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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  December 13, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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watch out for the haze. may limit the visibility and going. midnight to 4:00 a.m. will be your best chance. >> okay. i'll stay up. bye. tonight, your taxes on the verge of sweeping changes. republicans reach a deal on pushing through their plan, and we have details on what's in it and tips from tax experts who say the time for you to act is now. shock waves as a democrat scores an upset victory in deep red alabama. we go inside the fallout all the way to the white house. late word of the heal of senator john mccain. battling brain cancer, now back in the hospital, as joe biden, who lost his son to the disease, offers powerful words of comfort to mccain's daughter meghan. >> so there is hope. and if anybody can make it, your dad -- her dad is one of my best friends. explosive text messages revealed. what two fbi officials who worked on the russia investigation told each other about
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then-candidate trump. and 12 days till christmas, but did you know even bigger shopping deals are still out there? the secret is knowing precisely when to buy. this is nbc "nightly news" with lester holt. good evening. welcome to our viewers in the west. with the new year rapidly approaching, tonight we're finally getting some specifics of what the republican tax overhaul will look like. house and senate republicans reaching a deal in principle that could land a bill on the president's desk soon. details revealed today include the fate of state and local tax deductions and other popular write-offs. today, president trump was selling the plan even as he tried to shrug off yesterday's loss of a republican senate seat in alabama. we'll have more on that election and its impact in just a few moments, but first, nbc's peter alexander on big tax changes coming. >> reporter: president trump just in time for the holidays promising to put more money in
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your pocket. >> we want to give you, the american people, a giant tax cut for christmas. and when i say giant, i mean giant. >> reporter: so what do the republicans agree on? according to multiple gop sources, for top earners, the individual tax rate will drop from more than 39% to 37. what had been a sticking point deductions for property and state income taxes, capped at 10,000. mortgage interest deductions protected for loans up to $750,000. but overturned a crucial component of obamacare, repealing the law's individual mandate, ending the penalty for not having health insurance and potentially jeopardizing already fragile marketplaces. that repeal it is warned could lead 13 million more people uninsured within the next decade. for businesses the corporate tax rate, currently 35% will be slashed to 21. >> this is only a small beginning to the incredible things that our people will achieve over a very short period of time. >> reporter: for republicans banking on
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promoting tax cuts as a signature achievement ahead of next year's midterms, new urgency after tuesday's stunning defeat in alabama with democrats calling on mitch mcconnell to hit pause on the tax bill until the new senator is seated. >> delay till doug jones gets here and can cast a vote, plain and simple. >> reporter: critics argue the bill disproportionately benefits the wealthy. today, the outgoing fed chair cast doubt on the president's rosy economic projection. >> it would be challenging to achieve numbers like that. >> reporter: the white house is hoping congress will sign off on the bill and put it on the president's desk before christmas. if they do, president trump today promised americans could begin seeing more money in their paychecks in february. lester? >> peter alexander at the white house tonight, thank you. with the news of all these tax changes on the way, there's a lot to process including the loss of and limitations on a long list of popular deductions. and you might be wondering what you should do now to prepare before they take effect.
