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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  March 31, 2022 2:06am-2:41am PDT

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extensive damage and multiple injuries. al roker is tracking where it's headed next. just in, the academy board saying will smith was asked to leave the oscars but refused, as chris rock returns to the stage tonight for the first time since that now infamous attack what will he say heartbreaking announcement from the family of bruce willis, the health battle forcing him to step away from acting. the first gop senator to publicly endorse supreme court nominee ketanji brown jackson. all but guaranteeing her confirmation and our nbc news exclusive, the next frontier of u.s. defense, our never before seen look inside space force. >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt good evening everyone russian forces near kyiv appear to be on the move tonight but neither ukraine but nor the u.s. are buying it as a de-escalation. in fact, officials say there were more
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attacks near the capital today despit russia's pledge to ease up its offensive in the area. with one eye on the battlefield, the other on peace talks ukraine's president zelenskyy said today the signals we hear from the negotiations can be called positive but they do not drown out the explosion of russian shells the pentagon says it's too early to call russian movements a withdrawal, and there are signs russian forces are simply being redeployed elsewhere. and a new glimpse tonight on the view from the kremlin newly declassified american intelligence alleges vladimir putin is not receiving accurate information about russian shortcomings on the battlefield. all of it as weary survivors now emerge from shelter in their liberated ukrainian village. richard engel reports from kyiv. >> reporter: leaving city of kharkiv, doesn't take long to reach the front lines. russian troops destroyed these cars while trying to invade the city but in the fields overlooking the highway we followed
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ukrainian troops to see what u.s. officials tell nbc news russian generals are afraid to show their president, that the russian military is losing ground and suffering too many losses to hide this was a russian camp you can see they had all of their weapons here dug out positions. and they were bombed there's still some bodies in this area. and they left a lot of their equipment behind after what appears to have been devastating attack on their position there's nothing left it seems the russians here never knew what hit them their uniforms lay strewn on the ground ukrainian troops help themselves to abandoned weapons. andrei, a sniper who didn't want to show his face, said 120 russian soldiers were at this position and that ukrainians took dozens captive others still lay where they fell, we counted 12 bodies. russia never expected its invasion to be
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stopped in its tracks. knocking out this position also allowed ukrainian troops to recapture today the nearby village of melorohan from russian soldiers this family was enjoying their new freedom. "the bombings were horrible, the air strikes were the worst," said nadia they showed where they had been hiding all this time without power. i have a flashlight on my phone they stayed down in this old, cramped cellar for the last 27 days do you think the worst is over? "i hope our soldiers tame this beast. the russian president is deranged," says leonid "i wish his kids would have to go through this, maybe then it would be different." his granddaughter spent her time drawing on the walls, images of happier days. "it was my therapy to keep calm," she says. wise words from girl who just turned 8. today elisa was
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drawing with her chalk outside. down the road, 88-year-old preskovia was sitting by herself, disoriented and frightened "i'm so afraid, my whole body is shaking. at night i cover myself in a blanket and i shake," she says mostly, she wanted comfort. she says she lived through world war ii, and doesn't have the strength to go through it all again >> richard, it absolutely rips your heart out, no one should have to go through what those folks are going through. let me ask you this. ukrainian soldiers you spent time with, do they think they have the momentum against russia >> reporter: i think you could hear it right now. those are outgoing rounds ukrainians here feel that they have an advantage. they want to push their momentum and they're not concerned about peace talks, they don't believe what russia says about reducing its attacks. they want to keep
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going and liberate all this country >> all right, richard. thanks to you and al our colleagues bringing important stories. tonight the u.n. says the number of refugees from ukraine has topped 4 million. while most are women and children, one of the most vulnerable groups is older ukrainians gabe guttierez reports on an international rescue effort to get them out. >> reporter: for refugees of all ages, the journey is grueling but for older ukrainians, it can be nearly impossible. >> i guess the government don't have -- doesn't have time for to think about old people >> reporter: daniel grew up south of kyiv, but had been living in portugal before the war, now he's back to coordinate rescue efforts for older refugees his network of volunteers fanning out across hard-hit areas. >> we try to take people from dangerous place. >> reporter: there's a web of organizations racing to evacuate the elderly. according to help age international, ukraine
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has the largest percentage of older people affected by conflict in the world. 1 in 4 people here is over 60 years old. most of them don't want to be evacuated from their homes, yet 91% need help to get food because of mobility issues. julia, a paralegal in los angeles, is among those trying to get them out >> this is their home. now at the later stages of their life they have to be torn away from everything they knew? >> reporter: it can almost be too much to bear we met valentina after her agonizing escape from mariupol. the grandmother sobbed as she described her 15-mile trek on foot to a humanitarian bus. "we were bombarded ruthlessly," she says, one word to describe the situation -- hell. but calls her 8-year-old granddaughter a hero for helping her. an awful journey she says would have been impossible to survive alone. breaking late today
