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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  February 28, 2018 6:30pm-7:01pm EST

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>> major storm. all right, glenn. that's our news. i'm jim rosenfield. >> i'm jacqueline london. we'll see you back here at 11:00 tonight. tonight, the bombshell resignation at the white house. hope hicks, president trump's longest serving aide, stepping down just a day after she admitted to congress that she tells white lies for the president. taking a stand on guns. one of the nation's largest sports retailers will no longer sell assault-style weapons. and it's not stopping there. while president trump calls for a comprehensive guns bill. and accuses senators of being afraid of the nra. parkland students return to school for the first time since the massacre. under heavy police presence. haunted by memories, but standing strong together. a warning for travelers if you think some of those vacation deals on popular discount websites like groupon are too good to be true, you may be right. and inspiring
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america. >> if i can give back half of what this community has given me, i'm complete. >> he went from refugee to mayor, and made history along the way. >> announcer: this is nbc "nightly news" with lester holt. >> good evening, everyone. thank you for being with us. we start with late word of a bombshell change at the white house. communications director hope hicks one of president trump's closest aides and confidants is resigning. the announcement coming just one day after hicks testified under oath before the house committee looking into russian election influence where she reportedly admitted having told white lies on behalf of the president. chief white house correspondent hallie jackson now are late details. >> where is hope? where is hope? hope, get up here, hope. >> reporter: tonight, another dramatic departure in the west wing t wing. this time to someone who might as well be family to donald
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trump, hope hicks his communications director and longtime aide resigning. >> hope hicks is a tremendously talented person. >> reporter: nbc news has learned hicks told the president personally earlier today according to a white house source and said her good-byes to staff in an emotional meeting late this afternoon. the president saying, "hope is outstanding and has done great work for the last three years. she is as smart and thoughtful as they come, a truly great person." adding he totally understood when she said she would leave. often seen, but rarely heard in interviews or on camera, hicks played a pivotal part behind the scenes, fierce defender of her boss, by his side for nearly every critical campaign moment. >> merry christmas, everyone, and thank you, donald trump. >> reporter: and with no prior political experience, rocketing to a top job in the white house. word of her departure comes less than 24 hours after she appeared on capitol hill to testify about the russia investigation. apparently acknowledging she's occasionally told white lies as part of
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her job. >> the whole talk about a white lie is such a bad wrap and so unfair to hope hicks. she was asked did donald trump ever ask you to lie? and her answer was that she never told an intruth. >> reporter: white house officials insist testimony timing has nothing to do with hicks' resignation nor does the rob porter scandal they say. the former staff secretary. who resigned amid accusations he abused his ex-wives and had been reportedly romantically linked to hicks. with her departure, the white house will search for itself fifth communications director. more turnover in a west wing. both congressional committees looking into the russia investigation. while she may be as close as a daughter to president trump, i am told she's looking forward to spending more time with her family back home. her official departure date sometime the next few weeks. lester? >> hallie jackson at the white house tonight, thank you.
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and two weeks after the mass shooting at a florida high school, the president stood up to the national rifle association today. at least on some points. as he met with members of congress from both parties, mr. trump appeared to embrace new gun restrictions as he told them to come up with legislation aimed at preventing more school shootings. nbc's kristen wel erwelker with that story. >> reporter: under pressure after parkland, president trump taking on his own party and the national rifle association today. >> i'm a fan of the nra. that doesn't mean with have to agree. >> reporter: mr. trump at a free wheeling hour-long meeting with a group of bipartisan lawmakers trying to get something, anything done, appeared to embrace nearly everything he heard in the meeting from confiscating guns from those deemed dangerous, a move opposed by many conservatives. >> take the guns first, go through due process second. >> reporter: and embracing longheld democratic ideas like universal background checks, and increasing the minimum age to 21 to buy some weapons. even taking on
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red-state democrat joe manchin and republican pat toomey for not including an age limit increase in their background check bill. >> didn't address it, mr. president -- >> you know why? because you're afraid of the nra. >> reporter: at times, wheeling and dealing in realtime. >> if you can add domestic violence paragraphs, pages, into this bill, i'm all for it, but can you add what amy and what ann -- can we add them in? >> reporter: even pushing back against fellow republican steve scalise, shot and nearly killed during a baseball practice last summer when scalise suggested adding a measure involving a concealed weapons permit to a bill aimed at strengthening background checks. >> you look at the concealed carry population -- >> we're talking about a whole new ball game. you'll never get this passed if youcarried, you'll never get it passed. >> reporter: bump stocks, those devices that turn weapons into assault-style firearms. his message to
