tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC November 17, 2017 7:00pm-7:30pm EST
tonight, a five-alarm fire ripping through a nursing home. some residents still unaccounted for tonight says the mayor after nearly two dozen were injured. what caused it? president trump slamming senator al franken over sexual assault allegations, but still silent after more than a week about gop candidate roy moore. now the white house defending the president as the scandals bring new scrutiny to his own sexual misconduct allegations from more than a dozen women. >> senator franken has admitted wrongdoing and the president hasn't. i think that's a very clear distinction. >> the new fallout tonight. campus crackdown. one of america's largest universities taking dramatic action over alleged hazing and underaged drinking among fraternities. danger on the road. a type of guardrail
deaths, and they're in more than half the states across america. and all aboard. >> how many of the people here are volunteers? >> all of them. >> the senior citizens keeping a tiny pacific northwest train station chugging along. this is nbc "nightly news" with lester holt. good evening. we start with breaking developments at the scene of a massive fire at a senior living facility in pennsylvania. the mayor of west chester, p.a., saying some residents remain unaccounted for after the five-alarm fire spread rapidly overnight. around 30 people were injured, some seriously, and at least a hundred are displaced. officials earlier said the burned-out structure is too unstable to search for other potential victims. nbc's kristen dahlgren has the latest. >> reporter: as intense flames rip through the senior living center, some residents trapped inside in beds and wheelchairs unable to
inferno. >> it was heavy black smoke. you can't see. you couldn't see. >> reporter: nurse assistant toni struthers was on duty, just one of the countless heroes who rushed in to help. >> i didn't think about me running out. and leaving them in. i thought about getting them out to safety first. >> reporter: as she roused residents, high winds spread the blaze. >> they need as many ems units at the scene as they can get. >> reporter: hundreds of firefighters were soon joined by neighbors. >> a lot of them don't have anywhere to go tomorrow, and their families are scared. and it's just sad. >> reporter: andrew and luke took an uber from their college 20 minutes away. >> at first we were just looking for my grandmother. >> it was a moment of panic. >> reporter: but even after his own grandma was safe, they stayed, pushing others from danger. >> once we knew she was safe, we were going to help at that point. what other option do you really have? >> reporter: 27 injured. tonight the mayor telling nbc news some are still missing. police won't confirm how many are unaccounted for. but with more than 150 residents rescued, many are calling it a
>> we're blessed to be out. everybody is blessed to be out. >> reporter: that so many were saved. now, tonight the atf is investigating, but take a look. this is still smoking. so officials don't think it will be safe enough to get inside until at least tomorrow in their search for answers and potentially more victims. lester. >> a lot of good folks coming to the rescue there. kristen dahlgren, thank you. in washington sexual politics and charges of double standards today. president trump taking twitter shots at his liberal nemesis democrat al franken over his admission of past sexual misconduct while steering clear of the simmering controversy over conservative republican senate candidate roy moore. the president's stone throwing at franken predictably bringing back into focus the string of sexual allegations the president himself faced and denied late in the campaign. our kristen welker has more. >> reporter: the white house on defense tonight after president trump dubbed
frankenstein" on twitter last night. franken apologized for inappropriate sexual misconduct toward a former model and radio host during a 2006 uso tour. so why has mr. trump stayed silent all week on republican embattled senate candidate roy moore? >> he did it while he was on a foreign trip in asia. i did it repeatedly yesterday. >> reporter: the president briefly told reporters while in asia he was aware of the story and indicated he would speak further. that hasn't happened yet though sanders called the allegations deeply troubling. still the disparity is renewing focus on the president's own controversial past after this "access hollywood" tape surfaced during the campaign. >> grab them by the [ bleep ]. >> reporter: more than a dozen women came forward accusing then-candidate trump of sexual misconduct, including jessica leeds. >> it's just indicative of this culture that allowed this behavior and, you know, there were no repercussions. >> reporter: so what's the difference between
>> i think in one case specifically senator franken has admitted wrongdoing and the president hasn't. >> reporter: and the political infighting cuts both ways. tonight senator kirsten gillibrand has sparked a backlash for saying that former president bill clinton should have resigned after the monica lewinsky scandal. some democrats calling her a hypocrite for accepting the clinton support and money. >> this is ridiculous, and he's wrong. bill clinton did very important things for this country. but my point is about this conversation we're having today and that we need to have the highest standards for elected leaders. >> reporter: as for roy moore, there's concern if president trump weighs in too heavily, he could be seen as trying to tip the scales of the alabama senate race. and with an already narrow gop majority in the senate, the president's entire agenda is at stake. lester. >> kristen welker at the white house. in alabama the governor there says she still plans to vote for candidate roy moore even though she's bothered by the
