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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  December 29, 2018 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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and enjoy that. >> wrap yourself in a blanket. thanks so much for watching. "nightly news" is next and weal s -- we'll see you again at 6:00. -- we'll see you again at 6:00. we'll see you again at 6:00. we'll see you again at 6:00. we'l see you again at 6:00. tonight, the stand-off over the government shutdown intensifies, with a provocative new attack from the president opening him up to accusations he crossed the line. as a number of democrats get ready to take him on in 2020. the growing pain of the trade war with china. how it's hurting one big company right in the vice president's hometown. scols on lockdown. millions of kids go through it each year. now a new investigation reveals the long-term danger you might not expect. actor kevin spacey accused of sexual assault is preparing his defense. how his team may be planning to take on the charges. a new law comes to the rescue of rescue animals, with new restrictions on pet stores. and living her dream of becoming a
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doctor. while knowing what it's like to be a patient who's had to overcome the odds. >> announcer: this is nbc "nightly news" with jose diaz-balart. good evening, i'm hallie jackson in for jose. tonight an extraordinary new attack from the president is escalating his border fight with democrats to a new level. for the first time, president trump is acknowledging the death of two migrant children in government custody. but he's blaming democrats, politicizing the loss of life. tweeting "the death of children or others at the border is strictly the fault of the democrats and their pathetic immigration policies." that unfounded shot aimed across the aisle won't win the president any good will in negotiations to try toned the partial government shutdown. that is now officially in its second week. with new concerns the government may not fully reopen until well into january. as this shutdown stretches into day eight, multiple sources tell nbc news the president lowered his demand for border barrier money to $2.5
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billion. down from 5 billion. but not all the way down to the 1.3 democrats are offering. for now no deal, with zero votes scheduled on capitol hill. that leaves some 800,000 federal workers wondering when they'll get paid, with pain starting to spread faster across shutdown nation. january 2nd, that's when smithsonian museums and the national zoo will close. on january 3rd the new congress comes in and democrats take control of the house. but if that doesn't shake loose some kind of compromise, january 11th is when most workers will get hit hard, missing a paycheck with no way of knowing when their next one will arrive. and nor government workers the hits keep on coming. a 2019 pay freeze the white house has been talking about for months will go into effect for federal employees in the new year after the president signed an order for it yesterday. so that's the current status in the nation's capital, what about washington's future? it's not too early to
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talk about 2020. many potential democratic candidates spent this holiday huddling with their families about a possible presidential run and in some cases even starting to look for staffers. nbc's kelly o'donnell explains. >> reporter: 'tis the season for democrats to decide. >> over the holiday i will make that decision with my family. >> during the >> during the holidays i'm going to sit down and take a lot of stock. >> reporter: ringing in the 2020 race. >> after the first of the year, it will be a family decision. >> reporter: the new year will usher in what is likely to be a gigantic field of democratic challenges, competing for staff, resources and voters' attention. >> i'm going to reflect on whether this is something i should do. >> reporter: but all that thinking turns into action as early as january. some forming exploratory committees, formal announcements likely within a few months. the nomination is up for grabs. from the most recognizable and experienced like joe biden. >> it's all about donald. it's not about
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anything else. >> reporter: or bernie sanders, wondering if he can capture lightning again. >> based on my past, based on my ideas, that in fact i am the candidate that can defeat trump. >> reporter: or will democrats make a generational shift? a "usa today"/suffolk university poll finds 59% of democrats and independents surveyed say they would be excited about someone entirely new. at least six senators could run for the first time. >> you have to decide that you would be a good president. that you could bring the country together. that you would be able to beat donald trump. >> reporter: a november senate defeat has not dampened buzz around beto o'rourke. >> not to rule anything out and just to be open -- >> reporter: while former obama cabinet secretary julian castro has a date picked. >> on january 12th i'm going to make an announcement about my plans. >> reporter: of course it's early, and the path unpredictable. but the process is getting underway. with many of these potential candidates
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trying to position themselves in what will be a costly and competitive quest for the nomination. democrats also have to decide among three cities where they will hold their nominating convention. and it will go fast. iowa democrats will be meeting to caucus in just about 400 days. hallie? >> almost here, kelly o'donnell in washington. kelly, thank you. president trump tonight says he's made big progress toward getting a handle on the trade war with china. he tweeted that after a call with president xi jinping. as u.s. companies deal with the fallout from higher priced imports. nbc's von hilliard went to mike pence's hometown in indiana where one well-known company is feeling the pain. >> reporter: columbus, indiana is thriving. there's a new brewery not far from a century-old ice cream parlor. many towns like this have struggled with jobs moving overseas. but in columbus one company has held it all together because of trade with china. >> our economy would go down the drain if cummins wasn't a part of our community.