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news that would make it easier for immigrants including those fleeing ukraine to come to the u.s the bide administration in late may is planning to lift title 42, the public health policy that denied asylum seekers entry due to covid. officials at the border are anticipating a surge when the policy lifts. lester >> okay. gabe gutierrez in lviv, thanks new insights this evening on russian president vladimir putin and his inner circle with the white house declaring putin's aides are deliberately misinforming him about what's happening on the battlefield. keir simmons now with more on what is going on inside the kremlin. >> reporter: despite mounting military losses in ukraine, tonight a u.s. official tells nbc news declassified u.s. intelligence shows president putin's senior advisers are too afraid to tell him the truth. late today, this from the white house. >> we believe that putin is being misinformed by his advisers about how badly the russian military is performing. >> reporter: in
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moscow, insiders have told us president putin relies on written briefings from his advisers. >> he is living on the papers, what was brought to him sometimes this information was not enough, it's not very objective. >> reporter: for years his shrinking inner circle has increasingly consisted of former intelligence officers this is where president putin first walked through the doors of the kgb in st. petersburg, many of the people who worked in the kgb with the president still work in his government but covid seems to have isolated putin from many of them. on stark display at this recent security council, the president alone, his advisers across the room, rubber stamping his ukraine plans. for years defense minister sergei shoigu vacationed with president putin. now in public, the distance between them stark, he even disappeared from public view for nearly two weeks, sparking headlines. is everybody afraid of
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president putin? >> yes, i think so nobody would challenge him also because ukraine is such an emotional issue for putin. >> reporter: and the tension within president putin's inner circle appears to be growing, the same u.s. official says putin feels misled by the russian military lester >> keir simmons, thank you. back home, we're tracking a severe weather outbreak in the south. powerful tornado, at least ef-2, striking in northwest arkansas, injuring seven people and causing extensive damage to homes and an elementary school. another tornado confirmed in jackson, mississippi. as the storms move east, tornado watches are up in four states. al roker is here al, who's on alert here >> in fact, lester, they have just issue new tornado watches for parts of tennessee all the way down into alabama until 2:00 a.m. this morning. and we're seeing tornado warnings now going up north of jackson. this is a very
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volatile situation we right now have 29 million people at risk widespread wind damage, tornadoes likely hail up to an inch these areas could see winds of up to 80 miles an hour from memphis, huntsville, all the way down to new orleans. and tornadoes are going to be a big problem. ef-2 or stronger from birmingham, montgomery to possibly new orleans, areas that got hit just a week ago with this system then thursday, makes its way to east. 33 million people from new york all the way down to tallahassee and we can't rule out tornadoes in this area >> thank you in washington today, a nod of bipartisan support for president biden's supreme court nominee. maine's susan collins is now the first republican senator to declare her support for judge ketanji brown jackson. the judiciary committee is set to vote on jackson's nomination monday with the full confirmation vote expected later next week. former president trump is making headlines tonight
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after publicly calling on russian president vladimir putin to release potentially damaging information about president biden's son hunter we get more from garrett haake. >> reporter: tonight former president trump facing bipartisan backlash to these new comments askin president putin for dirt on the bidens >> why did the mayor of moscow's wife give the bidens, both of them, $3.5 million so now i would think putin would know the answer to that i think he should release it. >> reporter: mr. trump referencing findings from a 2020 report by senate republicans into hunter biden's business dealings in ukraine. lawyers for president biden's son say there was no payment mr. trump's new request echo similar asks in 2016 about hillary clinton. >> russia, if you're listening, i hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. >> reporter: and the 2019 phone call with ukraine's president
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zelenskyy, also asking for damaging information on the bidens, that resulted in his first impeachment. >> at least he's consistent, consistently immoral and unpatriotic. to be appealing to putin at a time russia is killing ukrainians once again for dirt on his opponents. >> reporter: some republicans condemning the request. >> i don't think we should be asking putin to do anything >> he's one of the worst people on the planet, and america shouldn't be asking for favors >> hunter biden knew exactly -- >> reporter: while others point to an ongoing federal criminal investigation into possible tax fraud and money laundering by hunter biden who has denied wrongdoing. >> he can talk about whatever he want to talk about. but i'm interested to hear what happens with hunter biden though on the federal investigation into him. i would imagine we'll be learning more about that >> reporter: mr. trump doubling down in statement saying in time russia may be willing to give that information. lester
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>> garrett haake at the capitol, thank you. in 60 seconds, just in, the academy saying will smith was asked to leave the oscars after hitting chris rock but refused.
