tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC November 16, 2018 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
that's what we can see this weekend. thanks for joining us. lester holt is next with nightly news. tonight, chaos and confusion and cities caught off guard. how several inches of snow triggered massive travel nightmare. tempers flaring as thousands of flights are delayed and cancelled. gridlock for hours on the road and the blame game is just getting started. a staggering 600 people missing or unaccounted for in california and many who barely escaped the fire living in the shadow of paradise lost. new details in the bombshell revelation, wikileaks founder julian assange secretly charged by the u.s. and a stunning slip-up, the unbelievable way we found out. an incredible survivor story you have to see. the young congressional aide shot five times and left to die near jonestown. >> i was lying on the airstrip with my head down, pretending i was
dead. then all of a sudden, the right side of my body was blown up. >> 40 years after the massacre that killed 900 americans including beloved members of our nbc news family, congresswoman jackie speier tells andrea mitchell how she made it out alive. as millions get set to fly, an effort to crackdown on sexual assault happening on planes. >> this is a crime. it's a felony and it shouldn't be treated as if it's lost luggage. >> what the feds are now doing to protect passengers. a week before black friday, what most poem plan to buy, and it's not what you might think. >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening, everyone. weather. an angry backlash tonight leaving officials in the northeast to explain why they were caught unprepared for a snowstorm last evening that turned streets and highways into parking lots. it left hundreds of thousands stuck in a nightmare commute for the ages. cars spinning off
roads, bridges closed, mass transit snarled after officials failed to adjust in time to a changing forecast leaving key travel routes virtually impassible. all of this despite the fact the snow amounts were below what would be considered paralyzing in this part of the country. nbc's kristen dahlgren has details. >> reporter: winter's first storm catching millions off guard. >> the worst. the worst i've ever seen. >> i don't think anybody was ready for how fast it came. >> reporter: snow and traffic building up before plows could get on the roads. causing chaos during the evening commute. >> literally walking, washington bridge at a standstill. >> multiple cars, oh my god. >> reporter: leaving truck driver tony white stuck. >> i drove 35 miles, it took me ten hours to get from the airport to where i'm at now. >> reporter: samantha's special needs daughter was on the bus for nine
hours. >> i was really scared. i was crying. >> reporter: airports seeing hundreds of delays and cancellations -- >> not acceptable. >> reporter: -- with gates overrun. >> i can't get you into a spot that's blocked by an aircraft, sir. so you have to wait. >> reporter: while some students in new jersey never made it home forced to sleep over at their schools, state police responding to more than 1,000 accidents. >> i don't know if it was the weather predictions or weren't prepared for the storm. >> reporter: forecasters say the storm was under estimated because the cold air allowed more snow than sleet or rain. now politicians are scrambling to answer what they could have done differently. this was new york sanitation commissioner on wednesday. >> we do not anticipate needing plows. >> reporter: and its mayor tonight. >> some really unfortunate things happened that we don't want to see happen again. >> reporter: as you can see, it is still a busy night here at laguardia airport. the board full of delays. nationwide there were more than 4,600 delays
today, so it will take time to get things back to normal. >> kristen dahlgren, thanks. let's turn to the snow and sleet to fires raging in the west. a staggering number of people unaccounted for in northern california doubling to 600 as the death toll climbs to 66 statewide. nbc's miguel almaguer is there again for us tonight with a desperate search. >> reporter: not far from where paradise once stood, many come to post names and photos of the missing, a list growing every day, 100, 298, soaring to more than 600 unaccounted for. >> completely destroyed. completely leveled. >> reporter: many on the list could be alive. that's why tammy drove from ohio to li finding three relatives but still looking for her mother sheila. >> we need news. we need something. whether it's good or bad. >> reporter: every day in the ruins of paradise, more bodies are discovered, 63 so far. the coroner will need more hearses. >> to see this is
devastating. >> reporter: for those who out ran the flames, a flood of donations is pouring in but shelters are full, thousands, many retirees are sleeping in parking lots. across california, more than 12,000 structures, mostly homes, look just like this. it's going to take rescue teams days, even weeks, to go through all of the rubble to look for the missing. hundreds, like tammy, are clinging to hope. >> for me, i just need closure. we'll keep looking until we find out. >> reporter: just before the holidays, the grim search while tens of thousands are living lost in paradise. miguel almaguer, nbc news. time could be running out for julian assange whose group wikileaks is at the center of the russia investigation. there is word tonight the u.s. has indicted assange, but as our chief foreign correspondent richard engel reports, that was supposed to be a secret. >> reporter: we now
