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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  June 29, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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that is a good thing. the charred patch of land went up in flames. >> hope to see you then. tonight, beneath the dignity of the office. widespread condemnation from democrats and republicans as president trump unleashes a crude attack on the intelligence and the appearance of a female journalist, msnbc's mika brzezinski. also, the travel ban officially going into effect tonight amid concerns and confusion about who is allowed in and who's not. scandal strikes at the heart of the vatican. a top cardinal, one of pope francis's top aides, charged with sexual abuse. high rollers. recreational weed about to be legal in sin city. tonight, dos and don'ts before you think about lighting up on the strip. and what's next for the digital revolution that changed the world ten years ago today. "nightly news" begins right now.
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from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is nbc "nightly news" with lester holt. good evening to our viewers in the west. it's great to have you with us here tonight. as at least one prominent republican said today, this morning's tweet by president trump is beneath the office of the presidency. mr. trump's particularly personal tweet about one of his frequent critics, msnbc host mika brzezinski, and her appearance is earning the president sharp criticism from the left and right, especially among women. a president who has thrived on pushing the envelope of civility and pounding his critics, proving he has not lost the ability to shock and change the conversation. white house correspondent kristen welker has details. >> reporter: president trump touting his energy policy today, but once again drowning out his own message with a tweet. this time lashing out at msnbc's "morning joe" for criticizing
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him. "how come low i.q. crazy mika along with psycho joe came to mar-a-lago three nights in a row around new year's eve and insisted on joining me? she was bleeding badly from a face-lift. i said no." while the show does consistently take aim at him -- >> he's covering his hands here because they're teensy. >> he doesn't know his own positions on a health care bill that he's passing. he seems confused. >> reporter: it was the president's very personal shot at mika brzezinski that prompted immediate condemnation from democrats. >> i think it's so blatantly sexist. >> reporter: and top republicans, many taking to twitter themselves, calling mr. trump's tweet beneath the office of the presidency. >> tweets like this are inconsistent with the greatness of the country and the office. >> there is no need for such uncivil language. >> what we're trying to do around here is improve the tone, the civility of the debate, and this obviously doesn't help do that. >> reporter: his tweet today strikingly similar to this remark about nbc's megyn kelly, then with fox
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news, after sharp questioning during the first debate. >> you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever. >> reporter: then there was that "access hollywood" tape. >> grab them by the [ bleep ]. >> reporter: the president expressing regret that time. >> i was wrong, and i apologize. >> reporter: but not today. >> he fights fire with fire. >> reporter: white house spokeswoman sarah huckabee sanders disputing the comments were sexist and digging in. >> doesn't he have to meet a higher standard than cable news anchors? >> look, i don't think you can expect someone to be personally attacked day after day, minute by minute and sit back. >> reporter: the uproar comes while first lady melania trump leads an anti-bullying campaign and after the recent shooting of congressman steve scalise when the president and others called for civility. >> the president views this as a street fight. it really hasn't sunk in to him that he now speaks for the entire country when he gets on twitter and degrades the office of the presidency. >> reporter: the first lady's press secretary
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declined to comment on this morning's tweet specifically, instead pointing to this past statement, "when her husband gets attacked, he will punch back ten times harder." lester? >> kristen welker tonight at the white house, thank you. now to another big story we're following. tonight the administration's revised travel ban on six muslim-majority countries takes effect after the supreme court cleared the way earlier this week. but advocates for immigrants say the way the government will enforce it makes no sense. nbc news justice correspondent pete williams has the latest. >> reporter: mustafa al hassoon came to maryland two years ago as a refugee to escape the brutal civil war in syria. he had no relatives in the u.s., so if he tried to come here now he'd be blocked by the travel ban going into effect today. >> it does not make sense to me, how i cannot come to the united states if i don't have a family member. i need a new places, a new life, like anyone in the world. >> reporter: for people in the six countries covered by
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president trump's executive order, the supreme court said they can still get a visa to come here if they have a, quote, close familial relationship with someone in the u.s. today the administration defined that narrowly as a parent or child including in-laws, a sibling or a spouse. but it does not include fiance, grandparent, aunt or uncle, niece or nephew, cousin or brother or sister-in-law. advocates for immigrants say those distinctions don't make sense. >> how you get from a mother-in-law and a spouse affirmatively clearly being okay to saying that a fiance or grandparent is not, without any guidance in that direction, is a mystery. >> reporter: the government says don't expect a repeat of the chaotic airport scenes of five months ago because anyone who has a valid visa now will be allowed to board a flight to the u.s. and to enter the country when they arrive. tonight civil liberties groups say they may go back to court over what counts as close family and what kind of connection refugees must have before they
