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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  October 16, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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caused the bright blue light and we got the gold platinum and uranium. >> you're excite bd that. >> we will see you the 6:00. >> bye. tonight, whiplash, president trump points the finger of blame and paints a united front, a free wheeling p.r. blitz as the president makes a false accusation against his predecessors. drug czar controversy, the president's pick under fire. the law he pushed helped fuel the opioid crisis. plus prescription price secrets. an investigation news investigation paying for meds without using insurance can be cheaper. tonight the question you should be asking at the pharmacy. suing the nfl, the first player to kneel during the national anthem accuses team owners of now conspiring to keep him off the field. air scare, a terrifying scene. panic in the cabin, passengers texting good-bye. and inspiring america, a
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young girl who lost her prosthetic legs in the california fires now back up and running thanks to the kindness of strangers. >> announcer: this is nbc nightly news with lester holt. >> good evening and welcome to our viewers in the west. a moment intended to demonstrate all is well between the president and the senate republican leader turned into an improve two and wide ranging news conference this afternoon. as those moments so often tend to go, president trump had plenty to share from his frustration with the russian investigation to whether his predecessors reached out to families of the fallen to his wish to seeing hillary clinton in the political arena. our national correspondent peter alexander was there for it all and has details. >> reporter: president trump tonight trying to present a united front with top senate republican mitch mcconnell. >> my relationship with this gentleman is outstanding. >> reporter: just months after
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blaming mcconnell for republic kansas inability for repealing obamacare, tweeting he failed. seconding the president's latest words. >> contrary to what some of you may have rohr reported, we are together on this agenda totally to move this agenda forward. >> reporter: an agenda that keeps changing, the iran nuclear deal to restructuring health care, not to mention passing a budget and tax cuts. all of it as president trump tried to quell a rebellion orchestrated by his former chief strategist steve bannon. >> just so you understand, the republican party is very, very unified. >> reporter: only two hours earlier pointing the finger at senate republicans insisting the buck stops elsewhere. >> i'm not going to blame myself, i'll be honest, they are not getting the job done. >> reporter: he fielded an avalanche of questions from the russia investigation. >> i'd like to see it end. look, the whole russian thing was an excuse -- excuse me. the whole russia thing was an excuse for the democrats losing the election. >> reporter: even on his former
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rival. >> hillary, please run again. >> reporter: he called the families of four americans killed in niger, an attack against his predecessors. >> if you look at president obama and other presidents, most of them didn't make calls, a lot of them didn't make calls. i'm letting a little time pass. >> reporter: he said the families never called the families of fallen soldiers. >> i was told he didn't often. >> reporter: tonight a former obama white house official is publicly blasting president trump's claim as a lie. the fact is president obama engaged families of the fallen through calls, letters and visits with gold star families. tonight the white house says president trump has done the same. lester? >> peter alexander at the white house for us, thank you. president trump today facing tough questions after an explosive expose featuring his nominee to serve as the nation's drug czar. and he also vowed to major good on a promise he made two months
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ago by declaring the opioid crisis a national emergency in the coming days. nbc news white house correspondent kristin welker has the latest. >> reporter: tonight president trump's pick for the nation's drug czar tom marine owe under fire after a 630 minutes washington post investigation found that as the opioid epidemic reaches new heights, a law sponsored by marino last year made it tougher for the drug enforcement agency to stop millions of narcotic pills from flooding the streets. according to the report, the law makes it virtually impossible for the dea to freeze suspicious narcotic shipments from drug distribution companies. this former dea regulator who led the enforcement unit spoke out to 60 minutes. >> this is an industry that's out of control. what they want to do is do what they want to do and not worry about what the law is. >> reporter: the president pressed today on whether he still has confidence in ma rrin.
