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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  January 17, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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winds. lester holt joins us next live from michigan. breaking news tonight, shock waves as president obama commutes the sentence of chelsea manning, the army intelligence soldier giving information to wikileaks. manning to be freed but what about edward snowden? critical condition. with obamacare on the brink of repeal, would a replacement cover those with pre-existing conditions? unsolved mystery as a three-year search ends. is flight 370 lost forever? across america. we're in the home of the reagan democrats who delivered big for donald trump. their hopes and fears as he prepares to take office. a boom in boomers paying for college. tonight, inside the fastest growing age group left saddled with student debt. a stunning medical
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miracle no one saw coming as they gathered to say good-bye. "nightly news" begins right now. >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt reporting tonight from warren, michigan. good evening from macomb county, michigan. the ice rink in the city hall part of a beautiful city square here in warren which helped deliver one of the biggest surprises in 2016. this key blue state going red for donald trump. what are people here expecting now? we're talking to them tonight as part of our trip across america. but we start off with breaking news out of washington. just three days from the end of his term the white house announced president obama has ordered clemency for over 200 prison inmates. among the most notable and controversial, chelsea manning, the former army intelligence analyst convicted for passing classified government material to wikileaks and whose
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imprisonment as a transgender woman has been fraught with complications. the president commuting manning's sentence ordering her to be released this spring. nbc's cynthia mcfadden has late details. >> reporter: chelsea manning will be free in may. president obama announced late this afternoon, he will commute her 35-year sentence. >> i think justice was finally done today. 35 years was not an appropriate sentence. >> reporter: the commutation is not a pardon. her conviction still stands but her sentence has been reduced to the seven years she will have completed in the next few months. >> all those people standing down there. >> reporter: the case broke in 2010 with all the makings of a spy thriller. >> a senior pentagon official says the prime minister suspect is army first class bradley manning. >> reporter: the day
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after manning was convicted when manning announced she was a transgender woman known as chelsea. manning twice tried to commit suicide last year. she's currently incarcerated at the male military prison in leavenworth, kansas. was the government able to point to any specific damage as a result of the releases of chelsea manning? >> no, they were not. we had secret sessions of the court-martial where that would be the place the government would do that. what they were able to show is certain diplomats had their feelings hurt. certain countries were upset. >> reporter: the 35-year sentence is the longest any leaker has received. not everyone supports the decision. a senior official tell says that secretary of defense ash carter did not support the commutation. at her trial she apologized for her actions that was apology was never heard outside the courtroom until last week when nbc news broadcast it. >> i can only go forward. i want to go forward.
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before i can do that, though, i understand that i must pay a price for my decisions and actions. >> reporter: today, president obama decided that debt has been paid. sources inside the intelligence community believe the reason manning sentence was so stiff was because edward snowden's massive leaks came to light just as manning was being sentenced. snowden was beyond the reach of the u.s. and russia. manning paid the price. mr. snowden's clemency application was turned down today by the president. lester. >> all right. thank you. speaking of snowden's current home, russia, today vladmir putin came to the defense of president-elect donald trump breaking his silence about those unverified allegations leaked about mr. trump last week. while here at home, more democrats are joining an inauguration boycott with just three days to. nbc's hallie jackson
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has more. >> reporter: tonight from vladimir putin, an unsurprising response to those unsubstantiated allegations about donald trump. rubbish defending trump. putin accusing the obama administration of trying to delegitimatize trump, working to solidify a political partnership even before it officially begins friday, inauguration day. but dozens of democrats will be boycotting. the no-shows more than 50. 2001 with george w. bush but nothing that reached this level of coverage. sparked by comments from congressmen and civil rights freedom rider john lewis who despite saying this would be his first missed inauguration also skipped president bush's in 2001. >> we didn't attend it like so many other members of continue congress did but president bush is a friend of mine.
