tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC November 16, 2019 2:07am-2:38am PST
top of each other. the nfl reacting to a vicious on field attack, the cleveland browns star ripping off the steelers quarterback's helmet hitting him in the head his new punishment and what he's now saying. breaking his silence, prince andrew in his first interview about his friendship with jeffrey epstein. >> i kick myself on a daily basis. >> the woman who says she was directed to have sexual encounters with the prince while she was a teenager how the royal is responding tonight. and a breaking headline with time running out, a death row inmate getting a stay of execution. this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. >> good evening, everyone the impeachment effort against president trump turned today on the steely public testimony of the former u.s. ambassador to ukraine. marie yovanovitch was abruptly removed by the president in may as part of what she believes was an orchestrated smear campaign by trump and his operatives
in today's hearing, she described feeling threatened and intimidated by the president. and then in the middle of the hearing trump himself weighing in by tweet with what democrats tonight are calling an act of witness intimidation our team has it all covered and we begin with peter alexander. >> reporter: tonight, democrats calling the former ambassador to ukraine marie yovanovitch focusing on why the respected anti-corruption champion was abruptly removed from her job. >> why did rudy giuliani want her gone and why did donald trump? >> reporter: in at times personal terms - >> what i do wonder is why it was necessary to smear my reputation. >> reporter: yovanovitch describing what she says was a campaign against her by the president's allies including his private attorney rudy giuliani. saying she was stunned to learn from a state department official she was being recalled from her post. >> he said the words that, you know, every foreign service officer understands, the
president has lost confidence in you. that was -- you know, a terrible thing to hear. but no real reason was offered as to why i had to leave. >> reporter: her testimony also drawing realtime reaction from president trump. noting the president can remove an ambassador for any reason, tweeting they call it serving at the pleasure of the president. but also this attack everywhere marie yovanovitch went turned bad. she started off in somalia. how did that go? then fast forward to ukraine where the new ukrainian president spoke unfavorably about her. >> would you like to respond to the president's attack that everywhere you went turned bad >> well, i -- i mean, i don't think i have such powers, not in mogadishu, not in other places ukraine, for example, where there are huge challenges but they made a lot of progress since 2014 including in the years that i was there. >> and now the president in realtime is attacking you. what effect do you think that has on other witnesses'
willingness to come forward and expose wrongdoing? >> well, it's very intimidating. >> reporter: the president defended the tweet. >> you know, i have the right to speak, i have freedom of speech just as other people do but they have taken away the republicans' rights. >> sir do you believe your tweets or words can be intimidating >> i don't think so. >> reporter: the republicans are questioning why yovanovitch was called to testify before given she was gone before the july phone call that's central to the case requesting president zelenskiy investigate the bidens and the 2016 election. while withholding military aid. >> did you ever talk to president trump in 2019 >> no, i have not. >> exactly not sure what the ambassador's doing here today this seems more appropriate for the subcommittee on human resources at the
foreign affairs committee if there's issues with employment. >> reporter: but democrats point to the president's criticism of yovanovitch in that july call telling ukraine's leader the woman was bad news adding, she's going to go through some things. >> she's going to go through some things didn't sound good it sounded like a threat. >> did you feel threatened >> i did >> have you ever heard of a president of the united states recalling another ambassador without cause based on allegations that the state department itself knew to be false? >> no. >> reporter: republicans tried to poke holes in the democrats' case arguing that yovanovitch's replacement as the top diplomat, bill taylor, is a man democrats had just praised in wednesday's hearing. >> if recalling ambassador yovanovitch was part of the sum scheme by trump and pompeo and giuliani to get zelenskiy to do an investigation, why would they replace her with the star witness, bill taylor
i mean, that's the plan, not the best plan i have ever seen put together >> reporter: but yovanovitch says her dismissal has a cost. >> shady interests the world over have learned how little it takes to remove an american ambassador who does not give them what they want. >> peter, democrats are hoping in on this tweet by the president about yovanovitch today. >> yeah, lester, democrats are saying it amounts to witness intimidation and bolsters the case for obstruction as an article of impeachment. thanks let's bring in andrea mitchell and chuck todd now chuck, i begin with you. it's day two of the historic public hearing, did the former ambassador's testimony move the needle >> it may have and frankly it shouldn't have i think the initial plan that the republicans had which is to remind folks she wasn't there for the most controversial parts of what if president may have done with the aid and with president zelenskiy
and they had an opportunity to sort of minimize the impact of her, but the president's attack on her i think elevated the importance of her. i think she actually gave more credence to the issue of why we're here at an impeachment proceeding better than any other witness so far. >> yeah. andrea, yovanovitch said she felt personally targeted by the president. did she put a human face on this >> absolutely. here you had a career veteran diplomat who had served in conflict zones since the reagan years. yanked from her post in the middle of the night on a call, with no cause. an at the same time, being told that she is in her testimony today being attacked by the president on twitter in realtime smeared an attacked by the president of the united states. that's unprecedented. >> all right, andrea and chuck, thank you. while all that was playing out, the president's long-time friend and former campaign adviser roger stone was found guilty today of all charges stemming from the russia investigation.
