tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC July 21, 2017 6:30pm-7:01pm EDT
next week. >> finally getting some relief. thank you for watching here at 6:00. i'm jim rosenfield. >> and i'm jacqueline london. up next is "nbc nightly news" wither holt. see you back here at 11:00. tonight, white house shake-up. sean spicer is out and the new trump ally is in. amid reports the president's team is targeting bob mueller, trying to discredit the russia investigators and talking pardons. could the president pardon himself? out of control. fires exploding in the west, torching homes, forcing evacuations. dangerously close to yosemite. new reinforcements as the inferno doubles in size. packing heat. tsa finding a record number of guns on airport security lines, many of them loaded. porch pirates. as more people buy online, more thieves are making off with packages right from your front door. what authorities are doing to stop them. and a trip down
memory lane with some beloved tv icons. "nightly news" begins right now. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is nbc "nightly news" with lester holt. >> good evening. i'm craig melvin in for lester. some major staff changes at the white house on this friday. it had been a bumpy six months for the man tasked with the job of chief spokesman for the trump administration. tonight, press secretary sean spicer is out. he quit suddenly this morning as a new communications director was announced. his name is anthony sca scaramucci, a former fund-raiser for the trump campaign. one of his first orders of business was naming a new white house press secretary. what will the staff changes mean for the trump white house? we start tonight with our chief white house correspondent hallie jackson.
>> i think that is troubling. thank you guys very much. >> reporter: in a stunning staff shuffle tonight, a familiar face stepping down and a new one stepping in. >> make america great again. >> reporter: former campaign adviser anthony scaramucci, the new communications director, with sean spicer long rumored to be on thin ice, resigning as press secreta secretary. multiple sources familiar with the fight tell nbc news reince priebus initially resisted the move. the chief of staff now tells nbc he's behind scaramucci 100% with spicer saying the president could benefit from a clean slate. spicer's short tenure started with a splash. >> this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period. >> reporter: often seeming to relish rumbling with reporters. >> quote, unquote, fake news. >> reporter: infamous spoofd on snl.
>> liar, liar, pants on fire. >> reporter: this shake-up, the sixth just six months into this young administration. >> it's a sign that donald trump is serving as the personnel manager of his own white house for better or for worse. >> reporter: scaramucci's job now, to speak for a boss who thinks he's his own best messenger. >> the white house is on track and we're actually, i think, doing a really good job. i actually do think we're in perspective. >> reporter: characteristically confident. >> i'm a superoptimistic guy. i'm too short to see the glass anything other than half full. >> reporter: nicknamed mucch selling the president. though he didn't always. >> you called trumt a hack? >> reporter: today? >> he brings it up every 15 seconds. mr. president, if you're listening, i personally apologize for the 50th time for saying that. >> reporter: his polished performance speaking to years of tv experience, though not much communications experience.
working now to win over his new boss and maybe the media, too, blowing a kiss to the cameras on his way out, quickly dubbed the much smooch. spicer says he plans to stay on through august and tells us he's looking forward to spending more time with his family. no word on what he will do next. the new press secretary will be sarah huckabee sanders. she'll be just the third woman to serve in that role and promises to do so with transparency and integrity. >> a half dozen staffers out so far tonight. any indication whether there might be more major personnel changes to come? >> reporter: so scaramucci was asked about this today. he wouldn't talk about the possibility that somebody else might end up leaving the white house at some point. but remember this is a white house that has long dealt with speculation about staff shake-ups almost since day one. particularly when it comes to the chief of staff, reince priebus. that said, priebus has held on to his job all along even tonight trying to signal the
message of a unified front in the west wing. >> hallie jackson starting us off tonight from the white house, thank you. as all of that plays out, the white house is playing defense amid reports the president's lawyers are targeting special counsel robert mueller and his team trying to discredit the russia investigators and a report that the president himself has even raised the question of his pardon power. nbc's kristen welker has those details. >> reporter: tonight, the president and his legal team pushing back against allegations he's trying to discredit special counsel robert mueller. one of the president's attorneys calling reports that his legal team is scouring the background of mueller's investigators to find conflicts of interest nonsense, adding they are cooperating. >> the president has absolutely nothing to do with any of the allegations that are being made. >> reporter: u.s. officials familiar with the investigation say mueller is gathering relevant
documents including financial records and business dealings of those close to the trump campaign. earlier this week mr. trump warning it would cross a line if mueller looked into his finances unrelated to russia. >> would that be a breach of what his actual charge is? >> i would say yes. >> reporter: all of it setting off alarm bells. >> i think if he fired bob mueller, i think he'd see a tremendous backlash. >> i have 100% confidence that bob mueller will conduct a thorough and fair investigation. >> reporter: the trump administration also struggling to explain reports the president has been asking his advisers whether he has the power to pardon his family members and even himself. >> the president maintains pardon powers like any president would. >> reporter: the president does have broad constitutional power to grant pardons for federal offenses even before charges have been filed. legally it's not clear if a president can pardon himself. >> i'm not aware of any president giving out a pardon in an effort to stave off an investigation.
