tv Early Today NBC December 18, 2017 3:30am-4:00am EST
this morning tens of thousands of travelers impacted by a power outage at the world's busiest airport will get another shot at getting to their destinations. >> donald trump returns from camp david to face a mountain of controversy surrounding the latest mueller e-mail bombshell. ahead of what might be the biggest moment of his presidency. >> and aing senator john mccain is whisked to his home state of arizona. we'll have the latest on his condition. >> when harry met barak, what happened when these two sat down for a candid conversation. >> inside this nondescript brick building, the magic and wonder of christmas with one of santa's busiest helpers. "early today" starts right now. >> good morning, i'm phillip mena. >> i'm frances rivera. power at the world's busiest airport has been fully restored
a complete power outage created a travel nightmare for tens of thousands of passengers at atlanta's hearts field jackson airport. the mayor said electricity went out around 1:00 p.m. after a fire damaged both the main substation powering the airport and its back up. the cause is still under investigation. >> power slowly came on, terminal by terminal, over the course of about 11 hours to the cheers of weary passengers. more than 1300 flights were canceled or delayed and back ups are expected to ripple into today just as the busy holiday travel week gets underway. nbc's morgan radford has more. >> reporter: a full ground stop at atlanta's hearts felt jackson airport left nearly 100 aircraft parked on the runway. none allowed to fly in or out. >> i personally thought it was a really big -- i don't know, terrorist attack or something crazy because the power is out and phones stopped working and that was quite frightening. >> reporter: as inter
flights were diverted to other airports, passengers were trapped on the tarmac, waiting on board for hours after an electrical issue took down power in the airport's massive terminals. inside, thousands of passengers waiting at their gates in complete darkness. >> some of the stores here are just pitch black. >> that's been going on the past few hours. >> reporter: the blackout couldn't have come at a worse time. >> today's outage could very well impact travel through the holiday season. it's just really going to be determined by how long the power is out. >> reporter: a holiday travel season where 51 million people are expected to fly on u.s. airlines between december 15th and january 4th. that's almost 2 million more than flew at this time last year. atlanta, the world's busiest airport. >> i have no idea what i'm going to do. i'm not even sure if i am going to get out of atlanta. >> reporter: morgan radford, nbc news, new york. >> the thomas fire is raging through southern california for a 15th straight day. the massive inferno is
270,000 acres. ballooning into the third largest in california history. the blaze killed two people, destroyed more than a thousand homes and businesses. and continues to threaten 18,000 more structures. more than 8500 firefighters are on the front lines battling the inferno. now 45% contained, it has already cost more than $123 million. and for the first time since the fire erupted, the red-flag warning expires today due to calmer winds, but the monster blaze won't let up any time soon. nbc's scott cohn is at the main center for the fire in ventura where thousands of firefighters are getting ready for crucial day. scott? >> reporter: as you said, frances, 8500 firefighters in all nearly a thousand fire engines, like the ones behind me, dozens of aircraft, and they are all going to be going full blast today and tomorrow in particular because this is a crucial window of opportunity to finally get a handle on this massive thomas
considerably. we actually are seeing at various times during the next couple of days winds forecast to be calm. that's something we haven't seen for the last couple of weeks. so, they will make the most of that opportunity to try and bring this fire further under control. now just 45% contained. over the weekend, threatening some exclusive areas in the hills above santa barbara and that does not go unnoticed among some of the celebrities that live there. oprah winfrey tweeting, god bless every firefighter and their families fighting three weeks straight. still going. imagine their exhaustion. singer katie perry tweeting a big thank you to all the firefighters and first responders from all the surrounding areas that have come out to fight these thomas fire flames. they will be fighting the flames through the holidays. cal fire is not expecting this fire to be contained around january 7, more than a month after it broke out. fran snes >> wow, scott, thank you. >> this morning after spending a week at
center, senator john mccain is back home. his office announcing the senator will not be back in washington until at least january and it couldn't have come at a worst time for the president with the long awaited vote on the $1.5 trillion tax bill expected to take place tomorrow in the house. as congress works furiously to fulfill the president's promise to, quote, give americans a tax cut for christmas. and they'll need every republican vote they can with democrats rejecting the bill in mass. here was the president remarking on his call with mccain's wife cindy. >> i wish her well. i wish john well. they're headed back, but i understand he'll come if we ever needed his vote which hopefully we won't. but the word is john will come back if we need his vote. and it's too bad. it's tough. he's going through a very tough time. there's no question about it. >> so, just how much will this impact that crucial tax vote? for more we go to
edward, good morning. >> reporter: good morning, phillip. this is certainly a hurdle for republicans we have 51 republican senators without john mccain. you heard the senator saying mccain would come back to washington if they needed his vote. he has missed several votes over the last several weeks because of his treatment for cancer. senator cochran with health issues has also missed votes. republicans need everyone else on board. senator bob corker has been wavering on this bill because he believes it may add too much money to the deficit of the united states. also senator marco rubio, a last-minute hold out last week, wanting to get the child tax credit increased in this. now the child tax credit was increased and senator corker said he's on board after assurances were made. still some republicans believe this tax bill is not good enough for everyone. >> look, the corporate tax rate in our country is -- was way too high. look, do i think they could have done better for the middle
do i think they could have done better for the working poor? i mean, rubio tried to get something. he made some progress. but they could have, you know, increased the rates a little bit for big business. it wouldn't have mattered. >> it shocks me still that the very conservatives that i helped get elected in 2010, the fiscal hawks who came to washington to say, we will not spend one dime more than the american people can afford, have just signed off on a $1.5 trillion tax increase on those very same americans. >> reporter: now it looks like this bill will pass the house on tuesday. it is expected to go through the senate on wednesday. back to you, phillip. >> all right, edward, thank you. >> track palin, the oldest son of former alaska governor and one time vice-presidential nominee sarah palin is in trouble with the law once more. palin was arrested on criminal burglary and assault in his hometown in alaska. according to court records, all charges were related to an incident of domestic violence on saturday.
