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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  August 27, 2020 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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pictures with us, you can tag us on seed ocial media or you can e-mail it to us. >> progress but still so much lost. >> we'll take a quick break here. we'll be back with fires on the line and the protests around the country. lester holt is next. tonight, the deadly destruction from historic hurricane laura, laura maki making landfall in louisiana, as a category four. at least six killed. windows blown out of skyscrapers, cars crushed t river boat casino breaking loose, lodged under a bridge. tonight hundreds of thousands without power. the new crisis in the storm zone, the chemical plant inferno, a massive plume of smoke, residents ordered to shelter in place. the identity of the officer who shot jacob blake revealed violent protests spreading to other cities. and the
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17-year-old accused of killing two people in the unrest in kenosha. the interview tape with the suspect before the shooting. the historic boycott all tonight's nba playoff games postponed after the walkout over jacob blake. the protests catching on in other leagues. the final night of the rnc, president trump using the white house for his acceptance speech. a first look at what he'll say. and joe biden, one on one, how he's responding to nancy pelosi's call not to debate the president. and the cdc chief walking back controversial changes to covid testing guidance what he now says about who should get tested. >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening, everyone, a storm raging ashore with more power than katrina, hurricane laura delivered a shattering and deadly blow to the gulf coast early today, 150-mile-per-hour winds sending trees toppling onto homes, unmooring a floating casino, knocking out
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power while leaving a chemical industrial fire in its wake the lake charles, louisiana area taking the worst, the storm arriving as a powerful category 4 there have been at least six storm-related deaths our team is covering it all and morgan chesky leads our coverage. >> reporter: this morning daylight revealing laura's path of destruction. >> it looks like a bomb exploded. it does. all over the city. it looks like a bomb exploded. >> reporter: roofs ripped off homes, trees uprooted the deadly storm scarring coastal louisiana. >> windows broke out, walls came in. >> reporter: the category 4 hurricane struck overnight tearing through towns with winds topping 150 miles an hour. enough to have left trucks off the road and in lake charles where the eye wall reeked havoc, the storm shredded entire buildingings in a few seconds. >> the skyscraper is going, not good, oh, no >> reporter: a terrifying night for
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those who chose to stay behind me. >> i'm thinking the apartment building is going to fall on top of us. you can hear stuff knocking against the brick. >> reporter: devastating winds took down vital communication, knocking out cell phone sites like this all across the city. for chris watson, the only call he needed was to friends to help him clean up his home damaged, his car totaled. >> there's so much damage here. you're going, this is a disaster area. you know, i mean it's a literal disaster i mean, the recovery time from this is going to be phenomenal. >> reporter: yet despite the devastation, today brought the realization laura could have been much worse with most people here spared from any massive flooding. >> we're thankful we didn't get more storm surge than we did. >> reporter: in texas too a sigh of relief. >> when you consider the magnitude of the damage that could have occurred here, we did dodge a bullet. >> reporter: back in louisiana, a night no one will soon forget. >> i'm just glad that we are all alive
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that's it. >> reporter: tonight damage totals are still being calculated but you can see the extent of the destruction behind me and realize just how long a road of recovery lays ahead for this community, determined to move on, even if it takes years to do so lester >> morgan, as if that wasn't enough. in the storm zone tonight another crisis unfolding. a raging inferno burning after a leak at a chemical plant there. residents ordered to shelter in place we'll get more on that now from catie beck. >> reporter: hours after hurricane laura ripped through lake charles, daybreak brought another ominous sight. >> don't even come across it. >> reporter: a nearby chemical plant engulfed in a raging fire, visible for miles, creating a balloon of black smoke that until roads were closed passing drivers had to navigate through and a health hazard for the thousands who live in the area, all under order to shelter in place. >> they need to be on the inside of their home with the doors and windows closed and the air-conditioning off if they're lucky