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nbc's tom costello has been looking into it for us. >> reporter: while americans are losing a list of favorite deductions, the new standard deductions are going up. $12,000 for individuals, $24,000 for couples. now with the new tax year just a few weeks away, personal finance experts say the time to act is now before the new rules take effect. >> the first thing that you should do is kind of review your finances and talk to a professional to make sure that the changes that you may want to make are ones that are really going to be best suited for you and your family. >> reporter: among the top tax tips, if you live in a high-tax state, prepay at least some of next year's state and local property taxes now. those deductions will soon be capped at $10,000. contribute now to your favorite charities so you can itemize the deduction. next year you may not have the same financial incentive to itemize. if you own stocks and need to offset a year of big gains on wall street, sell now. the new law may require you to sell a stock you've held the longest first, resulting in a potentially big tax bill. pay off your student
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and home equity loans. you may not be able to deduct your interest in the new tax year. and if you're shopping for a new car, buy it now if you're living in a state without income taxes and hope to deduct the sales tax. >> most middle class americans probably won't feel a significant difference unless they are in high-tax states where they will no longer get the deduction for state and local income taxes. >> reporter: one more item, if you have expenses for job hunting, business travel or tax preparation, pay them now as well. those deductions could also go away in the new tax year. tom costello, nbc news, washington. one more note of economic news, the federal reserve today raised its benchmark interest rate a quarter point, the third rate hike this year. the cost of borrowing still on the low end range of 1.25 to 1.5%. and on wall street, another record day. the dow finishing up about 80 points closing at 24,585. now to the shocker
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in alabama. democrat doug jones winning the special senate election upsetting republican roy moore who was dogged by allegations of sexual misconduct with teenaged girls. moore's loss is a big blow to president trump who went all in by endorsing the controversial candidate. and it could spell trouble for the gop in 2018 and beyond. we have it all covered starting with nbc's gabe gutierrez. gabe, good evening. >> reporter: lester, good evening. doug jones says he got a gracious call from president trump who invited him to the white house. still, roy moore has not conceded, even though election officials say any recount is highly unlikely. tonight, ruby red alabama is sending its first democrat to washington in 25 years. doug jones is now urging his opponent, republican roy moore, to concede. >> i would say do the right thing, roy. >> reporter: exit polls show about half the voters believed the allegations of sexual misconduct against moore, the claims involving teen girls decades ago which he denied
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disgusted some registered republicans. >> alabama needs somebody that is going to make us proud, not be an embarrassment. >> reporter: jones' victory relied heavily on strong support from women, crossover suburban republicans and african-americans who made up 29% of the electorate, up slightly from when barack obama was last on the ballot. you feel people don't give black voters enough credit. >> i think a lot of times we're looked at as oh, they'll just vote democrat anyway. >> reporter: this woman is a community activist in birmingham. >> i think people stood up and said, we don't agree with that. and we stood up in numbers. >> reporter: turnout surged in the state's so-called black belt. >> i was arrested right along in here. >> reporter: in historic selma, annie emory walks the edmund pettis bridge like she did a century ago on bloody sunday. >> it frightened me to think that there was a possibility that we might have someone like that in there as a senator. >> reporter: she
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remembers the birmingham church bombing in 1963 and thanks doug jones for prosecuting the kkk members responsible. >> this was what the fruits of my work had done -- you know, all my years working in civil rights. >> reporter: a remarkable upset still sinking in. gabe gutierrez, nbc news, birmingham, alabama. this is kristen welker at the white house. after a stunning rebuke, tonight, president trump trying to downplay the impact of roy moore's loss, the candidate he supported. >> how will that loss affect your agenda? >> i don't think it's going to affect it. >> reporter: still, it's a huge embarrassment for the president after backing moore's opponent in the primary, president trump supported moore in the general election, in part after his former chief strategist steve bannon convinced him to do so. >> get out and vote for roy moore. >> reporter: alabama exit polls show voters are divided in their support of president trump after he overwhelmingly won the state just a year ago. so, is the president becoming a liability?
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>> not only is donald trump weakened by losing a seat in the united states senate, but he put his prestige on the line for a candidate who turned out to be absolutely toxic. >> reporter: deepening gop concerns, the rift in the republican party is growing with bannon saying moore's loss has energized his war against the establishment. >> there's no magic wand. you're going to have to outwork people. if you get outworked, you're going to lose. >> reporter: even as many republicans are stepping up their calls for bannon to abandon his anti-establishment battle. >> he campaigns in front of an american flag. he goes out of his way, looks like some disheveled drunk that wandered in off the street. >> reporter: on capitol hill, a mix of relief that moore won't be coming to washington. >> i couldn't be more happy. >> alabamians didn't want somebody who dated 14-year-old girls. >> reporter: and worry the gop loss in alabama could be a sign of things to come in the 2018 midterm elections. >> we can do better. republicans can do better. >> reporter: the immediate impact may be on capitol hill
