tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC February 28, 2019 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
it's going to be tough to get up there. more rain for the bay area saturday >> lester holt lester holt joins us next from vietnam. >> hope to see you back here at 6:00. bye, folks. this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt reporting tonight from hanoi, vietnam. >> good evening from hanoi where that high-stakes summit between president trump and kim jong-un ended abruptly with no agreement. the president saying he had to walk away because the north korean dictator was asking for too much. we'll have late details from vietnam in a moment. but we start with breaking news. a new report president trump overruled his own white house officials and ordered a top security clearance for jared kushner. the president has previously said he had no role in kushner getting a clearance. let's go straight to kristen welker in washington. kiss kiss ten, what can you tell us about all of this? >> that explosive new report says despite
concerns from intelligence officials and the top lawyer at the white house, president trump ordered his chief of staff to grant his senior adviser and son-in-law, jared kushner, a top security clearance. "the new york times" cites four unnamed people briefed on the matter. it comes after nbc news reported kushner's application for top secret clearance was rejected by two career white house security specialists after an fbi background check raised concerns about potential foreign influence on him. but their supervisor overruled the recommendations according to two sources familiar with the matter. tonight, the white house says they don't comment on security clearances. lester? >> all right. kristen, thank you. here in hanoi the diplomatic courtship between president trump and kim jong-un hit the rocks in dramatic fashion when the president walked away from talks about north korea's nuclear program, departing hanoi earlier than planned. the u.s. tonight appearing at least for now to accept the status quo, north korea as a nuclear power. after the handshakes and the photo ops, the table set for today's
lunch left empty. the president who prides himself on deal-making walking away. >> it was a very productive two days but sometimes you have to walk. and this was just one of those times. >> reporter: the dramatic collapse in the talks after the president says kim jong-un asked for too much, saying the north korean dictator was willing to dismantle the north's largest nuclear complex, but not to take any further steps until the u.s. removed all the painful economic sanctions. >> this was very friendly. we shook hands. i could have 100% signed something today. we actually had papers ready to be signed. but it just wasn't appropriate. i want to do it right. i'd much rather do it right than do it fast. >> reporter: the north koreans tonight insisting they were asking car fentanyl the president's move, meantime, getting praise back home from some democrats. >> if the president and the team there did not think we were likely to get something good, it's good that we didn't give up anything. >> reporter: still,
after two summits, there's little to show for it beyond repatriating the remains of u.s. soldiers from the korean war. today the reclusive dictator in a rare exchange with reporters was asked if he was really willing to denuclearlize. answering through his translator -- >> translator: if i'm not willing to do that, i won't be here right now. >> that's a good answer. wow. that might be the best answer you've ever heard. >> and there is a backlash tonight over the president's defense of kim jong-un in connection with the death of otto warmbier, the american student who was imprisoned by north korea and died soon after his release. our hallie jackson explains. >> reporter: ton rtisan backla >> don't think that the top leadership knew about it. >> reporter: president trump accepting kim jong-un's claim he was unaware of the torture of otto warmbier, the american student who was returned to the
u.s. in a coma and died after 17 months in a north korean prison. >> he tells me that he didn't know about it. and i will take him at his word. >> reporter: hardly anyone else takes kim at his word. >> the blood of otto warmbier is on the hands of kim jong-un. >> we shouldn't be naive about this regime. >> the love affair, love letters, of kim jong-un, our national reputation is being tarnished. >> reporter: it's not the first time the president has seemed willing to take the word of strongmen, like after the death of journalist jamal khashoggi, and on the issue of russian election interference. >> i will tell you that president putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today. >> reporter: to the warmbier family, it's obvious, as they wrote announcing t north korean government, kim and his regime have portrayed themselves as innocent while they tedestroyed our son's life. fred warmbier last year with lester made clear who he blames. >> i'm the voice of otto because he can't be here. that was taken away from him by kim and his regime.