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enough to have electricity. >> reporter: as mhazmat crews responded, at lake charles, a statement from the company that owns the facility says the fire was caused by a chlorine gas leak as the hurricane tore through in overnight hours. >> as this type of flooring begins to decompose it generates heat and it began to burn releasing chlorine gas into the atmosphere. >> reporter: no one was working in the plant due to a pre-hurricane shutdown the cdc warns high exposure to chlorine can be dangerous and lead to serious respiratory illness. >> now is not the time to go sightseeing. i'm appealing to everybody in louisiana, don't get out on the road. >> reporter: lester, we know up to 20,000 residents live in the area, impacted by today's fire and fumes. it's tough to know the exact number still here because many evacuated ahead of the storm. lester >> all right, thanks. more than 500,000 people, in fact, were ordered to evacuate before the storm but a
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number chose to remain and endure the dangerous night in their homes. some had concerns about coronavirus in shelters sam brock spoke with those who rode out the storm. >> reporter: families across texas tonight uprooted by a category 4 hurricane after opting to ride out the storm. why did you stay home? >> because we had trouble getting back in here whenever hurricane rita come through. and i swore i'd never leave again after that >> reporter: the cracked trees and splinter splintered rooves. >> last night i heard a crash and of course this oak tree is in the middle of the house. >> reporter: destroying homes but not shaking foundations. >> we've done it a few too many times in the last 20 years. but anyway, we will rebuild. we always do >> reporter: they batten down their property as in past storms but this one bore a new threat, coronavirus. >> being in a large shelter or a large building with a lot of people, it was a huge factor in my thinking of evacuating.
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>> reporter: young also says he couldn't afford to evacuate the five-year marine corps veteran has tied up his life savings in a yoga gym, he just opened last week along with his fellow veteran partner. the pair weren't sure what they'd find how relieved were you when you walked up here and saw that your gym is still intact? >> it was insane i walked in, and it was literally like someone had taken a 45 pound plate off my shoulders. >> i'm extremely relieved i could probably kiss him. >> reporter: a ray of hope, shining through a frightening storm. as you can see some of the homeowners in laura's path were not as fortunate, having to start the rebuilding process under a cloud of covid-19 and economic uncertainty. lester >> sam, thanks for the story. also tonight another big story the name of the officer who shot jacob blake now revealed as violent unrest spreads to other cities and we're learning more tonight about the teen accused of fatally
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shooting two people during the protests in kenosha. gabe gutierrez is there. >> reporter: after days of unrest, now national guard troops from arizona, michigan and alabama are heading to kenosha, wisconsin, even though last night's protests here were peaceful. >> those are not federalized troops they're here on state active duty. >> reporter: authorities are trying to keep order in the wake of jacob blake's shooting wisconsin's attorney general, who's leading the investigation, identified the officer who fired at blake seven times. rusten sheske has been with the department for seven years. before the shooting investigators say he and other officers responding to a domestic incident unsuccessfully tried to taser and arrest blake. this video shows the struggle. >> agents recovered a knife from the driver's side floorboard of mr. blake's vehicle. >> reporter: responding today an attorney for blake's family argues that's a
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distraction. >> witnesses reported that jacob had no knife in his hand and the police tried to suggest and tried to justify this unjustifiable use of excessive force. >> reporter: the anger over blake's shooting is the latest flash point in the summer of exploding tensions over race and policing. >> i am angry! >> reporter: overnight demonstrations turned violent in oakland and los angeles. meanwhile we're learning more about the illinois teenager accused of killing two protesters earlier this week in kenosha 17-year-old kyle rittenhouse's online footprint appears to show a strong support for law enforcement. his public defender declined to comment but before the shooting he explained why he was armed our job is to protect this -- and part of my job is to help -- if there's somebody hurt i'm running into harm's way that's why i have my weapon. >> reporter: the -- irvirtual stand still. many boarded up buildings are being painted with messages of hope.
