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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  July 31, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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up. >> hot and humid? >> welcome to miami. lester hold is next with "nightly news." tonight, taking command. another major shake-up at the white house as general kelly grabs control and anthony scaramucci is gone after just days on the job. a dramatic turn of events. opioid nation. a staggering new look at the epidemic touching so many family, perhaps even yours. how so many are getting their hands on the drugs, a finding that surprised even the researchers. hbo hacked. cyber thieves strike and reports they may have hit "game of thrones." how bad is the breach? fatal treasure hunt. fears of a third death tonight as fortune hunters set out into wilderness in search of hidden gold and jewels. and courage under fire. an emotional scene as a genuine american hero is honored for risking his life to save wounded comrades. "nightly news" begins right now.
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from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is nbc "nightly news" with lester holt. good evening to our viewers in the west. thanks for being here tonight. the staff bloodletting at the white house claimed anthony scaramucci today, ousted this afternoon after a stormy six days on the job. the brash new york financier and president trump's new communications director was shown to the west wing exit door on the same day retired general john kelly took over as white house chief of staff from reince priebus. kelly's first order of business apparently fixing what many insiders saw as a big mistake by the president in his hiring of scaramucci. our chief white house correspondent hallie jackson has details. >> reporter: today, the retired general reorganizing his ranks, with new chief of staff john kelly pushing out controversial communications director anthony
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scaramucci, according to sources familiar with the move. it comes not long after scaramucci, originally praised by the president, targeted white house staff with a profanity-laced rant in "the new yorker," one so vulgar it's not repeatable here. >> the president certainly felt that anthony's comments were inappropriate for a person in that position, and he didn't want to burden general kelly also with that line of succession. >> reporter: the white house publicly says scaramucci, spotted in the oval office just this morning, wanted kelly to have a clean slate. privately, it's a clear message to staff. there's a new chief in town. embraced. >> we just swore in general kelly. he will do a spectacular job. >> reporter: and empowered. >> general kelly will go down in terms of the position of chief of staff one of the great ever. >> reporter: for the west wing, a new era with a new manager but ultimately the same boss, one who is insisting today
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there's no white house chaos after himself creating some. president trump hiring scaramucci in first place over the objections of some advisers, which set off a domino effect. press secretary sean spicer leaving followed by former chief of staff reince priebus. while the warring factions in the white house appear to be giving kelly some running room, the battles internally give kelly a clear mission. >> general kelly is going to bring the type of discipline. >> he will bring some order and discipline. >> protocol, pecking order, order, discipline. >> reporter: andy card served as chief of staff under president george w. bush. >> removing anthony scaramucci i think demonstrates candidly and forcefully to everyone that the chief of staff means business in terms of trying to bring discipline to the white house to help the president accomplish the agenda. >> and hallie joins us now. we heard the word "discipline" a lot there. this is more turnover in an administration that's already seen a lot. so is the expectation that things are going
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to start to settle down now? >> reporter: it might be the hope, lester, but we've heard this before. for an administration that's already on its second chief of staff, second national security adviser and now searching for its third communications director. there may be a difference this time. that is kelly's authority internally. sources in the white house tell nbc news steve bannon, jared kushner and ivanka trump, the president's top advisers, do plan to defer to kelly, which wasn't always the case for the last chief of staff. but remember, all of this personnel talk is most important as it relates to policy since supporters hope a less turbulent west wing could give the president a better shot at delivering on his campaign promises. >> our hallie jackson, thank you. as it deals with staff shuffles and shake-ups, the white house facing a pair of urgent foreign policy challenges. russian president vladimir putin retaliating today for new sanctions against his country passed by congress. while on the other front, the president maintaining a strong front regarding north korea and its launch of a new intercontinental missile days ago.
