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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  December 14, 2018 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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it can happen soon. thanks for joining us at 5:00. lester holt joins us next. >> we'll be back at 6:00. tonight, big weekend storms from coast to coast. a powerful system slamming the west and flooding rain rolling across the south. in the northeast, the rain could turn to snow. al roker is here. the new investigation tonight after a 7-year-old girl died in border patrol custody and questions now intensifying about what happened. new twist in the mysterious disappearance of a mom last seen at the grocery store with her baby on thanksgiving. authorities now searching her fiance's home. what did they know about asbestos in baby powder? johnson & johnson losing $40 billion in market value in a day after an explosive, new report. a dangerous collision in the sky. the nose of a 737 passenger plane smashed in. investigators trying to figure out if it was hit by a drone while coming in for a landing. there's breaking news tonight on a big
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power shift at the white house. an incredible rescue, a car plunging into a frigid river. the driver surviving five hours upside down in 40-degree water before he was found. >> my deputy goes, "oh my lord, there's somebody alive." it was incredible. and the brinks truck that lost money on the highway. $300,000 gone. police want to know, where is the loot? >> this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. >> good evening, everyone. trouble is brewing on both sides of the country tonight. storms gathering, bringing heavy rain this busy shopping weekend. in the east, that could mean flooding to areas impacted by snow earlier this week, while sunday could bring rain, gusty winds and high waves to parts of the west. folks being warned to stay away from the beach. let's get right to al roker now who is watching it all for us. al, good evening. >> good evening, lester. we are watching right now in the southeast. as the storm system
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makes its way up the coast, we've already got severe thunderstorm watches up for parts of florida. heavy rain moving into the northeast and mid-atlantic states, upwards of three to four inches with melting snow. that will cause airport problems and delays, as well. out west, powerful storm bringing wind gusts of 60 miles per hour, offshore breakers of 60 feet, but closer to shore 25 to 40-foot waves. stay away from the shoreline and don't keep your back to the beach because you could be washed out to shore, lester. >> we can't let you get away without a big congratulations, 40 years at nbc news. you are truly our man for all seasons, and we just want to say thank you. >> thank you, lester. it has been a great ride, one that i hope is not over yet. >> we got a few more forecasts. thank you, al. >> thanks. as this country struggles with the tough issue of immigration, a disturbing story out tonight about a 7-year-old girl from guatemala who died last week while in the
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custody of u.s. border patrol. as jacob soboroff reports, her case raises new questions about border line policy. >> reporter: jakelin caal and her father were among 163 migrants who crossed the border illegally d by the border patrol in new mexico thursday. according to customs and border protection, they were put on a bus to be transported to a border patrol station 95 miles away, but not long after, the father notified agents his daughter was vomiting. jakelin didn't receive medical attention until she arrived at the station 90 minutes later, but by then, she had stopped breathing. she was airlifted to a hospital in el paso where she died the next morning. homeland security says their inspector general is investigating the incident. when cvp's commissioner testified before congress on tuesday, he made no mention of jakelin's death, only saying their system is flawed. >> our border patrol stations and ports of entry were built to handle mostly male single adults in custody, not families or children. >> reporter: critics say the administration's
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crackdown will only lead to more deaths. one of the border patrol chiefs told me the drug smugglers are the ones who create the humanitarian crisis out there. it's not their enforcement policy. >> if it wasn't for our border enforcement policies, the cartels would not even be involved in the human smuggling business maybe to begin with. >> reporter: for jakelin caal, a dangerous journey and deadly consequences and tonight, questions unanswered. jacob soboroff, nbc news, los angeles. let's turn to colorado now where new developments in the case we've been following of a young mother who has now been missing for more than three weeks and authorities searching her fiance's property. nbc's joe fryer has late details for us. >> reporter: in a remote parcolorado today, investigators are executing a search warrant on patrick frazee's 35-acre ranch, he's the fiance of kelsey berreth, the missing mother who vanished 22 days ago. >> our investigators believe kelsey's disappearance is more suspicious in that she is not intentionally avoiding efforts the
