tv NBC Nightly News NBC May 29, 2015 6:30pm-7:01pm EDT
sunday afternoon the thunderstorms will start to come and then cooler monday into tuesday. >> we will see you back here at 11:00. i'm jacquelin london. on this friday night, secret past. shocking new revelations about the former speaker of the house dennis hastert. now we know what he was trying to hide with millions in hush money. sources telling nbc news it's all about sexual misconduct with a male student. mandatory evacuations being ordered as texas gets hit again. unrelenting rain and high water rescues. highways paralyzed by flash floods. and nearly blinded by lasers by someone on the ground. a growing problem putting some flights in danger. too close for comfort. we're in open water on the trail of great white sharks 40 years since "jaws." just how close they're coming to shore. also our special salute to the class of 2015.
"nightly news" begins right now. good evening. the surprise criminal indictment of the once powerful speaker of the house, dennis hastert, on charges he lied about paying hush money to someone in his past glaringly left out the answer to the question so many were immediately asking -- what was that money supposedly buying? tonight we may know the answer. federal law enforcement sources are telling nbc news the payments relate to hastert's days as an illinois schoolteacher and coach and sexual misconduct with a student. our justice correspondent pete williams has been digging into the story and has more for us. hello, pete. >> reporter: lester the public charges against hastert who's the longest serving republican house speaker, say only that he engaged in misconduct years before. but tonight, law enforcement officials describe it as sexual in nature with a male high school student.
no sign of dennis hastert today at his home in plana about an hour's drive west of chicago. in nearby yorkville where hastert was a teach r and coach, strong support and disbelief. >> i would prefer to have never known that anything like this went on. >> reporter: a federal indictment says hastert agreed to pay someone from yorkville $3.5 million to conceal what's cryptically a described only as past misconduct. the charges don't say what hastert's past misconduct was or who the person is referred to in court documents as individual a. but the indictment strongly suggests that the incident happened while he was a teacher at yorkville high school from 1975 to 1981. and today law enforcement officials tell nbc news the payments were to a man and the misconduct was of a sexual nature while the man was a student. the yorkville school district says it has no knowledge of his alleged misconduct and nor has any individual
contacted the district to report such misconduct. today, former coaches hastert worked with and students he coached were coming to his defense. gary matlock was hastert's first state champion wrestler. >> the gentleman was a super professional as a teacher, as a coach as a human being. i would refer to him as my second father. >> reporter: anthony hule was hastert's assistant coach. >> there isn't anything that happened in the six years that i worked with denny that would ever make me believe that there was anything improper. >> reporter: prosecutors say hastert has withdrawn $1.7 million from four of his banks to make the payments but cut back on the size of the withdrawals to illegally evade bank transaction rules. former congressional colleagues express surprise at the charges. both republicans and democrats. >> it's surprising i
think that would be a universal response. and of course remains to be seen what comes forth now. but it's very sad for him and sad really for the congress. >> reporter: there's been no comment from dennis hastert or his lawyer since the charges were revealed more than 24 hours ago. because the sexual conduct happened so long ago, it cannot be prosecuted. the statute of limitations has long since expired. >> pete williams, thanks. let's turn to chuck todd our moderator of "meet the press." sometimes things are whispered, rumored. who are you hearing in washington about all this? >> i talked to multiple colleagues, people very close to dennis hastert when he was in congress many of his congressional lieutenants, a bunch of his former staffers. i can tell you they all said collectively not a whiff. i had one said you could have knocked me over with a feather when you found out about it. they said the whole reason the guy was
picked to be speaker by his republican colleagues was they were scandal-plagued at the moment and he was considered the opposite of the group. i can tell you this this only adds to this long list of illinois politicians that have gotten into trouble over the years. but it really is a stain on congress. i had one say to me you know people sit there and say the place is filled with crooks and creeps. i want to say it's not. but if dennis hastert turns out to be a crook and a creep, maybe the whole place really is. >> chuck todd, thank you so much. i know you'll have more on this on "meet the press." see you sunday morning. now to the deadly unrelenting downpour in texas where a state of disaster has been declared in 70 counties. hundreds had to be rescued over the last 24 hours. today the dallas area got some of the worst with it with officials saying a large portion of highway will close for a week due to flooding
and the rain. it just won't stop with more storms firing up across the south tonight. our janet shamlian has more from dallas. >> reporter: texas lashed again, this time dallas was hardest hit. pounding rains flooded roads and brought the morning rush hour to a standstill. a portion of a highway now closed for up to seven days. more than 7 inches of rain slammed the area. more than 200 people needed emergency rescues, after flash flooding submerged cars. even a tow truck driver who came to help others was stuck. >> the water shut my truck down and the water started rising immediately. >> reporter: north of dallas a police officer had to be airlifted out after raging floodwaters surrounded his squad car. near houston, a triple threat. waters rising on three different rivers. several homes under water. >> you don't know what to do because you see it and it's right there at your backyard.
