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

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that's comcast 86. >> okay. here it is. lester holt with "nightly news" is next and then the game. dance. the white house's unproven defense sparks an international incident with the british as president trump stands by his claim in an awkward moment with the german chancellor. secret service failure. shocking new details, how long an intruder roamed the white house grounds before being caught. nuclear warning. the secretary of state puts north korea on notice. a poible military strike is on the table. nbc news exclusive. our first look at the secret plan to defeat isis that president trump asked for. why it might surprise you. family horror. kids find their parents dead from an apparent overdose. the father's job raising big concerns. and breakthrough cholesterol treatment dramatically lowering
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the risk of a heart attack. "nightly news" begins right now. >> from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. >> good evening. president trump still looking to justify his thus far unproven and widely rejected claim that his campaign was spied on by president obama today gave oxygen to the newest white house claim. that british intelligence was in on the alleged surveillance plot. it happened during what was already a potentially delicate meeting between the president and german chancellor angela merkel. meantime tonight, another major u.s. ally, the british government, is simmering over the allegation. nbc's peter alexander has details. >> i think it was -- >> reporter: tonight confronted by a european reporter for his wiretap allegation against president obama, a defiant president trump taking
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a new shot at his predecessor. >> as far as wiretapping, i guess, by, you know, this past administration, at least we have something in common, perhaps. >> reporter: a swipe at the national security agency, under mr. obama that monitored german chancellor angela merkel's cell phone. the look on merkel's face speaking volumes. from the man behind the art of the deal, a strategic deflection. not backing down on his initial claim, now refuted by the republican chairs of the house and senate intelligence committees. and house speaker paul ryan. but that didn't stop president trump's spokesperson from this allegation thursday. >> he's able to get it. and there's no american fingerprints on this. >> reporter: reading from a fox news segment claiming british intelligence helped mr. obama. today, the president unfazed. >> i didn't make an opinion on it. that was a statement made by a very talented lawyer. on fox. and so you shouldn't be talking to me. you should be talking to fox. >> reporter: a fox news anchor minutes later shooting down that defense. >> fox news knows of no evidence of any kind that the now
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president of the united states was surveilled at any time in any way. full stop. >> reporter: even british intelligence issued a rare rebuke, dismissing the white house's comment as utterly ridiculous and the prime minister's office says white house aides assured them the allegations would not be repeated. >> as a real estate developer, as a presidential candidate, donald trump learned you could say brash things and controversial things and then move on. he's learning now as a president that's a lot tougher to do. >> reporter: all of it happening at a high stakes meeting with merkel. but no handshake in the oval office. a business roundtable with the chancellor sitting next to ivanka trump. the president pressing merkel to pay up on nato. >> many nations owe vast sums of money from past years, and it is very unfair to the united states. these nations must pay what they owe. >> reporter: tonight the two leaders largely side-stepping their differences. but mr. trump's previous harsh words of merkel -- >> the german people are going to end up overthrowing this woman. i don't know what the
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hell she's thinking. >> reporter: -- still on her mind. >> translator: i've always said it's much, much better to talk to one another and not about one another. >> reporter: and tonight, two congressional sources tell nbc news both the house and senate intelligence committees received documents from the justice department responding to their request for materials about possible surveillance of trump tower. both sources say an initial read finds nothing to support mr. trump's claim. lester? >> peter alexander at the white house tonight. thank you. meantime, congress is demanding answers from the secret service tonight, after it turns out that the intruder who jumped the white house fence a week ago was loose on the grounds for more than 16 minutes before he was apprehended. president trump inside at the time. another embarrassing incident for the men and women who risk their lives to protect him. our justice correspondent pete williams has details. >> reporter: law enforcement officials say it took far longer than first suggested for the secret service to confront a man who jumped a fence and got up to the white house
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last friday night while president trump was inside. the officials say the man was actually on the grounds nearly 20 minutes, at one point hiding behind a white house pillar. court documents say he jumped the fence in front of the treasury department next to the white house grounds and then kept moving south. it appears he walked about 1,000 feet and got all the way to the south portico entrance where he was finally stopped by a uniformed officer. officials say the man triggered motion detector alarms but they say the officers on duty thought that was the movement of animals on the grounds, a frequent occurrence. the next day, the president said he felt safe. >> secret service did a fantastic job. >> reporter: but congressman jason chaffetz says his staff has information that the man may have actually tried to open the door. >> this one scares me. the length of time that this intruder was able to be on the white house, hiding behind a pillar and actually even going up to the door, that scares me. >> reporter: 2 1/2 years ago a fence jumper managed to get inside the white house.
