tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC July 26, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
>> thanks for joining us at 5:00. "nightly news" is next. >> bye, bye, see you then. tonight, trump's transgender military ban. the president on twitter reverses an obama policy and leaves thousands of troops in limbo. many at the pentagon caught off guard. tonight the backlash even among some strong conservatives. electronic bomb threat. new tsa measures as terrorists find new ways to hide explosives. the airport rule changes that could affect your wait time at security. fertility crisis. scientists warn of an alarming decline among men. what's behind it and what doctors say couples struggling to conceive can do. a brazen escape caught on camera. a prison break filmed by the inmates themselves. how they made a daring video, and how they got out. and baby cubs. a delivery boom in chicago nine months after a win for the ages.
"nightly news" begins right now. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is nbc "nightly news" with lester holt. good evening, everyone. good evening to our viewers in the west and thank you for being here tonight. president trump's favorite method of bypassing the press twitter just may have bypassed his own military on a critical issue of who can serve. the president tweeting a major reversal of policy today, announcing a ban on transgender people from serving in the military. the twitter blast of a major policy decision appeared to have caught many at the pentagon off guard, which referred all questions to the white house including the question of what happens to thousands of transgender service members currently in uniform. nbc's kristen welker on the announcement and what apparently provoked it. >> reporter: this morning president trump announcing a shocking reversal in military
policy in just three tweets, saying the united states government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the u.s. military citing the burden of tremendous medical costs and disruption. >> i'm enraged. >> reporter: it's a 180-degree turn from an obama-era policy which lifted the ban on transgender service members, impacting potentially thousands of transgender troops. shane ortega, who is transgender, served more than 11 years in the military. >> for myself personally as a service member who was deployed five times who has literally had to bury, you know, more than ten of my friends, i find this ludicrous. >> reporter: the move came as house republicans were trying to pass a spending bill filled with president trump's campaign promises, including more money for his border wall. but an internal fight over funds to pay for medical care of transgender troops including sexual reassignment surgeries threatened to kill the deal. congressional sources tell nbc news house leaders directly asked the administration to
intervene to help squash that funding, but the president went much further. tonight, even some conservatives alarmed. >> people who are transgender, they don't choose to be transgender. they're born that way. and why should we hold that against them? >> reporter: the white house says the president's main motivation was military readiness and stressed mr. trump alerted defense secretary james mattis yesterday. but some in the pentagon were caught off guard, and press secretary sarah huckabee sanders couldn't say whether transgender troops will be immediately discharged. >> should you have been able to answer that basic question on a policy of this magnitude? >> once he made a decision, he didn't feel it was necessary to hold that decision. >> reporter: as a candidate, mr. trump vowed to fight for the lgbtq community. >> who is really the friend of women and lgbt community? donald trump with actions or hillary clinton with her words? >> reporter: tonight advocates expressing outrage all across the country including caitlyn
jenner who asked on twitter, there are 15,000 patriotic transgender americans in the u.s. military fighting for all of us. what happened to your promise to fight for them? the latest report shows medical costs for transgender troops represent a small fraction of the overall defense budget, and tonight neither the white house nor the pentagon could give any specifics about how or when the new policy will be implemented. the defense secretary's on vacation. lester? >> kristen welker, thank you. now to new changes coming to the airport security line. after stepping up screening for some international flights, today the tsa announced tighter security measures for domestic travel. more electronics, basically anything larger than a cell phone, will be individually scrutinized at tsa checkpoints, and that could mean some longer wait times. nbc's gabe gutierrez explains. >> reporter: with more and more travelers cramming more and more into their bags, tonight the tsa says it will be taking a closer look at your electronics. >> if it's all for security, that's all good. you know, you can't be
