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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  April 2, 2019 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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rain this week. >> yes. heavier rain coming friday. not so sweet. >> thanks for joining us. lester holt is joining us. >> bye. breaking news on multiple fronts tonight, including an alarming security breach at mar-a-lago. the feds say a woman from china carrying several passports and cell phones and a device containing computer malware lied her way past secret service and into the club during the president's most recent visit. law enforcement tells nbc news they're investigating whether it was a spy mission. anothechemical plant inferno in texas. this time it's deadly. a massive explosion and fire for the second time in just two weeks. schools on lockdown. people being warned to shelter in place. late word from california where police say a suspected killer has been captured after the murder of rap star nipsey hussle. we're there live. we're hours from a dramatic day in court for felicity
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huffman and lori loughlin. tonight a member of the "full house" family is speaking to nbc about that college cheating scandal. shocking allegations about an american hospital. women who say they were secretly filmed during surgery, even child birth. >> i was shocked. i was honestly shocked. >> i have never been so exposed in my life. >> tonight why the hospital says the hidden cameras were there. and the price you pay for groceries. a new salvo tonight in the supermarket wars. how you can save. >> this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening and welcome to our viewers in the west. there is late word that the har chinese woman following an alarming security incident at president trump's mar-a-lago resort over the weekend. restricted areas carrying electronic items, including a thumb drive containing malicious software, all as the president was golfing nearby. our pete williams has the breaking details.
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>> reporter: on saturday, the secret service says a chinese woman walked up to a security checkpoint at president trump's mar-a-lago resort in florida and said she was there to go to the swimming pool. the secret service says she presented two chinese passports in the name of yujing zhang. mar-a-lago security says zhang was the name of a club member and allowed her to enter the compound. but when a shuttle picked her up, she didn't know where she wanted to go. so she was taken to a reception area. according to investigators, she changed her story and said she was there for a u.n.-chinese american association meeting. but no such meeting was scheduled and she was promptly arrested. but charging documents say she claimed a chinese friend named charles sent her there to speak with a member of the president's family about american policy towards china. but the secret service could not find any record of that. and tonight investigators want to know if it was a spy mission. she was carrying four cell
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phones, a laptop computer, an external hard drive and a thumb drive that contained malware. they also note although she said she was there to go to the pool, she was not carrying a swimsuit. and while all this was happening, president trump was playing golf at his separate course nearby. zhang has been charged with making false statements and entering a restricted area. lester? >> all right, pete williams tonight, thank you. for the second time in two weeks a major chemical fire erupted outside houston. a different plant, and this time it turned deadly. authorities have warned residents remain indoors. our morgan chesky has the latest. >> reporter: for the second time in two weeks, dark smoke from a chemical fire is filling the sky in houston. >> our whole house shook. it scared me to death. >> reporter: the call came in at 11:00 a.m. >> we got multiple injured employees. they will be at the kmco refinery. there are still explosions at this time. >> reporter: an explosion and fire at the kmco plant in crosby, texas that produces and stores chemicals, including antifreeze and brake fluid.
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one person was killed, two others airlifted in critical condition. >> we don't know the extent of this. and so we're trying to contain it right now. >> reporter: schools went into lockdown. >> look at this, right behind my house. >> reporter: environmental teams say so far the air is safe. >> the epa has been on-site assisting in monitoring and found no actionable detectable items in the air as of right now. >> reporter: today's fire in the same county just 20 miles north of this massive blaze just two weeks ago at a chemical storage plant where flames sent clouds of cancer-causing benzene into the air. both incidents raising concerns kmco facing dozens of osha violations since a 2010 explosion. the company saying tonight the well-being of our people, neighbors and the environment remain our top priorities. morgan chesky, nbc news. there are late developments tonight in california where police say a suspected killer is in custody after the murder of rap star nipsey hussle.