here's pete williams. >> reporter: it took the jury just over one day to reach the verdict, guilty of lying to congress no comment today from roger stone still under a gag order. a far cry to fight the charges when he was arrested ten months ago. >> i believe this is a politically motivated investigation. >> reporter: stone was convicted of lying to a house committee about trying to find out what wikileaks founder julian assange was up to with emails hanged by the russians about the hillary clinton campaign prosecutors said stone lied because the truth looked bad for donald trump and he was guilty of urging a radio host credico to lie about his conversations with stone about wikileaks and he told him to act like a character in a godfather movie who lies to congress among the prosecution witnesses, steve bannon who said stone bragged about having a back channel to wikileaks. >> there was no getting away from the fact that he did lie to congress. >> reporter: after today's verdict, president trump tweeted
a list of political enemies and asked didn't they lie? he called the verdict a double standard. stone still out on bail the maximum is 20 years and he won't face that much but this long-time friend of president trump's likely will serve some time in prison lester >> pete, thank you. breaking news from texas where a court has now blocked the execution of rodney reed just five days before he was scheduled to die ron allen has more. >> reporter: just five days ago, rodney reed's scheduled execution has been put on hold. tonight, the court of criminal appeals agreeing to a delay. reed claims he's innocent of the 1996 murder of stacy states in a small texas town and today that the charge that the state suppressed evidence at the trial warrant another look. >> i think a lot of people know the truth right now. like every year something new is coming out. >> reporter: supporters have been holding vigils and celebrities like kardashian-west and oprah are supporters
also breaking in texas two planes collide on the ground and ending up one on top of the other. nbc's tom costello is joining us. tom, what can you tell us about this >> reporter: this involved two private planes at the san antonio airport. the faa tells us one plane was taxiing when it clipped the wing of the second plane that was parked as you can see, one plane ran right up on top of the other one. both planes are cessna citations. the fire department says nobody was injured and the faa has for years worked to reduce the danger from so-called runway incursions and taxi way accidents when one plane runs into the other one on the ground we don't know the speed at which the taxiing plane was moving but the damage does appear to be rather significant. >> it makes for an odd picture. all right, tom, thank you. there are new questions
about the weapon a 16-year-old used to kill two classmates yesterday at his school in california as authorities still search for a motive miguel almaguer has details. >> reporter: the day after five students were gunned down by a classmate in santa clarita investigators still have no motive on the 16th birthday in 16 seconds, detectives say the shooter killed two students including gracie muehlberger who was in the choir and dominique blackwell. this afternoon the suspect died in the hospital. law enforcement officials tell nbc news the weapon used may have been a ghost gun. similar to these easily purchased online and assembled at home. >> they're even on youtube how to do it you convert that kit into the gun. it's not registered, and it's untraceable. >> reporter: investigators say the gunman counted his shots. firing at random before shooting himself with the final bullet the three surviving victims are all expected to recover. >> they held their composure
despite being shot and being shot in the torso is a big deal. >> reporter: classrooms have keep the pressure bleed kits that may have saved lives a sad new reality of keeping students safe in america. miguel almaguer, nbc news, california. just a day after another deadly school shooting, we are talking to one of the 2020 candidates about something that democratic voters told us is important to them -- gun control. senator kamala harris tells harry smith how she'd tighten gun laws as part of our series "what matters. >> at our gathering of democratic voters, ron schueler is an air force veteran and retired police officer. we showed senator kamala harris what matters to him. >> would you support moving assault weapon into the class 3 weapon category which requires a more enhanced background check and greater hurdles to overcome to own those >> what did you think of what ron had to say >> i get it. i get it what he is saying is that, you
know, reject the false choice which suggests you're either in favor of the second amendment or you want to take everyone's guns away it's a false choice. there are certain types of weapons that should not be on the streets of a civil society. >> reporter: harris agrees she wants universal background checks and a renewal of the assault weapons ban. she supports a mandatory gun buy back so say you have a couple hundred thousand off the streets, i mean, isn't that just a drop in the bucket >> well, what we'll do is have an incentive for people to turn them in and buy them back but when we're talking about weapons of war, i mean, it literally is this simple 5 million assault weapons on the streets of america, period >> reporter: and if congress won't act, harris says as president she'll take executive action harry smith, nbc news, new york. tonight new images of the
russian takeover in northern syria. vladimir putin's forces moving to fill the void left behind by u.s. troops leaving. we get more on that from nbc's richard engel. >> reporter: russian television did some gloating showing them take up position on the u.s. base in syria. last month, president trump ordered u.s. troops to withdraw from northern syria and instead guard syria's oil fields creating an opportunity for russia and a catastrophe for u.s. allies, the kurds, who without american protection have come under fierce attack by their old enemy, turkey. general joseph votel recently retired as the head of centcom. >> it makes it difficult for those who have served here to watch this occur and it doesn't seem very honorable to me to step away in your partners and then to allow some of this to happen
