tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC January 3, 2021 3:30pm-4:00pm PST
breaking news tonight. the extraordinary audio recording, president trump on the phone, pressuring georgia officials to change the vote count. >> there's nothing wrong with saying that, you know, that you have recalculated. >> and pushing baseless conspiracy theories. the bid team calling it an assault on democracy. >> i just want to find, uh, 11,780 votes. >> this as tuesday's georgia's senate race goes down to the wire, the polls as tight as ever, control of the senate up for grabs. both trump and biden campaign
there tomorrow. travel surge. airports packed as americans head home after the holidays. fears of post-christmas covid outbreak is only a week away. now with dozens of staffers testing positive at a major hospital. plus the pandemic's big impact on one nfl team playing today. lines for vaccines growing longer. another 1.5 million doses given but 9 million still sitting on shelves. the new challenges and outrage from americans desperate to get a shot. the fbi asking for help. what did the nashville bomber mail to people before blowing up his rv? and will it reveal a motive? and alex trebek's final message. his last remaining "jeopardy!" episodes start tomorrow. the heartfelt good-bye he left for his fans. >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with kate snow. good evening. throughout the trump presidency, we've often used the word unprecedented to describe his
actions, and now with just over two weeks remaining in his term, president trump has made a truly unprecedented phone call. on saturday, the president spent more than an hour, trying to convince the republican secretary of state of georgia to change the election results. mr. trump repeatedly cited unproven conspiracies and asked the secretary of state to, quote, find the votes to overturn his loss. all of it coming as a dozen senate republicans prepare to challenge the election results this week. we begin tonight with kelly o'donnell. >> reporter: inside a stunning new pressure campaign, as president trump tries to overturn his election defeat. >> i just want to find, uh, 11,780 votes. >> reporter: nbc news obtained the full audio from an hour-long saturday phone call with the president, trump advisers and georgia election officials. >> i think you have to say that you're going to reexamine it.
>> reporter: exerting the influence of the presidency, mr. trump leaned on republican secretary of state brad raffensperger to announce a reversal of certified georgia results from biden to trump. >> and there's nothing wrong with saying that, you know, uh, that you've recalculated. >> reporter: raffensperger refused. >> mr. president, the challenge that you have, the data that you have is wrong. >> reporter: in another tense exchange, the president pushed a conspiracy theory that a voting machine company tampered with ballots, even suggesting state officials hid illegal activity. >> now do you think it's possible that they, uh, shredded ballots in fulton county? because that's what the rumor is, and also that dominion took out machines. uh, dominion is really moving fast to get rid of their, uh, machinery. do you know anything about that? >> reporter: georgia lawyer ryan germany shot that down. >> no, dominion has not moved
machinery out of fulton county. >> no, but have they moved the inner parts of the machines and replaced them with other parts? >> no. >> are you sure, ryan? >> i'm sure. >> reporter: the president threatened the georgia officials could face legal trouble themselves. >> you know what they did and you're not reporting it. that's a criminal -- that's a criminal offense. that's a big risk to you and to ryan, your lawyer. that's a big risk. >> reporter: piling on partisan guilt. >> you should want to have an accurate election, and you're a republican. >> we believe we do have an accurate election. >> no. no, you don't. >> reporter: tonight a biden senior adviser described the call as irrefutable proof of a president pressuring and threatening an official of his own party to get him to rescind the state's lawful, certified vote count and fabricate another in its place. >> kelly is with us. there's an update on the effort
by some republicans to challenge the election in congress this week? >> reporter: well, what we know is that there are groups of trump loyalists who plan to stage their protests and it might be a spectacle but now we know they do not have enough numbers to overturn the result. because enough senate republicans have publicly stated they will affirm joe biden as the next president. kate? >> kelly o'donnell at the white house for us. kelly, thank you. we'll get to the gnlgds senate run-off in a moment. but next up, the covid crisis and the horrifying new predictions of what's to come following holiday gatherings and travel. the virus and overwhelming strain on resources, and now one major hospital is hit hard with its own outbreak among staff. meghan fitzgerald reports. >> reporter: people heading home from holiday travel frrks large crowds in l.a. to long lines in new york as some crowds decide ed to get tested. top health officials say will
trigger another surge but americans willing to roll the dice, with nearly 1.2 million people hitting the skies on saturday. doctors say the christmas surge could be a week away. >> the chances of you coming in to contact with someone is just so much higher, no matter what you're doing. >> reporter: now more than 350,000 americans have died from the virus. in california, there are now more than 4,500 patients in the icu. that's double from the past month, as the hospital in northern california is battling a major outbreak of its own, officials saying 43 staff members tested positive from coronavirus in the last week. >> on the front lines i can tell you this thing is completely out of control. >> reporter: the state now confirming two new cases of the highly contagious variant first discovered in the united kingdom. the strain was detected in two people in the popular ski town of big bear. one came in contact with a traveler from the uk. >> the stream of patients coming in doesn't stop.
there doesn't appear to be an end in sight. >> reporter: in los angeles county, nearly half of the covid cases were reported in the month of december alone, while much-needed medical supplies are running dangerousously low, the army corps of engineers has been called to duty, updating hospitals that have had trouble delivering high-flow oxygen to patient. >> we're trying to assess how to reduce the strain on their facilities and o2, oxygen, distribution as well. >> reporter: a situation so overwhelmed many doctors say they could be days away from rationing care. >> we are extremely worried that we will not have enough capacity to take care of sick patients in los angeles. >> reporter: the nationwide surge also hitting the nfl again. possible covid exposures forcing the new orleans saints to shuffle players to complete their lineup. playing is proving to be a gamble, as teams push to the playoffs at the height of a pandemic.