palin said the two were unable to comment on the incident asking for privacy. track palin was also arrested january of last year on domestic violence charges and misconduct involving a weapon. his girlfriend telling the police track, quote, struck her with a closed fist, sending her to the ground. later threatening suicide with an ar-15 rifle. sarah palin suggested at the time that her son's arrest was a result of ptsd, saying her son came back different after his engineer-long deployment in iraq. >> the carolina panthers will soon have a new boss. owner jerry richardson said he will sell the team tend of the season. the surprise announcement after the team began an internal investigation into workplace allegations against richardson. richardson did not comment allegations nor did the team provide any specifics. on twitter sean p. diddy combs expressed interest in buying the team. saying there are no african-american majority
owners. steph curry tweeted, i want in. >> let's turn to nbc's meteorologist bill karins for the last forecast. trying to get things together before christmas. >> the clock is ticking. one week to go. the gulf coast it's the problem. not deal with too much snow or ice anywhere in the country. there is a lot of dense fog here so the morning commute will be slow in alabama throughout mississippi, louisiana, even some heavier downpours in areas of louisiana. this is just kind of the beginning, too. we're going to see all these clouds and the fog lingering with us throughout the early morning but then as we go through the afternoon then we turn our attention to areas of texas and then tonight into tomorrow a rainstorm develops. this is going to be quite the rain event. some areas could get as much as 2 to 3 inches of rain out of this. no ice or snow, but it will be a little snow on the roads. that's a look at the big weather story of the day. now here's a closer look at your day ahead. you can see kind of the fog there from dallas to shreveport, possibly, jackson, birmingham all the way back to atlanta. also a little bit of light freezing rain this morning, s
england for icy precip also. let's go to berlin where santa claus ditched the traditional chimney. he wanted something a little riskier. after a sack of presents dropped from the sleigh by mistake saying nick made a pit stop to retrieve it much to the delight of the children. rather than come down the chimney, he said let's take the scene i can route. he came down the side of the building and came through the window much to the delight of all the boys and girls. >> that's impressive. scaling down, you know. >> he gets bored. >> shaking things up. santa style. bill, thank you. president trump has a major concern over thousands of e-mails procured by robert mueller's team. "star wars" "the last jedi" quickly approaching a half billion dollar at the box office.
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box office with $220 million domestically according to comscore. those estimates adding to a global haul of $450 million. it's the second best opening ever falling just behind its predecessor the force awakens. the disney block buster is just the fourth film in history to open above 200 million and joins the force awakens, jurasic world and avengeers. >> there is a fight breaking out over the mueller investigation over e-mails. a lawyer for the president claimed robert mueller's investigation improperly osh tand several,000 e-mails from president trump's transition team. he has written to congress requesting future teams be protected from what he called unauthorized disclosures. but the special counsel is pushing back. just as another member of congress comes out calling for a special investigation into the fbi agent's carrying out mueller's sweeping investigation. still, amid rumors and intense pressure, the president says he is not firing robert mueller. for more we go to nbc's kelly o'donnell.
