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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  January 29, 2019 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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we'll have more on your forecast at 6:00, right? >> yeah, and snow into the weekend. >> thanks for joining us at 5:00. as a reminder, lester holt is next with "nbc nightly news." >> see you at 6:00. bye. tonight, states of emergency. the coldest blast in two decades has arrived. chicago colder than antarctica, and 85% of the country below freezing. in some places it feels like 50 below. >> your corneas can actually freeze, and contacts can freeze to your eyes. >> and the big chill is set to get even worse. a shocking ambush on the star of tv's "empire" who says he was beaten by men hurling racist and homophobic slurs while wrapping a rope around his neck. tonight hollywood rallying around, advocating civil rights as authorities investigate. the nation's intelligence chiefs contradicting the president on north korea on nukes, on isis, on russia, on iran. the president saying one thing, and our top spies
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today issuing very different views of what threatening the u.s. the tragedy on the subway. a young man carrying her baby in her stroller down the stairs falling to her death in the shadow of times square. so many asking why do so many stations not have elevators? "your money, your life" and the power couple taking on big pharma and their battle to make drug prices lower. >> does greed play a role? >> they rarely speak publicly, and tonight you'll hear from them. and the 14-year-old boy who discovered a major privacy breach with your iphone. the bug that allows anyone to listen in on you without your knowledge. tonight apple scrambling to fix it. >> this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. >> good evening, everyone. weather emergencies are in effect right now in cities across the midwest. people hunkering down in the face of what's being described as once in a generation cold. chicago among the cities
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shutting down schools and public places as temperatures plummet toward the negative 20s, with brutal temperatures not felt in decades. the polar air eventually making its way to the northeast and new england. remarkably, a quarter of the country is expected to see below zero conditions this week. our ron mott begins our coverage from chicago tonight. >> reporter: hundreds of car accidents across several states where millions are bundled up, faced with life-threatening cold, frigid air blowing into chicago tonight, temperatures plummeting to 25 below in spots. windchills will make it feel like 55 below. >> if you don't need to be outside in this time, don't go outside. >> reporter: rail switches under fire to keep trains moving. just about all of us are feeling the sting. >> i think you just grin and bear it. >> just trying to stay warm. >> reporter: 85% of the country will be at or below freezing. it's not just cold. there is snow and ice too. we have team covering it all. >> i'm dylan dreyer in minneapolis. we are in the middle
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of an 80-hour stretch of temperatures below zero, windchills of minus 50. every inch of your body needs to be covered, including your eyes, which is why i have these goggles. your corneas can actually freeze if they're unprotected in the wind and cold for an extended period of time. >> i'm vaughn hillyard in des moines, where it's going to feel like 45 below. with windchills that low, frostbite can set in about five minutes. >> i'm kevin tibbles in atlanta where super bowl celebrations got off to a soggy start this morning. one million people are expected to descend on this city for the big game, and forecasters are saying this could be the coldest week of the winter. >> i'm garrett haake in washington, d.c. where the rain and snow hitting the midatlantic right now will make for a treacherous rush hour. >> vulnerable populations are especially at risk. >> we're talking small children, the elderly, and those on certain medications, especially if they're on antidepressant or cardiac medications.