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>> he got caught in a bad lie. let's see what happens. as far as other people not going because we need seats so badly. >> reporter: demonstrations already starting in washington. >> no trump. >> reporter: at least 99 of them planned this week. some for, most against with a different public protest coming from a top intelligence official john brennan taking serious fault with trump's accusations that he leaked sensitive information and used nazi-like tactics. he said when his integrity is challenged that's where i think the line is crossed. tomorrow here on the hill the talk turns to the health care law with the president-elect's pick to lead the health agency, congress tom price, set to face senators for the first time about the new administration's replacement plan. lester? >> hallie jackson, thanks. another major controversy we're following tonight. new developments in the battle over
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obamacare as a new nonpartisan report says 18 million people would lose their coverage and that number would surge unless an immediate replacement was ready. president-elect trump has promised insurance for issue everyone but who will pay for it? tom costello has details. >> reporter: tonight, more pressure on republicans to come up with a viable replacement plan after the nonpartisan congressional budget office reported that if obamacare is repealed without a substitute, within ten years, 32 million americans will be without insurance and premiums for individuals could double. >> our job as a government is to guarantee health care to all people in a cost-effective way. >> reporter: but today paul ryan's office said this projection is meaningless because they fail to take into account what might replace obamacare. one option, creating a special insurance pool only for high-risk people with pre-existing
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conditions. people like brandy in arizona who has already had a double mastectomy. >> i was 38 when i was diagnosed with cancer so i was still pretty young and it would be difficult for me to afford. >> reporter: she says it could be far too expensive for her and her daughter. >> if my kids were to come back, what would i do? >> reporter: the government would spend $25 billion in subsidy over ten years to make it more affordable. many states tried that before and couldn't afford it. >> they set the premiums usually 50 to 100% higher than what people would face in the private market. >> my family has a history of breast cancer. >> reporter: today, brandy was in washington hoping to persuade lawmakers. >> i don't think i can afford a high-risk pool. >> reporter: after fighting for her life, now fighting for coverage. tom costello, nbc news, washington. in a florida courtroom today, the suspect in the deadly shooting rampage at the ft. lauderdale airport was ordered to remain behind bars
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until trial. during the hearing, prosecutors said esteban santiago gave conflicting explanations as to his motive. he first claimed the government was controlling his mind but later said he was inspired by isis-linked chat rooms and websites. and now to the biggest unsolved mysteries, where is malaysia flight 370. after an exhaustive three-year search, tonight the mission is over with searchers no closer to finding that plane. it's a decision being met with outrage by the family members of those on board. nbc's miguel almaguer has details. >> reporter: hoping to solve one of the greatest aviation mysteries, search teams combed the indian ocean the size of pennsylvania. the search for malaysia airlines flight 370 is now
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suspended. >> we have a high degree of confidence that the aircraft is not where we searched. >> reporter: the b boeing 777 left kuala lumpur in 2014, the flight dropping off radar. during the search, a wing flap washed ashore on reunion island. 2500 miles away from the search grid. for some families who lost loved ones, a plea to continue the search to the north where new analysis shows the wreckage may now be. grace nathan lost her mother. >> not knowing has been horrible and unbearable. >> was it an airplane problem? was it an intentional act? all of those possibilities remain on the table. >> reporter: tonight, the mystery may never be solved. but for the families of the victims, so much more has been lost. miguel almaguer, nbc news. a major
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announcement here in michigan. general motors will invest $1 billion in its u.s. factories retaining 1500 jobs. they will move some of its production from mexico to michigan. this comes after president-elect trump had criticized gm and other automakers for building cars outside the u.s. and that announcement is welcome news here in macomb county where we're on our journey across america. a detroit suburb, home to those famous reagan democrats who delivered a critical blue state to a republican over 30 years ago doing it again in 2016. a key bellwether for the national mood on trade, jobs and the economy. they build a lot of things around here, from cars to cabinets. so a factory floor seemed to be a good place for a frank conversation about president-elect trump's promises and the expectations here in a place that helped elect them. just across eight-mile road, yes, that 8 mile
