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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  January 4, 2017 6:30pm-7:01pm EST

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>> thanks for watching at 6:00. up next the nightly news with lester holt. we'll see you back here tonight at 11:00. tonight, critical condition. a high-stake showdown now under way over obamacare. republicans vowing to repeal and replace. democrats vowing to fight. what does it mean for the 20 million americans whose coverage is hanging in the balance? off the rails. a pair of frightening commuter crashes. nearly 150 injured in all. what happened? plow talk. a rude awakening from the better business bureau. a popular pillow advertised on tv goes from an a-plus rating to an f. first babe at 50. pop superstar janet jackson gives birth shining a light on elder moms. tonight, a reality check. and whiz kid, a
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scholar with autism all the way to oxnard. "nightly news" begins right now. >> announcer: from nbc news world head quarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening. it's looking more and more like obamacare as we know it is on life support tonight as a republican majority in congress took the first steps towards pulling the plug and making good on its promise to repeal a signature achievement of the obama administration. 20 million americans are covered by the law known as the affordable care act but it became apparent that republicans don't have a plan to replace their coverage. democrats mindful of that big hurdle huddled with president obama to talk about saving the law. hallie jackson is on on capitol hill. >> reporter: good evening. intending to help them pitch the coverage and whether it should live
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or die, the battle that could stretch years now beginning in earnest. a rare simultaneous showdown just a few minutes and a few hundred feet separating president obama and vice president-elect mike pence rallying their troops for congressional combat. >> make america sick again? is that what the republicans want to do? >> we've got to fix this by replacing it with something better. >> reporter: for the gop, killing the law's popular but it's a puzzle. >> we're going to get health care at a much lower price. >> reporter: and while donald trump is taking aim at the law overall today tweeting, "it will fall of its own weight," he wants to keep coverage for those with pre-existing conditions and those under 26 stay on their parents' insurance but the catch is the unpopular mandate requiring everyone to get insurance. >> you can't keep the good parts of the aca and remove the rest of
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the law and still have it work. >> reporter: so what will a replacement plan look like? not even republicans know for sure. >> within six months, we should be able to put pen to paper and have a replacement plan. certainly we're not doing that on day one. >> reporter: it will only take 51 votes to tear down the law. republicans can do that on their own. but to build it back up, 60 votes. meaning they'd need democrats to help. >> bring something that's difficult to begin with, you have to own it in a big way. >> reporter: are you prepared to own the political fallout potentially? >> i think the most important thing for the president-elect and for the leaders here in congress is that we keep our word to the american people. >> reporter: today's strategy sessions, just the start. hallie jackson, nbc news, washington. >> this is tom costello in historic gettysburg, pennsylvania, where this is a civil war themed art gallery. what's not working with obamacare for
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you? >> the red tape. it should be as simple as me paying the premium, me going to a doctor that i want to go to. >> reporter: she admits she didn't have insurance before obamacare and her premiums have stayed under $300 a month. but her deductible has gone from 1700 to $4500. >> and that's a lot of money. >> for me it, is. >> reporter: meanwhile, 600 miles away in crestwood, kentucky, this family voted for clinton. obamacare covered the cost of having a baby. losing that coverage, they say, would be a big blow to their hopes for the family farm. >> like most small business owners, we're kind of bootstrapping this. we've been at it a few years. >> reporter: nationwide, the affordable care act, or obamacare, has brought the percentage of americans without health insurance down from 16% to nearly 11%. premiums have jumped dramatically in some states but nationally they are up 20%. slower than the rate before obamacare took effect. >> if health insurers
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feel that everything is uncertain, will they drop out of the aca marketplaces? >> reporter: deborah admits she's conflicted. she wants obamacare repealed but she needs the coverage. >> and i have no issue with paying my fair share, but it's got to be a fair share that i can afford. >> reporter: in its simplest form, that is the very dilemma facing the congress. now to our nbc news exclusive report on president-elect trump's escalating feud with the u.s. intelligence agencies, including a new firestorm over his comments about controversial wikileaks' founder julian assange and brand-new details about his upcoming briefing on the intelligence conclusion he's raised doubts about, whether russia tried to influence the election. nbc news senior investigative correspondent cynthia mcfadden has new information tonight. >> reporter: today, vice president-elect mike pence weighing in on what seems to be
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growing distrust between donald trump and the intelligence community he will soon lead. >> i think given some of the intelligence failures of recent years, president-elect has made it clear to the american people that he's skeptical about conclusions. from the bureaucracy and i think the american people hear him loud and clear. >> reporter: the latest sparring began last night with trump talking about postponing the briefing on evidence that they say proves russia interfered with the election. "the intelligence briefing on so-called russian hacking postponed. very strange." two intel agencies spokespersons contradicting mr. trump saying that the meeting had always been scheduled for friday. but the facts are not that clear. a senior intelligence official tells nbc that donald trump's transition team was told to expect a briefing on the russian hacking case early this week.
