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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  March 14, 2019 5:30pm-5:59pm PDT

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thank you so much for holt s next. >> we'll be back at 6:00, see you then. breaking news tonight. the black boxes from that deadly plane crash have arrived in france to be analyzed. a race to reveal their critical clues as investigators now believe there's evidence that two overseas air disasters may be related. new fallout in that massive college admissions scandal. the first lawsuits filed as hallmark tonight fires lori loughlin, one of its biggest stars, and sephora cuts ties with her daughter. a bomb cyclone spawning tornadoes, carving a path of destruction. >> you can see the tornado right here, it's right here. >> oh my god! >> and tonight, major floods and snow. a triple threat all from the same massive system. a stinging rebuke.
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a dozen senate republicans joining democrats to reject president trump's national emergency declaration to get money for his wall. the president vowing his first veto. it's beto mania in iowa. the rising democratic star jumps into the race for president and faces tough questions. a brazen murder mystery. a reputed mob boss, police sources say a leader in the gambino crime family, gunned down in front of his home. a shocking close call caught on camera. a plane careening out of control, nearly colliding with a truck on the highway. amazingly everyone survived. a big food safety alert. the big recall tonight from butterball. >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening, and welcome to our viewers in the west. four days after that mysterious plane disaster in ethiopia, the doomed plane's blk xes have arrived in france where they'll be read for the first time, raising hopes we may know soon whether a design issue with the boeing 737 max could have contributed to
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the crash, and one five months ago in asia. tonight the max, the company's newest 737 models, remain grounded worldwide as critical new evidence in the latest crash emerges. while airline operators of the max and their customers are facing potentially weeks of flight disruptions. tom costello again tonight leads our coverage. >> reporter: at airports nationwide today, every 737 max sat out the day after one last nonpassenger trip. without the max in their fleet, southwest had to cancel 39 flights, american 85. 20,000 passengers potentially affected. >> when i heard that it was canceled, oh, great, you know. we're going to still be able to get on a plane but a different plane that should be safer. >> reporter: meanwhile in paris, investigators have now received the black boxes, badly damaged, from the ethiopian airliner that crashed. ethiopia chose france as a neutral third-party since boeing is an american company. the faa says there aresimilari lion air max 8 crash
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in indonesia last october. satellite data shows that plane experienced erratic vertical speed readings after taking off, up and down for seven minutes, climbing at 1,500 feet per minute, then descending at 1,500 feet per minute. data from the ethiopian plane is similar, up and down, then up again over a very volatile two minutes. the faa also says it found new evidence in the ethiopian wreckage. investigators looking closely now at the position of the jackscrew that moves the stabilizer on the tail which could indicate if the nose of the plane was being forced down, much like lion air. >> the flight recorder and the cockpit voice recorder data is absolutely critical to understanding what happened in ethiopia, and if there is commonality with the lion air tragedy. >> reporter: still, the faa remains under fire for only grounding the plane after every other country in the world acted first. did your close relationship with boeing and with the airlines in any way
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lead you to delay the decision to nd we're linked to them for safety. 100%, we're linked to them for safety. and that's the conversations that i had with boeing and with the cr since sunday. but other than that, there is no linkage. >> reporter: meanwhile, at the crash scene, anguished families gathered again today to remember the 157 lives lost. >> tom joins us now. tom, those flight recorders you showed in that story look pretty beat up. how long will it take investigators to analyze what's on those boxes, and how long before those planes could fly again, potentially? >> reporter: we simply don't know. ntsb has three investigators arriving in paris tomorrow. they will assist the french in the investigation. they want to be very careful opening those black boxes because they athey don't want to ruin any data. but i got to tell you, i've talked to a lot of experts who say going through all of this data and then deciding what the cause may be and looking at a potential fix could take months, which means those planes could sit idle for months. some airlines are
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talking about sending boeing a bill for their planes sitting idle. boeing, meanwhile, announced today it is pausing deliveries of all new maxes to airlines out there. >> all right, tom, thank you. there is a torrent of new fallout late today in that massive college admissions scandal ensnaring dozens of this country's rich, famous, and powerful. the first lawsuits are being filed and separately hallmark says it's cutting ties with lori loughlin, one of its biggest stars. we get details from nbc's miguel almaguer. >> reporter: tonight new fallout. from the massive college cheating scam. actress lori loughlin dumped today by the hallmark channel after being accused of paying $500,000 in bribes to get her daughters into usc. >> highlight palette with sephora collection. >> rte youtube star olivia jade, was also dropped today by cosmetic company sephora. as the scandal unfolded the freshman happened to be in the bahamas on this yacht
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owned by billionaire rick caruso, the usc board of trustees chairman. >> she doesn't even need college. to find out she's paying to get into a selective school she doesn't even want to go to? it's kind of irritating. >> reporter: with youtd outrage growing, a lawsuit filed today comes from a student at stanford university. kyliyah wood says her degree from the prestigious college won't be worth as much as it was before cheating scandal. suing the eight universities involved and william singer, the alleged mastermind behind the scheme, wood says she never knew the admissions system was an unfair, rigged process in which parents could buy their way into the university through bribery and dishonest schemes. it could become a class action suit involving more than 1 million students. >> i'm jane buckingham. >> reporter: among those indicted tv career coach jane buckingham who isn't camera shy but has made no comment. last may on instagram she wrote, don't cheat, apply it to all aspects of life.