>> richard, you have followed up with kurdish officials. what are they telling you? >> we have been talking to them tonight and they say they're still under attack by turkey and they are appalled that while this offensive continues, president trump met with turkey's president erdogan and gave him a big reception. >> thank you very much. you can see much more in the special, on assignment, american betrayal, sunday 10:00 p.m. eastern on msnbc. just ahead here for us, what britain's prince andrew is saying in a revealing new interview about his relationship with convicted sex offender jeffrey epstein. also a big suspension after that stunning fight at last night's nfl game
>> we try and uphold the highest standards and practices and i let that side down simple as that. >> reporter: the queen's second son is sitting down for what the bbc is calling a no holds barred interview about his relationship with disgraced financier, jeffrey epstein. the duke of york was caught on camera at the doorway of the epstein new york mansion after he was designated a sex offender >> i stayed with him that's the bit that -- that's -- as it were i kick myself for on a daily basis. because it was not something that was becoming of a member of the royal family. >> reporter: but the duke flatly denied epstein set him up years before with virginia roberts, pictured here with the duke when she was 17 roberts told savannah guthrie she was directed to have sex with the prince three times. first at a home in london >> the abuse went on for a little bit in the bathroom and then continued in the bedroom. he wasn't rude or anything about
it he said thank you. >> your response >> i have no recollection of ever meeting this lady none whatsoever. >> you don't remember meeting her? >> no. >> he knows the truth. and i know the truth. >> reporter: tonight, prince andrew trying to put allegations the palace has called false and without foundation to rest for good kelly cobiella, nbc news, london. up next for us tonight, that wild night in the nfl and the big consequences today.
all right, now that disturbing and dangerous fight at the end of the browns/steelers game last night a hit with the helmet getting a football superstar a big penalty. stephanie gosk has more. >> whoa! hello. whoa >> reporter: the announcers were stunned. >> gosh, that's one of the worst things i have ever seen on a professional sports field. >> reporter: the browns star defensive end myles garrett hit the steelers quarterback in the
head with a helmet it started with a late sack on mason rudolph, turning into a brawl. garrett ripped off rudolph's helmet and then violently swung it. >> oh, gosh. >> man this is a multiple game suspension right here. >> reporter: and garrett is out at least through the end of the season possibly longer. >> what i do is -- it was foolish and i shouldn't have allowed myself to slip like that. >> reporter: today in a statement, garrett apologized adding i made a terrible mistake. both teams have been slapped with $250,000 fines. for garrett it had been a rocky season there was this punch in week 1 and a fine after a late hit in week 2. >> these are images that the nfl doesn't want parents to see because this is the kind of thing that causes a mom or a dad to turn to their son and say you're never playing football, period. >> reporter: the punishment coming down almost as swiftly as the blow itself. stephanie gosk, nbc news, new york.
finally as we wrap up our week long tribute to the nation's military veterans, when want to dip into one of the many oral history collections being gathered and told by those who serve. >> i'm just doing my job. it's a difficult job i love it. but i'm just doing my job. >> reporter: who are these common people we ask to face the uncommon surely this is more than just a job. >> the first torpedo got us and the ship vibrated and shook. >> reporter: the national archives has collected more than a thousand voices in an oral history told by war time veterans, from world war ii to the present.
>> you learn to be selfless you learn to look to want to protect the person to your right and left, there's no me it's just us. >> reporter: a succession of great generations. we see them as ten feet high, superheroes. but they're also unapologetically human. >> i wasn't scared until we landed and then i look around that's when i got scared. >> reporter: mortal but resilient and with an appreciation for the meaning of freedom forged in unimaginable adversity. >> we walked across the bridge and there was a marine standing there. i threw my arms around him. i kissed him he said, welcome home, son. >> reporter: they serve and adapt to the shifting tides of political policy and public sentiment. patriots every one and what we owe them cannot be told in just one day.
♪ about the world ♪ 'cause it's gon' be me ♪ and you tonight, yeah ♪ i wanna make your beg for it ♪ then i'mma make you ♪ swallow your pride ♪ want you to make me feel ♪ like i'm the only girl ♪ in the world ♪ like i'm the only one ♪ that you'll ever love ♪ like i'm the only one ♪ who knows your heart ♪ only girl in the world ♪ take me for a ride, ride ♪ oh baby, take me high, high ♪ let me make you rise, rise ♪ make it last all night ♪ want you to make me feel ♪ like i'm the only girl ♪ in the world ♪ like i'm the only one ♪ that you'll ever love ♪ like i'm the only one ♪ who knows your heart
♪ only girl in the world ♪ girl in the world ♪ only girl in the world ♪ girl in the world [cheers and applause] >> kelly: i want you to meet my favorite girl in the world. this is my favorite girl in the world. [cheers and applause] >> hi. hi. >> kelly: i love you. thank you for visiting me at work. i will see you at home, okay?