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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  January 4, 2016 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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to go around congress as opponents vow to fight. and a murder. the real-life whodonit that has so many viewers hooked, amateur detectives split, and tonight outraged calls for action. "nightly news" begins right now. good evening. call it the sprint to the starting line. after all of the months of rising and falling fortunes, we're now just 28 days from the first nominating contest of the 2016 race for president. and there is new urgency for those still in it. 28 separate campaign events today alone. heading into the stretch toward the february 1st iowa caucus, the latest poll there shows ted cruz ahead of the republican pack. for the democrats, hillary clinton with a nearly 10-point lead over bernie sanders.
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donald trump out front for republicans. and for the dems, sanders with a 2 point lead. and with crunch-time here, checkbooks are being opened, strategies refined. and in the case of hillary clinton, the man she calls husband and her not so secret weapon has been launched on to the campaign trail. we have it all covered. andrea mitchell begins our coverage. andrea, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, lester. this is bill clintons first solo trip in this campaign, trying to pull hillary clinton over the finish line in new hampshire. bill clinton at a popular restaurant in manchester. living up to a famous snl parody. taking nothing for granted this time. >> can hillary win this one? >> win here? sure. but it is going to be hard. >> reporter: back in his element. despite donald trump's attack of the former president's past womanizing, to counter hillary clinton's charge that trump is
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that when she has one of the great women abusers of all time sitting at her house. >> reporter: today bill clinton following a campaign decision not to take trump's bait. as much as he wanted to. >> how do you feel about the kind of campaign donald trump is running, sir? >> the republicans will have to decide who they will nominate. how i feel is only relevant [ inaudible ]. >> and hillary clinton in iowa refusing to engage trump. >> i've adopted a new years resolution. i'm going to let him live in his alternative reality and i'm not going to respond. >> reporter: hillary calls bill her not so secret weapon. but he occasionally misfired, in 2008 for ridiculing barack obama. >> this whole thing is the biggest fairy tale i've ever seen.
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senator bernie sanders is giving hillary clinton a run for her money in new hampshire. ahead there and raising $33 million in the last three months. only $4 million less than clinton's 37 million. all of this, as both clintons try to stick this their game plan, ignoring donald trump. andrea mitchell, nbc news. exeter, new hampshire. i'm katy tur on the campaign trail with donald trump. where today he continued to swing at hillary clinton by targeting her husband bill. >> i don't care about monica lewinsky, i think hillary was an enable letter. >> reporter: following up online first in a massive crowd in biloxi. >> he was paid for speeches paid by people doing business with the state department. >> and now the billionaire is putting his money where his mouth is. spending $2 million in iowa and new hampshire on his first tv ad. it is a 30-second
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fighting radical islam, banning muslims, cutting isis off at the head and stopping illegal immigrants and building a wall. if that doesn't look like the u.s.-mexico border, you're right. it was morocco. the campaign responds no, but this is what our country will look like if we don't build a wall. by playing to fear, trump is hoping for a boost. especially in iowa, where polls have him losing to cruz. >> if he come in second by two points, they will say this is a terrible defeat. >> reporter: he is tamping down on expectations should it slip through his fingers. >> he said he would win. and if he doesn't win, he fails. he becomes the most treaded word in the trump lexicon, which is loser. >> reporter: and once again, trump is not in an early state. instead rallying thousands here in massachusetts. it's only january, lester, but he is acting as if it is august and the only ones left standing are him and hillary
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you. and as he continues to dominate the natural conversation, he could face a stinging defeat in iowa. and senator ted cruz is leading in the polls there. now stepping on the gas, hoping to barnstorm the state to victory. and hallie jackson is the only correspondent inside of the cruz campaign blitz. >> reporter: below freezing on the road in iowa. ted cruz plays a hot hand, in the lead, but not a lock. today kicking off trips to 28 counties in six days. on his campaign bus. >> two weeks ago, just about every republican candidate was attacking donald trump. today just about every republican candidate is attacking me. >> why? >> that is an indication something has changed in the race. >> reporter: cruz in the cross-hairs, facing fire even from donald trump. >> not too many evangelicals come out of cuba. just remember that. >> politicians behave a certain way when they are panicking.
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attacks. they engage in personal attacks. that is human nature. i'm not going to get drawn into that. >> so he is panicking. >> i'm going to keep issues that matter. >> reporter: but that is where rivals see weakness, accusing him of shifting his stance on immigration and being too soft on national defense and too calculating in his political position. >> are you too political opportunistic. >> washington establishment engaged in this freudian objection where they accuse conservatives of doing what they do every day. it doesn't bother me. >> and blanketing early states too. today democrats and republicans racking up 15 campaign stops in iowa. 12 in new hampshire. in all, more than 100 events this week. far from home and family. >> the hardest thing is it has been hard on my girls. >> cruz, staying in touch with his daughters by text. >> here is carolyn. i love you and i love you. >> her emoji game is on point.
