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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  June 18, 2018 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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friday, saturday and sunday, we'll have more at 6:18. lester holt is next, nightly news in texas tonight. tonight, the boiling point here at the border over those thousands of children taken from their families and locked behind chain fence walls like cages. and we have new sound purportedly from inside -- children crying out for their parents. >> papa? president trump defiant, doubling down and blaming democrats. >> and i say it's very strongly the democrats' fault. >> that in the face of a growing chorus from democrats and republicans to end the policy he ordered. is it hyperbole to call this a form of child abuse? >> i would not call that hyperbole at all. i mean, this is government-sanctioned child abuse. >> reporter: also tonight, the scorching heat across
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the country. records shattered, severe storms on the move. caught on camera, a tesla suddenly burst into flames. the "west wing" actress, her husband behind the wheel unaware his car was on fire. and gaming disorder. what is called a mental health issue when a hobby becomes a dangerous addiction. >> this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening from mccallen, texas, in the shadow of the u.s.-mexico border, and now the intersection where rigid government policy and human compassion collide with the children of migrants at the center. today we see and for the first time hear what is happening to those, many of those families picked up along this stretch of border, kept in chain link cage-like structures sidehis country's largest deportation immigration processing facility. many of those families separated. parents criminally charged, their children taken from them, all in the name of zero
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tolerance. a policy tonight that is the object of a growing bipartisan outcry. tonight these heartbreaking images from the southern border are sparking growing outrage. thousands of migrant children being separated from their parents. and now, newly released audio -- released but not verified by nbc news. in it, you can hear 6-year-old allison from el salvador begging to talk to her aunt. the separations the result of a trump administration policy announced in april -- zero tolerance for anyone caught
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when parents facing are taken into federal custody, they're taken to adult detention centers and separated from their kids who go to different facilities. tonight the administration is on the defensive. >> the united states will not be a migrant camp, and it will not be a refugee holding facility. >> the secretary of homeland security saying they're just doing their job. >> we are enforcing the laws passed by congress. we have to do our job. we will not apologize for doing our job. >> this is the epicenter of a border battle. a 77,000 square-foot processing center here in mccallen tonight, there are new images from inside.
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our cameras weren't allowed in, but video filmed by customs and border protection show migrants held in chain fence walls, sleeping on mattresses on the floor, covered by the mylar blankets often used by marathon runners. christina and her kids spent several days there hoping to escape gang violence in el salvador. they crossed the border illegally but were detained and separated. christina says, "you don't have the right to know anything about your kids, how they are, if they've eaten, if they're sick." now reunited, christina must wear an ankle bracelet so i.c.e. can track her movements. >> you see the tracks that is representative of the level of traffic -- >> manuel padilla jr. is the region's patrol chief and oversees the facility. we met one him on the border. do you feel like the bad guy in this to some extent? you are the instrument of a policy that is obviously very controversial right now. >> i feel that the option of not doing anything is going to worsen the situation. so i think we have to work with what we have right now and hopefully get the immigration laws redone. >> the department of health and human services currently has nearly 12,000 kids in
