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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  July 28, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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6:00. >> see you soon. bye. breaking news tonight. another major white house shake-up. reince priebus is out and homeland security secretary john kelly is in as president trump's new chief of staff. a stunning announcement made via twitter. thumbs down. a dramatic late-night move by the maverick, john mccain, bucking the president and siding with the democrats to keep obamacare alive. what happens next? a new missile launch by north korea, and experts fear this one had the range to hit major u.s. cities including l.a., denver and chicago. kicking the habit. new moves by the feds, how they're trying to make everything from cigarettes to vaping less addictive. and close encounters. the new warnings at some of the busiest beaches in america. "nightly news" begins right now.
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from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is nbc "nightly news" with lester holt. good evening and welcome to our viewers in the west. thank you for being here. we begin with a story that broke late today. the power struggle in the west wing of the white house has claimed another casualty. president trump announced by twitter this afternoon that he is replacing chief of staff reince priebus with homeland security secretary general john kelly. priebus' exit after six months on the job comes a day after he was excoriated by new white house communications director anthony scaramucci and just a week after sean spicer's abrupt resignation as press secretary. our kristen welker is at the white house with late details on the shake-up. >> reporter: tonight, a major staff shake-up in the embattled west wing. chief of staff reince priebus is out. president trump announcing his new pick in a tweet.
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i am pleased to inform you that i have just named general secretary john f. kelly as white house chief of staff. kelly had served as mr. trump's secretary of homeland security. the president spoke about the big changes moments after returning to washington after a trip to new york. >> reince is a good man. john kelly will do a fantastic job. general kelly has been a star, done an incredible job thus far, respected by everybody. a great, great american. >> reporter: a source close to priebus says he privately offered his resignation yesterday after the new communications director, anthony scaramucci, launched a profanity-laced tirade against him in "the new yorker." what led to the ouster? sources inside the white house says the president has been frustrated with priebus' perceived lack of leadership for months and having put him in charge of healthcare, last night's defeat was the final straw. >> the motion to commit is not agreed to. >> reporter: secretary kelly is widely seen as a stabilizing force.
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a 45-year marine veteran who has carried out mr. trump's tough on crime and immigration policies as the leader of homeland security and, like his boss, wants to crack down on leaks. >> i think it's darn close to treason. >> reporter: at his event in new york today, the focus was gang violence, but the president also sang kelly's praises. >> truly one of our stars. john kelly is one of our great stars. >> reporter: late tonight, priebus. >> reporter: in a statement tonight, priebus thanked the president for what he called one of the greatest honors of my life. according to a white house official, kelly starts his new role on monday. the move has been in the works for about two weeks. priebus becomes the shortest serving white house chief of staff ever. lester? >> kristen welker, thank you. let's bring in our political director, the moderator of "meet the press." chuck, we're watching some serious issues. our next story about north korea while all this drama is playing out in the white house with its
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attached distractions. what happens now? what faction won, and where does that take the administration? >> well, look, today could actually be the day -- the start of a series of potentially good days. i mean, look, it was an untenable situation when you had this new communications director in open warfare with two of the president's closest advisers, the chief of staff, reince priebus, who is now out, and the chief strategist steve bannon. look, it's -- we'll find out if he can bring order. if everybody in the president's orbit, lester, i would say john kelly was probably the best candidate he could have picked to be chief of staff. but he can only be successful if, number one, the president gives him some authority, at least on staffing, and number two, if there is an acknowledgment of where things get started and where they end. are people going to be able to do end runs around the chief of staff, this one, like they did before? i imagine that somebody who has worn the uniform is going to be
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harder to end run than a guy like reince priebus. so we'll see. but ultimately about what authority does this president give his chief of staff. >> i know you'll have more on "meet the press" on sunday. chuck, thank you. let's go the other major story i mentioned a moment ago. north korea fired off another intercontinental missile late today, one that some experts are warning was capable of reaching several major american cities. as it was the missile splashed down off the coast of japan where that country's prime minister describes the launch as a serious and real threat. today the pace of north korea's progress toward developing a long-range nuclear-armed missile is the cause of grave concern in washington as well. our andrea mitchell has the very latest. >> reporter: in the wake of a successful launch three weeks ago, north korea today firing a second long-range missile. the missile aloft for around 45 minutes, 2300 miles up, and landing in the waters off japan about 620 miles from its launch.
