tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC February 14, 2017 6:30pm-7:01pm EST
>> happy valentine's day, everybody. >> up next "nightly news." tonight, what did the president know and when did he know it? critical questions about the outster of the national security advis advisor. nbc learned how long the vice president was told of a warning the fed told the white house weeks ago flynn could be vulnerable to blackmail. the fbi involved, was national security at risk? finally justice for one of the first missing children on a milk carton. decades later his killer found guilty. harrison ford scare. an faa inve gags. gim jong-un's brother poisoned. the healing power of love. one couple's amazing
story this valentine's day. "nightly news" begins right now. good evening. the story behind the late night resignation of michael flynn continues to unfold tonight. nbc learning exclusive new details about who knew what and when about the true nature of flynn's conversation with the russians before the inauguration. the white house said today president trump asked for flynn's resignation calling it a matter of trust over flynn's misleading accounts of his dealings. it didn't fully explain why now weeks after the president was warned that flynn, who was privy to the nation's top secrets, might be vulnerable to blackmail by the russians. our team is working several angles to this story. kristen welker leads us off. >> reporter: tonight mounting questions at
the white house after national security advisor mike flynn was forced to resign late last night after misleading the president, vice president and others about discussing sanctions with russia's ambassador before the inauguration. >> this was an act of trust. whether or not he misled the vice president was the issue. that was ultimately what led to the president asking for and accepting be resignation of general flynn. >> reporter: the key questions tonight, what did the president know, when did he know it and why did the president keep flynn on board for nearly three weeks after the president found out he had been mislead. nbc news learned vice president pence was not told for 15 days after the president and white house knew. no one told pence he had been sent out to say something false about flynn. the only reason pence was informed, an impending media report that would cast doubt on pence's own honesty. >> why not immediately act? why wait two and a half weeks?
>> i don't understand how that's due process. >> reporter: this came to a head late last night amid revelations on january 26th, the acting attorney general informed the white house council about the call with russia suggesting flynn could be vulnerable to blackma blackmail. the president's counsel informed him and other top officials. >> we had to review whether that was a legal issue which was concluded was not. >> reporter: the counsel informed him and other top officials. >> we had to review whether it was a legal issue which was concludesed was not. >> reporter: that answer setting off alarm bells for foreign policy experts who say there are broader concerns. >> this is a policy and ethical question not simply a legal question. it's not good policy having the national security advisor out and about conducting big national policy. >> reporter: the white house insisting the president didn't give the order to talk about sanctions but acknowledging mr. trump doesn't see a
problem with it. >> the president had no problem he acted in accord with what his job was supposed to be doing. >> reporter: the white house has been under fire over flynn since president trump took office. december 29th, flynn spoke to the am ba ambassador the same day obama imposed sanctions. january 12th, a bomb shell in the washington post. flynn and the russian ambassador talked about sanctions and the call was recorded. january 15th, mike pence playing defense protecting flynn by insisting sanctions never came up on the call. >> it was strictly coincidental. >> reporter: six days after the president was sworn in he was told about what really happened on the call and while negative headlines piled up, even as late as yesterday afternoon, top advisors were
adamant. >> does he have the full confidence of the president? yes he does. >> reporter: just before 11:00 p.m., flynn was out. tonight, the vice president is disappointed about being misinformed by flynn but respects his service. sources add there will be a replacement by the end of the week. the search started as early as last week. an indication the outster has been in the works. >> thank you. as flynn's forced resignation rocks the trump administration, the scope of the fall out is still being assessed. it puts into question whether flynn could have put national security at risk. andrea mitchell has that part for us. >> reporter: tonight mike flynn's sudden out raising questions about the damage to national security and the russian connection. for weeks flynn was giving the president talking points for phone calls with head of states including vladimir pu tmir putin, threatening iran. >> we are putting iran on notice. >> reporter: even last
week at the dinner table conference as seen on social media on how to publicly respond to north korea's missile launch despite being warned he might be vulnerable to blackmail by russia. >> michael flynn, was a counter intelligence risk. >> reporter: the risk, vladmir putin knew what was said while the vice president did not. nbc learned flynn signalled to the russian ambassador, president trump might ease off on obama's russian sanctions. critics say that knowledge could give putin a special hold over president trump through his national security advisor raising big questions about flynn's advice to the president on russia and mr. trump's startling defense of putin. >> putin's a killer. >> a lot of killers. we got a lot of killers. you think our country is so innocent. >> reporter: all while the u.s. is