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where republicans' already very narrow majority will be cut by one vote, making it even more difficult for the president to pass key agenda items. lester. >> kristen welker tonight, thank you. there are conflicting reports tonight about what happened surrounding the departure of trump aide and former "apprentice" contestant, omarosa manigault newman from the white house. the administration says she resigned, though a white house official tells nbc news that the timing of manigault newman's departure was unexpected. it's unclear whether the decision to leave was hers or whether she was removed from the post. the man involved in overseeing the special counsel's russia investigation says he has full confidence in robert mueller. but a newly revealed batch of text messages between two fbi officials who work on mueller's team and also worked on the clinton e-mail investigation has many republicans questioning the
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investigation's impartiality. here's pete williams. >> reporter: as donald trump's campaign was building steam last spring, an fbi lawyer sent a text message to one of the bureau's top agents who was working on the russia investigation. the lawyer, lisa page, wrote, god, trump is loathsome human. and the agent peter strzok said hillary clinton should win 100 million to zero. a few months later, she texted maybe you're meant to stay where you are because you're meant to protect the country from that menace. they frequently called mr. trump an idiot. when clinton won the primary he wrote, about damn time. and when it appeared that trump won the election strzok texted, omg, this is expletive terrifying. until july, strzok was part of mueller's special counsel investigation. he was dismissed from the team when mueller found out about those texts. rod rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who oversees mueller's team, was hammered today by house republicans. they say the texts show that mueller's investigation of the trump campaign is
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biased. >> this is not just political opinions. this is disgusting unaccountable bias and there's no way that could not affect a person's work. >> and i'm here to tell you, mr. rosenstein, i think the public trust in this whole thing is gone. >> reporter: but rosenstein says he and mueller are determined to make sure that, despite anyone's personal views, the investigation is impartial. >> we will ensure that no bias is reflected in any of the actions taken by the special counsel or in any matter within the jurisdiction of the department of justice. >> reporter: rosenstein says he's fully confident in how robert mueller is doing his job and that no one, including president trump, has ever urged him to fire mueller. lester? >> pete williams, thank you. there's late word senator john mccain is back in the hospital tonight being treated for what his office calls normal side effects of his ongoing cancer therapy. as mccain's battle continues, longtime friend joe biden appeared on "the view" today co-hosted by the senator's daughter, meghan mccain. the two sharing a very
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emotional moment over the impact cancer has had on both their families. nbc's hallie jackson has more. >> reporter: on a critical week for congress, at the capitol a noticeable absence. >> mr. mccain. >> reporter: senator john mccain at walter reed medical center in treatment for brain cancer. his office emphasizing tonight, he looks forward to returning to work as soon as possible. his daughter getting emotional today on "the view" with former vice president joe biden whose son died 2 1/2 years ago. >> your son beau had the same cancer that my father was diagnosed with six months ago. and i'm sorry. >> but there's a lot of hope there. >> i think about beau almost every day. and i was told -- sorry -- that this doesn't get easier. >> reporter: the moment poignant and personal. >> it's not about me. it's about everyone. >> no, no. it is about everyone. but look, one of the things that gave beau courage -- my word -- was john.
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your dad, you may remember when you were a little kid, your dad took care of my beau. beau talked about your dad's courage, not about illness, but about his courage. >> reporter: diagnosed over the summer, mccain this winter has seemed to struggle at times getting around the capitol, physically weaker, but still ribbing reporters. >> the treatment is very difficult. john has kept his senatorial duties at a level that just blows my mind. >> reporter: now, in one of his life's biggest battles, the senator fighting hard. hallie jackson, nbc news. we're going to take a short break here. in a moment, you still have a lot of names on your holiday shopping list. we'll tell you the best day to score the best deal on clothes, electronics, toys and more. also, another famous actress comes forward. the accusation she's leveling at harvey weinstein. stay with us.
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with christmas just 12 days away tonight the clock is
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ticking for holiday shoppers, but retail insiders say those who miss black friday may find even bigger bargains in the days ahead. the secret, know what to buy and when. and as almost half of americans will wait to complete their shopping during the week before christmas, shipping companies are feeling the pressure. here's nbc's miguel almaguer. >> reporter: if you missed the black friday stampede, the best holiday deals of the year may still be on the shelf. theresa gilmore has 12 days left to shop for seven people, but industry insiders say knowing what to buy when could save you big. >> in the lead-up to christmas, you will see some retailers with special offers and promotions that they have been saving for the last-minute shopper. >> reporter: today's the day to get plugged in on a new laptop. tomorrow, go to work on tools and hardware. they're typically on sale. target the 15th for video games. jewelry will be on sale the rest of the
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month. >> i try to take advantage of it, you know, and i covered all my list. so i did good. >> reporter: apparel, shoes or kitchen appliances on your list? shop the 15th. the smart play for toys, the 16th. the sooner you buy the better. shippers are stretched to the limit. many retailers urging shoppers to buy online and pick up in the store as late deliveries typically double over the holidays. if you are mailing what you buy, you'll have until tomorrow to send it by ground shipping in time for christmas. otherwise, the money you save will be spent on priority postage. miguel almaguer, nbc news, los angeles. coming up in a moment, meet the newest members of the rock 'n' roll hall of fame.