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the alarming advance, if shot toward the u.s., could not only reach the u.s. west coast but some experts say even denver or chicago. a serious challenge to president trump. >> that should get his attention that the north is not interested in doing something diplomatically. they want to have a weapons capability which can threaten the united states. >> reporter: the pentagon has been firing missile defense tests from alaska, but they're not foolproof. and kim jong-un's team is making alarming progress on the next step, producing a nuclear warhead small enough to be mounted on an icbm and withstand the heat of re-entry into the atmosphere. they could conquer that challenge as soon as next year. >> what's really missing here, andrea, is an entire team in a trump administration that is focused on solving this problem using all of the tools in our toolbox, military, diplomatic, intelligence, cyber, treasury sanctions. >> reporter: and tonight, in a
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show of force, the u.s. and south korea have staged a joint ballistic missile test in response. the chairman of the joint chiefs, general joe dunford, called his south korean counterpart to discussion military options. and just now the president has released a statement saying the united states will take all necessary steps to ensure the security of the american homeland and protect our allies in the region. lester? >> andrea mitchell with that late-breaking information, thank you. now the defeat for senate republicans and their last ditch effort to repeal parts of obamacare. as the marathon session stretched into the night, senator john mccain shocked his colleagues by casting a decided no vote. provoking gasps in the chamber. nbc capitol hill correspondent kasie hunt was up all night watching it and explains how it all went down. >> reporter: after seven years of fighting, the republican promise to repeal obamacare is broken. senator john mccain stunned his president and his party overnight, stepping up and
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voting no. to gasps in the senate chamber. the so-called skinny repeal bill failed 49-51. two other republicans also voting no. >> this is, you know, clearly a disappointing moment. >> reporter: in the critical moments before the vote, the vice president on the floor pleading his case. the president calling mccain on his cell phone. but it wasn't enough to cut the deal. >> they should have approved healthcare last night, but you can't have everything. boy, oh, boy. they've been working on that one for seven years. can you believe that? >> reporter: democrats today hailing mccain as a hero. insisting they want to work with republicans. but there's no clear path forward. republican leader mitch mcconnell not saying what he'll do next.
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>> the administration is already hastening the collapse of obamacare. they've shortened the enrollment period, they've cut outreach to encourage people to sign up. >> reporter: does president trump understand healthcare policy? >> i haven't talked to him at length on healthcare policy, but my republican colleagues who do say he doesn't understand it very well. >> reporter: the republicans who bucked their party now have to answer to voters. >> susan collins is looking out for not just her party but her people in maine. >> there's no sense in stabbing each other in the back. that's what they're doing with mr. trump now. >> reporter: with insurance markets struggling and premiums rising, americans are still wondering if washington can do anything to help. there are already conversations going on between some republicans and democrats about how to at least stabilize the insurance exchanges, but with congress headed out on august recess for most of the month, it's unlikely that this is going to come back up any time soon. lester? >> kasie hunt at the capitol tonight, thank you. russia is retaliating against the u.s. for the new sanctions passed by congress over the kremlin's meddling in the 2016 election. while president trump has yet to say whether he will sign or veto those sanctions, moscow has already responded by seizing u.s. diplomatic properties. nbc's chief foreign
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correspondent richard engel has more. >> reporter: from above it hardly looks like the kind of place to be at the center of a diplomatic row between washington and the kremlin, but the russian government said today it's seizing this unassuming retreat for american diplomats and a storage facility the embassy uses. the american country house outside moscow is now gated shut, and over the next month and a half, russia says it will be sending hundreds of americans home. putting a cap on the number of americans who can serve in this country at 455, the exact number of russian diplomats who serve in the u.s. it's russia's punishment for sanctions passed overwhelmingly by congress. >> the united states of america needs to send a strong message to vladimir putin and any other aggressor that we will not tolerate attacks on our democracy. >> reporter: it's also a delayed retaliation for similar seizures and expulsions by president