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our gadi schwartz is there live tonight. gadi, what more can you tell us about this? >> yeah, good evening, lester. mourners out here are reacting to the news of that arrest. in fact, many of them are sharing some instagram video that shows the arrest of that suspected killer, eric holder. that video shows him being taken into custody about ten miles away from here. now lapd hoping that with this arrest they may be able to decrease some of the tension that's been felt here in south l.a. this is where that shooting happened, where they believe eric holder approached nipsey hussle right in front of his store, opened fire, shooting him in the head. this was also the scene of violence last night when mourners gathered together, a fight broke out. somebody pulled out a gun and there was a stampede. for now lapd allowing about 25 mourners in at a time to pay their respects. lester? >> gadi schwartz in los angeles with our update, thanks. now to the investigation into the air disasters involving
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the boeing 737 max jets and new concerns raised about safety and the inspectors responsible for certifying the planes for flight. our tom costello has details. >> reporter: tonight amid multiple investigations into how the faa approved and certified boeing's 737 max, a senate committee has sent this letter to the acting head of the faa, saying the committee has received information from multiple whistle-blowers alleging insufficient training and improper certification of faa safety inspectors. the concern, that poorly trained inspectors may have led to an improper evaluation of the mcas anti-stall system suspected in those two fatal max crashes. jeff guzzetti is the former chief of faa accident investigations. >> you would hope the pilots for the faa that evaluated the airplane had already been experienced in 737 operations, had already been type rated in a 737. >> reporter: meanwhile, the max fleet is likely to remain grounded for weeks, even months. boeing was expected to release a software update for the mcas
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software system this week, but now says it will take several more weeks. the faa says additional time is needed to ensure that boeing has identified and appropriately addressed all pertinent issues. but a former ntsb chairman says the relationship between boeing and the faa is now front and center. >> the aviation system, just like our government, is built on checks and balances. that's why this certification issue is so important. >> and tom joins us now. tom, the letter says the faa was notified inspectors may have had inadequate training as recently as last august. what is the agency saying about this? >> yeah, that's right. the faa is only reiterating previous comments that it welcomes external revir ane faa those concerns lau lester? it found, and what if any action > now to a dramatic scene it actually took. about to play out in a federal courtroom in boston. felicity huffman and lori loughlin among the parents caught up in that college admission scandal.
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here is miguel almaguer. >> reporter: lori loughlin and felicity huffman will soon trade in the red carpet for the steps of federal court, charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, both actresses, seen this weekend, out on bail. >> lori, do you regret the way you handle your kids' educations? >> reporter: accused of paying top dollar to cheat their children's way into prestigious universities. loughlin and her fashion designer husband accused of shelling out more than half a million dollars in bribes so their daughters could attend usc. loughlin's future with "full speaks out. >> we stand by each other and pray for each other, and we'll always be there for each other. >> reporter: the alleged mastermind behind the scandal rick singer, telling investigators he took massive payouts to guarantee admission into at least eight elite
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universities. >> in the typical white collar fraud case, if a defendant pleads early and waives their preliminary hearing, they've got a shot at a probation only sentence. >> reporter: a cheating scandal making its way to boston, as many await the next hollywood twist. neither of the actresses has entered a plea. legal experts believe that if the actresses work out a plea deal, they could avoid prison time, but many of these parents could get lengthy prison sentences if they decided to go to trial. lester? >> mue w e versal for president trump. after taking heat from his own party for calling on republicans to revive the fight over obamacare, the president has backed down, at least for now. hallie jackson has details. >> reporter: promise made -- >> we are going to fix health care. >> reporter: promise punted as the president pushes off a plan to replace obamacare until after 2020. >> i wanted to delay it myself. i want to put it in after the election because we don't have
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the house. so when the plan comes out, you'll see it. >> reporter: top aides promised something different just last week. >> the president will be putting forward plans this year that we hope to introduce into congress. >> reporter: why the reversal? the president's under pressure to drop his renewed health care push from republican leaders like senator mitch mcconnell. >> i made it clear to him we were not going to be doing that in the senate. >> reporter: after all, the republicans controlled both chambers of congress up until this year and still didn't have the votes to overhaul obamacare. ending the law without a replacement would leave tens of millions of people without coverage. people like angie settle sees at the free clinic she runs in west virginia. >> i'm not here to say it's perfect. we can't afford to repeal that part where they expanded medicaid. i know for this state it would be catastrophic. >> and hallie, the president also talking about his threat to shut down the border, acknowledging the economic >> sure, it's going to have a
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negative impact on the economy. but to me, trading is very important. important to me. i have to have security. >> so hallie, how close are we to a possible shutdown? >> well, lester, the president says he is still totally prepared to shut down that southern border, and ready to do it if he feels he has to. but now some of his top aides describe new talks to try to mitigate any of those economic effects, like by keeping some truck lanes open for shipping, for example. lester? >> hallie, thanks very much. for the first time we're hearing from the white house whistle-blower raising red flags about two dozen trump administration officials she says got security clearances overruling objections of career staffers. she spoke exclusively with nbc's peter alexander. >> reporter: the stunning charge comes from tricia newbold, an 18-year career white house security specialist, who told congress 25 officials in the trump administration had their top secret security clearances granted by the white house, even though she and her colleagues recommended they be denied.
