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tv   Early Today  NBC  February 18, 2019 3:00am-3:29am PST

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drawing a lien in the battle over the border wall. the mounting trouble for president trump's controversial emergency declaration. another dramatic twist in the jussie smollett saga. why some are suggesting the whole thing could be a hoax. locked and loaded for the lord. meet the volunteers putting their lives on the line to protect their churches. destruction on the track at daytona. a 21-car crash wipes out half the field with less than 10 laps to go. who emerged from the wreckage a winner. forget fried chicken, kentucky's new delicacy making a major splash in the food industry. "early today" starts right now. >> good morning. i'm marlie hall. >> i'm philip mena. president trump's national
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emergency declaration is under siege from all sides this morning. a growing chorus of lawmakers from both sides of the aisle voicing concerns over the president's last-ditch effort to fund his border wall. now several states are readying legal challenges to block mr. trump's move, the efforts setting the stage for another major showdown over immigration in the next presidential election. nbc's kelly o'donnell has the latest. >> reporter: a florida weekend getaway for the president is no holiday for adversaries. heading to court to challenge the president's border wall national emergency. california attorney general javier becerra said legal action is imminent. >> we are prepared. we knew something like this might happen. and with our sister s rtatedy t >> reporter: california's legal coalition filing suit against the national emergency is expected to include new mexico, hawaii, oregon, connecticut, minnesota, and possibly other states. democrats on capitol hill plan
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to take action too. but any legislative block would likely provoke the president's first-ever veto. >> yes, he will veto. >> he's going to protect his national emergency declaration guaranteed. >> reporter: but a veto threat may not deter the opposition. >> frankly, i think there's enough people in the senate who are concerned that what he's doing is robbing from the military and the d.o.d. to go build this wall. >> reporter: even some republicans are wary about mr. trump using this executive power to get more border wall money that congress refused to authorize. >> this would be another expansion of that power. that's why you see an awful lot of us concerned about this. >> reporter: but defenders blame politics and claim the president ran out of options. >> the congress is locked down and will not give him what we've given past presidents. so unfortunately he's got to do it on his own, and i support his decision to go that route. >> reporter: a senior white house official said sunday that under the president's national
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emergency plan, building the 200-plus miles of border barrier would take until the fall of 2020, right in the heart of his campaign re-election season. the timing of any construction would ultimately be affected, at least likely to be affected, by the coming court challenges. and that could slow down the urgency the president has described. the investigation into an alleged racist and homophobic attack against "empire" star jussie smollett has taken another strange term this time with chicago police saying that they no longer consider smollett a victim but can't say he is a suspect himself. a police source familiar with the investigation told nbc news that the new focus is now whether smollett staged the assault. nbc's steve patterson has been following the story for us. steve, what's the latest? >> reporter: marlie, this is yet another stunning turn in what has been an incredible series of events in this story.
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now sources close to the investigation are saying that smollett is no longer considered a victim, nor is he yet considered a suspect. and at this point they just want him to come in so he can clarify his story. police are now investigating if the actor famous for his role in the hit series "empire" paid two men to stage an alleged attack against him. in january jussie smollett filed a police report stating two masked men assaulted him while hurling racist and homophobic slurs before pouring b hh neck. he identified the attackers in this blurry surveillance picture. >> i don't have any doubt in my mind that that's them. >> reporter: friday night police said they questioned and released two men i.d.'d in the picture, confirmed by nbc news as two brothers, both followed by smollett on instagram, no longer suspects. investigators say they searched the brothers' home and found a rope, bleach, and black masks. >> you do such a disservice when
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you lie about things like this. >> reporter: police issued a statement saying new information gleaned from their interview with the brothers shifted the trajectory of the investigation. law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation tell nbc news smollett is no longer considered a victim in the case, nor is he considered a suspect. and at this point police just want him to come in and clarify his story. attorneys for smollett categorically denied the notion that he staged the assault. he has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that jussie played a role in his own attack. nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying. and this morning the actor remaining steadfast, standing by hisst despite gathered yesterda to honor the victims o the shooting in aurora, illinois. five white crosses were carried representing each of the henry pratt company employees who were killed durg meeting on friday. the procession led to the aurora police station where officers were thanked for their service.
