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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  December 15, 2016 6:30pm-7:01pm EST

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no white christmas this year, folks, sorry. >> nbc "nightly news" is next, see you at 11:00. tonight, nbc news exclusive. what high level intelligence sources say is the reason the white house didn't take more action against russia before the election. new developments after our bombshell report that putin was personally involved in the hacking operation. breaking news in the charleston church massacre trial. a white supremacist and cold blooded killer found guilty on all charges. will dylann roof be put to death? children under fire, shocking video from inside aleppo. kids trying to escape to waiting ambulances when snipers take aim. facebook fights back against an avalanche of fake news and hoaxes. tonight how they want you to get involved. and secret santa. surprising shoppers, granting wishes and inspiring america.
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"nightly news" begins right now. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening. we begin with a follow-up to our exclusive reporting last night that u.s. intelligence has determined vladimir putin has a direct hand in the russian effort to disrupt our election. now today president-elect trump may be signaling he's giving some credence to the russian link, while raising questio questions about why the white house didn't act more boldly on his findings about putin. tonight, we may have learned the answer. how the political climate apparently caused the obama administration to pull its punches against russia's mettling. nbc's cynthia mcfadden continues her reporting. >> reporter: tonight, president-elect donald trump seems to be pivoting a bit after our nbc news exclusive report last night that vladimir putin personally directed a russian clandestine operation to interfere in the u.s. election.
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tweeting, if russia or some other entity was hacking, why did the white house wait so long to act? why did they only complain after hillary lost? this, a far cry from what he's been saying for months. >> anything that goes wrong, they blame russia. russia did it. they have no idea. >> it also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds. >> they don't even know it's russia. who knows. >> personally, it could be russia. i don't really think it is. but who knows? i don't know either. they don't know, and i don't know. >> i wonder whether the tweet that president-elect sent out today is the beginning of his pivot, the beginning of his acknowledgement of the intelligence to russia's been hacking our institutions. >> reporter: retired admiral james stavridis, the former commander of nato met with the president-elect last week. >> i think it is a legitimate question. and i think given the stakes at the national level, the question deserves an answer. >> reporter: nbc's andrea mitchell pushed hard to get that answer from the white
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house today. >> i think it was a powerful thing to have the intelligence community in that statement, vifr russian mettling in our election, approved by the highest levels of their government. >> reporter: the statement he's referring to was a one-page release on october 7th, which outlined the intelligence assessment that russia's senior most officials were interfering in the u.s. election. no direct mention of putin. though a month earlier at the g20 summit in china, president obama privately confronted putin, the white house confirmed today. so should the administration have come out bolder and sooner with the hard intelligence they possessed, as donald trump suggested today? should they have pushed congress to enact sanctions against the russians, making the public understand, this was serious? >> in retrospect, it certainly seems as though it was a mistake not to call the russians sooner and respond to them in a very forceful way. >> reporter: high level intelligence sources tell nbc news,
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the administration didn't take such actions because they didn't want to appear to interfere in the election. and they thought hillary clinton was gonna win, and they didn't think it was worth the potential risk of getting into a cyber tit for tat. last friday, president obama asked for a full review. as for the russians, today mr. putin's spokesperson called the idea he was personally involved in the covert operation, quote, laughable nonsense. our intelligence sources emphasize there's no evidence that donald trump collaborated behind the scenes with mr. putin or the russians. furthermore, a senior intelligence official tells us that the possibility of mr. trump shifting his position, quote, will scare the ba jesus outside out of the kremlin. lester? >> cynthia, thank you. breaking news tonight from charleston, where an avowed white supremacist has been found guilty on all counts of a horrifying massacre inside mother emmanuel church. tonight, we're getting
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reaction from a survivor who was forced to watch a cold-blooded killer murder her son. nbc's gabe gutierrez was in the courtroom. >> reporter: fueled by racism, he walked into their sanctuary and opened fire. this afternoon, a jury found dylann roof guilty of 33 federal counts, including hate crimes. >> i knew it was going to be guilty, guilty, guilty. >> reporter: felicia sanders, one of three survivors that awful night, who testified during the trial how she watched roof take her 26-year-old son ta wansa. >> not too many mothers ever see their son come in and leave the room. so that was very painful for me. >> reporter: during his closing argument, the prosecutor raised his roof in anger, calling roof a man of immense hatred and tremendous cowardice, who shot his victims while they prayed and had their eyes closed. these nine people exemplified a goodness greater than his message of hate, he said. the defense conceded
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the horror of the rampage, but his attorney tried to bring up his client's mental state. >> he's still in here, i'm afraid. >> reporter: this chilling 9911 call from inside the church was among the evidence laid out for jurors, including racially inflammatory writings and a hit list of other churches. >> i wanted to do everything i had to do to make sure we get a conviction. >> reporter: and she did. where dylann roof failed to start the race war he wanted, felicia succeeded in honoring her son's memory. >> i wear a smile. the reason i wear a smile, because if you look at the pictures of all nine, they all wore a beautiful smile. >> reporter: in this same courthouse, where decades ago, historic cases of segregation were decided, dylann roof now faces the opportunity of a death penalty. he says he wants to represent himself during sentencing and felicia says she's plans to testify again.