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we get more from nbc news chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell. >> reporter: locked out. u.s. embassy trucks turned away from an embassy recreation center outside moscow a day before they were supposed to be packed and gone. a major escalation as vladimir putin orders sweeping cuts at the u.s. embassy in russia, lowering the boom on 755 personnel, more than half the staff. on state tv, putin retaliating after congress voted almost unanimously to sanction moscow, a veto-proof majority. in estonia today the vice president saying mr. trump will go along with it. >> very soon president trump will sign legislation to strengthen and codify the united states sanctions against russia. regrettably, last week russia took the drastic step of limiting the u.s. diplomatic presence in their nation. >> reporter: what happened to president trump's russia reset? >> it's an honor to be with you. >> neither side really knows where this relationship is going. it's a little bit like
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a couple of fighters punch drunk somewhere near the 15th round and still slugging it out but not quite sure how it all ends. >> reporter: the president wasn't talking about putin today. as for the other big foreign crisis, north korea's launch of a long-range missile that could reach much of the u.s. >> we'll handle north korea. we're going to be able to handle them. it will be handled. we handle everything. >> reporter: but his secretary of state is trying to do it alone. so far only 2 of 24 assistant secretary slots filled and one of six undersecretaries all holdovers from obama, as veteran diplomats leave in droves. a mass exodus, say multiple sources, because of trump policies and drastic budget cuts. secretary tillerson did meet with the president today, a regularly scheduled meeting, as the state department scrambles to try to meet putin's deadline, getting hundreds of diplomats and other workers out by september 1st. lester? >> andrea mitchell at the state department tonight, thank you. there's news involving another
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global hot spot. the u.s. has hit venezuelan president nicolas maduro with financial sanctions responding to a controversial election in a weekend filled with protests and violence. the vote will give maduro's party virtually unlimited power. treasury secretary steve mnuchin called the vote illegitimate. they called maduro a dictator who disregards the will of a venezuelan people. there's a startling new report out showing how out of control the deadly opioid epidemic has gotten in our country. it finds that in 2015 nearly 92 million american adults used a prescription opioid. incredibly, that's nearly a third of all adults. over 11 million reported misusing opioids and nearly 2 million said they were addicted. we get more now on the staggering crisis from nbc's anne thompson. [ siren ] >> reporter: opioid abuse in the united states is at epidemic levels. >> this is probably
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the worst drug situation in our country in decades if not a century. >> reporter: nearly 40% of americans use opioids to manage pain, reports the federal government study. with deaths more than quadrupling between 1999 and 2015. mike and lynn belyle are living the statistics, raising their three grandchildren. >> this is what happens when you make bad choices. >> reporter: their daughter heather kelsey and her husband daniel found dead on the side of a florida road new year's eve from an overdose. their son strapped in car seats in the back. most likely to misuse opioids, those with low incomes, the unemployed and underinsured. >> they're people at risk for not having full access to healthcare. we think that's part of a clue here is that better access to full pain treatments might do a good job in helping to reduce these serious problems. >> reporter: surprising the researchers, almost half of those who misuse opioids get them from family and friends. warren and marcia
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gintas will tell the story of their son drew's addiction and death, tomorrow night in a documentary on wral tv, our raleigh, north carolina, station. >> you're just totally numb. i mean, life just drains from you. you don't have a reaction. >> it just stops. >> yeah, it just stopped. >> reporter: drew's opioid odyssey started when the high school wrestler separated his shoulder. are opioids the easy answer when it comes to pain management? >> i think we found that physicians are all too comfortable in writing prescriptions for opioids. >> reporter: time to look for better ways to help america manage pain. anne thompson, nbc news, new york. let's take a moment to get more on this now from nbc news medical correspondent dr. john torres. obviously, nobody wants to be in pain, but are these drugs overprescribed? and what options are there out there? >> yes, lester, bottom line they're being overprescribed. part of the reason is because patients come in and are demanding these medications because that's what they think they need. on top of that they're easily available, cheap and oftentimes insurance companies
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cover them, but the bottom line opioids can be very addictive and somebody can get hooked after just a few doses. current guidelines tell us after three days of an acute pain syndrome, where they have it after surgery or injury, that we want to switch to non-opioid type medications, things like anti-inflammatories or nonmedicine treatments, physical treatments, massage therapy or yoga. in all cases talk to your doctor before taking any medication to make sure you get the right medicine, the right amount and the right doses and come off of them as soon as you can. >> dr. john, thanks. good to have you here. there are bizarre new details tonight in a jailbreak and a manhunt under way in alabama. authorities are on the hunt for the last of a dozen inmates who broke free near birmingham. we learn late today the key to their escape wasn't a weapon. it was apparently peanut butter, of all things, that helped them get loose. we get more on this from nbc's gabe gutierrez. >> reporter: tonight, a frantic search for the last of a dozen inmates still on the run in alabama after a brazen and bizarre escape.