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police say gary martin, the man who opened fire on his co-workers, had his gun permit revoked in 2014. but it's unclear what was ton to make sure he handed over his firearm. several police officers were injured by gunfire before martin was shot and kill. as of sunday one officer was still recovering in the hospital. the woman expected to be president trump's nominee as ambassador to the united nations has withdrawn from consideration. state department officials tell nbc news the issue is heather nauert's failure to pay taxes on a foreign-born nanny hired to pay for her children. nauert paid the taxes retroactively, several years late. she is not expected to continue as state department spokeswoman. with the u.s. set to declare victory over isis, president trump is calling on europe to take back hundreds of foreign fighters captured in syria and put them on trial or else the president threatened the u.s. could be forced to release them. as nbc's lucy kafanov reports,
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that idea is facing opposition abroad. >> reporter: in syria, isis is cornered. and u.s.-backed kurdish forces are closing in. with the islamic state all but gone, the question now, what to do with the foreigners who remain. like british teen shamima begum, who ran away to syria with two classmates in 2015. >> i saw the videos on the internet and that kind of attracted me to them. >> reporter: seeing from a syrian refugee camp she says she has no regrets about joining isis. >> i have my kids. i did have a good time there. it's just at the end things got hard. >> reporter: now she wants to come home. >> i think a lot of people should have like sympathy for me for everything i've been through. >> reporter: more than 41,000 foreigners from 80 countries joined isis. in western europe, most came from france, followed by germany and the uk. president trump wants european allies to take back over 800 isis fighters captured in syria and put tmtrial, suggesting they would otherwise be released.
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>> there is a danger of europeans not getting convicted and potentially then escaping from observation in the uk or elsewhere and potentially then attacking america as well. >> reporter: isis still a threat even as the battle against them comes to a close. lucy kafanov, nbc news. a massive pileup shut down parts of interstate 96 in michigan yesterday. the chain-reaction collision involved at least 44 vehicles. police say people driving too fast for near whiteout conditions on snow-packed roads led to cars scattered everywhere. some witnesses say the crash began when a tractor-trailer began to jackknife. at least three people were taken to hospitals with minor injuries. an investigation into the collision is under way. let's see what we're dealing with as we start this new week. good morning. >> good morning. band. a little of the mini we have rain from areas of atlanta north wards through the
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mid-atlantic early this morning. that's the beginning of a very rainy week. the snowy stuff is mostly oferi sectis from about central connecticut into southern massachusetts. that little narrow band does have the potential of getting enough to be shovelled and plowed, maybe 2 to 4 inches at most in a few spots. especially providence, boston southwards down on the cape, a general 1 to 2eas of the southe ready for the deluge. just the beginning of things to come the week ahead. i think our big weather story of the week is heavy rain and flooding potentially, tennessee, georgia, we'll talk about it coming up. venice kicked off its carnival season over the weekend with a magical water parade. this year's moon theme pays homage to dreamers and travelers
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featuring floating ships and fairy-like dancers. thousands from all over the world gathered on the banks of the canal to watch the procession. the annual italian carnival runs march 5th leading up to lent. really pretty. >> yeah. we can't all be there, so take this moment to be thankful for hdtv. just ahead, did the president break the law? the explosive new allegations from a former top intelligence agent. destruction at daytona. a massive crash takes out nearly two dozen drivers and clears the way for a surprise victor. e all ♪ and he said ♪ ♪ girl, you take care of me ♪ ♪ you are my thera♪y ♪ the better half of me ♪ say it again ♪ ♪ if you love me, love me, love me ♪ like you say ♪ ♪ darling tell me all the ways ♪ tell me all the ways ♪ now, we're bringing you all the ways to get what you need. target run and done.
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george has entresto, a heart failure pill that helped keep people alive and out of the hospital. don't take entresto if pregnant; it can cause harm or death to an unborn baby. don't take entresto with an ace inhibitor or aliskiren, or if you've had angioedema with an ace or arb. the most serious side effects are angioedema, low blood pressure, kidney problems, or high blood potassium. ask your doctor about entresto. ♪ the beat goes on ♪ the beat goes on that was great! chaos on the speedway during the 61st daytona 500 when number 21, paul menard, triggering that massive wreck that wiped out 21 cars. it was shortly after a restart with just 10 laps to go. thankfully all the drivers were able to get out without beingup. the great american race had five crashes in all and two red flags over the final 20 laps.