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obama last year. his response to russia's election meddling. back then, on the eve of president trump's inauguration, putin didn't respond. but now, russian officials like andre klimov from russia's foreign relations committee, called president trump weak and ineffective. >> it seems to me personally from time to time that he's really prisoner of the white house. >> reporter: the u.s. embassy in moscow said it's been informed about the loss of its house and the personnel cap and has registered its complaint. richard engel, nbc news, moscow. tonight new moves from federal health officials in the battle to get more people to kick the habit. step one is a path to make tobacco products less addictive by cutting the nicotine. nbc's kristen dahlgren tells us more. >> reporter: calling it the leading cause of preventable disease and death --
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>> cigarettes are the only legal consumer product that, when used as indicated, will kill half of all term users. >> reporter: -- the fda announcing a major regulatory shift. its first priority lowering nicotine in tobacco products. also the role of flavored products like menthol cigarettes in attracting young smokers as well as cigars and e-cigarettes. ashley has been smoking for six years. >> if i wasn't addicted to nicotine, if i wasn't addicted to cigarettes, then i would have no problem quitting. >> reporter: the cdc estimates more than 36 million americans smoke. more than 3200 kids under 18 start each day. smoking leads to 480,000 deaths each year. >> thank you for calling the hot line. >> reporter: at national jewish health in denver, hillary runs a smoking cessation quit line that covers 16 states. they receive up to 30,000 calls a month. >> on average, people take seven and eight times, seven or eight different quit attempts in order to be able to successfully quit. >> reporter: altria and reynolds
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american issuing statements both endorsing the idea of a plan to regulate tobacco and nicotine. the fda's goal, they say, to reach a day where the most harmful products are no longer capable of addicting our kids. kristen dahlgren, nbc news, new york. still to come here tonight, shark warning. why record numbers of great whites are suddenly being spotted off of some of america's most popular beaches, causing some dangerously close encounters.
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we're back now with new warnings at some of the busiest beaches in southern california. great white sharks getting way too close up and down the coast. advisories posted after a
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serious attack, and now dozens of other sightings. here's nbc news national correspondent miguel almaguer. >> reporter: tonight in the shallow waters off of southern california's most popular beaches, great white sharks spotted in record numbers. scientists say the coast here is a major breeding ground. >> we spotted at least four or five sharks right now. >> reporter: one of the ocean's top predators with some incredibly close encounters. >> i've seen the full grown ones, and they're just jaw dropping. >> reporter: surfers, swimmers and kayakers like brett jackson coming within inches. >> it was like a foot from my face grabbing on to the kayak right here. >> reporter: with lifeguards launching drones to see what's in the water, officials are issuing more advisories and a spike in beach closures throughout the summer. this spring, near san diego, a mother wading in shallow water was attacked by a great white,
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left in serious condition. as we saw from the air, they are easier than ever to find, feeding on food that's abundant, including a dead whale. dinner for this 14-foot great white. today scientists are tracking the sharks. >> they've been protected. their food's coming back. our oceans are getting warmer. so we should expect to see more sharks. >> paddleboarding next to approximately 15 great white sharks. >> reporter: this summer surfers and swimmers are not alone. great whites are lurking in the water. what's been so astonishing is how incredibly close the great white sharks are coming to shore. this weekend here in huntington beach, there's a surf competition, but many surfers know the chances of being attacked by a shark are incredibly low. lester? >> miguel almaguer, safely above the surf there tonight. up next, will it be a game changer? the first of these long-awaited affordable electric cars hitting the streets.