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can come here. pete williams, nbc news, washington. meantime, in congress today the house passed legislation to crack down on illegal immigration, one of president trump's top priorities. one of the bills called kate's law would impose harsher prison sentences on deportees who come back into the u.s. illegally. the other bill passed would strip federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities that shield undocumented immigrants from federal immigration authorities. the bills now go to the senate. also on the hill today senate republicans rushed to revamp their health care bill after delaying the vote until after the july 4th recess. and in a move that could rile some conservatives, there's word the new version could keep a controversial part of obamacare. our capitol hill correspondent kasie hunt has the details. >> hi, this is jeff. >> reporter: calls still pouring in. senator jeff flake today getting an earful. >> i don't think that the legislation as it
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was presented was the right balance, and so we're trying to rebalance that now. >> reporter: he's one of the key votes for republicans scrambling to find a deal to repeal obamacare before the holiday weekend. vice president mike pence dispatched to the capitol again to help, but the negotiations remain secret. senate majority leader mitch mcconnell refusing to say if there's been progress. >> mr. leader, are you going to get to 50 votes on health care by tomorrow? is that a no? sources tell nbc news republican senators are considering redrafting the bill to include keeping an obamacare tax on wealthy investors and adding as much as $45 billion to help people struggling with opioid addiction. but those changes might not be enough for moderates who want to start over completely. west virginia republican shelly moore-kapita. >> i didn't come here to hurt people. >> reporter: lawmakers fleeing the capitol for the fourth of july holiday bracing to face angry constituents back home. >> live in our shoes, live off the same benefit plans and everything that we
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have. being diabetic, my prescription costs went up significantly. i mean, $3,000 for a three-month supply. you know, it kind of hurts your paycheck. get back in your seat and work for us. >> reporter: polls show this health care bill is far less popular than president trump himself, and that's a serious problem for the republicans out trying to defend it. democrats have no plans to let up with protests and vigils planned outside republican offices all next week. lester? >> kasie hunt at the capitol, thank you. now to the scandal that is rocking the very top levels of the vatican. one of pope francis's top advisers, cardinal george pell, third-ranking official in the holy see, is facing sexual abuse charges. he says he's innocent, and we get details from nbc's kelly cobiella at the vatican for us tonight. >> reporter: he's the third most powerful man at the vatican, but tonight cardinal george pell is a defendant in a criminal case. >> i'm innocent of these charges. they are false. >> reporter: police
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making the bombshell announcement in pell's native australia overnight. >> cardinal pell is facing multiple charges in respect to historic sexual offenses, and there are multiple complainants relating to those charges. >> reporter: the cardinal is now taking a leave of absence. the vatican said pope francis regretted news of the charges for decades-old actions. the detail of the charges against pell haven't been made public because of a gag order in australia, and aside from the morning statement the cardinal himself, who lives here just steps from the vatican, has stayed behind closed doors. >> the whole truth and nothing but the truth. >> reporter: pell was already on the defensive, last year testifying he made mistakes handling sexual abuse claims against priests in australia. >> i regret that i didn't do more. >> reporter: the catholic church has been rocked by sex abuse scandals for two decades. pope francis promised zero tolerance for priests who commit crimes. >> we will truly feel healing and vindicated
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when the truth is exposed in the vatican and survivors no longer have to do all of the heavy lifting. >> reporter: tonight, the church abuse scandal reaching the very heart of the vatican. kelly cobiella, nbc news, rome. it is a tense evening for thousands of homeowners across the west as nearly two dozen large wildfires rage out of control. we can show you now a live picture from southern california where towering flames have come within feet of some million-dollar homes while in states like utah and arizona the battle against wildfires looks likely to extend into the long holiday weekend. nbc news national correspondent miguel almaguer is in the fire zone. >> here we are with yet another brush fire burning. >> reporter: tonight in california an urgent situation unfolding. multiple wildfires are erupting. this one exploding in the hills of malibu. another in nearby calabasas. and in santa clara this fast-moving blaze
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threatening homes, disrupting lives. critical fire danger across the west. multiple states declaring an emergency. >> i have a fire getting out of control. >> reporter: in utah 305 wildfires already this season. >> it's big. we need help. >> reporter: the brian head fire torching land the size of washington, d.c. glenn souter evacuated. the veteran carrying out his precious american flag. >> it means a lot to me. >> reporter: with more than 20 major fires burning, it's not just homes on the line but lives. >> with these winds we never know what's going to happen. >> reporter: near prescott, arizona they are fighting flames in the same area where 19 firefighters were killed four years ago. >> less people are complaining if their homes are lost because they recognize it's not worth losing anybody's life. >> reporter: burning night and day, the firefight is expensive.
