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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  May 19, 2022 2:06am-2:41am PDT

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before and the 911 dispatcher accused of hanging up as the shooting unfolded news on covid. the cdc now saying a third of all americans live in high-risk areas, urging them to wear masks indoors as daily cases triple in a month. in ukraine, the russian soldier pleading guilty in the first war crimes trial since the invasion began. the dow plunging more than a thousand points, the worst drop for stocks in nearly two years. and a major victory for the u.s. women's soccer team in their years' long battle for equal pay >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt good evening, everyone with many american families bordering on desperation in their search for baby formula, the white house has just announced a major step to increase formula availability, invoking the defense production act. that will prioritize
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manufacturing resources and ingredients for formula production it comes as a network of milk banks report a 20% increase in demand for donated milk, but tonight, some parents are pursuing their own alternatives, in some cases leading to trips to the hospital. our kate snow is here with late details. first of all, what are you learning about the white house's move tonight? >> so this is the biden administration, as you say, announcing that it will push private industry to ramp up production of baby formula and they're launching "operation fly formula" using defense department aircraft to bring in formula from other countries more quickly. >> reporter: invoking the defense production act allows the president to direct private companies to produce more baby formula. >> i have directed my team to do everything possible to ensure there is enough safe baby formula and that it is quickly reaching families that need it the most >> we want to pursue every avenue possible to get formula back on shelves for parents. that is our goal we come at this not just as public
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servants, but as parents and grandparents. >> reporter: the baby formula shortage has gotten so severe it is now leading to hospitalizations 11-week-old cloe is doing better today after gastrointestinal surgery on monday. born with allergies to dairy and soy, her parents couldn't find a special amino acid-based formula she needed >> nowhere in stores we looked everywhere even places that said they would have it like at cvs that was 45 minutes from our house. we called them, we went there >> reporter: three weeks ago mo savannah wheatley posted a desperate plea on facebook >> you wrote plea for formula. i'm trying to keep cloe out of the hospital we're desperate. >> yeah. we had tried everything for her -- sorry. [ crying ] we need to have her on the most hypoallergenic formula to see like if this will indeed help
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her to keep us out of the hospital >> reporter: their dietician at south carolina children's health says cloe is at least one of four babies here in part because of the formula shortage >> there is a family who tried to make homemade baby formula and did have to go to the pediatric icu due to having some -- that formula not providing enough of what the baby needed. >> reporter: google searches in the u.s. for homemade baby formula are up 250% over the last week recipes are circulating on youtube. >> we do not recommend that parents make their own formula. >> reporter: it's not just in south carolina >> this is a crisis for us in health care. >> reporter: at le bonheur children's hospital in tennessee, a preschooler and toddler with special dietary needs were hospitalized after their parents couldn't find the formula they normally take. >> you have several weeks of stock more now out for the special formulas >> reporter: the house tonight expected to vote on a bill that would allow families receiving government support called wic the flexibility to buy any brand of formula
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by one estimate up to 68% of all infant formulas sold in the u.s. is purchased through wic, but there's still confusion and stores with no supply the white house sharply criticized today by members of its own party. >> i give everybody an "f" on the entire spectrum of this from the company itself to the fda oversight to the inner agencies who didn't talk to each other to the entire problem. nobody focused on this like they needed to. >> people should also know that from the president on down, everyone is laser focused on addressing this issue and pulling every lever possible to do so that's why we're working now to import formula from abroad to get manufacturers to increase production here to get the plant that was actually shut down back online quickly. >> okay. kate, there's breaking news here tonight. the senate wants to investigate the companies whose plant had to shut down, more or less, triggering this crisis. >> that's right. the senate finance committee, lester, the chairman asking the formula manufacturer abbott for information on its tax practices,
