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tv   Early Today  NBC  February 19, 2019 4:00am-4:31am PST

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breaking overnight, california leads the way in filing a lawsuit on behalf of 15 other states to sue president trump for declaring a national emergency. this on the heels of a presidents' day series of protests from coast to coast. as the president's twitter storm of criticism directed at former fbi deputy director andrew mccabe continues, word overnight that deputy attorney general rod rosenstein is likely to step down in three weeks. police investigating the alleged attack on jussie smollett have shifted their focus in the investigation. but will smollett speak directly to police today? to a hiker in distress, trapped in quick sand. the dramatic rescue and
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cautionary tale. one of the most bizarre and dangerous events we've ever seen. cowboy pinball at the kentucky bull bash. "early today" starts right now. good morning. i'm marlie hall. >> and i'm phillip mena. the battle over the border wall is heading to court. on the same day that thousands took to the streets in protest of president trump's national emergency declaration, 16 states filed a lawsuit challenging the order. california attorney general xavier becerra is leading the charge. he says that they are ready to take this fight all the way to the supreme court. >> i think you're going to find that conservative justices along with liberal justices are going to want to protect the constitution, not protect donald trump from his abuses of the constitution. so we're feeling pretty good that we've got a strong case. >> we're feeling pretty good about having tracie potts on this morning from washington, d.c. tracie, the white house is also facing a fight in congress. >> reporter: exactly because there's a lot of back and forth, including among republicans
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about whether or not the president is taking the right track here. so while the courts are going to deal with this lawsuit, lawmakers who have yet to come back to washington are debating whether or not this emergency declaration is constitutional. >> unfortunately he's got to do it on his own, and i support his decision to go that route. >> congress has had a vote on it, and it just expressed itself. so i think it's a bad idea. >> reporter: now, there's talk about a resolution from both the house and the senate that would oppose the president's emergency declaration. but the white house is hinting pretty strongly that president trump could use his first ever veto to oppose that. it's not clear at all that there are enough republican votes to override it. >> wants to get it through one way or another. tracie, thank you. a major shake-up at the justice department this morning. deputy attorney general rod rosenstein is expected to step down in about three weeks. the number two man at the doj
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oversaw special counsel robert mueller's investigation after former attorney general jeff sessions recused himself. doj officials say rosenstein's departure has nothing to do with recent comments made by former fbi deputy director andrew mccabe. nbc's hallie jackson has more. >> reporter: andrew mccabe's defending his side of the story, saying when deputy attorney general rod rosenstein offered to wear a wire inside the white house to record the president after james comey was fired, it was serious, not sarcastic. >> now, he was not joking. he was absolutely serious and, in fact, he brought it up in the next meeting we had. >> reporter: the justice department, in a carefully worded statement, says rosenstein never authorized any recording, but mccabe is arguing that's not a denial. >> so while the deputy attorney general says he never authorized anyone to wear a wire, that is true. he never authorized it because we never asked him for that authorization.