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the homeland security review blamed that lapse partly on understaffing leading to low morale and attrition. among changes coming, making the white house fence five feet taller. but some former agents have suggested the secret service is now stretched thin, protecting trump tower in new york, the president's weekend retreat in florida, and the extended trump family. adding to the bad news, the secret service says an agent's laptop computer was stolen yesterday from her parked car in this brooklyn neighborhood. she sometimes had duty at trump tower, but officials say her computer was encrypted. the latest fence jumper is a 26-year-old from california, who claimed to be a friend of the president's. the secret service says tonight he was on the ground 16 1/2 minutes that the agency is extremely angry and disappointed, and that it's imposing extra security posts, and technology enhancements. lester? >> all right, pete williams, thank you. overseas tonight, a nuclear warning from secretary of state rex tillerson to north korea. tillerson saying the time for talk is over, it hasn't worked, and unless the north koreans backtrack on
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their nuclear program, u.s. military action is on the table. our chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell is following the secretary in asia. >> reporter: tonight on his first visit to one of the most dangerous corners of the world, secretary of state rex tillerson threatening possible military action against north korea. >> if they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe requires action, that option is on the table. >> reporter: tillerson emphatically ruling out negotiations. an option tried in the past by the u.s., and favored by china. >> let me be very clear. the policy of strategic patience has ended. >> reporter: tillerson, instead, warning the u.s. could take preemptive military action if north korea does not give up its nuclear program. but it was in the dmz today that the new secretary of state got his first close look at the potential enemy. and a north korean soldier got his close-up with the
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secretary of state. the secretary of state is here now right at the border with north korea. which is causing the first real national security challenge to the trump administration. tensions now at their highest point in decades. as military officials tell nbc news there are signs kim jong-un may be readying another nuclear test, and more missile launches. his missiles not yet able to reach the u.s. west coast, but already a very real threat to south korea, japan, and 78,000 u.s. troops defending the allies. the first line of defense, new u.s. anti-missile systems in south korea. which china sees as a threat. >> while we acknowledge china's opposition, its economic retaliation against south korea is inappropriate, and troubling. we ask china to refrain from such action. >> reporter: tillerson heads next to china, the only country with the power to get north korea to back down. and not happy about the u.s. threat to use force. lester? >> andrea mitchell in seoul. thank you.