know tonight the justice department has filed undisclosed criminal charges against wikileaks founder julian assange, a fact accidently revealed in an embarrassing slipup when a prosecutor in virginia in an unrelated filing asked for documents to remain under seal quote until assange is arrested. assange has been holed up in the ecuador embassy. but ex with a dore seems to be losing patience with assange ordering him to improve his hygiene and pay for his own meals here. they seem to want him out while the u.s. wants him more. washington has been battling assange for nearly a decade over wikileaks release of classified documents and in 2016 wikileaks published e-mails embarrassing to hillary clinton. at the time i asked assange by a video
call where he got the e-mails. three cybersecurity experts told us the dnc e-mails were hacked by russian intelligence. what do you say? >> well, there is no proof of that whatsoever. we have not disclosed our source. >> reporter: special counsel robert mueller says the material was stolen by russians and spread by wikileaks. tonight, assange's lawyer says it's a dangerous precedent to charge someone for publishing truthful information. and in another major development tonight, the cia, according to an official briefed on the matter, has concluded saudi arabia's crown prince did, in fact, order the killing of that t saudi consulate in istanbul. saudi arabia continues to deny the crown prince was involved. lester? there's a new turn in the russia investigation. we could be days away from president trump answering some of robert mueller's questions for the first time. peter alexander is here with us in new
york tonight. peter, what's the president saying? >> lester, good evening to you. this does mark a new milestone in the mueller investigation. president trump saying he's finished writing his answers to rob urt mueller's questions after 18 months of complaining about the russia investigation. the president insisted that mueller's questions weren't difficult, that he answered them without the help of his lawyers. he says he has not submitted them yet. he also said you have to be careful about answering questions with people who probably have bad intentions. just yesterday on twitter the president slammed the mueller investigation as a total mess that he says has gone absolutely nuts. today he claimed he's heard the investigation is ending but there is no evidence that's true. mueller, lester, has not announced any timeline. >> peter, thank you. the trump administratieilionod a plan a year in the making to overhaul rules of how sexual misconduct is investigated in our nation's schools. but in the era of me too the proposal has sparked a backlash. here is nbc's ann thompson. >> reporter: tonight, education secretary
betsey devoss announcing the sweeping changes on campus, narrowing the definition of sexual harassment from unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature to conduct so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive it denies equal access to education. requiring schools to investigate every formal complaint but only if the incident occurs on campus or at a school program and giving both the victim and the accused the right of cross examination at school hearings. as a survivor, jess davison is outraged. >> this is an absolute attack on survivors' rights and a clear attempt to prevent it being able to be reported. >> reporter: the trump administration feels it ensures fairness for both sides. here is the president after the brett kavanaugh hearings where the now justice was accused of assault when both he and the accuser were in high school. >> it's a very scary time for young men in america. >> reporter: since 2011, more than 350
accused students have filed suits against their schools claiming they were denied a fair process. >> i think by affording students a fair process, it protects not only the due process rights of the accused by the integrity of the process as a while. >> reporter: trying to ensure justice is equally applied on campus. lester, there is another change. the obama administration standards were guidelines and now under the trump administration these changes are regulations and after a 60-day comment period, they will be finalized and will become law. there is speculations after a surprise and provocative move by kim ng the claiming they tested a mysterious new weapon. we get late details from nbc's bill neely. >> reporter: north korea didn't show the latest wpo its unsmiling leader at the test site. his first visit there since this long-range missile launch last year. it described the new weapon as tactical and ultra modern. u.s. officials say they don't see the