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>> reporter: cummins is the world's largest independent diesel engine maker, employing 10,000 people in indiana alone. >> we export about 65% of the engines that we produce here. >> reporter: but this american success story founded here 99 years ago faces soaring costs and $200 million in losses this year, because of u.s. tariffs on chinese goods. >> tariffs are harmful, they're a tax, and they create additional costs that will eventually be borne by all customers. >> reporter: this summer the trump administration imposed tariffs on chinese steel and aluminum and on key parts cummins needs. >> we have no suppliers available in the u.s. in fact, there are not foundries that operate in the u.s. >> reporter: the tariffs are on components like these engine blocks. they're essentially the skeletons of the engines. making up 40% of the final product. but the only place that cummins can get them, china. >> president trump's leadership is working, and china wants a different american president. >> reporter: tough talk, but here it's
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more personal. after all, columbus is vice president mike pence's hometown. are the potential consequences on places like your own hometown worth this fight with china? >> the united states of america today has faced more than $600 billion trade deficit, and the better part of half of that is with china. actually engages in forced technology transfers of american companies and even outright theft of intellectual property. >> reporter: but his tone was far different when as indiana's governor he visited a cummins plant in china. he cited the immense potential for the creation of more great jobs for hoosiers through the strengthening of ties with our chinese partners. cummins workers have counted on that partnership. >> if we don't have globalization, we don't have no growth, right? >> reporter: now they find themselves caught in the president's trade war. von hilliard, nbc news, columbus, indiana. another painful reality we saw play out this year, a
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record number of school shootings. 33 people killed in 25 on-campus attacks. but those numbers don't tell the whole story. a "washington post" investigation shows how millions of students and teachers deal with the fear of violence in their schools. nbc's tammy leitner has more. >> reporter: the images are now familiar, school children hands in the air. parents rushing to find their child after a school shooting. officials have responded with a national push to address security. >> stick close together. >> reporter: including the extensive use of school lockdowns. >> red zone? what's that? >> it's where you go into the back of the room and you stay quiet, just in case someone is trying to get you. >> reporter: a "washington post" investigation found more than 4 million kids lived through a lockdown in the past year. a number substantially bigger than those on campus during actual school shootings, but the investigation found many children
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suffer trauma, even when it's just a lockdown. >> it is very jarring to them, they don't know it's coming, it's certainly very, very scary at the time and this leads to many children and teens having reactions that include all forms of anxiety. >> you got it. >> reporter: for father andrew donaldson whose 6-year-old son has only practiced the drills it's a sobering reality. did you know your 6-year-old son was doing these active shooter drills? >> active shooter, no. i was very shocked. the fact that you could see what an impact it's had on him and the fact that he's that conscious to the fact that they're afraid, they're concerned, there's fear going on in the classroom environment. >> security breach. >> reporter: while schools across the country continue to prepare for a worst case scenario. they face a new challenge, the potentially life-saving maneuvers can also create lasting emotional effects. tammy leitner, nbc news, miramar, florida. a powerful earthquake shook the southern coast of the philippines today. that prompted fears of
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another tsunami in a region already reeling from the deadly wave that hit indonesia last week. earthquake and tsunami detection is a critical part of protecting coastal communities. but as nbc's sarah harmon reports, it doesn't always work. >> reporter: in this jakarta control room they're working to spot tsunamis before they hit. so there's volcanic earthquakes? >> yes. >> and there are seismic earthquakes? >> right. yeah. >> are you tracking volcanic earthquakes here? >> not really. >> reporter: and that's a problem. because although most tsunamis are triggered by earthquakes, the rest aren't. and parts of the country's tsunami detection system have been in disrepair since 2012. last week's deadly wave that killed more than 400 was blamed on anak krakatau, an erupting volcano which partially collapsed, triggering an
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underwater landslide that sparked the tsunami. these satellite images show the volcano is still crumbling. indonesia's president promises an equipment upgrade to fix the broken detection system. vital since the region sits on the so-called ring of fire, an area of underwater volcanos around the edges of the pacific ocean. "of course i'm afraid, but i have to live here because my job is here." in america, the western u.s. is the most vulnerable, but there's been an early warning system in place since 1949. >> there's better maintenance and better public education about what to do when you get a warning. and there's more infrastructure to deliver the warnings. >> meanwhile, indonesia waits. hoping next time there's a natural disaster they'll get a warning sign. sarah harmon, nbc news, jakarta, indonesia. it was one of the most anticipated meetings of the year, that summit between president trump and kim jong-un of north korea.
