tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC March 24, 2017 6:30pm-7:01pm EDT
through tuesday. >> that's our news at 6:00. >> up next, nbc nightly news with lester holt. breaking news tonight -- meltdown for the republican plan to repeal and replace obamacare. doomed to fail, the speaker pulls the bill. an embarrassing defeat for president trump. tonight the fallout, the blame game and what it all means for millions. surveillance backtrack, the new revelations about the trump team might not be what was first implied in the bombshell announcement. scorched earth -- wildfires blaze a path of destruction and tonight a new threat -- violent storms moving in. weekend danger across a big part of the country. harrison ford's scare, we're hearing what the movie star said when he discovered his mistake. a wounded warrior overcoming obstacles and living out his
dream. "nightly news" begins right now. >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening, the signature republican promise to repeal and replace obamacare is down for the count tonight. president trump and house speaker ryan throwing in the towel, a stunning outcome as late today ryan pulled the bill moments before the vote in an acknowledgement that it was certain to fail. >> i wig not sugar-coat this, this is a disappointing day for us. doing big things is hard. all of us, all of us, myself included, we will need time to reflect on how we got to this moment. what we could have done to do it better. >> minutes after ryan spoke, the president himself facing cameras and pointing fingers in the oval office. >> we had no democrat support, we had no votes from the democrats. they weren't going to us a single vote. so it's a very difficult thing to do.
>> the president speaking as if it were democrats, not republicans who hold the majority. and while he's correct that there was no democratic support for the bill, it was the president's inability to bring together members of his own party that delivered the knockout, leaving obamacare the law of the land. our coverage starts with nbc's hallie jackson. >> the party in power divided when it mattered as republicans revolted against compromise on something seven years in the making. getting rid of obamacare. >> perhaps the best thing that could happen is exactly what happened today. >> but 63 days after he signed one of his first executive orders starting to dismantle the health care law, the president in the end unable to close this deal. his biggest political defeat yet. but not to him. >> i think that this is going to end up being a very good thing. >> house speaker paul ryan clearly disappointed. >> i spoke the president a little while ago. i told him the best thing i think to do is to pull this bill and he agreed with that decision. >> obamacare remains the law of the land.
is that going to change in 2017? >> we did not have quite the votes to replace this law. and so, yeah, we're going to be living with obamacare for the foreseeable future. >> republicans are now left to reflect on how this all fell apart in a day that started, sources close to the president say, with donald trump insisting negotiations are over. time to vote. >> what do you think of your health care bill? >> we'll have to see. >> at the same time on capitol hill, lawmakers delivered fiery speeches. >> vote no. we can do better. >> this bill is a travesty and the american people will pay the price. >> by midday, the scoreboard looked grim, 34 republicans opposing or leading against the bill. 12 more than the gop could afford to lose. at 12:30, the huddle. house speaker paul ryan meeting with president trump at the white house. with a subdued sean spicer an hour later on preemptive defense. >> the president and the team here have left everything on the field. >> the players scrambling all afternoon with the vice president. leaving a closed-door meeting
meant to sway the very conservative freedom caucus. >> mr. vice president, do you think you have the votes? >> mike pence had hoped to win that voting bloc with negotiations like cutting back mandated coverage. but every concession to hardliners meant risking the support of more moderate republicans. freedom caucus chairman mark meadows tight-lipped. >> this is more about -- really our nation and its serious, so i don't want to make any more comment. >> by 4:00 p.m., game over. house speaker paul ryan pulling the bill. the backlash and the blame game just beginning. >> the losers are nancy pelosi and chuck schumer. now they own obamacare. they own it. >> the party leaders celebrate what they called a win. >> today a victory for the affordable care act and more importantly for the american people. >> for the democrats, it's more motivation to keep fighting against plans to dismantle obamacare. for republicans, it's a shift now to focus on tax reform. and a potentially painful lesson
