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tv   Early Today  NBC  December 31, 2018 3:30am-4:00am PST

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as new york gets ready to ring in the new year, it won't be the plils dropping the ball. new high-tech security is in place for the celebration tonight as rain threatens to put a damper on the festivities. the shutdown showdown enters a new week and likely new year, but one senator sees light at end of the tunnel. john kelly gets candid. the outgoing chief of staff opens up about a bone-crushing job. punching their ticket to the playoffs. highlights from a wild day in the nfl, including another record-breaking game from chiefs quarterback patrick mahomes. "early today" starts right now.
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good morning, i'm milissa rehberger. >> and i'm marlie hall. thanks for joining us on this new year's eve. just a short while ago, auckland, new zealand, was one of the first major cities to ring in 2019 with a massive fireworks display from its sky tower. here at home, tonight's famous ball drop in new york's times square is expected to be seen by up to a million spectators. and of course, added security measures are in place. safety is a top concern with the nypd on heightened alert. nbc's chris pollone is live for us in times square. good morning, chris. looks like it's pretty mild out there right now. >> reporter: yeah, good morning to you and happy new year. it certainly is. what a difference a year makes. a year ago at this time, i was talking about a record cold ball drop here in new york city. tonight we might see record high temperatures, even in the 40s. but the people who come out here to times square this year might also see something that we haven't seen in more than two decades.
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in new york's times square, there's a feeling in the air. >> exciting, like my heart is racing, the adrenaline, the energy's everywhere. >> reporter: just hours before the nation's biggest new year's eve celebration, final preparations are done, the stages set, balloons inflated, and that iconic crystal ball -- >> happy new year! >> reporter: -- tested, glowing and ready to drop. and while some people would rather be anywhere else -- >> i mean, how do people use the bathroom? >> they don't. >> how do they sit down and rest? they don't! it's just going to be crazy. >> reporter: hundreds of thousands more can't wait to see it in person. >> happy new year! >> reporter: larry marshall from virginia has his whole family crossing a big item off his bucket list. >> why not? it's new york city, the city that never sleeps, and look at the smiles. it's worth it. >> reporter: as always, security is tight. for the first time, the nypd will use drones to keep watch over the revelers.
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that's in addition to the usual battery of uniformed and plain-clothed police officers, security cameras, police dogs, and traffic-blocking trucks. >> it's going to be one of the most well-policed, best-protected events at one of the safest venues in the entire world. >> reporter: in fact, the biggest threat to the fun might be rain. the last time it was raining when the new year arrived, 24 years ago. larry marshall, unconcerned. >> things going to happen, things going to happen, so we're going to look at it like that. so, we're just happy to be here. we're not going to let nothing ruin it. >> reporter: with thousands eager to ring it in, 2019 is almost here. and tonight's special guests of honor, several prominent american journalists, including our own lester holt. they have a really cool job. they get to press the button that will start that crystal ball on its one-minute journey into 2019. organizers say that they want to put a focus on freedom of the press heading into the new year. live in times square, chris
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pollone. marlie, melissa, back to you to you. happy new year. >> all right, chris, thank you. happy new year. meteorologist michelle grossman is here to talk about that very thing. looks like people might get a little wet tonight. >> they're going to be standing out there hour after hour, so they definitely need the dry layers, because we are looking at a wet night. chris mentioned the warm air, though. so the trade-off will be the warm weather. we'll see a temperature of 49 degrees. last year windchills were below zero. typically our high for this time of year in new york city is 39 degrees, so we'll be ten degrees above that at midnight. so, that's the good thing. otherwise, heavy rain from the gulf coast all the way up to the ohio valley, the great lakes into the northeast. back to the west we're looking at frigid, frigid temperatures, temperatures below zero in many spots. so by the time the ball drops, some light snow falling in the great lakes, heavy rain still falling in new england, and then back to the west we're looking at snow falling in the four corners. new mexico could see additional snow, up to a foot some spots. so we have all sorts of weather across the country.