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why is this issue so important that you felt the need to speak out? >> the protection of national security is not a democratic issue or a republican issue. it's an american issue. >> reporter: newbold, who has filed a discrimination complaint against her white house superior told lawmakers about those officials serious disqualifying issues including foreign influence and conflict of interest. today her explosive allegations sparking a showdown on capitol hill. >> issue a press release, handpicked, cherry picked parts of her testimony. >> i will protect whistle-blowers, period. >> reporter: nbc first reported that jared kushner was among those whose security denial was overruled. and according to "the new york legally, he has the powe grant clearances to anyone he chooses. overnight kushner on fox news dismissed newbold's concerns. >> i've been accused of all different types of things, and all those things have turned out to be false. >> reporter: newbold now fears losing her job. >> i'm always concerned, but
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it's important we stand up to do the right thing, no matter what. >> peter alexander, nbc news, the white house. now to the ripple effect of the opioid effect in america and one crisis that may be causing another for the 50 million americans living with chronic pain. here is our senior national correspondent kate snow. >> this is the hardware, the nuts and the bolts that came out of my spine. >> reporter: all this was in your back? >> yeah. >> reporter: maria higginbotham has had 13 back surgeries. she is in so much pain, her body's own immune system is destroying her connective tissue. >> this is probably five times worse than childbirth. >> reporter: five times worse? >> uh-huh. >> reporter: every day? >> every day, all day. >> reporter: for more than a dozen years, high doses of opioid medications through an implanted pump, patches and pills kept the pain at bay. her doctors say she never abused them.
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but two years ago, they tapered down the strength of her opioid patch and pills to less than half what it used to be. >> i could go outside and plant a flower. i could walk my dogs. all those things i can't do anymore. >> reporter: she has tried everything, from medical marijuana to steroid injections. nothing else works. >> you feel like you're given three choices. you either live in agonizing intractable pain that doesn't ever go away, or you go to the street and get the drugs off the street, which can kill you, or you commit suicide. >> reporter: she understands why the cdc issued new guidelines in 2016 encouraging doctors to consider tapering patients off high doses. too many lives have been destroyed by abuse of opioids. but maria and many other chronic pain patients feel they're being punished when they've done nothing wrong. >> while i think there have been some good aspects that have come out of the cdc guidelines, there has been incredibly detrimental unintended consequences. >> reporter: dr. sean mackey, chief of pain medicine at
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stanford, says those cdc guidelines have made a lot of physicians worried they'll be in trouble if they don't reduce prescriptions. >> the fear is incredibly real. i am on the phone on a regular basis with docs who are being told just get people off opioids or get rid of those patients. just get them out of the practice, because everybody is running scared. >> reporter: mackey, and 300 other experts sent a letter to the cdc last month urging it to clarify the guidelines for patients like maria. >> i'm not involved in my life anymore, and i want my life back. i want to be able to function. >> lester, the cdc says doctors were never mandated to reduce or discontinue drugs. they're now studying the impact of those new guidelines. it is complicated. doctors want to help those in real chronic pain without facilitating substance abuse. lester? >> kate snow, thank you. just ahead, outrage at a hospital accused of secretly recording nearly 2,000 women during surgeries, even during childbirth.