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>> you don't think he denied anything you just said? >> i don't think he can. >> reporter: the doj calls mccabe's version of events inaccurate, and president trump is going even further, describing mccabe's story as deranged and calling it illegal and treasonous, but the former fbi director discussed invoking the 25th amendment to remove the president from office. >> he should have gone immediately and said that rosenstein should be removed from office. >> reporter: mccabe was fired from the fbi last year, accused of lying under oath about his int interactions with the media. marlie, back to you. >> hallie, thank you. more trouble for roger stone this morning. the former trump adviser is apologizing for an instagram post attacking the federal judge hearing his case. the artwork included inflammatory language as well as crosshairs in the upper corner
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of the post. stone has pleaded not guilty to several charges stemming from the russia investigation including obstruction, witness tampering and making false statements to congress. stone took down the online post and apologized in a court filing, saying that it was improper and that he had no intention of disrespecting the court. president donald trump is expected to sign a directive today to establish his so-called space force. it would be the first new military branch since the u.s. air force was created. sources tell politico it won't be fully independent but will instead remain part of the air force. startup costs for the president's proposed branch is expected to be less than $100 million. the force is still in the proposal stage. it won't become a reality until sometime during mr. trump's possible second term. hate crime or hoax? questions continue to swirl around jussie smollett's alleged attack with police sources now saying the two brothers were paid to carry out the alleged assault. celebrities and politicians are
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weighing in. blockbuster director ava duvernay shared her doubts and law enforcement echoing the controversial laquan mcdonald case. meanwhile, presidential candidate kamala harris had this to say about it. >> i think that the facts are still unfolding, and i'm very concerned about obviously the initial allegation that he made. i'm not going to comment until i know the outcome of the investigation. >> here with the latest is nbc's miguel almaguer. >> reporter: after multiple requests, jussie smollett's attorneys says he will not speak with investigators. this after two brothers, ola and abel osundairo, captured in this surveillance photo, told detectives they were hired by the actor to stage what smollett described as a hate crime. that bombshell from police sources comes after the men, who are not suspects, were released without charges. >> innocence prevailed, right? my guys are walking home. they're not charged.
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they are not suspects in this case. >> reporter: one of the brothers, who is smollett's personal trainer, was also an extra on his hit show "empire." last month, smollett says he received this letter containing a death threat. after raiding the brothers' home, investigators seized a magazine, stamps, bleach, and a ski mask, potential pieces of evidence. police say recent developments in the case have shifted the trajectory of the investigation. last week, smollett remained defiant. >> who the [ bleep ] would make something like this up or add something to it or -- or whatever it may be? >> reporter: after this weekend's developments, his team doubled down, saying in part he has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that jussie played a role in his own attack. if he did, experts say he could face serious trouble. >> making a false allegation of a crime to police is a class
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four felony punishable by up to three years in prison. >> reporter: chicago police say smollett is neither a suspect nor a victim, but he is someone they want to talk to. miguel almaguer, nbc news. now to north carolina where a 2018 house race is still unresolved. yesterday a key witness testified to tampering with absentee ballots. lisa brit says she was paid by mcrae dallas, a political operative hired by consultants for republican candidate mark harris, who appeared to have defeated democrat dan mcreddy by 905 votes. brit testified that she improperly handled dozens of ballots. she insists that mark harris had no knowledge of the operation and claims dallas strongly urged her to plead the fifth, telling her and others not to reveal anything. investigators say at least 1,000 absentee ballot requests were
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collected at the end of the hearing, which continues today, the board of elections will determine if a new election needs to be called. a royal sighting in the big apple. the daily mail got these exclusive photos here of meghan markle trying to keep a low profile out on the city streets. they say she's on a five-day secret baby show adventure. the trip was reportedly organized by her closest friends. this is the duchess' first time in new york since her wedding. she's due around late spring. a 15-year-old girl in las vegas had to think fast to rescue her puppy from being eaten by a hawk. cecilia heard her two-pound yorkie crying and rushed to the dog's rescue. she tried yelling, using a pillow to hit the bird, and was eventually successful in throwing patio furniture at the giant hawk. the family believes the bird may have also been a pet. they found torn straps around the burd's legs after the attack. thankfully the puppy, lulu, is expected to be okay after that
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frightening encounter. >> lulu will never be the same. >> i know. glad she's all right. >> those talons are no joke, right? >> bill, good morning. good morning. big winter storm is on the way. we've got winter weather advisories and warnings from areas of new mexico all the way to the east coast, including a big section in the middle of the country. 49 million people under these headlines. as far as the snow forecast, the big huge area is over the midwest and northern plains. we've got this little bull's- e bull's-eyes in the areas where west virginia and virginia meet. the first part of the snow storm will be later on this evening. from wichita to des moines, to minneapolis, three to six inches of snow. the heaviest totals will be the higher elevations of western portions of virginia, and even washington, d.c. still has a chance for about three to five inches of snow. that's a look at the big weathe
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city only 30 degrees today. that's going to be trouble on untreated roads. washington, d.c. snow forecast, that's for tomorrow. we'll wait and see. could be a snow day. >> thanks so much, bill. well, nbc hockey analyst pierre mcguire got too close for comfort to a rogue hockey puck at last night's game. play was halted between the tampa bay lightning and the blue jackets when the puck launched into the benches near the end of the first period, barely missing him as it hit the camera lens. luckily everyone came away unscathed. >> you saw that reaction. he got lucky. coming up, a new health study reveals the power of pushups. and a childhood fear come true. a hiker gets trapped in quicksand. the race against time next. she's doing it again. (vo) no cover up spray here...
