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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  February 15, 2016 5:30pm-6:00pm MST

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tonight, supreme war. the death of tonight, supreme war. the death of justice scalia prompting a high-stakes showdown. the president vows to nominate a successor. republicans refuse to even consider it. major issues left hanging in the balance. facing trump's fury. the front-runner again threatening to sue ted cruz and taking aim at george w. bush over 9/11. trump's risky attack as the former president hits the trail. hospital bombing. a new horror in syria. medical facilities and schools are hit. children are killed. a massive storm from louisiana to maine. snow and ice in the
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the south. and heartburn alert. new concerns about prescription meds millions take to treat it linked to kidney disease, now linked to an increase risk of dementia. "nightly news" begins right now. >> announcer: from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this the "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening. in an election year already fraught with improbable plot twists and drama now this. the ideological balance of the u.s. supreme court suddenly in limbo. tonight there's late word on who president obama might be considering to replace the late justice scalia as lines are drawn for an epic battle between democrats and senate republicans who are determined to leave the choice up to the next president. tonight, the current president is suggesting republicans are full of bluster, but they, not democrats, hold the power to control the process. our justice correspondent pete
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>> reporter: the body of antonin scalia arrived overnight, the casket draped in an american flag flown from texas where he died in his sleep at a private guest ranch. >> the judge, when i found him saturday morning, was in complete repose. >> reporter: on the court scalia was one of the most influential conservatives in more than a generation and his criticism could be stinging, even for ruth bader ginsburg, his ideological opposite and close friend and traveling companion. on sunday she said they were quote, best buddies. how is it that you're able to zing somebody like your friend ruth baird ginsburg and then go to the on pratt rex day? >> because the next day she will be zinging me. equal opportunity singers. among possible nominees to succeed him sri srinivasan and jane kelly from iowa.
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appeals court judges merrick garland and a trish yags millett, experience the litigator and experienced ginsburg clerk. for now the court is split between conservatives and liberals and on immigration a tie would block president obama from enforcing his plan to allow up to 5 million people here illegally to stay and on abortion a tie would allow tough new restrictions on access to abortion clinics in texas to remain in force. or in case of a tie the court could choose to withhold its decision and order the case to be reargued when there's a ninth justice >>the justices have the ability to take a case in which there's a tie and just put it on a shelf and come back to it a year later, conceively even two years later. >> reporter: in modern times the longest stretch the supreme court has gone without all nine justices is just over a year, and that was nearly 50 years ago. the justices are now in thai mid-winter break. they will be back on the bench a week from today. lester?
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leftner. >> no matter who it is >> no matter who it is the president picks the republican leader in the senate and many of the leading gop candidates say no one should get a vote and the seat should remain empty until the next president nominates a successor. that could leave this battle raging for well over a year as nbc's andrea mitchell reports. >> reporter: the battle over the supreme court instantly redefining the presidential race. republicans on the trail today. >> i intend to make 2016 a referendum on the u.s. supreme court. >> we're not moving until after the election. >> the republicans happen. >> reporter: political wars exploded within hours of antonin scalia's death. playing to the republican base, senate leader mitch mcconnell vowing to block any obama nominee. saying the next president should fill the vacancy. president obama quickly pushing back. >> i plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibilities to nominate a successor in due time. >> reporter: democrats today arguing there is plenty of time to
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>> i think we ought to talk about this, the constitution of the united states. >> reporter: and no excuse to leave the court gridlocked, potentially for another year. >> it would be the height of irresponsibility for the republican leadership not to have a vote on a nominee from the president. >> reporter: so who will the president the smart political bet, a moderate federal judge supported in the past by republicans, much reject. so far most republicans up for re-election in swing states seem to be following their leader, but depending on whom the president picks could it backfire? even helping democrats retake the senate. still in the presidential race it's a rallying cry for republicans, especially ted cruz, a former supreme court clerk. >> we're not going to give up the u.s. supreme court for a generation by allowing barack obama to make one more liberal appointee. >> reporter: and senator leahy told nbc that president obama
