tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC December 23, 2020 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
he didn't flinch. >> that's right. he takes his second dose in about 28 days. >> yeah. >> that's going to do it for us. thanks so much for joining us. "nightly news" is next. tonight president trump threatening to derail covid relief for millions of desperate americans just before christmas. the presiden traveling to florida for the holidays after making a last-minute demand for congress to raise the stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000 also at stake extra unemployment benefits and small business aid. will he now veto it? amid that political standoff the reality across the country, massive lines of families who can't afford to put food on table for christmas. the holiday crush, 85 million expected to travel even as the pandemic rages hospitalizations at record highs but new hope as the u.s. hits a milestone.
1 million people have now received initial doses of the covid vaccine. and the deal to double the nation's pfizer doses. the new body cam video, a man approaching an officer with a cell phone in his hand the officer fatally shooting him what investigators revealed late today. the christmas storm on the move, blizzard warnings in effect we are tracking it. the explosion rocking a high-rise. window washers left hanging on for dear life several others trapped inside the daring rescue. letters to santa going virtual, what kids really want this year this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. >> good evening. just as it seemed help was on the way to millions of americans struggling in this covid-battered economy president trump tonight appears to have thrown a monkey wrench into the plan suggesting he may veto the coronavirus relief bill agreed to b congress this week, the president demanding bigger amounts in those direct payments to
americans than wha congress spelled out, a position that democrats are eagerly embracing. kelly o'donnell tells us where things stand tonight. >> reporter: leaving today for christmas at his mar-a-lago club, president trump said nothing about his surprise threat that could tank covid relief for millions in need people like 36-year-old bartender and graduate student nick mott. >> do feel scared. all of my savings is gone >> reporter: mott's income and tips cut by more than half as diners stay home counting on emergency aid from that massive $900 billion covid package that includes $600 direct checks $300 weekly enhanced unemployment benefits. rental and food assistance. >> i was really hoping for that i was really hoping that i could at least have a little bit of comfort again. >> reporter: but in a white house-made video, president trump
injected chaos demanding congress increase those direct payments to $2,000. >> send me a suitable bill or else the next administration will have to deliver a covid relief package. >> reporter: today speaker pelosi put pressure on republicans to answer the president's demand so far, only silence small businesses on the brink need a second round of loans like denver restaurant owner stephanie bonin who was forced to la off 25 employees at duo >> that is a really, really frightening moment for any entrepreneur, any business owner. >> reporter: tonight a separate and stunning veto of the national defense bill, the president rejecting that bipartisan measure in part because it calls for renaming military bases that honor confederate leaders. lester >> all right kelly o'donnell tonight starting us off, thanks. as the political sparring continues millions of americans remain in need my colleague gadi schwartz met some of them as they waited in
a long line of cars for food in the los angeles area today during a live report on msnbc's gadi's reaction to one couple's story was one most of us could identify with. >> reporter: this food that you guys are picking up today -- he says that the food that they're picking up here is for their christmas meal gracias. gracias. [ speaking spanish ] this is just one of the stories. you have a parking lot filled with people that are going to be picking up their meals, picking up meals for christmas. sorry. >> it absolutely tears your heart out gadi has more now on the struggles hitting home for far too many families this holiday. >> reporter: at any given food drive there's always someone at the front of the line and today in santa monica it was
maria and satorino viegas who showed up three hours early. like so many others he lost his job at a restaurant he says that the had a little bit of savings and now looking for cans and bottles to recycle as these lines wind all across the country inside cars are families that never thought they would be waiting for food donations two days before christmas >> coming from last year, going to restaurants on a regular basis and living life to the fullest, it was definitely a shock to us. >> reporter: the los angeles regional food bank has given out 120 million meals sinc the pandemic began but when an estimated 1 in 4 people live insecure here during the pandemic it's still not enough. >> the food bank's distribution increased by 145% since the pandemic hit and we're not necessarily reaching everyone who needs help. >> reporter: as the viegas receive the food they tell us what volunteers here again and again they plan to share this blessing with others in their community that need it, too. gadi schwartz, nbc news, santa monica.
