tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC February 26, 2019 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
that's why the threat is high. we're tracking the top flood threats at 6:00. >> lester holt joins us next from vietnam. thanks for watching. >> bye. breaking news tonight. president trump and kim jong-un at the second summit here in hanoi. a side of the secretive north korean leader the world rarely sees, his aide falling behind, rushing to keep up. tonight inside the nuclear negotiations and fears before the two men meet alone. and a blockbuster back home. michael cohen testifying on capitol hill, and a source telling nbc news he plans to detail alleged criminal conduct by the president while in office. and late today, a congressman's apparent threat to air cohen's dirty laundry hours before he goes public. controversy erupting over ivanka trump's comments when asked about congresswoman alexandria ocasio-cortez and her green new deal. what she said and how both women are responding tonight.
top executives from the biggest drug companies in america grilled over why we pay so much more here for prescriptions than people in other countries. >> i think that you charge more here because you can, and american taxpayers are subsidizing all of you. trapped on a train for over 40 hours. the latest on a nightmare for passengers stranded in a blizzard with no way out. a growing mystery tonight. shutting down one of the most storied racetracks in america. and a big announcement from the star of that super bowl commercial. a young woman making history on the football field. >> this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt, reporting tonight from hanoi, vietnam. good evening and welcome to our viewers in the west. eight months after they stunned the world with a face-to-face meeting in singapore, donald trump and kim jong-un are in vietnam's capital tonight for round two. both arriving here after lengthy
journeys, president trump racing 12 hours ahead as he arrives tonight aboard air force one. kim rolling into the country aboard his famous armored train. now having moved past the get to know you stage, there is greater pressure on trump to nudge kim beyond polite gestures and on to tangible steps to dismantling his nuclear and ballistic missile programs. but their meeting come against the backdrop of hard intelligence suggesting north korea may have other intentions. >> reporter: tonight two red carpet roll-outs. the stage now set. president trump arriving after 20 hours on air force one, looking to succeed where h predecessors failed and convince kim jong-un to give up his nukes. the north korean dictator is now here too after 65 hours snaking through china by train. spotted smoking at one point, his sister holding his crystal ashtray.
and when kim finally arrived in vietnam, an aide a few feet too far behind sprinting to catch up with his boss. later, kim's limo flanked by his bodyguards taking him to the north korean embassy. still, for both men, the journey to this point goes back even further to that historic first summit in singapore. >> signing a very important document. >> reporter: back then kim promising to work towards denuclearization, but taking few concrete steps since. while kim has stopped nuclear testing and missile launches, the president's own intelligence officials warning he has not given up his nuclear ambitions. tonight the president hoping kim will be swayy his gument to give up the weapons in return for losing those crippling sanctions. >> as i tell chairman kim, he has a chance to have a country that is so vibrant economically, maybe one of the most in the world. >> reporter: and cin personal chemistry to get a deal done. >> and then we fell in love,
okay? no, really. he wrote me beautiful letters. >> reporter: but some critics, concerned about what president trump may be willing to concede in this second summit and whether kim could flatter him into giving up too much. tonight, last-minute preparations under way at the summit site with the world now watching. so much at stake here. let's bring in hallie jackson with us in hanoi. hallie, what are we expecting? when these two begin meeting? >> lester, the white house has really tried to tamp down expectations with what this summit could be, with multiple sources close to the summit telling us what could get kim to agree to opening up nuclear facility for inspection. the u.s. could offer to against the regime, or they could establish a kind of bare bones diplomatic outpost in experts worry abo riseike last remember, in singapore, when the president unexpectedly announced the end of military exercises in south korea after those talks. there is some serious x factor potential coming up tomorrow night.