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conditions at that plant before it closed, and $8 billion in stock buybacks the company has authorized since 2019 and tomorrow, lester, the fda commissioner will be on capitol hill, sure to take some tough questions. >> all right, kate thanks very much we want to turn to kristen welker at the white house. let's go back to the defense production act decision we've seen it used to deliver covid supplies how will the biden administration use it this time? >> lester, that's right. in this case the president will direct manufacturers to prioritize key ingredients that are used to make baby formula so that suppliers can increase production as quickly as possible. as for those flights that kate mentioned to get baby formula from other countries, i am told they could start within days. the administration has been under enormous pressure to take the steps to address the baby formula crisis, particularly with the critical midterm elections looming and overnight there were several key races with a cliffhanger in pennsylvania >> reporter: tonight, the trump effect on full display in
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battleground pennsylvania where they're still counting votes in the republican senate primary. [ cheering ] trump-backed celebrity dr. mehmet oz has a razor-thin lead over former hedge fund manager david mccormick who also embraced the maga movement the race is still too close to call. dr. oz lavishing praise on mr. trump overnight. >> god bless you, sir, for putting so much effort into this race. i will make you proud. >> reporter: a late surge by conservative commentator kath barnette, another trump supporter who attended the january 6th stop the steal rally, coming up short. the winner of the race will face off against the democratic nominee, progressive lieutenant governor john fetterman who is recovering from a stroke late today mr. trump saying on social media dr. oz should declare victory. it makes it much harder for them to cheat with the ballots that they just happen to find. trump offering no evidence to back that up the former president falsely declared victory on election night in 2020, a race he ultimately lost
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>> frankly, we did win this election. >> reporter: overall, it was a mixed night for mr. trump, and candidates who he endorsed who also supported his so-called stop the steal effort some were victorious like state senator doug mastriano who won the gop nod for governor i pennsylvania and north carolina congressma ted bud who beat out former governo pat mccrory for the gop senate nomination. >> friends, i want to thank president donald j. trump. >> reporter: bud was among the house members who voted against certifying the 2020 election. but in idaho, republican governo brad little beat out trump backed lieutenant governo janice mcgeean who claimed trump won the 2020 election and has called for audits of every state's voter rolls. and the former president's endorsement wasn't enough to secure a victory for pro trump firebrand congressma madison cawthorn who lost after being besieged by scandal. kristen welker, nbc news, the white house. now to alarming developments in the
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covid pandemic the cdc now saying a third of americans live in high-risk areas and is urging them to mask up indoors regardless of local rules. the cdc also says daily covid cases have tripled in the last month. and hospitalizations are up nearly 20% in the last week, and health and human services secretary xavier becerra has tested positive on a trip to germany. his office says becerra is fully vaccinated and boosted and has mild symptoms. also tonight, new details in the buffalo mass shooting revealing more about the suspect's behavior leading up to the rampage. a 911 dispatcher on leave accused of hanging up on a store employee as the shooting unfolded. emilie ikeda is in buffalo for us >> reporter: tonight, another tops store employee describing a chilling encounter with the 18-year-old suspect the day before the shooting police saying he planned his hate-fueled rampage for months. >> i had met him in the meat department area
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ask him could he leave the store that he can't solicit in the store. >> reporter: chanel harris teague telling our buffalo station wgrz she had no idea she'd see him the next day, too. >> i can still hear the gun shooting people screaming people crying. >> reporter: jerome bridges was also inside >> as i was barricading the door i heard more gunshots. he kept getting closer and closer and closer to that back room. >> reporter: people hiding anywhere they could in an act of desperation. one employee calling for help, but she says only to be hung up on by the 911 operator. >> why are you whispering you don't have to whisper. i'm trying to tell her ma'am, he's in the store shooting and she said something crazy to me and hung up in my face. >> reporter: eerie county said immediate action was taken and th individual who took that call is now on administrative leave tonight, investigators zeroing in on the suspect's digital footprint. nbc news has reviewed a series of online rants, which appear to be written by the suspect, including references to the
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threatening statement he allegedly made in school last year for which police sent him to a mental health evaluation the suspect writing, it lasted just 15 minutes, that he lied and said the threat was a joke tonight, new york's attorney general said the social media sites the suspect frequented will now face an investigation. lester >> emilie ikeda, thank you. tonight russia's victory in mariupol appears to be complete with nearly 1,000 ukrainian soldiers surrendering at that steel plant, this as the first russian soldier tried for war crimes has pleaded guilty richard engel is in ukraine, and we have to warn you, some of the images you are about to see are disturbing >> reporter: ukrainian rescue crews today saved a 9-year-old boy after a russian strike on an apartment building in the eastern region known as the donbas. russia is now concentrating its military efforts there after taking over mariupol this week. but elsewhere, russia's war is faltering again.