him. this as moore's wife spoke out today in his defense. nbc's gabe gutierrez has the latest. >> we will not stop fighting for the people of alabama. >> reporter: amid allegations from at least nine women against her husband, today kayla moore fired back. >> even after all the attacks against me, against my family, against the foundation and now against my husband, he will not step down. >> reporter: surrounded by women who support his campaign, she defended her husband of 32 years. >> he is a loving father and a grandfather. most important, he is a christian. >> reporter: roy moore has denied the accusations ranging from inappropriate flirting to sexual assault that go back decades, some involving teenaged girls, one as young as 14. governor, do you still plan to vote for roy moore? >> that's what i plan to do is vote for the
kay ivey now says sending a republican to the senate is more important even though she has no reason to disbelief moore's accusers. >> there's never an excuse for or rationale for sexual misconduct or sexual abuse. it bothers me. >> reporter: but many of the former judge's supporters reject the claims outright viewing them as washington political attacks meant to sway next month's special election. >> they don't like anything alabama does because they don't like christians. >> reporter: and some believe there's nothing wrong with an older man dating a teenaged girl older than 16 provided they have her parents' consent. >> i would say you have to think of the times, the culture. it really doesn't bother me. >> reporter: a cultural and political divide with the republican senate majority hanging in the balance. two sources tell nbc news that moore's opponent, democrat doug jones, was raising about a quarter million
[000:07:58;00] this scandal first broke. a new poll out tonight shows that moore is trailing jones among women by 26 points. lester? >> gabe gutierrez in montgomery tonight, thanks. one day after the house passed its version of tax reform, the battle now shifts to the senate and a fierce debate over who benefits most when all the numbers are added up. experts generally agree that corporations and the wealthy will see the biggest tax cuts, though president trump insists he'll actually be hurt. nbc's tom costello with a reality check on the winners and losers. >> reporter: the president insists cutting taxes on corporations will fire up the economy. >> my plan is for the working people, and my plan is for jobs. it's not good for me, believe me. >> reporter: but an independent tax expert who looked at the president's 2005 returns for nbc news says mr. trump stands to make a lot of money under the proposed tax code. >> the president would
save on his tax return in 2018 $22.6 million in federal income tax. >> reporter: and the president's heirs could save more than a billion dollars if congress eliminates the estate tax on the wealthy. but what about everyone else? that depends on where you live and what you earn. here's why. congress wants to reduce or eliminate key deductions families rely on. mortgage interest, city, state, local property taxes. instead, congress would create one standard deduction. $12,000 for individuals, $24,000 for families. tax advisers say for a family earning $120,000 on the east or west coasts where local taxes are much higher, losing those key deductions could cost a lot of money. a family making $75,000 in the midwest would probably see their total tax bill go down next year, but over the next ten years americans making less than 75,000 would still see their taxes go up. >> if you earn a lot of money or you treat
yourself as a business, this is almost esi and in some cases forever. >> reporter: other tax code changes, no more deducting big medical expenses. medicare patients would have to pay more. all of it adding $1.4 trillion to the nation's debt, $4300 for each one of us. tom costello, nbc news, washington. after a series of tragedies at campuses across the country, ohio state university is now the latest to ban most fraternities as it investigates alleged hazing and alcohol abuse. it's a preemptive strike aimed at preventing the kind of tragic student deaths that have occurred at other colleges. nbc's blake mccoy has more on the story. >> reporter: in a drastic move, ohio state is canceling nearly all fraternity events, sending a letter to 37 organizations because almost a third of them are already under investigation for code of conduct violations this school year. quote, this is an unacceptably high number, and the university will not tolerate behavior that puts the health and safety of students at
risk. andrew jackson, a fraternity member himself, agreed. >> it's an opportunity for us to take a step back and look and really do a deep dive into the issues that might be happening. >> reporter: ohio state the latest school just this fall to suspend greek life amid concerns of drinking, hazing or sexual misconduct. joining the university of michigan, florida state, louisiana state and texas state. four students have died this year while pledging fraternities including 19-year-old timothy piazza served 18 drinks in an hour and 22 minutes. >> they then left him to die alone, and they tried to cover it up. >> reporter: his school, penn state, has resumed greek life but under tight new restrictions. this could be a turning point, say experts. >> the greek system's on notice that if we're not able to clean up these aberrant behaviors, we may not have greek life in ten years. >> reporter: at ohio state, students hope the suspension will be
temporary. >> i think they need >> there's not a problem with all the frats. i think it's just a couple of them. >> reporter: ohio state has called on each fraternity to come up with their own detailed plan to fix the culture. until then, no parties and no recruiting. lester? >> blake mccoy in columbus tonight, thank you, blake. now to an nbc news investigation that found that president trump profited from a business to which he licensed his name, a hotel and condo complex in panama with ties to money launderers and drug cartels. here's our chief foreign correspondent richard engel. >> hello. i'm ivanka trump. welcome to trump ocean club international hotel and tower panama. >> reporter: it was the first trump branded tower to go up overseas with ivanka trump pitching it. >> or you can opt to dine on your private balcony. >> reporter: luxurious, yes, but like many real estate projects in panama also a magnet for dirty money according to insiders and a former panamanian prosecutor.
