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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  January 22, 2019 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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these oscar films. >> we've got to jam it out. >> thanks for joining us here at 5:00. as a reminder, lester holt is next with nightly news. >> we'll see you again at 6:00. breaking news tonight. air traffic shutdown at a major u.s. airport because of drones suspected of getting dangerously close to planes as pilots were trying to land. we have late details. and a critical deadline at midnight, meaning a second missed paycheck for hundreds of thousands of federal workers and their families on friday. and for many it's now a full-blown financial emergency. the fallout tonight as the supreme court allows president trump's transgender military ban to take effect. a surprise in a moscow courtroom in the case of an american accused by the russians of being a spy. what his lawyer says he was found with. was it a setup? a new turn in the video confrontation that sparked a nationwide uproar. the kentucky high school student at the center of controversy speaks exclusively to nbc news.
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>> do you feel that you owe anybody an apology? do you see your own faults in any way? >> what he says about the moment at the lincoln memorial. your money your life, and americans so desperate for life-saving medicine, the costs so high here that they're crossing into mexico to get it for thousands less. >> that year's supply of insulin in the u.s. would be $1400. i bought it here for $104. >> why do we pay so much more here? and a hail mary from saints fans. the new court challenge after the blown call leaving a cloud over the super bowl. >> this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. >> good evening, everyone. there is breaking news from here in the new york area, one of the busiest corridors for air traffic in the country. late today landing shut down at newark airport because of drones suspected of getting way too close to planes trying to land.
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ron allen with late-breaking details now. ron, what can you tell us? >> good evening, lester. this happened late this afternoon. just before 5:00 p.m. a southwest pilot reported drones around teterboro airport in new jersey. out of an abundance of caution, air traffic stopped all arrivals at nearby newark airport less than 20 miles away and some of the busiest airspace in the country. after a short delay, the faa has allowed traffic to resume, but the bottleneck of planes trying to take off and planes hoping to land at newark has created delays this evening. police are investigating. this latest drone scare comes just a month after drones shut down london's gatwick airport for 36 hours. roughly one thousand flights were grounded and 140,000 passengers affected there. no suspect has been arrested in that case either. lester? >> all right. ron allen tonight, thank you. there is movement to report this evening in efforts to reopen the government. late today senate leaders agreeing to vote on competing republican and democratic proposals. the chances for passage slim. meantime, affected federal workers are poised to miss their
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second paycheck this week, putting many in even deeper financial peril. tom costello has more now on the growing impact. >> reporter: tonight the likelihood of a second missed paycheck has many federal workers in crisis mode. >> my landlord has made it very clear that i have a week to pay or i'm going to be evicted. >> reporter: nick trujillo's situation even more precarious than when we first met a week ago. called back to the irs but without pay and likely to miss a second $1100 paycheck. he pays $700 a month in rent for himself and his autistic son, plus utilities, insurance, medicine, gas for the car and groceries. tonight he has just $350 left in the bank. >> i live paycheck to paycheck, like many other americans do. and right now it's dire need. >> reporter: across the country, food banks are feeding more and more government workers. >> good morning. >> reporter: on capitol hill today, a group of coast guard families, including susan barassa. >> there is a lot of expenses in the coast
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guard, in the military life, and we're happy to do it, but we committed also to a paycheck. >> reporter: at the nation's airports, nearly 2500 tsa officers failed to show up to work on monday, most citing financial hardship. the longer tsa officers go without paychecks, the higher that absentee rate is expected to climb. >> the job itself is already a stressful situation. but we feel disrespected. it's demeaning. >> reporter: 32 days in, the shutdown is shutting down family finances. tom costello, nbc news, washington. let us turn now to the fallout this evening after a victory for president trump, the majority of the justices allowing the trump administration to go ahead with its plan to ban most transgendered people from military service. our pete williams has late details. >> reporter: it's a blow to more than 2,000 transgendered military personnel like lieutenant colonel brie frahm, an air force rocket scientist who came out when president obama dropped the ban on transgender service, a
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ban the supreme court today allowed president trump to bring back. >> it's a really difficult message to face when you've been singled out as someone whose not wanted for something that has nothing to do with your ability to serve this country. >> reporter: president trump tweeted in 2017 that he wanted to ban transgender service, but in response to lawsuits, lower courts blocked enforcement of his ban. so the trump administration appealed, and today by a 5-4 vote, the supreme court allowed the government to go ahead with the ban while the lower courts consider whether it's unconstitutional discrimination. out of 1.3 million active duty service members, roughly 2400 are transgendered. now under the trump policy, most of them cannot remain, unless they serve in their biological sex and agree not to seek gender reassignment surgery. or this case to year come back here on appeal, and when it does, based on today's action, the trump administration will likely win. lester? >> pete williams at the supreme court, thank you. turning overseas now to a very
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different case in russia, where an american accused of espionage made his first court appearance. his lawyers saying someone gave paul whelan a thumb drive containing state secrets, and that whelan had no idea what he was receiving. nbc's bill neely has the story. >> reporter: in a bulletproof glass cage, paul whelan, his first appearance since russia charged him with an unnamed act of espionage. guarded by masked police, the ex-marine from michigan was barely able to hear his lawyer and didn't speak. after five minutes, he was denied bail and returned to jail. but his russian lawyer now says whelan was carrying state secrets when arrested. "he was given a thumb drive with a list of officials," he says "instead of his vacation pictures." he insisted whelan, who had been in moscow for a december wedding, had no idea what was on the drive. tonight his twin brother outraged. >> let my brother go.