in what paul ryan calls the growing pains of governing. lester? >> hallie jackson taking us to this day. thanks. now to the fallout for the president and speaker ryan as the failure of their health care plan unsettles the republican party. the fierce internal battle now shifting to what a blame game behind closed doors, as thoughts now turn to the future of the president and the speaker's agenda. for that, let's turn to nbc white house correspondent kristen welker. >> publicly the president putting on a face of party unity. >> i want to thank paul ryan, he worked very, very hard, i will tell you that. he worked very, very hard. >> behind the scenes, the finger-pointing has begun. sources close to the white house tell nbc news the president wanted to pursue tax reform first. but chief of staff reince priebus, his vice president, and house speaker paul ryan pushed him toward a health care first strategy. early this morning, a top aide to the speaker insisting everyone was on the same page about pursuing health care reform. the president tonight. ? we'll probably be going right
now for tax reform which we could have done earlier, but this really would have worked out better. >> still, the blame game underscoring the enormity of the loss. >> does the buck stop with him on this? >> well i mean, like i said earlier, you can't force someone to vote a certain way. we've, i think in the sense that has he done every single thing? has he pulled out every stop? >> it's a big loss for both men. house speaker ryan has spent seven years vowing to kill obamacare. and mr. trump campaigned on it. >> repeal and replace obamacare. >> now real questions about whether the two leaders will be able to push other agenda items. >> i think this casts real doubt on the entire domestic agenda. and their ability to get things done. >> but the bigger fallout may be for the president himself. the author of "the art of the deal" who vowed to break through washington gridlock and get things done. today he came up short. >> this is an embarrassing defeat for president trump and for paul ryan on the top
republican priority for the last six or seven years. they couldn't even get a vote in the house of representatives. >> the house speaker said tax reform will be more difficult after this setback. and there's a realization inside the west wing tonight, the conservative branch of the republican party, which dogged former house speaker john boehner and president obama, isn't backing down just because there's a republican in the white house. lester? >> kristen welker at the white house, thanks. let's turn to our political director, the moderator of "meet the press," chuck todd this is one of those days in american politics that will be recalled for years to come. a humbling defeat for this new president on one of his signature campaign promises. does it really get in the way of what he wants to do going forward? >> well it, we'll see. right now it's a major setback and his job is to make sure it's not a debilitating one. that it's somehow makes it so that all these predictions of doom and gloom on the rest of his agenda somehow come true. i think the question is what lesson did president trump take away from this. and what, if you read between the lines, he's trying to blame
democrats. but then he also is quietly admitting he cannot do big things in congress, the things he wans to do, whether it's tax reform or health care, without the help of democrats. because -- as we saw for the last six years, watching republicans control the house of representatives, their small government conservative wing known as the freedom caucus right now just isn't going to budge on these things. so donald trump is realizing if he's going to be able to govern successfully, he needs democrats. will democrats work with him? it's an open question. >> chuck todd, thanks. and he'll have more on this sunday on "meet the press." today the president did fulfill one of his other campaign promises -- his administration officially clearing the way for completion of the keystone xl pipeline. when finished it will carry oil from the canada tar sands to refineries along the u.s. gulf coast. environmental groups say they will continue to fight the project. tonight there are new questions about the bombshell revelations from the gop
chairman of the house intelligence committee. this week revealing he had seen evidence that president trump's aides and possibly even mr. trump himself, were monitored by the u.s. during the transition. now he's backtracking. nbc's peter alexander has details. >> tonight the republican chair of the house intelligence committee, devin nunes, now saying he's not sure if president trump and his associates were monitored by u.s. spies, or just mentioned by foreigners under surveillance. >> we don't know until, we won't know that until we actually -- receive all of the documentation. >> it's a dramatic reversal from the certainty nunes showed, dropping this bombshell just 48 hours earlier. >> i have seen intelligence reports that clearly show that the president-elect and his team were i guess at least monitored. >> president trump at the time saying he felt vindicated. >> i somewhat do. i must tell you, i somewhat do. >> given the fact that devin nunes doesn't actually know if the president was monitored or whether he was even mentioned.
