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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  March 2, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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next weekend. >> as a reminder lester holt joins us next with nightly news. tonight. under fire. the attorney general jeff sessions announces he will recuse himself from the investigation of russian interference in the election. democrats want him to resign. snap billionaires. the addictive app that makes messages disappgoes public. it's this 26-year-old founder the next mark zuckerberg. where is winter? unusual warmth sweeping the country. concerns about why spring is creeping earlier and earlier. fighting cancer. researchers unveil a
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new approach to the debilitating side effects. inspiring america. a phenom proving nothing can slow him down. "nightly news" begins right now. from nbc news world headquarters, this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening to our viewers in the west. just three weeks on the job, attorney general jeff sessions is caught in a growing political and legal firestorm over his silence about contacts with the russian diplom diplomat. sessions announced he will step aside from the investigation into russian meddling in the election. it still leaves open why he omitted such contacts during his senate confirmation hearing in january. pete williams is at the department of justice and has details. pete. >> reporter: lester, after day -- a day of calls from some
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democrats for him to resign, jeff sessions said he has concluded he must bow out of making any decisions involving the investigation of russian's attempt to influence the elections. he said he is doing it to avoid the appearance of a conflict. >> good morning, mr. sessions. >> reporter: the attorney general said he sought the advice of career justice department officials beginning several days ago before making today's dramatic announcement. >> i believe those recommendations are right and just. therefore, i have recused myself in the matters that deal with the trump campaign. >> reporter: jeff sessions campaigned extensively with donald trump and was a campaign advisor. during his confirmation hearing he was asked about campaign contacts with russians in light of russia's attempt to influence the election. >> i'm not aware of any of those activities. i have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign, and i did not have communications with the russians. >> reporter: sessions talked twice last year with russia's ambassador to the u.s. in july while speaking to a group of
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ambassadors at the republican convention and again in september, a one-on-one conversation in his senate office at a time when allegations of russian influence were constantly in the headlines. sessions insist he did not mislead the question because he understood the question about the campaign but wishes he answered differently. >> i should have slowed down and said i did meet one russian official a couple of times. that would be the ambassador. >> reporter: some legal experts say he may not have committed perjury but should have been more clear. i don't believe it would be appropriate to prosecute him for perjury, but he could have been more candid. >> reporter: today sessions said he has no recollection of talking to the ambassador about the campaign. the conversation was about terrorism and ukraine. with sessions recused, the acting deputy attorney general, dana boente, takes over the case. pete williams at the justice department.
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>> reporter: this is peter alexander. the commander in chief in virginia today just hours after jeff sessions recused himself, stand big his attorney general. asked whether he had confidence in jeff sessions, his answer? >> total. >> reporter: and whether he thought the attorney general testify truthfully. >> i think he did. >> reporter: mr. trump adding he wasn't aware sessions spoken to the ambassador. they only learned from a reporter shortly before the story broke. today top aides reince priebus and steve bannon skipping the president's trip staying to help manage the sessions fallout. >> i think it's just best in this case he recuse himself. >> i think the attorney general should further clarify. i think he will need to recuse himself. >> reporter: democrats going further. >> the fact that the
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attorney general, the top cop in our country, lied under oath to the american people is grounds for him to resign. >> for the good of the country, attorney general sessions should resign. >> reporter: democrats also raising questions about the timing of sessions september meeting with the ambassador. just three days after president obama said sanctions on russia shouldn't be rolled back. senator dianne feinstein cast doubt on sessions, claiming he didn't remember much about the meeting. most recently seen here in the president's address to congress tuesday night. >> this particular ambassador is hard to forget. to say that he couldn't remember is just simply not believable. >> reporter: it was conversations with the same ambassador that ultimately led to the firing of former national security adviser mike flynn last month. while the white house is defending sessions, his testimony under oath remains under scrutiny with critics going to this 1999 claim where he called perjury claims against
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clinton serious allegations. >> in america and the supreme court and american people believe no one is above the law. >> reporter: we're learning about another meeting between two of the president's closest advisors and the same russian ambassador. the white house confirms to nbc news that michael flynn and the president's son-in-law jared kushner both met with sergei kis lirliak in december. white house aides say it was a brief courtesy meeting and at the russian's request. lester. >> thanks. let's bring in our political director chuck todd. this time yesterday the focus was on the president's address to congress. a day later it's back on russia. it doesn't go away. how do they free themselves of this? >> this story is consuming their presidency. if they're not careful, it will consume the legislative calendar. it will make it harder to redo obamacare, harder to do tax reform. they may get to the point the trump white