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in fact, the president is likely to consult republicans as well as democrats to see if any potential nominee has a chance of getting a vote despite the pressure from republican leaders to block any action. lester. >> andrea mitchell, thank you. as the fight over the court plays out on the campaign trail, there are also new fights exploding within the republican party as donald trump launches multiple attacks, threatening to once again sue ted cruz and taking aim at george w. bush over 9/11, right as the former president hits the campaign trail in support of his brother. we get the latest from nbc's peter alexander. >> reporter: he's back. former president george w. bush on the campaign trail, this time for jeb in south carolina. >> thank you for your hard work for jeb. thank you for what you're going to do which is to vote for him on saturday here in the great state of south carolina. >> reporter: 43 aiming to make his younger brother 45 rise to the white house, appearing
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time since jeb announced. >> thanks to brother for giving us something to do today, something important. i'm proud of his candidacy, and i'm really proud to have been invited. >> reporter: but on this president's day donald trump is trying to crash the party, attacking w. today over 9/11. >> the world trade center came down during his reign so it's like, you know, he was the top. >> reporter: and for invading iraq. >> you had him on the aircraft carrier saying all sorts of wonderful things. the war was essentially over, guess what, not over. >> reporter: punctuating the fiery feud at saturday's debate. george bush made a mistake. we can make mistakes and that one was a beauty. we never should have been in iraq. >> i'm sick and tired of him going after my family. >> reporter: will trump's attacks against the bushes backfire? george h.w. bush and george w. bush both carried south carolina in their presidential primary. jeb is betting his brother, the former commander in chief, can still bring in voters. here the military community is a key
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generating more than 150,000 jobs and nearly $20 billion for the state's economy. today trump is again threatening to sue ted cruz, calling him unstable and the biggest liar he's ever come across. >> he doesn't even have the right to have the right to serve as president or even run as president. he was born in canada, so i will bring that lawsuit if he doesn't apologize. >> reporter: cruz brushing off the threat saying trump has lost it. >> this is the most rattled i've ever seen donald, his press conference today where he stood and vented. i guess the only explanation one can have is that his poll numbers in south carolina must be plummeting. >> reporter: and tonight's crowd by far the biggest that jeb bush has seen all campaign season. earlier today his brother reflecting on his past presidential primaries says he prefers to focus on the wins than the losses, a glass half full man, he said. in five days the bush family will find out if the there's still reason for optimism. lester. >> peter, thank you. an unexpected battleground has opened up in the democratic race between hillary
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with just five days to go until the nevada caucuses clinton is hitting the trail hard there. for months many believed she would win the state, but now as our kristen welker reports, that's a big question mark. >> reporter: after losing new hampshire, secretary clinton is trying to come back with a win in nevada. >> i hope you'll come out and caucus on saturday. >> reporter: today she again tried to paint senator sanders as a candidate solely focused on wall street. >> i am not a single-issue candidate because this is not a single-issue country. >> reporter: sanders has dismissed that criticism, and today before a raucous crowd of 9,000 in michigan said he'd met with the families impacted by the flint water crisis. >> i've just come from a meeting which was one of the more difficult meetings that i have ever attended. >> reporter: the clinton campaign answering, releasing a video touting an endorsement from a group of flint ministers praising her for highlighting the
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>> they need to fix flint. >> reporter: it's an issue that resonates with african-americans, including in states like nevada where in 2012 roughly 15% of voters were black and another 15% hispanic. nbc news political analyst john rostan says it's hard to get accurate polling, but he believes clinton has a slim lead. >> the clinton campaign has to be worried about the whole millennial effect, young voters deciding to register on saturday to support bernie sanders. >> reporter: nevada was supposed to be part of clinton's firewall and now that's in play, voters in reno understanding the divide. >> we've got a big uprising for sanders here. >> reporter: who are you planning on voting for this weekend? >> hillary clinton. >> reporter: why? >> i want to see a woman handle the office. >> reporter: secretary clinton was initially planning to campaign in florida. instead, she sent her husbanding there so she could focus on courting voters here. meanwhile, late tonight her campaign officials announced