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lawmakers, the time to act is now. >> i see some folks that don't say nice things about me and that's okay. because if you turn that into just energy, i'll love you. >> reporter: we reached out to the nra, but so far, no response. tonight, one white house official acknowledges despite all of the bargaining, any new gun legislation still faces very steep odds. gun reform has been nearly impossible in this country for decades, including after the sandy hook massacre which claimed the lives of 20 children. lester? >> all right, kristen welker outside the west wing tonight. thank you. in what could be a tipping point in a growing corporate response to the florida school shooting, one of the country's biggest sporting goods retailers announced today it will stop selling assault-style rifles along with the sale of any guns to those under 21. dick's sporting goods essentially adopting self-imposed gun restrictions. our kate snow has more. >> reporter: after the horror in parkland, florida, dick's
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sporting goods ceo ed stack says they found out the alleged gunman bought a shotgun last november at one of their stores. though not a weapon used in the killings that day, enough was enough. >> we don't want to be part of the story any longer. >> reporter: the company is no longer selling assault-style rifles or high-capacity magazines. and will not sell any firearms to anyone under 21. >> it's a big decision to make as a corporation. why? >> when we looked at those kids, and we saw what -- the grief that they were going through and how these kids organized to really have their voices heard, we talked amongst ourselves and said, if these kids can be brave enough to do this, then we should be brave enough to make a stand, ourself. >> reporter: assault-style weapons have been used in many mass shootings from newtown to san bernardino to las vegas. and stack says once again, congress is paralyzed. >> they really have no intent, in my opinion, i don't believe they have any intent to solve the problem. >> been a rough couple of weeks. >> reporter: fred
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gutt guttenberg lost his daughter, jaime in the shooting. >> i'm happier than i've been in 14 days because of what dick's sporting goods announced this morning. that, to me, says what happened will make a difference. >> reporter: at dick's sporting goods stores today, decision welcomed by some gun owners. >> what's an ar-15 for? to kill people. we've had enough of that. >> reporter: and dismissed by others. >> bad guys are going to get guns whether dick's sells them to them or not. >> reporter: no direct response today from the nra, but after more than a dozen companies recently ended special deals for nra members, the organization called it a shameful display of political and civic cowardice. georgia's lieutenant governor said he would kill any tax legislation that benefits delta air lines unless the company changes its position. are you worried that there could be backlash from the nra? >> we expect there will be. >> reporter: lester, as we've been on the air, a new statement out from walmart, just now, walmart saying "in light of recent
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events we've taken an opportunity to review our policy on firearms sales going forward. we are raising the age restriction for purchase of firearms and ammunition to 21 years of age. we will update our processes as quickly as possible to implement this change." they're following dick's on limiting age. >> kate snow, thank you. it was an emotional day at marjory stoneman douglas high school in parkland today under a heavy police presence, student survivors returned to school for the first time since the shooting massacre that left 17 dead 2 weeks ago. nbc's kerry sanders now with that story. >> reporter: today the safest school in america was in parkland, florida, hundreds of armed police officers escorting students back to campus. officials wanting to give these survivors a sense of security. >> i almost feel like i'm on an army base with all the cops. >> reporter: these students refusing to let suspect nikolas cruz steal it away from them. this morning,
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16-year-old lizzie eaton did something she rarely does before school, eating breakfast with her family. >> i love you. >> love you. >> have a good day, okay? >> reporter: instead of commuting in her own car -- >> look at this traffic. >> yowow, never seen it like this before. >> reporter: her dad driving lizzie through. they're obsessed with one question, will my child get home safely tonight? >> i have a lot more faith now seeing, you know, all the activity that's going on in the schools, there's a lot of police presence. >> reporter: students started the day with fourth period. reuniting with classmates and teachers who were with them when the massacre began. the principal tweeting, "there is no need for backpacks. come ready to start the healing process." but for many, it's hard to move on. >> because it's, like, the first day back, and, like, i just keep thinking of, like, the day it happened. >> words cannot, you know, describe how painful it is to see, you know, an empty seat. >> reporter: and when the half day at school was over --
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>> made me a little sad, but i was glad to be with me friends again. >> reporter: an emotional day, too, for tarent who lost two friends. >> they're no longer in this world, they're no longer with us. it's just something that i don't think any human will ever be able to fathom. >> reporter: the focus today not just on nose who survived but the 17 faces that were missing like 14-year-old alaina petty, her dad, ryan, standing outside the school's gates. >> there's a hole in our family. al alaina's gone. she's not coming back. >> reporter: school officials say 95% of the 3,000-plus students who go to school here showed up today. 15 students have told the school principal they don't think they can ever come back to this school. meantime, the grand jury will begin hearing testimony in this case next week. lester? >> all right, kerry sanders, thank you. tonight, millions are under a severe weather threat with flood watches across much of the south, while a major winter blast is taking aim at the northeast. al roker joining us to