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each retardant drop from this dc-10 supertanker costs $27,000. in burbank, california flames nearly reached million-dollar homes. 105 firefighters jumping into battle within minutes. firefighters would rather spend a million dollars responding to a blaze than tens of millions of dollars after it gets out of control. this just a taste of what's to come. tonight it's heating up across the west. miguel almaguer, nbc news, burbank. let's turn now to high hopes and high rollers in nevada. set to become the latest state to start recreational marijuana sales this week. with tourists flocking to las vegas, the state is expected tonight biggest market yet. nbc's gabe gutierrez has that story. >> reporter: there's a new vice coming to sin city. well, at least now it will be legal. >> i hope that we can take this product and accept it for what it is and kind of overcome the stigmas
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of the past. >> reporter: in nevada, medical marijuana has been around for years, but this saturday, july 1st, adults 21 and over will be able to buy up to an ounce of pot for recreational use. nevada will become the fifth state to allow it after voters approved in november. three others will start next year. talk about high stakes. a 10% tax is projected to rake in more than $60 million over the next two years. vegas betting on a tourism boom. >> i don't think it's going to be a gold rush, but i think there will definitely be an increase in some visitors as a result of the legalization. >> reporter: technically the drug is still illegal at the federal level and opponents say tying tourism to pot is a terrible idea. >> i think nevada has to think long and hard if they want to be known now as the amsterdam of weed. it's much stronger than it used to be, it's sending more kids to the hospital, and the legalization industry is turning into another predatory tobacco-type industry. >> reporter: you won't be able to smoke it in public, just private homes.
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so no lighting up in casinos or hotels, but there are questions about enforcement and near the strip edibles are expected to fly off shelves. >> there's benefits to legalizing it and not so -- >> i'm pretty sure. everything else is in vegas. they might as well. >> reporter: with more than 40 million annual tourists already, this budding industry will be watching what happens in vegas. gabe gutierrez, nbc news. still ahead here tonight, student loan hike. why paying for college will soon get a lot more expensive for many americans and what you need to know about it. also, would your boss pick up the tab for your wedding? you won't believe the perks of a company inspiring america.
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back now with important news if you or your child are concerned about paying for college. americans already carry a staggering $1.3 trillion in student debt. and this weekend student loan interest rates are going up yet
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again. nbc news business correspondent jo ling kent has more on the hike and what, if anything, you can do about it. >> reporter: rachel jarvis's student loans are about to balloon. >> i'm concerned i may not be able to finish school because i can't afford to finish school. >> reporter: the rising junior at fordham university is preparing to take out new loans for the coming fall semester. they'll cost more than the $20,000 she's already taken out for her first two years. because as of saturday the rate for new federal undergraduate and graduate loans will rise about .7%. the increase also applies to new federal plus loans that parents take out. in 2015 the average graduate with student loans had $34,000 in debt. with today's rate, over a 20-year payment plan, the interest on that amount would jump from $14,400 to $17,400. that's an additional 3,000 bucks. >> it's going to add up. so it seems like a little bit now, but it's definitely going to add up eventually.
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>> reporter: as the economy strengthens, the treasury department is charging more to borrow money, so there's not much families can do now. however -- >> it's possible to get a lower rate after you graduate by refinancing your loans, but you have to have good credit typically in order to qualify for that. >> reporter: to get more educational bang for her buck, jarvis is pursuing both a bachelor's and a master's in five years. >> i dreamed about coming to college for such a long time. i'm finally here. it wasn't what i expected it to be financially, but i'm still here. >> reporter: and it's going to be worth it? >> it's going to be worth it. >> reporter: worth it but now more expensive. jo ling kent, nbc news, new york. we're back in a moment with an apple anniversary. how the iphone changed the world as we knew it over the last decade.