too careful. >> reporter: while passengers have been required to remove laptop computers from their carry-ons for years, the new procedures mean any device larger than a cell phone, including e-readers and tablets, must also go into a separate bin. the rules are already in place at ten u.s. airports including boston, detroit and los angeles. >> i think passengers can expect longer wait times. there's really just no way that you can start dumping more items out of a bag and somehow keep the lines going the same speed. >> reporter: this all comes after federal authorities announced tighter security measures for all 180 airlines flying to the u.s. around the world. in phoenix the tsa also recently began testing 3-d carry-on luggage scanners to detect bombs. last week homeland security secretary john kelly said the tsa recently sent off an explosive based on when terrorists were developing. >> we tested it on a real airplane on the ground
pressurized and, to say the least, it destroyed the airplane. >> any electronics larger than a cell phone in this bag? >> reporter: with that in mind, some travelers say the extra screening is worth the hassle. >> of course, it takes more time up front, getting all the things that you need to take out and everything, but i feel like if it's something that's going to protect us, then it's a good thing. >> reporter: the tsa plans to roll out the changes to all airports in the coming weeks and months. they do not apply to passengers enrolled in tsa precheck. lester? >> gabe gutierrez, thank you. on a busy day in our nation's capital, president trump kept up his campaign of attacks on attorney general jeff sessions. but sessions is showing no signs that he intends to step down. and now the president's conservative base is rallying to the attorney general's defense. we get more from nbc news justice correspondent pete williams. >> reporter: while jeff sessions was at the white house today for a national security meeting, president trump gave him another slap, tweeting, why didn't a.g. sessions replace acting fbi director andrew
mccabe? but sessions shows no sign of stepping down, after a week of presidential attacks over his decision to stay out of the russia meddling investigation because he campaigned for trump. just last night, sessions turned up the heat on cities that won't help federal agents deport immigrants here illegally as the president was trumpeting a crackdown on sanctuary cities. the attacks have accomplished one thing, rallying conservatives to sessions' aid. >> i wish the president and the attorney general would sit down and work this out between themselves. >> reporter: don't resign, jeff sessions, says national review, breitbart calls sessions a man who embodies the movement that elected donald trump. conservative talk radio urged the president to back off. >> and there's no need to treat him this way. no need whatsoever. >> reporter: i think the attorney general has had more expressions of support for him in the last 24 to 48 hours than he did almost throughout his confirmation process. >> reporter: sessions has been a loyal soldier praising his boss in every public appearance. >> the trump agenda is to improve the lives of the american people.
>> reporter: white house aides know he's not resigning, told directly by the attorney general's chief of staff. today the president's spokeswoman was sounding like he might be allowed to stay. >> you can be disappointed in someone but still want them to continue to do their job. >> reporter: those close to him say the attorney general hopes to ride out the storm and they say he'll soon be announcing action on another trump priority, cracking down on leaks of classified intelligence. lester? >> pete williams at the justice department, thank you. turning to the drama in the senate where republicans are under the gun to pass a bill to do away with obamacare. already two plans have gone down in defeat since debate opened yesterday, but the gop is set to try again with a so-called skinny repeal. nbc news capitol hill correspondent kasie hunt explains what it all would mean. >> reporter: senate republicans today scrambling to keep their obamacare repeal effort alive. under pressure from the white house to pass something they can call a win. >> i hope so. i'm not giving up.
i will keep working through the process. >> reporter: the plan to repeal obamacare without replacing it, going down this afternoon on the senate floor. >> mr. portman, mr. portman, no. >> reporter: and last night, nine republicans helped sink the massive repeal and replace plan they've been negotiating for weeks. >> this certainly won't be easy. hardly anything in this process has been. >> reporter: the president this morning attacking a senator in his own party, tweeting, senator lisa murkowski of the great state of alaska really let the republicans and our country down yesterday. too bad. >> i am in a position where i'm not looking to a re-election until 2022, so long time away. >> reporter: with both repeal and replace and repeal only out, now it's on to the skinny repeal, a set of smaller changes including eliminating the individual and employer mandates to have insurance and repealing a tax on medical devices, but it's not clear that can pass. >> everybody needs to saddle up and put it all on the table and say, this is my position.