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>> i'm not going to make any excuses. it was a human error. >> reporter: call it the peanut butter caper. the inmates 18 to 30 years old. charges ranging from disorderly conduct to attempted murder. investigators say they broke out of the walker county jail northwest of birmingham sunday night by covering the number on a cell door using peanut butter. the sheriff says the inmates tricked a new guard into opening an exit door instead. >> changing some numbers on the door with peanut butter. that may sound crazy, but these people are crazy like a fox. >> reporter: most caught within hours but brady kilpatrick still missing. it's the latest jailbreak to draw national headlines. six inmates broke out of a tennessee jail by ripping a toilet from a wall, and in california three inmates recorded themselves cutting through steel bars and crawling through tunnels to escape. >> it happens. escapes happen. >> reporter: now, in jasper, alabama, residents are stunned. >> it kind of strikes
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a nerve. >> reporter: as authorities investigate how one group of inmates got so creative. gabe gutierrez, nbc news. tonight a supersoaker is drenching the sunshine state. what was tropical storm emily, now a tropical depression, has dropped up to eight inches of rain across central and south florida. it's expected to move off shore and run parallel up the eastern seaboard over the next few days kicking up some high surf on atlantic beaches. meanwhile in the west, record heat is baking several states. 15 million people under heat advisories right now. forecasters say it could hit 108 degrees in portland, oregon. dangerous northwestern heat that will last at least three days. tonight, authorities are working to identify the body of a man who friends and family fear was killed while searching for millions in hidden treasure. if the fatality is linked to the southwestern treasure hunt, it would be the third death and the second in as many months. with authorities calling for an end to
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the hunt, the man behind the fortune has no plans to stop it. here's nbc news national correspondent miguel almaguer. >> reporter: where rapids cascade below the colorado rockies, a grim discovery, an unidentified body washed down river. friends and family fear it's 31-year-old eric ashby who moved to colorado to find a $2 million treasure hidden somewhere in the southwest. >> i fully believe with all my heart he was looking for the treasure and met his fate that day. >> reporter: if ashby's death is indeed linked to the treasure hunt, he wouldn't be the first to risk his life in search of fortune. >> let's go find the treasure. >> reporter: for the last seven years hundreds of thousands of adventure seekers search for a treasure chest of gold coins and jewels. the only clues in a poem. >> if you are brave and in the wood, i give you title to the gold. >> reporter: famed art collector forrest fenn
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says he hid his wealth to inspire others to explore the great outdoors, spreading the word through his memoir "the thrill of the chase." last year treasure hunter randy bilyeu was found dead in new mexico's back country. then last month the body of pastor paris wallace was recovered outside santa fe. authorities asked fenn to call off the hunt. >> people start to make decisions that aren't based in good, sound judgment when it comes to money. >> reporter: but tonight the search for gold is still on and fenn insists the fortune is not hidden anywhere dangerous. after all, he says, the real treasure is in the hunt. miguel almaguer, nbc news. still ahead tonight, "game of thrones" hacked? the new cyber attack on hollywood, this time targeting hbo and its hottest show and much more. what the hackers say they've gotten away with. we'll be back.
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we're back now with a real life drama sending a shiver through hollywood. hackers targeting hbo claiming to have upcoming episodes from hbo's series and a report the breach may include written information about mega hit "game of thrones." nbc's joe fryer has details. >> reporter: "game of thrones," the wildly popular show on hbo is now battling a modern-day villain, one every bit as powerful as a fire-breathing dragon. hackers reportedly leaked an alleged
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script or documents from an upcoming episode after hbo was hit by a cyber attack. "the hollywood reporter" says hackers also released upcoming episodes for two other series, "ballers," starring dwayne johnson, and a new program, "room 104." >> it's unclear exactly the depths to which the information on hbo's servers has been breached, but early indications are that this is a massive invasion. >> reporter: hbo is not commenting on what is stolen but confirms to nbc news it recently experienced a cyber incident which resulted in the compromise of proprietary information. in a letter to employees, the network's chairman says any intrusion of this nature is obviously disruptive, unsettling and disturbing for all of us. hollywood has become a big target for hackers. >> it's not clear whether it's organized crime groups or hackers that are looking for the ability to boast about it, but it's certainly having an impact on these corporations. >> reporter: earlier this year episodes
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from season five of netflix's "orange is the new black" were leaked online and in 2014 a major hack at sony unveiled embarrassing e-mails and other private information. >> a sham marriage. >> reporter: as for "game of thrones" which is smashing ratings records this year for hbo, no episodes have been leaked so far. the network says it's working with law enforcement and cyber security firms as it navigates a new world with new cyber foes. joe fryer, nbc news, los angeles. there's plenty more to tell you about. we're back in a moment with the ultimate act of forgiveness for one of baseball's most infamous fans.