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about a month later, prosecutors say she agreed to pay a harvard grad $50,000 to take the a.c.t. test for her son. tonight investigators fear nearly 800 parents with deep pockets tried to cheat the system. perhaps a disturbing lesson on the real price of higher education. for some of the ultra-rich and famous. miguel almaguer, nbc news, los angeles. tonight millions are on alert from a massive storm system stretching across much of the country. that same system that prompted blizzard warnings now also spawning tornados and triggering major floods. we'll get details on the triple threat from nbc's gabe gutierrez. >> that's a funnel cloud, bro. >> reporter: this tornado in west paducah one of several slicing through kentucky today. >> spun my c head down and covered my head and just kind of prayed for the best. >> reporter: the twister tore the roof off this church and
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damaged this preschool with about 40 children inside. >> we took all the kids from the nursery, played games, kept them distracted. >> reporter: all escaped safely. >> the almighty hand of god has provided safety to our community and these children. >> reporter: the severe weather part of a massive system known as a bomb cyclone, also bringing flooding to the midwest where roads have turned into rivers, rising creeks cutting off towns and forcing evacuations in nebraska. >> oh my goodness! >> reporter: in 24 hours the national weather service logged about 350 wind gusts reports of more than 50 miles an hour. cancelations and delays building at airports across the country. denver withstood punishing blizzard conditions for six straight hours. in minnesota the roof of this barn collapsed under the weight of all that snow. >> snow and water in general weighs roughly eight pounds per gallon. >> reporter: while in texas -- >> oh my god. threatening more news. we turn to a major legal decision today. the connecticut supreme court ruled sandy hook families can sue remington for
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how it marketed the ar-15 style rifle used in the school shooting that killed 20 children and six educators. the lawsuit challenges federal laws protecting gunmakers from legal action if their firearms are used in a crime. on capitol hill today a rare act of defiance from the republican-led senate voting to undo president trump's declaration of a national emergency along the mexican border. 12 republicans joined democrats in the 59-41 rebuke of the president's plan to use emergency powers to fund a border wall. all this ratcheting up a power struggle over control of the government's pursestrings. hallie jackson now with late details. >> yeas are 59. >> reporter: a republican rebellion tonight, an embarrassing blow to president trump on his signature issue. 12 senators in his own party joining with democrats to try to block the national emergency he declared to get more money for the border wall he wants. >> the joint resolution is passed. >> reporter: for
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republicans it's about reining in unfettered presidential power and swinging the pendulum ba t about the banccoreo our constitution. this is not about the president or about border security. >> no president's ever used what's called the national emergencies act in this way. >> i think that we can be very supportive of border security and the president's priorities without ceding our authorities under the constitution. >> reporter: still, for all the talk, there's no teeth since the resolution's set to die on the president's desk with a, as he put it, veto. for the first time ever president trump will be forced to use something congress wants, since there aren't enough votes to override him. prident also t matter previewing a 2020 strategy. fire up his base by arguing he's fighting the establishment on border security. >> and i think it's going to be a great election issue. >> hallie joins us now. hallie, does this say anything about the president's hold on the republican party?
