reporter: his second prison escape in 12 years. corrections officials say this time, causey used a homemade dummy to fool guards and then used a wire cutter to slice through four fences outside the maximum security prison. >> we believe a drone was used to fly in the tools that allowed him to escape. >> reporter: three days later, police tracked him down at a texas motel with two guns, four cell phones and almost $48,000 in cash. local officials say escapes like this are possible because federal authorities
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won't let them jam cell phone signals in state prisons. >> it is senseless to me that the federal government continues to prohibit state agencies and state correction officials from blocking cell phones. >> reporter: federal law bans cell phone jamming because it interferes with 911 calls. the fcc writing on their website that it causes more problems than it solves. >> why won't the fcc block cell phone signals in state prisons? >> i think there's tremendous opposition from the cell phone industry which makes money the more cell phone traffic there is. the ability of prisoners to use cell phones compromises the safety of other prisoners, the safety of prison staff and the safety of the public. >> reporter: a long simmering debate over phones now shifting to drones. this prison in the uk is the first to install an anti-drone force field. but officials say even barriers may not be enough.
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>> this needs to be fixed. it needs to be fixed now. needs to be fixed yesterday. >> reporter: fixed to ensure the third time isn't a charm for jimmy causey. morgan radford, nbc news, new york. when we come back, we follow up on that rude incident at wimbledon where a young fan had his souvenir towel snatched away.
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it was a different kind of rescue this week for the fire department in robbinsville, new jersey, after a school bus broke down carrying kids to a pool. the firefighters decided to step in and
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cool the kids off. the fire department said it knew everyone would be super disappointed if they didn't get a chance to play in the water. and they certainly weren't going to let that happen. a follow-up on the nasty incident at wimbledon this week when a man snatched the sweaty towel that american tennis player jack sock tossed to an adoering young man. afterwards, sock asked on twitter if anyone knew who that boy was and he'd be sure to get him another one. well, yesterday that happened. sock presented the fan with a replacement towel, a triumphant moment for 14-year-old peter woodville of philadelphia. and the sad news tonight that nelsan ellis has died. the actor was best known for his role as lafayette reynolds, the short order cook in "true blood." after seven seasons of "true blood," he had key roles in several films and most recently in the cbs series "elementary." his manager said he died of complications from heart failure. nelsan ellis was just 39 years old. up next, his own field of dreams.
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how a winning attitude helped him overcome a big obstacle, and how he is "inspiring america."
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finally tonight, the boys of summer are digging in their cleats as the long baseball season unfolds. the best players rising to the challenge day in and day out. and a teenager in tennessee is meeting the challenge as well. giving his all no matter what's thrown his way.
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nbc's ron mott tonight on how he is "inspiring america." >> reporter: on the baseball diamond, luke terry sparkles like few others. gold glove. quick feet. carries a big stick. pretty good arm, too. thing is, it's his only arm. and as the guy behind the plate, he's catching everything thrown his way. on and off the field. >> you call pitches. how do you manage to do that with your glove on? you mouth it? or how do you sign? >> there's like a secret sign we do. >> you can't tell me, right? >> no. >> reporter: when he was 19 months old, he lost his right arm to an e. coli infection, flat lining three times. beating the odds then and beating them ever since. fishing, hunting and four-wheeling just like any average kid. and from a young age determined to play baseball like the rest of his family. >> my granddaddy
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played it. my dad played it. we always liked it. >> reporter: now 15, he hopes to play long into the future. always teaching himself new tricks, like his signature quick change move. catch, release, throw. >> he taught himself. he kind of got on youtube and watched some stuff and went to practice one day. i looked, and he's doing something new. oh, my goodness. >> reporter: around here, luke is a standout for sure. not because of what's missing, but what he has. >> he just is a good ball player. i mean, nothing to do with the one arm. he's just a good baseball player. >> compared to anybody else on this field, he's probably the most competitive of anybody. he kills for the game. loves it. >> reporter: a ballplayer's ball player. >> he doesn't let anything hold him back. >> one, two, three, team! >> reporter: all or nothing. ron mott, nbc news, lewisburg, tennessee. >> and that's inspiring. that is "nbc nightly news" for this saturday. tomorrow, how china is turning to power from the sun, becoming the world's leader in clean energy. i'm kate snow in new york. for all of us here at nbc news, have a great night. breaking news in the south bay.
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a massive cloud of smoke... seen for miles. right now at 6:00, breaking news in the south bay. a massive cloud of smoke seen for miles. the news at 6:00 starts now. thank you so much for joining us, i'm peggy bunker. terry mcsweeney has the night off. hot conditions outside have firefighters battling flames
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across the bay area. let's take you out to the breaking news, southbound 101. this is where in just the past 30 minutes we spotted this large plume of black smoke from our highway 101 camera. we never learned the fire is burning on silver creek valley road, north of the zlwñ1012íñ a interchange. firefighters are just getting on scene. traffic backed up 101 southbound. a massive plume of smoke can be seen. we have a crew on the way and we'll continue to bring you more information as soon as we get it. if you're headed in that direction, you be see and be in, possibly, a backup. avoid the area as fire crews try to get a handle on the situation. a followup on breaking news we reported at 5:00, fire crews are battling a brush fire near a refinery. a dramatic scene for people driving by. nbc bay area's chuck

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