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new fallout after actor will smith attacked chris rock at the oscars tonight, the academy says smith was asked to leave but refused as rock returns to the stage in boston. here's miguel almaguer. >> it was sickening. it was absolutely -- i physically felt ill and i'm still a little traumatized. >> reporter: oscars cohost and comedian wanda sykes sharing her reaction to will smith's stunning slap of chris rock and controversy that followed. >> for them to let him stay in that room and enjoy the rest of the show and accept his award, i was like how gross is this. you assault somebody, you get escorted out the building i saw chris at guy's party, first thing he said was i'm so sorry. i'm like, why are yo
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apologizing? he's like, it was supposed to be your night. >> reporter: with fellow cohost amy schumer saying she's still traumatized. >> did i miss anything >> reporter: the actress and comedian writing in now deleted instagram post, the whole thing was disturbing, so much pain in will smith. it comes as chris rock takes the stage in boston, speaking publicly for the first time >> wow >> reporter: rock is kicking off a series of sold-out shows as ticket prices from third party vendors skyrocket. at the very same time, the hollywood drama is also unfolding in los angeles. where the academy's board of governors i meeting to discuss possible sanctions against smith, a process expected to take weeks breaking late tonight, the academy says will smith was asked to leave the oscars on sunday but refused to do so. citing that physical altercation, they say they're starting disciplinary proceedings. meantime, here
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in boston all eyes on chris rock and what he says tonight. lester >> miguel, thank you up next, exclusive inside america's space force amid soaring tensions with russia
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tonight, our exclusive first look inside america's space force. now guarding against potential russian or chinese aggression here's tom costello. >> reporter: behind this razor wired fence in colorado, a highly classified space force
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asset, under heavy armed guard, 18-wheeler packed with high-value satellite coms is one of several mobile command centers poised to roll out in the event of a doomsday attack that would target u.s. military satellite control. if you need to how fast could you move these trucks out? >> the specific time lines are classified but what i can say is a matter of hours. >> thank you >> reporter: at the main space force satellite ops center, our cameras were the first let inside >> find out. >> reporter: here they keep watch over america's military satellites and gps network operating in an increasingly hostile environment. >> it is a truly war fighting demand. our adversaries are fielding specific weapons systems in the domain we need to view it as such. >> reporter: the pentagon says russia and china are the chief adversaries. in november, a russian satellite targeted and blew up another russian satellite, creating a debris field.
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china conducted a similar test in 2007 u.s. commanders believe china has deployed a satellite with a robotic arm to reach out and grab other satellites russia has nesting satellites, loaded with offensive weapons. >> lift-off. >> reporter: the head of space force says u.s. commercial and military satellites are routinely harassed. >> whether it's jamming or harmful interference in rf spectrum, laser dazzling, cyberattacks, you know, cyber probing and cyberattacks >> reporter: those attacks monitored 24/7 in this classified command center more than 70% of military satellite communications come through here everything from nuclear command and control orders, to presidential communications, down to coast guard cutter, submarine even tactical units on the ground >> if they don't have communications when they need it, things can go seriously wrong. >> reporter: as the navy has sailors, new space force has guardians, many with engineering degrees
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and training for the new battlefield. the concern the pentagon says chin is outpacing the u.s. in launches and modernizing its own space capabilities building a remote robotic post on the far side of the moon, invisible to u.s. satellites. >> if we don't start accelerating our development capabilities they will exceed us. >> reporter: commanders here worry beijin and moscow could deploy offensive military weapons between the moon and earth. area called cislunar >> we don't want there to be a war in space we want all of humanity to continue to use all the benefits of space for all of our good, but if others choose to start a war there, we'll be ready >> reporter: you believe the threat is growing exponentially and by the day >> absolutely, that goes without question. we've seen the public testing of china and russia >> tom, fascinating and little bit of disturbing how much worry is there about the militarization of space, especially given space force's budget will soon rival nasa's
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>> the generals we talked to are worried. they say, listen this is the environment we live in every day with aggressive action by russia and china they believe china could overtake the u.s. in space capabilities in less than eight years. >> all right, tom. thanks for bringing us this story appreciate it. up next, why hollywood icon bruce willis is leaving the silver screen.
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some sad news about hollywood superstar bruce willis, who is stepping away from acting here's stephanie gosk.
