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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  January 23, 2017 7:00pm-7:30pm EST

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tonight, down to business. president trump taking executive action on trade and on abortion. as his chief spokesman meets the press for the first time since that heated statement about the inauguration crowd. and tonight a major lawsuit accuses the president of violating the constitution. deadly path of destruction. wild weather all across the country. tornad clobber the south, and tonight powerful storms including a nor'easter barreling up the coast. tax refund warning. a surge in scammers trying to steal your money, making off with what you're owed before you even know what happened. the time to protect yourself is now. medical magic. the doctor waving his wand, making kids feel better, and inspiring america. "nightly news" begins right now.
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good evening. with pen to paper, president trump sent a strong signal to america's trading partners there will be a new playing field. making good on his promise to withdraw from the transpacific partnership agreement while putting u.s. businesses on notice that there will be a price to pay for moving jobs offshore. on the first business day of his presidency, mr. trump moved quickly to begin dismantling obama-era policies, refocusing on the job ahead after seizing on a head-shaking distraction over the weekend. our white house correspondent hallie jackson starts us off tonight. >> reporter: at the white house, a reset already after a rocky start. on his first full white house workday, president trump most notably backing out of the transpacific partnership, a major de
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around the pacific to counter china. >> we've been talking about this for a long time. >> reporter: the move winning praise from people like senator bernie sanders, and from mark gliptus, a labor leader in west virginia. >> 100% behind trump as far as the renegotiation of that specific treaty. that's not the only one. >> reporter: an administration aide tells nbc the tpp move fulfilling a campaign pledge is the first step in renegotiating big trade deals including nafta with canada and mexico. >> when will you begin to renegotiate nafta? >> at the appropriate time. >> in theory we'll be keeping higher-wage jobs by pulling out of trade deals, but we might see the cost of goods increase. >> reporter: president trump also today implementing a hiring freeze for federal workers, except military members, and reinstating a reagan-era policy to ban recipients of u.s. foreign aid from suggesting or providing abortions. all of it amid a flurry of photo ops from west wing meetings with business leaders from places like dow, lockheed martin, and
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the president promising to cut regulations and taxes. >> to say the president was engaged was an understatement. >> reporter: today's push on policy a stark contrast to what critics called the petty over the first 72 hours of the trump administration with the president harping on the size of his inaugural crowd. his press secretary today pressed about his own inaccurate claims. >> our intention is never to lie to you. >> reporter: at points sean spicer on defense clearly frustrated. >> it's a little demoralizing to turn on the tv day after day and hear, can't do this, this guy's not going to get confirmed no way they're going to go through. >> reporter: to that point president trump today calling reporters back into the roosevelt room -- >> where's miss jackson? >> reporter: why? to witness praise from union leaders about his inauguration speech. >> that was a great moment for working men and women of the country. thank you. >> you may never hear that on television. >> reporter: the president's holding a reception here tonight. for leaders of both parties,
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including a one-on-one with house speaker paul ryan as his cabinet comes closer to reality. cia chief mike pompeo is expected to be confirmed tonight. rex tillerson just cleared his biggest senate hurdle, looking all but certain to be installed as the next secretary of state next week. >> hallie jackson at the white house, thank you. meantime the new president is already being taken to court being sued over his business interests. a liberal watchdog group claims president trump is violating a constitutional ban on accepting gifts from foreign governments. we get details from our justice correspondent pete williams. >> reporter: first lawsuit of its kind against the wealthiest president in modern times. over a clause in the constitution that bans public officials from receiving any present or payment, what the framers called emolument, of any kind from any king, prince, or foreign state. a liberal ethics watchdog group says mr. trump is knee-deep in violations. >> we've never had a president
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interests that are so entangled with those of foreign governments and that are as secret as donald trump's. >> reporter: the suit lists a dozen trump business interests worldwide it says now violate that ban or will soon. among them, each time a foreign diplomat stays to stay or puts on an event in the president's washington hotel. services provided by the government of dubai for the trump international golf club opening next month. permits sought from china for the trump organization to build luxury hotels there. mr. trump today brushed off the lawsuit. >> without merit. totally without merit. >> reporter: he has said he'll give the u.s. treasury the profits from any foreign payments at the hotel, which his lawyer says don't count anyway. >> paying for a hotel room is not a gift or a present, and it has nothing to do with an office. >> reporter: mr. trump has said he'll have his two sons run the business, but the suit says that won't solve the problem. to win the ethics group must also show that it's directly harmed by any constitutional violation.
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the legal experts say its claim of harm that it's having to spend time and money suing mr. trump isn't enough. >> this is a pretty out of the box idea. the notion that because they've had to work harder, that somehow they are injured enough to be able to be successful in a lawsuit on this subject. >> reporter: one of the goals of the lawsuit is getting access to mr. trump's tax return. but even if this case doesn't get to first base, legal sources say other lawsuits are in the pipeline, perhaps even from a competing hotel. so this issue is not going away, lester. >> pete williams in washington, thank you. there is dramatic and dangerous weather unfolding on both coasts tonight. potentially threatening some 58 million this evening. deadly storms in the west and the nasty nor'easter targeting the east coast. we'll get details on both storms and al roker's forecast in a moment. first to the hard-hit south where a violent tornado outbreak has now left at least 20 people dead, most of them in georgia.