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house will want an independent prosecutor or commission to look into this, because at some point the drip, drip, drip where you have a day of distractions here, a day of distractions there, you'll have republicans on capitol hill basically saying, i'm tired of this. can we remove this investigation from congress at this point, put it into independent hands, and in a way you can buy time and compartmentalize it and say, hair, there is an investigation going on. it falls to the independent prosecutor to investigate and you can move on and do some governing. if they don't do this, it's going to consume this presidency. >> all right. chuck todd tonight. thank you. one more quick note. to more cabinet picks were confirmed today. ben carson has been sworn in as secretary of housing and urban development after passing by a vote of 58-41. former texas governor, rick perry was also confirmed by the
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senate as energy secretary by a vote of 62 to 37. now to major debut on wall street today. the company behind the wildly popular messaging app snapchat went public and saw the value skyrocket to an incredible $35 billion. it also made billions for the company's 26-year-old ceo who had the foresight to turn down an offer from facebook years ago. we have details. >> reporter: the app known for its disappearing messages making a permanent mark on wall street today. snapchat went public on the new york stock exchange. shares soared 44%. investors are banking on the app's youth appeal. >> how many times are you snapping a day? >> sometimes in conversation then like upwards of 20. >> i send snapchats a couple of times day. >> reporter: founded by now 26-year-old evan spiegel in his stanford dorm room,
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snapchat is a mobile messaging app that you can send and receive photos that can disappear after ten seconds. >> you don't have to worry about someone digging through it. >> reporter: the majority of users are 18-34. checking the app more than 18 times day. spending about 30 minutes a day snapping. >> on facebook, you want to be in touch with as many people as you can. on snapchat it's about your intimate relationships. the people who you would show how silly you are. >> reporter: speeg he will, snap's ceo, is often compared to facebook founder zuckerberg. zuckerberg wanted to buy the $3 billion company in cash three years ago. spiegel turned him down. >> reporter: light speed was the first partner in snap and now they are cashing in. >> he's always had this ability to understand what users want.
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>> reporter: spiegel made $5.4 billion today. the company now worth about 35 billion. impressive numbers for a business that has yet to turn a profit. nbc news, new york. in nashville this evening an urgent man hunt for a killer. the family of a nurse who was fatally stabbed by an intruder in her own home is pleading for help to find her murderer. tonight police hope security video may help them crack the case. nbc's gabe gutierrez has the latest. >> reporter: tonight the manhunt for this hooded figure in this surveillance video is intensifying. police suspect he was checking for unlocked cars, minutes before he snuck into an apartment complex and stabbed tiffany ferguson to death. >> she had a heart for nursing. >> reporter: her roommate, kelsey cooper, heard the screams and called 911. >> we felt safe. we never felt like this could happen. >> reporter: so safe she says, they planned
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to sign a new yearlong lease later that same day. instead, according to police, the burglar entered the apartment through an unlocked door and raided it for valuables when he came upon the 23-year-old. >> this does appear to be a random act, a very rare, random act of violence in this particular area. >> reporter: in a written statement, her twin sister says tiffany was the best of us. she had a heart for people and wanted to help those who were less fortunate. to know her was to love her. she worked at this nashville hospital for years, an intensive care nurse after graduating from college in alabama. as they plan her funeral, family and friends are remembering a life cut short. a woman with a contagious smile. >> she loved to dance. she may not be the best but this was my best friend, you know, an amazing nurse and a daughter and an aunt and a twin. just a good person. the best person. >> reporter: they now hope this video will
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help lead police to her killer. gabe gutierrez, nbc news. across much of the country it's beginning to feel like spring from record daily highs to the warmest winter on record. much of the nation is thawing out. but with the early warmth comes concerns. miguel almaguer explains why spring arriving weeks early in some places isn't always good news. >> reporter: in a city where change doesn't come easy, spring has sprung in washington, d.c. the famed cherry blossoms set to hit peak bloom in mid-march, the earliest since 1990. stein -- scientists track the arrival of spring by the blossoming of certain plants, but warmer weather can complicate the growing season for farmers, throw a
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wrench in the ecosystem and bring misery to allergy sufferers. >> this early spring is one part of the fingerprint of climate change and it's important to understand the different effects that our changing climate might have on us. >> reporter: much of the country is seeing spring weeks ahead of schedule. boston then. boston,000. >> it's really nice to be out now. >> reporter: in texas the blue bonnets are out. in south florida, some of the warmest winter on record. did punxsutawney phil get it wrong? >> six more weeks of winter it shall be. >> reporter: for the first time in 48 years more snow in seattle than minneapolis this year. for the first time in nearly 150 years, no snow on the ground in chicago during january and february. >> just take a look at these temperatures as we make our way in through march. a huge portion of the country expecting with above average temperatures. >> reporter: according to the calendar winter won't end for three weeks. for many it feels like summer is just around the corner. miguel almaguer, nbc news, los angeles. still ahead,
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fighting cancer. new hope if you or someone you love is battling fatigue that comes with treatments. what new research says you should try first before turning to drugs. also the big scare involving a passenger plane at one of the busiest airports in the nation.
