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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  March 24, 2019 5:30pm-5:59pm PDT

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highs into the 50. >> next weekend? >> sunshine. >> movies tomorrow. santa cruz next weekend. >> and back at 6:00. >> see you then. ♪ breaking news tonight. our first look at the special counsel's investigation. the mueller report finding no evidence that the president or his campaign conspired with russia and drawing no conclusion on whether the president tried to obstruct justice leaving that up to the attorney general who found the evidence is not sufficient. >> there was no obstruction and none whatsoever and it was a complete and total exoneration. comes next?t a total >> a cruise ship stranded in rough waters off norway is finally back at port. >> it's very, very scary. very frightening. >> another passenger saying it felt like the titanic. new details on the daring
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rescue. a community on edge after that massive chemical fire in texas. residents demanding to know if their health is at risk and trouble on the roadways. two massive pile-ups, one involving 30 cars causing chaos and leaving dozens injured. this is nbc "nightly news" with kate snow. good evening. for 22 months special counsel robert muler and his team have worked in extreme secrecy closely guarding their investigation into russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. tonight, we finally know the principal conclusions. mueller's report finds the trump campaign did not help the russians meddle in the election and based on the evidence from mueller's team the justice department has concluded president trump cannot be indicted for obstruction of justice. democrats were quick to point out mueller says his report does not exonerate the president, but that's exactly what the president claimed as he left florida late today.
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we have full coverage tonight. let's start with pete williams at the justice department. >> pete, good evening. >> kate, good evening. late today william barr, the attorney general, sent congress this four-page letter outlining the key findings of robert mueller's investigation and on the question of whether the president obstructed justice, mueller leaves it up to the justice department to decide if the president should be charged with a crime and tonight barr says the answer is no. the summary says robert mueller looked at the new familiar actions by the president to see if they amounted to obstruction of justice. that would include the firing of the fbi director james comey. president trump told lester they fired comey because of the russian meddling investigation. >> when i decided to just do it i said to myself, i said, you know, this russia thing with trump and russia is a made-up story. >> other public actions include comey's claim that the president asked the fbi to go ease owe michael flynn and there was the president's constant criticism of mueller himself, but barr's
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er a conclusion one way or the other about whether any of that amounted to obstruction. mueller's report, quote, does not conclude that the president committed a crime. it also does not exonerate him. barr says he and the deputy attorney general rod rosenstein concluded that that conduct did not reach the threshold of a crime. part of the reason, they said was that they found no other crime that the president would have been trying to cover up. as for mueller's central assignment, the special counsel did want find that the trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with the russians to interfere in the election. no involvement, mueller concluded with the russian-led hacking and the democratic computers where the phony social media account set up by russian intelligence to spread this information and that despite multiple offers from russia-affiliated individuals to assist the trump campaign. the letter also discloses new details about the sheer scope of mueller's investigation, issuing
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an astonishing 2800 subpoenas, 500 search warrants and interviewing 500 separate witnesses. barr saysy hoo intends to release more information about the mueller's report and will need mueller's help in determining what cannot be disclosed because of federal laws governing grand jury secrecy. >> barr says he'll need to withhold other information in the mueller report that might affect the investigations under way and he doesn't say which ones. there's no way to know how much longer we'll have to wait before more is revealed. >> pete williams at the justice department. thank you. kelly o donald is with the president this weekend. >> aides tell us the president's first words to them this is very, very good. we are told a celebratory mood on air force one as he returned to washington. the president, who has long branded the mueller
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investigation derisively as a witch hunt is tonight embracing its conclusions as vindication, so after a couple of days of real, unusual restraint where he said nothing he came to four cameras and made a big pronouncement. >> it was a complete and total exoneration. it's a shame that our country had to go through this. to be honest, it's a shame that your president has had to go through this for before i even got elected it began, and it began illegally and hopefully somebody's going to look at the other side. this was an illegal takedown that failed. >> the president will be open to criticism there because he's overstating the issue of exoneration and the legality of the investigation. that will be played out, but his initial comment on what we expect now is really a road map for his own re-election, portraying himself as somehow
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wronged by his process. saying his adversary should be pursued. his own legal team tells me this is a better result than they had expected and when reporters asked the president if the full mueller report should still be made public, as he said, recently, he did not respond to those questions. kate? >> kelly o donald in florida, kate? there are mixed reactions to mueller's key findings. some are celebrating and others intensifying the calls for the full report to be made public. casey hunt has more on that. >> republicans in congress tonight triumphant. no collusion and no obstruction. lindsay graham writing on twitter, the cloud hanging over president trump has been removed by this report. kevin mccarthy saying in a statement, quote, this case is closed. tonight democratic leaders questioning the integrity of attorney general william barr after mueller didn't reach a conclusion about whether the