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>> all right. well, at midnight, capitol hill will ring in the new year with no deal to end the shutdown. now ten days in, lawmakers aren't scrambling to find a fix but are instead pointing the finger at each other. president trump continued to dig his heels in, blaming democrats on twitter and also comparing his demands for a border wall to the fence around former president obama's house in d.c., saying "the u.s. needs the same thing, slightly larger version." nbc's white house correspondent kelly o'donnell has the latest. >> reporter: a new signal from the west wing. >> the wall has become a metaphor for border security. >> reporter: trump ally and south carolina republican senator lindsey graham said he spent two hours strategizing with the president. >> he was in a very good mood, and i think he's receptive to making a deal, if it achieves his goals of securing our border. >> reporter: graham claimed president trump is open-minded to a compromise that would extend work permits and
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temporary legal status to qualified undocumented immigrants in exchange for billions to build border barriers that mr. trump calls a wall. the private meeting comes as the president spent a fourth straight day with no public events, but active on twitter. the president blasting democrats who left town and are not concerned about the safety and security of americans. >> what donald trump and the republicans want to do is waste $5 billion in taxpayer money on an ineffective, medieval border call that is a fifth-century solution to a 21st-century problem. >> reporter: it's renovation, not negotiation on capitol hill, where office moves are under way as democrats prepare to take power in the house. trump adviser kellyanne conway growing impatient. >> we haven't heard from them. it's complete crickets, for partisan, political reasons. >> reporter: the senate's top republican and a senior democrat on the appropriations committee
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say talks need to get serious. >> i think it's everybody's fault. this is unacceptable. >> if we blame each other, this could last a long, long time. >> reporter: in another development, senator graham says the president is in a pause situation after his controversial and much-criticized decision to pull u.s. forces out of syria. graham says he believes the president is committed to defeating isis and described mr. trump's christmas trip to iraq as eye-opening and well timed, especially because he met with military leaders. marlie? >> kelly, thank you. now to that alarming story involving lions at an animal conservation center in north carolina. officials say a 22-year-old woman was killed after a lion escaped from a locked space and attacked her. the woman, alexandra black, had been interning at the conservation center in burlington. she'd only been there two weeks and was cleaning a separate enclosure when the attack happened. the lion was then shot and
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killed, but it was already too late to save the young woman's life. now investigators are looking into how the lion escaped that enclosed area. >> as soon as he got out of the enclosure, he went straight to her. it's unfortunate the loss of life of a young lady. >> the center remains closed during the investigation. this morning, growing outrage across the state of california against utility giant pg&e. right now, pacific gas and electric has to prove it did not cause any of the recent deadly wildfires or the state's attorney general says the company could face criminal charges, up to murder if found liable. a u.s. district judge ordered the investigation last month. pg&e then acknowledged in documents obtained by cnbc that its equipment may have sparked the camp fire in northern california. the camp fire killed at least 88 people and destroyed nearly 14,000 homes. let's get back to meteorologist
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michelle grossman for our forecast. a complicated one around different places, isn't it? >> yeah, it's all about location, location, location. and we're looking at rain to the east, frigid weather through the northern plains, even some snow to the west. but in the middle of the country, we're looking at the risk of severe weather. that could mean damaging winds, also frequent lightning, nashville, jackson, columbus could see some of these storms and we could see an isolated tornado. so, something to watch throughout the day. as we go throughout the day, we're going to start to see the atmosphere really fire up. now, we're seeing some rain this morning, lots of rain on the map, and that's o northwest, 41 bellingham, 49 in past yao and 49 in yakima. all right, so it kind of depends on where you are, guys. we're looking at weather, no matter where you are, it's something different. >> all right.
