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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  September 23, 2022 2:06am-2:41am PDT

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the mounting legal troubles for donald trump the appeals court restoring the doj's access to classified documents seized from mar-a-lago on the heels of new york's $250 million fraud lawsuit against the former president tonight his stunning new claim about declassifying files. alex jones back on the stand. how much will he have to pay sandy hook parents for cling the massacre a hoax? the new lawsuit over the mississippi water crisis the mayor of jackson responding to accusations by families that he hasn't done enough. and the one of a kind rescue mission inspiring america. >> announcer: this is nbc "nightly news" with lester holt. good evening, everyone the tropics heating up tonht, and we are watching no fewer than five storms or developing disturbances in the atlantic as we come on the air but none more threatening at the moment than hurricane fiona. still a category 4 storm and the
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strongest storm on the planet right now, barrelling north where it is expected to deliver a glancing blow to bermuda and potentially on its way to a rare landfall by major hurricane in canada where it could cause devastating damage in fiona's rearview mirror the trail of destruction it caused in the caribbean new satellite images show the widespread damage puerto rico suffered from fiona. and tonight forecasters watching another storm in the making, and early computer models that suggests parts of the u.s. could be at risk next week let's turn to al roker now for the latest al >> lester, we're looking at things starting to heat up we've got a couple of systems coming off the african coast we're watching this next one down in the winward islands but hurricane fiona still a category 4 storm currently with 130 mile per hour winds 305 miles west-southwest of bermuda. this is the development zone south of puerto rico, haiti, cuba, 90% chance of development
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in the next five days. the computer models show landfall anywhere from miami to cancun we're talking about a distance where we put the european versus american models about 600 miles. storm system hasn't formed yet, so look at this. tuesday along the florida coast, but friday up around the gulf coast, so we're going to continue to watch it we have to wait for it to form but you know we will check it out all weekend long >> we'll get your update in the morning, al. thanks tonight the devastating impact of hurricane fiona on the caribbean is coming into sharper focus. gabe gutierrez reports from puerto rico. >> reporter: this was fiona's fury in turks and caicos while bermuda braces for a close call. in the dominican republic there are still hundreds of thousands of people without water or power. here in puerto rico new landslides overnight >> so we're still pretty much in the emergency response phase >> reporter: satellite images
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show washed out bridges an flooded fields across puerto rico before and after the storm. these satellite images show how much of the island is in the dark each night. this is before fiona, this is after. 38% of customers now have power, up from 27% yesterday. president biden has signed a major disaster declaration, and at a fema briefing today he spoke with puerto rico's governor >> we'll do everything -- everything we can to meet the urgent needs you have. >> reporter: with thheat index hovering around 100 degrees, this is jose alvarez's sweltering existence he tells us he rode out the hurricane in remote western puerto rico, the river rushing under his home today for the first time local authorities brought him the bottled water he so desperately needed now neighbors yell across the river to notify each other of the first glimpse of any supplies during hurricane maria five years ago this mountain side got 7 inches of rain
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fiona dumped 24. we feel forgotten, this woman says tonight they have at least some water here but no power, an ongoing disaster that is all too familiar today president biden announced that the federal government will pay 100% of puerto rico's recovery cost for the next month. lester >> gabe gutierrez, thank you in russia what appears to be backlash tonight to president vladimir putin's move to draft hundreds of thousands of reservists to fight in ukraine and it's prompting some to leave russia richard engel is in ukraine with more >> reporter: roll call today as russian president vladimir putin's new draft came into effect russia wants 300,000 new soldiers to reverse recent losses in ukraine. but many russians don't want to serve. many human rights groups say more than 1,000 demonstrators have been arrested putin seems so desperate he's threatening to use nuclear weapons.
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secretary of state blinken tonight calling on the u.n. security council to send a message. >> these reckless nuclear threats must stop immediately. >> reporter: just 2 miles across the russian border ukrainians are undeterred ukrainian forces recently drove russian troops from this town. what do you think about russia's partial mobilization that putin is trying to round up hundreds of thousands of more troops to send them here they're unqualified canon fodder, and they will be killed here, he says. the local mayor was one of the first ukrainians to enter the town he cut down the russian flag, and then he found his mother my golden boy, i knew you would liberate me, she says. are you worried that there's going to be a new russian offensive, that russia's going to come back stronger than it was before it doesn't matter how many people they're mobilizing, the
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mayor says, the whole of ukraine will rise against them tomorrow in areas still occupied by russian troops ukrainians will start voting to permanently join up with russia. critics call the vote a sham lester >> ricrd engel in ukraine tonight, thanks. donald trump is firing back after a win for the justice department, regaining access to the ultra-sensitivdocuments agents seized from his mar-a-lago estate. as peter alexander reports it's just the latest legal twist for the former president >> reporter: tonight the latest legal setback for former president trump. a federal appeals court ruling the justice department is free to resume reviewing 100 classified documents seized from mar-a-lago, reversing an earlier decision by a federal judge that had blocked the government from examining those materials. mr. trump overnight insisting he declassified the records, an argument his lawyers have not made in court. >> it doesn't have to be a process, as i understand it.