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the charges are false, and he needs to be back with his family. >> reporter: diplomats suspect whelan is being used as a pawn to secure the release of maria butina, a russian who's pled guilty in the u.s. to not registering as a foreign agent. tonight whelan is back in prison, the u.s. embassy calling for a fair trial. it may be months before that trial begins, and it could take months. whelan faces up to 20 years in jail. lester? >> all right, bill neely, thank you. tonight the president's lawyer, rudy giuliani is doing damage control, again this time over what he told chuck todd on "meet the press" about negotiations for a trump tower in moscow. giuliani now trying to walk it back, and peter alexander has details. >> reporter: rudy giuliani asked by "the new yorker" about his legacy, and whether he is not always being truthful when defending the president, said i'm afraid it will be on my gravestone, rudy giuliani, he lied for trump. somehow i don't think it will be it.
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i don't think as a lawyer i ever said anything untrue. it comes after giuliani's latest starting assertion about the scuttled moscow tower project. michael cohen said discussions ended in june 2016. july on sunday suggesting they may have lasted longer. >> the president can remember having conversations with him about it. >> throughout 2016? >> yeah, probably up to -- it could be up to as far as october, november. >> reporter: then giuliani in "the new york times" quoting the president telling him the discussions were going on from the day i announced to the day i won. that's not what candidate trump said at the time. >> they said maybe donald trump is involved in projects with the russians. the answer is no, no. >> reporter: critics have attacked mr. trump for privately discussing the moscow project while public promoting warmer relations with russia. giuliani later saying his comments were hypothetical and not based on conversations i had with the president, and insisting "the times" deliberately misunderstood what he said. giuliani's
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contradictory comments have exasperated some of those close to the president. a senior administration official tonight telling nbc news he is, quote, not helping. lester? >> peter alexander at the white house, thank you. taking a turn now to the confrontation that has become a flash point for race and politics in this country. tonight the high school student at the center of that controversial video was speaking exclusively to nbc news. this as his kentucky high school closed today due to security concerns. nbc's gabe gutierrez is there. >> reporter: nick sandmann, a kentucky student at the center of that viral video says he wasn't disrespectful when he appeared to confront native american veteran nathan philips. he sat down exclusively with "today's" savannah guthrie. >> do you feel you owe anybody an apology? do you see your own fault in any way? >> as far as standing there, i had every right to do so. i don't -- my position was that i was not disrespectful to mr. philips.
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i respect him. i'd like to talk to him. i mean, in hindsight i wish we could have walked away and avoided the whole thing. >> reporter: the covington catholic high school students, some wearing "make america great again" hats were in d.c. last week for the march for life. >> i was afraid. i felt threatened. because when we were there and we were in front of them, they surrounded us. >> reporter: but after more videos emerged, defenders of the students say there was a rush to judgment. do you think the students did anything wrong? >> no. >> reporter: a student whose parents didn't want his face shown told nbc affiliate wlwt the students were using school chants approved by school chaperons to drown out insults from another group of protesters, men identified as black hebrew israelites. but the chants continued when philips entered the picture, saying he was trying to intervene. >> there was three native american people there.