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its care. a number expected to jump to more than 20,000 by august 1st. in a rare move, first lady melania trump said she hates to see children separated from their families, and there was a chorus of criticism from all former first ladies including laura bush writing a blistering op-ed calling the policy cruel and immoral, and writing that the images from the border are eerily reminiscent of the japanese american internment camps of world war ii. >> these workers are not allowed to pick up children, and they're not allowed to console or comfort them. >> reporter: dr. colleen kraft is a pediatrician and recently toured one of the shelters here. is it hyperbole to call this a form of child abuse? >> i would not call that hyperbole at all. i mean, this is government-sanctioned child abuse. we are putting these children in a very dangerous situation because we're removing the one most-important buffer in their life, and that is their
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parents. >> just to reiterate, our cameras are being barred from showing you what's happening inside these facilities where children are being held. the only video you're seeing is what we get from the government and what they have allowed us to see. our colleague has been inside, one of the few allowed in. jacob, take us inside. what were the things that immediately stood out to you? >> there's so much debate, lester, over whether or not there are cages in there. before i went in, that's what everybody was talking about. the first thing that you noticed. they look like dog kennels. to see human beings inside there is not just adults, not just families, but it's an increasing amount of children every single day because of this separation policy. and there are those mylar blankets you mentioned, mattresses on the floor. it's not just them -- the stress is on the border patrol agents, on the four social workers responsible for hundreds of children, and it's only getting more crowded every single day. >> here's the thing i keep wondering -- how do they match them up again? my understanding, once they live they're on separate tracks. >> the parents are
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given a piece of paper, they call it a tear sheet. it's up to the parents to call a 1-800 number and press one for english, two for spanish and ultimately hope that it works out. >> thank you very much. tonight a growing chorus of lawmakers is calling for president trump to end the policy of separating children from their parents. the calls coming from high-profile democrats and republicans in congress, including late word from gop senator ted cruz of texas. our white house correspondent, kristen welker, has those late details. >> reporter: tonight escalating calls for the president to end his zero-tolerance policy now. >> the president has the ability to stop this if he'd like. i understand that he wants to get a comprehensive fix of immigration, so would i. >> reporter: so can the president end this crisis with a phone call? the answer -- yes. his attorney general, jeff sessions, announced the zero-tolerance policy in april. the administration could reverse it just as quickly.
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but for his part, the president is trying to put the blame on democrats. >> i say it's very strongly the democrats' fault. they're obstructionists. >> reporter: the president saying change the law, but there is no law requiring families to be separated, only the zero-tolerance policy that's prompting it. what's the president talking about? there is a law against crossing the border illegally. the administration argues that opens a loophole to let adults with kids be released after a few days. it's been a problem dating back multiple administrations. but former presidents bush and obama didn't separate families in similar situations. >> i will look into that. i'm not aware -- >> reporter: secretary nielsen defending the administration in a fiery briefing. >> why doesn't the president pick up the phone and change the policy? he said he hates it. >> i think what the president is trying to do is find a long-term fix. so why don't we have congress change the laws to change -- >> you -- >> we can't -- >> reporter: the republicans proposing new immigration legislation this week to address loopholes and separation, but
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it's facing steep odds as the crisis increasingly engulfs the president. >> this policy of family separation reminds us of the cattle cars of nazi germany when children were separated from their parents. reminds us of the japanese internment camps. >> reporter: lester, late tonight, republican senator ted cruz from texas introduced emergency legislation that would keep immigrant families together. no indication whether it would pass, but it all raises the possibility that this could be a tipping point. president trump will meet with house republicans tomorrow. lester? >> all right, kristen welker, thank you. we'll have much more from this end. first, a check of some other headlines to the country, some places breaking records. schools closing early, and now severe storms are firing up. here's nbc's ron mott. >> reporter: from columbus to richmond to massachusetts, the heat is on. in chicago where it hit 93, umbrellas were out.