despite calls to stay home, som 85 million americans are expected to travel for the holidays stirring fears of a new post-holiday covid surge but there is encouraging word from the cdc tonight. 1 million people in t doses oft the u.s. have now received their first doses of the covid vaccine and the u.s. just cut a deal to double its pfizer doses. more now from tom costello. >> reporter: tonight health experts fear a superspreader event is playing out in realtime as a million travelers a day fill airports nationwide. >> i don't have any preexisting conditions i'm thin, and i'm feeling confiden if i get covid that i'll survive. >> reporter: the most travelers since the pandemic began, despite official pleas to stay home to assure loved ones are alive next year, too many people say they can't stay away from family any longer. >> we haven't seen my two granddaughters and my daughter since last christmas, and they grow so much and we see them on skype.
but it's not just the same thing >> reporter: 20 states plus d.c. have travel restrictions for new arrivals concerned about a more infectious strain of covid in britain new york mayor deblasio ordered anyone arriving from the uk to self quarantine sheriff's deputies will conduct verification visits. violators will be fined. >> if you violate quarantine $1,000 for the first day. if you violate any day thereafter $1,000 each additional day. >> reporter: with vaccinations continuing nationwide the cdc reports just 1 million americans had received the pfizer vaccine by this morning. out of 5 million pfizer doses shipped while there is a lag in states reporting vaccination numbers, commanders concede vaccinations have been slower than expected the government is doubling the size of its pfizer vaccine purchase, enough for 100 million people by the end of july. >> we come out of the holidays we're in a steady drumbeat of continuous vaccination delivery >> reporter: the
urgent push to vaccinate expected t pick up steam fast tom costello, nbc news, washington. i'm erin mclaughlin in los angeles. inside california's hospitals there's desperation. patients spilling into hallways, conference rooms, even parking lots. >> we are down t 1.1% icu capacity. >> reporter: now the crisis epicenter on the cusp of 2 million confirmed coronavirus cases. days before christmas a chorus of cries of help from the front lines. >> if we continue to gather indoors at th rate that we are many more of us will not see the holidays next year. >> reporter: outside los angeles dozens gather without masks to sing christmas carols, led by actor kirk cameron nationwide almost 1,000 hospital icus hitting 90% capacity nurse holly pike watches as her colleague fights for her life >> i actually had the wonderful privileg of taking care of her and being her nurs for quite a few nights, and it was hard
>> reporter: after caring for covid patients utah icu nurse and mother of three jill hulker is on life support waiting for a double lung transplant. >> we're just hoping that she can come home as soon as possible. >> reporter: a christmas wish amidst real fear things will only get worse. erin mclaughlin, nbc news. new body cam video is out tonight showing the deadly police shooting of an unarmed black man holding a cell phone the incident sparking outrage in columbus, ohio blayne alexander has our report but let me caution you, the images are disturbing. >> reporter: this just released body camera video shows the final moments of andre hill's life. there is no audio because the columbus police officer who shot him did not activate the camera until after pulling the trigger. here you see officer adam coy approaching a garage hill is inside walking toward the officer with a cell phone in one hand, the other out of view.
within seconds the officer shoots the officer then turns his camera on. >> hands up to the side now >> reporter: those 60 seconds of video showing the shooting is recovered >> we got a medic coming >> reporter: but the camera captures hill afterwards lying on the ground more than five minutes before anyone rendered aid. >> to see him lying in the driveway minute after minute after minute after minute, with no attempt to render aid and comfort, that is a stunning disregard for life and in this case black life. >> my commitment, my legal obligation is to conduct a fair, impartial hearing and that is what i intend to do. >> reporter: hill was not armed. the initial 911 call came from a neighbor concerned after hearing a car running in the middle of the night. tonight hill's family is asking for privacy. the video was made public on the same day the city mourns casey goodman, another black
man shot and killed by county law enforcement just this month. >> what does it take to get it to stop? >> reporter: tonight officer coy a 19-year veteran of the force has been relieved of duty with pay. we have reached out to the police union for comment but have not heard back lester >> thank you. we have more on president trump facing backlash after issuing a series of eyebro raising pardons and communations here's pete williams >> reporter: in the first act of clemency related to trump relatives, the president pardoned kushner, the elder a millionaire real estate developer pleaded guilty in 2004 to tax evasion and making illegal campaign donations the president also pardoned paul manafort, his former campaign chairman convicted of hiding millions of income the president also gave a full pardon to former adviser roger
stone. three former republican congressmen convicted of corruption got clemency hunter and collins of new york pardoned. steve stockman of texas. full pardons went to four former blackwater security guards convicted in the deaths of 17 including civilians at a bus intersection in baghdad in 2007. the white house said there were problems with the prosecution at their trial a lawyer for some of the iraqi families tweeted a photo of the youngest victim today a 9-year-old boy saying, quote, trump pardoned his killers white house officials say more pardons are coming before the president leaves office pete williams, nbc news, washington. terrifying moments today when an explosion rocked a high-rise in baltimore. stephanie gosk now with the heart pounding rescue. >> reporter: a high flying drama unfolding over the streets of baltimore this morning, an explosion at the baltimore gas and electric building rocked downtown, partially collapsing the roof.