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today, the u.s. re-opened its embassy in kyiv where ukrainian troops drove russian forces back two months ago now ukraine is pushing the russians back from the eastern capital kharkiv. in the nearby village all that's left of the russian troops is the devastation they brought. shockingly, some ukrainians stayed here throughout the battles, including nicolai living in the wreck of his home having survived on canned food and pickles. what happened here, the russians came and said they were liberating us, he says next door, tatiana a teacher, stayed but not her husband. he took up the russian's offer to go to russia to escape the shelling tatiana chose her country over her husband, and she's unsure if she'll ever see him again. >> do you think you made the right choice? i love my husband, but
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i also love my land and my country, so i stayed and now investigators have a whole new region to search for evidence of russian war crimes the first russian soldier on trial here for a war crime today pleaded guilty to killing a ukrainian civilian outside of kyiv he faces up to life imprisonment lester >> richard engel in ukraine, thanks. new concerns over soaring inflation sent the stock market plunging again today the dow losing more than 1100 points its worst decline in almost two years the s&p was off more than 4% and the nasdaq almost 5%. the sell-off follows disappointing earnings from large retailers hurt by rising costs and sluggish sales in 60 seconds, our in-depth look at the federal criminal investigation of hunter biden's taxes and his work overseas and how the president's son paid off a $2 million tax bill
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back now with our investigation into president biden's son hunter who is facing that ongoing federal criminal probe into his finances hallie jackson with details about how he paid off his nearly $2 million irs bill and what nbc news has found so far from a copy of his hard drive and icloud account >> reporter: the president's son under growing scrutiny tonight over his finances, with federal prosecutors in delaware investigating hunter biden and whether he broke federal tax law. now a representative for mr. biden tells nbc news his bill from the irs, about $2 million, has been paid off. two people familiar with the matter say the money was arranged by one of the younger biden's new attorney morris, best known for brokering a deal for the "south park" tv show. >> does paying that tax bill wash away any liability that hunter biden may have now >> paying the tax bill, if in fact
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that's what he did, doesn't undo the crime. it would be like returning money to a bank that you robbed you still robbed the bank. >> reporter: the president's son and his company brought in $11 million between 2013 and 2018, including some years in which his father was vice president, working as an attorney, a board member to a ukrainian gas company accused of bribing a prosecutor, and for a joint venture involving a chinese businessman now accused of fraud according to an nbc news analysis of a copy of biden's hard drive and icloud account, as well as documents released by a senate committee. during the campaign then-candidate joe biden denied his son profited off a china connection. >> my son has not made money in terms of this thing about -- what are you talking about? china. >> reporter: the records show hunter biden's company received nearly $5 million in consulting contracts from that joint venture funded by a chinese energy company. a snapshot of hunter biden's spending shows that for five months in late 2017 and early 2018, he spent more than $200,000 a month
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on things like luxury hotel rooms, cash withdrawals, dental work, and payments on a porsche according to documents on a hard drive. a time period in which hunter biden has acknowledged struggling with drug addiction. >> the immediate focus appears to be for both the president and hunter biden is whether or not there will be any charges as a result of this federal criminal investigation. >> reporter: hunter biden's laptop a subject of controversy after documents were brought to light by political opponents. some cybersecurity experts at one point in 2020 suggest it bore hallmarks of a russian disinformation campaign since then several news organizations have authenticated emails from the laptop and nbc news obtained a copy from the hard drive from a representative for rudy giuliani. the president has defended his son >> are you confident your son did nothing wrong? >> i'm confident. >> reporter: hunter biden has denied any illegal business dealings >> i'm cooperating completely, and i am absolutely certain 100% certain that at the end of the