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>> gabe, thank you. there's new fall-out tonight from a massive hack against yahoo. private information from over a billion people stolen. the largest ever breach of its kind that has a lot of americans concerned. but experts say if you think you might have been affected, don't delete your account. nbc's miguel almaguer explains what you should do and what's at stake. >> reporter: with the fbi investigating the hack that compromised the private information of one billion yahoo users, tonight the white house can't address the scope of vulnerable material now in the hands of cyber criminals. we know names, dates of birth, even security questions have been exposed, but more may have been lost. experts say at least 150,000 government and military employees are also among the victims. the 2013 breach disclosed wednesday wasn't even discovered by yahoo. >> the fact that an outside party had to come in and explain to them what had happened, is not great for yahoo and sort of
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underscores their management failure. >> reporter: with yahoo stock sliding, verizon said it's evaluating its $4.8 billion deal to buy the internet giant. verizon wants access to yahoo users and experts say could get them at a bargain price. >> we think they still want to do this deal. what are they buying? the yahoo finance, yahoo sports. >> reporter: but for many, the brand is tarnished. beth cohen cramer dumping yahoo switching to google. >> i'm fed up with it. i feel like this is the last straw for me. i can't assume there's any kind of security in place. >> reporter: but experts warn simply deleting your account if your account was lanked to online banking or social media, hackers could re-create the access, gaining access to them. so instead, change passwords and security questions. a tangled web of hacked information, exposing one billion users in ways still unclear. miguel almaguer, nbc news, los angeles.
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tonight, much of the country is caught in the grip of an arctic blast, stretching from coast to coast. after days of bitter cold, today it got even rougher out there. al roker is up in a moment with the forecast of what else is on the way. but first we get the frigid details from nbc's ron mott. >> bitterly cold air, snow, and ice, and a harsh reality tonight. getting around, suddenly a whole lot tougher. at least 50 vehicles involved in this pennsylvania pileup. three people hurt. >> truck passed over, got into a ditch and then it started piling up after that. >> reporter: in oregon -- >> look out! >> reporter: scary moments when this school bus lost control. fortunately, no serious injuries. >> nice and easy. >> reporter: hundreds of others stuck. >> i why stay in my car when i could be out here helping. >> reporter: upstate new york, blizzard conditions. >> hello, canada, thank you for the cold air. >> reporter: 17 below in chicago, 12 plo in
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minneapolis. cleveland, 6 below. misery that has company. all but two states in the lower 48, below freezing somewhere. in chicago the zero patrol was busy today. driver jason blevins finding plenty of stranded motorists to get out of a cold jam on the illinois tow-away. >> not the way you wanted to spend your thursday. >> no, a little too cold for this. >> reporter: bundled up in boston. temps in the 20s today. tomorrow, much colder. >> we're in for a long winter at this rate. >> reporter: chicago is due for a bit of a warm-up tomorrow, and then another on saturday before taking yet another plunge into a deep freeze on sunday. the forecast high temperature, lester, 1 below. >> ron mott in chicago. as promised, al roker is here. what are we looking at tomorrow and heading into the weekend? >> we have a broughtal one-two punch of two arctic air masses, one right after the other. here's the first round. friday morning, the windchill, minus 10 in
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billings, all the way to portland, where it's minus 19. the second reinforcing blast of cold air. pierre, minus 25. these are air temperatures. minus 3, kansas city. 14 in indianapolis. factor in the windchills, it will feel like minus 37. sunday in minneapolis, 1 above. in minneapolis and minus 41 in pierre. into all this cold air comes a vigorous low pressure system that friday moves out of the rockies into the plains. a swath of four to eight inches from rapid city to cleveland. continues into the midwest and northeast. look at the air flow. take a look at the actual -- i'm sorry -- the actual accumulations through the weekend, on into the northeast. and in fact, just to kind of reinforce this, lester, it will be 14 below monday morning in chicago. in the south pole, it's actually going to be warmer at 12 below.
