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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  August 14, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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the road. mild. perfect back to school forecast for all the kids around the area. >> look at you, mr. weather himself. >> thanks for joining us. lester holt is next. tonight, racism is evil. president trump finally finds the words to condemn white supremacists two days after facing an intense bipartisan backlash for blaming, quote, all sides for the violent unrest in charlottesville. naming and shaming. social media shines a light on faces caught on camera as hate groups rise out of the shadows. game on. the defense secretary's new warning to north korea late today over what could lead to war. tainted alcohol crackdown. raids targeting tourist hot spots and hotels in mexico after the death of a young american woman on vacation with her family. do you know what you're really being served? and hollywood stunt dangers. a day after tom cruise was badly injured on set, tragedy strikes another blockbuster sequel.
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"nightly news" begins right now. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is nbc "nightly news" with lester holt. good evening to our viewers in the west. thank you for being with us tonight. after what to many came off as a tone deaf response to this weekend's racist-fueled violence in charlottesville, virginia, president trump tried today to find the right notes as he took to the podium again to address the tragedy, this time calling out the kkk, neo-nazis and white supremacists by name for sowing the seeds of hate that blossomed into bloodshed on a charlottesville street saturday when a car driven into a crowd left a young woman dead and more than a dozen others injured. it was part of a horrific day that also saw two police officers killed in a helicopter accident. tonight the president's words and actions under scrutiny as he faces a major test of moral leadership.
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our chief white house correspondent hallie jackson has the latest. >> reporter: president trump today delivering the message many wanted sooner. >> racism is evil. and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs including the kkk, neo-nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups. >> reporter: in unscheduled remarks, the president explicitly condemning those groups after he didn't on saturday, triggers an onslaught of outrage in these last 48 hours. >> to anyone who acted criminally in this weekend's racist violence, you will be held fully accountable. >> reporter: too little too late his critics say, but the ceo of merck, ken frazier, quitting the president's manufacturing council as a matter of personal conscience. the president attacked frazier on twitter within minutes. his response to charlottesville took longer to evolve. saturday an initial response seemed to spread the blame.
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>> hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides. >> reporter: by sunday, even top republicans wanted something stronger. >> call this white supremacism, this white nationalism evil. >> reporter: later a response from an unnamed white house spokesperson slammed hate groups like the attorney jgeneral saying the president was forceful. >> he's not afraid to call out terrorism overseas, but here's a president who didn't do that. why? >> the president did do that yesterday. his spokesman said. >> that wasn't the president. >> reporter: now? >> did you explain why you did not condemn those by name over the weekend. >> they've been condemned. they have been condemned. >> the president sees the alt-right and white supremacists and all that crew as part of his base. his view keep as many of those voters as i can. >> reporter: the attack in charlottesville a reminder of the role of presidents in times of crisis like
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september 11th. >> none of us will ever forget this day. yet we go forward to defend freedom. >> reporter: the charleston church shooting. ♪ amazing grace >> reporter: all presidents meeting the moment, and for president trump a critical one now. the mother of 32-year-old heather heyer, who was killed in the charlottesville attack, told nbc news tonight she thanks the president for denouncing those who promote violence. and tonight, by the way, president trump will spend the night at his home in trump tower where protesters have already gathered to greet him. lester? >> hallie jackson at the white house, thank you. we're learning more about the suspect accused of turning the unrest in charlottesville deadly by ramming his car into a crowd of counterprotesters. he appeared in court today while the family of the woman he allegedly killed is speaking out in the name of peace. tom costello is in charlottesville with the latest. >> reporter: arraigned in district court today 20-year-old james alex fields said
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he understood the charges against him. second degree murder, malicious wounding and hit and run. police say fields used his car to intentionally mow down a crowd of anti-hate demonstrators on saturday killing 32-year-old heather heyer. among the 19 people also injured, 20-year-old natalie romero, an rotc student at uva who suffered a fractured skull. her mother in texas. >> she's my hero. and before this she's always been my hero. >> reporter: heather heyer's family says they're heartbroken. >> she was a strong opinionated woman that was willing to stand up for what she believed in. >> i'm trying to honor my daughter in the way that i know she would want to be honored with speaking up for what she believed in and in the way she believed in it without hate, without anger, without fear. >> the nationalist community defended ourselves against thugs.