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we're back now with medical news about fighting cancer and battling those debilitating side effects from treatments that the patients need to help them get better. researchers now say there's a better option besides medicine that works to ward off the fatigue and body aches as nbc's kristen dahlgren explains. ♪ >> reporter: 27-year-old opera singer amy has always been active. >> i'm trying to increase my endurance. >> reporter: when stage 4 breast cancer met her the fatigue was devastating. >> your whole body feels heavy. you just feel weak, like your arm weighs 100 pounds, you know. it's difficult. >> reporter: so on those days when she just can't imagine getting out of bed, what does she do? >> i just tell myself, amy, you know you'll feel better once you start moving.
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for her doctor, amy is a great example of why they recommend exercise even before medications to battle fatigue. >> it keeps her mood elevated, helps with sleep, stimulates appetite and she's cruising through her treatments. >> reporter: traditionally doctors may have recommended rest. a new analysis published in the journal of the american medical association says exercise is the best way to fight cancer related fatigue. psychological treatment is recommended, like therapy, which also helps. both were more effective than drugs. even moderate exercise works. >> they don't need to run a marathon. this is about doing the public health recommendation of 150 minutes of exercise a week. you can get that in multiple ways. >> reporter: for amy not every day is a run. >> stretching, yoga, some walking on the treadmill. >> reporter: doing something is key. >> how do you do it? >> i don't know. i just do.
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>> reporter: exercise, helping her body and mind cope with cancer. kristen dahlgren, nbc news, rochester, new york. we're back in a moment with something you don't see every day during the commute to the nation's capital.
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a scare on the ground at o'hare airport in chicago. take a look. a maintenance team was working on a plane parked at the gate when suddenly the engine burst into flames. it's unclear whether there was an explosion. no passengers on board and no injuries. the airline is investigating the cause. there's a new sheriff in town at the u.s. department of interior. the department's new secretary ryan zinke saddled up this morning and rode to his first day of work in the nation's capitol on horseback. he hails from montana and is an avid
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outdoorsman. he was sworn in yesterday and is in charge of 500 million acres of public land, including national parks. a pair of best buddies in kentucky have gone viral but pretending to us that true friendship is color blind. when 4-year-old jax needed a haircut on the left, he asked for a buzz cut like his friend on the right because they thought it would make them seem identical. they had a master plan. they wanted to make their preschool teacher unable to tell them a part. when we come back the middle schooler lighting up the internet with his slam dunks and inspiring america. but not just for illelimmigrant
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says he's target. ===rajo= after nbc bay area respos.kesont ===raj/next close== finally tonight a small town kid with big talents on the basketball court. he can slam dunk and he's not out of middle school yet. that's not the most remarkable thing about him. kevin tibbles has his story in our "inspiring america" report. >> reporter: the kid has the moves of a natural but we're not talking college hoops. this is middle school ball in tiny washington, iowa. our 6'3" phenom is 14-year-old trasean willis.
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this has burned up the internet. >> i can do things if i really put my mind to it. >> reporter: an 8th grader who does it all with his right arm because he was born missing the left one. i guess you thought that would slow him down. not on your life. >> he's still humble, still has a big heart and wants to help people. he doesn't let anything get to him. >> reporter: after school he can be found tutoring elementary school kids and plans to mentor another young boy missing an arm. >> there are people that were born without an arm, too, and they reach out saying i inspire them, and they do sports, too, and they just say thanks and they can do whatever they put their mind to. >> reporter: for the middle school coach, he sets an example each time he flies through the air. >> when you have an obstacle in front of you, how am i going to overcome that? he does that.
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>> reporter: here he is scoring a touchdown for his football team and he's preparing to have his hand full for high school. >> i'm going to do football and basketball and most likely track. >> and homework. >> and homework. and homework. >> do you think you are a better kid because you've had this disability? >> no. i think i'm a good kid because my parents raised me right and pushed me to be the best i can. >> reporter: making a fast break around life's obstacles makes this young man a winner in anyone's plai playbook. kevin tibbles, nbc news, washington, iowa. >> that will do it for us on a thursday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. s ec ond f ile
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>> i was fingerprinted as if i was a criminal. >> right now at 6:00, legal immigrants facing deportation because of something they did decades ago. they are now in legal limbo. the news at 6:00 starts now. good evening, thanks for joining us. >> a warning tonight for legal immigrants who have been convicted of a crime. the rules aren't changing, but the enforcement are changing. a prior conviction could get you deported even though you are here legally. damian trujillo joins us from the district attorney's office
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in san jose with the story. >> reporter: prosecutors are trying to help the legal immigrants tonight. emphasize the word legal, help them modify their conviction to stay in the country. they hope it's not too late. >> you do a lot of business travel? >> i do. >> reporter: he flew to fso with his family. john, a legal immigrant who wants his identity hidden. john's green card wasn't good enough for the customs agents. >> they detained me for six hours, i was fingerprinted as if i was a criminal. >> reporter: that day, he was put on a deportation list. the reason, john was convicted more than 20 years ago on a felony drug charge. he served six months, had the record expunged, but that


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