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made famous by eminem is macomb county. in 2008 and 2012, the county went solidly for president obama. but now this is largely trump country. the president-elect garnered nearly 54% of the vote here. a surprise to even those who supported him, like chris matalli, a chrysler worker for over 20 years who, in the past, supported obama. did you surprise yourself at all, chris, when you got behind trump? >> yes, to be honest with you, i really knew nothing of the man other than that he had a reality show and i don't like reality shows all that much. he seemed to see these issues without even being here. he's an east coast republican real estate developer and yet he seemed to realize that nafta was create 25 years ago and the mexican manufacturing pays $2.49 an hour. >> he had all of the
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buzz words. >> oh, yeah. >> people like debbie mcgee, a single mom of two boys, also voted for donald trump. this is something she hasn't felt in a long time, hope. >> what keeps you away at night? >> making sure my kids are going to have a roof over their head, food on the table. >> do you feel invisible at times? >> yes. i can't win. i just struggle from paycheck to paycheck. i, you know, sell stuff on swap sites to try to get some extra cash, toys my kids don't play with or the clothes that they've grown out of. >> what do you want from this president? >> i want changes. i want more jobs. i want better paying jobs. >> father of four, max stinson, works here at a family-owned cabinet manufacturer. a clinton supporter, he fears the american dream he grew up with is exactly that, a dream. >> is what is happening here what is happening in the middle class of america? >> i think the middle class has been eroding for a long time and i think it will continue
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to erode. older kids that i knew as small children, struggling, still living at home, not being able to afford to not have the job to pay for their own cost of living while going to school. things are very difficult. >> jacqueline and kelly smith is retired third generation auto worker and uaw member. like max, she voted for clinton and is skeptical of what mr. trump's america has in store for her. >> you have to make sure that the people in america feel as though they are included and as an african-american woman, i don't feel as though his plans always include me. >> do you think this president will deliver? >> no, i don't. based on the things that he said, mr. trump will say one thing at 9:00 a.m., say the opposite at 12:00 noon and then at 3:00 p.m. say he didn't say either one. >> i'm curious, how much time do you give trump to really make an impact? >> six months. >> i don't necessarily expect things to greatly change in six
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months but i think in six months we'll know if he's the real deal or not. >> and this advice for the president-elect. >> listen to the needs of the people and not just the needs of big business. >> calm down. calm down. just focus on issues. >> the lower class and middle class. >> keep america the exceptional place that it is. the man hasn't been inaugurated yet. until he takes his hand off that bible, i can't judge him. >> as america is ready to embark on its next chapter, tomorrow we head to fayetteville, north carolina, home to ft. bragg where the conversation continues. there's more here tonight. still ahead, student loan shocker. why a growing number of americans over 60 are taking on college debt and the biggest risks you need to know if you're one of them. we'll be right back.
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back now, a surprising trend among older americans. when it comes to taking out student loans, the fastest growing group isn't young people. it's americans over 60, usually to help your children or grandkids. but as nbc news business correspondent jo ling kent tells us there's a major risk they may not always be thinking about. >> it's really nice outside. >> reporter: when sheila's daughter nina got into the university of california, santa cruz, she wanted her to have the full experience and graduate debt-free. >> one of the greatest moments of my life was when my daughter said, you're really going to
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make it possible for me to get all the way through without debt? and i said, that's my goal. >> reporter: at age 69, she put $30,000 of her home equity loan towards college tuition and took out an additional $5,000 loan in her own name. according to the consumer financial protection bureau, borrowers over 60 have nearly $67 billion in student loan debt. two-thirds of that debt is taken on for children or grandchildren. and paying back the loans gets harder with age. 40% of federal student loan borrowers over 65 are in default. >> anything where you take out loans, whether in the form of home equity in your house or straight-up loan is something you really need to think carefully about. >> reporter: experts say, put money away over time in a 529 plan for grandchildren, which grows tax-free. know that co-signing a loan means you're responsible for paying it and that federal
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student loans will be canceled upon death but private loans may not be. lastly, if you're behind on a federal student loan, the government may garnish your social security check. nina is grateful to her mom and vows to take care of her some day. >> she gave me such a gift to help security my future in being able to go to college. >> reporter: an education for both mother and daughter and financial planning and sacrifice. jo ling kent, nbc news. up next, a beloved star celebrating a major milestone.
