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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  January 31, 2019 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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lose? >> it's like a break dance move. did you see that? >> the centipede. >> did we have some dance music there also? thanks for joining us. lester holt is next. >> bye. tonight, a rising toll as the coldest blast in decades takes another tragic turn. at least a dozen people dead, including a college student found lifeless outside on campus. and there are wild swings ahead. in some places it's about to feel 100 degrees warmer. biggest fentanyl bust ever. the truck that stopped at the border. the dog that sniffed out something wrong, and the secret compartment found containing the drug that kills more americans than any other. new details in the investigation into that reported attack on a tv star. the persons of interest on camera and what else police now say the video shows. a startling headline tonight. nearly half of americans have heart disease. and doctors now changing what you've long been told about
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your blood pressure. what everyone watching right now should hear. dramatic new video of a prison librarian held hostage. the tense negotiations and the moment armed rescuers make their move. every heart-pounding moment caught on camera. the beach invasion at a popular tourist spot. they came during the government shutdown with no one to stop them, and now they just don't feel like leaving. >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening to our viewers in the west. the massive deep freeze is inflicting a mounting toll of deaths and misery across the midwest and northeast tonight. this evening no picture captures both the danger and pain more clearly than this image of a weary indiana firefighter encased in ice. there have been at least 12 weather-related deaths as temperatures shatter records. officials are pleading with people to stay home. in one state asking residents to turn down the thermostat to conserve energy. our miguel almaguer is in the teeth of it tonight.
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>> reporter: whiteouts and wipeouts. hundreds of accidents across multiple states. today's deep freeze gripping the midwestng cold to the northeast. >> just rips right through you, right into the bone. >> i have like five layers on, hand warmers, feet warmers. >> reporter: in new jersey, a massive warehouse fire taking crews more than 12 hours to control. the unbearable cold and ice making it harder to fight. water mains are bursting and pipes are freezing. at least 12 weather-related fatalities so far. 18-year-old freshman gerald bells found unresponsive in the cold on the university of iowa campus. 120 million people feeling plunging temperatures across 27 states. more icebox than windy city, the deep freeze here in chicago has been relentless. for the past 48 hours, it hasn't been above zero. the windchill coming off lake michigan isn't helping. it's beautiful, even stunning, but it's
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also downright dangerous. chicago broke a record wednesday. its coldest temperature since '85. one local paper spelling it out. >> speaking of records, we also set one yesterday in des moines where temperatures hit 20 below zero. it was colder here than it was in the arctic circle. >> in detroit we're breaking records also. 13 below before windchill. with windchill, how about 30 below? that's what it feels like. the previous record? 1951. >> though we didn't set a record in new york city today, it's still freezing. we dipped to 2 degrees this morning, and when you add in windchill, it felt like 17 below. >> when the arctic front hit d.c. yesterday, the temperature dropped 10 degrees in 15 minutes. and today we nearly broke a record that stood since 1936. >> reporter: in michigan, the town of hell froze over. the governor asking residents to conserve energy after an equipment failure. trying to ensure
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everyone can get at least some heat. >> this is not over until noon tomorrow. and so we are asking that people continue to keep their thermostats down. >> reporter: tonight a bitter blast, and an unforgiving freeze. in the midwest and northeast, they broke more than 100 reco for cold temperatures, and it's still brutal out here today. but relief is on the way for cities like chicago. yesterday it felt like negative 52 here. by sunday it will feel 95 degrees warmer. take a look at this scene, lester. this city needs it. >> you bet it does. the frozen chicago river. miguel, thanks. let's turn to al roker and find out about that warmup. when can we expect it, al? >> lester, this cold air has made it down to atlanta where we're going to be playing the super bowl on sunday. tomorrow morning about 31 degrees. but for everyone else who's been suffering, finally light at the end of the tunnel. look at this. chicago minus 1, compared to the last 48 hours, that's spectacular. minneapolis minus 7.
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we're looking at minus 17 windchills in rochester. the weekend temperatures warm up. chicago and minneapolis 46. almost 60 degrees in atlanta. new york city warms to 41. and roanoke, a high sunday of 57 degrees. we can say so long for now to the polar vortex. lester? >> good riddance too. al roker, thanks. now to a massive bust at the border. what the feds say is the largest seizure in u.s. history of fentanyl, the synthetic drug that kills more americans than any pete williams has details. >> reporter: customs and border protection says its officers found 254 pounds of fentanyl, more than twice the previous record seizure and worth $3.5 million. it was discovered in a truck trying to come from mexico through the border checkpoint in nogales, arizona. when it drove through an x-ray scanner like this one, cvp says, officers noted something unusual about the floor of the cargo area.