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but yesterday, mr. trump was told the russian report was not ready. the dust-up about the meeting's timing is more evidence of the strain developing between the president-elect and the intelligence community. adding to the overall misery, trump quoting wikileaks' founder julian assange this morning, denying that the russians gave them the hacked democratic e-mails. said russians did not give him the info. but paul ryan spoke out strongly against assange. >> i think the guy is a sycophant for russia. >> it's absolutely astonishing. who would ever imagine you'd have a republican president-elect siding with an accused sex offender, julian assange, of wikileaks, someone who has hostility against the united states and every day it's a new dent interrogation of the united states and it's really astonishing. >> reporter: president obama is expected to be briefed on the
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final russia report tomorrow. one senior official, a career intelligence officer directly involved, says if intelligence was merely reporting the obvious, we wouldn't need it. analysts need to admit degrees of uncertainty and mr. trump needs to trust the professionals, all of which is becoming increasingly complex. it is still unclear who will brief mr. trump, although it is expected to be the leaders of the various intelligence agencies themselves. the meeting will take place at trump tower. lester? >> cynthia, thank you much. now to a high drama playing out in south carolina in a courtroom where dylann roof, an avowed white supremacist is representing himself as a jury decides whether to sentence him to life or death for a horrific mass murder spree inside a historic charleston church. nbc's gabe gutierrez has the details. >> reporter: jurors had already seen these videos of dylann roof planning his massacre and unanimously found
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him guilty but today during sentencing, the mass murderer spoke to them in person for the first time. i'm not going to lie to you, he said, there's nothing wrong with me psychologically. he offered no apology for the killing of nine black church goers at the historical ame emanuel church. "i am not sorry," he wrote, "i have not shed a tear." >> every day, i think about him every day. >> reporter: the courtroom was tense as prosecutors played her 911 call as she huddled in a locked office after hearing the gunshots her 6-year-old daughter whispered, daddy's dead? no, baby, no. her mother responded through tears. but pinckney knew her husband of 16 years was gone. after the emotional testimony, roof chose not to cross-examine her. mental health experts say it's exceedingly
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rare for defendants to represent themselves in death penalty cases. >> just because he's been found competent to stand trial doesn't mean he hasn't been found to have a serious mental illness. he does fit the profile of somebody with schizophrenia who doesn't understand he's ill. >> reporter: during her testimony, the prosecutor asked reverend pinckney's widow why she thinks roof spared her and she said to continue his legacy. her strength was a sharp contrast to the soft-spoken roof who says he's representing himself to prevent his lawyers from revealing his mental health tests. prosecutors plan to call more than three dozen witnesses in the coming days before a jury decides whether roof should be put to death. lester? >> thank you, gabe. now to the frightening commuter crash in the northeast. first, in brooklyn where over 100 people were injured when a long island railroad lifted off the tracks. none of the injuries were life threatening
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there. in philadelphia, early this afternoon, dozens were hurt when two trollies collided. the good news, all of the injuries were minor. the family of a teenage student shown on video being body slammed by a school police officer is now speaking out. they've pulled her out of school and say she's suffering injuries in the aftermath of the incident caught on camera. that officer is now on paid leave. let's get the latest on all of this from nbc's kerry sanders. >> reporter: a day after 5'2", 105 jasmine darwin was body-slammed by a uniform police officer in a high school cafeteria, the 15-year-old today complaining of body aches and a throbbing head. it's hard to look at? >> yes. horrible to watch. >> reporter: the nine-second video taken in roseville, north carolina, followed a fight between two girls, one of them jasmine's older sister. can the officer say, look, she put herself in the middle of a fight? >> no.