>> we have victims on the roof i have at least one victim down. >> reporter: window washers were left dangling from their cables and workers inside were trapped. fire crews smashed windows on the 10th and 11th floor to reach the two men holding on for their lives. one rescue worker scaling the scaffolding himself to assist 21 people rescue altogether according to mayor nine are in critical condition at the hospital. >> we're fortunate that right now we only have a serious injury, no deaths. >> reporter: the company says construction work ikely to blame. thankfully the offices being done on the building's air handling and boiler system was likely to blame. thankfully the offices were largely empty. because of the pandemic and the upcoming holiday, a much larger tragedy was avoided. stephanie gosk, nbc news. all right. let's talk now about a major winter storm sweeping the country just in time for christmas. meteorologist dylan drier is tracking it for us dylan, what can we expect
>> lester, we are going to see it al with this storm. we are looking for heavy rain and gusty winds from the great lakes down to the gulf coast. through the day on thursday, we are going to see the heavy rain start to move eastward and then impact the east coast on christmas day. we could see up to three to four inches of rain combined with the melting snow that could lead to significant flooding and we could see 9 to 12 inches of lake-effect snow on the backside of this storm and one concern is wind gusts 40 to 60 miles per hour possible thursday into friday. >> thanks very much. all of us have been impacted by the pandemic but for millions of children with special needs losing vital services has been devastating our kate snow now with "america under pressure." >> reporter: sean and ashley garen are getting their 9-year-old max ready for the day. >> one, two, three. >> reporter: his autism is severe. >> it's okay no, no >> reporter: he sometimes is aggressive and can't verbalize how he feels. >> if he's doing his
therapies on a regular basis, he's much more calm in his body >> reporter: it took years to find him the perfect specialized school in connecticut but after the pandemic hit it shut down. >> he had a whole team of people that would help him with the educational track. i used to go to meetings with eight people and it's like being on a baseball team and losing eight players and you are the only person left. >> reporter: max's behavior regressed in a may sur voi by one advocacy group 40% of parents said the kids hadn't received the special education supports that should >> i know that life is really difficult for all of us. >> reporter: ashley and sean joined with other parents to fight. >> blanketed the area with please help us. >> it does work, social media does work. >> reporter: eventually they convinced an investor to open a new school in their city. but ashley worries about more closures. >> it would be devastating. >> reporter: the families they meet with regularly wish
policymakers see the programs for kids with special needs as essential. it's been a difficult year but one that's brought them closer. >> we have grown as human beings just -- >> we figured out how far we can stretch it's way further than we thought >> reporter: max, sean says, has always shown them what it means to love unconditionally kate snow, nbc news, greenwich, connecticut. in just 60 seconds -- did you rack up new subscriptions during the pandemic you no longer want? how to cancel and avoid the fees burger ever? th! that means selling everything. and eating nothing but cheese till you find the perfect slice... even if everyone asks you... another burger truck? don't listen to them! that means cooking day and night until you get... [ ding ] you got paid! that means adding people to the payroll. hi mom. that means... best burger ever. intuit quickbooks helps small businesses be more successful with payments, payroll, banking and live bookkeeping.