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>> reporter: yeah, lester, it does, right? it says it's not a rock-solid grip on some of these republicans who are really sending a warning now that they want a check on executive power. but keep this in mind, the president still has a lot of sway with republican lawmakers looking at, for example, their re-elections in 2020. remember, he's really popular with republican voters. the president has an approval rating with that group close to 90%, lester. >> all right, hallie, thank you. there's a new contender hoping to take on president trump in 2020. beto o'rourke, who gained national attention with his unsuccessful texas senate bid last year. officially jumped into the crowded democratic field today. our kristen welker has details. >> reporter: a big bet tonight from beto o'rourke, the former texas congressman in iowa calling for unity. >> we're all americans and we're all human everything we do country, and for every generation that follows. this is democracy. >> reporter: after making it official on social media this
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morning. >> i'm running to serve you as the next president of the united states of america. >> reporter: nbc's garrett haake in iowa. >> what do you uniquely bring to the table? >> we're able to put texas in play. frankly for the next nominee, 38 electoral votes in play. >> reporter: the 46-year-old father of three lost that senate race to republican ted cruz. still, he became a darling of the democratic party with his grassroots fund-raising and those massive crowds. during the campaign, o'rourke talking about texas with lester. >>bv up to be counted. >> reporter: but critics question o'rourke's readiness r he had few accomplishments during six years in congress and has struggled on policy questions. asked recently about a major immigration issue, what to do about people who overstay their visas, owed your telling o'rourke telling "the washington post," "i don't know."
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although it's something else getting president trump's attention. >> your reaction to beto o'rourke's announcement today? >> i think he's got a lot of hand movement, i've never seen so much hand movement. is he crazy or is that just the way he acts? >> reporter: since his announcement o'rourke's campaign says he's raised money in all 50 states. lester? >> kristen, thank you. in chicago today cameras were in the courtroom when actor jussie smollett plde16 felony charges. the "empire" star is accused of staging a racist and homophobic attack in january to e ba in court in april. in new york city a murder mystery unlike anything we've seen since the 1980s. a reputed mob boss from the gambino crime family gunned down outside his home, a shocking and brazen hit. now the hunt is on for his killer. here's nbc's anne thompson. >> reporter: this suv with bloody handprints is where authorities say francesco "frankie boy" cali tried to hide while being shot at least six times outside his house last night. >> units respond to shots fired. >> confirmed male shot. >> reporter: the brazen crime caught on surveillance video, starting authorities
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say when cali's suv was rammed by a pickup truck. >> his car is involved in an accident with the individual that winds up shooting him. >> reporter: cali, police sources say, was a leader in the gambino crime family. left to die as a blue pickup truck fled. >> mafia was in his dna. >> reporter: selwyn raab wrote about the new york underworld's five families. does the nature of theho did ing,t was done so viciously that a bullet in the back e do more. of the head. >> reporter: it's been more than three decades since the last mob boss was assassinated. paul castellano of the gambino family, a hit organized by the flamboyant crime boss john gotti, the so-called dapper don. cali was the complete opposite say workers at his staten island neighborhood deli. >> he didn't come in and say, i'm the boss of a mafia family. he came in and said, i want an egg sandwich.
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>> reporter: he served 16 months for a conspiracy. what does frank cali's death mark? >> it marks -- cali's death obviously marks the end of an era of peace and harmony. >> reporter: now the question is, what does it start? anne thompson, nbc news, new york. this evening there is a food safety alert to tell you about. butterball is recalling nearly 80,000 pounds of y salmonella cases. the products being recalled have establishment number mark of inspection, and a sell or freeze by date of july 26, 2018. we've put more information for you on our facebook page. just ahead as we continue tonight, the highway of the future. take a ride in one of the new semi trucks driven by robots. the terrifying near-miss on the road caught on camera. the teen who beat the odds. why so many colleges are competing over him. stay with us.