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>> reporter: outside the courthouse today two self-proclaimed white nationalists began screaming that police, the media and counterprotesters were to blame for saturday's violence. >> the nationalist community came to charlottesville to defend our heritage. to stand for our beliefs. >> reporter: today this photo of suspect fields standing among white nationalists at saturday's rally. meanwhile, police who lost two troopers in a helicopter crash saturday responded to allegations they didn't do enough to keep the peace. >> absolutely i have regrets. >> and what are your regrets? >> we lost three lives this weekend. we certainly have regrets. it was a tragic, tragic weekend. >> reporter: when i asked the police chief whether one side was the instigator, he said this was an alt-right rally and they did not stick to their agreement with police to enter the park from one side. and it quickly, he says, deteriorated. as for alex fields, he
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is being held without bond. he has not yet entered a plea. >> the fallout for those accused of supporting hate there is being felt far and wide as social media takes aim naming and hoping to shame some of those caught on camera. nbc's jo ling kent picks up that end of the story. >> reporter: when the violence erupted in charlottesville, the smartphones came out. photos and videos captured individual faces and the internet went to work. university of nevada reno student peter cvjetanovic was caught on camera. and the naming and shaming began. he says he received death threats and calls to be expelled. >> i understand the photo is very bad looking, but i don't believe they should threaten my family. to me that's monstrous. you can call me nazi, you can hate my ideology, but i wouldn't threaten anyone. >> reporter: under pressure his university reacted saying we remain firm in our commitment in denouncing all forms of bigotry and racism. at top dog restaurant
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in berkeley, california, cole white, a cook, resign ed after he was identified on twitter to protester. his former employer posted this letter saying that white no longer works at top dog. actor jennifer lawrence taking a stand telling her 16 million facebook followers, these are the faces of hate. look closely and post anyone you find. you can't hide with the internet, you pathetic cowards. >> there's always a risk that the wrong person could be identified, but people have to recognize that whatever they're doing in public is now up for grabs. >> reporter: big business challenged, too. social media called out website hosting company godaddy asking why it allowed neo-nazi group the daily stormer to use its services. soon after godaddy severed its ties. when the daily stormer moved to google, it was kicked off within hours. social media proving in today's digital age there's nowhere to hide. jo ling kent, nbc news, los angeles. the violence in charlottesville has focused much of the nation's attention on a segment of society that many may not have realized was so organized and so connected. as white supremacists come out of the shadows. so what's behind their
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rise? here's nbc news justice correspondent pete williams. >> reporter: clashes over symbols of the confederacy have brought white supremacist hate groups into the open that for years have operated in the shadows. the number of ku klux klan chapters is actually down, but neoconfederate and other groups are on the rise sometimes inspiring deadly attacks. >> we're seeing more and more people who are not necessarily affiliated with any group but who have become highly interested in the movement and motivated to carry out, in many cases, real criminal violence. >> reporter: noting that trend, a federal bulletin in may said the white supremacist extremist movement will likely continue to pose a threat of lethal violence. after the 2015 shooting at a black church in south carolina that killed nine, pictures surfaced of the gunman dylann roof with symbols of the confederacy, prompting calls to remove confederate symbols from public places.
