tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC September 27, 2017 6:30pm-7:01pm EDT
evacuation. you saw people walking on the tracks near 20th and jfk. the latest always on nbc10.com. we will see you back here at 11:00. tonight, urgent pleas for help growing louder and aid isn't flowing into puerto rico nearly fast enough. a deepening emergency, a week since maria left the island in ruins. trump's tax plan. the president takes his pitch on the road pushing cut, but who pef benefits most, the rich or the middle class? what will it mean for you. star coach sidelined. one of the biggest names in college basketball a casualty of a growing bribery scandal rocking major universities. price tag. president trump's high flying health secretary under fire over his frequent use of private jets. taxpayers on the hook. congress investigating. and adult food allergies. doctors report a dramatic increase in cases hitting later in life. your favorite foods suddenly dangerous.
"nightly news" begins right now. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is nbc "nightly news" with lester holt. >> good evening and thank you for being with us tonight. we've seen for ourselves the tons of water and food pouring into puerto rico's capital by air every day, but officials there tonight acknowledge that on the ground they're running up against problems getting it to where it is needed most on the island. it was a week ago today that hurricane maria scored its direct hit on puerto rico with 155-mile-per-hour winds obliterating vital infrastructure and plunging the american commonwealth into a different kind of dark age. but seven days in, a massive relief operation is still playing catch-up. our gabe gutierrez remains on the island and has the latest. good evening. >> reporter: lester, a week after hurricane maria ripped through these homes, there is still no power, no water and no phones. the magnitude of this
disaster is just sinking is in. many residents here know that help is on the way, but they haven't seen it yet. it's been one week. seven days. 168 hours. and betsy chilea is still looking for water for her children. >> we don't have anything. >> reporter: she's among the many puerto ricans desperate for help in hurricane maria's wake. the destruction is immense. these grandparents lost their home of 40 years. the roof ripped off. the storm's aftermath is devastating. >> no water. >> reporter: it's been one week, and across the island supplies still aren't getting where they're supposed to. this grocery store rationing water and rice and finding it hard to restock shelves because its trucks are low on fuel. the governor says supplies are sitting in storage because private sector drivers also aren't showing up for deliveries. >> we don't know if
fuel shortages on the island of puerto rico. the challenge for us today is getting it distributed. >> reporter: it's been one week and the agonizing lines for gas begin before dawn stretching for blocks in the sweltering heat. >> they have no diesel. our people has no diesel. >> reporter: and it can be life threatening. how do you deal with something like this long-term? >> there's no long-term possibility to this. >> reporter: this hospital had to evacuate several children on ventilators because its backup generator ran out of diesel. >> we don't have any electricity. and there were patients on ventilators dependent at the time on the battery that lasts approximately eight hours. >> reporter: royal caribbean canceling a cruise and using the ship to attack evacuees to the u.s. mainland. in new york, relieved travelers who got out on one of the few commercial flights off the island. as betsy chilea waiting for water. they tell you the federal help is
coming, but you haven't seen it. >> no, we haven't seen anything. >> reporter: before her patience runs dry. gabe gutierrez, nbc news, puerto rico. this is tammy leitner in central puerto rico where time is critic al. >> this is the deepest part right here. >> reporter: this team of rescuers searching for a family of six not seen since the hurricane wiped out the bridge. this town one of 11 no one has been able to reach. gabriel desperate to find his relatives leads a team of rescuers up a muddy mountain. some parts barely passable. we've been talking for about 15 minutes. it's slow going because there's trees down, power lines down. finally he spots his sister in the distance. >> we have a visual on them now. >> reporter: a hug two weeks in the making. the entire family
together again. gabriel's sister and husband pack up a few things. his parents choosing to stay behind. >> saying she has arthritis in the left leg and can't make the walk down. >> we're going to be separated. i know it's just going to be temporary, you know, but it hurts me to see my little granddaughter's not going to be with me for a while. >> reporter: the reunion cut short, another storm making the dangerous journey down the mountain more treacherous. still so many challenges, but for now a moment of relief. tammy leitner, nbc news, puerto rico. so many families looking to make their connections. and tonight, maria has regained hurricane strength in the atlantic. the category 1 with winds of 75 miles per hour. it's about 200 miles away from cape hatteras, north carolina, while it's in the a threat to land, it is a danger along the coast. we're picking up rough surf and rip currents that will decrease as the storm turns away.