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one of them was jumping up and down. so our guys started jumping up and down and clapping, dancing with him. >> school chants should be in school, and this wasn't school. >> reporter: today native americans protested in covington, and even president trump weighed in, calling the students symbols of fake news and how evil it can be. but philips says the students should accept responsibility for their actions. >> the students should go through some kind of sensitivity training, cultural education of some kind. >> reporter: police here are on high alert after receiving threats against the students. the diocese had initially said they could face expulsion. now it says a third party investigation will begin this week. lester? >> all right, gabe gutierrez, thank you. and by the way, savannah went on the ask sandmann about allegations he and his classmates instigated the confrontation with chance. also about the look on his face in the video. we'll have much more tomorrow morning on "today." tonight there is word of a tentative deal in place between
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los angeles officials and the teachers union that would end the six-day teachers strike in the nation's second largest school district. the union still needs to vote on the agreement, which includes higher salaries and smaller class sizes. tonight we're tracking a new winter storm causing trouble on the roads in the midwest where a number of accidents are reported. many of us are getting some relief from the brutal cold finally, but that new storm out of the rockies and plains will bring more snow to the midwest tomorrow. and that storm is raising fears of more avalanches after two in recent days in colorado and new mexico left three people dead. authorities now warning skiers to use extreme caution. nbc's miguel almaguer has details. >> reporter: moving at speeds of over 100 miles an hour when an avalanche rumbles downhill, the torrent of snow is often impossible to outrun. >> we saw the skier fighting, really, for his life as all the snow started moving underneath him. >> reporter: after two men were killed in a wave of cascading powder at a ski resort in taos, new mexico
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last week, another skier lost his life in an avalanche near aspen, colorado monday while in the back country. across the u.s., eight have been killed in avalanches this season. >> it doesn't take a very large avalanche to bury somebody. avalanches can knock somebody off their feet, push them through the trees, push them over a cliff. >> reporter: though avalanches are rare, the odds of surviving one, like this man did in california, may be even more remote. the danger most critical after a storm, just like the one bringing blizzard-like conditions to colorado tonight. miguel almaguer, nbc news. a lot of americans feeling the pinch of the soaring cost of prescription drugs, and a new study finds the cost of insulin for treating type 1 diabetes nearly doubled in five years. tonight, we follow a taking desperate measures as they
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travel to mexico to buy the life-saving drug for a fraction of the cost. gadi schwartz has another report in our series "your money, your life." >> reporter: i'm putting three or four days' worth of insulin into the cartridge. >> reporter: it's 5 a.m. in los angeles, on a january morning, the month millions of americans like robin cressman dread, because their insurance deductible resets to zero. and for a type 1 diabetic looking for life-saving insulin, it is the most expensive time of the year. but this morning -- >> love you. >> reporter: robin is headed to the mexican border, where we meet a group that saw her post on instagram about insulin in tijuana costing a fraction of what it does in the u.s. >> you just crossed the border. you just type in pharmacy into the google maps and off we go? >> and off we go. >> reporter: they've decided it's worth the risk to go to one of mexico's most dangerous cities as insulin prices in the u.s. have more than doubled in recent years. >> i need two of those boxes to get me through about a year. that year's supply of insulin in the u.s.
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would be $1400. i bought it here for $104. >> wow. >> reporter: seeing these prices for the first time, laura pavelokovic can't believe it. >> when you're diabetic, it feels like you against the world and like every single person is stopping you from getting that medicine you need. i didn't think i would get emotional. it's just not fair. >> this is my american, and this is the exact same thing. it comes with five of these pens in it. >> reporter: wow. does this look sketchy? is any of this -- >> nope. this is the exact same box they would use. it just has spanish on it instead of english. >> reporter: but insulin manufacturers warn americans not to buy insulin in mexico which doesn't have the same regulations protecting the supply chain. the drug companies also say they have programs to help patients, but this group says it's not enough. >> $45. and then in the united states this? >> $250. >> reporter: this is $250? >> yes. >> reporter: she just said there are people that come all the way from chicago because medicine is very expensive so they come
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here. >> reporter: drug companies explain the dramatic price differences due to different health care systems, but these people aren't buying it. >> and it makes me feel really good. >> reporter: this makes you feel? >> this makes me feel like we're stealing from them, from the pharmaceuticals. >> reporter: so this is you sticking to it the pharmaceuticals? >> and it feels great. >> reporter: all in, the group spends less than $900 for what they say in the u.s. would cost more than $8,500, insulin they need to survive at prices they can afford. gadi schwartz, nbc news, tijuana, mexico. also ahead for us, furious passengers speak out after being stranded on a frozen tarmac over 12 hours. then saints fans demand a do-over. could the nfl commissioner really do that? and the big first among today's oscar nominations.