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tonight, from hollywood to broadway, the entertainment world is mourning the loss of playwright, author and actor sam shepard. critically acclaimed both on screen and off for decades, shepard won the pulitzer prize for drama in 1979 for his play "buried child" and four years later was nominated for an oscar for his role as chuck yeager in "the right stuff."
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his family says he died at home in kent of complications related to a.l.s. or lou gehrig's disease. sam shepard was 73 years old. for nearly 14 years, cubs fans blamed steve bartman for killing their world series dreams with that infamous moment in the 2003 playoffs when he tipped a foul ball from the stands before it could be caught. now that the cubs have broken their 108-year world series drought, all appears to be forgiven. and to prove it, the cubs gave bartman, who received death threats and became reclusive after the incident, his very own world series ring. bartman says he doesn't consider himself worthy of the honor but is, quote, sincerely grateful. as expected, the olympics are coming back to america. los angeles has reached a deal to host the 2028 summer games under an unusual agreement which also paves the way for paris to host in 2024. los angeles has hosted the games twice before, in 1932 and 1984.
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when we come back, paying tribute. the incredible story of bravery that earned this veteran the military's highest honor. it )s a case of sex, money and
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blackmail. ===jess vo=== we talk to the south bay man accused making an indecent proposal -- to his ex-roommates. ===raj vo=== plus, the changes enticing former officers to rejoin the san jose police department. ===next close=== next. sot we )re not a desperate departmet any more. we )re not. runs :03 ==raj/take v finally tonight, the story of a true american hero who
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risked his life during the vietnam war to save ten members of his platoon despite being wounded himself. now he's the first recipient of the nation's highest military honor, the medal of honor, under president trump. nbc's peter alexander has his story. >> reporter: nearly 50 years later for jim mccloughan, the memories of that raging battle in vietnam are still vivid. >> there's two north vietnamese regular soldiers with ak-47s staring right at me. and i'm thinking i'm a dead man. >> reporter: the 23-year-old army medic, "doc," they called him, defying danger over two days repeatedly running back into the kill zone to rescue injured and disoriented comrades, even as he suffered his own wounds. his commander urging him to helicopter out. >> i had blood all over me. and i said, "no, i'm not getting on." and he said, "why not?"
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and i looked at him, and i'll quote this. i said to him, "you're going to need me." >> reporter: mccloughan braved enemy fire not once but nine times, single-handedly saving the lives of ten members of the charlie company. >> i'd rather be there and dead than in a hospital someplace and find out "x" number of men were killed in this battle. >> reporter: finally today, that sacrifice was honored. >> private mccloughan carries one immortal title, and that title is hero. >> reporter: this is not the jim mccloughan award. whose award is this? >> this award goes to the 89 men who went into that battle, whether they came out or they didn't come out. >> reporter: one man mccloughan credits with helping keep him alive, his late father. >> my father taught me a long time ago, whatever job you're assigned to, don't do it halfway. >> reporter: a humble soldier who exemplified courage and camaraderie with a selflessness that saved lives. peter alexander, nbc news, the white house.
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we appreciate you spending part of your evening with us. that is "nightly news" for this monday night. i'm lester holt, and for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. we are not a desperate police department anymore. >> returning to the force. good evening and thanks for being with us on this monday i am raj mathai. >> and i am jessica aguirre. the san jose pd now says it has turned the corner. damian trujillo was the only tv reporter in the room when the chief swore in a new officer
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today. >> reporter: coming up from the palo alto police department. one of several veterans who are now saying they want to be a part of the force. he walked sinto a crowded conference room at the police headquarters. surrounded by family and friends, kyle burrshfield made the jump to the san jose police department from a series of years chief eddie garcia spent much of his time reading resignation letter out of resignation letter. now, he says they are starting to come back. >> we are not a


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