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nbc's gabe gutierrez is there. >> reporter: the destruction stretches for miles, from mobile home parks to two-story houses. in georgia alone, at least 15 people are dead, several are missing. >> we were helping look for a 2-year-old child that had been swept away in the tornado. >> reporter: an agonizing path of devastation leading right to a driveway in albany. this is the moment linda freeman first sees her childhood home in pieces. the place where the tornado took her father. his roof collapsed on him. today her world came crashing down. >> our house has a basement. and if he'd have known it was coming, i know he would have got in that basement. >> reporter: paul freeman was 81 years old, a retired air force pilot, who loved to hunt. his friends called him major. >> he had a huge heart. i'm going to really miss him.
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>> reporter: he was among the 20 people killed across the south. 41-year-old amanda roe died in cook county, georgia. 72-year-old simona cox and three others died saturday in mississippi. in all, 44 reports of tornado damage across six states in just 48 hours. overnight, howling winds pounded parts of florida, tossing boats and ripping through homes. >> i mean, this whole park here was covered with nothing but pine trees. you can see what's left. >> reporter: it is georgia that felt the brunt of this latest system, as dougherty county police captain tom jackson showed us. >> it looked like a bomb had just exploded back here. >> reporter: an emotional battle linda freeman hoped she'd never have to endure, going through her father's memories. >> there's his uniform. i won't bury him in that. >> reporter: there are some things these storms could not take. today georgia's governor placed
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of emergency. this area barely had time to recover from another set of severe storms just three weeks ago. >> all right, gabe gutierrez for us tonight, thank you. wicked weather doesn't end there, far from it. as we said, at both ends of the country, two huge storms are lashing the east and west coasts, including a nor'easter with tropical storm force winds. we get the coverage right now from nbc's blake mccoy. from new york's long island. blake, good evening. >> reporter: lester, the winds have really picked up here on long island. the rain is pelting us. this is the same storm system that caused those deadly tornados down south. and it's already proving deadly for this part of the country as well. high winds tonight battering the east coast. a fast-moving nor'easter whipping gusts of up to 60 miles per hour. toppling street lights in new jersey. flinging trees into homes. >> i heard the crack and i knew something was wrong. >> reporter: in philadelphia, a 60-year-old man
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flying debris. police say he was struck by a sign that flew off a car dealership. a piece of this downtown mural fell onto two parked cars. on new york's long island crews spent the day shoring up sand dunes to protect against coastal flooding. the region's airports are reporting hundreds of delays and cancelations. >> not optimistic we'll get out today. not at all. >> reporter: the storm is impacting 23 million americans. unlike most january nor'easters this won't bring much snow, temperatures are too warm. instead wind and rain with power outages being the biggest concern. tonight, thousands of people are already in the dark. blake mccoy, nbc news, long island, new york. i'm miguel almaguer in southern california where the strongest storm to pummel this region in years brought record rainfall, mudslides, and a flood of water rescues.
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in rushing rapids. this car swept away half a mile. >> it went by in probably, i don't know, 30 seconds. >> reporter: here a firefighter clutched a toddler. the two swept downstream before being plucked to safety. three days of relentless rain caused hills to crumble. mud to flow into homes. as hundreds were ordered to evacuate. in duarte, ground discoveried by fire last summer is washing away today. a neighborhood on the edge. >> we decided we wanted to stay and protect our house. >> reporter: with travel treacherous, two major freeways in southern california were flooded by four feet of water. at least three are dead. one woman killed in bed by a falling tree. in the sierra nevada, seven feet of snow in five days. now the threat of avalanches. california is on pace
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wettest year on record. now one of the most destructive. after hours of steady rain this morning the sun has finally come out in southern california. the cleanup will take days if not weeks. this is a road behind me, not a river. families trapped on the other side of the street will likely be there another day. >> miguel almaguer, thanks. al roker is tracking it all. a very busy night on radar. what are you watching first? >> the remnants of this storm out west, it's really going to have a bit of a legacy as it dumps snow into the rockies. as we continue east, heavy snow upwards of 8 inches from minnesota all the way into wisconsin. now here in the east we've got a big message the interstates as this nor'easter makes its way up the coast. the low pressure system deep enough to be a category 1 hurricane, and look at the airport delays. boston nothing, but that's going to change as the night wears on. as we push into the evening,
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we're talking 35 to 45 to 55 miles per hour. but as we get into tomorrow, a little bit less. but still problems for the airports as you make your way up into boston. this system pushes up, got a lot of heavy rain with it. 1 to 3 inches near the coast. inland look for a mix of snow, sleet, freezing rain. and look at this. tuesday, upwards of 8 inches new england into central new york. but the good news, lester, things calm down in the middle of the week. encouraging news this evening about a former first couple. officials say president george h.w. bush is being removed from the intensive care unit at a hospital in houston where he's being treated for complications from pneumonia. his spokesman tweeted out a picture of the couple with their thanks for all the prayers and good wishes. mrs. bush has been discharged after her hospitalization for bronchitis. still ahead tonight, the first day of tax season and scams targeting your refund are on the rise.