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next for us tonight, the future is here. you've heard of self-driving cars. now robotic semi trucks could be coming soon to a highway near you and in your rear-view mirror. our gadi schwartz takes us along for the ride. >> reporter: it's 2019. the truck driver of the future is a female robot. >> she can talk. >> reporter: rumbling down the road at 65 miles an hour you'd never know it. a computer is actually in the driver's seat. this technology created by a company called too simple relies on a minimum of nine cameras, five radars, two laser radars to read the and there is a safety driver, safety engineer, in here with us but you can see, no one's touching the wheel, no one's touching the brakes. how does too simple work? >> we're tracking objects 360 degrees around the vehicle, out to over half a mile in front of the vehicle. >> reporter: currently the autonomous trucking industry has no federal regulation. it's a state by state issue. we're in arizona where this program is being piloted. now watch as the truck gets to work
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attempting a complex merge onto the highway. all right, the moment of truth. >> can we make this turn? >> reporter: the cameras and sensors all warning about construction on the shoulder. >> a little nervous. but within seconds -- >> wow. and we're on the highway. >> we're on the highway. >> wow. and no one touched a wheel. >> no one has touched the wheel yet. >> reporter: the company saying it's making the roads a lot safer for everyone. >> this truck doesn't text. this truck doesn't fall asleep. this truck is never distracted. >> reporter: too simple already cks.rating fius t they're not alone. the industry is already getting crowded. tesla, weymo, and possibly even amazon taking tapping my h out f i wor imaginary brake during that story. amazing. coming up, the close call you have to see to believe. and how one man's phone saved his life.
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take a look at these amazing images of a life-saving smartphone. police in australia
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say a man raised it to snap a picture of an attacker with a bow, and his phone stopped the arrow. the suspect was arrested. another close call. a plane careening out of control, nearly clobbering a truck on the highway. kevin tibbles has that story. >> reporter: a close call for all as a small plane swoops across a roadway just breathtakingly close to a tow truck and crashing into a nearby field. >> the part that that aircraft wasn't involved with a collision with a vehicle coming through here is quite amazing. >> reporter: police say the single engine cirrus sr20 hatraistng flight with an instructor and student on board, practicing takeoffs and landings. >> standard maneuver, but in this case something went wrong. >> reporter: you can see the wing scraped the pavement. while the plane was extensively damaged, its occupants walked away with only minor injuries. as for the tow truck driver, after his lucky miss he went out and bought a few lottery tickets. kevin tibbles, nbc news.
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up next, from homeless to hopeful. a college-bound teen's inspiring story. and how did he
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pay him millions. we )ve dig into the man at the center of the college admissions scandal. >> so who is he and how did he get parents to pay him million dollars of dollars. we digo aission scandal. >> and the east bay to san francisco is no quick trip. the new service that could take you across the bay faster, next. in a week dominated by a college cheating headline, a story tonight about an inspiring teen doing it the right way to achieve his academic dreams. our kathy park has his story. >> reporter: dylan chiddick has a tough decision to make. the high school senior is choosing between not one but 17 colleges. were you excited each time you received one? >> yes. it was really exciting for me. >> reporter: it's the kind of opportunity this new jersey teenager never expected. dylan moved from trinidad to new jersey when he was 7, raised by a single mom. there were many challenges.
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his younger twin brothers have a serious heart condition, and the family struggled with homelessness. >> we're in a shelter for about four months. >> reporter: those hardships turned into hard work, motivating him in the classroom. >> they can take away your job or your money, but the knowledge that you have in your brain, nobody can ever take that away. >> reporter: the honors student will be the first in his family to attend college. >> words can't describe. words can't describe. i'm ecstatic. >> reporter: while we were with dylan he got even more good news. after hearing his story, strangers decided to pitch in and help pay for college. >> full tuition and room and board? >> that's what he's saying. >> reporter: even though the odds were against him. >> oh, thank you so much! >> reporter: the numbers are now in his favor. perseverance paying off. kathy park, nbc news, jersey city, new jersey. >> and believe it or not the acceptance letters are still coming in. congratulations to dylan. that's "nightly news." i'm lester holt. as the evening commute gets
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busier and busier, one east bay city is thinking about dealing with it, by right now at 6:00, as the evening commute gets busier and busier, one east bay sit is thinking about -- east bay city is thinking aboutng ferry. >> and thieves getting away from stealing clothes. why are they getting away with it. >> and the man admsion scandal. we talk with someone who knows him to find out more about the growing case. good evening. thanks for joining us, i'm jessica aguirre. >> and i'm vicky nguyen in for raj mathai. we're tracking developments on the college admission scandal. today silicon valley cpg fired the ceo because of his involvement. >> and we're tracking the doo--e demand from parents and student in the case. and we're learning about the man in the certainty -- at the center of it all.
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rick budman. >> and we're here to see what he knew about the actions a long time. >> rick singer could go to prison for 65 years and pay a fine of more than a million dollars. we know a little more about how he was able to convince parents to part with so much money to get kid news college. >> i understand the stress that college process can ande was ju over the top guidance counselor. >> reporter: john rider worked in the stanforddm

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