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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  July 21, 2017 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT

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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. dangerouslclose 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
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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 scaramucci, a longtime wall street banker and a former fund-raiser for the trump campaign. one of his first orders of business today 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.
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thank you guys very much. >> reporter: in a stunning staff shuffle tonight, a familiar face stepping down and a new one stepping in. >> what about your staff shake-up today? >> 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 secretary. all smiles today after a dramatic 24-hour battle behind closed doors. 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 telling the ap 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: infamously spoofed on
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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 believes he's his own best messenger. how do you expect to get this white house back on track? >> i'm going to take a slight issue with the question. i think the white house is on track and we're actually, i think, doing a really good job. >> reporter: your perspective? >> 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: the former wall street banker nicknamed mooch, selling the president. though he didn't always. >> you called trump 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
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over his new boss and maybe the media, too, blowing a kiss to the cameras on his way out, quickly dubbed the mooch 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. spicer's deputy. she'll be just the third woman to serve in that role and promises to do so with transparency and integrity. craig. >> hallie, as you mentioned there, 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. he wouldn't get into hypotheticals today when talking about the possibility that somebody else might actually 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
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message of a unified front in the west wing. craig? >> 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
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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.
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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. craig? >> 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 uwh
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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 the inferno aggressive, extreme and dynamic, exploding across some 75,000 acres, leaping roads and rivers. the historic gold mining town of mariposa is threatened. brian bullets has 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, i think everybody is panicking a little
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just 1 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"
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season ten, says he forgot he had a loaded 9 millimeter handgun in his backpack at raleigh durham airport. issued a summons, his was one of a record 89 guns found at nationwide airplane last week including this fully loaded .who caliber 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. yet another record in a string of yearly records. 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 airports with the most guns 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
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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 locked case. >> it goes in a hard-sided case again 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 joost 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
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[000:11:59;00] 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've got two months to do it. so we're not going to let that happen. >> reporter: simpson's next move come october
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could be florida. >> what i want to do is spends friends. >> reporter: close friend tom scotto met with simpson right after the hearing. >> he came out yelling, we're going home. >> reporter: he says the former football star might even live with him for a bit. >> there's a chance. not right away. there's a chance. yeah, we talked about that. >> reporter: in naples, where scotto lives, reaction to that news runs the 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 release conditions which includes 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
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many. beyond si 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 walks out of prison is not yet known. joe fryer, nbc news, lovelock, nevada. 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. the new carrier aimed strictly at millennials. ♪ 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
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it's fast, powerful relief with no chalky taste. enjoy the relief. so we know how to cover almost alanything.ything, even a coupe soup. [woman] so beautiful. [man] beautiful just like you. [woman] oh, why thank you. [burke] and we covered it, november sixth, two-thousand-nine. talk to farmers. we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two.
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♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪ 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
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thieves who have no idea it's a trap. 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. okay. 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, shall we, and try the make a real getaway here. but seconds later -- >> appears to be getting on southbound 17. >> reporter: they're on to me. 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.
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is this is pretty remote. let's get out. 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 may lead police right to their doorstep. jeff rossen, nbc news, campbell, california. we're back in a moment with the restaurant rocked by a deadly explosion. 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, handcuffs right now. restaurant rocked by a can i say it? go ahead!
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ask your doctor about once-weekly trulicity. 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
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airline taking off soon aimed at millen a new low-cost carrier called joon. it's for the 18 to 35 jetset with features that cater to their digital lifestyle. the branding extends to the uniforms even which feature a more casual design. if all of it makes you feel a bit old, fear not. joon will reportedly let non-millennials 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 henson with kermit, miss piggy and all those family favorites. after a dvt blood clot... i sure had a lot on my mind. my 30-year marriage...
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...that's heard throughout the connected business world. protect business, from the largest financial markets to the smallest transactions, by sensing cyber-attacks in near real time and automatically deploying countermeasures. keeping the world of business connected and protected. that's the power of and. finally tonight, as generations of fans may have heard, kermit the frog is getting a new voice. it's created a bit of controversy as of late, but tonight the muppets are in the news for a different reason. a new exhibit honoring the legacy of jim henson's beloved creations opens
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tomorrow. 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
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my grandmother's spring coat. >> reporter: also here, a behind the scenes look at henson's extensive film career. including the costume david bowie wore in "the labyrinth." >> i think my dad sort of gave himself permission to play and he gave his collaborators permission to play. >> reporter: like bonnie erickson, 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. >> 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. i'm craig 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.
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the radical new approach 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
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night. i've done my time. >> is o.j. headed to reality television? this is "access hollywood," and has simpson also found a way to not pay the brown and goldman families the millions he still owes them? that will and i are swingers -- >> after jada addresses that rumor, we've got another

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