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>> reporter: few actors deliver a line like bruce willis delivers a line. >> welcome to the party, pal >> reporter: the star behind some of the biggest blockbusters in the late '80s and '90s. >> where did you get this motorcycle? >> it's not a motorcycle, baby it's a chopper, come on. >> reporter: stepping back from acting to manage his health. in a statement, willis' family writes that the 67-year-old has recently bee diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities. going on to say this is a challenging time for our family and we're so appreciative of your continued love aphasia is a disorder that results from damage to portions of the brain responsible for language, it can affect all aspects of communication, including speaking and understanding. >> there are two ways to look at aphasia acute aphasia is very rapid because of a stroke, brain injury or possibly brain surgery. other is progressive aphasia that typically happens because of dementia in those over
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the age of 65. >> reporter: the family provided no further medical details but wrote, as bruce always says, live it up, and together we plan to do just that. yippee-ki-yay. stephanie gosk, nbc news that's "nightly news" for this wednesday. thank you for watching, everyone i'm lester holt. please take care of yourself and each other. good night ♪♪ almost made you e almost made you cry ♪
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♪ almost made you happy baby didn't i didn't i ♪ ♪ you almost had me thinkin' you were turned around ♪ ♪ but everybody knows almost doesn't count ♪ ♪ almost heard you sayin' you were finally free ♪ ♪ what was always missing for you babe you found it in me ♪ ♪ but you can't get to heaven half off the ground ♪ ♪ everybody knows almost doesn't count ♪ ♪ i can't keep on lovin' you one foot outside the door ♪ ♪ i hear a funny hesitation of a heart that's never really sure ♪
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♪ (never really sure) ♪ ♪ can't keep on tryin' (no no) if you're looking for more ♪ ♪ than all that i could give you than what you came here for ♪ ♪ so maybe i'll be here maybe i'll see you around ♪ ♪ that's the way it goes almost doesn't count ♪♪ [cheers and applause] >> kelly: all right, welcome welcome to "the kelly clarkson show," y'all! [cheers and applause] that was "almost doesn't count" by brandy, those are junior high days, so what is your connection to that song? >> not only is it one of my favorite songs of all time, but it helped solidify my love for a
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pop and r&b from early on. and i remember i used to be singing it at assembly's, and i would use the lyrics to sing to my crushes with, almost doesn't count, jason. it so i have fond memories of that. and then i will never forget the music video when the car breaks down and she is like walking on the road and the guy is like hello, here is my cowboy hats, and it will be forever imprinted in my mind, and i am cool with that. >> kelly: hello, here is my truck. i love you so much. thank you so much, susan. i did not have -- i only had the basic eight channels, we were poor. and i did not see like any of those videos. i need to have a weekend where i just watch all of these videos. i know the songs, but i missed that cowboy hat and truck bed. it sounds like a country song. i missed out on something good. thank you so much, susan. we have lots of good stuff this
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hour, from the new interstellar rom, "moonshot," cole sprouse and lana condor are here! [cheers and applause] we have people standing up ready to go, they are very excited. she was like oh, no, we are not standing? that was amazing, then from "abbott elementary, the very funny lisa ann walter! let's get going with the first guest, you saw him in a bunch of movies last year alone, like "godzilla versus kong" "the woman in the window" and "internals" you can see him on fx and hulu, fighting brad pitt in the blockbuster "bullet train" give it up for me nominee and tony and nominee brian tyree henry! [cheers and applause] ♪ ♪
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[cheers and applause] ♪ ♪ oh, my god, i'm having one of those days where all of my words are coming out wrong. you have soft hands. >> brian: thank you, so do you! >> kelly: we did the whole interview like this. now we are able to embrace. >> brian: kelly, this is legit! >> kelly: we are a real show! this is season 3. >> this is really nice, i'm so happy. >> kelly: you are almost 40, you're 40 now? >> brian: i turned 40 next thursday. >> kelly: i turn 40 too. >> brian: you are taurus, but i am in aries. it's area season by the way, i just want people to know that. >> kelly: my son is in aries,
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through and through, april 12th. >> kelly: >> brian: , yours is one? you are like real taurus. >> kelly: yes, like real taurus, all the good come all the bad. >> brian: a bowl just going through. that's how we got here! that's amazing. >> kelly: i will push the damn door down. are you excited about 40? >> brian: i am excited, to be 40, it's so crazy, because what do people say, 40 is like the new 30 or 25? like y'all are laughing, nobody says that. >> nobody says that. >> kelly: i feel like in this industry everybody has a different age, even in the industry, i have been friends with people that are much younger and much older than me. >> brian: i will say that fiber has become my best friend. i'm like what is this nonsense that i have to do. i was like, really i had a whole celebration with my squatty
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coming in the mail. i was like yes! >> kelly: i love a squatty party! >> brian: it's a revelation! >> kelly: my mom is going to kill me! i'm like why are your feet on -- we are short, so we just dangle everywhere. in the feet pop up, and then i learned that i was pregnant and they have a thing called a squatty putty and i might get yourself! it is the most amazing invention. it is literally just something you need. >> brian: if i'm not getting older, like 40, i find like joy in random things like going to bed bath & beyond is a different thing. >> kelly: organizing. >> brian: returns are a different thing coming to what i mean? i was like this is really great. >> kelly: your needs are different. >> brian: are not bending over to tie my shoes, i'm going to sit down and bring my foot to me. i'm not doing that. but it's really fun, because like now i feel like i can just

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