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it's beautiful. was it a hard place to get to? (laughs) it wasn't too bad. with the chase mobile app, jimmy chin can master depositing his hard earned checks in a snap. easy to use chase technology for whatever you're trying to master. new numbers show the abortion rate in america has fallen to its lowest level since roe v. wade in 1974. the report which supports abortion rights counts 926,200 abortions in 2014, down from a peak of 1.6 million in 1990. the authors attribute two main factors, increased availability of contraceptives and a surge in state abortion restrictions.
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a jaw-dropping sight north of atlanta where a sinkhole opened beneath an 18 wheeler, nearly swallowing the 55,000-pound truck whole. no injuries are reported. and birthday wishes are pouring in for an american icon. betty white at 95, still going strong and still golden. betty, we hope you're out having a great time celebrating. when we come back, how a woman with a mystery illness shocked her doctors and her family. how long before heavy rain and
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dangerous winds arrive. ===raj/vo=== and while the final preparations continue for the inauguration -- the list is growing of local lawmakers boycotting the event. ===raj/next close=== next. sot this is kind of the perfect storm right now. runs=02 ==jess finally, a stunning surprise and a great mother's second chance. she had a mystery illness. what happened next shocked them all. >> reporter: just two and a half months ago eloise barnett's family was saying good-bye. >> we went and bought cemetery plots and were planning the funeral. >> reporter: she was unresponsive in an ohio hospital after her husband couldn't wake her up. >> we had to put her on dialysis. her blood pressure dropped to 40 over zilch. >> reporter: doctors weren't sure what was wrong but after more than two weeks she wasn't responding to treatments so her family made the difficult decision to
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take her off life support. >> it was heart-wrenching. it was lots and lots of tears. >> reporter: but eloise had other plans. and two days later when the doctor expected to find a patient in her final moments -- >> she opened her eyes and started talking to me. it really surprised me. >> reporter: some might call it a miracle. >> it's a miracle to me because i never seen it happen. >> reporter: eloise calls it good old-fashion grit. >> i can be stubborn but i have determination. >> reporter: all of this spunk from a woman who cheated death. >> they say i'm still very witty. >> reporter: the grandmother of two and great-grand to three is still in physical therapy but is now back home at her family ranch. >> she'll be out on that grasshopper mowing spring. >> reporter: still the same eloise with a new purpose. >> that was not my time. i'm not finished here. >> reporter: and a message. >> don't give up. don't give up.
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>> reporter: living against the odds and making every moment count. >> love you so much. >> reporter: kristen dahlgren, nbc news. >> pretty amazing. that's going to do it for us. i'm lester holt reporting from warren, right now at 6: bracing for another round of rain. wind, waves, and potential for so this is kind of the perfect storm right now. >> right now at 6:00, bracing for another round of rain, winds and waves, potential flagged as three separate storms begin rolling into the bay area. good evening. i'm jessica aguirre. >> just as we finish drying out from last week, here's another triple munch ap live look in san francisco, dublin, palo alto and san jose. no rain for now. but our at slight radar shows you what is about to come.
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the rain is right on your doorstep. >> this time we have to contend with a lot of wind, too. >> that's the big point. we're going to be talking about wind gusts tomorrow that could get above 50 miles an hour. the rain we're seeing right here across coastal sonoma, we te'll continue the see the rain tonight and tomorrow morning. what this storm has going for it is the atmospheric river, a connection to a rainfall burst that as the first system comes through on wednesday, another one to follow on friday, and the weekend could bring the potential for lateralized flooding. look at the wave heights by saturday, could get up to 20 to 25 feet. unt so the timeline of how these three storms will impact the bay area, localiz


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