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track it all. al, good evening. >> good evening, lester. we've been seeing all this rain. that's why we still have 19 million folks at risk from texas all the way to tennessee. more heavy rain coming in tonight and tomorrow. rainfall amounts through tomorrow, anywhere from 2 to 3 inch inches, locally could be up to 5 inches. this nor'easter, watching the storm push to the east. snow in the great lakes tomorrow, heavy rain in the mid-atlantic. friday, a coastal storm will develop. that's the nor'easter. strong winds and heavy rain along the coast. heavy snow back to the west. so we have winter storm watches back to the west for heavy snow inland, difficult travel and a coastal flood risk with rain, urban and river flooding, and probably a lot of beach erosion, lester. >> all right, al, good to have you here, thank you. now to a warning about a growing danger on the roads. a new report reveali ing 2017 was the second year in a row that pedestrian fatalities remained at a 25-year high. while distracted driving remains a serious problem, it turns out too many h
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pedestrians have distracted as well with lethal consequences. here's nbc's tom costello. >> reporter: watch closely as a distracted pedestrian in toronto walks right into a responding fire engine. he hit the fire engine, not the other way around. the internet is full of videos of distracted pedestrians walking into poles and falling downstairs. we found seemingly distracted pedestrians today in washington and chicago. >> text messages, e-mails, music. >> reporter: now, new research finds that for the second year in a row, nearly 6,000 pedestrians were killed in 2017. many of them distracted. >> it's a really deadly combination when we see there are more people in cities walking and being active and yet they're more distracted. >> reporter: in los angeles, alone, pedestrian deaths up 80% in 2 years. in honolulu, it's now illegal to text while crossing a street. fines range from $15 to $99. aside from the obvious risk of distraction, researchers at
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stonybrook university found another danger. 60% of texters can't walk in a straight line. and it turns out legalized marijuana could also play a role. in the seven states plus d.c. that legalized pot, the governors report p pedestrian fatalities increased 16% in the first 6 months of last year. as distraction and impairment on both sides of the bumper prove deadly. tom costello, nbc news, washington. a solemn day in the u.s. capitol rotunda today as the body of the reverend billy graham laid in honor. politicians and other well wishers paid their respects to graham who died last week at age 99. at a memorial service, president trump praised graham for helping to lift the spirit of america. graham's funeral will be held on friday in north carolina. there's more to tell you about this evening, still ahead, on those discount websites, are you really getting the best travel deals? do the pictures match reality? what we found may surprise you. also the remarkable journey of
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a man who found his home and his calling in a most unlikely place. we're goi ♪ if you have moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, little things can be a big deal. that's why there's otezla. otezla is not an injection or a cream. it's a pill that treats psoriasis differently. with otezla, 75% clearer skin is achievable after just 4 months, ... with reduced redness, thickness, and scaliness of plaques. and the otezla prescribing information has no requirement for routine lab monitoring. don't use if you're allergic to otezla. otezla may cause severe diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. tell your doctor if these occur. otezla is associated with an increased risk of depression. tell your doctor if you have a history of depression or suicidal thoughts, or if these feelings develop. some people taking otezla reported weight loss. your doctor should monitor your weight and may stop treatment. other side effects include upper respiratory tract infection and headache. tell your doctor about all the medicines you take and if you're pregnant or planning to be. ♪
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we're back now with a travel alert. right now, millions of americans are booking vacation deals on popular discount websites like groupon, but how good are those deals? and when you arrive at the resort, will it look like the photos advertised online? nbc news national investigative correspondent jeff rossen shows us how to protect ourselves in tonight's "rossen reports." >> reporter: they're called groupon getaways. check out this all-inclusive three-night beach vacation in the dominican republic for just $417. the rooms look immaculate. the property, stunning. this resort even making groupon's best of 2017 list. all right. check in. but inside the room, we find big problems. i almost tripped and hurt myself when i first walked in
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because of this pooling water on the bathroom floor. there's a leak under the sink. a leak. we just checked in. but it gets worse, folks. come up here. look at this. yeah, that is what appears to be mold all along the trim. look at this, this is actually dangerous. see these lines along the glass? yeah, the glass is shattered. >> reporter: big tips here, make sure you check multiple travel sites and look for customer-submitted photos. next stop, cancun. i find a great deal. this deluxe ocean-view room. when i arrive -- checking in. rossen. -- i get the groupon rate of $357 for a three-night stay. thank you very much. but watch what happens when my producer, connor, arrives. >> hi. checking in. >> reporter: he booked directly with the hotel. his rate, $279. that's $78 less than me. groupon telling nbc news, "the photos featured on our site,