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that? that was supposed to kick off a new era between the two countries and help dial back tensions over pyongyang's nuclear ambitions. where does that stand now? nbc's janis mackey frayer takes a look. >> reporter: the missile tests and threats of nuclear war have given way to diplomacy and handshakes. and president trump no longer ridiculing kim jong-un, instead praises their rapport. >> we fell in love. okay? no, really. he wrote me beautiful letters, and they're great letters. we fell in love. >> reporter: but the hype of their historic meeting in singapore last june, quickly fizzled to stalemate. both sides expecting the other to make a first move. north korea wanting sanctions relief, the u.s. unwilling to give it. months later there's been so little progress toward denuclearization that negotiators appointed to hammer out a time line have yet to even meet. with talks stalled, the two sides are
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again trading threats. though north korea appears to be holding off on criticizing president trump himself. yet a second meeting with kim is in the works. president trump pofting a christmas eve tweet from a briefing with north korean advisers saying he was looking forward to it. >> this is going to be a negotiation of two people, kim jong-un and donald trump. and i have my concerns that donald trump really understands the issues and understands what our red lines are. >> reporter: and while tension has eased on the peninsula, it may have less to do with u.s. tactics than north korea's strategy. evidence suggesting north korea still building up its nuclear and missile programs. >> in terms of urgency, north korea is the problem. we have got to address that. >> and while the north's relations with south korea have warmed, none of the symbolic milestones have changed the regime's stockpiles. kim's new year's day
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message may offer clues to what he will offer at a second summit, and what he expects president trump to give. janis mackey frayer, nbc news, beijing. back here at home, actor kevin spacey is scheduled to be arraigned next month on a charge of indecent assault and battery. based on accusations that he sexually assaulted a young man at a massachusetts bar. spacey denies the charge and a newly revealed audio recording of a court hearing may show how he plans to defend himself. here's nbc's matt bradley. >> reporter: tonight a look inside kevin spacey's defense strategy. lawyers for the two-time oscar winner are building their case before his arraignment next month on indecent assault and battery charges. nbc boston obtained audio from a preliminary hearing last week, in which spacey's attorney questions a police trooper who interviewed the accuser a year after the alleged incident. >> he also never verbalized according to anything in your report, he never verbalized the word "stop it, i don't give
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consent to this, i need you to stop." nothing like that, correct? >> that's correct. >> reporter: spacey hasn't entered a plea. the charges come more than a year after a former local news anchor accuses the actor of groping her then 18-year-old son in a bar in 2016. >> shame on you for what you did to my son. >> reporter: spacey's lawyers cast doubt on the claim, saying the two men exchanged phone numbers, even smoked a cigarette together, and questioned whether a video from that night shows any assault. >> what the video shows is a person's hand made contact with the shirt, correct? >> yes. >> okay. not any body part? >> correct. >> reporter: it's only one of more than a dozen accusations dating back to the 1980s against spacey. in a bizarre christmas eve youtube video the actor appears to defend himself, channeling his "house of cards" character frank underwood. >> but you wouldn't believe the worst without evidence, would you? >> reporter: spacey and his attorneys have not returned our requests for comment.
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last year his rep said he was seeking treatment. spacey's arraignment isn't until january 7th. it's his reputation that is already on trial. matt bradley, nbc news. still ahead tonight, the groundbreaking state law about to take effect. and it's a big win for rescue animals. also, a key test for the world's biggest new year's celebration.
