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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  December 24, 2019 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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staple. i saw it my first weekend here in town 12 years ago. >> outstanding. >> i'm sad. >> thanks for joining us. i will comfort you. "nightly news" is next. tonight, the president's bitter new attacks, lashing out at democrats, saying they treat him unfairly, and singling out house speaker nancy pelosi. >> she hates all of the people that voted for me and the republican party >> the deepening impasse over the senate trial plus, what the president says tonight about a so-called christmas present from north korea. thousands of anti-government protesters in hong kong take to the streets and shopping malls on this christmas eve. police beating the demonstrators and firing tear gas in violent new clashes. the mystery in idaho. two children missing for months their mother and her husband never reporting it to police the husband's first wife found dead. what the police are saying tonight royal christmas. 98-year-old prince philip is home from the hospital, but the queen is raising
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eyebrows tonight from who is missing from family photos in her christmas message. we'll tell you the reason the remarkable rise of a young man who overcame his challenges ♪ ♪ every day's a miracle ♪ >> how his life has changed since showing america and the world that he's got talent plus one family's christmas spectacular. the light show you won't want to miss >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt good evening i'm kristen welker in for lester on this christmas eve, president trump is sharpening his attacks against democrats as the standoff over the impeachment process intensifies. speaking from his mar-a-lago resort, the president accused house speaker nancy pelosi of hating the entire republican party, and the president also addressed north korea's ominous warning of a christmas surprise, all of it creating a sharp contrast to his holiday greetings to troops overseas. chief white house correspondent hallie jackson has the latest from west palm beach >> reporter: on this christmas eve, the
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president is making his own list of who's nice, like mitch mcconnell. >> very smart guy, very good guy, and a very fair guy. >> reporter: and who is not, like nancy pelosi. >> she is doing a tremendous disservice to the country she hates the republican party she hates all of the people that voted for me >> reporter: it's a familiar refrain from the president, frustrated as negotiations over a senate impeachment trial appear to be on a holiday hiatus democrats back the house speaker as she holds off on sending those articles of impeachment to the senate until she is confident that process will be fair still, the president insists it's republicans who have the upper hand >> we're in a very good position. ultimately that decision is going to be made by mitch mcconnell, and he has the right to do whatever he wants. he is the head of the senate >> reporter: the trial start date in question here at home and overseas, questions on the timing of something else the so-called christmas surprise north korea has been hinting at for weeks, ever since officials
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there released these photos of kim jong-un on horseback visiting a sacred site, seen as a sign pyongyang was plotting an aggressive move. >> we'll find out what the surprise is, and we'll deal with it very successfully. let's see what happens. >> reporter: u.s. military and intelligence officials are on alert for a possible long-range missile test with new satellite photos showing north korea expanding a factory used to produce those missiles the president downplaying that christmas gift threat with a quip. >> maybe it's a nice present. maybe it's a present where he sends me a beautiful vase as opposed to a missile test >> reporter: also this week, as part of its ongoing legal fight with former white house counsel don mcgahn, the house judiciary committee is now suggesting if potential testimony reveals new evidence, they may consider new articles of impeachment against president trump, but right now, kristen, that seems highly unlikely >> hallie jackson traveling with the president. hallie, thank you for that overseas now, there was new violence in hong kong on this christmas eve as anti-government
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protesters clashed with police in a shopping mall and on the streets. nbc's erin mclaughlin has the latest >> reporter: tonight in hong kong on the eve before christmas, clashes at one of the city's luxury shopping malls. christmas shoppers watch in shock as plainclothes police officers beat back protesters protesters say it's a fight for greater democracy, what some have sarcastically dubbed hong kong's white christmas. instead of snow, tear gas and pepper spray one journalist told us the clashes lasted into christmas day >> it's 3:00 in the morning in hong kong you can see the protesters are still on the street. >> reporter: police broke through a
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barricade, only for protesters to set it up against observers said the protesters' intensity dipped in december but with more protests in the works, they could have momentum going into the new year erin mclaughlin, nbc news and in this country, there are new questions tonight over the controversial pardons issued by the governor of kentucky just before he left office now the fbi is looking into them as well. nbc's pete williams has that story >> reporter: matt bevin, kentucky's former republican governor is out. but now the fbi is starting to ask questions about his last-minute pardons and sentence reductions for more than 600 people, including convicted murderers and a man accused of raping a child. chris harris, a democrat in the state legislature who called for an inquiry says he has now been contacted by an investigator the fbi isn't commenting, but federal officials say there is little choice but to take an initial look with all the public calls for some scrutiny among the most controversial actions, the pardon of patrick baker, convicted of
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murder in a home invasion his relatives hosted a political fundraiser for governor bevin last year, but baker says he didn't kill anyone >> i am innocent i want to thank mr. bevin for his courageous actions and allowing me to come home to my family. >> reporter: also raising questions, the pardon of a man convicted of raping a 9-year-old girl. the prosecutor says the governor never talked to those involved with the case >> he didn't review the police department's file and he never talked to the victim or her mother so it really makes you wonder what was he basing his decision off of. >> reporter: bevin says there was no impropriety in any of the pardons, that all were based on the merits but now leaders of the kentucky republican party are urging state officials to conduct their own investigation. pete williams, nbc news, washington and turning now to a bizarre mystery in idaho where a frantic search is on for two missing siblings as police say their mother and her husband are refusing to cooperate with the investigation.