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president be obstructed justice. barr said the president should not be prosecuted and chuck schumer and nancy pelosi writing in a statement, given mr. barr's public record of bias against the special counsel's inquiry he is not able to make objective determinations about the mueller report. >> the mueller report must be made public for a full accounting of what happened and the attorney general of the united states must be required to come and testify before congress. >> house judiciary committee jerry nadler already announcing tonight he plans to call barr to testify before congress. just because the mueller investigation has concluded doesn't mean the investigations stop on capitol hill. the senate intelligence committee is wrapping up its investigation into russian interference in the election. but the house intelligence committee will continue looking into the president's connections to russia, and the house judiciary committee is already
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investigating potential obstruction of justice. political corruption and abuses of power. democrats friday sending letters to nine government agencies, demanding they preserve any documents related to the probe. >> we know there are lots of investigations going on and by other agencies the southern district of new york and the eastern district of virginia, et cetera and there may be indictments from them so the story is not over. >> at this hour, the calls to make the report public are only escalating, but a word that's been barely mentioned by democrats tonight is impeachment. we know the house speaker has said that would not be worth the political cost and after this impeachment hearings are that much more unlikely. kate? >> casey hunt, thank you. >> chuck todd is with us now to walk through what happens next. democrats have been eagerly awaiting this report for months now. this is not what a lot of them expected. >> no, a bunch of them feel pretty blindsided today because bill war made a -- he's
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characterizing the report before congress gets a chance to read it. he made the decision on obstruction before congress gets a chance to read it. and so when they get to eventually read it, if they really do have a case that there wasn't a full exoneration or maybe obstruction of justice was an open question and the collusion conclusion wasn't all there, if all of that turns out to be something they think they can make a better case with, it may be too late. the pr game and the spin game and the trump administration and the trump campaign has already jumped on is already there, and i think that's why you see an almost angry reaction of democrats of bill barr and the questioning of his integrity on this because he has this expansive view. i imagine we'll see the justice department and barr get pretty heated and intense this week, kate? >> chuck todd, thank you. >> there is new heartbreak tonight in a community that can barely take much more of that.
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for the second time in a week a student in marjorie stoneman high school in parkland, florida, has died by apparent suicide. nbc's kathy park has more. >> rest in peace 17 plus 2. that tweet from parkland shooting survivor after police confirm another marjorie stoneman student died by apparent suicide. the second tragedy in one week. medical examiners ruled that recent graduate sydney aiello also died by suicide last sunday. she was diagnosed with ptsd after the massacre where gunmen shot and killed 17 people at the parkland high school. >> we know that this traumatic occurrence increases the risks that's already elevated. >> these recent deaths, putting the spotlight on the continuing need for mental health services, for a community still shaken from massive trauma. >> many of the same emotions are
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back at the forefront again this week. >> ryan petty lost his daughter elena in the bloodshed last year, but through his pain he created a foundation in her honor. >> what we're dealing with is a new normal here and we have to rick o recognize that, we have to acknowledge it. >> when people are suffering, they don't necessarily have the will to come to you and the best thing you can do is ask them what they're doing. knowing that pain can continue each as time passes. kathy park, nbc news. >> and if you or someone you know is struggling with this issue, help is available. please call the national suicide prevention lifeline it's 800-273-8255. now to that massive fire chemical plant outside houston. today residents voice their concerns about what's in the air and the water. nbc's tammy leitner has more.
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>> reporter: at community meetings this weekend. >> how do you actually prove. >> reporter: so many on edge. >> what's in the air? what's in our bodies. >> reporter: hundreds of nervous residents hoping for answers. >> my biggest concern is the future. what's going to happen? >> one week after this massive fire at the houston area chemical plant the thick smoke is finally gone, but worry remains. meanwhile, county officials say there's low health risk to the uneconomity and the company says it's working hard to contain the hazardous mess at the plant and in nearby waterways. >> we've significantly reduced the risk impact and the risk profile inside the tank farm. >> it's been a rough week in deer park. residents were asked to shelter in place and parks and schools were closed. fears that the air might not be safe to breathe and when a new fire started friday and a wall collapsed, hazardous materials chnel.d into the houston shi >> we've are cct
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locations across the two-mile span. >> officials continue monitoring the air for chemicals that can cause dizziness, headaches and breathing problems. some residents visiting local health clinics this week and while the cleanup is progressing, some say it's not fast enough. tammy leitner, nbc news. that cruise ship stranded in rough waters off the coast of norway is back in court tonight. passengers are relieved and many suffered injuries and nbc's keir simmons reports from norway. >> reporter: tonight, dramatic scenes as an american man is lifted to safety. ryan flinn filming his dad lifted through the cyclone winds to a rescue chopper high above. it was a dream vacation turned nightmare. >> one of the hatches blew out and eight feet of water rushed in and flattened people, flat ebbed all of us. it felt like the titanic. >> the viking sky was off the