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we're back now with a big sequel in theaters this summer. its star, former vice president al gore, back at it on his mission to combat climate change with a follow-up to his oscar-winning documentary "an inconvenient truth" that among other things shows how climate change can unite opposites in office. anne thompson has our story. >> it is right to save the future for humanity. it is wrong to pollute this earth and destroy the climate balance. >> reporter: for al gore's sequel, the news proved inconvenient. >> it is time to exit the paris accord. >> i really thought there was the chance that he would come to his senses, but i was wrong about it. >> reporter: so wrong they had to change the end of "an inconvenient sequel: truth to power." is president trump the biggest
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obstacle to solving climate change? >> well, he is an obstacle. but i think he's kind of isolated himself on the issue. the rest of the country is moving forward anyway. >> reporter: in the movie, gore finds progress in unlikely places. >> you're in georgetown. >> right. >> which is the reddest city in the reddest county in texas, and i'm a conservative republican. okay. >> reporter: mayor dale ross voted for trump, but for the next two decades, georgetown, in the middle of oil country, will run on renewable power. what can other american cities learn from georgetown? >> that if you're a fact-based decisionmaker you can make this happen. and you have to put the petty national partisan politics aside and just make decisions based on the facts. >> reporter: renewable power offers cheaper locked-in rates. >> we have wind turbines and solar panels. what can those knuckleheads in d.c. do to regulate that that increases our cost? >> the environment isn't
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republican or democratic. these storms and floods and droughts aren't partisan. and the solutions aren't partisan. >> reporter: political opposites finding common ground saving money and the planet. anne thompson, nbc news, new york. and while still on the subject of the environment, could tesla's new model spark an electric car revolution? tesla is delivering its brand-new model 3 to the first 30 people who put down their deposits over a year ago. it can travel 215 miles on a single battery charge. with a list price of $35,000 it's much more affordable than the rest of tesla's luxury line, but if you want one, you may have to wait a while. when we come back here tonight, the amazing twists of fate that led a woman to repay a stranger's kindness years later. "inspiring america" is next. next at 6:
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ms13 - the brutal street gang making national headlines. ===take vo=== the role san jose is playing in an international crackdown. ===janelle/take vo=== plus - a record year for wasps. how to protect youself and your family from feeling the sting this summer. ===next close=== next. sot it finally tonight, how an act of kindness can come back around to you in the most unexpected
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ways. it all started three years ago when a nursing assistant found herself out of gas and out of money. and when a man offered her help, neither had any idea their paths would cross again. nbc's catie beck has our "inspiring america" report. >> reporter: tunde hector says no coincidence could explain her miraculous story. >> on july the 18th, my life changed forever. and i am eternally grateful. >> reporter: when tunde, a home hospice aide, was hired to care for judy wright in her final weeks with parkinson's. >> she was my best friend. >> reporter: during dark days tunde brought peace. >> gentle, read the bible to her. just talked to her. >> she was our guardian angel. >> reporter: but tunde was saved once, too, ironically by judy's son chris. when tunde first arrived, they realized they'd met before.
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>> he helped me at a time in my life where i was very down. >> reporter: out of gas roadside with only $5, chris stopped for a stranger. so this was the spot where you found her? >> yeah, yep. >> reporter: filled tunde's gas, gave her the $40 he had on him. three years later, tunde would appear. >> never, never, never dreamed we'd see each other again. >> reporter: judy passed away, and the family, grateful for the gift of tunde, again gave her one. >> a lot of people believe in you and want to see you become a nurse. >> reporter: instead of flowers, they asked for donations toward the nursing degree tunde struggles to afford as a single mom. a check for more than $8,000. >> lord, you're so good to me! oh, my god! >> reporter: now she's part of the family. more sure than ever. >> whether you believe in god or whoever you believe in, somebody's out there on your side. >> reporter: that this beautiful chapter was indeed no
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coincidence. catie beck, nbc news, bogart, georgia. >> what a nice story to end our week on. we appreciate you spending part of your evening with us. that is "nightly news" for this friday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. it doesn't add up because that is not the person we know. >> right now at 6:00 coming to the defense of a bay area terror suspect. the reason his family was caught off guard by the charges. the news at 6:00 starts right now. i am terry mcsweeney. >> and i am janelle wang. this is the first time family has spoken on camera since the charges were announced.
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sergio quintana spoke with the man's family. >> reporter: the charges against amir alhaggagi are very serious. federal prosecutors claim he met with under cover fbi agents and took him to the berkeley campus that he wanted to bomb. >> that is not amir. >> for such accusations to be put against him, it makes us really like shocking and sad. >> reporter: his uncle tells me the charges are unbelievable. what were your reactions to the serious charges. >> when we look at amir we know, it doesn't add up. >> reporter: he has been involved in humanitaria

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