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if you're the president of the united states you can declassify just by saying it's declassified even by thinking about it. >> reporter: but the appea court brushed off that argument as a red herring, saying the documents are still government property, whether or not they were declassified. then there's the new $250 million civil lawsuit against mn jr., and eric trump brought by letitia james. mr. trump slamming the suit by james, a democrat, as a politically motivated witch hunt >> she campaigned on it four years ago. it was a vicious campaign and she just talked about trump and we're going to thedite him, we're going to get him >> reporter: james is accusing mr. trump of inflating his assets to get more favorable loans and better taxates >> a pattern of fraud an deception used by mr. trump and the trump organization for their own financial benefit is astounding >> reporter: one example she cites mr. trump's 212-acre estate outside manhattan bought
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for $7.5 million that was later valued at nearly $300 million on what james says were false claims that it had been zoned for mansions but mr. trump argues the banks were responsible for their own valuations >> these are banks that have the best law firms in the world, the biggest and best andost powerful they do their own work they don't rely on us. >> reporter: meanwhile we're learning the wife of the supreme court justice clarence thomas has agreed to be interviewed by the january 6th committee in the coming weeks the committee wants to ask about her communications with a trump lawyer who was pushing a plan to overturn the 2020 election results. lester >> all right, peter, thank you conspiracy theorist alex jones took the stand today at his connecticut defamation trial over his false claims the sandy hook massacre was a hoax a jury set to decide how much he must pay the victims' families we get more from rehema ellis. >> i've already apologized to the parents over and over again. i don't apologize to you >> reporter: alex jones in a heated exchange with the
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attorney for the families suing him in a defamation trial after he challenged jones to admit the pain he caused >> you have families in this courtroom here that lost children, sisters, wives >> i legitimately -- >> reporter: but jones conceded in a texas courtroom last month the sandy hook shooting was 100% real the jury awarded the parents of one victim almost $50 million in damages. 26 people died in the connecticut elementary school shooting including 20 first graders. earlier in the day jones was challenged during direct examination about whether he was using the trial as a marketing tool >> ever since this trial started and you've been calling it a kangaroo report yourself, right? >> right >> >> reporter: the families have
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accused jones of causing them emotional harm and subject them to harassment and threats from his llowers. jones has already been found liable for defamation. now the jury will have to decide how much money he'll have to pay. rehema ellis, nbc news this week a record was set for illegal migrant crossings at the southern border. more than 2 million in just the past 11 months among the cities struggling to deal with the increase, el paso, texas. julia ainsley is there for us. >> reporter: we're in el paso where tonight city officials say their resources are being pushed to the brink by a record number of migrants. averaging over 1,500 illegal border crossings a day in this area migrants sleeping on the streets. now the city's democratic mayor taking a page from some republican governors, sending more than 3,400 migrants on daily buses to cities like new york and chicago >> we have a huge increase when you have a huge increase -- >> reporter: though unlike the republican governors he's giving cities notice.
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are you getting enough support from the biden administration? >> i've been over to washington and been able to talk to them, and the biggest thing we need is decompression. >> reporter: while republicans blame president biden's policies, a top administration border official is blaming congress >> congress needs to take action, but i think people across the country should know it's not chaos here. >> reporter: but with border patrol and local shelterover capacity immigration officials here have reased nearly 1,300 migrants onto the street in the past two weeks we witnessed nearly 100 being dropped off by the city at a nearby hotel we met jenny who told us she has no money, nothing to eat, and nothing to wear besides the clothes on her back. she is one of so many venezuelans without family or sponsors to take them in and we came across these migrants with border patrol just after crossing from mexico venezuela. tonight many residents telling us the border crisis has become too much to handle
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how do you feel about your mayor sending them on buses to those cities >> well, kind of sad because i don't know what else he can do because he can only handle so much >> reporter: border officials say they've recently seen crowds as many as 600 migrants gathered together along the border and they're worried those numbers could grow all right, julia, thank you. in 60 seconds a class action lawsuit and lingering concern about jackson, mississippi's drinking water we challenged the mayor. next
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a major new development in a story we've been following in our series "the fleecing of america. mississippi's former welfare director pleading guilty to state and federal fraud charges. investigators say the agency under john davis misspent millions in welfare money on projects including a volleyball facility requested by nfl legend brett favre at a college where his daughter played. favre has denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged
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davis faces sentencing on the federal charges next year. also in mississippi, it's been a week since a boil water notice was lifted in jackson, but many families still don't trust the water there. now some have filed a class action lawsuit >> reporter: cassandra is a lifelong jackson, mississippi, resident >> i wouldn't drink the water because we don't trust it. >> reporter: a social worker and mom of three says she's worried for her kids health. what impact do you feel this water crisis is having on your kids specifically? >> with ziah who has a disability, it's been difficult for her to comprehend in some ways don't drink the water, don't use the water, and she began to have, you know, upset stomach. >> reporter: and she's not alone in her concern a group of jackson residents filing a class action lawsuit
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alleging the water crisis caused various health problems like malnutrition and lead poisoning. the lawsuit against the city of jackson, two private engineering companies, and mississippi officials including jackson's mayor. what's your response to the hundreds of jackson families who say their water is not safe or has faced lead contamination >> the issues of insecurity in the water, the challenges with that water has been well-documented. we have warned them when those circumstances exist. now, with respect to the lawsuit itself, i won't litigate that. >> reporter: do you drink it >> i drink it every day. i drink it every day however, that doesn't mean that i don't understand -- that i don't understand the insecurity of our residents when they're being told to boil their water each and every day >> reporter: he says the city's ongoing water challenges are partially due to a lack of investment in jackson. >> without significant capital improvements, it's not a matter
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of if but a matter of when these challenges will arise again. >> reporter: this as governor reeves on friday sparked controversy over these remarks >> as always a great day to t be in jackson. >> reporter: the mayor addg that state leadership must invest more resources into the predominantly black city of jackson to benefit residents like welchin >> this just did not start this year it's been going on for a very long time. >> reporter: nbc news, jackson, mississippi. and next in the power of a vote, the shift among latino voters in a crucial battleground voters in a cruc battleground.
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back now with the power of the vote with the mid-terms fast approaching there's a battle heating up for the crucial latino vote, which has been
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