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a drug-sniffing dog alerted to a spot in the truck that was loaded with cucumbers. >> cbp officers discovered a nonfactory compartment built under the trailer's floor revealing numerous packages. >> reporter: they found nearly 400 founds of methamphetamine. fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is up to 100 times more powerful than heroin, blamed for more than 28,000 overdose deaths in the u.s. in 2017. despite president trump's claims of smuggling all along the border, federal agents say most of the drugs come from mexico through the checkpoints. pete williams, nbc news, washington. >> reporter: this is hallie jackson at the white house. in an ice-cold capital, frozen positions from the president and house speaker. >> if there's no wall, it doesn't work. and if they don't have want to waste my time reading what they have. >> reporter: speaker nancy pelosi's clear. >> there's not going to be any wall money in the legislation. >> reporter: democrats today released their starting point in bipartisan negotiations to avoid a second shutdown, providing more money
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than the white house requested for customs and border protection, for the coast guard, and for secret service, less money than requested for i.c.e., and no money for a wall. still, this may come down to semantics. when is a wall a wall, and when is it a fence or barrier? >> the wall, the barrier, whatever you want to call it. take and name it peaches. >> reporter: that's not what the president tweeted this morning. let's just call them walls from now on and stop playing political games, he said. but both sides do seem open to more fencing. >> if the president wants to call that a wall, he can call it a wall. >> reporter: a sliver of space for n a negotiation where words about walls matter. hallie jackson, nbc news. while the president was focused on border security, his long-time ally, roger stone, was speaking out. and today robert mueller's team said it needs more time to review the trove of evidence the fbi took from stone. nbc's kristen welker has details. >> reporter: tonight, robert mueller's prosecutors say the evidence they seized
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in that early morning raid of roger stone's home was voluminous computers, cell phones, as well as e-mail accounts and bank records going back several years. >> it is so voluminous and complex that a speedy trial is literally impossible, so we stipulated to that. >> reporter: prosecutors charged stone, a former trump adviser, on seven counts including lying to congress about his efforts to obtain hacked e-mails from wikileaks. the white house says the charges have nothing to do with the president. stone insists he's not guilty. asked again today if he would cooperate with mueller -- >> all i can tell you today is i will tell the truth. i don't possess any knowledge of any onr united states. >> the fbi could be in a position of identifying other people that they may charge with crimes, or other crimes beyond that which is already charged in this indictment. i think that there is likely to be a treasure trove of information. >> reporter: the latest twist in an investigation gripping
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the nation. kristen welker, nbc news, the white house. while the white house has the russia probe looming over it, it's also monitoring the crisis in venezuela where today the u.s.-backed opposition leader who declared himself acting president warned police to stay away from his family. our kerry sanders has more. >> reporter: tonight opposition leader juan guaido greeted by supporters outside his apartment after he says armed police agents came to his home asking for his wife, with his 20-month-old daughter inside. they will not intimidate this family, he said. guaido, who's backed by the u.s. and most latin american countries, is locked in a showdown with venezuela's president, nicholas maduro, who's backed by russia and china. tonight the u.s. warning of serious consequences if maduro's government harms guaido. speaking today with cnn, guaido saying as self-appointed president he wants to reconstruct his country and restore its liberty. >> our country, our liberty. >> reporter: maduro
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appearing with troops yesterday retains the backing of the military. tonight police say guaido's charges about officers appearing at his home are false. kerry sanders, nbc news. back home to the growing questions about five students from saudi arabia, all facing criminal charges in the u.s., who vanished. our andrea mitchell reports on suspicions the saudi government helped them escape. >> reporter: fallon smart was a high school sophomore in portland, oregon, killed in a hit-and-run just before turning 16. >> she was imaginative, empathetic. she was intelligent. >> reporter: charged with first degree manslaughter and reckless driving, a saudi college student, abdulrahman noorah, living in oregon on a saudi government stipend. he pleaded not guilty, the saudi consulate paying his $100,000 bail. just before his trial, u.s. marshals tell nbc news his ankle bracelet was cut and he rode off in this black suv, disappearing. >> we've put out information to all law
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enforcement agencies to be on the lookout. >> reporter: homeland security told prosecutors he turned up in saudi arabia a week later. noorah is one of five young saudis accused of crimes in oregon, including two accused rapists and a pair of suspected hit-and-run drivers who all vanished. fallon's family and u.s. marshals say saudi diplomats likely spirited noorah out of the u.s. with a forged passport on a private plane as reported by "the oregonian" newspaper. senator ron wyden of oregon is demanding answers from secretary of state pompeo and fbi. >> what are they going to do to make sure these criminal suspects are brought back to oregon to face justice? >> do you think you'll ever see sight of these young, very privileged saudi college students? >> what i know is that i'm not going to give up. >> reporter: fallon's mom is still devastated. >> she at least deserved a legal
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system that put her killer in front of a jury of peers. >> reporter: the saudi government has not responded to our request for comment. andrea mitchell, nbc news, washington. from that mystery we'll turn to new details in the roth reported assault of one of the stars of tv's "empire." police say his manager said he was on a call with him when the attack happened, but the actor declined to turn his phone over. nbc's ron mott has more from chicago. >> reporter: two people of interest chicago police say caught on camera, and tonight they want to question them about an alleged attack on "empire" star jussie smollett early tuesday. officials say the actor's manager, brandon moore, told him he was on the phone with smollett during the attack though police say smollett declined to let authorities examine his phone. today his family issued a statement writing, "jussie has told the police everything from the very beginning, his story has never changed and we are hopeful they will find these men and bring them to justice." smollett told police he went to a subway restaurant, and police say video evidence supports that.