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turning from the tensions with north korea to another world crisis confronting president trump, the battle against isis. tonight, nbc news has been briefed on the secret plan the president requested from the pentagon to, in his words, obliterate isis. nbc news senior nbc investigative correspondent cynthia mcfadden by why president trump might be surprised by what's in the report. >> reporter: according to two senior officials who have reviewed the document, what may have surprised the president is that the new military plan seems to be a lot like the old obama plan, just more of it. what one administration official calls an intensification. >> the current plan to defeat the islamic state is like that old saying, plan "b" is just try harder at plan "a." we have not come up with new ways of approaching this. we need more creativity in our attack ideas. >> reporter: during
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the campaign, donald trump made crushing isis a signature issue. >> they're going to be gone. isis will be gone. if i'm elected president. and they'll be gone quickly. they will be gone very, very quickly. >> reporter: mr. trump calling president obama's strategy a failure. saying he had a secret plan of his own. >> i know more about isis than the generals do. believe me. >> i, donald john trump -- >> reporter: just days after becoming president he ordered the pentagon to prepare its plan. the preliminary report highlights four next plays, suggesting acceleration in all of them. like support of iraqi forces to capture mosul, and supporting and developing more local forces in syria. all things that were going on when obama was president. last week, general joseph votel assured congress that the current approach is working against isis, writing -- the counter-isis campaign has entered its third year, and we are on track with the
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military plan to defeat the terrorist organization in iraq and syria. but two prominent military strategists now retired believe a new approach is needed. >> if you view the islamic state as a body, what's been going on with the current strategy is we've been attacking their fingers and their toes. >> reporter: general david deptula was the principal architect of the highly successful air attack in desert storm and directed the air power over afghanistan after 9/11. he says more air power is needed, and that the army should no longer be commanding the airstrikes against isis. >> if you want to win a football game, would you put in a swimming team coach to lead the team during the super bowl? no. >> i would say the president might want to send that report back to his team to take another hard look. >> reporter: pentagon spokesman captain jeff davis told us the preliminary plan sent to the white house is a grand strategy,
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which places even more emphasis on diplomacy, economics and information than it does on the military. it creates, he says, a framework for more tactical questions to be answered later. no word from the white house about whether that is what the president is looking for. lester? >> cynthia, thank you. in raleigh, north carolina, authorities are investigating the cause of a massive overnight fire that destroyed an apartment building under construction. the flames and intense heat also damaging a number of other buildings. one firefighter was treated for minor injuries, and five people were treated for smoke inhalation. but no life threatening injuries reported. now to centerville, ohio. outside of dayton. where police are investigating what appears to be the latest case of an accidental overdose in the opioid epidemic that has parts of this country in its grip. a husband and wife found dead by their children when they woke up for school. making the case even more troubling, the husband was a commercial airline pilot. here's nbc's tom
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costello. >> 911, what's the address of the emergency? >> reporter: it was just before 8:00 a.m. on this quiet cul-de-sac when a 13-year-old called for help. he and his three sisters unable to wake their parents, dead of an apparent overdose of fentanyl. >> you don't know if they're breathing or they are not breathing? >> reporter: two more lives lost to america's opioid addiction, courtney halye and her husband brian, a captain with spirit airlines. >> this knows no demographic. it doesn't matter how much you make or where you live or how educated you are. it crosses every line. and that's what's probably most frustrating. >> reporter: spirit airlines tells nbc news captain halye served at the airline for just over nine years. his final spirit flight was last friday march 10th raising questions about how pilots are screened for drug abuse. we don't know when halye was last screened for drugs. while the faa requires pilots to undergo a yearly medical exam, that does not include
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drug testing. pilots are required to go through both scheduled and random drug screening run by the airlines, sometimes immediately upon arriving at work. in 2015 aviation employers conducted more than 218,000 drug tests on everyone from pilots to mechanics to flight attendants. of those, 38 pilots tested positive for one or more drugs including marijuana, cocaine and opiates. >> the data shows this is extremely rare. there are safeguards in place, those safeguards are working. >> reporter: but addiction is not so rare across ohio. in the halye's home county the coroner says two people a day are overdosing and dying. now a devastated young family is the latest face of a raging epidemic. tom costello, nbc news, washington. still ahead here tonight, important news about your cholesterol. the breakthrough medication that for the first time has been shown to dramatically cut the risk of heart attack or stroke. also the amazing rescues from a
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mudslide disaster and one woman's incredible will to survive.
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back now with what's being called a big medical breakthrough in the treatment of high cholesterol and heart disease. a drug that has been found to dramatically reduce the risk of a heart attack in patients. a lot of excitement in the medical community and a share of controversy over the cost. here's nbc news medical correspondent dr. john torres. >> reporter: just a
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few years ago, herb wouldn't have had the energy to play catch with his dog. his heart health so poor, even after six stents and a quadruple bypass his cholesterol out of control despite statins. he was living in fear of a heart attack. >> i mean it could be life ending. >> reporter: fast forward three years. herb's bad cholesterol levels have dropped dramatically from 150 to 19. and doctors say he's no longer at risk for a heart attack. >> that's way beyond incredible. >> reporter: in addition to a statin, herb is taking a new cholesterol lowering drug called repatha. today a landmark study paid for by the drugmaker finds that it not only drops bad cholesterol to unprecedented levels, it cuts the risk of heart attack and stroke by 20%. so is this a game changer when it comes to treating cholesterol? >> there's no question. it has taken us where we could never go before. >> reporter: the drug was approved in 2015, but was criticized for its cost.