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then where prices are coming down as the grocery wars heat up. we'll tell you how you can save. stay with us. [phone ringing]
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next tonight, dozens of women accusing a hospital of a shocking invasion of privacy. nbc's steve patterson now with the disturbing details. >> reporter: the expectation of privacy is core to every doctor's visit. >> i was shocked. i was honestly shocked. >> reporter: jessica lincoln joins 80 other women in a lawsuit alleging hidden motion-activated cameras at sharp grossmont hospital near san diego recorded patients without their knowledge, claiming as many as 1800 patients at the women's health care center were captured on video between july 2012 and june carla jones was one of them undergoing an emergency c-section. >> i have never been so exposed in my life. i don't know who saw these videos. i don't know where they are rowe or where they landed or what will happen to them. >> reporter: the hospital says three cameras were set up in operating rooms.
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according to the suit, it recorded births, hysterectomies and other medical procedures and the recordings were stored on desktop computers, without password protection, accessible to multiple users. in a statement, sharp health care says these surveillance methods ended in 2013, adding we sincerely regret that our efforts to ensure medication security may have caused any distress to those we serve. little comfort for some. >> is there a video of me and my body naked, exposed, vulnerable floating around on the internet somewhere? >> reporter: allegations of negligence stoking fears that our most private moments could become public. steve patterson, nbc news. all right. we're going to take a break. coming up, how you can save money in the big war between supermarket chains.
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we're back now with the price you pay for groceries and the new salvo in the fight for
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your money at the supermarket. here is kristen dahlgren. >> reporter: at whole foods stores across the country, expect cuts on things like meat and produce, including lettuce, tomatoes and tropical fruits. two months after raising prices, the company now saying customers will save about 20% on hundreds of items starting tomorrow. >> we always thought of whole foods as whole paycheck. so what they're trying to do now is really rebrand themselves. >> reporter: whole foods is touting its third price cut since being acquired by amazon in 2017. the grocer also doubling the number of exclusive deals for amazon prime customers who already save 10% on many sale items. it's the type of d partnership other stores are also trying to tap into. walmart announcing plans to team up with google, rolling out new voice ordering capabilities, expanding deliveries, and low prices. >> right now, the way the consumer shops is on their sofa. so any way a grocer can make it more convenient for that
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customer to shop, they'll do that. >> reporter: as competition heats up at the checkout line, the big winner may just be the consumer. kristen dahlgren, nbc news, brooklyn, new york. up next tonight, the little boy riding in style thanks to some teen whiz kids. a man goes
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jose gas station, but it )s not just this attack that has people concerned. what police arrested him for just days later. and strangers using your driveway... the new app looking to do for parking what air-b-n-b did for booking rooms. in tonight's "above and beyond," the little boy who got a life changing gift from some very smart teens. here is kevin tibbles. >> say hi. >> reporter: meet cillian jackson, born with a medical condition that makes getting around tough. so dad tyler shopped an idea to farmington, minnesota's high school robotics team.
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>> you know what? that would be a very good idea. >> reporter: they took a power wheels toy and started tinkering. >> we added two motor controllers. we added a spread board. >> styrofoam. >> reporter: custom fit and bike carrier seat and even replaced and reprogrammed the joystick. >> everything was built in that 3-d printer over there. >> reporter: that controls cillian's new hot wheels. she can't believe her son is now mobile. >> hi! >> they've helped so much. i mean, this really helps him explore like he has never been able to before. >> it was really cool being able to do such an amazing project. >> reporter: as for the prize-winning robotics club -- >> i think we won here more than we do in our competitions. >> go again? >> reporter: they're at the controls when it comes to acts of kindness. kevin tibbles, nbc news. >> some smart and good kids. thanks to our affiliate kare tv for sharing this story with us. that's "nightly news" for this tuesday.
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i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. silicon valley. we investigate the tech company charged with helping an accused chinese spy get into the country. jeff ad libs >> i'll show you when a stronger storm is set to hit the bay area this week. >> what kind of nonsense is that? >> an nbc bay area exclusive. video showing a gas station attack and the crime a man is accused of committing days later. the news at 6:00 starts right now. 2k3w5 good evening. >> investigators say this man you see in this video going w k
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whacko sexually assaulted a woman in her own bedroom days later. prosecutors wanted to keep that man locked up. a judge released him. neighbors are angry because they say if the guy would have been locked up maybe the woman never would have been attacked. >> reporter: that's what they are suggesting. can't believe hernandez is on the streets. days later the sexual assault occurred. this is video o richard hernandez. the owner suz her nnandez

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