that is, i believe, unprecedented. >> reporter: next week the scrutiny intensifies. the president's son-in-law jared kushner talks to senate investigators behind closed doors monday. >> jared kushner won't be under oath for this interview, but it's a crime to lie to congress whether you swear an oath or not. so he's got be very careful that his answers are absolutely truthful. >> reporter: one key focus, kushner's contacts with russian officials. the president's eldest son, donald trump jr. and his former campaign chair paul manafort have been called to testify on capitol hill on wednesday. no word yet on whether they'll appear. >> kristen welker from the white house, thank you. now to the critical situation unfolding in the west tonight. extreme fire destroying homes and forcing thousands to get away. it is all playing out near yosemite national park where crews from around the state have arrived to try and beat back the flames. with temperatures soaring, that blaze nearly doubled in size overnight. nbc national correspondent miguel almaguer shows us what
those crews are up against. >> reporter: it's now the most destructive, most dangerous wildfire in the nation, exploding from home to home. more than 100 structures have been destroyed. the so-called detwiler fire near yosemite a state of emergency. crews call it aggressive, extreme and dynamic exploding across some 75,000 acres, leaping roads and rivers, the historic gold mining town of mariposa is threatened. he's seen fires before, but not like this. >> scary situation. pray for the residents of mariposa. >> reporter: with flames leaping a hundred feet into the air, an army of firefighters are in the battle. but they are losing ground. critical infrastructure like communication towers, even water sheds, are at risk. but tonight it's homeowners facing the most immediate threat. >> a little scary, everybody is panicking a little bit. >> reporter: this is
just one of 13 large wildfires sweeping across california. winter rains providing new growth and, as we have seen across the state, fires are feeding on millions of dead trees and now costing a million dollars a day to fight. the fire is burning into rugged terrain. it will likely burn for several weeks, and the most dangerous part of wildfire season is still to come. tonight, lives and property are on the line. now more crews are joining the fight. miguel almaguer, nbc news. with the summer travel season now at its peak, the tsa today announced it has discovered a record number of guns at this country's airports, the vast majority loaded with rounds in the chamber. among the passengers authorities say were found with a weapon was an american idol winner. here's nbc's tom costello. >> reporter: 23-year-old scott mccreery, the winner of "american idol"
season ten says he forgot he had a loaded 9 millimeter handgun in his backpack at raleigh airport. issued a summons, his was one of a record 89 guns found nationwide last week including this fully loaded inside a wheelchair cushion in knoxville. in the first six months of the year, the tsa discovered 1800 guns putting it on track for 3600 for the year. the most common excuse passengers claim they simply forgot. >> so they forgot that they had a loaded firearm with them. and you know, if you own a firearm, you really need to know where it is at all times. >> reporter: the busiest day last week, tuesday, the 11th. the tsa found 20 guns. the airport with the most gun last year, atlanta, dallas, houston, phoenix and denver. while it's difficult to pinpoint a reason the confiscations are rising as more americans buy guns and as more states pass open carry laws. 45 states now have some form of an open carry law, but
bringing a gun to a tsa checkpoint can result in arrest and up to a $12,000 fine. passengers who want to transport a gun must unload it and check it in a checked case. >> it goes in a hard-sided case unloaded next to the ammunition. you shut it, you lock it. has to be a hard-sided case. >> reporter: a growing security concern as the tsa screens more than 2 million people a day. tom costello, nbc news, washington. overseas tonight, new tensions the flaring between israel and the palestinians over access to one of the holiest sites to both jews and muslims. it's been a day of protests and deadly attacks in the west bank where authorities say three israelis have died after a palestinian snuck into a home and went on a stabbing spree. the attacker was shot. in a separate incident in jerusalem, three palestinians were killed. late today palestinian president mahmoud abbas announced he was cutting off all high level communications with israel. a major