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the bitter cold also a threat to animals. overnight, pets should be brought inside and dogs fitted with footwear for outdoor walks. a brutal stretch of cold that's just getting under way. and we're learning tonight because of all this cold weather, the u.s. postal service is planning to suspend services, delivery services tomorrow in minnesota, iowa, and parts of wisconsin and illinois. simply too dangerous for those carriers. lester? >> all right. ron mott in chicago's lakefront tonight, thanks. let's turn to al roker out in the elements. al, where are we going to see the worst of this? >> lester, from montana down to north carolina and into the northeast, 59 million people at risk for dangerous windchills. we are talking about windchills that for tomorrow morning will range from anywhere from 54 below in minneapolis to 17 in washington, d.c., and it's even worse as we get into thursday as that cold air and windy conditions makes their way to the east, minus 12 in new york. minus 15 in burlingame. minus 32 in d.c. and minus 35 in flint,
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michigan. finally we'll start to see a break as we get into the weekend. lester? >> al roker, thanks. now to that attack of the star of the tv show "empire." jussie smollett is also a prominent advocate for civil rights and gay rights was beaten, he says, by men hurling homophobic and racial slurs while wrapping a rope around his neck. he is now hospitalized. hollywood is rallying to his side. miguel almaguer has more. ♪ >> reporter: tonight jussie smollett, a star on the hit television show "empire," is recovering from multiple injuries after police say he was brutally beaten on a chicago street in a possible hate crime. at 2:00 a.m., investigators say two men approached smollett, who may have recognized the actor, yelling racial and homophobic slurs. after the assault police say the attackers threw a unknown chemical on his face and tied a noose around his neck. smollett took himself to the hospital where he is recovering. >> that man is doing
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nothing but minding his own business, and you feel it's necessary to go after him like that. why? >> reporter: in a statement, chicago police say they have not identified any suspects, and are looking for surveillance video of the assault. an advocate for the gay community, smollett came out to ellen in 2015. >> you cannot allow people to just -- just spew hate. >> reporter: tonight outrage on social media, including a post from lee daniels, creator of "empire," who shared then deleted this photo of smollett. >> you didn't deserve nor anybody deserves to have a noose put around your neck, to have bleach thrown on you. we have to love each other, regardless of what sexual orientation we are. >> reporter: a hollywood star who is black and gay and now the victim of a heinous crime. miguel almaguer, nbc news. a stunning moment today before congress. the nation's intelligence chiefs one after another publicly contradicting president trump on global threats from
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north korea to iran. our andrea mitchell has details. >> reporter: tonight, just weeks before the president holds a second summit with kim jong-un, after claiming north korea no longer poses a nuclear threat, the nation's intelligence chiefs say kim may never give up his nuclear weapons. >> north korea will seek to retain its wmd capabilities and is unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capabilities. >> reporter: just one example in an unprecedented divide between the nation's intelligence leaders and the commander in chief. on isis, president trump says they're defeated in syria. >> and we have won against isis. >> reporter: but the spy agencies say the terror group is down but not out. >> they still command thousands of fighters in iraq and syria. >> reporter: on iran, they say tehran is still abiding by the nuclear deal, despite the u.s. withdrawal. >> at the moment, technically, they're in compliance, but we do see them debating amongst themselves as they failed to realize
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the economic benefits they hoped for from the deal. >> reporter: also, they say russia is coming up with more sophisticated cyber tools to attack the 2020 election, and this new warning. china and russia are now working more closely against the u.s. than at any time in 60 years. completely missing from today's testimony, any rationale for a wall or any mention of the level of security threat the president cited as the reason for the shutdown. lester? >> all right, andrea mitchell in washington, thanks. just a few blocks away, a packed scene at the federal courthouse. president trump's long-time associate roger stone pleading not guilty. pete williams has details. >> reporter: roger stone was surprisingly low-key at federal court in washington, pushing his way past demonstrators for and against him, his lawyer entered a not guilty plea to charges of lying to congress and intimidating a witness. in a radio interview, stone blasted mueller's case. >> they know they have to take me down in order to take donald trump down. >> reporter: meantime, senate democrats questioned monday's surprise comment from acting attorney general matt whitaker.
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>> right now the only investigation is i think close to being completed. >> it puts a cloud over the investigation. and, again, have recused himself. ifueller finishes, other investigations go on. >> there is still work to be done. prosecutors in manhattan have work to do, and congress has work to do. >> reporter: despite whitaker's comment, it's impossible to tell whether roger stone's is the last mueller indictment or more surprises are coming. lester? >> all right, pete williams, thank you. in houston, five police officers are recovering after a brazen shootout. four were shot. two remain in serious condition, and two have been treated and released. a fifth also injured is in the hospital. it happened yesterday when they were serving a warrant on a suspected drug house. two suspects were killed. in new york today, and in just 30 minutes, the defense rested its case in the trial of joaquin "el chapo" guzman after calling only one witness.
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here is nbc's stephanie gosk. >> reporter: notorious drug trafficker joaquin "el chapo" guzman built his multibillion empire with deception, corruption and violence, according to federal prosecutors. within days a jury in brooklyn will decide his fate. the marathon trial lasted more than ten weeks. have there been any really big surprises? >> every day seems to bring a new surprise, frankly. it's a bombshell after bombshell. >> reporter: taking the stand, drug runners, assassins, cocaine kingpins, a mistress, and even his personal accountant, many of whom the defense argued could not be trusted. prosecutors say the drugs were smuggled using tunnels, trucks, planes, jalapenos cans, and submarines. there were mountains of cash trucked over the border and flown to mexico city, used allegedly as bribe money for just about every level of official, including mexico's former president. a witness said enrique pena nieto was paid $100 million, a charge nieto denies. the jury was told the
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corruption helped keep chapo in business, and when needed, escape from prison. he used a mile-long tunnel and a motorcycle to bust out in 2015, only to be arrested again and extradited to the u.s. >> this is an investigation that spanned years, multiple agencies, multiple agents. and this was every facet of u.s. law enforcement really coming together to try to bring this man to justice in the united states. >> reporter: throughout the trial, guzman's wife, a former beauty queen, has been a regular. if guzman is found guilty, he will spend the rest of his life in a federal prison. that is unless he figures out a way to escape. stephanie gosk, nbc news, new york. in ohio today, authorities say three crewmembers, including two nurses were killed when a medical helicopter went down in a remote wooded area on its way to pick up a patient. and another fatal crash. a small plane hitting a hillside north of san diego. the pilot was killed. the passenger was airlifted with major injuries after being trapped for five hours.