>> hallie joins us here now live. what reaction are we getting from otto warmbier's parents? >> nothing today. the warmbier family did not respond to our request for comment. but i'll tell you, lester, today the north koreans held this surprise and rare news conference. and when i tried to ask about warmbier and the regime's human rights abuses, officials refused to engage on any of those questions, lester. >> hallie jackson, thank you. meanwhile the president's former lawyer, michael cohen, was back on capitol hill, completing three days of testimony. this time behind closed doors. but what he said in public yesterday drawing a strong reaction from presidprosecutors in new york. we have two reports. let's start with kasie hunt. >> reporter: tonight president trump slamming democrats for that dramatic split-screen moment. michael cohen ying during his >> i think having a fake hearing like that and having it in the middle of this very important summit is
really a terrible thing. >> reporter: in his 7 1/2 hour testimony, cohen unleashing an array of accusations. >> he is a racist. he is a con man. and he is a cheat. >> reporter: but it was this comment the president seized on, cohen saying he had no evidence of collusion. >> i do not. and i want to be clear. but i have my suspicions. >> he lied a lot. but it was very interesting because he didn't lie about one thing. he said, no collusion with the russian hoax. >> reporter: today republicans blasting cohen's credibility, since he's going to prison for lying to congress. >> on the collusion question, i think he did not advance the cause at all. >> reporter: while democrats say it's just the beginning of their investigations. >> plainly he laid out a roadmap to criminality committed by the president. >> reporter: the president returning from vietnam to new pressures at home. kasie hunt, nbc news, the capitol.
this is pete williams. robert mueller is nearly done, but michael cohen is now saying publicly what law enforcement federal prosecutors in new york are actively investigating donald trump's conduct as a businessman, as well as his early days in the white house. cohen says they're looking at what trump and his aides said to him after the fbi searched his office last year. >> this topic is actually something that's being investigated right now by the southern district of new york, and i've been asked by them not to discuss it. >> reporter: his testimony raised new questions about trump financial statements suggesting possible bank fraud when mr. trump overstated his assets to get more favorable treatment from banks, but understated his company's wealth to get lower taxes. and they're examining the hush money payments to two women. cohen says president trump was personally th while . he raised questions about trump's use of charity money to buy
this portrait for himself. officials say helped pay for t trump inauguration. these investigations are under way even though justice department regulations say a sitting president cannot be indicted. >> they cannot charge a sitting president. but that doesn't mean that they can't continue to investigate. all sitting presidents become former presidents at some point. >> reporter: and there's word tonight that the white house intelligence committee plans to call alan weisselberg, the trump organization's chief financial officer. pete williams, nbc news, washington. more breaking news tonight. it involves a scandal rocking a close american ally. prosecutors say they intend to indict the israeli prime minister for alleged crimes including bribery and details now from the region. >> reporter: tonight israel's prime minister appeared to choke up, defending himself against charges he says were cooked up by his enemies. "they're spilling my wife's blood, they're
persecuting my sons, they brought my family through the seven circles of hell," he said. just hours earlier the attorney general announced he plans to indict netanyahu for fraud, bribery, and breach of trust. police accuse netanyahu of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts, including cigars, champagne, jewelry, and flattering media coverage, in exchange for backing legislation to help wealthy businessmen. president trump, an ardent supporter, defended netanyahu. >> i can say this. that he's done a great job as prime minister. he's tough. he's smart. he's strong. >> reporter: but how strong will now be tested, with elections in just 40 days. if the case goes ahead, netanyahu would be the first sitting israeli prime minister to be indicted. lester? >> richard engel, thank you. back at home, there are concerns tonight for actor luke perry, the "90210" and "riverdale" star hospitalized after suffering a reported
possible stroke at the age of just 52. strokes striking more americans at younger ages. we get more on that from nbc's morgan chesky. ♪ >> reporter: he broke hearts on one of the biggest shows of the '90s, turning troubled teen dylan mckay into a pop culture icon on "beverly hills: 90210." >> come on. >> where we going? >> field trip. >> reporter: but tonight heartbreaking news for actor luke perry. paramedics racing to his neighborhood wednesday morning responding to a call about a stroke. >> need a rescue 78, stroke. >> reporter: tonight a spokesman wouldn't confirm the 52-year-old had a stroke but said he is under observation at the hospital. at perry's age a stroke is unusual but not unheard of. the cdc says one-third of all patients are under age 65. >> a stroke can happen to anybody, anywhere, any time. to ve family history.