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it doesn't matter. he shouldn't have did it to a child. >> reporter: the family, with their attorney, freddie rabner today. >> i'm not nye avenue enough where there are times that officers have to get physical. a girl that is not involved in the conflict is not one of those times, kerry. >> the school resource officer is on paid administrative leave tonight. he's been unavailable for comment. this video was shot at the same high school about three months ago. the mother of the boy says her son was man-handled and then pepper sprayed by different school resource officers. it reflects a national trend, one or more violent incidents in 65% of america schools. tonight, jasmine and her attorney went to the police attorney to file a complaint. her mother says her daughter will never go back to that high school. kerry sanders, nbc news, roseville, north carolina. millions in the southeast from atlanta to raleigh, north
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carolina, are bracing for a new blast of winter weather. parts of the region may see several inches of snow from friday night into saturday, up to eight inches in north carolina, combined with plunging temperatures and sleet and rain, it could add up to a nightmare for travelers. still ahead here tonight, maybe you've seen the infommercials for these popular pillows. why the makers may have sleepless nights ahead. also, superstar janet jackson, a mom for the first time at 50. a rea constipated?
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the infommercials are all over tv. maybe you've flipped past them yourselves. now the better business bureau is cracking down on the makers of the popular my pillow, accusing the company of deceptive advertising. miguel almaguer explains. >> you get the best sleep. >> reporter: the infommercial and its now infamous sales pitch. >> i'll give you a second one absolutely free. >> reporter: too good to be true? yes, says the better business bureau, which is giving the my pillow maker a reason to lose sleep. the bbb revoking the minnesota company's accreditation. its a-plus status now changed to an f rating after hundreds of complaints about deceptive advertising. >> this was an example of a retailer trying to have consumers perceive a great bargain that actually wasn't there. >> reporter: the bbb says my pillow never
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really went on sale. the price per pillow never changed. the organization says pictures didn't match products and so-called full warranties left some consumers paying for a refund. company ceo mike lindell, the man behind the pillows, sold 25 million times over, says he is disappointed. >> you go from an a-plus to an f because they don't want me to continue an ad that's very helpful to my customers for christmas? i think it's the most disturbing thing i could ever think of. >> reporter: tonight, mypillow may still be a popular product but the corporate ratings have now become a nightmare. miguel almaguer, nbc news. we're back in a moment with the iconic store chain shutting down all across the nation. [phone ring] hello. hi, it's anne from edward jones. i'm glad i caught you. well i'm just leaving the office so for once i've got plenty of time. what's going on?
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tonight, one of the nation's biggest retailers says it's cutting back on stores. macy's will move forward with closing 68 locations and slashing 10,000 jobs. the announcement comes after a disappointing holiday season of sales which macy's blames on online shopping. celebratory news for janet jackson announcing she's a mom for the first time at the age of 50. a joyous occasion and also shining a light on older moms. kristen dahlgren reports on something they are seeing more often. ♪ >> reporter: at 50 years old, this may be janet jackson's most talk about hit. >> my husband and i are planning our family. >> reporter: this week, when the singer gave birth, the internet erupted, congratulations from high-profile friends and family, criticism from those who say 50 is too old and questions. >> around 50, 51, many patients are actually going into menopause.