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between 1:30 and 1:45 a.m., two people of interest were seen here. police say one block away the alleged assault happened around 2:00 a.m., around the corner near an entrance to smollett's building. here's the door. there is a security camera right there on that wall. a second camera posted on a pole across the street. police say security cameras inside the building showed a rope around smollett's neck when he walked in but otherwise appeared normal, and that he did not alert security about an assault. after reviewing more than 20 cameras near this location, police say they have uncovered no evidence of an assault. the actor is due to perform saturday night at a club in west hollywood. ron mott, nbc news, chicago. tonight a massive operation is under way to secure the super bowl.much of the country will be fixated on a stadium in atlanta. over 1 million people headed there and gabe gutierrez takes us inside the major effort to protect the city and the game. >> reporter: these are the blackhawks swooping over super bowl liii. >> we've been preparing for this for
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several months. >> reporter: customs and border protection agents on the move, preparing to enforce a 30-mile no-fly zone around mercedes-benz stadium on game day. authorities say so far there have been no credible specific threats against the big game but they're on high alert. more than 70,000 people will attend the game. 150,000 tourists are expected. so are 1 million people at pregame events throughout atlanta. has security been on par with a presidential inauguration? state of the union? >> it is. every bit of that. this very helicopter we're in right now will be patrolling around the stadium on game day, providing live video feeds from the air of what's going on. >> reporter: on the ground, more than 5,000 officers watching more than 10,000 security cameras. >> it's all hands on deck. >> reporter: all hands and all eyes, both on and off the field. gabe gutierrez, nbc news, atlanta. some alarming health news tonight about the number one killer of americans. a new report from the s merican heart nearly half of all
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art disease, most of them diagnosed with high blood pressure. nbc's medical correspondent dr. john torres is here. dr. torres, i was startled when i saw that number. does that mean all those people, half of americans, should be taking some sort of medication? >> not necessarily. we used to think high blood pressure started around 140. with new guidelines, the new number is 130. ideally though you want it 120. now some people might need medication, but there are three important lifestyle changes that can really make a difference. exercise. just 30 minutes of activity a day can drop your blood pressure up to 10 points. also following the dash diet. that was specific specifically created to lower blood pressure. for every two pounds you lose, you could lower by up to 1 point. and finally, the new addition, sleep. you need seven hours every night for a >> we take that for granted sometimes. >> we do. >> thank you. there's more information about that dash diet on our facebook page. mnews, the massachusetts attorney general is suing the maker of a highly addictive painkiller,
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oxycontin, alleging its sales tactics contributed to the opioid crisis. late today previously secret internal documents and communications from purdue pharma were made public for the first time. nbc's kate snow has more in "one nation overdosed." >> reporter: purdue pharma, trying to protect sales of its painkiller oxycontin, made plans to fight back against the emotional messages from mothers with teenagers that overdosed. that according to new portions of a court filing by the massachusetts attorney general first made public today. debbie boras' son danny started abusing oxycontin in high school, then turned to heroin. >> that abuse opened up a monster inside of him that we have not been able to quiet. the visceral anger that i feel towards that company overtakes me physically. >> reporter: in an e-mail in the court filing, the company's former present richard sackler wrote, we have to hammer on the abusers, they are the culprits and the problem, they are reckless criminals.