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thanks so much. >> you're welcome. well, with all this weather, sometimes you just have to shake it off. that's jamal allen at the toronto pearson international airport. he gave everyone a laugh, directing a plane with some unique moves. mr. allen says that particular dance was meant to entertain a baby he spotted on board, but he honestly just loves his job, so every day is a party. >> and he's keeping warm while he's at it. >> great moves, by the way. >> yeah. the playoff picture snaps into focus, and white house whiplash. why outgoing chief of staff john kelly called the job bone-crushing. with moderate to severe crohn's disease, i was there, just not always where i needed to be. is she alright? i hope so. so i talked to my doctor about humira. i learned humira is for people who still have symptoms of crohn's disease after trying other medications. and the majority of people on humira saw significant symptom relief
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and many achieved remission in as little as 4 weeks. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened; as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. before treatment, get tested for tb. tell your doctor if you've been to areas where certain fungal infections are common, and if you've had tb, hepatitis b, are prone to infections, or have flu-like symptoms or sores. don't start humira if you have an infection. be there for you, and them. ask your gastroenterologist about humira. with humira, remission is possible. that's an aggressive yellow. pretty great, huh? if you're a banana. i find it very... appealing.
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doesn't come from the policies he pushed but the ones he prevented. nbc's geoff bennett has more from his interview. >> reporter: john kelly talking candidly about his rocky tenure as white house chief of staff. in an interview with "the los angeles times," general kelly says president trump's long-promised southern border wall is not what he has portr portrayed. "to be honest, it's not a wall," general kelly admits, and he blames former attorney general jeff sessions for the policy separating undocumented immigrants from their children at the border. kelly saying the move took him by surprise. it was just one of the many controversies he weathered during his 17 months in the white house, something he called a bone-crushing hard job. >> the last thing i wanted to do was walk away from one of the great honors of my life, being the secretary of homeland security, but i did something wrong, and god punished me, i guess. >> reporter: hired to instill order in a free-wheeling west wing, kelly was dogged by constant rumors of his firing.
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>> i'm not quitting today. i don't believe, and i just talked to the president, i don't think i'm being fired today. >> reporter: the retired marine general says while mr. trump often pressed the boundaries of his legal authority, the president never ordered him to do anything illegal, and kelly argues his legacy is best measured by what the president did not do, such as pulling u.s. forces out of south korea or withdrawing from nato. and when asked why he stayed on the job, despite policy differences and personality clashes, kelly told the paper military people don't walk away. melissa? >> geoff, thank you. just ahead, the journalist taking center stage at the new year's eve celebration in times square. and ring in 2019 with a mega millions mania! the massive jackpot, next. you're watching "early today." studies show that omega-3s are great for your health. but did you know that 98% of us don't get enough of them? that's why megared advanced 4in1 packs more omega-3 power
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fast forwarding into monday. a colorado man accused of murdering his fiancee will appear in court as a judge decides on a gag order request filed by his attorneys. 31-year-old patrick frazee was arrested last week on suspicion of killing his fiancee, 29-year-old kelsey berreth. authorities still have not found her body. she was reported missing on december 2nd. there was no big winner in friday's mega millions drawing. that means tomorrow night's jackpot is now $415 million, the
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eighth largest in the drawing's history. and "nbc nightly news" anchor lester holt will be among a group of distinguished journalists who will be honored by pushing the button to lower the new year's eve ball in times square just before midnight. well, as the year comes to a close, it's a fitting moment to reflect on those who serve, members of the military who are putting their lives on the line in afghanistan, iraq, and other war zones. nbc pentagon correspondent hans nichols introduces us to some of those who made the ultimate sacrifice this year. >> reporter: for american troops fighting from africa to the middle east, 2018 started out deadly. sergeant first class mihalil was born in latvia, became an american and was killed on new year's day. major brent taylor was a father of seven and mayor of his town in utah, the victim of an apparent insider attack. killed by the very afghans he
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was trying to train. >> i love you, honey. stay strong. >> reporter: dedicated to helping others. >> it just keeps coming back to service to god, family, and country. they're one to him. >> reporter: the deadliest single incident of the year took place in iraq, when a special operations pave hawk helicopter crashed at night, killing all seven aboard, including two new york city firefighters. christopher tripp known for his service. >> he liked to help people and that's what he did. >> reporter: a total of nine americans died fighting isis in syria and iraq, part of a global fight against extremism that also took the life of 26-year-old sergeant alexander conrad in somalia. in all, 23 americans lost their lives in four countries this year, their lives and their love leaving behind holes impossible to fill but examples for all. >> i'm going to want to look out for people, like if i see
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someone sitting alone at lunch or anything, i just want to help everyone. >> reporter: hans nichols, nbc news, the pentagon. well, just ahead, an update on where things stand in nuclear talks between the u.s. and north korea. you're watching "early today." wow, that's an aggressive yellow. pretty great, huh? if you're a banana. i find it very... appealing. kellogg's raisin bran with bananas. two scoops meet real banana slices. i've done a good job of raisin ya.