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>> don't know if that makes anyone feel better. >> i don't think it does, but thought i'd share. >> al, thank you very much. frantic evacuations have resumed in aleppo after a new ceasefire went into effect, but secretary of state john kerry said some fleeing civilians are still under attack by syrian forces, accusing the regime of nothing short of a massacre. and many of those under fire are children. nbc's bill neely has more from inside syria. >> reporter: fleeing aleppo today, children under fire. one screaming for her father. there was meant to be a ceasefire as they left the rebel-held east. yet still they were targeted. their mother's trying to comfort them. nearby, other children fled today. they have no parents. orphans of the war. 47 of them, finally able to leave an orphanage riddled with bullet holes. and defiant. relieving aleppo, he
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says, but when we grow up, we'll be back to liberate it. from their refuge, they pleaded yesterday for their freedom, led by 11-year-old yasmin karmuz. we're scared, get us out. nbc news has been following their ordeal for months. ♪ ♪ >> reporter: there was august. yasmin is playing, but her teachers told us she was traumatized. her parents, killed by an air strike. the next month, she told us, when there's bombing, i hide under the blanket. i'm scared. i want to have my father, to see my mom. in october, it got worse. the orphans hit underground, the siege tightening. today, it ended. yasmin and all her friends leaving aleppo. gunfire as they went. they were part of a huge convoy, thousands evacuated as the city fell to president ass assad's forces.
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the biggest rebel defeat so far. but not the end of a war that has orphaned so many, and for some that's lasted a lifetime. and thousands more civilians will be evacuated tomorrow. the orphans are safe tonight. but they're in another rebel-held area, which president assad has vowed to recapture. their trauma may not be over yet. lester? >> bill neely in syria, thank you. tonight the egyptian government says traces of explosives have been found on some of the victims from that doomed egyptair flight from paris that went down over the mediterranean back in may. all 66 people on board were killed. no one has claimed to have attacked the plane. egypt says a criminal investigation is under way. still ahead as we continue tonight, facebook crackdown. the social media giant launching a new war on fake news stories in your feed, but putting much of the responsibility in your hands. also, whoa dolly. how the country music
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a major crackdown announced today by facebook. since the election, the social media giant has come under fire for the spread of fake news on its site. you've probably heard about some of these fake stories, like pizzagate, in which false information triggered a very real shooting in a washington, d.c. restaurant. well, now facebook
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plans to combat these fabricated and dangerous stories by relying on you. jo ling kent explains. >> talking about fake news. >> those fake news stories. >> fake political news. >> the impact of fake news. >> reporter: facebook wants to put fake news out of business, with your help. today, after months of public pressure, the social media giant announcing new preliminary measures, to weed out stories that are intentionally false, and spread for financial gain. to make it easier for its 1.8 billion users to report a hoax, they can click the upper right-hand corner of a post to flag content. if enough people mark it, the story will be reviewed by facebook researchers and passed on to independent journalists to fact-check. if determined false, the piece will be marked disputed on facebook, demoted in your news feed and the creator will be banned from promoting on facebook's platform. >> facebook is censoring to the extent they will cut off some sites from economic benefit. >> marco chak own runs a fake news site, he says his articles are
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satire. >> if you look at that site and think it's a real news story, i think that's on you. >> reporter: chak own welcomes facebook's new measures and doesn't think it hurts his right to free speech. >> facebook is a private company, they can decide for ideological or business reasons if they want their news platform to be used for this stuff. that's totally legitimate and it's not censorship. >> reporter: facebook's announcement said, we cannot become arbiters of truth ourselves, and that it's targeting the worst of the worst. >> fake news is not as simple as bzz, it's false. but right now, they're trying to detract the things that are obviously false and not give them money. >> reporter: a controversial experiment, facebook asking users to police fake news, trusting them to call it when they see it. jo ling kent, nbc news, new york. we're back in a news, new york. we're back in a ♪ if you have moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, isn't it time to let the real you shine through?