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tripadviser, expedia, travelosity, orbitz, kayak, hotwire and others are provided by the hotels, themselves. in addition to photos, we provide our customers with a wealth of other information including hundreds of thousands of reviews to make an informed decision about their purchase." groupon saying customers can contact them or the property for help with a bad experience. but there are gems, look at this one in orlando for just $81 a night. the room just as advertised. modern and clean. just in time to book your spring break. jeff rossen, nbc news. in a moment, the remarkable outcome after an explosion and crash on a racetrack. and honoring a victim of the florida school shooting, an been jimmy's longest. jimmy (shouting): james! he's survived record rain and a supplier that went belly up. so while he's proud to have helped put a roof over the heads
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but he hasoke up wwork to do.in. so he took aleve. if he'd taken tylenol, he'd be stopping for more pills right now. only aleve has the strength to stop tough pain for up to 12 hours with just one pill. aleve. all day strong. caught on camera, a terrifying moment on a drag racetrack in
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arizona. watch as one of the car's engines suddenly explodes. the force knocking off the protective cover sending the driver crashing into the other car. amazingly, both drivers avoided serious injury. it was a royal moment in london today as not one, but two, royal couples made their first joint appearance. prince harry and his fiancee meghan markle joined prince william and duchess kate at a charity event. markle made mention of the me too and time's up movements saying there's no better time to continue to shine a light on women feeling empowered. and an nba superstar paying tribute to a victim of the florida school shooting. the miami heat's dwyane wade took the court last night with joaquin oliver's name written on his shoes. oliver was a huge fan of wade's and was laid to rest in one of wade's jerseys. with oliver on his mind and in his heart, wade hit the game-winning basket against the philadelphia 76ers. when we come back,
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we'll meet a new mayor in montana who' i accept i don't conquer the mountain like i used to. i even accept i have a higher risk of stroke due to afib, a type of irregular heartbeat not caused by a heart valve problem. but whatever trail i take, i go for my best. so if there's something better than warfarin, i'll go for that too. eliquis. eliquis reduced the risk of stroke better than warfarin, plus had less major bleeding than warfarin. eliquis had both. don't stop taking eliquis unless your doctor tells you to, as stopping increases your risk of having a stroke. eliquis can cause serious and in rare cases fatal bleeding. don't take eliquis if you have an artificial heart valve or abnormal bleeding. while taking eliquis, you may bruise more easily... ...and it may take longer than usual for any bleeding to stop. seek immediate medical care for sudden signs of bleeding, like unusual bruising. eliquis may increase your bleeding risk if you take certain medicines. tell your doctor about all planned medical or dental procedures. i'm still going for my best. and for eliquis ask your doctor about eliquis.
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finally tonight, when a man named wilmot collins won a stunning victory in november, he made history by becoming the first african-american mayor in montana. but that was far from his first challenge in a journey that began far away in a country at war. ron allen tonight on how he's "inspiring america." >> vote, people, vote. >> reporter: helena mayor wilmot collins on his weekly night out with the public. >> i have two years to listen. >> reporter: an unlikely leader in the state where only half percent of the population looks like him. do you ever feel just amazed to be in montana? >> yes.
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before coming to montana, i had never seen snow. >> reporter: 24 years ago collins fled liberia's civil war escaping with wife, maddie, and thousands of desperate refugees. >> we were dying of starvation. i'm sorry. one time we found toothpaste and that's what we ate. >> reporter: toothpaste. >> toothpaste for lunch. >> reporter: eventually they got to america, settled in montana where maddie had been a high school exchange student. early on, vandals painted "go back to africa" on their home. his neighbors washed it away. >> not in this town, they said. the community, that's what kept me going. >> reporter: collins, 55, father of 2, works as a state child protection specialist and serves in the navy reserve. he defeated a popular 16-year incumbent by less than 350 votes. >> you need to give back. if i can give back half of what this community has given me, i'm complete. >> reporter: the new mayor, very much at home, in montana.
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ron allen, nbc news, helena. >> the american dream. alive and well in montana tonight. we appreciate you spending part of your evening with us. that is "nightly news" for this wednesday ni now on "extra." days before the oscars, ryan seacrest under siege. >> are you worried about an oscar backlash? >> ryan today, biting back. was there sexual misconduct or is it a multimillion dollar shakedown? will the stars speak to seacrest on sunday?
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>> will you speak to ryan? >> bachelor ari secretly in love with his runnerup? >> we're clearing up all the crazy rumors from the big finale. >> sophia and joe's hollywood date night. >> i got a tangle in the rug. >> all new insta video of sophia partying up a storm. >> her modern family co-star's first words since her breakup. >> how are you doing? >> fresh off the winter games. >> the greatest snow border of all time, shaun white. >> we have his surprise video message for chloe kim. >> plus, call campus security. melissa mccarthy's going back to college. >> ask me anything. >> why would ace a t

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