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>> he was an early supporter of mine, great state of pennsylvania. we're going to look into the report. >> reporter: adding pressure they are calling from the of the white house to pull his nomination after revelations in the report, the drug industry spent tens of millions lobbying to curb the dea's authority. >> confirming representative marino as our nation's drug czar is like putting the wolf in charge of the hen house. >> reporter: no comment tonight from marino, but other lawmakers are vowing to repeal the law which sailed through congress and was signed by former president obama. >> i just don't understand why congress would pass a bill that strips us of our authority in the height of an opioid epidemic. >> reporter: a lobbying group representing drug distributors acknowledged the country is in the midst of a national crisis, and greater collaboration is needed. the dea vowing to continue to use all of the tools at its disposal to combat the epidemic. kristin welker, nbc news, the white house. >> tonight a guilty plea from
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army sergeant bo berg doll who walked off his base in afghanistan in 2009 was held for five years by the taliban and returned in a controversial prisoner swap in 2014. at fort bragg, north carolina, he pleaded guilty to dee sergs and miss behavior before the enemy and could face life in prison. our pentagon correspondent hans nichols has details. >> reporter: sergeant bo berg dha l acknowledged he put his comrades in danger. i left my platoon on a battle field, he said, a situation that could turn into a life or death situation. at least two american service members were seriously wounded as u.s. forces searched for berghdal. the taliban captured him almost immediately and would hold him the next five years until he was released in exchange for five taliban prisoners. today's guilty plea offered some comfort to one soldier in his platoon. >> the fact that he admitted he did dessert brought peace to me.
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>> reporter: the prisoner release was controversial. then candidate trump was highly critical. >> and 30 years ago he would have been shot. >> reporter: he said he left his post to report misconduct by his commanders, an army investigation said he may have been delusional. concluding his mental state substantially contributed to his unreasonable decision to dessert. >> the fact the taliban kept him penned up five years is the result of his walking into the hands of taliban. the united states of america still needs to extract punishment for what he did. >> reporter: the judge found him guilty of dee sergs for just one day, not his entire time in captivity. sentencing is set to begin next monday and he faces up to life in prison. hans nichols, nbc news, the pentagon. >> a search is on tonight for a worker still missing after a massive explosion on a natural gas rig in louisiana's lake pontchartrain. seven others were injured. three remain hospitalized.
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the fire has now been extinguished, but the exact cause is under investigation. we turn now to the massive fire disaster in the west. new video giving us a terrifying glimpse inside the inferno as the dealt toll climbs to at least 41 which now includes a fire fighter. but tonight crews are hopeful they've finally gotten a handle on the flames. let's get more now from nbc's joe fryer. >> reporter: a week after wildfires began their deadly march across northern california, the sergeant behind this body camera footage is sharing his story. >> i was scared beyond reason. i'm not a fireman, i've never been trained to be a fireman so it was exceptionally shocking to me. >> reporter: brandon with the sonoma county sheriff's department urgently knocked on doors when the fires erupted. >> you're disabled. >> reporter: before helping a couple into their car. >> we did as much as we could, but that's what wears heavy 0 not us, what did we miss.
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>> reporter: the latest death came today, a contract fire fighter killed when a water tender truck rolled off a road. fire fighters are making progress, attacking stubborn flames from above, blocking their path down below. on steep terrain like this, fire fighters are worried about something called roll out, logs and edge vegas rolling down the hill starting fires in places that haven't burned yet. it's why crews dig for perimeters around the fire. once the flames hit these lines, they often vanish. meanwhile thousands of evacuees are returning home. lisa discovered her napa house still standing. >> i'm lucky, and we have somebody who wasn't so lucky that is moving into our guest house today. >> reporter: peter lang's house was destroyed because he focused his energy on saving the 1,000 exotic animals in safari west, his wildlife sanctuary. >> these are living breathing things. you have to stick with the living souls. >> reporter: 40,000 people are still evacuated tonight and
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officials say it will be days, if not weeks before some in the hardest hit neighborhoods are able to return home for good. fire fighters say they are cautiously optimistic right now and hope that some of these fires will be fully contained by week's end. lester? >> all right, joe fryer tonight in northern california. thank you. now to a new turn in the drama swirling around the nfl, star quarterback colin kaepernick who took his team to the super bowl several seasons ago and later grabbed national attention with the protest during the national anthem has filed a grievance against the league's owners accusing them of conspiring to keep him off the field. nbc news national correspondent miguel almaguer has more. >> reporter: after taking a knee on the field, tonight colin kaepernick is fighting to get back on his feet. the former superstar quarterback hiring attorney mark garigos and filing a grievance against the nfl alleging league owners are colluding against hiring him