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michigan. lester. >> kristen, thank you. tonight a massive storm is moving across a huge part of the country. it's being felt from the gulf coast all the way up to maine. snow and ice in the north and tornadoes ripping off roofs in the south. a huge mess all from the same weather system. nbc's kristen dahlgren has details. >> president's day brought a fresh coat of snow to the nation's capital as a colossal storm system spread misery from the south to the midwest and northeast today. this twister was spotted in alabama. in louisiana this afternoon another tornado touched down damaging a pizza hut and injuring two. >> the car was shaking. i seen it like coming at me. it was scarey. >> in mississippi a high school nearly crushed when a twister toppled this tree, and mother nature wreaking havoc in kentucky where even snow plows couldn't stay on slick roads. major highways finally did reopen after two
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indiana this weekend. >> in 32 years and this is probably one of the worst crashes that i've ever seen. >> reporter: the east still hasn't thawed out after record low temperatures. on sunday boston hit minus 9. watertown, new york, saw 37 below and new york city was the coldest it's been in 100 years. >> i've never known cold like that, ever. >> a warmup is expected. >> by tomorrow we're looking at temperatures that are anywhere from 5 to almost 20 degrees above average. lots of rain. airport delays. we go from frost to flooding. >> reporter: an upcoming thaw that may bring everything but relief. kristen dahlgren, nbc news, new york. >> we turn overseas now where dozens of civilians including children have been killed in reported air strikes in syria. multiple hospitals and a school were hit. nbc's keir simmons has gotten rare access inside syria, and as he reports this all comes the same week that a tentative cease-fire is supposed
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>> reporter: a desperate search for at least hospitals and a school hit. and a school hit. wards wrecked. the u.n. says. babies had to be rescued. this video from opposition activists of a newborn in the arms of a firefighter. we don't know the baby's name or who the mother is. >> we have seen many children, and i have seen many, many women, they were injured and they were dead. >> reporter: hospitals were a deliberate target. doctors without borders claim, accusing russia or syria. >> to be today a doctor or a nurse in -- in the area controlled by the opposition, it's equal to being a criminal. >> reporter: 700 health care workers have been injured or killed in the syrian conflict. 112 medical facilities were hit in 2015. the syrian ambassador to russia claims u.s.
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acquisition the u.s.-led coalition denied. just days ago a partial cease-fire was announced by secretary of state john kerry and u.s. allies meeting in germany. >> this has been a period of intensified bombing, particularly in the north of syria. we have condemned that in the strongest terms. >> reporter: today syrian president bashar al assad says he believes the cease-fire will be difficult to implement. just days from the deadline for a cessation in hostilities announced by secretary kerry last week, and there is little sign the fighting will end. keir simmons, nbc news, damascus. thousands flocked to see pope francis today at a stadium in mexico's poorest state. he met with families at the event which followed an enormous open-air mass that he presided over earlier. and a moving moment from his visit yesterday to a children's hospital when a teenage patient
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him earning a kiss from the pope and bringing those around him to tears. still ahead here tonight, another new warning about common heartburn medications. why the millions of americans who take them could be at risk of memory loss. also, the dangerous mid-air incident that shook up one of the pilots aboard an international flight. aboard an guys, it's just the two of you. the setting is just right. there's something in the air. but here's the thing: about half of men over 40 have some degree of erectile dysfunction. well, viagra helps guys with ed get and keep an erection. ask your doctor if your heart is healthy enough for sex. do not take viagra if you take nitrates for chest pain or adempas for pulmonary hypertension your blood pressure could drop to an unsafe level. to avoid long-term injury, seek immediate medical help for an erection lasting more than four hours. stop taking viagra and call your doctor right away if you experience a sudden decrease or loss in vision or hearing. ask your doctor... ...about viagra. available in single packs.