an conjunction with reuters, reveals brokers and buyers included russian gangsters and a money launderer for latin american drug cartels. alexander ventura was one of the tower's main brokers. >> i had some customers with some, you know, questionable background. >> reporter: what does that mean? >> i mean, you know, i found out later, not in the beginning, from like it belongs to the mafia, the russian mafia or things like that. >> reporter: ventura is now a fugitive accused of fraud. we agreed to disguise his appearance. did the trump organization want to know who these buyers were, where the money was coming from? >> no. not that i'm aware of, no, no. not at all. >> reporter: monte friesner was in panama at the time the units at the trump ocean club were being sold. he's a convicted former money launderer and knows ventura and
his partners. ventura was marketing the trump ocean club [000:13:59;00] corrupt people could park their money? >> you got it. >> reporter: and they did. >> yeah. but they didn't just park their money. their money was turned over consistently. >> reporter: a former panamanian prosecutor who investigated the building confirmed to us it did draw in people with a criminal history. asked for comment, the white house and ivanka trump's team both referred us to the trump organization. in a statement, it said, the trump organization was not the owner, developer or seller of the trump ocean club panama project. and that the organization has no relationship with ventura or knowledge of the allegations against him. i believe this is the picture of you with president trump. >> yes, that's correct. that's mar-a-lago, yes. >> reporter: so you were a guest at the party, they hosted you at mar-a-lago. >> yes. >> reporter: the trump organization is now distancing itself from a project that earned
it millions in association with a dubious cast of characters. financial documents show that the president is still making money from this building lighting up the sky here in panama city. lester? >> richard engel tonight, richard, thanks. more of richard's reporting tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern on msnbc. in other news tonight the reverend jesse jackson has revealed that he is suffering from parkinson's disease. the 76-year-old civil rights leader said he was diagnosed in 2015 and has received outpatient treatment. in a letter on twitter, jackson said it was painful for him to recognize the effects of the disease. he said he would not let it disrupt his work. still ahead, as we continue tonight, as millions of americans plan to hit the road this holiday season, the new safety warning tonight about guardrails. we'll be back. #stuffynose #nosleep i got it... #mouthbreather yep, we've got a mouth breather. well just put on a breathe right strip and...
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switching to eliquis is right for you. ♪ we're back now with growing concerns about a potentially deadly hazard just before millions of americans hit the road this holiday. the number of lawsuits are claiming that a certain type of guardrail can actually spear into vehicles on impact causing injury even death to drivers and passengers. now the ntsb says it's investigating. nbc news national correspondent miguel almaguer has more. >> reporter: they line roads across the country, but tonight some of the guardrails designed to keep drivers safe are being blamed for at least six deaths. three lawsuits filed against the
manufacturer of the lindsay x-lite say the protective barriers in some cases are slicing right through cars. pierced her car, and she was killed instantly. >> reporter: in tennessee, steve eimers tells our d.c. station his 17-year-old daughter hannah was killed when she crashed into a lindsay x-lite guardrail. he said it didn't absorb the crash as designed instead punching through the car as seen in other crashes. >> this product has failed over and over and over. >> reporter: with x-lite guardrails on roads in 28 states, an estimated 14,000 are in place nationwide. the company says x-lite has successfully passed crash and safety tests in accordance with federal standards and criteria and remains eligible for federal transportation funding. there is no road safety equipment that can prevent injury every time a driver fails to stay on the road.
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before you begin an aspirin regimen. bayer aspirin. finally tonight, at an age when travel can seem so impersonal, let's take a trip to a place where the human touch still counts. a certain train station near olympia, washington. no matter when you arrive, someone will be there to greet you. when you consider who they are, it's kind of amazing. joe fryer tonight on how they're "inspiring america." >> reporter: in lacey, washington, the little engine that could isn't a train -- >> may i have your attention, please. >> reporter: -- it's a train station.
a humble depot that welcomes ten amtraks a day and is powered by folks like ken mauer. >> how are you doing? while. >> reporter: workers who donate all of their time. how many of the people here are volunteers? >> all of them. >> reporter: everyone? >> everybody. >> reporter: it has been that way since the station opened in 1993. arlen michael, age 92, is one of the friendly faces guiding passengers on and off the trains. >> the coaches are all back that way. >> reporter: does this keep you young? >> not early in the morning it doesn't. >> reporter: sure, they like the trains. >> you know, i keep telling people when i grow up i'm going to be a railroad engineer. >> okay. >> reporter: but they love the people. >> we occasionally get a postcard, you know, thanking us. >> reporter: no e-mails? >> i don't. i'm an old geezer, and i'm not computerized so -- >> reporter: which seems fitting. trains, after all, conjure up feelings of nostalgia, an experience made all the better by volunteers --
>> watch your step. >> reporter: -- at the little depot that could. >> all aboard! >> reporter: joe lacey, washington. we appreciate you spending part of your evening with us. that is "nightly news" for this friday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching. good night, and have a great weekend. tc still get a refreshing any size soft drink for just one dollar at mcdonald's? with the days getting shorter and your to-do list getting longer, you'll enjoy this ice-cold deliciousness more than ever.
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