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nearly $14,000 a year. today's study suggests it could be worth it. >> i think as a physician it's our job to reduce our patient's risk of heart attack and stroke. and i think we should use these drugs to make our patient better. >> reporter: the drug is self-injected, usually every two weeks. herb gets it for free, since he's part of a study. >> i believe it's a life saver. it's a life changer. >> reporter: there are 11 million americans who could benefit from this expensive drug. the price they may pay for a healthy life. >> john, it's expensive drug, does insurance cover it? >> so far insurance companies have been reluctant to cover it. they say there's evidence that it does reduce cholesterol but no proof it stops that second heart attack or stroke. we now have that proof. today i talked to an organization representing insurance plans and they tell me they're going to consider this new evidence. >> dr. john torres, thank you. we're back in a moment with something prince william has not done since the death of his mother princess diana until now.
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we're back with extraordinary stories of survival in the
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middle of a deadly disaster. a camera captured the moment a woman trapped in a mudslide in peru amazingly manages to escape. others, including children, were pulled to safety by rescue chopper crews. peru has experienced a recent onslaught of rain and flooding that has left dozens dead. britain's royal couple, william and kate, kicked off a two-day trip to paris. it's william's first official trip to that city since the death of his mother in a car crash there 20 years ago. the pair met with french president francois hollande and with the uk planning to begin the brexit process to leave the european union later this month, william sought to reassure the french of the friendship between their countries. and there are even more changes to report tonight in the neighborhood. following the thimble out the door, is the wheelbarrow, even the boot is getting the boot. monopoly is ditching the tokens, and replacing them with a tyrannosaurus rex, a rubber duckie and a penguin. the changes come after
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millions cast votes to pick their favorite replacements. when we come back, bringing the beat. a music guru helping kids chase their dreams of superstardom with his studio on wheels. "inspiring america" is next.
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finally tonight a story for anyone who's ever dreamt of becoming a music superstar. for many talented hopefuls getting into a recording studio can be a big hurdle. but in boston one man is bringing the studio to them. and his beats are helping bring communities together. nbc's ron mott has our "inspiring america" report. ♪ >> reporter: deejay mike boston is a rapper in the city sharing his name. aspires for bigger fame helps others learn the game. >> where you from? >> reporter: but for those who don't have the means to get behind the mike in a professional recording studio, mike boston has cranked up the volume on a novel idea. mobile stu he calls it, bringing the studio to them in his pickup truck. and letting the good rhymes roll. nothing explicit. >> this is the voice of those that can't speak, this is for those -- >> i got my truck and that's what i started doing. started going to this
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block. to this block. to this block. and, they felt valued. >> reporter: one of mobile stu's stops, the boys and girls club of dorchester. >> when i say dorchester you say song. dorchester. >> song. >> dorchester. >> song. >> reporter: the music helps break down walls of distrust. >> you think we should give a shot. >> reporter: police and local kids even recording a song together, one beat for peace. ♪ black and white black or blue ♪ ♪ i see you you see me ♪ >> reporter: having served prison time two decades ago, the 41-year-old father of four has the street credentials to be welcomed in many of the city's toughest neighborhoods. >> i see mike as my mentor and i see him like, you know, big bro. >> reporter: kids are his focus, rap is his form. changing lives his foundation. >> i feel like santa claus. and it's all because i'm showing up because i think that they matter. >> reporter: on the go, with a positive flow. ron mott, nbc news, boston. >> that's going to do it for us on a friday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching.
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and good night.
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popular destination for spring training, and the faithful are packing every game to watch the giants in the cactus league. stay tuned for giants baseball as they take on the rockies next. ♪ >> it's out of here! ♪ welcome to the senora desert, even by cactus league standards it's unseasonably warm. temperatures in the 90

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