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find her. >> reporter: a pickup truck was towed away by authorities and search dogs combed the property. police would not reveal what information led them to seek a warrant and say frazee has yet to sit down for an interview with investigators. >> there have been numerous questions whether patrick is a suspect or person of interest. at this point, we are considering every possibility. >> reporter: frazee's attorney says his client was never asked to voluntarily participate in the search. adding "we encourage law enforcement to take whatever steps it deems necessary to find kelsey berreth and to be able to exclude patrick frazee as a possible suspect." berreth was last seen in public on thanksgiving when she went shopping with her daughter. frazee told police he last saw berreth later that day when he picked up their child but she was not reported missing until ten days later by her mother, who spoke last night at a vigil. >> we feel the support and the love. >> reporter: police plan to search the fiance's property through the weekend. joe fryer, nbc news. on wall street today, another major plunge. the dow finishing down
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nearly 500 points to its lowest close since may. the dow now down 2.5% for the year. one stock that took a big hit today, johnson & johnson, after a news report claiming the company knew for decades that its baby powder sometimes contains small amounts of asbestos. the company is fighting lawsuits from thousands of people alleging it caused their cancer. nbc's anne thompson has more. >> reporter: juries across the country have returned mixed verdicts on whether johnson & johnson's talcum-based baby powder and shower to shower products caused ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. gail ingham, one of 22 women awarded a total ofearly $5 billion this summer. >> i hope no woman has to go through this. >> reporter: other cases have been rejected. now a bombshell report from reuters says company documents show j&j knew from at least 1971 to the early 2000s that its raw talc and finished powders sometimes tested positive for
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small amounts of asbestos, and failed to disclose it. >> these records make it clear that many people inside j&j were aware that asbestos, a known carcinogen, was detected in the ore they mined, in the talc they milled and on occasion in the products they sold. >> reporter: tonight j&j blasts the report as one-sided, false and inflammatory, insisting its baby powder is safe and asbestos free. and that thousands of independent tests by regulators and the world's leading labs prove our baby powder not enough to keep the stock from plunging 10% today, and the american cancer society editing its position, no longer saying all talcum products have been nce the 19 products should be free from detectable amounts of asbestos. >> so, anne, what about the baby powder sold today?
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is it safe? >> j&j insisted it is, and the reuters report says the company provided her with test reports for the last 15 years, showing that j&j has not found asbestos in any of its talc. >> anne thompson, thank you. tonight, investigators are trying to figure out if a drone crashed into a commercial plane as it was preparing to land. if so, it would be among the most serious encounters yet, as drones explode in popularity. let's get more on this from tom costello. >> reporter: the photos suggest something hit aero mexico flight 770. the nose of the plane crushed. the radar and communications equipment inside damaged.>> you arele >> clear to land, runway 9. >> reporter: investigators are looking into whether a large bird or drone crashed into the plane, possibly over the pacific ocean, as the 737 was preparing to land in tijuana. aero mexico says "at
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no point was the safety of the flight or the passengers compromised. the flight landed and deplaned normally." >> looks like we crossed a drone at about 800 feet. >> reporter: with more than a million registered drones now in the skies, close calls with aircraft have risen dramatically. the faa reports 2,269 pilot/drone sightings so far this year, up 74% since 2015. so far, the only confirmed collision occurred in 2017 when a drone scraped the side and dented the rotor of this army blackhawk helicopter over new york. safety experts have long warned a drone could take out helicopter blades, an aircraft engine, even a windshield. >> the stakes are that a drone impacting an airplane could result in loss of the airplane and loss of life. this is a very serious threat. >> reporter: thte the closest call yet. tom costello, nbc news, washington. authorities in newtown, connecticut, are investigating a bomb threat received today at sandy hook elementary school. the school was evacuated but authorities do not believe the threat was credible. the scare, sadly, happening on the sixth
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anniversary of the mass shooting of 26 students and teachers. there is breaking news tonight in washington. president trump announcing a new acting chief of staff to replace the outgoing john kelly. it comes after another big name took himself out of the running. many wondering why it was seemingly so tough to fill one of the most powerful positions in america. our kristen welker has more. >> reporter: tonight, the president filling washington's biggest job opening, at least for now, tweeting that mick mulvaney will be the acting white house chief of staff, saying he's done an outstanding job while in the administration. mulvaney is the current budget director and a former member of congress with allies on both sides of the aisle. >> mick mulvaney has done a fantastic job. >> reporter: it caps what was a suspenseful and sometimes chaotic search, with questions if the president was having trouble filling the job, one of the most highly coveted in washington. who is the president's front-runner for chief of staff? >> i'm not saying, although i know the answer. i know the answer.