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steve patterson reports. >> reporter: tonight a grandmother's desperate plea. >> show us the kids. >> reporter: authorities say kay vallow's grandchildren, 7-year-old joshua vallow and 17-year-old tylee ryan were last seen in september near their home in rexburg, idaho. police say their mother lori vallow and her husband chad are considered persons of interest after vallow misled authorities on joshua's whereabouts the couple was married weeks after daybell's then wife tammy was found dead in october. authorities first believing her death was natural, but have since exhumed her remains for an autopsy after new evidence deemed it suspicious in arizona, investigators are also looking at the deaths of vallow's estranged husband and her brother, both earlier this year. the couple's attorney issued a statement saying we look forward to addressing the allegations once they have moved beyond speculation and rumor. vallow says she has been increasingly worried about the couple's extremist
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religious views. >> they're feeding off of each other and not in a good way. >> reporter: a christmas cut off from loved ones, searching for any sign of hope >> we love you, jj, and we love you, tylee, and please come home. >> reporter: steve patterson, nbc news. now to the latest in the heartbreaking case of the texas mother murdered. her newborn kidnapped and her friend charged in the crime tonight the baby girl now back with her father sam brock has the very latest >> reporter: a holiday gift for the family devastated by the loss of heidi broussard baby margot now back with her father shane. >> that's the best thing that could ever happen ♪ silent night >> reporter: but this holiday also brings immeasurable pain. a vigil honoring heidi's life, but without her parents who returned to louisiana for funeral arrangements heidi's mother telling nbc news it hit us hard when we arrived home, realizing their daughter would never again walk through the front door saying "mom, we're here."
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rachel west is one of heidi's closest friends. >> devastating is an understatement of what this is. >> reporter: now questions about heidi's childhood friend maygen humphrey the two met at chump church camp when they were 11 heidi's body was discovered friday in a car trunk on humphrey's property. humphrey faces charges of kidnapping and tampering with a human course. >> i'm feeling anger, sadness, confusion, wanting to understand. i talked to her the whole week heidi is missing. >> reporter: a baby registry in maygen's name shows the same due date as heidi's. humphrey's attorney did not respond to nbc's request for comment. >> pray for baby margot. >> reporter: palpable pain, only softened by heidi's memory. >> she is a light in complete and total darkness, and she always will be. >> reporter: sam brock, nbc news, austin in the bahamas, the official death toll from hurricane dorian stands at 70. but in the wake of massive destruction, local officials believe hundreds of more may have died on hard hit great abaco
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we sent nbc's kerry sanders back to the island where people are still struggling >> reporter: almost four months after hurricane dorian flattened and flooded great abaco island, life here remains a struggle is there water >> no, there is no water. >> reporter: no water, no power, no sewer every structure on the island still damaged or destroyed where did you ride the storm out? >> right inside here. >> reporter: matthew taylor hoped to have a roof on his murphy town home by now, but on this island 90 miles long, at its fattest only four miles wide, for about 9,000 survivors who are now here trying to rebuild, needed supplies are scarce. >> my work is on hold because of nails >> reporter: nails you don't have nails >> i'm out of the nails that i need. >> reporter: the hardware store, like most of this island, looks today as it did the day after the hurricane. so here in murphytown, you feel forgotten. >> reporter: forgotten, say
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survivors by the government in the untouched capital of nassau dale hill is an elected councilmember. how do you respond to people that say the bahamian government has failed them? >> the bahamian government has failed. >> reporter: the most asked question is when when will things in the impact zone get back to normal government officials say because we are on an island and it takes a long time to get supplies here, that answer is a moving target, but probably years. while nearly 100 million charity dollars have been donated or committed to help survivors, frustration here mounts amid few visible signs of progress kerry sanders, nbc news, great abaco island, the bahamas. and now to our series one nation, stories that prove we're not so divided after all. tonight harry smith takes us to one of the cities most devastated by the opioid epidemic, and shows us how people are determined to bring it back from the brink. >> 20 seconds.