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come new year's day a new law takes place in california that puts restrictions on pet shop owners. it's aimed at providing new hope for rescue animals. here's nbc's kathy
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park. >> congratulations, you guys. >> reporter: suna and mitch dotson just adopted a kitten they chose to rescue rather than buy. >> i think it's better to rescue these animals, instead of having a puppy mill. >> reporter: starting next week, california becomes the first state in the country where dogs, cats and rabbits can be purchased from pet stores only if they come from rescue groups or shelters. >> when they go into a pet store and see this cute puppy or kitten for sale, they are not seeing what's behind it. >> reporter: animal advocates say the new law puts the welfare of pets over profit. the humane society says puppy mills supply 99% of dogs to pet stores every year and 1.5 million animals are euthanized from poor breeding. robin labeau breeds french bulldogs and says the ban barks up the wrong tree. >> if pet stores would partner with breeders who are like-minded then you're going to have healthy dogs that are going out to the
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public. >> reporter: nevertheless similar crackdowns are being considered in parts of minnesota and florida. and third-party sales of puppies and kittens will eventually be banned in britain. but now the golden state setting a golden rule for the treatment of animals. kathy park, nbc news, los angeles. and in a moment, it might as well have been santa's sleigh, the school bus driver who came through for his pint-sized passengers.
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so let's face it, riding the school bus probably is not the most exciting thing most people will do over the holidays. unless you're riding curtis jenkins' bus in dallas. oh yes, that's a bus filled with christmas presents. jenkins asked all the elementary schoolkids what they wanted for christmas, then went out and bought every single one on his own dime. one lucky kid on his route even got a bike. as the school said in a tweet, "this reminds us how much good there is in the world." sure does. here in new york today, an important rehearsal in times square. yep. they were throwing out confetti just to make sure it falls through the air the way it's supposed to. at midnight monday 1 1/2 tons of that stuff will be dropped on all those people in times square. one of them will be our own lester holt. he'll actually push the button to ring in 2019 and honor freedom of the press. be sure to tune in right here on nbc. when we come back, she dreamed of becoming a doctor, and then she became the patient. one young woman's remarkable story of perseverance.
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it seems fitting to end our last saturday of 2018 together with a story that will give you new hope for 2019. one woman's inspiring journey and drive to fulfill her dream of helping others even with overwhelming challenges of her own. kristen dahlgren has her story. >> reporter: claudia martinez has dreamed of becoming a doctor since she was a little
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girl. the first in her family to attend college, she was living the american dream when seven years ago at age 20 everything was almost taken away. >> they told me that i needed brain surgery as soon as possible, if not i was going to end up paralyzed from the neck down. >> reporter: a devastating diagnosis. a rare brain malformation affecting vision, speech, and coordination. she's had six major brain surgeries. >> i'm still in a lot of pain. >> i think my lowest point was my most recent surgery. when i woke up, i realized i couldn't function from the neck down. and they told me that i had a stroke during surgery. and i just saw my dream of becoming a doctor just gone. >> but something turned? >> i just thought to myself, what can i do? >> she was determined to study any way she could. >> my mom put my ear phones in my ear for me. she would turn the
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pages in the book so i could read. >> reporter: little by little she got stronger. >> she's doing good, right? >> reporter: she still has limited use of one arm. she has a feeding tube and carries a backpack full of iv fluids, her constant lifeline. >> she started the gliparide. >> reporter: but she is acing her classes at montgomery medical schools. >> she could do anything else, yet she chooses to pursue this dream of hers. that goes beyond any words i can say. >> reporter: and her patients -- >> hi, nice to meet you. i'm claudia. >> reporter: instantly know she gets it. >> my experience as a patient have definitely provided me with an education and an experience i would have otherwise not gotten in medical school. and i'm very thankful for this blessing in disguise. >> reporter: claudia will likely be a patient for life, but next year, when she's scheduled to graduate with honors, she will also be a doctor. kristen dahlgren, nbc news, houston. an amazing story.
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that is nbc "nightly news" for this saturday. tomorrow night, the new entrepreneurs of ste.yl are they the future of the fashion business? i'm hallie jackson, thank you for joining. for all of us at nbc news, good night. back in jail. here )s a live look at san quentin. after a three-day manhunt, an inmate who escaped from right now at 6:00, back in jail. here's a live look at san quinten after an inmate who escaped here has been captured. the news at 6:00 starts right now. thank you for joining us.
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a statewide manhunt is over. 21-year-old shalom mendoza escaped three days ago. there had been no sign of him until he turned up at a taco bell. marianne favro has the details of the capture. >> reporter: some alert people intervened and now mendoza is back in prison tonight. first, someone spotted the 21-year-old yesterday afternoon purchasing clothes at a dollar store in san miguel. this afternoon, someone else spotted him just a few miles away at a taco bell. that person alerted the california department of corrections and agents arrested him at the restaurant. we spoke with one customer who saw the arrest. >> one of the gang force task unit guys came in, had his hand on his gun and told him that he needed

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