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also in california, one of the country's largest power companies, pg&e has filed for bankruptcy as it faces billions in legal claims over the state's massive wildfires. joe fryer has that story for us. >> reporter: feeling the heat, pg&e has officially declared bankruptcy. the move allows california's largest utility to keep operating as it faces lawsuits from deadly wildfires over the past two years. investigators say some of those fires were sparked by pg&e's equipment, but the company has not acknowledged responsibility, it says potential liabilities could exceed $30 billion. >> every one of us should be good and mad. >> reporter: consumer advocate erin brockovich, who has been fighting against the bankruptcy, along with fire survivors who worry chapter 11
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will mean less money for victims. >> they have nowhere to go. there's no options for them. >> reporter: today pg&e said we are fully committed to helping restoration and rebuilding efforts across the communities impacted. but for the utility's 16 million customers, experts warn rates could go up in the wake of destructive fires and now bankruptcy. joe fryer, nbc news, los angeles. turning now to the soaring cost of prescription drugs. tonight we're introducing you to the billionaire couple spending their fortune to shake up the drug industry and lower prices. they give a rare interview to our anne thompson in tonight's "your money, your life." >> you can't hide, your drug prices are homicide! >> reporter: in a nation demanding lower drug prices, houston power couple john and laura arnold are picking a fight with big pharma. >> the industry has pushed pricing so far that it's created a fury amongst the populace. >> these kinds of companies have a monopoly on the regulatory system, on the delivery system, on the products. so this isn't capitalism. this is a form of, you know, of oppression. >> reporter: is this a broken system? a broken market?
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>> it's absolutely a broken market. we have a monopoly with no price regulation on it and an industry that has coopted the political process. >> reporter: the arnolds made billions. he was an energy trader at enron and then a hedge fund manager. she was corporate lawyer. they retired in their 30s and now run a foundation, already putting $119 million toward health care issues. does greed play a role? >> i don't know if i'd call it greed. i'd call it a desire to maximize profits. >> reporter: a prime example, say the arnolds, drug companies exploiting patent laws. arnold-funded research reveals the companies behind the top 12 selling drugs in the u.s. are trying to nearly double their patent protection from 20 to 38 years, blocking cheaper generic competition while raising prices an average of 68% over five years. >> we want the patent
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system reformed, and we want a regulatory structure that incentivizes breakthrough drugs, not prolonging a patent for the sake of maximizing profits. >> reporter: the pharmaceutical industry criticizes the arnolds for focusing on the drug's list prices which are much higher than what prices actually pay after insurance and discounts. drug companies say most people don't pay list prices. >> regardless of whether the employer is paying it, government is paying for it, or the individual is paying for it, at the end of the day, all that money is coming from society. so 2019 is a big year because there are a lot of people who got elected on pharmaceutical pricing, and this is the time when they have to pay up or shut up. >> reporter: they are on the clock? >> they are on the clock. >> lester, in its defense, the drug industry points out that it costs billions to develop a new drug and that in fact nine out of ten experimental new drugs never make it to market. but in the arnolds,
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the industry now has a very deep pocketed and very determined adversary. >> all right. anne, thank you. a passing to note tonight. grammy winning singer james ingram has died. his chart-topping hits include "just once," "i don't have the heart," and "baby come to me." the announcement was made by his long-time friend debbie allen, who did not release a cause of death. he was 66 years old. just ahead, a tragedy in the subway leading to troubling questions about the country's public transit. then who's listening to you? a major bug in apple's facetime.