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long past iowa but down-playing he needs this state to stick around. cruz tells me iowa is not a must-win for him. but if he doesn't, it is tough for political observers to see how he gets the nomination. it is why cruz is hoping his social conservative stance appeals to evangelicals and his strong fundraising appeals to pragmatists looking for candidates with resources to compete later on. the big question for cruz, four weeks out until the caucuses. has he hit a hot streak too early. >> hallie, thank you. we turn to the scene playing out in oregon. a tense scene. a look inside of the siege where armed anti-government protesters have taken over a federal building. the fbi is stepping in but there is no sign of law enforcement at the scene. nbc's joe fryer has the latest. >> reporter: for the third straight day, the wildlife refuge is under the control of armed anti-government protesters. >> i'll stay here as long as it takes. >> reporter: concerned
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30 miles away are closed for the entire week. >> our town is a safe town. and i don't want the kids to feel scared in their own town. >> reporter: for a brief period, the media was allowed inside the refuge, where things were largely quiet. government cars are still parked and covered in snow. no employees here. no visitors. the fbi wants a peaceful resolution but won't detail how they plan to respond to the occupation. >> is there anything that would make you say, okay, we could end this and go home now? >> i wouldn't say words would do it. i would say action would. >> reporter: the group wants local control of this federal land. the siege is motivated by the case of two oregon ranchers, dwight and steven hammond, who were convicted of lighting fires on federal land near their ranch. late today, the hammonds reported to prison in southern california. >> this is obviously an issue that goes well beyond the fate of two ranchers. this is about the fate of 300 million acres
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federal government. >> the ongoing struggle between the ranchers and the federal government intensified in 2014, where bundy had an armed standoff with agents trying to confiscate his cattle after he refused to pay grazing fees. now, in oregon, his son is leading the group and taken over this remote wildlife refuge. tonight the sheriff aimed a message directly at occupiers, saying it is time for them to leave this community. meanwhile, the hammond family has made it clear they are not a part of what is happening here at the refuge. lester. >> joe fryer, thank you. president obama is starting off the final year of his presidency by picking a major fight with republicans. about to go around congress and take executive action on guns. our senior white house correspondent chris jansing has just learned details about the president's action. chris, what does the plan do? >> reporter: president obama's biggest frustration has not been not getting any
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books after the newtown massacre. so this afternoon he made it clear, this is a priority for his final year in office. his attorney general and fbi director among those in the oval office who gave their recommendations for the executive action that do not require congressional approval. most important will narrow the gun show loophole, forcing more gun buyers to get background checks. and the fbi will add new employees to process them. now critics say the new measures would not have prevented recent mass shootings. his response -- >> it is not going to prevent every mass shooting. it is not going to keep every gun out of the hands of a criminal. it will potentially save lives in this country. >> reporter: beyond executive actions, president obama potentially set up another fight. he wants to hire 200 new atf agents and add $500 million to the budget for mental health care. those will need
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and late this afternoon, democrats came here to the white house for a strategy session. the president has also lined up gun-related events all week long, including a meeting lester. >> chris, thanks. a rough start to the new year on wall part of a global selloff over concerns china. and major new tensions east. at one point the dow was down over 450 points before it gained back some ground near the close to finish down 276, about 2%. and in the middle east, things have gone from bad to much worse between the region's two big rival powers. predominantly sunni saudi arabia, and shiite-dominated iran. the saudi execution of a shiite cleric this weekend triggered an uproar in iran, leading saudis to cut diplomatic ties with
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widening the biggest fault line in an already dangerous neighborhood. bill neely reports. >> reporter: fury in iran today at the rival saudi arabia. america targeted too. as a saudi ally. u.s. flags burned. since the saudi embassy was burned by protesters, relations have plummeted. iranian diplomats expelled and the saudis condemned, from india to iraq today, where police protected saudi diplomats. the saudis executed prominent shiite cleric nimr al nimr, despite numerous warnings from the u.s. >> there has been direct concerns raised by u.s. officials to saudi officials. >> reporter: one consequence is a boiling crisis between iran and saudi arabia. deadly already in syria and yemen, where they back opposing sides in war. now worsened in iraq, lebanon and bahrain where the two struggle for dominance. >> we will not allow iran to destabilize our region. >> reporter:
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warned saudi arabia of devine retribution. but the u.s. plans for peace talks in syria this month that could suffer most. >> the americans hope to really find a way out of this syrian conflict. forget about it. this is not good news for the united states. >> reporter: the real winners could be isis. they want sectarian conflict and the syrian war to wage. and this is already a crisis that has brought more chaos where it is least needed. bill neely, nbc news. still ahead tonight, the fascination and controversy over the netflix documentary series "making a murderer." how it has sparked a new call for action, for many who think that an innocent man is behind bars. and also songs and sign language. how an unconventional revival gave this
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on broadway. we're back now with a sensational murder case featured in a new documentary that has become something of a national obsession. so many people binging on the ten-part series "making a murderer." many viewers coming away feeling a miscarriage of justice may have taken place in wisconsin. and as stephanie gosk reports, there are now calls for the president himself to get involved. >> reporter: the netflix documentary making a murderer,
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happy ending to a tragic story, about a miscarriage of justice. steven avery wrongfully imprisoned 18 years for sexual assault and attempted murder was exonerated by dna evidence in 2003, but his story was far from over. >> it was all a storyteller would want. you have compelling and complex characters, high-stakes, incredible conflict. >> reporter: in 2004, after his release, he filed a civil lawsuit for wrongful conviction, seeking $36 million. he would later settle for $440,000. just over a year later, 25-year-old freelance photographer teresa hallback was murdered. police charged avery with the crime and accused his nephew of being an accomplice. both were convicted. the documentary suggested the defendant was framed, with evidence planted by the same law enforcement agencies he was suing. and that police coerced a confession. and released in december, the ten-part series gained an instant following.