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next man up, next man up, let's go >> reporter: the crossfit class at this rehab center is more than a workout, it's a test >> who knows what it feels like to be frustrated to be ashamed of what you've done? come on! that a girl, beautiful. >> reporter: instructor dale king grew up in portsmouth, ohio, went to college and then the service when he got home, he didn't like what he saw. his city, his neighbors devastated by the opioid crisis how much had your town changed? >> to me it wa almost unrecognizable. i'd see all these signs for pain clinic, pain clinic. then there was n businesses anywhere. >> help each other out, let's go! >> reporter: king was introduced to crossfit in the military. now in portsmouth, he trains people in recovery, and he provides jobs in his gym and his ointment company. nicole maynard has fought her way through enough crossfit classes to fall in love with it
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it's not a stretch to say it's helping save her life where would you be if you weren't sober now? >> i really don't know probably homeless. i might not even be here i may have been dead already. >> reporter: a short walk from dale's gym, a brew pub opened downtown tim wolf's army engineering unit helped rebuild iraq. he figured why not do the same thing in his hometown so you would come back to portsmouth, decide you're going to be in the development business did anybody say you're nuts because this town is over? >> yeah. and they're still saying that. everybody questions the investment all the time but if this is our home and we have no other choice but you either fix it up or you let it fall down around you. >> reporter: if not us, who say these vets tim now has 18 people in recovery working for him. literally rebuilding the town he and dale king love. >> this will be the greatest comeback in
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any small town, i guarantee it >> reporter: a new spirit for a city and its people harry smith, nbc news, portsmouth, ohio. >> a critical investment indeed. well, pope francis celebrated christmas eve with a midnight mass at the vatican, attended by thousands. the pontiff telling the faithful that a person's sin does not change god's love for them another catholic tradition for the first time in more than 200 years, the iconic notre dame cathedral in paris will not host any christmas services after it was devastated by a massive fire in april. just ahead, a royal christmas. good news about the health of 98-year-old prince philip, while the queen raises questions about who isn't in the photos during her christmas message. we'll tell you why also, a beloved holiday tradition lighting up one american city. we'll take you there and a star is born on a remarkable young singer stay with us
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>> one nation on "nbc nightly news" is sponsored by liberty mutual insurance only pay for what you need
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we're back now with the royal family's christmas there is news tonight about where prince philip will be spending the holiday, who isn't going to be there to celebrate and who is missing from the photos seen during the queen's christmas message. molly hunter is in london tonight >> reporter: after four nights in a london hospital, 98-year-old prince philip has walked out just in time for a royal christmas. good news for a royal family in need of some holiday cheer. prince philip will be home at sandringham for the queen's annual christmas message. she will allude to a rough year saying, quote, the path of course is not always smooth and may at times this year have felt quite bumpy, but small steps can make a world of difference. >> the queen has been dragged into a constitutional crisis over brexit. so perhaps it's only
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wise the mother of the nation sets a very calming note >> reporter: speculation is rampant whether she is talking about the stark divisions over brexit. >> people vote >> reporter: or maybe divisions within her own family she's watched a sordid scandal engulf her son andrew, and she's watched the relationship between her grandsons become strained on her desk during the televised address, a nod to the royal line of succession. not pictured this year, harry and meghan, and the palace just releasing this sweet video of four generations and three future kings all making christmas pudding. and meghan and harry are spending christmas with meghan's mom in canada so tomorrow we'll see will and kate, the queen, and hopefully prince philip with the rest of the royal family kristen? >> molly, thank you for that report. next, we'll stop by a house where they take decorating for christmas to a whole new level.