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next tonight, the heartbreaking tragedy in the new york subway. a young mother is dead after she fell down the stairs of a station. as rehema ellis raising some troubling questions. >> reporter: tonight, a family overwhelmed with grief. >> my sister died. >> reporter: struggling to understand how their loved one died in a new york city subway last night. police say 22-year-old malaysia goodson plunged down a flight of stairs in a
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manhattan subway station, holding a stroller with her 1-year-old daughter inside. remarkably, the baby was not hurt. the station is here near times square, one of the busiest places in the world, a mecca for tourists. but the city's subways can be difficult to access, especially with a stroller. there's an up escalator, but not one going down, and there is no elevator. in fact, only a quarter of new york stations have elevators, and a study found each broke down about 50 times a year. and in a report about u.s. infrastructure, new york's transit got a c- grade while the country earned a d-, with experts saying despite increasing demand, systems are chronically underfunded, resulting in aging infrastructure. >> i'm just so shock. i don't even know which way to go. >> reporter: tonight, as a family mourns, authorities are investigating whether this young mother suffered a medical gey or some ip rehema ellis, nbc news, new york. we've got more to tell you about
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tonight. coming up, the teen who found a big apple security flaw.
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back now with apple temporarily disabling its group facetime feature over a bug that could have let someone eavesdrop on you. nbc's kristen dahlgren talks with the teen who found the flaw. >> reporter: tonight, apple has disabled the group facetime feature that enabled callers to secretly listen in on your phone, like this. >> i have not yet answered -- >> i can still hear, answered. >> reporter: a security flaw that 14-year-old grant thompson says he first noticed ten days ago. >> we were both pretty stunned that we could hear both of each other without him even clicking answer. >> reporter: posting this youtube video demonstrating the stunning glitch, his mom michele tweeting apple on january 20th. >> i tried lots of different avenues to try to get anyone to listen. >> reporter: when other posts of the bug went viral monday night. >> this is so weird! >> reporter: apple disabled the group
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feature, adding in a statement we're aware of this issue, and we have identified a fix that will be released in a software update later this week. another bug at times streamed video when a recipient thought they had declined the call. so what can apple users do now? you can still facetime just one person, and it doesn't appear to have the bug, but if you want to disable it altogether until the fix, it's easy. just go into settings, find facetime and click this off. a company that prides itself on protecting privacy -- >> any bug could give away all your personal information. >> reporter: -- now under fire for letting others listen in. kristen dahlgren, nbc news. up next, we'll tell you about the big buzz about some boys who banded together to help a friend. walls are cracki
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the problems plaguing a south bay neighborhood. and the finger pointing has just homes are shifting, walls are cracking. the problems plaguing a south bay neighborhood and the finger pointing has just begun. for the first time in years,
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san francisco isn't at the top of the list. what is slowing the housing market down? that's next. in our "inspiring america" report, the third-grader going through a tough time, but holding his head high with help from his friend. here is catie beck. >> reporter: a few months ago, life took a tough turn for third-grader luke nelson. he was diagnosed with alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that made his hair fall out. >> it was very hard for me. i was afraid of being, well, different. >> reporter: feeling self-conscious, he hid beneath a baseball cap. >> he is one of the friends and he's hurting, so we needed to help him. >> reporter: so 16 of luke's third grade classmates put their heads together, literally. a group trip to the barber for haircuts just like luke's. >> i'm really glad we did it just to help luke and give him some self-confidence. >> reporter: a keepsake picture of this band of brothers. >> they've got each over's back. and that's a life
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lesson that is going to stay with him forever. >> they're just supporting me. and it feels like -- and it feels like i don't have to be afraid anymore. >> reporter: forgetting what he is missing and cherishing what he's found. catie beck, nbc news. >> what great kids. glad we coulright now at 6: cracked walls and sidewal we didn't sign on for that. nobody here did. >> cracked walls and sidewalks. the work to fix a problem in the south bay that only created more problems. right now our stormranger s a series of things are storms lines up on the bay area. when to expect wi and heavier rain coming up >> pg&e files for bankruptcy. what it means for the recent victims of our wildfires. the news at 6:00 starts right now.
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good evening. thanks for being with us. the largest utility in the company wants chapter 11 bankruptcy, which will allow it to reorganize its debt but stay in operation. the utility is facing billions of dollars of potential damages from wildfires. that move comes despite state investigators determining last week that pg&e equipment was not to plame for tubbs fireback in 2017. it announced this month it planned to file for bankruptcy. it is already facing lawsuits over the camp fire that destroyed the town of paradisek. the cause of that fire is still under investigation. we have a team of reporters covering the bankruptcy filing. jodi, when people heard about

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