you don't even have to have many risk factors. >> you stopping by the site later? >> reporter: most recently perry starred on the hit cw show "riverdale." just yesterday news broke of a "beverly hills: 90210" reboot, tonight his former costars sending heartfelt messages. shannen doherty sending a hug from the show, saying my friend, holding you tight and giving you my strength, you got this. >> i can't tell you what else i'm thinking because your parents are in the room. >> reporter: perry has yet to sign on to the new project, leaving friends and fans praying for his health and a return to the role that made him a star. morgan chesky, nbc news, los angeles. let's turn now to the growing flood emergency in northern california, turning deadly as waters rage and entire neighborhoods are cut off. our joe friar is there for us tonight. n river has turned guerneville into an isolated island, leaving hundreds stranded, including david youngburg. he has more than four feet of water in his home. >> every inch that the river goes up, you're wondering what you're going to lose next. >> reporter: so far
dozens have been rescued. in sebastopol, john stewart is starting to clean up his restaurant. >> the water was halfway up this road when we got here and it just kept pushing and it just didn't stop. >> reporter: here in forestville you would typically see a vineyard behind me. instead all you see is an overflowing river. in fact, the riverbank is supposed to be where those trees are hundreds of yards away. tonight, though, the river is slowly receding. lester? >> all right. thank you, joe. tonight the feds are taking action over a situation still frustrating passengers left trapped in planes, stuck on the tarmac for far too long. miguel almaguer with details on the airlines being punished. >> ror lengthy tarmac delays at u.s. airports, tonight the u.s. department of transportation has fined american airlines $1 million and delta $750,000 for violating federal rules. >> it says, airlines, you are responsible
and accountable to your passengers for their experience. >> reporter: the hefty fines come after investigators cited more than 20 flights over several years where passengers were forced to wait on planes for hours. >> nobody likes to be on the tarmac for an extensive period of time. >> reporter: though delays on tarmacs can be common -- >> we do apologize for the situation. >> reporter: -- the department of transportation rules say airlines cannot keep domestic passengers waiting on the tarmac for more than three hours without giving them an opportunity to deplane. tonight, a fine meant to send a message. >> miguel joining us now. what do the airlines say about the big fines levied today? >> lester, both american and delta say they've apologized to their customers and also compensated them. it's one reason why both airlines are only paying a fraction of the fines. lester? >> all right. miguel, thank you. in florida, new england patriots owner robert kraft has pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor charges of soliciting prostitution.
they are linked to two alleged visits by kraft to a massage parlor last month, including one just before the super bowl. kraft's lawyer requested a nonjury trial. just ahead, think you can catch up on your sleep over the weekends? the new wake-up call tonight. the controversy at walmart over replacing the greeters we've all come to know. i'll talk with some americans here in vietnam on why they felt it was so important to come back.
we're back now with something far too many people can relate to, being sleep deprived. doctors tonight say if your strategy is to catch up on sleep over the weekend, that could be even worse for your health. here's stephanie gosk. >> reporter: monday to friday, it's go, go, go. no time to stop and no time to sleep. we tell ourselves, sleep is for the weekend. but a new study shows those extra hours on saturday and sunday, as good as they may feel, don't repair the damage done during the week. >> sleep loss can't be sleep gained. the younger you are,
you're more likely to recover much sooner. as you grow older in your 40s and your 50s, it will tyke a lot more time to recover. >> reporter: people who don't sleep enough eat too much. the lure of late-night ice cream and potato chips too hard to resist because lack of sleep messes with hunger hormones. it also disrupts the body's ability to regulate sugar, leading to diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. worried? rest easy. it's a simple fix. put the pajamas on, the chips away, and just go to bed. stephanie gosk, nbc news, new york. we're back with a big change at walmart triggering backlash tonight.