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you may not be able to bust them out with one arm like sylvester stallone in rocky, but there is a new harvard study out revealing the power behind pushups. researchers surveyed a group of 1,100 men and found those who could do more than 40 pushups during a time test were 96% less likely to develop cardiovascular problems. >> i can do about 12. >> 12? >> about a quarter of the way there. leading the news, a harrowing rescue to tell you about. a hiker spent all night in the brutal cold at a national park in utah after he got trapped in quicksand. nbc's gadi schwartz has the details. >> reporter: in a remote stretch of zion national park, a helicopter hovering over a man who was trapped in quicksand. 34-year-old ryan osman rescued after stepping into this area of quicksand and unable to pull his
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leg free, miles away from cell phone service, his girlfriend leaving him with warm clothing and hiking out for four hours before being able to call 911. the group had to spent the night in a storm that brought frigid conditions before the helicopter finally reached them. >> the place he was stuck, he was in running water, up to like his knees. >> reporter: quicksand rescues are extremely uncommon but do happen. in the netherlands, a 9-year-old had to be rescued by ten firefighters. last year a woman was trapped in santa barbara with fire firefighters becoming stuck themselves. now another rescue in a wintry desert and a reminder that the threat of quicksand is rare but real. gadi schwartz, nbc news. just ahead, who will, who will rock the oscars? a flap over the flag as well. we have the growing controversy over the arrest of a sixth grader who refused to recite the pledge of allegiance.
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on march 1st, u.s. tariffs on $200 billion worth of chinese goods are set to rise from 10% to 25%. british rock band queen will perform live at sunday's oscar ceremony. this follows the blockbuster success of best picture nominee "bohemian rhapsody." now to florida where a student there is facing misdemeanor charges after a confrontation with a teacher that began with his refusal to recite the pledge of allegiance. nbc's gabe gutierrez has the story. >> reporter: a sixth grater at lawton chiles academy. >> my son is the most amazing kid, and the way that he was treated is not fair. >> reporter: earlier this month, according to an affidavit, the 11-year-old refused to stand for the pledge of allegiance, telling a substitute teacher that he thinks the flag and the national anthem are racist against black people. the confrontation escalated. >> i see this case as an example of a larger problem with
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african-american students being singled out and given more severe punishment. >> reporter: the school district says to be clear, the student was not arrested for refusing to participate in the pledge. students are not required to participate in the pledge of allegiance. unfortunately a substitute teacher was not aware of this. but the district says it was a school resource officer who decided to arrest the student. the lakeland police department says this arrest was based on the student's choice to disrupt the classroom, make threats, and resisting the officer's efforts to leave the classroom. >> this is overwhelming for him, for all of us. >> reporter: a fierce debate over a controversial protest by a young student and whether school officials overreacted. gabe gutierrez, nbc news. she's doing it again. (vo) no cover up spray here... it's the irresistibly fresh scent of febreze air effects. cheaper aerosols can cover up odors,
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and ah mother nature sure doesn't cut any corners when she paints a morning like that. and we know there is no shortcut to quality. and that's why we use nothing but the very best sausage that money can buy. paint yourself a beautiful morning. a night of fun at a rodeo in kentucky quickly turned into a night of horror when several people were hurt during a cowboy pinball game over the weekend. the video you're about to see may be disturbing. contestants were trying to win $100 by being the last man standing in that circle. it turned dangerous when several cowboys were butted by that bull. they reportedly had to sign a waiver. they were warned that injuries were possible. the southern extreme bull riding association had to release a statement saying that no one competing should be taken by surprise that a bull charges at them. and no one watching should be surprised if someone gets hurt.