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because of his repeated protests during the national anthem. >> kaepernick has a very difficult uphill battle to show that there is some sort of agreement or collusion among the teams in the league to prohibit his employment. >> reporter: kaepernick's protest against racial inequality and social injustice became a movement, with teams kneeling together after president trump weighed in last month. >> he's fired. he's fired! >> reporter: ahead of an owner's meeting tomorrow, dealing with this very controversy, today the nfl is declining comment. kaepernick, who opted out of his contract with the 49ers last year is still considered a high caliber quarterback. >> he surely better than guys currently drawing an nfl paycheck. >> reporter: a former stand out player who took a knee and has been sidelined ever since. miguel almaguer, nbc news, los angeles. >> new troubles tonight for
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movie mogul harvey weinstein. new york police tell nbc news they are investigating two allegations of sexual assault against weinstein. a spokesman for weinstein unequivocally denies any allegations of nonconsensual sex. meanwhile, a rallying cry is catching fire on social media. many women posting "me too" if they ever faced sexual assault or harassment from anyone. tomorrow the weinstein company's board meets to discuss a potential sale. now to an nbc news investigation that could save you some money. most people believe that when you use insurance to pay for prescription drugs, especially a generic drug, you're getting a good deal. certainly a much better deal than if you bought the drug without insurance. but our team found that's not always the case. nbc's ann thompson reports tonight on prescription price secrets. >> reporter: in small town magnolia, texas, steve loves to talk to his customers. but there are some things this
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neighborhood pharmacist says he can't say. how hard is it to keep your mouth shut when you see somebody overpaying for a drug? >> it's very difficult. i mean, as a pharmacist i'm here to take care of patients. and, yes, it's extremely hard to see the patient spend more than what they really should be. >> reporter: how does this happen? take the cholesterol drug. the patient's copay is $42.60. his price for a patient paying without insurance, $18.59. a $24 difference he says he can't divulge because of the gag clause. so, just to be clear, there are instances where you cannot tell the patient there's a cheaper alternative? >> yes. it's in the contract language saying we are not allowed to divulge that information. it's proprietary and we cannot share it. >> reporter: nbc news investigation found it happens on a wide virginariety on jerrys networks for insurance plans. for common antibiotics it can be
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more to use insurance than pay out of pocket. and antidepression drug, $25 more. and a whopping $117 difference for an allergy and asthma prevention drug why? pharmacist and consumer lawsuits say it is to hide a claw back. money pocketed by middle men called pharmacy benefit managers who negotiate the price your insurance company pays for a drug. >> this is a list of prescriptions that i filled this year that included a claw back. a little bit over a thousand prescriptions. >> reporter: so, in some instances it's actually better to pay cash than use your insurance? >> yes, it would be, it definitely would be better to pay cash versus using the insurance. >> reporter: now some states are outlawing claw backs and/or gag clauses. >> what surprised me most was the brazenness of the practice to think they could get away with something that was so obviously price gouging. >> reporter: not all benefit managers do it, but those used by united health care and cigna are being sued. cigna won't comment on the litigation and united health
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care says pharmacies should always charge our members the lowest amount under their benefit plans. you're an independent pharmacist. what if you got blow back for speaking up for your customers? >> i would do anything within my own ability as a pharmacist to be vocal and active in saying we're doing what we should be doing, and that's taking care of patients. >> and you just unpacked a lot there. what if anything can we do to get those cheaper prices? >> the simple thing you can do, just ask your pharmacist, is this the cheapest alternative? do you have a better price for me? because once you ask that, that unlocks that confidentiality agreement and allows the pharmacist to help you save money. >> simple question but could lead to good results. >> very important one. >> anne, thank you. still ahead, mid-air emergency panic inside the cabin when the plane suddenly is forced to descend 22,000 feet in just nine minutes. also the young girl who lost everything in the california fires, today with the help of some kind hearted strangers, she is rising once again.
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we're back now with a pretty terrifying scene that was caught on camera. australian investigators say they are looking into why an air asia flight apparently lost cabin pressure while flying from australia to indonesia. the plane carrying 145 passenger was put into a rapid descent, more than 20,000 feet to get the plane to more breathable air and passengers say flight attendants only made it more frightening. here's nbc's tom costello.
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>> reporter: panic at 34,000 feet as flight attendants screamed at passengers to don their oxygen masks. air asia flight 535 from perth australia to bali indonesia was only 25 minutes into flight when it suddenly lost cabin pressure. the plane descended fast, 22,000 feet in a matter of minutes. passengers said some flight attendants were hysterical. >> one of the stewardest was running down the aisle screaming put your oxygen mask on. >> reporter: they held each other, texting good-bye messages. >> putting on jackets and pretty much preparing for what was add a good chance we were going down. >> reporter: he had planned to propose to his girlfriend in bali but instead proposed right there. she accepted. air asia blamed it on a technical issue and said we will continue to ensure that we adhere to the highest safety standards. but the airline has a checkered safety record.