a new report out tonight says the number of pedestrians killed in the united states rose to the highest level since 1990, to more than 6,200. the governors highway safety association cited people distracted by their smartphones and america's love affair with suvs, which can be more deadly when they hit pedestrians. they're seen by everyone who walks in the doors of america's biggest retailer. tonight, outrage over walmart's decision to eliminate the greeter position often held by the elderly or people with disabilities. here's tammy leitner. >> reporter: for 17 years, jay melton has greeted customers at his north carolina walmart with that famous phrase. >> welcome to walmart. >> reporter: but he's one of many losing his job as walmart phases out the popular blue-vested greeters nationwide. many of those walmart greeters are elderly or have disabilities. for them it's a way to make money and also be part of a community. >> it's good to feel welcome. >> reporter: the chain's replacing the position with customer
hosts who will greet employees, but the job will also require them to be able to lift 25 pounds and climb ladders. >> it's perfectly evident if you're in a wheelchair, you cannot climb a ladder. >> reporter: across the country customers blasted walmart over the move, even signing petitions. >> it's not right. >> reporter: walmart initially gave greeters 60 days to transition into other roles, but extended that deadline for greeters with disabilities, allowing more time to explore the circumstances and potential accommodations. >> i'd love to be at walmart as long as i can. >> reporter: tammy leitner, nbc news, miami. up next, in our "those who serve" report, the search for peace. american veterans returning to vietnam. he lost hp
finally tonight, from vietnam, the unfinished business that still brings american war veterans here decades after the end of the conflict. like many who served here, we started our journey to vietnam in da nang to understand what brings them back. five minutes from the resort hotels looking out across the east sea, relics and captured hardware from the war, the american war as they call it here, are displayed at a military museum. this is an american-built huey helicopter. it was operated by the south vietnamese army. it's one of the few reminders of the past you will see in da nang, once a critical hub for u.s. forces. yet it is vietnam's past that brought david clark back, who served here as a marine from 1968 to '69. >> i was just so glad to get out of here alive, i never wanted to come back. >> reporter: but he did, more than once.
now he calls da nang home. >> when i go back to united states, the vietnam war does haunt me every day and every night. but when i'm in vietnam, the american war's been over for 45 years. they're at peace here in vietnam. and i find peace here in vietnam. >> in 1965, the first wave of american combat troops waded ashore here on the beaches of da nang. 50 years later this country still beckons many american war veterans. this time, however, they're answering a different call. >> where were we at yesterday? >> reporter: clark frequently welcomes visiting vets, each searching for their own peace. jay magner and dave johannes here to remember a pair of comrades on the anniversary of their deaths in a vicious firefight. >> we had a ceremony yesterday at the base of hill 65 where the skirmish occurred. >> reporter: johannes suffers from ptsd. was this difficult for >> reporter: vietnam
lost millions of civilians and fighters in the war, but with more than half its population born after the conflict, it has largely moved on. still, american vets like david clark have found their emotional healing in giving back, serving in organizations that helped this country recover from physical scars of the war. >> you know, i just -- it's my way of making amends to the vietnamese people. >> and on a personal note, da nang is the place my father served as an air force rgea. powerful to see with my own eyes. he's happy to see me here tonight. that's "nightly news." r all of us at nbc news, thanks for watching and good night.
right now at 6:00, it's finally here, a more affordable tesla. but that's not the only big change the palo alto company announced today. plus -- >> she like those beaches. >> his girlfriend is presumed dead in san francisco. tonight, we have the exclusive interview as the recovery effort for her body continues. the water is receding, but the emergency is not over. parts of the north bay are still under water. residents survey the damage for the first time. the news at 6:00 starts right now. good thursday evening. thank you for joining us. i'm janelle wang in for jessica
aguirre. >> i'm raj mathai. guerneville remains under water and there are a lot of problems for many local towns. >> about 2,000 buildings have flooded our sky ranger was overhead giving us a bird's eye view. much better than 24 hours ago, but you can see much of the area still under water. it will be weeks, not months, for it to dry out. >> we begin with nbc bay area's jodi hernandez in forestville. you were there yesterday in that exact same spot. how much has it changed? >> reporter: raj, it has changed dramatically. i'm actually standing on a road that i had to tour aboard a boat yesterday afternoon. those cars you see behind us were completely covered with water yesterday afternoon. while there's still a lot of water out here