investigating russia's hacking. >> flynn was secretly communicating with russian initiaofficials at the same time that russia was attacking our democracy. >> reporter: was there a quid pro quo? >> there's so more questions we don't know about the russian involvement in our election and the possible coordination of that involvement with people in the trump administration or close to the trump campaign. >> reporter: european diplomats say all this is frightening u.s. allies no longer certain that america has their back. putin is already flexing his muscles tonight violating a 1987 nuclear treaty negotiated by ronald reagan by deployed a cruise missile banned 30 years ago. lester. >> thank you. tonight members of congress from both parties are calling for an investigation of michael flynn and nbc news has learned the fbi questioned
flynn shortly after president trump took office. we have late details from our justice correspondent, pete williams. >> reporter: jst a few days after michael flynn became the national security advisor, he was interviewed by fbi agents according to senior u.s. officials about his phone call with the russian ambassador. the officials say the interview was part of the fbi's long running investigation into russ russia's attempt to influence the election. the officials say the russians were. the white house said flynn was fired for misleading the vice president, two officials said the fbi agents do not believe flynn lied to them and do not expect to see any charges come out of that interview. his days of answering questions are not over. members of congress who have launched their own investigation into russian med liling say they want to hear from him. >> it will be likely he will be asked to talk to the committee about post-election
activities and any other actibasic activities tha he would be aware of. >> reporter: some say the transcripts of his phone calls should be released. >> given the public was mislead about these conversations, i think the public has a right to flow what flynn represented and who he was speaking for. >> reporter: separately the army has been investigating whether general flynn was paid by the russian government for peeking at a moscow event with vladmir putin. federal law prohibits them from receiving foreign payments without permit. looking at what the russians were doing and whether anyone here was helping them. lester. >> pete williams, thank you. let me bring in our political director, the moderator of "meet the press" chuck todd. where to begin here? this is less than a month into the administration. what are the biggest questions the white house needs to answer? >> there's a couple.
why was vice president pence kept in the dark about this. not only was he mislead but for him to be kept in the dark for over a week, nearly two weeks about what came over from the justice department. why is that significant? mike pence is the security blanket for a lot of congressional republicans. if it's common knowledge on capitol hill that mike pence is not in the inner circle, that's going to make some congressional republicans a bit more nervous and maybe a lot less friendly to this administration. i think that's a big one they need to clear up because of the conduct itself and politically in order to make sure their relationship with congressional republicans doesn't go south fast. >> thanks. one last note on politics. the u.s. government ethics office is recommending that the white house investigate trump aide kellya kellya kellyanne conway and take discipline action against her after she make a public endor endorsement of ivanka
trump's fashion line. a breach of ethics rules. in california an evacuation order has been lifted for communities below the tallest dam in the nation. crews are still scrambling to repair a hole in an emergency spillway that forced nearly 200,000 people to flee their homes. it could cause c catastrophic flooding but the sheriff says the risk has been reduced. a line of severe storms brought three tornadoes touching down outside of houston with damage and a number of minor injuries reported. there's news in one of the most infamous kidnapping cases in american history. aton patz vanished in 1979. the little boy, one of the faces of a missing boy after a decades long mystery agonizing for his parents, his killer is brought to justice. >> i am truly relieved
and i'll tell you it's about time. it really is. >> reporter: it was nearly four decades ago that stan and julie patz sent their 6-year-old son to the bus stop in new york by himself. >> he disappeared. >> reporter: they would never see him again. they found him guilty of kidnapping and second-degree murder. >> this man is guilty of doing something really terrible so many years ago. >> reporter: the disappearance case gripped the country. authorities relied on missing posters to generate leads from the public as well as brand new idea, etan patz was one of the first missing children to be profiled on the side of milk cartons. this street has changed a lot since 1979. the crime rate was a lot higher but as the streets cleaned up the mystery continued to haunt new yorkers. a break in the case didn't come until 2012 when police got a tip from one of
hernandez's relatives. he was questioned and confessed saying he lured him into the basement of corner store where he worked. in 2012 the jury deadlocked but this time the verdict was unanimo unanimous. his defense attorney said he will file an appeal. his store no less shocking all these years later is still not resolved. nbc news, new york. still ahead, the hollywood super star sparking an investigation with scare in the sky. what happened when actor harrison ford brought his private plane in for a landing? did an infamous so how old do you want to be when you retire? uhh, i was thinking around 70. alright, and before that? you mean after that? no, i'm talking before that. do you have things you want to do before you retire? oh yeah sure... ok, like what? but i thought we were supposed to be talking about investing for retirement? we're absolutely doing that. but there's no law you can't make the most of today. what do you want to do? i'd really like to run with the bulls.