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162 people died three years ago in a crash blamed on pilot error. last june another pilot encouraged passengers to pray during an in-flight emergency. but tonight all 145 passengers on board flight 535 are shaken but safe. tom costello, nbc news, washington. >> up next, as we continue here tonight, an amazing discovery in space that may answer -- have an answer to one of the great cosmic mysteries.
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how much money do you think you'll need in retirement?
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then we found out how many years that money would last them. how long do you think we'll keep -- oooooohhh! you stopped! you're gonna leave me back here at year 9? how did this happen? it turned out, a lot of people fell short, of even the average length of retirement. we have to think about not when we expect to live to, but when we could live to. let's plan for income that lasts all our years in retirement. prudential. bring your challenges. there's been a guilty verdict in a bomb attack here in new york city. 29-year-old acmed rahimi was sentenced to a life in prison. he was convicted of planting two bombs, one at a marine corps charity race in new jersey, the other on a manhattan street, a blast that injured dozens of people. prosecutors say rahimi was inspired from propaganda of al-qaeda and isis. in the midst of a historic storm season here at home, overseas this evening a deadly storm several fatalities are reported in ireland.
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while hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses are without power in northern ireland and wales. the remnants of hurricane ophelia also battering parts of scotland. they call it the greatest fireworks in the universe. two neutron stars are colliding. they are shown in an artist's rendering. scientists believe these collisions were much of the universe's precious metals like where gold come from may solve one of the great mysteries of the cosmos. up next after tragedy struck, the girl standing tall again with the help of strangers, inspiring america is next. looking into whether downed
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powerlines started the north bay fires. next at 6: we investigate concerns over the strength of pg&e power poles. and how two words are dominating your facebook feed and sparking change. next. right now at 6: finally tonight, so many have lost so much in the fires still burning in the west. among them a young girl who got a precious gift today through the kindness of strangers. here is our inspiring america report. >> reporter: lilly is an athletic outgoing 9-year-old girl, always on the move, even though she's missing both limbs from her knees down. prosthetic legs gave lilly confidence and independence. until fire hit their santa rosa neighborhood last week. lilly and her mother jessica
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lost their home on tulip tree lane. her prosthetics were inside. >> i'm like, where are my legs? like everything that made me to do stuff by myself was in that house. >> reporter: jessica, who recently lost her health insurance, was adamant about getting her daughter new legs fast and was about to put a $40,000 bill on her credit card. >> i knew i needed to figure out something to get her psyche back to a levelled playing field. ready for this? >> yes. >> reporter: that's when the clinton irk and its associates stepped in to help. offering to fit lilly with new prosthetics quickly and for free. >> it's so meaningful to us to be able to help her get back on her feet and to put a smile on her face. ready to start walking? >> yes. >> reporter: today lilly is back to her old self. >> i feel powerful in them, and i feel free in them. >> reporter: lilly walked out of
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that office, and she's unstoppable. rahimi ellis, nbc news. >> little girl on the go. we appreciate you spending part of your evening with us. that is nightly news for this monday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching, and good ni a lot of hugs and kisses and just happy to see one another. right now at 6:00, people returning home as crews gain more control of the fires. but the fire fight is far from over. the news at 6:00 starts right now. thanks for joining us. >> this is the ninth consecutive night of tension and destruction. but a lot of encouraging news. several evacuation orders have been lifted. both no sonoma and napa counties. the fires could be be contained by the end of this week.
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here the updated fire map process. the atlas fire, the nuns fire which merge with others near glen he will and the tubbs fire decimated parts of santa rosa. crews have the atlas and tubbs fire mostly handled but still plenty of work on the nuns, pocket fire and the redwood valley fire in mend o county. our team of reporter remains in place the second straight week. let's begin with jodi hernandez, live in oak dale where the active fire fight goes on now. jodi. >> reporter: that's right. despite the progress people still are very much on edge. that's because there are still hot spots here in napa county. the smoky hillside is one of the areas of concern. we've been watching a massive aerial attack on it all day. one full week after the deadly fire started, the fire fight is

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