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>> oh, my goodness. trying to win $100? not worth it. >> it's crazy. there was only one person in a circle that i saw take off before the bull got to them. there was only one person that was like, yeah, this was a bad decision. we still have flash flooding issues. we're watching about 16 million people at risk. we just added a new section of tennessee. mostly northern mississippi, arkansas, through tennessee, northern alabama. look at this rain footprint. that rain is three inches of rain. this is on soggy soil. a lot of rivers already high. there's going to be problems, especially in those areas that see thunderstorms. today's forecast, pretty quiet in areas of florida and the northeast. rain is breaking out in areas of the south. going to be soggy. >> that kind of day. bill, thank you. when we come back, why this iconic photo here is back in the headlines after all this time. you're watching "early today." by using dish soap to clean grease on more than dishes?
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on this day in 1942, president franklin d. roosevelt signed an executive order that paved the way for the relocation and internment of americans of japanese ancestry, including u.s.-born citizens during world war ii. ♪ ♪ it's a beautiful day in this neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor ♪ ♪ would you be mine ♪ could you be mine >> on this day in 1968, mr. rogers neighborhood made its u.s. debut on national educational television, or net. it was a forerunner of pbs, the popular children's show starring
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fred rogers would go on to last 31 seasons. to one of the most enduring images in american history, taken in times square as america celebrated the end of world war ii. the sailor in that photo, george mendonsa, died sunday at the age of 95. nbc's harry smith has more. >> reporter: it was a picture that captured the emotions of a nation. elation, unbridled joy, happiness of a kind a lot of people weren't sure they'd experience again. times square filled in minutes as word spread of victory over japan. people could barely contain their happiness. >> the biggest, noisiest celebration in new york's history. >> reporter: and, yes, there was a lot of kissing. his name, george mendonsa, home on leave from duty aboard a destroyer in the u.s. navy. >> i was in new york, and they announced the war over. well, i had a few drinks, and i guess i must have been pretty high. i guess when i saw the nurse, i
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grabbed her. >> reporter: her name, greta zimmer friedman, a dental assistant whose family fled austria before the war. others claimed they were in the picture. an historian found, no, it was george and greta. if you were an american, on august 14th, 1945, you saw yourself in that photo. years of shared sacrifice and loss. the loneliness, the sorrow. the country and her people had given their all, and that feeling that day was sealed by a kiss. harry smith, nbc news, new york. >> george and greta. >> iconic photo. it wouldn't really fly nowadays, but it's a different time. >> it is. a boat depicting a giant sewer rat known in venice as pontagana led the annual venice carnival water parade over the weekend. hundreds of gondolas led the
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powerf parade through the city's canal . enjoy venice while you can. >> that rat is huge and a little menacing. this is charlie not coughing because he took delsym 12-hour.
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and this is charlie still not coughing while trying his hardest not to wake zeus. delsym 12-hour. nothing lasts longer for powerful cough relief. america and good tuesday morning to you. february 19th, and wow! beautiful shot this morning, just looks very light outside this morning, too. this is the transamerica building you can see right there in san francisco, just a beautiful shot there. makes me feel good on this tuesday. >> that's good. that's why we're here, to make you feel good! >> it's all about me? >> you are warming our hearts, marcus. >> see, that's why i'm here. >> that's true. >> thanks so much for joining us for "today in the bay." i'm marcus washington. >> and i'm laura garcia. i'm cold, too. it's 33 degrees when i was driving in. >> freezing temperatures. it looks so bright outside because we have a full


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