>> reporter: more than 35 trillion gallons of rain have fallen in texas in may, its rainiest month ever. that's enough to cover all of texas in 8 inches of water. at some homes in hard-hit wimberly mud covers nearly every surface. at judy thompson's house today, a big find today. her husband's wedding ring. floodwater ps may be toxic and snakes have washed up in some residential areas. >> there's all kinds of things in the water. >> reporter: flooding also forcing several oklahoma highways to close. with storms predicted for this weekend residents are struggling to deal with more rain than they've seen in years. the death toll from these storms now stands at 27. 13 people are still missing here in texas. and in whorton, south of houston, calls for a mandatory evacuation of some 400 homes as the colorado river continues to rise.
lester? >> janet shamlian in dallas, thank you. now to the investigation tonight into several dangerous scares in the skies. authorities looking for whoever targeted up to half a dozen commercial planes with a laser last night. nearly blinding the pilots. this despite urgent warnings from the feds for people to stop doing this before something terrible happens. here's nbc's tom costello. >> reporter: it happened at 9:30 p.m. thursday. a commuter flight crew flying out of new york's jfk airport. >> there's somebody out just to the left side of the airplane shininggreen lasers. >> reporter: a few minutes later, it was an american airlines flight headed to l.a. >> looks like it was in a neighborhood in that area. we got struck about three or four times. >> reporter: and then delta flights to buffalo and boston -- >> delta 2292, left side or right side of the aircraft? we actually have a police helicopter underneath you. >> i'm not looking down at it. but it's lighting up the inside of the windshield.
>> reporter: four to six flights hit in just a few years. >> he's aiming it right at me right now. he's directly south of me about one mile. >> reporter: nationwide, the faa says lasers are targeting planes roughly 12 times each day. in florida, a police helicopter was lit up leading to a chase and arrest. the green laser can flood dark cockpits with blinding light. it's happened to commercial pilot robert hamilton five times. >> as a pilot, there is no more critical tool that i have than my sight. and to lose that at one of the most critical moments of flight is a very serious safety issue. >> it's reckless behavior, frankly. it endangers a lot of people. >> reporter: authorities say it's usually teenagers and young men pointing the lasers at planes unaware it's illegal with penalties of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. tom costello nbc news washington. tonight, the clock is ticking on the patriot act. unless the senate takes action in a rare weekend session, key and controversial parts of the law will
expire at the stroke of mid sunday. our white house correspondent kristen welker joins us now. the pressure is on here. >> reporter: that's right, lester. so much praer so much pressure that the senate's been called back from its vacation to get this done by sunday. and the white house ramping up pressure on congress. president obama said it's critical to fighting terrorists and protecting national security. >> heaven forbid we've got a problem where we could have prevented a terrorist attack or apprehended someone who was engaged in dangerous activity but we didn't do so simply because of inaction in the senate. >> reporter: but opponents like republican presidential candidate senator rand paul say the legislation violates civil liberties. the main sticking point, the provision that allows the nsa to sweep up details on the phone records of millions of americans famously exposed by edward snowden. even if the senate reaches a compromise by midnight sunday the house is not in session until monday which means it's very
possible the program could shut down for at least a few hours. lester? >> kristen welker at the white house, thank you. a big announcement today from the white house and even though it was expected it's nonetheless stunning after more than 30 years. today, the u.s. formally removed cuba from the list of countries that sponsor terrorism. it comes as the two countries are trying to re-establish diplomatic relations after decades of tension. today's announcement was roundly criticized by republicans with house speaker john boehner saying it gives the castro regime quote, a significant political win in return for nothing. the organization that oversees professional soccer around the world may be facing the biggest scandal in its history including top officers charged with week with bribery, kickbacks and money laundering. but they're controversial president was reelected are today, sepp blatter, to another four-year term. blatter said he wanted to fix the organization which he has run for 17 years. we have a lot more to tell you about on this
friday night. still ahead, chasing great white sharks. come into the water with us see for yourself how much closer they're getting to shore. and one of our favorite annual traditions around here. some of the best advice for the class of 2015. our salute to the graduates st ♪ every auto insurance policy has a number. but not every insurance company understands the life behind it. ♪ those who have served our nation have earned the very best service in return. ♪ usaa. we know what it means to serve. get an auto insurance quote and see why 92% of our members plan to stay for life. >>who... is this?! >>hi, i am heinz new mustard. hi na na na na >>she's just jealous because you have better taste. whatever. >>hey. keep your chin up. for years, heinz ketchup has been with the wrong mustard. well, not anymore. introducing heinz new better tasting yellow mustard.