what is he vindicated by in. >> i think there's been an acknowledgement that there are documents out there showing that people were surveilled or monitored to some degree. >> and tonight, new signs the investigation into the possible russia connection that's supposed to be bipartisan is instead breaking down. >> he is now interfering in this investigation. >> the intelligence committee's top democrat already upset nunes took his revelations to the president before consulting his colleagues, now accusing nunes of trying to choke off public information. by canceling an open hearing with three former top officials. >> there must have been a very strong pushback from the white house. it's hard for me to come to any other conclusion. >> instead, nunes announcing the committee will ask the directors of the fbi and the national security agency to come back and that former trump campaign chairman, paul manafort, whose ties to russia are under scrutiny. is volunteering to be enter viewed. an investigation becoming as controversial as the topic it's focused on.
peter alexander, nbc news, the white house. while the day's high drama played out in washington, a lot of the rest of the country may have been wondering what in the world is going on. for more than a year we've been following voters in a small town in ohio. tonight their take on who is to blame for the health care bill's failure. nbc kevin tibbles has our latest "across america" report. >> you can't see washington from pemberville, ohio. but the small business men and women who struggle to keep this town alive were watching closely and gather here to talk about the week that's gone down in washington. what happened today was a stunning for butcher bob. who struggles to afford health insurance for his employees. >> i voted for trump. probably the biggest reason why i voted for him was the health care. i hoped there would be an improvement in the health care thing. so listening to it all this week, extremely frustrating. >> but failing to close the deal is not president trump's fault
says carol bailey. she repairs pianos in town and applauds his ultimatum. >> pass it or you're done. obamacare. in other words, he's not taking any more gulf from the congress. >> they both point the finger at congress. >> it's like watching pro wrestling. who can insult each other the most and then go out for drinks after the show. >> it doesn't surprise me, though, i knew when obamacare came out they would never be able to put that genie back in the bottle. >> the democrat is laura, a professor at bowling green state university. she's feeling vindicated. >> i think it sends a message to the republicans, that they weren't -- they don't have a plan there isn't a plan b. >> the republicans have complained for seven years. now they're arguing they can't get something through. >> waiting on washington's next move. from an american town craving leadership. kevin tibbles, nbc news,
pelberville, ohio. in the south 14 million people are at risk of severe weather. across texas, arkansas, and louisiana. a powerful line of storms which tore through the plains is bringing the threat of damaging winds, large hail and possible tornadoes throughout the overnight hours. tomorrow the severe threat will push east, into mississippi and alabama. meanwhile, across the plains, millions of americans are under a red flag warning this evening, with a heightened risk of wildfires. which have already devastated much of the region. nbc's jacob rascon has details. >> this wildfire rip pd through amarillo, texas in a matter of hours. the flames contained. across the great plains, massive wildfires have destroyed more than a million acres this month alone. >> it's a huge hit and it's something that's going to take years to recover from. >> extremely dry conditions have contributed to outbreaks across
eight states this year. hardest hit were ranchers, losing much of their land and thousands of cattle. >> they're kind of like our children to us. every cow, every calf. and that's what's made this so devastating. >> but strangers have made the difference. thousands of bales of hay, feed, and other aid donated from as far as ohio and south dakota. >> they have made it so that we have the try and fight to want to keep going. >> a lifeline for a region in crisis. and under constant threat. jacob rascon, nbc news. still ahead, new details in actor harrison ford's airport near-miss, hear the transmissions from the cockpit moments after the superstar flew dangerously close to a passenger plane. also against all odds -- a u.s. marine injured in battle making history in his community kevin, meet your father. kevin kevin kevin
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we're back now with a newly released communications between harrison ford and air traffic controllers at an airport here in southern california. what they said in the moments after the movie star pilot's shocking mistake landing in the wrong place and resulting in a close call with a passenger plane on the ground. nbc's miguel almaguer has the tapes. >> landing at john wayne airport, harrison ford radios the tower. just after flying over an american airlines jet, loaded with 116 people.