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indy wins it, 33-17. and a brutal end to the season for the packers. quarterback aaron rodgers was pulled out of the game with a concussion following a hard hit in the first quarter. after that, it was lights out at lambeau. the lions win it, 31-0. the stars aligning for the eagles. the defending super bowl champions got the break they needed with that bears victory. philly did their part, too. they shut out the redskins to secure the sixth and final playoff spot in the nfc. eagles take it, 24-0. the chiefs earning some much-needed rest before the playoffs, securing the bye week with an easy win over the raiders. patrick mahomes made nfl history, becoming the second player to ever throw for 50 touchdowns and 5,000 yards in a single season. the only other quarterback to pull that off was peyton manning. chiefs win it, 35-3. and it's that time of year for the coaching carousel. the jets fired head coach todd bowles after an abysmal 4-12 season. it was his fourth season with
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the team. and the buccaneers announced it's parting ways with head coach dirk koetter after missing the playoffs for three seasons. let's turn back to michelle for another look at our forecast. >> hi, there. well, the east continues to see mild, mild air, but back to the west, that cold air continues to be bottled up. we're looking at frigid temperatures, well below normal for this time of year. we're going to see windchills below zero in many spots. as you head out tonight on this new year's eve, bundle up, especially if you're spending any time outdoors. you can see the pinks and purples indicating that cold air. billings today 13, bismarck 1 below zero. that's the air temperature. it's going to feel more like 25 below zero. casper. and as we go throughout the west here, we're looking at cold air even sinking down to the south, setting the stage for snow in parts of utah, colorado, new mexico, and also arizona. back to you guys. >> thanks so much. >> all right, thank you. well, still to come, the eagle has landed right in the stands of this weekend's cotton bowl. clean grease on more than dishes?
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it was one of the most anticipated meetings of the year, the summit between president trump and kim jong-un of north korea. that was supposed to kick off a new era between these two countries and help dial back tensions over pyongyang's nuclear ambitions. so, 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
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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 has been so little progress toward denuclearization that negotiators appointed to hammer out a timeline have yet to even meet. with talks stalled, the two sides are 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 posting a christmas eve tweet from a briefing with north korea 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.
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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. >> reporter: and while the north's relations with south korea have warmed, none of the symbolic milestones have changed the regime's nuclear stockpiles. kim's new year's day 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. well, one of the biggest stars of the cotton bowl in texas this weekend wasn't on the field and wasn't even a player. a trained bald eagle, take a look at that, flies around during the national anthem, decided to take a detour and landed on some notre dame fans. its handlers eventually got the bird back. unfortunately for notre dame fans, that may have been the most enjoyable part of the game, since they lost to clemson,
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30-3. >> that guy really held it together. >> very brave. >> well, i hope your last day of 2018 is a great one. i'm milissa rehberger. >> and i'm marlie hall. the news continues here on nbc. happy new year !
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ringing in the new year with new beer. how police are going above and beyond to protect revellers in time square as weather threatens to but a damper on the celebration. the president was upbeat, in a very good understood and i think he's receptive to making a deal if it achieves his goals of securing our border. new hope that an end to a government shutdown is in sight from a senator. primed for the playoffs. which teams punched their tick that to post season as a pair of head coaches get the


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