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i'm not telling you. >> reporter: just today, longtime ally and former new jersey governor chris christie dropping out of consideration and talks fell apart with the presumed front-runner, nick ayers, who had the same role for vice president pence, but the president just last night insisting he had plenty of people on his short list. >> five people, really good ones, terrific people, mostly well-known. >> reporter: current chief of staff john kelly will leave at the end of the year, pictured with his predecessor, all smiles, at a white house christmas party last night. kristen welker, nbc news, the white house. two days after he was sentenced to prison, president trump's former lawyer is making serious, new accusations against the president tonight. let's get more from nbc's peter alexander. michael cohen, the president's foer personal lawyer, who once said he'd take a bullet for donald trump, is firing back. >> i am done with the lying. i'm done being loyal to president trump. >> reporter: cohen is disputing mr. trump's assertion that he never directed cohen to break the law, by arranging hush money payments to two women
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who claim they had affairs with trump, claims the president and his aides deny. the former fixer talking to abc news. >> nothing at the trump organization was ever done unless it was run through mr. trump. he directed me to make the payments. he directed me to become involved in these matters. >> reporter: cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for his crimes, including campaign finance violations. president trump, who first claimed ignorance about the payments, now argues they were not criminal. >> they put those two charges on to embarrass me. >> that was absolutely not true. i did not do it to embarrass the president. >> reporter: facing questions about his own credibility, after lying to congress, cohen, who is prosecutors, insists now he should be believed. >> there's a information that they possess that corroborates the fact that i am telling the truth. >> reporter: and tonight, with robert mueller's investigation heating up, cohen's challenging the president's statements about his
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relationships with russia. >> do you think president trump is telling the truth about that? >> no. >> michael cohen doesn't report to prison until march, and he could keep cooperating with mueller's team, but it's unlikely his sentence will be reduced and he hopes by coming clean he will go down history in his words, "for helping to bring this country back together." >> peter, thank you. tonight, prada is under fire after the high-end fashion house displayed and sold items some called racially insensitive. stephanie gosk tonight on the controversy. >> reporter: prada calls them pradamalia, a "new family of mysterious creatures" but tonight there is backlash over a monkey-like character with big red lips that some are calling racist. >> it's really messed up. >> reporter: the store in new york city's soho neighborhood removed the characters from the window and lowered the blinds. >> the question is, who the hell approved this? >> reporter: on facebook, shinray easy compared prada's figures tois i'm a civil rights
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it ruined my day. lawyer, and i had to kind of collect my emotions. >> reporter: in a statement, the company writes in part, it abhors racist imagery. pradamalia are fantasy charms, not intended to have any reference to the real world and certainly not black face" adding they've stopped selling the characters. the company is the latest to face accusations of racial insensitivity. nbc news ended megyn kelly's morning show soon after comments she made on black face were widely condemned and retailer h&m facing angry criticism pulled this ad and hired a diversity leader. now, prada is under fire. >> this is new york city. this is unacceptable. >> reporter: and the protests are replacing holiday shoppers. stephanie gosk, nbc news, new york. now to a different kind of holiday shopping wars. with the sad demise of toys "r" us, other stores are scrambling this year to lure in customers. catie beck now on the new fight for your money. >> reporter: for toy shoppers, this time of year is game on.
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but this holiday season, there's a toy turf war. the playing field looks different after toys "r" us filed for bankruptcy, closing more than 700 locations. >> there was a massive land grab for toys, and it happened pretty much immediately. >> reporter: magic beans in boston no longer competes with a dozen nearby toys "r" us stores, luring in shoppers through social media. >> 40% off for the rest of the day. >> reporter: the toy industry did $27 billion in business in 2017, but when there were no more games, no more toys, it was an oh boy. toys "r" us kids accounted for 14% of all toy sales. now independent toy onne giants like amazon competing to win over the abandoned customer. >> kind of like keeping it local as opposed to doing everything online. >> reporter: and small retailers like world of myrth say it's the intimate experience that sells. >> employees can explain anything in here to you. we'll open it up, let you play with it, we'll play with your kids.
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>> reporter: toy territory up for grabs when consumers need them most. catie beck, nbc news. also tonight, a remarkable story of survival, a man trapped for hours upside down in frigid water. rescuers say they've never seen anything like it. also, a stunning update to that expensive accident on the highway. police want to know what happened to all that money. and a story that will warm your heart. a man who found his calling on the ice.