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coast of norway when it lost engine power. a massive storm system caused violent seas and high winds, battling the cruise liner and pushing it toward treacherous rocks. aboard, mostly 900 americans and british passengers. >> my wife was sitting in front of me and all of a sudden she was gone. i thought this was it. >> helicopter crews launched a daring rescue mission lifting pass edgers off the ship one by one. >> it made it to port on its own power with tugboats. the remaining passengers back in harbor. >> what was it like when you got to land? >> bawling. >> crying. yeah. crying. >> tonight some are already on their way home, traveling by air this time, not sea. tonight, of the 27 passengers from this cruise ship hospitalized, 13 are still in the hospital. one in a critical condition. they have suffered cuts, fractures and understandably,
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kate, trauma. >> scary situation. keir, thank you so much. tensions are rising in the mideast tonight as israel confronts what it sees as a new threat militias backed by iran amassing what is beneath the israeli reporter and the golan heights. >> israeli guns sending a message to iran from the golan heights recognized by president trump as israely land, the tanks are telling iran's men to back off. >> iranian-backed militias have built bases near israel's border. >> it's a totally new threat. a new threat from an old enemy. >> it's 30 miles from here, and a front line that is a red line for israel and it's determined to stop them digging in and to push them back 600 miles to
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iran. israeli intelligence is watching. we get rare access inside a post where they monitor every move around the border and under it. >> hezbollah planned it to be a surprise. >> they found six tunnels dug by the iranian-backed hezbollah group to get fighters into israel. its men startled when they were discovered. israel is not building a massive border wall to stop the militants. >> the situation right now is like a keg of explosives ready to be set off. >> iran has attacked israeli troops directly. missiles flying over a ski resort this year. israel retaliating, it has been across syria and iran exploiting the war there toe israel? iran is trying to establish air bases and it's trying to establish a naval basis for the us submarines in the
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mediterranean. its ultimate goal clear to israel. >> they want israel to disappear. they want the united states to disappear. >> what's not clear is whether iran will hear the golan's guns and its stark warning if its men and militias don't back off. bill neely, nbc news on the golan heights. >> still ahead tonight, two massive pile ups causing chaos on the roads.
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back now with those two massive pile ups in california,
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one of them involving more than two dozen vehicles. the other turning deadly. nbc's gadi schwartz has that story. >> reporter: through heavy fog and smoke, remnants of a 30-car pile-up. a line of wreckage on california's interstate 5. >> it was so foggy i couldn't see nothing and suddenly i just saw cars breaking. >> the highway patrol say the crashes known in the area known as the gripe vine when visibility suddenly dropped to 300 feet. teresa and her family trying to slow down when they were hit from behind. >> just yelling and screaming because the cars started piling up. a chain reaction sending cars into each other, one bursting into flames and a car killing a horse inside, two others rescued after being cut out by emergency crews. along highway 5, triage, one child airlifted and 15 others taken to the hospital and the interstate gridlock forles. >> we're very fortunate. we're very fortunate. we all came out with no scratches. >> reporter: hours later any 100 sending two to the hospital in
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critical condition. a reminder of how quickly one wrong move can set off a high-speed sequence of destruction. gadi schwartz, nbc news, los angeles. >> when we come back why senator kristen gillibrand's presidential kickoff today raised some eyebrows.
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our president is a coward. >> that was new york junior senator democrat kristen gillibrand as she officially announced her bid for the presidency today and she picked an interesting location, right outside trump international hotel and tower here in new york city. and it was the closest finish ever today in the 34-year
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history of the l.a. marathon. in the men's race kenyon alisha barno passed, his final time two hour, 46 seconds. ethiopian oskali won in record time, 2:24:12. when we come back, the fitness craze that could help your health and the earth.
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>> finally tonight, the new trend with the weird name. nbc's steve patterson put on his running shoes to join in. >> by design it's an exercise in interruption. the throws of a rapturous runners high or gentle jog or
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even a brisk walk all broken by the simple sight of a piece of trash. >> you're here so that means you'll be running, it comes from the word plaka wd jogging and you have plogging. and while it may not exactly be saving the world, ploggers say if you can do good and feel good in one fell swoop. we should all get down with a little garbage. steve patterson, nbc news, los angeles. >> that is nbc nightly news on this sunday. this week, my investigative report about what's happening at a secure residential facility designed to help troubled youth. it's a story every parent will want to see. i'm kate snow. for all of us at nbc news, have a great night. a look inside.
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the mueller report concl reques o collusion between the trump right now at 6:00, a look inside. the mueller report concludes there was no collusion between the trump campaign and russia. tonight, both sides of the political aisle are trying to spin what that report really means. the news at 6:00 starts right now. thank you for joining us. >> president trump is declaring victory tonight now that a summary of the special counsel mueller's russian investigation is out. marianne favro has a closer look at the findings and reactions. is calling the investigation and illegal takedown that failed. he spoke about the investigation
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shortly after the details were released. >> it was a complete and total

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