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and says canceling the services was difficult. >> it should be as easy as clicking a couple buttons but it is not. >> reporter: in june those subscription services soared to 70%. in october, that number dropped to 30%. one reason, consumers decided they didn't want the services anymore. in other cases face surprise charges when free trials ended. even worse, the average price per subscription rose mid-pandemic by almost 20%. >> we all know tha businesses are facing touch times and unfortunately they're passing the tough times on to consumers by making it harder to cancel their subscription. >> reporter: some companies offer free trials but make it tough to cancel. >> they're relying on consumers to forget so that they can keep billing them >> reporter: visa and mastercard require online merchants to notify customers before trials end. to keep track of charges, experts say monitor the bank account and use a mobile app that tells you when a deduction is made. morgan chesky, nbc news. up next, charities in crisis and how to help
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this holiday season charities are this holiday season charities are in crisis amid the pandemic stephanie ruhle now on the best ways to support others this season >> reporter: at the hunger task force in milwaukee food distribution has doubled sense last year but normal influx of holiday volunteers are forced to stay home you went from having 12,000 volunteers to 12 full-time employees? >> yeah. working like 80 hours
a week doing our best to move the food out to the programs that remained open. >> reporter: it is a similar story for many charities. with few in-person volunteers and drop-offs most charities are only accepting financial donations. for those who want to give back how do you choose >> one of the best things to do is give to the groups that you already know if you're giving to a new organization, check out the website, look carefully at what they're doing. >> reporter: check to make sure the charity is registered on the website of your stat attorney general look at the annual report and if you'r pressured to give, stay away. it could be a scam if you're stretched too thin right now you can always give in the future. >> even though the covid bill passed the government won't get the help to us for 45 or 60 more days so that means january and february are going to be rough. >> reporter: remember, there's a tax break if you give even if you don't itemize the taxes you can deduct up to $300 for charitable donations. and if the next stimulus package goes through, that will
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ask your prescriber or an online prescriber if cologuard is right for you. i'll get on it! that's a step in the right direction. letters to santa are a childhood tradition. this year many of those notes are being shared so others can play santa to those in need kevin tibbles reports. >> reporter: a letter to santa from a friend she's never met. >> i knew that the weather is changing
and hopefully you can help us with a warm coat and gloves. thank you so much, santa. >> reporter: mikayla dean is just 9 years old and already has santa's helper. >> i don't want her to feel sad. >> reporter: especially at christmas. >> yeah. >> reporter: her 6-year-old kid sister paisley feels the same way. so the bedgood family in florida signed on with the u.s. postal service's "operation santa. virtual this year. >> dear santa -- >> reporter: it connects letters from kids many who are in need to would be santas across the country. >> they're not asking for an xbox or the new playstation or, you know, a phone. they're asking for a coat. >> reporter: the post office has been receiving santa's mail addressed to santa claus at 123 elf road, the north pole, of course, for more than 100 years. putting countless smiles on children's faces. the bedgoods adopted
two letters this yea and went shopping to make sure some wishes do come true how does it make you feel when you help someone else >> happy. >> reporter: giving really does give you that warm feeling inside kevin tibbles, nbc news >> santa has built quite the network, hasn't he? that's "nightly news" for this wednesday thank you for watching i'm lester holt. please tak right now at 6:00, lining up for the vaccine. law enforcement and firefighters getting it just in time for the holidays. but south bay leaders have a dire warning. >> this is a matter of life and death. >> the new statistics just released today which they hope will keep people at home. plus a frightening string of robberies at popular spots in the bay area. one woman shares her story with us. >> they punched me.
i screamed. >> how police are putting the pieces together and the young ages of the suspects that will leave you shaking your head. christmas is just over a day away. which areas will see the most rain. your latest forecast is just minutes away. the news at 6:00 starts right now. good wednesday, thanks so much for joining us. i'm janelle wang. >> i'm terry mcsweeney. an impassioned plea from the county's chief medical officer, dr. sarah kody, surging everyone to please stay at home during the holidays during this dangerous time. >> i urge, urge, anyone who is considering gathering to stop, take a deep breath, think, and don't do it. >> covid has hit santa clara county hard. and dr. cody says the next two weeks are crucial because a new surge at this time would force hospitals to turn people away. how difficult is it right now in santa clar