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but the company saw a potential business opportunity in those same abusers. purdue explored acquiring drugs used to treat addiction calling it an attractive market, according to the court document. purdue executives discussed promoting the overdose reversal drug narcan to the same doctors who prescribed the most opioids. in a statement, a spokesman speaking for purdue and the sacklers said casting those discussions in a negative light is an egregious mischaracterization and the company ultimately declined to get into that business. they say the court filing seeks to vilify purdue, calling it riddled with demonstrably inaccurate allegations, arguing the fact that there's an opioid crisis does not mean the companies who made the drugs caused the problem. kate snow, nbc news. also tonight, a dramatic hostage standoff. an inmate holding a man at knifepoint. you'll see the tense negotiations and the takedown honoring a 100th birthday. stay with us.
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we're back with that dramatic hostage drama caught on camera. a prison librarian grabbed by an inmate and cameras rolling during the tense negotiations. the team moving in for a rescue. here's stephanie gosk. >> reporter: the librarian in this maximum security prison in arizona didn't even see it coming. inmate timothy monk pulled out a handmade knife and yanked him to the ground. attempts at self-defense with a spray didn't work. then a prison security guard tried negotiation. >> i told him [ bleep ] show you how bad i am. why do i got to do this? >> you shouldn't. it should have never came to this. >> reporter: the negotiations didn't work either. as a security team gathered outside the door with rifles. and a plan took shape. the blast was loud. and there was clearly confusion and concern for the employee. >> is he good, is he good? >> reporter:
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thankfully, he was. a reminder, arizona department of corrections says, of how dangerous a prison can get. stephanie gosk, nbc news. coming up, the popular beach now "sealed" off to visitors.
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we're back with that beach invasion at a popular tourist spot in california. it happened during the government shutdown. no one on duty to stop the elephant seals from making themselves comfy. now they just don't feel like moving. here's morgan chesky. >> reporter: tucked away on the california coastline, a seal explosion that's left more than a few scratching their heads. >> it's pretty rare for these elephant seals to show up on this particular beach. >> reporter: elephant seals have called point reyes home for decades, but this group is really throwing their weight around. taking over popular drake's beach, shutting it down to tourists. the seal takeover blamed on a january storm and our own political climate. when the government shut down, the pod moved in, with no rangers to patrol the
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beach. farther south, rogue seals have hit the highway, deputies doing their best to herd just one. at drake's, rangers forced to give this group their "seal" of approval. morgan chesky, nbc news. >> they are adorable, in their own way. up next, 100 reasons to celebrate the great jackie robinson. no lunch on weekdays.
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the reason the owner of legendary south bay restaurant thinks this could be a trend. and we investigate a tragedy at a preschool - where a play structure fell and crushed a 3 year old at playtime. next. he changed the game and the country forever. today americans paid tribute to jackie robinson on what would have been his 100th birthday. by the time he made it to the major leagues, jackie robinson was already 28. those broad shoulders carrying the hopes of black americans everywhere. there he is outside
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he be ebbets field the day after he bravely broke baseball's color barrier. his friend martin luther king jr. captured robinson's essence writing, he underwent the trauma and the humiliation and the loneliness which comes with being a pilgrim walking toward the high road of freedom. >> if a guy like me is unwilling to stand up and speak out, i don't see where we can solve our problems. >> reporter: today robinson's 100th birthday marked by those who walked through the doors he opened, like robinson cano, and cc sabathia, at jackie robinson school in new york city. >> happy birthday, jackie robinson! >> reporter: his daughter sharon remembering her father. >> he was persistent, he was determined, he was courageous. on the field and off the field. >> reporter: blazing a trail not just for baseball, but awakening a country to what was possible. >> that's "nightly news" for this thursday.
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i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. right now at 6: the move original joe )s is making in downtown san jose. right now at 6:00, the move original joe's is making and the owner setting a new trend. and i'm tracking a stronger storm in the pacific that could cause flooding. details in minutes. but first a tragedy apresch. we investigate how a tire swing fell on a 3-year-old girl during playtime. the news at 6:00 starts right now. good evening. i'm raj mathai. >> and i'm jessica aguirre. it is mind blowing. imagine getting the call that your a her preschool. that is the call that a local family received after the play structure collapsed, killing
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their daughter. >> tonight they have a warning for other parents and our reporter vicky nguyen joins us now. >> when her parents dropped her off, they didn't know she won't come home and in the early days after her death, the school did not provide important information about what actually happened. 3-year-old macy loved playing at parkside preschool in newark but on october 19th last year, according to a newly filed wrongful death lawsuit, equipment fell on her. >> she suffered serious head

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