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a nightly curfew is in effect until at least sunday. it's the final night of the republican national convention after vice president's fiery rebuke of joe biden last night president trump is set to speak at the white house in a major break from tradition nbc's hallie jackson with a first look at his message. >> reporter: president trump, at a fema briefing on hurricane laura confirming the show will go on for his remarks accepting the republican nomination his convention, closing out at a time of crisis on top of crisis, from the storm to the pandemic, tots unrest in wisconsin. is tonight an appropriate time to have a political celebration? >> very appropriate. the country's doing very well economically we're on a vee it could even be a super vee. >> aides say the president -- announced his administration is buying 150 million rapid covid tests, and referenced the reaction to the police shooting of a black man in wisconsin, to highlight his support for law enforcement. according to advanced
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excerp t american spirit and argue, at no time before have voters faced a clearer choice, blasting joe biden for, quote, the most extreme set of proposals ever put forward by a major party nominee. that warning echoed by vice president mike pence last night. >> you won't be safe in joe biden's america. >> reporter: pension never mentioning the name of jacob blake who police shot in kenosha but using the unrest that followed to boost his law and order argument, insisting joe biden has not called out violence forcefully enough. >> let me be clear, the violence must stop, whether in minneapolis, portland or kenosha we will have law and order on the streets of this country for every american of every race and creed and color. >> reporter: the vice president laying out what the campaign sees as the central choice of this election. >> it's not so much
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whether america will be more conservative or more liberal. more republican or more democrat. the choice in this election is whether america remains america. >> reporter: and the campaign hoping to reach suburban women voters featuring personal stories from high profile women in the president's orbit. >> i have seen firsthand many times the president comforting and encouraging a child who has lost a parent, a parent who has lost a child. don't lose hope, he has told them. assuring them that they are not alone and that they matter. >> hallie joins us now and hallie the president will be speaking before a live audience, correct? >> reporter: yeah, about a thousand people or so, lester, you can see the setup already on the south lawn there does not appear to be social distancing with the seats although the campaign says they are taking what they call proper protocols the campaign hopes to end the evening with a display of fireworks over the washington
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monument. after a week of attacks at the rnc joe biden and running mate kamala harris are hitting back pieden also responding to a call from nancy pelosi to not even bothering debating president trump. he spoke one on one with andrea mitchell. >> reporter: after republicans blamed him all week for violence, including in kenosha, joe biden and kamala harris fighting back today, responding to vice president mike pence saying you won't be safe in joe biden's america. >> the problem we have right now is we're in donald trump's america. they're looking for more violent and more disruption because it helps them politically. he views this as a political benefit to him. you know, he's rooting for more violence, not less and it's clear about that and what's he doing? just kept pouring gasoline on the fire this happens to be donald trump's america. >> reporter: do you think the president of the united states is rooting for the violence because he thinks it helps him politically? >> i think he views it as a political benefit and by the way i
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condemn violence in any form, whether it's looting or whatever it is who's rooting for the violence here? >> reporter: biden also said the biggest safety issue is people dying from covid and what he called pressure on the scientists on testing and therapy, possibly on vaccines. >> see any administration put so much pressure on the fda? there's no bounds to what this guy does and his team does. we should listen to the scientists >> reporter: how concerned are you that they're going to rush something out even before election day. >> i pray to god that would happen tomorrow. that would be wonderful. but the fact is, let's assume we finally do get a vaccine that works, and how much credibility are we going to have telling people to take it after going through all this stuff that they've misrepresented so far >> reporter: considers kansas also bunch punching back with craig melvin on the "today" show. >> the american people regardless of race or gender or age or geographic location have a right to
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believe their leaders will speak truth. >> reporter: after nancy pelosi jokes biden should not debate the president because the president doesn't tell the truth, biden told me he will be at the debates but will have to fact check the president while debating. i'll be in our coverage tonight, and see more of craig melvin's interview with kamala harris tomorrow on "today.." confusion over the cdc's covid testing guidelines what the cdc chief is now saying about who should get tested.
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the cdc is walking back fwiedlines on who should be tested for coronavirus. after an outcry of public health officials. anne thompson has the latest. >> reporter: pummelled by criticism the cdc clarifying the new covid testing guidelines all close contacts of confirmed or probable
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covid-19 patients, walking back yesterday's recommendation, still on the cdc website, that people exposed to covid, but without symptoms, do not necessarily need a test. >> i think this is the black eye for the cdc. >> reporter: dr. tom frieden led the cdc under president obama. can we control covid by doing less testing? >> testing is bedrock. it's essential to finding the virus and stopping chains of transmission. >> reporter: in new york city dr. jake deutsche says currently three quarters of those who test positive here don't have symptoms. >> i actually recommend that everybody who thinks they need to get rested gets tested. >> reporter: it's peace of mind for erin robinson before she travels. >> i wanted to make sure that i didn't have anything, i wouldn't be bringing anything with me, i guess, basically. >> reporter: some states are going their own way too. >> i don't agree with the new cdc guidance,
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period, full stop. >> reporter: california doubling testing capacity as it joins a dozen other states, defying the cdc, who decides who gets a test? dr. frieden says ultimately that's a local health department decision but the cdc should have a clear recommendation, nearly six months into the pandemic lester >> anne thompson, thanks. still ahead tonight champions for change, proteams pausing play in a historic call for justice. teams pausing play in a historic call for justice.