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so was the a.c. for a time at this animal shelter. the brave still rolled out yoga mats despite an extreme heat warning. >> those mats are probably a little hot. >> it's bad. we went like from having 50-degree weather to all of a sudden to 90-degree weather. >> reporter: today it's all about the sizzle. 90-degree readings all around the heat zone, but an approaching cold front promises relief overnight. until then, 80 million americans doing what they can to beat the heat. in albany, a walk in the park not so easy today. >> try to choose the shaded paths for bike rides and walks to get the exercise that we need, but we stay safe at the same time. >> reporter: schools closed early in jersey city, new jersey. >> i'm very happy because it's like so hot. i would not be able to bear being in school for so long. >> reporter: the heat is all the more unpleasant because it's come with high
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humidity, pushing feels like temperatures past 100 in places. and tonight a double threat -- damaging winds and severe storms moving through new england. and an excessive heat warning in chicago will expire tonight. temperatures will come down quickly. the news not so good for st. louis. they've extended their heat warning for another day and could hit 105 heat index there tomorrow. >> thank you. another troubling headline for tesla. viral video showing one of its popular electric cars going up in flames in california. the video now viewed over a million times appears to show flames shooting from beneath the carriage where high-voltage batteries are stored. as miguel almaguer tells us, the feds are now getting involved. >> reporter: tonight, tesla is under fire after one of their cars caught fire on l.a.'s famed santa monica boulevard. the ntsb now investigating why this model-s erupted in flames. the car driven by
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director michael morris. his wife, "west wing" actress mary mccormack, tweeted, "the fire started out of the blue." witnesses flagged morris down as he drove down the road, unaware his car was on fire. >> when a tesla vehicle catches on fire and it's posted on social media, it immediately makes people say, wait a second, is there something about this battery technology that isn't quite right? >> reporter: firefighters say the blaze may have been caused by the car's battery. tesla says the fire was an extraordinarily unusual occurrence. they're investigating. the batteries that power teslas are under the carriage. the company says they're fortified to prevent any fire from spreading into the interior. it's the latest bump in the road foslraes involving the company's autopilot technology. ceo elon musk has also announced production delays and cut staff by 9%. now tesla is feeling
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the heat again for a fire on one of l.a.'s busiest streets. miguel almaguer, nbc news, los angeles. in a surprise announcement, president trump has ordered the creation of a new sixth branch of the military for the final frontier. during a meeting with the national space council, the president said he's directing the pentagon to develop a so-called space force, an idea he floated in march. he described it as a, quote, separate but equal branch, and said american dominance in space is critical to u.s. defense. now to an alarming trend linked to the rapidly changing ways we get around as transportation in this country. drivers of traditional taxis saying they're having a harder times making ends meet. against the background of those struggles, at least six drivers in new york have taken their own lives in recent months. anne thompson has the story. >> reporter: gabriel okashor knows he's facing an uphill climb, fighting for more regulations on companies like uber
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and lyft that have sideswiped the financial fortunes of >> i want them to see some future that my dad didn't so they can say we're okay, but something has to get done. >> reporter: from cabbies protesting on the las vegas strip to today's demonstration in new york, a new urgency after now six suicides by new york cab and for-hire drivers, including gabriel's dad, diagnosed with depression. >> the taxi driver once used to be able to count on his cab as something that would allow him to pay his mortgage and to put his kids through college. that doesn't exist anymore. >> reporter: in 2013, there were 47,000 for-hire cars in new york city. today there are more than 100,000. and two-thirds of those are ub. >> this is not about technology. this is about a lack of regulation. >> reporter: in many cities, cab owners have to buy permits called medallions to operate. they cost hundreds of
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thousands of dollars that limited competition and rose in value until uber and lyft came along. the it's not equal fee, equal licenses, equal everything. >> reporter: gabriel wants fairness for his father's fellow drivers so cabs will once again be a route to a secure financial future. anne thompson, nbc news, new york. still ahead, are you worried your child's love of video games could become an addiction? the new warning about gaming from world health officials. also, it's hot at the box office, but hear why disney is warning audiences
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back now with important health news especially for parents worried about the impact from video games and the internet on our kids. the world health organization said today it's adding video game addiction to its new list of mental health disorders, calling it gaming disorder. with gaming and internet use on the rise among teens, jo ling kent went to an addiction center to bring us the story. nice, and up, excellent -- >> reporter: this is yasin. when we met him, he was in treatment for what he calls gaming addiction. >> i probably played for eight to ten hours a day. >> reporter: he fell in so deep he dropped out of college. he stopped eating and even going outside. >> i would not do laundry. i'd rather play the game. i would not cook for myself. hygiene -- hygiene was very low. >> reporter: it got so bad, his parents checked him into restart, one of the few internet-addiction rehab centers in the u.s. two-thirds of american households play video
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games. and tonight addiction to video and digital games is now being recognized by the world health organization, calling it gaming disorder. the w.h.o. says it impacts only a small minority of gamers, but some play for up to 20 hours a day. >> they design the game in a way to operate very much like a slot machine where you get variable, unpredictable rewards, and that's what makes people compelled to use it over and over again. >> reporter: the w.h.o. has not yet formally adopted the draft that includes gaming disorder. the gaming industry telling nbc news "there is no objective evidence to define and diagnose this disorder, and the research supporting inclusion is highly stepping away, hoping meanwhile, yasin is to take control of his life again. jo ling kent, nbc news, fall city, washington. still to come here tonight, the explosive moment at a power plant all caught on camera.