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in the end it was denny hamlin who raised the trophy there. he raced to his second victory in four years and after the win he honored the memory of the late j.d. gibbs. gibbs cofounded the race team along with his father joe. he passed away last month after battling a rare neurological disease. leading the news, explosive allegations against president trump from the former acting fbi director. during an interview with "60 minutes," andrew mccabe suggested the president may have broken the law while trying to undermine the bureau's investigation into his campai >> the president had gone to jim comey and specifically asked him to discontinue the investigation of mike flynn, which was a part of our russia case. the president then fired the director.director, the president specifically asked rod rosenstein to write a memo justifying the firing and told rod to include russia in not do. put together, these circumstance
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s are facts that indicate a crime may have been committed. the president may have been gained in obstruction of justice in the firing of jim comey. >> mccabe also claimed deputy attorney general rod rosenstein discussed using the 25th amendment to remove mr. trump from office. senate judiciary chairman lindsey graham accused rosenstein of trying to stage an administrative coup and vowed his panel will investigate the matter. mccabe is currently promoting his memoir oval office. after receiving major backlash from high-profile cinematographers and directors, the academy is fully reversing its decision to present four br letter urging them to reverse the decision. last week the academy responded by saying that an edited form of
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the categories will be aired later in the broadcast. on friday they fully backtracked that decision saying in a statement that all academy awards will be presented without edits. also two-time best actress nominee bette midler announced on twitter over the weekend that she will perform at this year's awards. the oscars are set to air this sunday. >> glad everybody gets their time to shine on-air. >> they deserve it. >> they do. just ahead, a higher firepower. the volunteers ready to protect their place of worship at all costs. a dramatic rescue caught on camera. first responders rush to save horses that fell through the horses that fell through the ice. at's why we're introducing a new way... ...to refill, pre- sk the line... ...or have your prescriptions delivered. so you never miss a day. walgreens. trusted since 1901. text joinrx to 21525 to stay on track. i had this chest cold, but my medicine kept wearing off.
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in today's "quick hits,"
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hundreds of passengers stranded throughout europe after yet another regional budget airliner collapses. fly bmi stopped flying and made an announcement saturday after filing for bankruptcy over fuel costs and brexit uncertainty. in pennsylvania, a dramatic effort to rescue two clydesdale horses, each weighing more than 1,500 pounds. the horses broke out of their enclosure and fell through an icy pond into 10ee sxwrid water. emergency workers tied ropes around the horses pulling them to shore after nearly an hour. false alarm at a performance of francisco. re panicked exit after one woman's medical emergency led to fears of s canled after that incident. in the wake of recent attacks, houses of worship across the country are turning to new forms of security. a growing number have added armed volunteers willing to protect their congregations at all costs. for more on this we go to nbc's
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blayne alexander. >> reporter: at this church in birmingham, alabama, worship is a sunday morning ritual. but now there is another piece to this routine. how many of you have guns on you? >> mine's in my purse. >> reporter: these three and other members make up the church's volunteer security team. armed every sunday with a prayer and a plan. >> let's do this. >> reporter: after 30 years in law enforcement, jeff rush leads the team. but not everyone is as experienced. during the week derek walker works as a warehouse manager. what was it that made you raise your hand and say, i will do this, i'll volunteer for this? >> the people that i care about, which is my church family, i want to protect them. >> reporter: they believe keeping parishioners safe from potential attacks is a ministry, and they are not alone. according to the faith-based security network, more than 1,000 places of worship across the country have launched volunteer security teams over the past decade. which is why companies like
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ozark shoot don't shoot solutions now offer specialized training using real glocks in real churches. it is evidence of a grim new reality. in 2015, nine people were killed in emanuel ame church in charleston, south carolina. last october 11 dead after a shooting at pittsburgh's tree of life synagogue. and the deadliest in 2017, 26 gunned down at first baptist church in sutherland springs, texas. >> amen. >> reporter: the church now has its own armed security team. but critics like the giffords law center to prevent gun violence say the presence of a gun makes gun violence more likely and believes civilians do not do a good job of preventing gun violence when they are armed. at sight but the mind. >> i appreciate having security. for one, it makes me feel like the church cares about my