we'll either pass it or we won't. >> reporter: watching anxiously, americans like steven shassen. the medical bills after he had a stroke totaled $75,000. >> i was just in disbelief. such an absurd amount of money for me to fathom having to finance. >> reporter: he relies on medicaid and is still waiting to find out what this all means for him. so after seven years of promising to get this done, it all comes down to what happens tomorrow. republicans are furiously negotiating behind the scenes and democrats are dragging their heels in protest, planning hundreds of symbolic amendments. lester? >> kasie hunt at the capitol tonight, thanks. tonight, six weeks since he was critically wounded by a gunman on a baseball field in virginia, house majority whip steve scalise is out of the hospital, after several surgeries and time spent in and out of intensive care. doctors say scalise has recovered to the point where he'll now transition to inpatient rehabilitation. now to rising tensions between the u.s. and
north korea and also between the white house and the state department amid concerns that kim jong-un's regime could launch another missile test as soon as this week and even develop a nuclear-capable missile by next year, secretary of state rex tillerson who has had tough words for kim jong-un, is firing back at rumors he might be on his way out amid friction with the president. our chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell has that story. >> reporter: tonight an alarming new intelligence assessment on north korea warning the regime could have a nuclear weapon capable of hitting the u.s. mainland as early as next year, two years sooner than previously thought. after north korea's successful long range missile test just weeks ago shocked u.s. intelligence officials, the assessment now concluding kim jong-un is making rapid progress. >> if they're quickening that pace, we're reaching that closing window of opportunity to try to prevent their capability to threaten the united
states directly. >> reporter: in alaska, the u.s. is testing missile defenses while hawaii plans for nuclear drills. >> what's unimaginable to me is allowing a nuclear capability that could land a weapon in denver, colorado. my objective is to develop military operations to prevent that from happening. >> reporter: harsh words from north korea saying it will launch a, quote, powerful nuclear hammer at the heart of the u.s. if the u.s. attempts to remove kim jong-un as supreme leader after threats from cia director mike pompeo to do exactly that. the administration trying to deal with these tensions as the white house and the secretary of state remain at odds over key policies. today rex tillerson commenting on speculation he may get fed up and quit. >> i'm not going anywhere. >> how long will you stay for? >> as long as the president lets me. >> reporter: but tensions continue as a button down former oil executive tries to adjust to the world of trump. andrea mitchell, nbc news, washington. i want to turn to what doctors are calling a major public health crisis, a sharp decline in fertility among men. with no signs of the problem is
improving, experts warn it could become a much larger problem for all of us. nbc's kristen dahlgren explains. >> reporter: the study found men are significantly less fertile than just 40 years ago. >> i think this is a wake-up call. >> reporter: researchers analyzed 185 previous studies involving almost 43,000 men. from 1973 to 2011, both sperm concentration and overall sperm count declined more than 50% in men from north america, europe, australia and new zealand. >> it can't be genetic. it's much too fast for genetic changes. and so it's got to be environmental. >> reporter: dwindling sperm counts have been linked to exposure to some chemicals in things like plastics and nicotine especially in the womb. doctors say a mother who smokes while pregnant does greater damage to her son's future sperm count than if the son smoked himself as an adult. >> i do believe this study is showing us a real trend that may very well be -- the
term we use is the canary in the coalmine. >> reporter: heart disease, prostate cancer and early death. if something in the environment is disrupting hormones, it's not just men who have to worry. >> it is not something that's just limited only to the man who has an interest in building a family. it can be telling us something about all of our health. >> reporter: doctors say don't worry about things like cell phone use or tight underwear. focus on the basics, a healthy diet, exercise, no smoking and getting a good night's sleep. small changes that could have a big impact on your reproductive health and maybe more. kristen dahlgren, nbc news, new york. we've got a lot more to tell you tonight including the story of a daring jailbreak recorded by the inmates themselves. the shocking new video showing exactly how they pulled it off. also, a new warning if you're planning a trip
tonight we're getting our first look at a wild video of a jailbreak recorded by the inmates themselves. the video, taken on a smuggled-in cell phone, documents how the men made their escape and their time on the run. our national correspondent miguel almaguer has the tape. >> reporter: produced with music, the edited video begins
inside the maximum security wing at the orange county jail. at ease, smiling for a cell phone smuggled in, this is where three inmates executed their incredible escape. removing a steel leg from a bunk bed, one inmate slides over a precut metal vent. the video shows the first prisoner shimmying through, returning to give the all clear, accompanied by the theme song to "mission: impossible." ♪ moving behind walls, the inmates remove steel bars. rope and cloth used as a ladder and another thumbs up. they reach the roof pausing for even more photos. with rope they rappel five stories down. a real life hollywood getaway. >> in california right now a massive manhunt for three dangerous inmates. >> reporter: the escape launching an eight-day manhunt. jonathan tieu wanted for murder, bac duong for attempted murder
and hussein nayeri for kidnapping and torture. >> my name is adam hussein nayeri. >> reporter: nayeri narrates the video, implying a cab driver who police say was kidnapped willingly drove them into san francisco. but long ma says he was held at gunpoint for days as the trio pose at haight and asbury. the trio hid in a van drinking whiskey and smoking marijuana before one inmate turned the himself in and the others were captured. a stunning escape brazen. and for police, embarrassing. miguel almaguer, nbc news, los angeles. >> pretty incredible. we're back in a moment with emergency evacuations. a massive fire burning up a region packed with tourists.