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says goodbye to a broadcasting legend. long-time nba sideline reporter craig sager has died after battling leukemia. known for his colorful personality and even more colorful wardrobe, sager was a fixture on the court for decades. he died just days after his induction into the sports broadcasting hall of fame. sager was 65. just a few hours left to sign up for obamacare, if you want coverage to kick in january 1st. more than four million people have selected policies for 2017 since open enrollment began november 1st, according to government figures. the pace picked up this week, though president-elect trump vows to dismantle obamacare when he takes office. and big money from a big star, giving back to the place she loves. dolly parton said here star-studded telethon raised $9 million for the families asktsed by devastating wildfires in tennessee.
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finally tonight in
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the season of giving, some folks needed a little extra help to make their family's holiday wishes come true. but a group of secretantas working in mysterious ways is here to help. nbc's jacob rascon explains in our inspiring america report. >> reporter: when the store manager called -- >> can you please come to customer service? >> reporter: they thought they were in trouble. >> i thought, what could this be? >> reporter: they had thousands of dollars in toys and clothes on lay-away. it was far from paid off. >> i really wasn't expecting to get it out until after christmas. but this year -- >> i'm dwight, this is devin. >> reporter: -- christmas came early. >> we've been blessed with an opportunity to take care all the bills that you have on these lay-away items. so they've been completely paid off. [ cheers and applause ] >> reporter: for many like mary jackson -- >> my lay-away is paid
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off and it's a blessing. >> reporter: their gifts are for children who might otherwise get nothing. >> i just want to see kids happy, even if i don't get nothing back in return. but look what happened. >> reporter: pay away the lay-away is a national charity, paying off tens of thousands of dollars in lay-away accounts, this year, in 30 cities, even getting nba athletes to play elf. who is your favorite part? >> the lady, how excited she was. unexpected but just really thankful. >> reporter: the only person more excited than diane about her lay-away, will be her 12 grandchildren. >> i'm so thankful. they will get these for christmas, thank you. it's a blessing. i'm so happy. god is good. >> reporter: the season of giving, to the gift-givers too. jacob rascon, nbc news, dallas. that is going to do it for us on a thursday night. don't forget football
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tonight. the rams take ones the seahawks here on nbc. and there's a saturday game too, the dolphins versus the jets. i'm lester holt. from all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching a mera, access. i can hear it right now. it's a haunting sound. he was really in a lot of pain. his son was by his side holding his hand, you know. >> alan thicke's last moments at the ice rink with son carter. our new eyewitness exclusive. i'm natalie morales. then we go back two decades to the pure joy experienced by him as he welcomed carter to the world.
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>> i woke up to him -- >> the first woman to ever win the biggest loser. i'm kit hoover. how allie has found peace. >> everything was ruined. everything was going to be gone. >> i will always care, no matter how stupid. >> we deliver messages from the housewives straight to superfan jennifer. now she returns the favor. i'm liz hernandez. just how much power does jen hold over these ladies? >> are you secretly the like puppet master behind all the plot lines on the show? >> lights, camera, access. >> the first eyewitness account of alan thick's collapse at the ice rink. what you're about to hear, the moment by account of what happened on tuesday. the day alan thicke passed away. >> he was perfectly normal. nobody had a clue that he was going to have a massive

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