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sad news tonight that hits home for our nbc news family. richard valeriani who spent more than three decades as a correspondent for "nbc nightly news" has died. in his long career, richard was credited with bringing news of a civil rights movement to a national audience. he also covered the jfk assassination and served as senior white house correspondent during the lbj and nixon years. later he became a media consultant to the stars and titans of industry. richard was 85 years old. we'll take a turn to the explosive sight caught on camera in florida when two cooling towers, over 450 each high, were imploded at a power plant this weekend. the towers stood for some 30 years, but it only took 12 seconds and 1,500 pounds of dynamite to bring them down. "incredibles 2" is
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raking in big bucks at the box office, breaking records. viewers are also being warned about concern over possible seizures. some fans complained on social media about certain scenes with flashing lights that could trigger seizures in people with photosensitive epilepsy. there are no reports of widespread issues, but the theaters are issuing the warning as an extra precaution. we'll take a short break. we'll come back in a moment with some final thoughts on the crisis boiling over here at the border. and she sat in a cell for 7
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months. the surprise outside the courthouse that set her free. a stranger kicks a homeless man -- and disappears. the good old-fashioned police that cracked the case. next. the news at six starts right finally tonight, the immigration conundrum. a nation of laws and a nation that values at takes pr its compassion and its heart and its love of family.
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there's nothing political about wincing or shedding a tear at the sight of a child left alone. one caught up in a dizzying circumstance is not of their own making and crying for their families. yet it's naive to suggest politics is to not extent at the core of our dilemma. what is happening here is testing our better angels on multiple fronts, challenging our competing values of protecting our sovereignty and honoring our hearts. as the local border patrol chief told me, it's complicated and many layered, to which i thought to myself isn't that the way it is with most matters of the heart. we thank you for being here. that is "nightly news" for this monday. i'm lester holt reporting from mission, texas. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching, and good night. now:
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good evening and thanks for joining us. i )m jessica aguirr. and i )m raj mathai. late today -- a verdict regarding a local donald trump rally. the news at 6:00 starts right now. >> late today a verdict regarding a local donald trump rally. not guilty. this evening, five protesters accused of beating a man at a pro-trump rally in berkley last year are free. nbc bay area's terry mcsweeney joins us from superior court in oakland for the reaction to the so-called berkley five. >> reporter: members of anti-fa were accused of misdemeanor assault for attacking a man as he was being treated by a pair immediat -- paramedic last year. we have video of the rally in
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berkley last march. violence breaking out between the president's supporters and his opponents. the district attorney said the five men attacked a man as he was being treated by paramedics and paramedics testified, so did police officers who said they saw the whole thing, but the jury didn't buy it. one of the so-called berkley five told me his version of that day. >> some crazy maniac that had been attacking people all day long saw us walking by him and decided to attack us, and it lasted maybe ten, 15 seconds. we tried to get his weapon away from him. the c thing you >> reporter: the berkley five know, we all ended up in jail. gathered outside the courthouse after their successful day in court. i contacted the alameda county distri


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