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how much money do you think you'll need in retirement? then we found out how many years that money would last them. how long do you think we'll keep -- oooooohhh! you stopped! you're gonna leave me back here at year 9? how did this happen? it turned out, a lot of people fell short, of even the average length of retirement. we have to think about not when we expect to live to, but when we could live to. let's plan for income that lasts all our years in retirement. prudential. bring your challenges. actress salma hayek is breaking her silence about harvey weinstein. in a powerful op-ed
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hayek calls weinstein, quote, my monster and accuses him of bombarding her with unwanted sexual advances. she also says weinstein forced her to do a nude scene in the 2002 movie "frida" for his own gratification. more than 80 women accuse weinstein of sexual misconduct. he denies having any nonconsensual sexual encounters. an all-star class is about to join an exclusive club of the greatest of all time. nina simone, bon jovi, the cars, dire straits, the moody blues and sister rosetta tharp make up the list of the 2018 class of the rock 'n' roll hall of fame. they were chosen from a group of 19 nominees that will be inducted in april in cleveland. do you ever get accused of being too stubborn? that might not be a bad thing. a new study finds it might help you actually live longer. researchers at the university of california, san diego, and a university in rome found traits like positivity, a good work ethic and, yes, stubbornness could be the keys to longevity. when we come back,
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the real life charlie brown christmas tree and the girl who knew all it needed was a little love. customer.
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why the robber )s rap sheet has police feeling frustrated with the law. plus, we )re just hours away frm a light show in the sky. why the bay area is a good spot to watch it. next. finally, it's something right out of the classic charlie brown christmas special. it may not be the most traditional christmas tree you'll ever see, but thanks to the girl who saved it, it's becoming a lasting tribute to the spirit o the season. here's joe fryer. >> reporter: among the hundreds of almond trees neatly lined across the genzoli family orchard, you might notice the scrawny one on the corner which was moments away from removal until danielle genzoli intervened. >> she had a fit. it was like no, you can't do that. all this tree needs is a little love and care. it deserves to live,
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dad. >> reporter: danielle called it her charlie brown tree. >> i never thought it was such a bad little tree. >> reporter: like the one in "a charlie brown christmas," the tv special and book. >> maybe it just needs a little love. >> reporter: touching words for danielle's mom, kimber. >> because that's what she said about her tree. >> reporter: you see, 12 years ago at the age of 16 danielle was in a car accident and died. >> just took our hearts away. >> reporter: understandably, her parents weren't in the christmas spirit until someone hung an ornament on that tree, a simple idea that grew into a christmas tradition. >> i wonder who brought this. >> reporter: now every year the community covers the tree in ornaments and lights. >> that's a new one. it's danielle's charlie brown tree, but it's also a community tree. >> reporter: it's even decorated for valentine's, st. patrick's day and halloween, but this time of year means the most.
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>> two, one. [ cheers ] >> reporter: they always light the tree on danielle's december birthday. a scrawny tree with surprising strength. most of us may not have seen it. thank goodness danielle did. >> made it the brightest and the best of all. >> thanks to danielle. >> reporter: joe fryer, nbc news, california. what a beautiful tribute to a life cut short. we appreciate you spending part of your evening with us. that is "nightly news" for this wednesday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. oakland.
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after countless hours and days of negotiating, there is finally some labor peace. we're following breaking news this evening in oakland opinion after countless hours and days of negotiations, there's labor peace. two labor yunions have ratified with the city of oakland. they have agreed to two year deals. these deals give workers a 6% raise over the next couple of years. the agreements will be given to city council next week for final ratification. as you height now the city and unions have been at odds for more than a week which included a city wide strike.
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the news at 6:00 starts now. good evening and thanks for being with us. attack at a 7-eleven caught by a surveillance camera. the video is startling. the punch so hard it knocked the clerk out. we have learned the attacker has had eight run ins with police in the last two years. police say they've had a hard time legally keeping that person in jail. >> reporter: they really have. they don't know how many times that have seen him numerous and numerous times for harassment, disturbing the peace and many times they have made arrests but they are frustrated because they say a lot of times you spend little or no jail time. he's back on the street harassing more people and committing more crimes.

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