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petitions asking the president to issue a full pardon. one calls the story an abomination of due process. facing intense public criticism, the former prosecutor is pushing back, claiming the filmmakers left out critical pieces of physical and forensic evidence. he told nbc news that the complete set of facts is inconsistent with the claim that avery was framed. >> i call it a movie. i don't call it a documentary. because it doesn't share all of the facts. >> reporter: meantime, the reviews keep coming in and they are glowing. including ricky gervais tweeting, it deserves a nobel prize. >> you have the wrong guy. >> reporter: netflix has the next big hit. for now, steven avery is watching behind bars, still in prison, serving life without parole. stephanie gosk, nbc news, new york. when we come back here tonight, the holidays are over and so is the warm weather. the unusually warm weather so many americans were enjoying.
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across the country. the attorney for the so-called affluenza teen said it could take months before ethan couch is deported back to the u.s. from mexico where he was caught on the run with his mother. and a mexican immigration official tells us that couch is being held in a sparse room with three or four other people. he got ten years probation for a deadly drunk-driving crash after arguing he was too spoiled to know right from wrong. extreme weather whipping across the country this evening after the usually warm holidays. some of the coldest temperatures of the season are blasting the northeast. up to 20 degrees below average in some areas. while on the west coast, six storms influenced by el nino are threatened to be on the march. and the midwest is still reeling from flooding that destroyed 150 homes and left 25 people dead. they call today
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nfl for a good reason. a number of teams in search of new leaders after parting company with head coaches. the new york giants tom coughlin steps down after 12 seasons and two super bowl wins. and out, mike pettine of the cleveland browns. and rookie coach of the san francisco 49ers, jim tomsula. the eagles, titans and dolphins fired their coaches before the end of the season. when we come back, a beloved musical back on broadway in a way
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or heard before. finally tonight, a broadway dream come true. a much-loved musical playing to an audience that most shows ignore. and it is cast with actors so often locked out of the great white way. including one young woman who got the break of a lifetime. rehema ellis has her story. >> reporter: this is the opening scene of the broadway musical "spring awakening." but when the audience hears this -- [ singing ] -- lead actress sandra may frank hears this. sandra is deaf. she shared her role with hearing actor katie.
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signs. she spoke to us through an interpreter. >> i see the faces in the audience and the they are going, you are the one who is singing. oh, okay. you are the one who is signing. >> sandra is one of nine deaf actors in the cast. each is paired with a hearing actor. >> what we're trying to create is that people will watch her and hear me. >> i watch this play, and i didn't think of two actresses. i thought of one. >> sandra lost her ability to hear at age 3. but held fast to a dream. >> i wanted to learn how to sing. and my mother was like, oh, okay. but you are deaf. you would have to work hard. but here i am singing, but in a different way. >> she looked up to people like oscar winners, who are now a co-star. >> i can't be the only
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see more deaf actors get recognized for their work. >> reporter: the show is wowing crowds. >> i could see they are moved by the acting. they are not looking at us like disabled characters on the stage, they are looking at us to tell the story. >> reporter: an opportunity for actors and audiences alike. rehema ellis, nbc newsnew york. >> and that will do it night. for all of us on nbc news, thank you for watching and g people can't buy a gun to defend themselves, then only criminals have a gun. president obama plans to tighten gun laws. locals have their stand on the potential changes, and the
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and what i are promising. what officials expect for the upcoming year and a presidential hopeful is making a stop here. who it is and where you can see them. news 4 nightly starts right now. good evening, and thank you for joining us. i'm joe hart. >> and i'm shelby sheehan. options for gun restrictions were discussed by president obama and loretta lynch. news 4 has the latest for us tonight. emily in. >> reporter: the two people i spoke with had opposite beliefs about obama's possible decision. one believed that taking another step to make stricter
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