tonight, the white house and congressional republicans are turning their attention to taxes and today president trump hit the road to talk about the sweeping plan that slashes taxes for corporations, but he was short on specifics on how middle class families would benefit. nbc's peter alexander breaks down what we know. >> fresh off another defeat or his push to repeal obamacare, president trump tonight turning to taxes. middle class miracle. it's called a middle class miracle. >> reporter: taking his pitch to mike pence's home state, indiana. part of what he calls a once in a generation opportunity. >> this is a revolutionary change and the biggest winners will be the everyday american workers as jobs start pouring into our country. >> reporter: the sweeping overhaul still just a blueprint simplifying and cutting individual tax rates, slashing corporate taxes at 20% and expanding the child tax credit. that's crucial to the
borees family in indiana. >> it's important to us to get those tax breaks, and we count on them as part of our income. >> reporter: still, the long-awaited rollout is lacking key details, leaving many questions unanswered. experts warn it could cost the country more than $2 trillion over a decade. >> without all the details we're still figuring it out, but the winners are today's taxpayers because we're going to have a big tax cut where the bill is added to the debt and the losers are our kids who are going to have to pay for that. >> reporter: they say the plan won't benefit wealthy people like himself. >> i'm doing the right thing, and it's not good for me, believe me. >> reporter: democrats not buying it. >> he ain't walking the walk. this is aimed at the wealthiest people in america. they do far and away the best. >> reporter: this tax cut critical to a president who eight months in still battling and needs a legislative win promising he'll revisit healthcare after reaching across the aisle. >> i'll meet with democrats and see if i can get a healthcare plan that's even better. >> reporter: also
tonight, the president dealing with another embarrassing setback after the establishment candidate he endorsed lost in alabama senate's primary. overnight the president deleting his tweets promoting luther strange and posting a new one praising the winner roy moore backed by steve bannon. lester? >> peter alexander at the white house, thanks. tonight one of the president's top aides, health and human service secretary tom price is under fire and facing scrutiny from congress over the number of flights he's been taking on private jets, leaving taxpayers on the hook for the cost instead of flying commercial. we get details now from our white house correspondent kristen welker. >> reporter: tonight, with a firestorm growing over his health and human services secretary tom price for charging taxpayers for private jet travel, president trump unleashing this warning. >> i was looking into it, and i will look into it. and i will tell you personally i'm not happy about it. i am not happy about it. and i let him know it. >> reporter: and asked if he plans to fire price, the president only saying --
now the pressure's mounting with politico reporting today price tock an august charter flight the an exclusive resort in georgia where he and his wife own property. the stated purpose -- a medical conference, but price arrived a day and a half early. federal travel regulations say an official can only charter a plane if no scheduled commercial airline service is reasonably available. but tonight bipartisan congressional investigators are demanding answers. >> whether you're republican or democrat, you have a responsibility to be a good steward of the taxpayer dollar. >> clearly we've got some abuse here and we have got to address it. >> reporter: in all politico reports that two dozen charter flights this year with a price tag of more than $300,000 to taxpayers including one charter flight from washington, d.c., to philadelphia that cost an estimated $25,000. a commercial flight would have cost $725. hhs has insisted price didn't break any rules. last week price indicated he would stop taking private
flights. >> we've heard the criticism. we've heard the concerns. and we take that very seriously and have taken it to heart. >> reporter: now in total there are three cabinet secretaries the under scrutiny for their travel including treasury secretary steven mnuchin who requested a government flight for his european honeymoon but dropped the idea. late tonight, the department of health and human services responded saying secretary price supports the inspector general's investigation and has initiated his own review of travel procedures. lester? >> kristen welker, thank you. there is new fallout from that bribery scandal rocking college basketball. louisville head coach rick pitino, one of the biggest names in the sport, who is already in the hall of fame, was placed on unpaid leave today after the fbi arrested a number of assistant coaches from other prominent colleges. nbc's ann thompson has the latest. >> reporter: rick pitino, college basketball's highest paid coach for perennial powerhouse, the university of louisville.