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tonight, nbc news has learned the faa is investigating a dangerous innocent involving actor and pilot harrison ford, who was involved in what some have called a close call in southern california yesterday when ford mistook a taxi way for a runway flying right over the top of an american airlines jet. our aviation correspondent has the story. >> reporter: harrison ford may be best known for his acting but he's also a pilot. the faa is investigating a dangerous incident yesterday involving his plane and an american airlines plane. aviation sources tell nbc ford has been cleared to land on the
short runway, runway 200 left but he lined up and lined on the parallel taxi way where planes taxi before take offer. he fly right over the top of an american airline 737 that was holding at the end of the taxi way before preparing for departu departure. it was loaded with 110 passengers and six crew members for a flight to dallas. unclear if anybody on board knew what happened. once on the ground he radioed air traffic control was that airliner meant to be underneath me. the controller told he didn't land on the run way but he landed on taxi way c. landing on tarxi way is a clear faa violation. the question is was ford distracted? >> unfortunately, we have seen this before where somebody mistakenly identifying a taxi way for a runway. it was very narrow. >> reporter: it was just two years ago that ford was injured
when his world war ii plane crashed on a golf course. investigators blamed the crash on an engine failure. tonight harrison ford is declining to comment. he could receive a warning letter or have his license suspended. that seems less likely. we're back in a moment with a i never miss an early morning market.
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we're back with an apparent assassination carried out at an international airport. the target, the estranged half brother of north korea's infamous leader. it's raising suspicions that kim jong-un may have marked one of his own relatives for death. we have details. >> reporter: a cold-blooded execution straight from a spy movie local media reports say. north korean dictator kim jong-un's half brother, kim jong-nam
targeted by two female assassins. the staged hit at an arpts airport in malaysia. he was seen struggling for help and sought assistance from airport staff but died in an ambulance. north korea's ruthless ruler showing no mercy. kim jong-un has his own uncle put on trial and executed. his latest apparent target, his father's son. kim jong-nam had been their father's favorite but in 2001 he was caught sneaking into japan with a false passport wanting to visit tokyo's disneyland. estrange frd from the family he questioned his brother's rule. >> there's still his criticism. that's why we're seeing high level purging and murders like there. >> reporter: the alleged killing days after kim jong-un saw a new missile test
clearly aimed at provoking president trump. the dictator demanding attention and eliminating opponents, even family. nbc news, seoul, south korea. switching gears now. congratulations are in order after a major milestone by one of the greatest sports dynasties of all time. the uconn women's basketball team won their 100th game in a row. a streak stretching over several years. it's the longest winning streak in division 1 basketball history. congratulations to the squad. when we come back, a love story for the ages on this valentine's day. ♪ fifty years ago, humpback whales were nearly extinct. they rebounded because a decision was made
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blind date. debra and gary each divorced and not looking for anything more than friendship. >> i surprised myself when i found myself in love. >> reporter: that love would be tested when she was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest. >> you're terrified at first. >> reporter: the worst day of her life also became the best day. >> she looked at me and said, i don't think i can do this alone, and i said, you don't have to. you will never ever be alo alone. that's when i got down on my knee and i said will you marry me. >> i said what, today? i said, what will i wear? >> reporter: they quickly found a justice of the peace and pledged those vows in sickness and in health. after nine months of an experimental
treatment at the cancer center, debra rang a bell to celebrate she's now cancer free. >> doctors can't quantify love, i guess it didn't show up on the scans, but what role did it play? >> huge. it's just huge. it's everything. love gives you hope when things are at their darkest. it gives you something to look forward to. >> reporter: now looking forward to a trip to paris. gary surprised debra on this holiday celebrating commitment to true love. >> oh, thank you. >> reporter: nbc news, atlanta. >> that's going to do it for us on a tuesday night. i'm lester holt for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching. happy valentine's day and good night.
rachel lindsay as she makes history. >> i'm honored to have this opportunity. >> today everything you never knew about the 31-year-old attorney and what bachelor nick thinks of the pick. then, from "extra" new york -- newly pregnant and a jeter, a.j. land her first and only tv interview about her baby on way with derek. >> you have the pregnancy glow. >> did she know she was pregnant during this skimpy "si" photo suit? and -- >> do they have a name picked out? really? plus, another supermodel baby on board. bradley cooper and irina shayk hitting the beach with her growing belly. adele chatting up jay z, blue ivy clutching a $2,500 purse? a special grammy party photo feed. plus, valentine's day at "the voice" with adam, alicia, gwen and blake. >> my valentine.