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safety. >> reporter: these three say security is their calling. >> i have the heart of a mother and a mother's going to protect her children. >> reporter: standing ready to prevent tragedy and praying they never have to. blayne alexander, nbc news, birmingham, alabama. still to come, we will go to rural kentucky where they're producing a delicacy that just may be the best in all the land. on car insurance? did the little piggy cry wee wee wee all the way home? weeeeeeeee! we we weeeee! weeeeeeee! weeeeeeee! weeeeeeee! max. maxwell! yeah? you're home. oh, cool. thanks mrs. a. geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more. only tylenol® rapid release gels have laser drilled holes. they release medicine fast,
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mucinex releases fast and lasts 12 hours, not 4. let's end this. prestige creams not living up to the hype? one jar shatters the competition. olay regenerist hydrates skin better than creams costing over $100, $200, and even $400. fact check this ad in good housekeeping. olay. ♪ if♪ darling, tell me me, loveall the ways ♪ay ♪ ♪ tell me all the ways ♪ all the ways at the store, or to your door. target run and done. welcome back. one of the stories of the week is going to be just how bad and
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how much flooding we see in areas of the south. we're fine today, today's by far the best day of the week. the heavy rain breaks out tuesday in arkansas, northern portions of alabama, mississippi, right through tennessee rather that will continue into wednesday. this will be kind of a two-round day. we're going to get another round of heavy rain as we go saturday wel have to watch that. some areas of tennessee could get 7 to 10 inches ofweek. >> that's no joke, all right, bill, thank you. when we come back, a smurf invasion in germany as one small town goes for a new world record. and out of the hospital. don't take entresto if pregnant; it can cause harm or death to an unborn baby. don't take entresto with an ace inhibitor or aliskiren, or if you've had angioedema with an ace or arb. the most serious side effects are angioedema, low blood pressure, kidney problems, or high blood potassium. ask your doctor about entresto. ♪ the beat goes on ♪ the beat goes on that was great!
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nivea essentially enriched body lotion, with two times the almond oil. it deeply nourishes skin for 48 hours. ♪ one, two ♪ three, whoo! nivea essentially enriched. deeply nourishes for 48 hours. that's an aggressive yellow. kellogg's raisin bran with bananas. two scoops meet real banana slices. i've done a good job of raisin ya. caviar, it's that pricey delicacy often enjoyed by the well to do, often with a glass of champagne as well. these days there's a new kid on
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the block. catching and serving up the salty snack right in the middle of the united states. kentucky, to be precise. nbc's kevin tibbles went there for a taste. >> reporter: they fish the rivers of rural kentucky for generations. but these days it's not the fish they're after. it's their cherished eggs. how many people know there's caviar in kentucky? >> well, i can tell you seven years ago you're talking to a guy that had no idea. >> reporter: since then david fields has created america's best caviar. the company serving appite worl. this is quality. >> it is. >> reporter: prized caviar doesn't come from any other fish egg but from sturgeon. these things have been around since the dinosaurs. >> they look like dinosaurs. when i first saw it i was looks historic. >> traditionally caviar was found from sturgeon found in the caspian sea. here in land-locked kentucky the
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american sturgeon and paddle fish produce the only wild-caught caviar in the world. an ounce of the russian stuff, 75 bucks. how does it compare? >> i love it when it pops. >> yeah. >> not too salty. >> no. >> it's just right. >> more? >> reporter: this former assistant high school principal gambled everything to stock the sturgeon. >> i was looking for something, another income -- >> reporter: he's traveled the globe tasting and testing. still, it's home in kentucky where david and his fishermen friends like to be. >> i never lose sight of what's got me to where i am. and without them, i have nothing. >> reporter: fishing for black gold to please the pickiest of palates. so we can all have champagne and caviar? >> absolutely, why not? >> reporter: kevin tibbles, nbc news, grand rivers, kentucky. >> caviar for everyone. >> i've never had caviar.
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>> it's good. >> yeah, is it? who knew kentucky was the spot to be? a new world record in germany with the largest smurf gathering ever. dressed as papa smurf, smurfette, over 25,000 blu people cansed and cheered through the streets of the small germantown. the previous record was 2510 smurfs set in wales in 2009. >> looks like a bad acid . and a health hazard. how do you know, if one of them starts choeg choking what color do they turn? >> good question. it's camouflaged by the blue. thanks for waking up with us, i'm marlie hall. >> i'm philip mena. e news continues rightth h
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all the same sorts of facts cause us to wonder, is there an inappropriate relationship, a connection, between this president and our most fearsome enemy, the government of russia?
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>> stunning claims against the commander in chief. why former fbi director anew mccabe says president trump may have broken the law. another dramatic twist in the jussie smollett case.oax or the actor himself. life after isis. the fate of the foreign fighters now trying to return home as the caliphate collapses. drama at daytona with just laps left to go, a massive crash wipes out nearly two dozen drivers. who emerged fromhe

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