>> was that airliner meant to be underneath me? >> the veteran pilot, less than 100 feet over the boeing 737 quickly aware of his mistake. >> yeah, it's husky eight niner hotel uniform and i'm the schmuck that landed on the taxiway. i'm quite distracted by the uh -- distracted by the airliner. >> ford calls traffic controllers after the landing mix-up. >> okay, take your time, no big deal. >> no, it's a big deal for me. >> on sunny february day, cleared to land on runway 20 left, ford instead touched down on the parallel taxiway charlie. the american airlines captain calling traffic control. >> the tail of my airplane is 42 feet tall. can you tell what he was doing when he crossed taxi way lima where we were. you get an idea of how close it was. >> the 74-year-old has had close calls before. two years ago he was injured after a crash landing on a golf
course. investigators blaming engine failure. >> i would not be surprised if the faa asked him to take a competency check but if he's found competent, i would have no problem at all flying with mr. ford tomorrow morning. >> tonight, no comment from ford as the faa continues its investigation. miguel almaguer, nbc news, los angeles. when we come back, he's growing up so fast. the big announcement about the future for prince george.
now to a tragedy along an east texas highway where officials say an 18-wheeler swerved and smashed into a bus carrying a high school track team. one of the team's coaches who was driving the bus was killed along with the driver of the truck. the crash which left the bus on its side and sent debris flying is under investigation. tonight we officially have
the first new cloud names in decades, they're written up in the world meteorological organization's international cloud atlas, yes, it's a thing and it's not published that often, though. the last one came out in 1987. the new edition is out, it includes the asperitus. it looks like waves in the sky, you could call them waves in the sky. they grow up quickly. can you believe it? kensington palace says prince george is already ready for school. the duke and duchess of cambridge has selected thomas' battersea prep school a school that places emphasis on kindness, the little prince will turn four in july. when we come back, the incredible story of a retired incredible story of a retired marine, overcoming a tragedy to it'sand your doctor at yoto maintain your health.a because in 5 days, 10 hours and 2 minutes you are going to be 67. and on that day you will walk into a room where 15 people will be waiting... 12 behind the sofa, 2 behind the table and 1 and a half behind a curtain. family: surprise!
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for my constipation, i switch laxatives.ed stimulant laxatives make your body go by forcefully stimulating the nerves in your colon. miralax is different. it works with the water in your body to hydrate and soften. unblocking your system naturally. miralax. finally tonight, the retired marine making history in his community. overcoming the odds after suffering major swrrryes on the battlefield, to take on a new
mission to protect and serve. nbc's kristen dahlgren has his story in our inspiring america report. >> for mattias ferreira, becoming a police officer is a dream come true. >> since i was little i was always out playing cops and robbers. >> he was always one of the good guys, after 9/11 the imgrant became a u.s. citizen so he could join the marines. it was in afghanistan that all of his dreams almost ended. >> i landed on a 30-pound ied, which amputated my legs below the knees. >> lost his legs, but never his spirit. >> before you know it it was a year later and i was running a half-marathon. >> he started playing for the wounded warrior softball team and on the way home from his wedding rehearsal, he saved a baby in a smoking car in 2015. it seemed serving is still something he was meant to do. so today he became one of the country's first double-amputee police officers. no specials passes, as a
recruit, he had to run a mile and a half in 12 minutes. he did better. >> a mile and a half in 11 minutes, yes, ma'am. >> and starting monday, he'll be on the streets. serving and protecting. he doesn't consider himself a hero. >> i'm just your ordinary guy who was given a second chance at life. >> his family, including a 2-year-old daughter, disagrees. >> she doesn't need to look up to a hero or on tv. she's living with one in her own home. >> for the kids he'll meet, he does have a message -- >> it has nothing to do with a disability, it's the ability to give back to the community and just really have dreams of being something big when they get older. >> uniform and his body may be different, but his bravery is every bit the same. kristen dahlgren, nbc news, brentwood, new york. >> that's going to do it for us on a friday night, i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night.
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