that is when president trump and kim are set to meet one-on-one before that small group dinner. a lot of folks wishing they could be a fly on that wall. >> hallie jackson, good to have you here. thank you. we'll have more on the summit and reporting from here on the ground in vietnam, including what is an historic moment for this country, coming up. and with the president here in vietnam, back home a block buster in washington. his former lawyer and fixer michael cohen starting three days of testimony before congress. and we're learning new details tonight about what he plans to say publicly tomorrow. kristen welker covering a wild day on capitol hill. >> reporter: michael cohen on capitol hill, kicking off three days of potentially blockbuster testimony. today grilled behind these guilty to lying to the same senate committee when he testified 18 months ago. >> do you expect him to tell the truth this time? >> no. >> what i intend to keep focused on is untangling the very
complicated financial arrangements between donald trump and russia. >> reporter: a source with knowledge of his testimony says cohen this week will detail what he says is criminal conduct by the president since he took office, as well as allegations of what the source calls the president's lies, racism, and cheating as a private businessman. cohen is also set to discuss mr. trump's financial statements, as well as those hush money payments during the campaign. in a scathing statement, press secretary sarah sanders said it's laughable that anyone would take a convicted liar like cohen at his word, echoing president trump's frequent attacks. >> very simply, michael cohen is lying and he is trying to get a reduced sentence for things that have nothing to do with me. >> reporter: cohen is also expected to address why he lied about the negotiations to build a trump tower in moscow, which lasted well into the campaign. cohen, who once said he'd take a bullet for the president, last year started cooperating with federal investigators and was
sentenced to three years in prison for crimes, including campaign finance violations and tax evasion. do your wife and father-in-law know about your girlfriends? maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. i wonder if she'll remain faithful when you're in prison. >> congressman, does your tweet relate to witness tam snerg. >> absolutely not. >> reporter: meanwhile, cohen's attorney calling gaetz comments lies and personal smears. cohen will be back here for public testimony. tonight we're learning that cohen has officially been disbarred for his felony convictions. lester? >> kristen welker live at the capitol, thank you.
our live coverage of michael cohen's testimony before congress begins at 10:00 a.m. eastern. more breaking news from washington. the house has just voted to reject president trump's declaration of a national emergency to get money for his border wall. the move now forces a vote in the senate. president trump has already threatened a veto. also on capitol hill, ceos of the country's biggest drug companies were grilled over the skyrocketing costs of medications, and now congress is threatening to intervene if the companies don't take steps to make their drugs more affordable. tom costello reports in our series "your money, your life." >> reporter: in indiana, shelby and sarah skipper both have type 1 diabetes, and because they can't afford insulin for two, they've had to ration and share. already shelby has been hospitalized with soaring blood sugar levels. >> i mean, if somebody's got to be sick, i'd much rather it be me than her. because i know. i've been through what she's been through.
>> reporter: insulin prices have doubled over five years. >> drug prices are astronomically high because that's where pharmaceutical companies and their investors want them. >> reporter: on capitol hill today, senators from both parties demanded answers from seven drug company executives. why have prices on hundreds of drugs jumped another 6% this year, nearly triple the inflation rate? and why do americans pay 150% countries for the same meds? >> i think that you charge more here because you can. and american taxpayers are subsidizing all of you. >> reporter: the ceo of abbvie, under fire after doubling the price in five years for the world's best-selling drug humira, and regularly tweaking the formula to file new patents and ward off cheaper alternatives. >> how many patents? >> i'm sorry, 136 patents. >> 136 patents on one drug. >> reporter: the drug companies all say they need sizable profits to invest in developing
new drugs. but one ceo had a candid admission. >> the people who can least afford it are paying the most. >> reporter: while for the skipper sisters in indiana -- >> this isn't something of course we want to do. it's a life-or-death situation. >> reporter: the stakes could not be higher. tom costello, nbc news, washington. also tonight, the battle erupting between two powerful women in washington. ivanka trump taking aim at the so-called green new deal touted by alexandria ocasio-cortez and other progressive democrats. nbc's andrea mitchell with the details now. >> reporter: ivanka trump going viral after fox news asked her about democratic freshman congresswoman alexandria ocasio-cortez and her controversial green new deal. >> you've got people who will see that offer from the democrats, from the progressive democrats, alexandria ocasio-cortez. here is the green new deal. here is a guarantee of a job and think yeah, that's what i want. that simple. what do you say to those people?