french rivera. incredible scenes of smoke and flames on some of the most picturesque coastline in the world. tourists on the beach as hundreds of firefighters battle flames in the hillside. an alert tonight from the state department for travelers planning to head to mexico. the caution involves potentially tainted alcohol that could cause vacationers to get sick and black out. it comes after the death of a tourist from wisconsin that prompted an investigation by "the milwaukee journal sentinel." the paper found dozens of accounts of people passing out at mexican resorts even after drinking limited amounts of alcohol. a big announcement from an electronics giant. the taiwan-based company foxconn who is best known to many as one of apple's suppliers, will open a multibillion dollar plant in wisconsin where it will make display panels used in tvs and computer screens. the company made the announcement late today at the white house where officials say the factory, to be built in house speaker paul
family. ===next close=== next. finally tonight, it seems there's a baby boom going on this summer in chicago. and you'll recall that just about nine months ago or so the chicago cubs finally won their first world series championship in more than a century. so did one thing lead to the other? here's nbc's kevin tibbles. >> reporter: the chicago cubs have become the gift that keeps on giving. yes, after waiting more than a century for a world series -- >> little cubs fan. >> reporter: -- many die hard couples have only had to wait nine months for the next installment -- a newborn baby. and today the little sluggers were celebrated. the grooms family welcomed little baby rose yesterday. >> she definitely is born a cubs fan for sure, like she
doesn't even have a choice. >> reporter: today she was welcomed into the world of the cubbies. >> rookie of the year. >> reporter: you got any vacancies? >> no, actually, we're full today. >> reporter: it seems couples stepping up to the plate to celebrate victory is a real life anecdotal phenomenon according to dr. melissa dennis. so after 108 years of sorrow, the cubs are really bringing joy to this city. >> the cubs are bringing joy, and the joy just keeps coming. >> reporter: the baby bump also apparently visited boston in the wake of the red sox win. ♪ we're all babies >> reporter: and the nfl's even created the super bowl babies choir, with kids the stork sent winning cities nine months after their big victories. phil and jackie young of iowa honeymooned at wrigley field and have named their newborn daughter ivy for the fabled foliage in the outfield. >> i'd love to have another boom of world series babies this year and then maybe next year and the year after that. >> reporter: sounds like some cubs fans want to field their own team. kevin tibbles, nbc news, chicago.
>> how's that for team spirit? we appreciate you spending part of your evening with us. that is "nightly news" for this wednesday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. cold-cocked -- by a. the vicious attack caught on camera in the east bay -- and watch the screen, right now at 6:00, a vicious attack caught on camera in the east bay and the search for the man in that video. the news at 6:00 starts now. good evening. thanks for joining us. i'm jessica augeri. >> i'm raj mathai. she was minding her business and it happened. an oakland woman is recovering after a random and vie lnlt atta -- violent attack. a man elbowed her in the face and ran away. nbc michelle roberts joins us from the oakland police department now with the latest. michelle? >> raj, this is a disturbing
story. she could have permanent vision loss. they are investigating this horrible case. zoey says she's living in fear after she was randomly attacked last thursday. she didn't want us to show her face for fear the man seen in this video would retaliate. you can see zoey in the pink shirt walking to get lunch in oakland when a man approaches her and elbows her in the face. zoey fell to the ground knocking her head on the concrete. he yelled for her to get out of the way before he struck her. >> i'm freaking out. my aunt is on the floor and knocked out and i don't know why. like why? she didn't do nothing. she was just walking by. >> reporter: daisy says her aunt has a broken bone and will likely need surgery. she is suffering from blurry vision and docto