test as provocative, although it comes after these comments from president trump. >> the missiles have stopped. the rockets have stopped. >> reporter: it is a message kim jong-un frustrated he's had no relief from u.s. sanctions. not since the singapore summit where he pledged to denuclearize and north korea is still building missiles oot up to 20 hidden bases. a second trump kim summit is on dismantling nuclear weapons. late today, the state department said north korea has released a u.s. citizen it detained last month allegedly for entering the country illegally. north korea held other americans for years. this may be a goodwill gesture. lester? >> bill neely tonight, thank you. elvis presley, babe ruth and antonin scalia received the medal of freedom today. the others are hatch and roger staubach and
edelson is a mega donor to the gop. to a powerful survivor story and a woman that lived to tell the world what she saw at the scene of an american tragedy. for so many people, the word jonestown is enough to send a chill up your spine but few know the horrors like congresswoman jackie spear of california, at the time a congressional aide shot five times and left to die. andrea mitchell with how she made it out alive. >> reporter: it was a mass murder that transfixed the world. the victims, thousands of men, women and children that followed jim jones promising peace and love in the jungles of south america, but california congressman leo ryan and his 28-year-old staff attorney jackie spear were hearing something much darker. >> there were defectors coming out and talking about physical abuse, sexual abuse, that there was mind control involved. >> reporter: at first
they saw smiling faces and cheering crowds. but then a man passed nbc correspondent don harris a note, some wanted out. >> my heart just sunk because i knew that everything we were afraid of was true. >> reporter: spear started taking statements from people who wanted to leave. >> what is your wish today? >> to go back home. >> anybody wants to get out of here, can get out of here. we have no problem. >> reporter: when they tried to go taking people with them, tensions exploded. >> bring those kids back here. >> there were couples with children, one was pulling the child one way, the other way the other way because one wanted to stay, one wanted to leave. >> reporter: suddenly jones' men tried to knife the congressman. they got as far as the landing strip and were ambushed. >> the congressman had been hit and i was running towards him, he got hit again and fell. >> reporter: the congressman and four others were killed
including nbc correspondent don harris and cameraman bob brown. when did you realize you were shot? >> i was lying on the airstrip with my head down, pretending i was dead. then all of a sudden, the right side of my body was blown up. i mean, it was -- i had a bone coming out of my right arm. there was a hole in my thigh the size of a football. >> reporter: back in jonestown, jim jones gave a fateful order. >> i shudder when people say it was a suicide. they weren't willingly taking their lives. that was a mass murder. >> reporter: they died from kool-aid laced with cyanide including 300 children. those who refused were forced or injected with poison. >> we failed 900 americans. >> reporter: did they die in vain? >> of course they died in vain. their lives were shattered in part because they had been attracted to this charismatic maniac. they should have been able to get out of there. our country owed that
to them. >> reporter: they saved her arm and leg but she was forever changed and ten years ago she won congressman ryan's old seat inspired in part by jonestown. andrea mitchell, nbc news. still hard to imagine after all these years. a hollywood legend has died. william goldman won a pair of oscars for his screen play for butch cassidy in the sun dance kid and all the president's men. he went on to convert hit novels into hit movies like the marathon man and "the princess bride" and wrote the screenplays steord wives" and "mystery." he was 84 years old. >> still ahead, the warning about sexual assault soaring on planes. then, why you won't find the hottest gift this holiday at a store. side hies us inside his star-studded true crime thriller. we'll be right back. i never kns would keep us apart. so i talked to my doctor about humira.
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happened in a dark cabin on a flight to amsterdam. allison suddenly awakened by a fellow passenger groping and assaulting her. two years later, she's demanding accountability from the airlines and attackers. >> this is a crime. it's a felony. and it shouldn't be treated as if it's lost luggage. >> reporter: the department of transportation is launching an investigative task force after the fbi reported in flight sexual assault investigations had jumped 66% over three years. the task force to focus on how to better protect passengers and crew members with one in five flight attendants reporting being physically harassed in the past 12 months. >> they are talking about people groping them over their uniform or even under s coming up and giving them a back rub, whispering or pulling attackers very often drinking, but investigators say many cases go unreported because victims are reluctant to speak up while they're onboard.