>> meghan joins me now from lax. more testing sites are popping up at airports. is that going to help? >> reporter: kate it will have an impact. the site that opened here at lax can only accommodate 1,000 tests a day, just a fraction of the people who come through this airport daily. it comes at a cost, $125 a test. kate? >> all right. meagan fitzgerald for us. administration officials today defended the vaccine rollout, pointing to an increase in vaccinations over the past few days, but there were more long lines and frustrated patients as the program expanded today. sam brock reports from broward county, florida. >> reporter: tonight in florida, a sea of cars, stuck in standstill. many of the passengers, senios,s eyeing their first chance to get vaccinated. >> it will all be worth it if we get our shots and close the doors, you'll have a lot of unhappy people if they don't get their shots. >> reporter: the gates closed at 4:00, but the shots continued
for those in line who had an appointment. though the state has not confirmed that. you're okay with waiting in hour's long lines to get the vaccine? >> what else are we going to do? covid, we're sitting at home, not doing too much. >> yeah. >> booking appointments was a requirement. not everyone was successful. >> the west side is down. there's no option there. in broward, it's also down. >> reporter: the vaccine site coming on and offline all day as confusion reigns supreme. those in line say the stakes couldn't be higher. what would getting a vaccine today mean to you? >> oh, everything. i'm compromised. and if i ever get this covid, i'll probably die. >> reporter: the cdc updated its vaccine picture sunday. the agency now reports more than 4 million people have received shots still well-below projections. dr. anthony fauci remains encouraged. >> the goal of vaccinated 100
million people in the first 100 days say realistic goal. we can do 1 million people per day. >> reporter: dr. fauci said in the first three days of the new year, 1.5 million people have been vaccinated or about half a million a day. houston just opening its first clinic saturday. >> i'm a cancer patient myself, and i've been truly blessed to get it. >> reporter: the city's mayor announcing more than 1,000 people vaccinated that first day. >> we would love to see a mega site set up. in fact, you know, let's do that, but then we need to do even more in order to really speed this process along. >> reporter: as waits continue to mushroom from texas to tennessee, and, of course, florida, where 1 in 5 residents are 65 or older. >> i'm high risk. i haven't seen my kids in almost -- over a year, actually. and, yeah, it's pretty important. >> sam, these long lines in florida, texas, is this an indication of what's to come in other states?
>> reporter: yeah, kate, it could be a preview. one of the commonalities of florida and texas, both states are prioritizing seniors over some essential workers. there's something else going on as well. public sites like this, for the first time people are being vaccinated at public work sites not at their workplaces. it could be a sign of what's to come. kate? >> thank you, sam brock. we're learning more tonight about the possible motive behind that nashville christmas day bomber. believing the bomber mailed his writings to people he knew before setting off the bomb. sara harmon has details. >> reporter: tonight the first aerial images revealing the extent of the damage of the christmas day bombing in downtown nashville. roofs torn apart, buildings' faces blown off. the bomber sent material to
friends before the blast. they're aware of a thumb drive and written pages from the bomber. the fbi now asking anyone who received them to come forward. >> we've heard about these letters. we've heard of conversations and maybe some conspiracy. but we still don't know really why he chose this place and this day to commit this massive bombing. >> reporter: found sitting on a popular street christmas day, blaring music and a warning. before an explosion. only he was killed in the blast. investigators are exploring several potential motives behind the bombing outside an at&t building, including evidence the bomber believed in lizard people and so-called reptilian conspiracy theory. >> often times they don't have the means to execute a violent attack or not sure how to do it. >> reporter: nashville residents
are struggling to move forward after 40 businesses were damaged, several beyond repair. le oechlt o rose's tattoo studio completely destroyed, surveillance video capturing the moment of the blast. destruction immeasurable. >> haven't slept in over a week. i'm constantly tired. >> reporter: as authorities search for answers, nashville residents who lost their homes and businesses are now facing a new year and an uncertain future. sara harmon, nbc news. still ahead tonight, the fierce run-off race. the big impact this week's people were afraid i was contagious. i felt gross. it was kind of a shock after i started cosentyx. four years clear. real people with psoriasis look and feel better with cosentyx. don't use if you're allergic to cosentyx. before starting, get checked for tuberculosis. an increased risk of infections and lowered ability to fight them may occur.