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we're back now with the christmas
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celebration that is truly a family affair. blayne alexander shows us the spectacular display of lights, all for a good cause >> reporter: even from santa's sleigh, christmas on the moody family's lawn is enough to stop you in your tracks. >> i love everything, that, everything it's so colorful ♪ you better watch out ♪ >> reporter: more than just twinkling lights, this is a full-on production, with thousands of people filling the streets in a single night. >> my favorite part about this beautiful house is all the people that come here to celebrate christmas. >> reporter: for decades, it's been a must-see holiday tradition in columbus, georgia, all thanks to one christmas loving couple, jerry and edith moody. >> we tell everybody it's love at first light. >> reporter: derek keith has been helping since he was old enough to walk >> when they're relaxing on the beach, we're hanging up lights on the roof. >> so christmas is year round >> reporter: 20 miles of cords and 500,000 lights, the festivities are free,
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but with one request, help brighten another child's life. >> thank you, merry christmas. >> reporter: the moodys collect donations for make a wish foundation, so far raising more than $140,000 >> we do this for our kids, everybody else's kids, and the kids that are up to 99. >> it gets me emotional. but it's a good emotion because i know the good comes out >> reporter: a shining example of the holiday spirit blayne alexander, nbc news >> merry christmas >> reporter: columbus, georgia. >> lighting up people's lives on this holiday. up next, a brilliant young star and how his life is changing as he inspires america
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this week we're this week we're ending our program with updates to some of our favorite stories. tonight we catch up with a young man who became a huge success this year, finding his voice in more ways than one jo ling kent with tonight's "inspiring america. >> reporter: kodi lee first captured our hearts with his angelic voice. ♪ >> reporter: then delighted the nation with his big win on "america's got talent" this year. how does it feel >> it was unbelievable >> reporter: and now the 22-year-old musician who is blind and has autism is taking his craft to another level. >> las vegas >> reporter: taking las vegas by storm, headlining six shows ♪ i've been so many places in my life ♪ >> dude, i love the audience >> reporter: kodi's mom tina says winning
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has transformed the way he communicates. >> with all of the interviews and the excitement of performing, i think that's what helped give him that confidence and that want to speak to people >> reporter: kodi's also back at the piano, writing new songs with his teacher sal. ♪ everything is bound to change ♪ >> i got a few song i'm most excited about. >> reporter: and for mom tina, his lyrics will be more than just words. she hopes they'll lift other families up too. >> all of us parents want is for our kids to be accepted and have opportunities and i think that's what he opened the door by winning is he gave all of these kids acceptance and opportunities. >> reporter: kodi lee closing out his big year on a high and hopeful note jo ling kent, nbc news >> what an inspiring young man. well, that is "nightly news" for this christmas eve. i'm kristen welker in for lester for all of us at nbc
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news, thank you for watching have a very merry christmas and good night. >> announcer: right now at 6:00, fooeding the needy on christmas eve. we're going to take you to san francisco where hundreds are getting a full meal this holiday. >> stepping up for the neighbors in the south bay, hitting hard times this holiday season. >> first get ready for a white christmas and a wet christmas, a live look in san jose where we're starting to see signs of the storm coming through the bay area. the news at 6:00 starts right now. i'm terry mcsweeney. >> and i'm jessica aguirre. better have those umbrellas handy when you open your
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presents because this is the live look at the radar as the rain hits the bay area and it's going to stay that way for christmas. exactly when will it be here on christmas? >> we're looking at the first half of the day probably seeing the heaviest to widespread rain. right now from the mountain it looks like it's raining nearby. we've got storm ranger on the case. you can see scanning the skies to the soegt and west. seeing showers moving through. this is the appetizer before the main event comes in after midnight tonight. right now light to moderate rain near the coast. look at this color coding. something will be watching closely tonight because above 4,000 feet right now it's 30 degrees. that's going to be cold enough for mixed precipitation or snow showers tonight as things start to get more interesting after midnight tonight to sunrise tomorrow. that is when we think we'll see the heaviest rain arrive.

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