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investigation that i will be cleared of any wrongdoing >> reporter: experts point out family members of a president who hold no official job in the administration are not bound by any government ethics rules. >> hunter biden seems a lot like somebody whose primary profession is being joe biden's son, but unless there's a direct connection to joe biden, that's really more of a criticism of one private citizen rather than a government official or an administration >> hunter biden's attorney did not comment on the record and the white house has not responded to our request for comment. lester >> hallie, thank you up next, game changer for women in professional soccer. the historic shift in how american athletes are paid
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for the first time women and men who play professional soccer in this country will be paid equally, under an agreement announced today. stephanie gosk has the details. >> reporter: equal pay for making the team, for games and events, and for playing in the world cup which, by the way, the u.s. women's soccer team has won four times >> to be able to say finally equal pay for equal work feels very, very good. >> reporter: the men and women national soccer players unions and u.s. soccer announced the new historic bargaining agreement today. it is a victory years in the making led by some of the sport's biggest stars. a federal wage complaint was filed back in 2016 >> the pay disparity between the men and women is just too large. >> reporter: 28 players filed a lawsuit in 2019
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against u.s. soccer. two years later megan rapinoe appeared in front of congress. >> we're still paid less than our male counterparts for each trophy of which there are many, for each win, for each tie, for each time we play less >> reporter: earlier this year settlement was reached in the lawsuit that included $22 million in back pay. and now with this new agreement, u.s. soccer will do something no other soccer federation in any country does world cup prize money will be pooled and split between the men and women's teams. >> we also believe so much in the women's team we believe in the whole premise of equal pay. >> reporter: the men's team was a big part of final negotiations >> it does mean that the men are giving up a little bit of money though, potentially. right? >> not potentially, for sure i think we need to give the men a lot of credit. >> reporter: after years of frustration and pounding the table, now this playing field has been leveled. stephanie gosk, nbc news
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up next for us tonight, they're serving school lunch with a side of inspiration. the cafeteria ladies you won't want to miss
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finally, they're the rock stars of a florida school cafeteria. the ladies who serve lunch, inspiring the kids and "inspiring america. here's kristen dahlgren >> how you doing >> reporter: when you think cool, cafeteri lunch lady may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but at wellington landing's middle school --
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♪ -- the lunch staff serves up a lot more than sloppy joes. >> we just went for it >> reporter: they call themselves the lunch lady squad they started posting videos on tiktok for fun. >> they love every it. every time they come through that door, when are you doing another tiktok ♪ >> reporter: as they racked up thousands of views, something remarkable happened. >> they're not just, like, lunch ladies they're actually people. >> they relate to us, and we relate to them now. >> they just interact with us now, and it's so special. >> anybody want a stromboli? >> reporter: and big change >> love you, barbara >> you're welcome, baby love you >> reporter: for a profession that hasn't always gotten respect. >> everyone started being more polite in the lunch line >> i never used to talk to lunch ladies and now i get to hold a conversation with lunch ladies
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>> reporter: the kids and cafeteria workers finding a new groove and groups of lunch ladies making sure fun is always on the menu. kristen dahlgren, nbc news >> that's a lot of fun. that's "nightly news" for this wednesday thank you for watching i'm lester holt. please take care of yourself and each other. good night [cheers and applause] ♪ ♪ ♪♪ somewhere deep inside of me ♪ ♪ there's a world only i see only i see ♪
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♪ oh i try to face reality ♪ ♪ but something is missing something is missing ♪ ♪ when i close my eyes i get lost inside ♪ ♪ i will find you swear i will find you there's a dark blue sky but i ♪ ♪ close my eyes ♪ ♪ i will find you swear i will find you ♪ ♪ i just know i wanna be with you ♪ ♪ i wanna be free ♪ ♪ so if i close my eyes ♪ ♪ i got you in my mind ♪ ♪ i wanna be with you ♪ ♪ i wanna be free ♪ ♪ so if i close my eyes ♪ ♪ i got you in my mind ♪ ♪ mind ♪ ♪ i got you in my mind ♪ ♪ mind ♪ ♪ i just know i wanna be with you ♪ ♪ i wanna be free ♪ ♪ so if i close my eyes ♪