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humanity, coming together and being there for each other. >> all the more amazing because just before it was taped in october, trebek had undergone surgery. >> you have to understand, alex was telling us, i'm going to be fine. every time we would hear news from him that things were bad, he would just come back stronger. >> and here is your clue. >> reporter: he announced his pancreatic cancer diagnosis in 2019. >> the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but i'm going to fight this. >> reporter: continuing to host the show he loved, collecting accolades from fans and contestants. >> i learned english because of you. >> what is we love you? >> thank you. >> reporter: just so caught him off guard. >> yeah. well, he was not an emotional guy. and for something to penetrate the armor, and that armor was thick, was amazing. >> reporter: through more than three decades of hairstyles and fashion, facial hair and not,
trebek's persona stayed consistent, authoritative, prepared, polished till the end, even as his voice sometimes grew weak. >> keep the faith. we're going to get through all of this. >> reporter: after taping the final two shows over five days, trebek left the studio for the first time. he died ten days later on november 8th. the legendary game show will carry on with guest hosts expected the rest of the season, starting with former champ ken jennings. trebek's legacy will endure. >> he will forever be an inspiration for his constant desire to learn, his kindness and love of his family. >> reporter: sentiments echoed by trebek's wife, jean, posting on instagram, time is too short to be spent on anything but kindness, what her late husband might say what is good advice for the new year. >> inspiring voice to be sure. we're back in a moment with a look ahead to
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back now with more politics. nancy pelosi once again was elected as house speaker today, her fourth term. it came as senators for the 117th congress were sworn in by vice president mike pence. but there are still two senators yet to be sworn in. and who they are will determine control of the u.s. senate. president trump and president-elect biden will hold dueling rallies in georgia tomorrow where on tuesday two of the most important and heated senate run-offs in history will finally be decided. priscilla thompson is there. >> make a plan to vote. >> reporter: with control of the senate on the line, both parties
going all out. >> it all comes down to tuesday. >> reporter: vice president-elect kamala harris today, trying to push more democrats to the polls. >> they know when we vote, things change! they know when we vote, we win! [ horns honking ] >> reporter: the democrats need to win both races to control the chamber. on their side? an historic surge in early voting. more than 3 million have already voted. hundreds of thousands of absentee ballots still outstanding. but the polls show both races are incredibly tight and republicans are banking on large election day turnout. all this, while republican senator david purdue is sidelined, quarantining after a close contact. >> it's terrible timing but we are not going to. >> reporter: georgia is the center of the political universe
right now, $480 million spent on advertising. tomorrow, both president trump and president-elect biden will hold competing rallies here. the president's presence acr, ad card. trump suggested in that recorded phone call if officials don't bend to his wishes, his supporters won't turn out. >> you know, the people of georgia knows this was a scam and because of what you've done to the president a lot of people aren't going out to vote. >> priscilla is with us. you said a wild card. how are the president's claims of fraud playing there with residents in georgia? >> reporter: gop voters we've spoken to largely believe the president's unfounded claims of fraud, but are still showing up to vote. the question, will enough of them? kate? >> all right. priscilla, thank you. when we come back, bridging the education gap. th youeng our new house is amazing. great street, huge yard.
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there's good news tonight about filling a vital need for so many students taking remote classes during the pandemic. an inspiring group is giving the gift of technology to help empower children, struggling to learn. 11-year-old mariah anthony has been living with her mother and younger brother in a california shelter the past year and a half. >> it was a struggle for us not having the proper living situation and everything. >> reporter: mariah's mother, dominique, couldn't afford the laptops needed for virtual learning and said the school sent only one laptop for her son so mariah has been using her mother's cell phone to try to keep up with her assignments.
>> trying to figure out an easier way to do the schooling and everything and i hit a dead end. >> nice to meet you. >> reporter: but today that changed. >> we have a computer here for you today. >> thank you. >> i think it's going to help me, because i can actually do my homework better and i can see my teacher more better. >> a much-needed gift for mariah and her mom, thanks to the project bridging techs founded by seniors at stanford university, bridging tech gives donated xurs to students in shelters, like mariah. >> we realized many schools were closing and also that the most disadvantaged students were going to be left further behind. we can actually give technology to children affected by homelessness across the united states to focus on food, water, shelter and clothing before they can even begin to focus on their education. >> donated computers come in
from across the country and are wiped, upgraded and fixed. bridging tech expanded out of the bay area and has now given away over 600 computers nationwide. >> i want people to recognize that their role as a community member is super important to all nonprofits' work. >> thank you so much. >> your old computer sitting in your garage can totally transform the course of one student's academic year. >> memorize the wifi password. >> helping families who need it more than ever, one laptop at a time. >> it took a big weight off my shoulders. some people don't get the help that they need. >> they're still accepting donation donations, by the way, of old computers. that is "nbc nightly news" for this sunday.
>> announcer: nbc sports, home of the olympic games, the nhl, the pga tour, premier league, and primetime's number one show, "sunday night football," only on nbc. new year, season ends with game 256 on the schedule on a rainy night in south philly. weather will be a factor in the finale, because the nfc east title is on the line.