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we're back now with a growing movement in pro sports, athletes refusing to play and demanding justice following this week's shooting of a black man by a wisconsin police officer what started in the nba now spreading to other leagues. miguel almaguer has the latest. >> reporter: for a second night the nba's quiet courts speaking volumes as players pause the playoffs again before a reported agreement to soon resume games. the act of protest after the shooting in kenosha comes as players from milwaukee demand wisconsin legislators act on police reform, a cause bigger than the game. >> there has been no action so our focus today cannot be on basketball. >> reporter: finding power on their platform when millions watch and hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on advertising and broadcasting rights, the message became a movement around the sporting world. >> we need to understand that when most of us go home we still are black. >> reporter: players
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in the wnba spelling out jacob blake on their shirts with seven bullet holes in their backs, soccer, tennis, hockey and baseball games cancelled across the nation different arenas, but the same fight. >> i think the most difficult part is to see like people still don't care it just shows just the hate in people's heart. being a black man in america is not easy. >> reporter: athletes turning to activism in a new era. >> what you're seeing in general is probably the largest most widespread day of sports activism that our country has ever seen >> reporter: soon the games will go on s.a.t. nba shoots for change miguel almaguer, nbc news. we'll take a short break. when we come back the woman who has survived two pandemics shares her secret to a happy life
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we're going to close tonight with a birthday party for a woman born in 1918 she's lived through two pandemics and is full of advice here's harry smith >> reporter: if it looks like babs knows how to wear a crown it doesn't surprise her family to them she is royalty. >> we love her to death. >> reporter: she turned 102 this week >> i hope i look that good when i'm 75. >> reporter: and still holding court. >> happy birthday. >> she has more stories than anybody you've ever seen in your life. some of them are true,
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some aren't true some get exaggerated >> reporter: a child of immigrants, born into a pandemic, through years thick and thin, a witness to history, and an optimist. >> i had a confidence that the country will be fine. everything will be good because i was told that it would be. my father told me, my mother told me my president told me. >> reporter: that was fdr, for the record. in the game of life making it to 100 requires luck, love, and most likely a twinkle in your eye. >> get a coke and chips, have fun, have fun and enjoy. it's a good life it's worth suffering for and living for life is good >> reporter: and that part we do believe harry smith, nbc news. some reassuring words we could all stand to hear, babs,
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happy birthday. that's nightly news, join us for our special coverage of the final night of the rnc beginning at 10:00 p.m. eastern thank you for watching, everyone, i'm lester holt, please continue to take care of yourself and each other ♪ it's scary to run away from your home and thinking that it won't be there anymore. >> many of our friends and families have longed for good news regarding these fires. and that moment has arrived. >> it feels great. it feels great to be back in your own place.
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you know? >> the news at 6:00 starts right now. good evening and thanks for being with us. i'm raj mathai. >> and i'm jessica aguirre. tonight some much-needed good news for thousands of people across the bay area. they finally get to go home. this is video from our sky ranger flying above the czu complex fire. that's the one in san mateo and santa cruz counties. you can still see there's a lot of smoke. but it is getting better. this is the forest near felton this afternoon. evacuations were lifted in this area. we're also tracking fires all across the bay area. and just a few minutes we're going to hear from cal fire updates on the czu fire. we'll bring that to you live once that news conference begins. >> here are the numbers we're working with right now. speaking of that czu fire you were just talking about, jessica. burning along the coast here. here are some of the details that we have. 21% contained. however, we do expect that number


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