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charlottesville's decision in april to take down a statue of robert e. lee sparked three protests. demonstrations in june in houston and just last weekend in san antonio. today the president of the jacksonville, florida, city council called for an inventory of all such symbols on public property. and civil rights advocates say president trump's overheated campaign rhetoric made hate groups think their message was no longer taboo. a former fbi agent whose work with undercover white supremacists led to the movie "imperium" starring daniel radcliffe says it's asking for trouble. >> these are groups that are used to hearing dog whistles from public officials. they take that as a green light. we are approving of this violence. >> reporter: attorney general sessions says the government should look at what happened last weekend to see if future responses can help prevent trouble, lester. >> pete, while we have you here what can you tell us about this potential terrorism arrest in oklahoma
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over the weekend? >> we learned today, lester, the fbi arrested a 23-year-old man jerry drake varnell accusing him of attempting to set off a bomb to emulate timothy mcveigh. the 1995 oklahoma federal building bomber. they say varnell parked a van outside an oklahoma city bank on saturday thinking it contained a powerful bomb hoping to make an anti-government statement, but it was a dud provided by the fbi after months of meetings with an undercover agent, lester. >> pete williams, thank you. from overseas tonight, new images showing north korea's kim jong-un reviewing plans for a missile strike that his country has threatened to launch toward the u.s. territory of guam. but if north korea actually goes through with it, secretary mattis promised swift military action. andrea mitchell has the story for us. >> reporter: tonight defense secretary mattis confidently telling reporters the u.s. would know within moments if a north korean missile is
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fired at guam and we'll take it out. adding if they fire at the u.s., it could escalate very quickly. it's called war. if they hit the u.s. including guam, mattis said, if they do that, it's game on. u.s. officials say china is the key to a diplomatic solution, but today the president is launching an investigation into beijing's theft of u.s. trade secrets. >> this is just the beginning. i want to tell you that. this is just the beginning. >> reporter: mr. trump eager to keep a campaign promise. >> we can't continue to allow china to rape our country. >> reporter: but slamming china now could be a problem, just as the joint chiefs chairman was arriving in beijing. earlier in south korea saying china is key to cracking down on kim jong-un. >> it's going to require china not only to do what they did at the united nations security council which was to vote for sanctions but to enforce those sanctions. >> reporter: another sticking point, the president's fiery rhetoric rattling u.s. allies reports nbc's bill neely in seoul. >> south korea's president moon is calling on the u.s. to
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stop any war through diplomacy. he says he's certain the u.s. will act calmly and responsibly. not everyone's certain here. this is a nervous country. >> reporter: and a nervous region hearing the president's tough talk. >> this kind of rhetoric jangles the system and creates the possibility of miscalculation on the military's side. that's why it's dangerous. >> reporter: tonight north korea says kim jong-un was presented with those plans for a missile launch towards guam now ordering his military to be ready to strike whenever he gives the order. >> andrea mitchell in washington, thanks. still ahead tonight, tainted alcohol raid. a crackdown in a tourist hot spot where a number of vacation horror stories are reported and one american's getaway turned deadly. danger on the set. tom cruise injured performing a stunt for the next "mission: impossible" movie and tonight tragedy striking the set of another hotly anticipated sequel.
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we're back now with a crackdown at a popular vacation destination you may have visited with your family. authorities uncovered thousands of gallons of tainted alcohol after raids on tourist hot spots in mexico. this after the u.s. state department issued a travel warning following the suspicious death of a young american college student earlier this year. nbc's kristen dahlgren has the latest. >> reporter: for the family of 20-year-old abbey connor, her death still doesn't make sense. >> for both of my kids to both black out at
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the same time and be found face down in a waist-deep pool during the middle of the day, there's something wrong. >> reporter: abbey's father thinks tainted alcohol was to blame. her brother survived. their blood alcohol level three times the legal limit back home after what he believes was just a few shots at the start of a family vacation in mexico. now authorities there have seized 10,000 gallons of tainted alcohol from a supplier after raiding more than 30 hotels and nightclubs in popular tourist spots in cancun and playa del carmen including the iberostar hotel where abbey died. officials also closed a bar at that hotel. but iberostar says the closure was not due to tainted alcohol. and guest safety is a top priority. just last month the state department updated its travel warning to mexico cautioning about tainted alcohol. stop and seek medical attention if you begin to feel ill. a recent report found 43% of all alcoholic
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beverages consumed in the country are illegally produced. >> travelers should be concerned about what's taking place in mexico. they definitely need to make sure they're being diligent. >> reporter: abbey's family is planning to file a lawsuit against their hotel. her father says he's heard from dozens of travelers who experienced blackouts or worse after drinking alcohol in mexico. on father's day, he met the man who received abbey's heart, but he says she's not done saving lives. her story raising concerns about tainted alcohol so that no other family feels this kind of loss. kristen dahlgren, nbc news. there is more ahead for us tonight. planning a trip to the uk? you might notice something iconic in london has gone missing.
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a familiar sound is about to fall silent in london and won't be heard again for a long time to come.