>> i don't think most americans in their heart want to be given something. i've spent a lot of time traveling around this country over the last four years. people want to work for what they get. so i think this idea of a guaranteed minimum is not something most people want. they want the ability to be able to secure a job. >> reporter: critics pounced, saying she had challenged ocasio-cortez's minimum wage proposal. i do not, however, believe in a i support a minimum wage. minimum guarantee for people unwilling to work, which was the question asked of me. then tweeting "i've spent much of the last two years focused on inclusive economic growth via workforce development and skills training." tonight ocasio-cortez firing back, tweeting "as a person who actually worked for tips and hourly wages in my life instead of having to learn about it
secondhand, i can tell you most people want to be paid enough to live." two very different voices in a growing showdown. andrea mitchell, nbc news, washington. let's turn to that travel nightmare. 183 passengers stranded aboard a train for almost two full days with dwindling supplies. today the rescue effort finally got under way. nbc's gadi schwartz has that story. >> reporter: it was a modern day marooning unfolding live from inside a train. >> now this is the viewing car. >> reporter: nearly 200 passengers trapped on an amtrak for almost two days with no way out after a blizzard toppled a tree on to the tracks. >> it is dark. there is more snow on the way, and we are stranded for another night. >> reporter: the trip started in seattle heading south through the pacific northwest until grinding to a halt sunday evening where it was stuck for more than 36 hours. >> not knowing how long we were going to be on there, that was probably the most frustrating part. >> reporter: the uncertainty forcing people to ration food and water. club soda and pretzels for
breakfast. parents using napkins as makeshift diapers for their babies. the snowstorm also knocking out power to the closest town, socked in with roads buried under 4 feet of snow. train officials say passengers were kept on board because there was no viable way to safely transport passengers or crews via alternate transportation. this morning a welcome sight, movement. >> the train is moving really slowly, and we keep having to make stops. >> reporter: mile by mile, crews clearing the tracks. >> you see like all of the tree limbs that are down and what not. >> reporter: reversing course to get to the closest station. >> thank you for your patience. >> reporter: where passengers couldn't be happier to get off that train. >> to breathe fresh air again, it feels incredible. >> that could have been so much worse, man. >> reporter: gadi schwartz, nbc news. also tonight, the highest ranking catholic official to be convicted of child sexual abuse, cardinal george pell appeared at a sentencing today in australia. nbc's anne thompson is at the vatican with more. ♪
>> reporter: just two days after pope francis declared an all-out war on child abuse, today the conviction of australian cardinal george pell revealed. the vatican calling the verdict painful. pell, a former member of the pope's inner circle, found guilty of abusing two choir boys in the '90s as the archbishop of melbourne. >> we want to see him fry in hell forever. >> reporter: pell intends to appeal, insisting he's innocent. unlike the accusations against former washington cardinal theodore mccarrick, pell's conviction shocked people here. >> the people around here, if you talk to them, are very dubious, skeptical of these charges, at least of what we've known so far. people said really? >> reporter: pell now awaits his sentence in australia, where he faces up to 50 years in prison. lester? >> all right, thank you. now back to the summit here in hanoi. this city waking up and heading to work in what is a wednesday morning here in vietnam.
this country has taken tremendous leaps since the end of its war with the u.s., and now finds itself more than a summit host but also a potential economic model for north korea. kim jong-un now in vietnam, like north korea, a communist state. but while north korea closed its doors to much of the world, vietnam has opened its doors. >> vietnam has since the end of the war tried to reach out to other countries for investment >> reporter: decades ago, america fought in vietnam to stop the tide of communism. >> automatically we assumed that south vietnam would become communist. laos and cambodia would become communist. thailand was next. >> it didn't turn out like either side imagined. communism prevailed here, but so did capitalism. today vietnam is a global trading partner.
its economy growing and most critical, it's now on friendly terms with the united states. the u.s. hoping kim jong-un will see it as something to aspire to. will this be held up as an example of what could be? >> of course it should be quite appealing. you just look around. 25 years ago, this was a kind of moldering city, right? and now it's just very dynamic >> reporter: vietnam naturally holds a great deal of symbolism to the united states as well. as a reminder of the potential toll of foreign military adventures. in fact, just steps where trump and kim will meet -- >> it was forgotten for a very, very long time. >> reporter: a hotel stairway leads to a rediscovered bomb shelter that shielded staff and guests, including jane fonda from american air raids in the '70s. >> we are approximately four meters under the ground now. >> reporter: vietnam has for the most part put its own painful past behind it, and it could be
the biggest early beneficiary of the trump/kim summit. >> for the vietnamese government, this is a moment to showcase their achievements. of course it brings more trade and investment, but it also gives them more diplomatic prestige. >> reporter: before turning his attention to the summit, president trump has a meeting tomorrow with vietnam's president and prime minister. and just ahead, the growing mystery at one of the nation's premier racetracks. and the big announcement about the star of that super bowl commercial. a young woman making history on the football field, when we come back.
next tonight, the growing mystery that has shut down one of the country's best known race tracks. here's miguel almaguer. >> what a horse! >> reporter: tonight one of the most famed racetracks in the nation, santa anita is temporarily closed. the sudden shutdown comes after 19 horses in just two months died here. the alarming increase in fatalities comes without clear explanation.