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♪ i got you in my mind ♪ ♪ i wanna be with you ♪ ♪ i wanna be free ♪ ♪ so if i close my eyes ♪ ♪ i got you in my mind ♪♪ [cheers and applause] >> kelly: hi, everybody, welcome to "the kelly clarkson show"! i love that song! taylor in our audience requested it, so caitlin, what is your connection to that song? i like your dress. looking very beautiful. >> hello, i love that song so much. i put it on my playlist, it has such a nice -- >> kelly: that is a great vibe for a wake up. >> it motivates you, but i also think about my family when i hear that song, i am from the midwest and we got here when i was 18, and so i don't get to
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see my family that often, so it keeps me in that good feeling when you are with your family and you just get to relax, and that's what that song means to me. and i am so thankful that you played it. >> kelly: i love that song, it's cool that you have that. it's awesome. thank you so much, caitlin, if you love music this is an hour you cannot miss, we have behind the grammy-winning album, the duo behind "bridgerton the musical" back in the house. we are welcoming a young actress who just slated the role as elphaba in "wicked" on broadway. it's a good show, 61st street, we have mark o'brien hanging out. let's get going with our first guest, her voice is known from the stages of broadway to the frosty forest of arendale, just dropping that reference right there. because i still love it.
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you are welcome. she has recently gotten into fashion with her new clothing line called encore available now. everybody say hello to idina menzel! [cheers and applause] ♪ ♪ [cheers and applause] ♪ ♪ >> kelly: that is yours! >> idina: this is mine? >> kelly: look at it. and i like how it hugs the back. >> idina: how it hugs the back? >> kelly: i have to show the waist off, i like that. >> idina: on a good day you can have the back and then you can take the belt off. >> kelly: and let it feel like a snug a. it's nice to see you again. i heard that you recently made it back to "wicked," but you were watching it? >> idina: yes, one time i went back to my son was three, he
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kept hitting the back seat of the people in front mean, so i had to leave. >> kelly: and you are like maybe early. >> idina: i wrote a letter to the women and apologizing, because i mean, as i left in the middle of the show, they would think that -- 's beyond that has happened to me before, something happened in my family and i had to leave the show, and -- >> idina: exactly, i was there was seven 12-year-old boys -- my son and his basketball team, his coaches from the east coast, so i was telling them that the two west coast, they had to meet all of the new york kids. so we were scrimmaging in i brought them all on a plane and i was like where can i take them to a broadway show? oh, "wicked" will give me tickets. they were riveted, they were so into it. some of them had seen "wizard of oz." some had not. >> kelly: what? how do you miss that as a child?
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>> idina: i tried to show my son, but he just wanted to play danna soares. >> kelly: it is a little scary. my kids like those scary characters, like my kids gravitate towards -- >> idina: now he does, he loves scary now. he loves the t-rex, that kind of scary. >> kelly: does your son think you are cool generally or not? >> idina: he does not think i am cool, like i'm not allowed to say the word drip. that is his word. he says it so drippy. it is really in a fashion. >> kelly: is that like drip and dope? >> idina: i will come out and be like that is so drippy. and he is like no, you don't say it. so i just set it on national television, he is going to die. you can't say drippy. the other day i was picking him
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up from school and i was too lazy to get my own sneakers and finally in the same size sneakers as him, or he is in the same size as me, and i guess he had -- i spoiled him and got him some yeezys for christmas last year. and i put them on and he goes, mom, how could you wear those! he said without socks! do you know how expensive those are! and i was like yes, that's why i thought i could put them on. >> kelly: i love that he really just did not want you sweating in them. i love that. >> idina: i can't put my feet in it. >> kelly: i have touched her butt multiple times. he worked with your sister on a children's book, that's exciting, what made you want to do that? >> idina: i don't know. i wanted to work with my sister, i was not sure about doing


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