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we're back now with that nightmare flight, passengers trapped in the plane on a frozen tarmac for over 12 hours. united airlines now reviewing the incident.
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our kristen dahlgren has this report. >> i think it's coming up on 16 hours since we landed in goose bay. >> reporter: goose bay, canada, not exactly where passengers on united flight 179 from newark to hong kong thought they would end up. >> i'm not too sure when we're going get off this plane. >> reporter: the flight first diverted for a medical emergency, but once on the ground in frigid canada, a door froze. crews couldn't get it shut, and canadian customs wasn't staffed, leaving passengers like devon walsh stuck on board. >> we were very frustrated. there was an immense amount of cabin fever. >> reporter: finally a replacement plane arrived, returning to newark almost 24 hours after they first took off. united says passengers were given reimbursement, compensation, hotels, and meals. quote, our crew and operations did everything possible to assist customers during the delay. but walsh says she hasn't gotten nearly enough to cover her losses, and waiting is something she's done enough of. >> bye-bye, united. >> reporter: kristen dahlgren, nbc news, new york.
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>> quite a story to tell. coming up, saints fans suing over that controversial no-call.
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meet the new members of the baseball hall of fame. star yankees closer mariano rivera, the first to ever get a unanimous vote, roy halladay, two-time cy young award winner who died in a plane crash in 2017, edgar martinez, the mariners slugger, and pitcher mike mussina, getting in on his sixth year on the ballot. switching sports now to that controversial no-call on the nfc championship, which the nfl admits was a mistake, but still has saints fans furious. some are now suing for a rematch against the rams. as stephanie gosk explaithere a shot, a small one, that could happen. >> reporter: the saints are marching in, and they're mad as hell over this play. >> pass is incomplete. no flag.
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>> reporter: obvious pass interference says just about everyone except the one person who mattered in that moment, the ref on the field. the saints lose the game. the fans lose their minds, buying billboards in atlanta where the super bowl will be played without them. "robbed" they say. >> it really hurts. i love my team. >> reporter: the saints owner asked the league to review the rules. >> but that should have been a penalty. >> reporter: and commit to fairness and integrity, but fans want more. a petition with over half a million signatures calls for a rematch. so does a lawsuit filed today on behalf of season ticketholders, alleging emotional trauma and nothing less than the loss of enjoyment of life. technically, the rules allow the nfl commissioner to r of ookies in new sli mary pass? stephanie gosk, nbc news. >> can you imagine if that happened? up next, the groundbreaking first for this year's oscars. bill.
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the extra charge at south bay restaurants catching people
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by surprise... and new approval ratings for bart aren )t good. how bart plans to get things back on track... that )s next. in our spotlight, the oscar nominations are out. the favorite and "roma" lead with ten each. and as joe fryer tells us, this year includes some notable firsts. >> reporter: the best picture category is no longer comic book kryptonite, with "black panther" becoming the first superhero movie nominated for the top prize. the spanish film "roma" is the first netflix movie tapped for best picture. and for spike lee, a long overdue first. the "blackkklansman" filmmaker had never been nominated for best director until today. missing from that category, bradley cooper.
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some say he was affleck, reference to ben affleck who in 2013 was snubbed for director, each though his film "argo" won best picture. no worries. cooper did rack up three noms as actor, producer and writer for "a star is born." joe fryer, nbc news. >> good luck to the nominees. that'sa nest cam... and sent a threatenting message to an east bay family. . right now at 6:00, someone hacked a nest cam and sent a threatening message to a family in the east bay. we'll tell you about this prank and how vulnerable nest cams are. plus, the politics of baseball. barry bonds shut out again. le why the voters are turning their back. a new surcharge is taking a lot of people by surprise in the south bay at restaurants. the news at 6:00 starts right now. good evening, and thanks for
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being with us on this tuesday. >> the next time you eat at a south bay restaurant, you may want to look at your bill, because you may have an extra charge on there. >> the new surcharge is to make up for the minimum wage increase which went up in showed to $15 an hour. damian trujillo joins us from downtown with some of the details. how much are we talking about here? >> reporter: it depends on the restaurant. some restaurants have added that surcharge, others have raised their prices. they say it's the cost of doing business in san jose. it's just before the lunch hour at chachos restaurant. >> the reason why it's going up is the increase in minimum wage. >> reporter: the minimum wage went up $3


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