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we're back now with the new concerns about the prescription meds that so many people take to treat heartburn around acid
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take them to block stomach acid and as we reported last week researchers suggested that the medications may be linked to kidney disease and bone fractures. now another concern being raised, that there is a link to dementia. nbc's tom costello has the information you should hear. >> reporter: 34-year-old tara had acid reflux so bad it made her job as a speech therapist nearly impossible. >> i actually got vocal fold ulcers and vocal fold nodules from it. >> reporter: she found immediate relief in a very common medication to block the stomach acid, a so-called proton pump inhib tor. among the most common brand members, nexium, prilosec and prevacid but recent studies have linked the drugs to kidney damage and bone loss and now a large new study found patients 75 and older who took the medication regularly had a significantly increased risk of dementia, up 44%. women taking the medication for at least 18 months were
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>> i mean, being 34 years old, even if dementia wouldn't hit me for another 40 or 50 years, it definitely concerns me that that -- that that could be part of my future. >> reporter: side effects may occur, say doctors, because we actually need stomach acid to digest our food, ward off infection and to absorb essential nutrients. today two of the drug-makers told nbc news these medisys are generally safe and effective when used in accordance with the label and to avoid drug interactions, but many doctors are concerned too many patients stay on the drug too long. >> if you have heartburn that is mild and it's possible to come off these drugs, then it's probably best to do so at this point. >> reporter: before today's study tara decided to stop taking all acid reflux medication. instead, she's changed her diet. the result, no more acid reflux and no side effect from the meds. tom costello, nbc news, washington. when we come back, you won't believe who has already won a grammy tonight, but
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a laser aimed into the cockpit of a flight from london to new york forced the flight to turn around. one of the pilots aboard the virgin atlantic flight yesterday was reportedly struck in the eye and felt sick afterwards. the plane with 252 passengers and 15 crew landed safely back at heathrow. investigators are working to find the source of a laser. such incidents are troubling certainly, but it turns out 2015 was one of the safest years on record for airlines. four commercial planes did crash last year, that's 1 in every 3.1 million flights but the five years previous averaged over 17 fatal crashes. not factored in for 2015, the german wings or metrojet crashes because the international air transport association says they were deliberate. and move over taylor swift, an early grammy winner stealing
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this president's day. jimmy carter snagged his second grammy in the spoken word album category for a recording of his book, "a full life, reflections at 9 06r789" the former president beat out other nominees including amy poehler, hedy smith and dick cavet. >> when life gives them snow, these brothers make snow art. the heartwarming story behind these cold weather creations when we come back. and analyze a genome. now, we can do a hundred per day. with the microsoft cloud we don't have to build server rooms. we have instant scale. the microsoft cloud is helping us to re-build and re-interpret our business. this cloud helps transform business. this is the microsoft cloud. with advil liqui-gels, you'll ask what body aches? what knee pain?
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finally tonight, we were talking a moment ago about another winter blast hitting millions of americans, but the brothers we're about to meet don't see the snow as a nuisance. they see it as an inspiration, to make something amazing for a good cause. as our kevin tibbles explains, their creations, like each snowflake, are one of a kind. >> reporter: from the depths of the frigid vortex that is a minnesota winter comes the giant snow octopus, and it's taken over the bart family's front yard. >> a lot of kids driving by and the parents will drive by and they will be in the back seat and they are like mom, stop. >> reporter: for five years the brothers have been turning the fluffy white stuff many of us dread into wintry works of art, always with a watery
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love to fish. >> when we're not ice fishing we're out here working on the sculpture. >> reporter: don't you ever get cold? >> never. >> reporter: these hardy boys have created everything from a puffer fish and walrus to a sea turtle and a shark, although this year's octopus is the most ambitious yet. 500 hours to complete, 150 tons of snow, and a tentacle that winds over mom and dad's front steps. >> it's really, really, really, really, really, really, really cool. >> reporter: folks come from miles around for a peek and a pic. this is a group of the way from china. >> it's wonderful. >> it's marvelous. >> reporter: how many legs does an octopus have? >> one, two, three, >> reporter: six, seven, eight. >> six, seven, eight. >> reporter: many visitors leave donations, and so far they have raised provide clean drinking water in haiti. >> you don't make life
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games. >> reporter: nope. >> you make them doing stuff like this. >> reporter: that's something parents everywhere could wrap their arms around. >> three, two, one. >> reporter: kevin tibbles, nbc news, new brighton, minnesota. >> so much fun. that's going to do it for us on a monday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. d night. as a deputy from the western slope is laid to rest, the memorial honoring fallen officers in denver has been vandalized again, again red paint, appearing to be a protest against brew tally. jessica jes-- brutality. jessica oh spoke with police.
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>> red paint covered the center of a police memorial that has the names of dozens of fallen officers. for police, it is a disheartening display of disrespect. >> that memorial represents men and women that gave their lives for the community, it is a dishonor to those individuals to disface it, as well as the men and women of the department. >> they couldn't believe it happened 1 year after the same memorial was vandalized the same protest, they were arrested and convicted. >> it happened a year ago, yesterday. >> as tough as it was to deal with another vandalism since it prepared. >> we put a barricade around the memorial and also have cameras. investigators the evidence they need to figure out who did this, and why. >> but i do believe at some point we will identify the individual or individuals that

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