>> reporter: president trump back from a weekend at camp david. as his frustration over the russia probe surfaced in a new way. >> mr. president, do you believe your transition team e-mails were improperly taken? >> not looking good. not looking good. it's quite sad to see that. my people were very upset about it. >> reporter: surfaced in a new way, with a charge made by the president's transition team against special counsel robert mueller's investigation. claiming prosecutors improperly obtained thousands of transition staff e-mails now being used in the russia probe. >> i can't imagine there is anything on them frankly because, as we said, there's no collusion. there's no collusion whatsoever. but a lot of lawyers thought that was pretty sad. >> reporter: election season, to the inaugural, the trump transition walked in this government-owned building using government-provided e-mail service.
teams are not government agencies. most of their funding is private. a trump transition lawyer protested to congress, claiming career staff at the federal government's general services administration unlawfully produced the transition team's private materials including e-mails bound by attorney/client privilege to the special counsel. white house officials stayed out of it. >> thankfully i'm not in communication with the transition lawyer for the trump team. >> reporter: a spokesman for robert mueller said when we have obtained e-mails, we have secured either the account owner's consent or appropriate criminal process. credibility is a target for trump allies who seized on mueller removing from his team a senior fbi agent who exchanged anti-trump text messages with another agent during the campaign. while mueller is widely respected -- >> i do not at all believe that mr. mueller has been compromised or his investigation. >> some repub
alarm. >> i think these conflicts of interest jeopardize the integrity of his investigation. >> reporter: when reporters asked the president again said he has no plans to fire special counsel mueller. the president was not as willing to talk about his sunday phone call with vladimir putin, a second call in just four days. the kremlin had come out first talking about the call saying that vladimir putin wanted to thank president trump for intelligence provided by the cia that helped russia thwart a major terror plot in st. petersburg. the president later acknowledged it through a statement. the white house saying that this is a sign of how the two countries can cooperate. frances? >> all right, kelly, thank you. >> and as kelly just mentioned, russia's vladimir putin called president trump to offer a huge thank you. we'll have more on that coming up next. ♪ so probably take it at night. and if you have any questions, the instructions are here in spanish as you requested.
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as we just mentioned, russian president vladimir putin is thanking president donald trump for an intelligence tip that helped thwart a possible bomb plot in st. petersburg. the kremlin first released information about the phone call between the two leaders where putin expressed his gratitude. nbc's lucy kavanof has more for us this morning. lucy, good morning. what more do we know about this playoff? >> reporter: good morning, philip. according to the kremlin the cia helped with an attack against an orox
statement friday it obtained seven members of supporters and seized a significant amount of explosives, weapons, as well as extremist literature. this attack was described as imminent. it was set to be planned for saturday just a day after those first arrests were made, although it is not clear when the cia provided the tip. now, we don't have any details on what info the cia sent to the russians. it wasn't immediately clear where the plot originated or how the cia learned of it. the agencies consider themselves to be something of adversaries, but they cooperate on counterterrorism issues. in 2011 the fsb warned the fbi that an immigrant from russia living in boston had associations with islamic militants. of course two years later he and his brother detonated those homemade bombs at the boston marathon. that said, u.s. intelligence agencies including the cia believed russia tried tro sway last year's presidential election in favor of mr. trump. guys? >> great they were able to work together for this. lucy, thank you. >> much more a
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chief on his fond est white house memories and his hopes for the future. the interview which was recorded in toronto in september during the invictus games is set to air later this week. >> it will be fascinating to listen to. that was back in september. i wonder if he game him a heads up what was going to happen. >> the president would have the inside scoop. >> that's right. let's check in with bill karins. bill? >> still watching the cloudy foggy rainy conditions on the gulf coast. look how mild it is across the country. now that we're a week away, people are wondering about the white christmas. the white is likely, snow in the next couple days, northern portions of the plains in northern new england. does not look good for i-95 or in areas of the south. >> all right, bill. thank you. well, when we come back we will take you to a place where the magic is made by a man who almost never stops thinking about christmas. i love you, basement guest bathroom. your privacy makes you my number 1 place to go number 2.
. good morning. i'm chris lawrence. next on "news4 today," the lights are back on in the world's busiest airport. what does that mean for your flights? we're monitoring as the flights get back online across the country. good morning everybody. i'm storm team 4 meteorologist chuck bell. this will be a low-impact weather week for you. this morning, temperatures in the 30s
big coat right there in the closet. didn't feel that bad for you. >> i was listening for complaints. >> no, no. no complaints here. >> no complaining allowed. the cold air in retreat. as a result, we'll be relatively mild around here, especially the first couple of days of the week. cooler past tuesday afternoon or wednesday. in the meantime, your monday morning off at that a quiet start. cloudy skies and the return of a light southerly breeze have held temperatures up overnight. everybody above freezing now. in the upper 30s and low 40s. it's anything but cold out there. typically chilly. but there's your planner then for your back to work and school monday. how about this. into the 50s we'll go today. afternoon highs up to 55 downtown. a fair amount of sunshine after a rather cloudy start this morning. tomorrow looks even nicer. show you that part of the forecast coming up. thank you, chuck. we want to start with a power outage that brought one of the world's busiest airports