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back now with an incredible rescue. a man found trapped in his car upside down in a frigid river, five hours he was there after he crashed. police say they've never seen anything like it. here's nbc's miguel almaguer. >> reporter: this is what rescue teams found when they arrived, a ford fusion flipped outside in the freezing klamuth river. >> vehicle into the river, completely
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submerged vehicle with its lights on. >> reporter: the 911 call came from a passing driver in this remote area of northern california. >> you couldn't see any of the windows. they were all submerged in the water. >> reporter: sergeant robert giannini swam out and attached a tow rope to pull the car from the water. after deputies pushed back the airbags, the surprise of a lifetime. >> he saw the guy just look at him, turn his head and looked at him. my deputy goes, "oh my lord, there's somebody alive." it was incredible. >> reporter: breathing from a small air pocket inside his car for five hours, michael finn survived the unimaginable. >> i was only in for a few seconds. i couldn't imagine being in for five hours. >> reporter: an incredible story of survival, beating the odds, and mother nature. miguel almaguer, nbc news. >> what an amazing outcome to that story. we'll take a break. up next, follow the loot. you'll never guess what happened to all that cash that spilled
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where is the loot? that's what police in new jersey want to know tonight, after that brinks truck
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spilled cash all over the highway, sending off a mad scramble to scoop it up. ron allen reports a lot of money is missing. >> is that all cash? >> all cash! >> are that wintry mix of snow and cash on a new jersey highway, a small fortune. >> this is crazy. >> reporter: police say a bag with $140,000 fell through a rear door that had a mechanical issue. then another, with $370,000 flew out. >> i did see $100 bills and fives and tens and 50s. >> look at them getting out of the car to pick up money. >> reporter: commuters and the brinks driver grabbed what they can, $205,375 recovered and later police say another $11,090 was turned in, leaving exactly $293,535 missing, and police asking for more video of what's now a crime scene, looking for commuters suspected of theft. ron allen, nbc news, new york. after the break, i'll hit the ice, just outside our studio,
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with a man who makes his living on it. we'll be right back. storms. wh
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heading tonight... and the timelime for the storm coming in behind it. plus, pg&e admits it didn )t tel regulators the truth. the stunning confession. next at 6. right now at 6: finally, tonight, as you can see, we've taken a short walk outside on a festive friday evening to check out one of the season's star attractions, not the tree this time, but the ice, down below, and the guy who is often the center of attention around here. ♪ it's christmastime in rockefeller center. the tree is up, and the ice is ready for skaters thanks to nelson corporan who has been maintaining the ice for almost three decades. so this is your office? >> this is my office, my house. this is my everything right now. >> reporter: and it's a long way from where he grew up. you're from the
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dominican republic. >> yes. >> reporter: did you ever see an ice skating rink before you came here? >> never. that's why for me driving the zamboni here and working here is like a dream. >> reporter: now he's behind the wheel. >> i got it shaving the ice right now and water. usually i use hot water. >> reporter: hot water? why hot water? >> because hot water with the ice makes the ice more smooth. >> reporter: keeping the skates sharp and the ice safe for everyone from olympians to couples in love, to first-time skaters, and even me. when somebody asks you what you do for a living, how do they react? >> sometimes they ask me, where do you work? and i say, well, i'm working rockefeller center. i work for the ice skating rink, and they so excited. >> reporter: but no more excited than the man at the center of the ice under the world's most famous tree. well, dare i say we have to skate out of
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here. that's "nightly news" for this friday. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching, and have a good night. michelle obama has been an inspiration for me my whole life. >> coming face-to-face with her idol, the young people who met michelle obama in the south bay today, and the one thing they all had in common. a major blow, pg&e admits to lying. we investigate how pg&e falsified safety records. first, rain returning to the bay area. a look at our satellite and the evening commute. the news at 6:00 starts right now. good evening. i'm janelle wang sitting in for jessica aguirre. >> i'm raj mathai. let's take you outside for a
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live look in san francisco. this looks beautiful. this kicks off a busy weekend for a lot of us. holiday parties and christmas shopping. jeff, we noeed to plan accordingly. >> by this weekend some heavier rain on tap. we're dealing with the first system that's lingering with us and then we have the second storm system offshore. let's get a closer look on mobile doppler radar. it's intermittent, the rainfall has been. we're tracking some showers here peninsula that are moving to the north and the east. some showers into emeryville. to the east bay, a little bit on the 24 corridor, always popular this time of the night.

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