>> coach, did they fire you? >> reporter: today placed on unpaid administrative leave. after a federal criminal investigation tuesday alleged two unnamed louisville coaches worked with an adidas executive to pay high school recruits six figures to go to louisville, a school sponsored by adidas. louisville interim president greg postel told reporters hose angry and embarrassed. in the complaint one of the coaches says of the pay to play scheme, we got to be very low key because the school was already on ncaa probation. some of the scandal that has dogged pitino's remarkably successful program. in june, the ncaa sanctioned louisville after an assistant coach hired strippers and prostitutes for players and recruits. pitino, who denied knowledge, was suspended for the first five games of the conference season. is this one scandal too many? >> for rick pitino, yes. he's going to be basically be viewed as someone that is polarizing to the point where nobody in
college basketball's going to want any part of him. >> reporter: pitino's attorney insists the coach has done nothing wrong. as for louisville, there's the risk the ncaa could issue the death penalty, banning the storied basketball program for at least a year. >> if the ncaa wants to send a message that it really can enforce its rule book, this would seem like the perfect time to do so. >> reporter: tonight louisville is already paying a price, which two top rated high school recruits announcing they'll go elsewhere. anne thompson, nbc news, new york. the mystery is deepening over what happened to american student otto warmbier. after his parents broke their silence and claim he was tortured, information from the coroner who examined his body is raising no questions tonight. we get the latest from nbc news foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell. >> reporter: tonight the coroner going public for first time about 22-year-old american otto warmbier's mysterious death just days after returning from
captivity in north korea. >> there are were a few small scars that we documented. >> reporter: she says there's evidence of a breathing tube, notes scars on his knees, ankle, feet and arms including a trachy ot omy scar, but no way of knowing when that procedure was done. >> i mean, could that have been torture at the time? we don't know. we don't know what happened to him. and that's the bottom line. >> reporter: his parents describing his horrific condition to fox news tuesday. >> they kidnapped otto, they tortured him, they intentionally injured him. >> reporter: only days later he died from complications of a long-term brain injury caused by lack of oxygen. the parents also say their son's teeth were damaged. >> it looked like someone had taken a pair of pliers and rearranged his bottom teeth. >> reporter: although the coroner says a forensic dentist saw no evidence of that. at the parents' request no autopsy was performed but the coroner says an autopsy would not involve more than their rigorous postmortem exams
including a ct scan. >> i wish we had some answers, and i know that the family is looking for answers, but at this point, we're never going to know. >> reporter: unless his captors come forward and reveal what they did to otto warmbier in prison. andrea mitchell, nbc news, new york. turning overseas now, both isis and the taliban claim they targeted defense secretary james mattis in a rocket attack on afghanistan's main airport today, but mattis had actually left the airport hours before, according to the afghan president. the unannounced trip has managed his first trip to the country since president trump revealed his new strategy for the ongoing war there. still ahead as we continue, food allergy alert. the skyrocketing number of adults suddenly hit by severe reactions often without any warning signs. what you need to know to protect yourself. also the new inflight perk on one airline that lets you always stay connected airline that lets you always stay connected even at
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we're back now with some surprising health news from doctors about food allergies. they're commonly diagnosed in kids, but researchers say there's been a dramatic increase in cases first diagnosed among adults when foods they've eaten all their lives suddenly become dangerous. nbc's kristen dahlgren has our report. >> how are you today? >> i'm real good, thank you. >> reporter: going out to eat isn't easy anymore for marvy.