>> incidents like these are not due to a single factor but a combination of multiple factors. >> reporter: with track surface testing under way, officials at santa anita say they are conducting a thorough investigation. the course was swamped with 11 1/2 inches of rain and near record cold temperatures. it's not clear if weather played any role in hardening the soil. staff here are peeling back five inches of the track to take a look. >> any time you lose a horse it's not easy. >> justify, another exhilarating exhibition. >> reporter: home to colts like triple crown winner justify and where the movie "seabiscuit" was filmed, santa anita is steeped in history, and now tonight also mystery. miguel almaguer, nbc news, arcadia. next tonight, the star of that popular super bowl ad and her game-changing announcement.
ad who is making history. our joe fryer has her big announcement. >> reporter: as a football player, toni harris makes a habit of tackling naysayers. >> knees up. >> i think my biggest pet peeve is people telling me that i can't. so i have to prove them wrong. >> reporter: did anyone tell you you're a girl, you can't play? >> of course. as a kid, when i was on a leg league, i got kicked off. when i was in middle school, i got kicked off. >> reporter: yet she bounced back and proved them wrong, even when she got ovarian cancer at age 18. >> i don't let anything stop me. i do not take no for an answer, also. >> reporter: her drive is so strong, toni was picked to star in a super bowl ad for toyota. >> people have made a lot of assumptions about toni. >> but i've never been a big fan of assumptions. >> reporter: now, after two years of playing free safety at east l.a. college, a community college team, toni has received scholarship offers from six schools, and today -- >> central methodist university. >> reporter: announced her pick,
though leaving l.a. won't be easy. >> for them to believe in me and give me a chance is an honor. >> reporter: what's your dream moving forward? >> my dream moving forward is to become the first female nfl player. sorry. i can't stop smiling when i say that. >> reporter: why? why do you smile when you say that? >> i don't know. it makes my heart happy. >> reporter: happy, because no one is blocking toni's dreams. joe fryer, nbc news, los angeles. >> nothing stopping her. great story. and we're back with more from here in vietnam in just a moment. more
heavy rain across the north bay. we're tracking the flood threats, plus where evacuation orders have already been issued. that's next at 6:00. we'll be following a lot of breaking news in the hours ahead. we'll be back on the air to cover all of it. our special coverage of the summit between president trump and kim jong-uar 6:00 a.m. hour eastern time, then beginning at 10:00 eastern,
michael cohen testifies before congress. for now, that's "nightly news" from hanoi. have a good night, everyone.be . the area in san jose that has city leaders concerned right now at 6:00, be prepared for a flash flood. the area in san jose that has city leaders concerned tonight. also, a highway covered in mud. the landslide hitting a north bay community. but first, we're keeping an eye on the local rivers rising, prompting mandatory evacuations. the news at 6:00 starts right now. good evening, everyone. i'm jessica aguirre. >> and i'm jeff ranneer. >> and i'm raj mathai. there's a lot happening this hour and there are a lot of people evacuating their homes and closing their businesses, and this is just the beginning. let's look at the small community of monte rio near erlarspot, especially in the summer, right analytic the russian river, but it's a different story right now.
this mudslide onto the bohemian highway. that highway is closed. the russian river has reached flood stage. evacuation orders are in effect for 25 communities along the river. let's take a look at the map of the areas impacted. there are a lot of small communities here. that includes guerneville, where the town is being told it might experience its worst flooding in 20 years. another river that we're keeping a close eye on, the napa river, expected to reach flood stage within the next few hours. we have a team of reporters across the flood zone, which also includes san jose. let's begin, though, in studio, send it back to jfth russian ri flood stage tomorrow, 10:00 p.m., 46 feet. that's the magic number. >> yeah, that's considered a major flood, andt'