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it was ten years ago today when steve jobs and company changed the world. can you even imagine a time before the smartphone? for so many they might as well be fused to our hands. nbc's gadi schwartz has a look back at the start of the iphone
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and what may be next. >> -- category of things -- >> reporter: these days you can watch the moment steve jobs changed everything on the very phones he foretold. >> today apple is going to reinvent the phone. >> this is how you turn it on. >> reporter: a decade agoat smart yft phones meant a tiny screen and a tiny clicky keyboard. then the tech announcement that changed our culture. a sleek simple glass-covered rectangle that surfed the web, played music, e-mails, took pictures, and had a touchscreen. >> we're going to touch this with our fingers. >> reporter: that glass rectangle now copied by everyone while its app store has given rise to a $1.4 trillion market. where tech giants like facebook, uber and snapchat cultivate their own revolutions. facetime, video messaging and cameras bringing people from all over closer together while sometimes distracting us from those a few feet away. and on its tenth birthday, here's a look at the original phone that forever changed the way we talk.
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>> it seems awfully small. you know, compared to what they got now here. >> i can't believe this is the first phone. >> pretty much the same. i know the design has changed a little bit, the cameras are better. >> i keep telling everyone we're going to be in the jetsons age very, very shortly. >> reporter: the iphone-8 rumored to introduce wireless charging and facial recognition and an even faster processor. and now that we all carry more computing power in our pockets than it took to put a man on the moon, it's impossible to guess what iphones will look like in another ten years. gadi schwartz, nbc news, los angeles. when we come back, how does free college tuition for your kids sound? incredible bonuses handed out by a boss who is inspiring america, when we come back. ===raj vo===
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including this one... that forced south bay homeowners to fight the flames with their garden hoses. ===jess vo=== plus, a thief steals a car with a teenage girl inside. the daring move she made... to escape. ===next close=== next.
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finally tonight, how happy are you at work? even if you love your job, just wait until you hear the perks being offered at one american company where the boss is going above and beyond to give back to his employees. nbc's morgan radford has tonight's "inspiring america." >> reporter: they call him america's dream boss. chieh huang is the founder of boxed, which sells bulk products online. he's sharing his profits with an unusual kind of bonus. >> i just thought, what can we do for these folks and what can we do to tie it with the success of the company? >> reporter: boxed pays up to $20,000 for the wedding of any full-time employee. >> we want to tell you that we'd love to pay for your wedding so you guys can have it. >> reporter: by the end of the year, the company will have paid for 13 ceremonies including wesley burke podgor who was stunned by her boss's generosity.
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>> one of those moments where you have butterflies in your stomach and you can't believe what you just heard. the best day of my life, to say the least. >> reporter: it doesn't stop there. boxed also offers unlimited parental leave, and huang pays for the college tuition of any full-time employee's kids, no matter where they go. >> i do that personally. >> reporter: you personally write the check? >> yeah. >> reporter: joe bobko's son started college four months after huang announced the new benefit. >> it feels like a family member is helping you out. we refer to him as uncle chieh when it comes to tuition time. >> reporter: his son mark is now a junior and starting pitcher at bloomsberg university. >> i'm like that's $100,000. that's a lot of money. >> reporter: he even scored a summer job there, too. why do you do it? >> we're a family of four that survived is on my mom's single salary minimum wage job for many years. and even when i was young, i would think, man, the man's really sticking it to the huangs, and like i wish things would be different. >> reporter: and so he became a boss that cares as much about what goes into his boxes as the people who pack them. morgan radford, nbc news, union, new
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jersey. i think i'm hearing the sound of resumes on the printer right now. we appreciate your spending part of your evening with us. that is "nightly news" for this thursday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. fires crews scrambling i south bay - after two fires right now at 6:00. we begin with breaking news. two fires break out just one minutes of each other. the news at 6:00 starts right now. thanks for joining us. i am jessica aguirre. >> and i am raj mathai. right now the penitencia creek and north capitol areas east of 680. many of them taking the fight
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into their own hands trying to protect their homes from flames. the other firing burning on mount hamilton. this is a rural fire but dangerous and damaging nonetheless. >> they broke out minutes apart stretching resources thin. we have a team of reporters in place. we begin with damian trujillo live from the fire burning feets from their homes. people didn't wait. they were out there with fire hoses themselves. >> reporter: this fire came too close to their homes and they took action. behind the tree, behind me mopping up and those hotspots, they might be here for


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