>> the airline industry needs to step up, recognize this as a problem and train their crew how to respond and give them the backing to handle it effectively. >> reporter: police urge victims to make a scene if it happens, push the call button, get up and get help so the crew can have police arrest the attacker once on the ground. tom costello, nbc news, washington. up next, why the hottest holiday gifts are all about the experience. l about the experience. only half the story? at t. rowe price our experts go beyond the numbers
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brace yourselves, we're just a week until black friday, which means the holiday shopping rush is on the horizon but this year some of the most desired gifts won't be something you can hold or wrap. nbc's jo ling kent has that story. >> reporter: next week, you won't need to storm the stores to find that perfect gift. instead of traditional presents like toys, electronics, or an ugly pair of socks, about one in three consumers plan to give experiences instead. in fact, spending on
activities has grown four times faster than spending on objects. the top trending gift ideas, travel experiences like a plane ticket, zip lining, or wine tasting. airbnb offering experiences like aerial photography from a helicopter and pa -- baliwood dance class, for those looking for an escape, a manicure and pedicure, massage or cooking lesson and the ultra luxury adventures like a safari in kenya or a stay in an irish castle. >> what we are seeing is with generation z, it's much more interesting. than the notion of the latest trend in fashion. >> reporter: another plus, people love sharihod videos of those experiences on social media and research says in the long run, these moments also make us happier than gifts you can wrap. lester? >> all right. jo ling kent, thanks. up next, ben stiller and oscar winner and patricia
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counting. i )m looking at the science behind why it )s taking so long for the . i'm looking at the science why it's taking so long for this to clear. what kind of mask should you wear? we are myth busting the masks next at 6:00. in our spotlight, the shocking real life prison break that made headlines nationwide and is now the subject of a new miniseries from director ben stiller starring two oscar winners. our stephanie gosk takes us inside. >> reporter: in 2015, a brazen escape, two convicted killers, richard matt and david sweat, broke free from a maximum-security prison in upstate new york. >> the daring and sophisticated breakout -- >> reporter: their accomplice, prison employee joyce mitchell, who had an affair with both while behind bars. a true story a dramatic series on showtime.
>> i'm down there every night. >> reporter: escape. ben stiller is the director. >> i was just fascinated by it, the geographical setting of the prison, this prison dominates the town. >> reporter: the wall of the prison looms right over the main street. >> yeah. >> reporter: it's right there. >> yeah. >> reporter: stiller says he spent a year researching including multiple visits. >> i learned how stressful and scary it was when the manhunt was happening, especially for the families and the people in law enforcement out there looking for them. >> reporter: he also pored over the news reports, including ours. >> told me there were reports your mother was somehow involved in the escape of these two fugitives. how did you get ready emotionally and physically to play joyce? >> well, i had to gain weight. >> reporter: patricia arquette transforms into joyce mitchell. >> she doesn't feel alive. she doesn't feel desirable. >> she was thinking she was manipulating for people for what she wanted, but she was getting manipulated. >> reporter: which led to an escape, manhunt and capture. a real life story more
fascinating than fiction. st >> that manhunt we covered every night lasted for three weeks. that is "nightly news" for this friday. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for thanks for friday evening. im jessica aguirre along with chief meteorologist jeff ranieri, good evening and thanks for joining us on this friday evening. we begin with our health hadsard in the bay area. nothing compares to the tragedy if butte county. this smoke is causing serious problems for us. it's not going to get much better this weekend. the unhealthy air is putting a bay area tradition on hold. tomorrow the big game between stanford and cal has been postponed. the last time that happened 55 years ago after president kennedy was assassinated. on the east coast they have snow days. we had a smoke day for our kids. thousands of parents scrambling to find child care.
here is a look across the united states. here is the map. according to the site purple air, california is in bad shape. you can see the purple region there, parts of the mimidwest a. also on the global air quality map among the worst spots is the bay area. there is a spot in africa and a india and new delhi horrible air quality. there are many layers to the story, including the nightly briefing that started in butte county. let's begin here in studio with our forecast. jeff and jessica. >> thank you very much. let's talk about the situation outside because it seems like early in the morning it looks clearer. then as the day progress it is gets dense again. >> we get a little bit of a break in the morning and then in the afternoon when things heat up a little bit of heating of the day. it