announcement today from the state department. soon americans will be banned from traveling to north korea as tensions with that country continue to rise. the threat has officials in hawaii concerned enough that they are rolling out a preparedness plan which includes sheltering in place in the event north korea launches a missile. tonight, new fallout and new protections for o.j. simpson. a day after he was granted parole. after nearly a decade behind bars. and we have fresh reaction tonight from florida where simpson may end up when he gets out later this year. nbc's joe fryer has more. >> thank you. >> reporter: right after o.j. simpson was granted parole, he was moved to a special housing unit away from the general prison population. >> if there's any of those offenders inside that wanted to make a name for themselves, they got two months to do it. so we're not going to let that happen. >> reporter: simpson's next move come october could be florida. >> what i want to do is spend as much time
as i can with my children and my friends. >> reporter: close friend tom scotto met with simpson right after the hearing. >> he came out yelling, we're going home. >> reporter: he said the former football star might even live with him for a bit. >> there's a chance not right away. yeah, we talked about that. >> reporter: in naples, where scotto lives, reaction to that news runs the gam gamut. >> yeah, i hope i run into him. who doesn't? >> i would prefer not to have him as a neighbor, frankly. >> reporter: no matter where simpson ends up he must follow conditions, including no illegal drugs, no weapons, no associations with convicted felons. he can drink alcohol but his alcohol alcohol level can't top 0.08. >> i never had an alcohol problem. >> reporter: simpson's testimony during the parole hearing is still getting attention. >> nobody's ever accused me of pulling any weapon on them. i basically have spent a conflict-free life. >> reporter: those statements shocking to many beyond simpson's conviction for the armed robbery, he was accused and acquitted of murdering his ex-wife nicole brown
and her friend, ron goldman. >> he's hardly conflict free. i don't think he is worthy of the right to be out amongst decent people. >> reporter: for now the exact date simpson waubl walks out of prison is not yet known. still ahead tonight, stopping porch pirates. a new hidden technology police around the country are using to keep your home delivery safe and catch thieves red handed. also, it's definitely not your father's airline. not your father's airline. the ford summer sales event is in full swing. they are not listening to me. watch this. who wants ice creeaaaaaam!? so that's how you get them to listen. take on summer right with ford, america's best-selling brand. now with summer's hottest offer. get zero percent for seventy-two months plus an additional thousand on top of your trade-in. during the ford summer sales event get zero percent for seventy-two months plus an additional thousand on top of your trade-in. offer ends soon.
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back now with a new way of catching porch pirates, those brazen thieves who steal packages right off your doorstep. it's a growing problem as more of us do our shopping online. in fact, 23 million americans have had a package stolen from their home. but now police have a high-tech way to track down those criminals. nbc national investigative correspondent jeff rossen shows us how it works in tonight's "rossen reports". >> reporter: packages stolen in broad daylight caught on home surveillance cameras. brazen thieves walking right up to front doors, grabbing boxes, shoving them into bags. these suspects even tag teaming. police departments are fed up. now planting bait packages on doorsteps, a deterrent for thieves who have no idea it's a trap.