>> i would like the chef's salad. >> reporter: three years ago she had an allergic reaction so severe she spent two days in intensive care. >> i couldn't breathe, i couldn't swallow. >> we need to do a skin prick test. >> reporter: doctors gave her an allergy test. the results were shocking. at age 50 she suddenly developed an allergy to one of her favorite foods, shellfish. >> it is mind boggling to me. i don't understand how it happened. >> reporter: cases like hers are on the rise. a new study finding severe allergic reactions to food have skyrocketed more than 300% over the last ten years. half of adults with food allergies develop them after age 18. >> it's very concerning because there aren't any warning signs. >> reporter: adults often have different symptoms than children and reactions can be more severe. >> respiratory difficulty and as well as gi symptoms that kids don't get sometimes. >> reporter: people with seasonal allergies are more
prone to developing food alerjs. it could be too many processed foods making you sensitive. stick to a varied diet with a lot of fresh foods. she now makes sure to keep an epipen and is extra cautious. >> i have a very severe allergy to shellfish. >> reporter: one wrong bite -- >> i could swell up and i don't know what would happen. i don't want to test it for sure. >> reporter: not just kids but grown-ups faced with a growing risk. kristen dahlgren, nbc news, los angeles. up next, as we continue tonight, president trump taking a swipe at facebook. how the social
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that facebook may have been used to influence the outcome of the last election. he said, quote, calling that crazy was dismissive, and i regret it. facebook, twitter and google have all been asked to testify in the senate's russia probe. up in the air, delta says it will begin providing free texting on flights starting sunday. the move makes the airline the first u.s.-based carrier to offer free mobile messaging, allowing passengers to text via i-message, what'sup and facebook messenger through no extra cost through its go go internet service. if you are worried about your seatmate yapping on the phone the whole flight, phone calls are still banned. he was president for eight years but he'll be a dad for the rest of his life. and like many fathers, barack obama had a tough time dropping his daughter off at college after he told 19-year-old malia good-bye at harvard, the former president said he was moved to tears comparing the experience to, quote, open heart surgery.
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finally, an update on the family that made national headlines after a tragedy at a disney world resort. in an instant they lost their 2-year-old son to an alligator attack. now they're launching a new effort to honor his memory while helping other families. our kerry sanders has the story. >> reporter: it's been a painful year since 2-year-old lane graves shocking death at a disney resort. >> lane in a very special light about him. >> reporter: today the nebraska toddler's parents turning their grief to comfort for others. >> we don't know if we're going to be able to pay our utilities back home. >> reporter: with the help of a public service video they announced parents at nebraska medicine will no longer have the added burden of how to pay expenses like electric bills or the mortgage while their children endure organ
transplants. >> most times a parent and sometimes a single parent has to leave their job. >> so our job is to make sure we're taking care of any expenses that they have while they're going through the transplant as well as if there's any expenses that they have at home. >> this one flies, too. >> reporter: 3-year-old evie had multiple organ transplants in skrl. her single mother at her side every day since. >> she needs you, and her life counts on it. >> reporter: what did she say, she wants you to be here, mom. >> yeah, i know. >> reporter: and you feel that beyond her asking for it. you know you need to be here. >> mm-hmm. it doesn't stop outside these walls. life goes on. it doesn't matter. you still have to pay your bills. >> reporter: lane graves' parents with an unimaginable loss now giving where few realized there was a need. ♪ baba black sheep >> reporter: all in memory of their son.
kerry sanders, nbc news, omaha. we appreciate you spending part of your evening with us. that is "nightly news" for this wednesday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good now on "extra." jane fonda's first words about her awkward tv moment with megyn kelly. >> you're not proud to admit you had work done, why not? >> we really want to talk about that? >> the new star of morning tv making heads lines as she goes from probing politicians to
grilling celebrities. first kim, then kylie, now khloe expecting a baby. anthony weiner in fear for his life. prime time's biggest surprise, jack's death revealed. >> our new interview with tv's highest paid woman. >> sophia vergara playing picabo with her sexy underwear line. inside taylor swift's insane new york rental with an underground pool. >> $40,000 a month.