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>> reporter: doctors put the chance of getting pregnant at 50 at around 1%. but this doctor is seeing more and more older patients, thanks to technology, including the use of younger donor eggs. in 2014, 743 babies were born to women 50 and older. that's up from just 144 in 1997. but it's not without dangers. >> there are increased risks for problems like down's syndrome. also, for the mom, there's increased risk of high blood pressure and diabetes during the pregnancy. >> it was very, very hard. >> reporter: this single mom used donor eggs when she decided to have her children at 49 and 51. what's the hardest part of having a baby in your 50s? >> when i'm in my 80s, they will be in their late 20s or how am i going to be at their graduations? >> reporter: and doctors say science is no guarantee. >> in the end, there's a limit to what we can accomplish. we don't really want
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an 80-year-old woman having babies. >> reporter: an important reality check for women hoping they, too, can push the limits of fertility. nbc news, kristen dahlgren, new york. our nation's military offered president obama one final salute. the armed forces held a farewell ceremony for the president at a base outside the nation's capital. the president thanked them for their sacrifices and said there was, quote, no greater honor than serving as their commander in chief. when we come back, the
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could save on homeowners insurance. finally tonight, it's an academic honor, only the best of the best receive every year. a young man with autism has made the grade with the guidance and sacrifice of his devoted mom. rising all the way to the elite ranks of road scholar. our henry smith has his incredible story in our "inspiring america" report. >> reporter: dor ree fleming and his service dog daisy move across the south carolina university campus. dory has a number of disabilities, not the least of which is autism. >> my majors are geography and marine science and then i
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have a minor in g geophysics. >> reporter: of course. what's your grade point average? >> currently, it's a 4.0. one more semester, we'll see. >> reporter: that's kind of a joke, because he will be studying for his master's degree next fall at oxford, one of just 32 americans to become a road scholar. >> i was very surprised. i thought the got the name wrong. >> reporter: to have spent a few minutes with the younger drory, he checked every box on the spectrum, screaming, hypersensitivity, no eye contact, incapable of communication. >> i don't think there was a magic key. there was a lot that i tried and it didn't work, a whole lot that i tried and it didn't work. >> reporter: one thing that did work was drory liked birds and soon drory took flight. >> animals don't use language to communicate.
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it's kind of like me. >> reporter: his mind was full of images, not words. he figured out a way to connect them. >> my goal wasn't to change him, it was really to bring out the best in him. >> reporter: drory's mother foretook a medical career to home school her son and they have uncovered an important truth. >> the road may have had a lot of potholes and diversions but eventually it got to where it needed to go. everybody can have something that they can contribute, they just may not know how. >> reporter: drory is ready for oxford. you wonder if oxford is ready for him. harry smith, nbc news, colombia, south carolina. >> and that's going to do it for us on a wednesday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. rah's emotional new
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interview revealing the joan rivers slam she never got over. now on "extra." ♪ >> the untold story of oprah's cold war with riff rijoan river. >> all i could hear was you're fat, you're fat, you're fat.
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>> the tv moment that continues to sting even after joan's death. and why queen o's fighting back tears with dr. oz. >> it filled me up. mariah mortified. her first interview about her new year's eve meltdown. what she says she'll never do again. did megyn kelly turn down $100 million to stay at fox? >> i am very grateful to nbc for this opportunity. >> the backstage scramble at fox news today. who will replace her? >> and what megyn told us about her struggle to juggle career and motherhood. breaking double baby news. a little boy for janet jackson. what his name means. and dants r dancing's maks n too. then countdown to sunday's golden globes. >> i am here with the one and only jimmy fallon. you want to try out your jokes on me. plus, why chris pratt's making how-to videos on filleting a fish. >> it d

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