this looks like a regular piece of mail. but inside you have an ipad here, for example. what makes this special? >> it's actually a gps tracker inside. and we're able to find the thieves who steal these packages and go and arrest them. >> reporter: today i'm playing the bad guy. okay, going to grab the package and off i go. i have it, just like a regular bad guy. i'd be trying to get away. but the moment the package moves the police get an alert. >> package theft in progress. >> reporter: and little do i know they're watching me in realtime on that gps tracker. >> package continuing east on hillson avenue. >> reporter: let's get on the highway and try to make a real getaway here. but seconds later -- >> appears to be getting on southbound 17. >> reporter: but back in my car, i have no clue. if i really stole this package, i would be thinking i was getting away with it now. i'm trying to do everything i can to throw them off. i'm pulling into this park. this is a pretty good
test for them. this is pretty remote. just moments later. this is incredible. they found us. busted. you found me. >> we found you. >> reporter: you were able to just follow me right on the gps tracker. >> it was showing every turn you made and the distances and speeds. >> reporter: if i were a real thief -- >> you'd be in handcuffs right now. >> reporter: the message to thieves -- the next package they steal might lead police right to their doorstep. jeff rossen, nbc news, campbell, california. we're back in a moment with the restaurant rocked by a when i first started working with capital one, my dad called them up and asked for "the jennifer garner card" which is such a dad thing to do. after he gave his name the woman from capital one said "mr. garner, are you related to jennifer?" kind of joking with him. and my dad was so proud to tell her, "as a matter of fact, she is my middle daughter". so now dad has the venture card, he's earning his double miles, and he made a friend at the company. can i say it? go ahead! what's in your wallet? nice job dad.
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we are back with a massive deadly explosion at a restaurant along a very busy street. at least two people were killed and dozens of others hurt when the blast tore through the building in china. the cause is still under investigation, but local reports indicate it could have been bottled gas used by the restaurant in their cookers. there's a new airline taking off soon aimed at
millennials. airfrance is launching a new low-cost carrier called joon. it's for the 18 to 35 jetset with features that cater to their digital lifestyle. the uniforms feature a more casual design. if all of it makes you feel a bit old, joon will let nonmillennials fly as well. on the eve of britain's prince george turning 4, kensington palace has released a brand-new official portrait of the smiling birthday boy. the palace says it was snapped at the end of last month and shared by parents william and kate who thanked everyone for, quote, all the kind messages they've received. when we come back on this friday, muppets mania. inside the new world dedicated to jim inside the new world dedicated to jim henson with afi sure had a lot on my mind. my 30-year marriage... ...my 3-month old business... plus...what if this happened again?
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tomorrow. our rehema ellis takes the us inside for a treat for all ages. ♪ >> reporter: generations have grown up watching them. ♪ it's time to get things started ♪ >> reporter: the zany cast of characters inspired by the creative genius of jim henson. his life cut short at 53, but his work lives on. some of it here at the new permanent exhibition at the museum of the moving image in new york. >> my father's creative spirit is alive, and it's alive right here in this exhibit. >> reporter: the henson family donated many of the 300 objects on display. everything from sketches, props, and dozens of puppets like fraggles, a swedish chef, an 8-foot-tall yellow bird and, of course, the little green frog. ♪ the rainbow connection ♪ >> this is my father's kermit, in many ways my father's alter ego. my father built the original kermit out of
my grandmother's spring coat. >> reporter: a look at henson's extensive film career including the costume david bowie wore in "the labyrinth." >> i think my dad gave himself permission to play and he gave his collaboratorser. igs to play. >> reporter: like bonnie eye rickson who helped design some of henson's biggest stars. here we are standing in front of the famous miss piggy. >> i did three pigs. one of them became miss piggy, that karate chop just created the miss piggy everybody knows and loves. >> reporter: people love to laugh. my dad loved to laugh. he loved to sing. he loved to play. >> bye! >> reporter: and the man she called dad played a big part in raising all of us. rehema ellis, nbc news, new york. indeed he did. that is all for "nightly news" on this friday night. melvin in for lester who will be back on monday. a quick program note. i hope you'll tune in to my report on sunday on a new way to treat alcoholism in this country. the radical new approach is born from
a realization that the way we've been doing it doesn't work so well. that's sunday night with megyn kelly. for all of us here at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. i'm leaving you, wesley. but why? you haven't noticed me in two years. i was in a coma. well, i still deserve appreciation. who was there for you when you had amnesia? you know i can't remember that. stop this madness. if it's appreciation you want you should both get snapshot from progressive. it rewards good drivers with big discounts on car insurance. i have news. i've used most of our cellular data.
come on, susan lucci! ♪ the most dominant home run-hitting squad in the national league and current central division league leaders have arrived at citizens bank park, but waiting for the brewers is a lineup that has found a recent power productive surge of its own, and the ten-game home stand begins with an offensive clash. ♪