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e pain a distant memory nothing works faster stronger or longer what pain? advil. believe it or not, today is the first day that americans can file their tax returns for the tax year 2016. an important day for millions who file early in order to receive their tax refunds early. but this year, millions of refunds are being delayed as the irs tries to crack
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scammers who steal taxpayers' identities, making off with the money you are owed. here's the warning from nbc's tom costello. >> reporter: it's big business stealing taxpayer identities then applying for and stealing refunds. scammers made off with more than $3 billion in 2014. last year, a 400% surge in phishing and malware tax scams. in ohio, jim found someone had applied for a $25,000 refund in his name. >> they had my social security number, they had my wife's social security number. >> reporter: it happened to lisa in washington state. >> they had entered in deductions in order to create a substantial refund, a little over $5,000, that was being sent to a routing number and account number that i had never seen before. >> reporter: the refund, wired to a mysterious prepaid credit card. aaron stocks owns a jackson hewitt tax preparation franchise in los angeles. >> i've had over 20 in my local offices.
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their identities stolen? >> yes. it's very, very common. >> reporter: to weed out tax fraud the irs is delaying refunds for 40 million americans to make sure the refunds are legit. most filing today won't get refunds until late february. >> these people aren't people making a lot of money. this is their biggest check. they need to pay off credit card bills from christmas, to get the car repaired. to wait 30 days really could hurt them. >> reporter: to avoid becoming a tax fraud victim, file your taxes early before a criminal can. avoid ever giving out your social security number. the irs won't call or e-mail asking for it. and pay for credit monitoring service to watch for fraud. the scammer who targeted lisa's family still hasn't been caught. and proving anyone can be a victim -- >> watch your social security number. that is the key. >> reporter: jim is an ohio congressman, introducing a bill to fight tax-related identity theft. tom costello, nbc news, los angeles. we are back in a moment with
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there's alarming news this evening about cervical cancer. a new study shows dying from it is higher than believed, especially african-american women who are dying at a rate 77% higher than previously thought. for white women the rate is 47% higher. an important reminder for women to get screened. cervical cancer is one of the most preventible and treatable cancers if it is caught early. a breathtaking look at our planet. like we've never seen before. the very first images have been sent back from nasa and noaa's cutting-edge weather satellite are stunning, clearer and more vivid than anything we've seen in the past. scientists hope these images will lead to even more accurate forecasts. overseas today a ray of hope at the scene of such an awful tragedy.
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through the rubble at a resort struck by an avalanche pulled out three white sheepdog puppies, alive under all the snow after five days. so far, nine people have been rescued. six have been killed. 23 people are still missing and feared dead. the matchup is now set for the super bowl li showdown. the new england patriots will face the atlanta falcons after both teams dominated their conference championship games. tom brady and the patriots made history by securing the franchise's unprecedented ninth super bowl appearance. and matt ryan and the falcons have a shot at their first super bowl win in franchise history. they'll clash in houston february 5th. when we come back, pick a card, any card. the doctor with a few tricks up his sleeve to make his young patients smile.
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on your car insurance. why didn't you say so in the first place? i thought you's was wearing a wire. haha, what? why would i wear a wire? geico. because saving fifteen percent or more on car insurance is always a great answer. we want to end as we do every monday with something that will inspire you. tonight, medicine with a touch of magic. a medical student who amazes his young patients with every abracadabra, and he's teaching fellow physicians the tricks of the trade. our kevin tibbles has more on our "inspiring america" report. >> she's been doing really well.
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are often hailed as miracle workers. but for young patients at long island's stonybrook children's hospital, they're magicians too. third year med student david elkin carries a bag of tricks along with his stethoscope, making anxiety of being in the hospital disappear. >> i think magic is a unique art form that allows you to suspend your disbelief. it makes the impossible seem possible. >> reporter: he started magic aid to bring the healing powers of a smile to a sick kid's world. and presto, he's got 11-year-old delaney unger under his spell. >> perfect. >> it's magic. in a way it's medicine too. >> it's absolutely medicine. look at her smile. it's medicine, you're right. >> you wave your hand around it to make it like in here -- >> how did you do that? >> reporter: elkin says along with boosting social skills, magic helps develop a kid's motor skills. >> is that your card?
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customizing magic therapy for that particular patient, it gives them an end goal. like i have to master this magic trick. >> reporter: he's even teaching fellow med students how to cast their own magic spells. >> try to kind something in the room that kind of shows what they're interested in and go off that. you can't really see what happens in magic. it's all an illusion. kids think that with medicine, they don't really know what's going on. they feel magic is medicine. >> reporter: the magical powers of medicine and the medicinal powers of magic. >> open up. >> reporter: hand in hand. kevin tibbles, nbc news, stonybrook, new york. >> that will do it for us on a monday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night.
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lights, camera, access. >> i mean the truth is -- >> yes, i have thought an awful lot about blowing up the white house. >> she ought to be arrested. >> what does madonna have to say now about her heated rhetoric? i'm natalie morales. our behind the scenes access around the globe to this monumental weekend.

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