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great white sharks. and only now all these years later are we learning just how close they're actually getting to shore and just how often. nbc's kerry sanders is in the water. >> reporter: off the coast of cape cod, scientists began tagging great white sharks three years ago. naming them too, including mary lee -- >> the shark is named katherine. >> reporter: and katherine. what's going on there? it's counterintuitive. and now the real science emerging has researchers excited. katherine right now is -- >> she's right there in that little orange dot. >> reporter: since katherine began transmitting, she's traveled more than 13,000 miles. mary lee, an astonishing 20,000-plus miles. the routes they swim look like a plate of spaghetti. and more often than anyone realized they're very close to the east coast shoreline. sometimes within 20 yards.
yet scientists say they cannot predict where a great white is going next. they do however, have a theory as to why sharks females in particular are like tourists coming to these warm waters off the coast of florida. the 80-degree temperatures are good for their pregnancies. today off the coast of jupiter, florida, we are looking for a great white. we encountered 20 bull sharks but no great white. they're out there, as spear fisherman gray shepard, found out off the florida coast. >> we have our monster, our boogieeymen boogeymen. and great white is definitely one of them. that particular boogie boogeyman has proven to be real. >> reporter: real and closer than any of us ever knew. kerry sanders, nbc news, jupiter, florida. up next tonight, we want to show you some spectacular views we haven't seen in a long long time. a triumphant return to
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it's been a long time coming but today the observation deck atop one world trade center was opened to the public. it's now back as a breathtaking tribute to the american spirit rising again to the greatest height. nbc's rehema ellis takes us to the top. >> reporter: after 14 years rebuilding what terrorists took away, the spectacular views are back. one world observatory had the highest view in the western hemisphere. on a clear day, you can see 50 miles away. wendy wendy wendy wendy wendy came from jupiter, florida. she wants her children to understand what this experience means. your children weren't even born on 9/11. any thoughts of the world then and the world now? >> i think it's a different place now. and i think it shows power and strength. >> reporter: riding
the elevator to the observatory is stunning. you travel 102 floors almost a quarter of a mile in just 47 seconds. and along the way, a virtual time lapse recreating the development of new york city over the past 500 years. >> this was our pearl harbor. >> the view is amazing. literally no other view like that in the u.s. >> reporter: in this building under this cloudless sky, america seems on top of the world. rehema ellis, nbc news, new york. >> what a great moment. when we come back words of wisdom for the class of 2015 from some of the best commencement s great job! k.... now let's get ready for the ball. here it comes. here you go. good catch! perfect! alright, now for the best part. lets see your pour. ooo....let's get those in the bowl these are way to good to waste right?! ohhhh......yeah testing. this is a captions test. testing. this is a captions test. testing. this is a captions test.
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>> it is my responsibility as a commencement speaker to prepare you for what awaits you in the future. here it is. no one has any idea what's going to happen. >> if you haven't found a job or decided on a career path yet, don't freak out. but do from this day before open yourself up to possibilities you might never have considered. >> life is a long, bumpy road. that makes for an exciting ride. choose a direction and if the road turns, turn. >> do not be afraid to be disgruntled. find new ways to do things. and do not run from big and bold challenges. >> find your north star. and that means choices. some are easy. some are hard.
and some will make you question everything. >> even if you're nervous or unsure about what path to take in the years ahead, i want you to realize that you've got everything you need right now to succeed. you've got it. >> graduates, you made it. and you're [ bleep ]. think about that. the graduates from the college of nursing, they all have jobs. the graduates from the college of dentistry, fully employed. the proud graduates of the ny school of law, they're covered. and if they're not, who cares? they're lawyers. ♪ >> hold on to your old friends. kiss your momma. don't beat yourself up if you don't know what you're going to do tomorrow.
but work hard and don't be lazy. and put away your damn iphone once in a while. ♪ >> don't let anyone define your passion for you because of your gender or the color of your skin. ♪ >> the proudest people here won't be collecting degrees and maybe the parents of this class are thinking of another time when your milestones in life were well a little less ceremonious than today. things like standing up the first time or starting to read books instead of just chewing on them. it doesn't always feel that way to parents. but they must have done a lot of things right. >> as a sailor i see
graduation as akin to getting off a boat that is taking you on an amazing voyage. and then suddenly one day you arrive in the next port full of mysteries to be explored and the captain reminds you that this is where you get off. ♪ >> we're the glass of 2015. >> 2015! ♪ >> congratulations to the class of 2015 and all the moms dads and loved ones who got them there. and a by thanks to producer and editor for all their hard work putting those moments together for