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the bongs of the iconic bell, big ben, will be stopped after chiming at noon a week from today for a $38 million repair job on the queen elizabeth tower which houses the clock. it won't return to regular service until 2021. tonight there is word of a tragic accident on the set of a hollywood blockbuster. a stuntwoman was killed in a motorcycle wreck while filming the sequel to "deadpool," starring ryan reynolds. and it comes a day after tom cruise was injured while filming a sequel of his own. nbc's morgan radford has details. ♪ >> reporter: tom cruise, one of hollywood's biggest and most bankable stars, known for his comedic timing. >> show me the money! >> reporter: and doing his own super-sized stunts. >> it's a key component of what makes tom cruise tom cruise. >> reporter: but yesterday the 55-year-old actor fell
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short when he attempted to jump between buildings on the london set of "mission: impossible 6." on a subsequent take he misses the mark again and is in pain as he limps away. still, stunt working be dangerous business even deadly. on the vancouver set of "deadpool 2" today a stuntwoman died when witnesses said she appeared to lose control of her motorcycle which went barreling into a building across the street. and last month stuntman john bernecker died from a head injury suffered on the set of "the walking dead." is the movie industry pushing actors to do more dramatic stunts? >> you've seen a reaction to the fact that there's a lot of cgi work and green screen work and what you're seeing now is a lot of practical effects because there's a sense that it creates more realism. >> reporter: but those high risks can come at a high price. morgan radford, nbc news, new york. when we come back, let the countdown begin. what you'll need to see a once-in-a-lifetime show in the sky. next at 6: the alt-right versus
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counter protestors. ===raj vo=== why the bay area could be the site for the next big confrontation. ===jess vo=== plus, a multi-million dollar gift. the upgrade at a bay area airport that will make a lot of drivers happy. ===next close=== next. ==raj/take vo== right now at 6: could the chaos come here? finally tonight, it's not just the event of the summer. who knows? it may also be the event of the century. anticipation beginning to reach a fever pitch as americans get ready to witness the first coast-to-coast total eclipse in 99 years.
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nbc's kerry sanders with more now on how and where to watch. >> reporter: the countdown is under way, less than a week to go. and in towns like hopkinsville, kentucky, makana, illinois, and madras, oregon, a flood of spectators getting ready to see what happens when the moon blocks the sun. a ribbon of darkness will descend across the united states from the northwest and oregon all the way to charleston, south carolina. the shadow approximately 67 miles wide, it will race across the country at an average of 1,700 miles per hour, two times faster than a supersonic jet. it will be a celestial show lasting more than four hours, but the total eclipse, which is so rare, will last at most 2 minutes, 38 seconds. >> so the biggest thing is safety first. we never look at the sun with an unprotected eye. >> reporter: harvard astrophysicist dr. kelly coric says protective glasses are a must.
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nasa says just because something is labeled as solar viewing glasses online does not mean they're what you need. no matter where you are in the continental united states, you'll get a glimpse of the eclipse. here in miami, it will be 80%. the glasses are a must with the symbol inside iso. but because even that can be faked, when you put the glasses on and look up, you shouldn't be able to see anything until the moon moves in front of the sun during the most watched eclipse ever. >> i am absolutely giddy about the event and actually seeing something with my own eyes. >> reporter: miss it now, your next chance will be 2024. kerry sanders, nbc news, miami. certified space geek here. can't wait. we appreciate you spending part of your evening with us. that is "nightly news" for this monday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. could t
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. right now 6:00, could the chaos come here? the bay area could be the next target for alt-right groups. three demonstrations planned thank you for being with us on this monday i am raj mathai. >> and i am jessica aguirre. tonight we are still seeing the fallout from this weekend's violence ver violence virginia.
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durham, north carolina. toppled a confederate soldier monument near the courthouse. the protesters kicked the statue and then began marching towards the police department. all of this comes as a response of the rally that turned deadly in charlottesville. >> nbc bay area robert handa is at google headquarters. >> reporter: we are here near google and a park where a protest and counterprotest are being held this weekend. and there is a lot of community discussion going on on how or if a confrontation can be avoided. charleston park near google is a peaceful refuge. but plans for

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