tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC April 6, 2017 6:30pm-7:01pm EDT
summer. that's our news at 6:00. >> up next is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. see you back here at 11:00. . breaking news tonight a trump administration preparing options for a military strike in syria. is america about to go deeper into a bloody civil war after the chemical attack. amid a tense conversation over the north korea nuclear threat. president trump, the president of china and a high-stakes showdown in florida. palace intrigue. word of a power struggle with trump's son-in-law jared kushner. home genetic testing approved by the fda for the first time. at home tests for everything from parkinsons to late-stage alzheimer's. would you want to know? remembering done rickles who invented a
genre all his own. "nightly news" begins right now. >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening. the trump white house may tonight be on the verge of launching a major military strike against syria. president trump spent part of this day huddled with his top military advisors reviewing options that may include keeping syria's air force out of the sky or cruise missile attacks as a way of punishing the syrian government for the horrific chemical weapons attack earlier this week on civilians and a major policy shift, the trump administration is speaking openly about the need to remove bashar al-assad from power. we have two reports beginning coverage with nbc's chief white house correspondent hallie jackson. >> reporter: this tonight is the ultimate test for a commander in chief whether to activate the military in this case after a humanitarian crisis that has gripped the
country with the world watching. stepping off his plane into the center of an international crisis. president trump huddling tonight with his defense secretary for an urgent briefing on military options against bashar al-assad. >> i think what happened in syria is a disgrace to humanity and he's there and i guess he's running things, so something should happen. >> reporter: something should happen he says, not specific but still his strongest signal yet he may move to push assad out of power after this week's chemical weapons attack. >> it's a serious matter. it requires a serious response. >> reporter: the secretary of state in his highest profile moment yet suggesting there is no role for assad to govern the syrian people calling on allies to act through the political process. >> those steps are underway. >> reporter: two military officials tell nbc news the u.s. watched on radar as a syrian plane dropped bombs in the northern part of the country monday hitting a hospital. the flashes and booms
clearly visible. victims on the ground reacting like they have been exposed to a nerve agent, victims like the ones buried tod today. the syrian man crying out the name of his 9 month old twins. his children and wife among the more than hundred sierrans killed. images like these horrified the president triggers his reversal on syria a week after the administration called the regime a political reality. now 11 weeks into his administration, this crisis bringing him to the brink of a decision that will define his legacy. >> if he does nothing, it will be a bolwill be obama steroids, if he acts decisively and responsibly, he can set the middest. >> reporter: a spokesman says its support for assad is not unconditional. for president trump here in south florida for a meeting with the
chinese president, it's a high-stakes crash course in crisis management. syria overshadowing north korea, the threat from that country sure to be at the top of the agenda in his talks with ping. lester? >> the language sharpens, what are the military options for the united states? >> our chief foreign correspondent richard engel has that part of the story. >> reporter: tonight president trump is considering his options in syria, it's his first major decision as commander in chief. if he gives the go ahead, he'll be intervening one of the most complex civil wars on the planet. that comes with risks. while there is no talk of a full scale ground war, top u.s. officials tell nbc news a wide range of options is under discussion including air strikes on syria's chemical weapons facilities. strikes on syria's air defense system, grounding all syrian aircraft and cruise missiles fired from navy warships and it
could happen very quickly. >> it could be a matter of hours or days to implement this kind of military action. >> reporter: american fighter jets and navy vessels are already spread out across the region for the fight against isis. it wouldn't take long for them to change targets. but a big concern is how syria's backer vladimir putin will respond. russia has bases on the ground in syria and jets in the air and if any of them are hit, even by accident, it would escalate quickly. >> the reason, i think, a more limited attack if it's aimed at the aircraft and the air fields that were involved in this strike. then i think the chances of hitting, you know, either a russian aircraft or russian military force, i think the chances there are probably less likely. >> but perhaps the biggest concern is for the safety of hundreds of american troops who are deployed in syria
now. a strike on syrian forces could trigger a retaliation strike on them. >> richard joins us now. richard, if the president gives the go ahead, are we looking at a prolonged military action or one off? >> well, the plan is certainly not for a long military action. a well-placed military official told me tonight the president is looking at one of the more limited options, the goal is not regime change but to send a message to assad and to the world, reestablishing u.s. credibility. president obama didn't act last time there was a major chemical attack in syria, president trump wants to show that's changed. lester? >> richard engel tonight, thank you. at the same time we see changes in the white house of syria policy, we're seeing changes in the white house center of power. first came word of president's top advisor steve bannon booted from his seat at the table on the national security counsel and tonight comes word of a battle with trump's son-in-law jared
kushner. we get the palace intrigue from kristen welker. >> reporter: the sharp divisions in the white house tonight evolving into an all out war according to a top west wing source. two sides pitted against each other, the president's controversial chief strategist steve bannon and mr. trump's son-in-law jared kushner. the turmoil coming to light after bannon was ousted yesterday with the new national advisor, h.r. mcelderry mastmcmastre putting his move. bannon tells nbc news the report is total nonsense and today the president downplayed staff shakeups. >> we've had one of the most successful 13 weeks in the history of presidents. >> reporter: what isn't in dispute, the bannon and kushner camps have been at odds. >> he is using war to
describe tension between him and liberal members of the administration and this will get uglier before better. >> reporter: bannon sees himself as a nationalist keeping to the campaign promises that got him elect. on display when he lashed out at the media earlier this year. >> they are media admittedly opposed, admittedly opposed to an economic nationalist agenda like donald trump has. >> reporter: those close to bannon say he disparagingly refers to jared kushner has globalest and democrats and still, bannon is taking heat after agenda items have stalled like health care and the travel ban. >> they are making changes and finding sea legs and making adjustments and come to recognize who should be playing what position. >> reporter: for now a senior official says the knives are out all over the west wing. kristen welker, nbc news, the white house. another big story we're following
tonight, the surprise announcement from the embattled head of the house intelligence community, devin nunes saying he'll step aside from leading the russia investigation as ethics complaints trigger an investigation into nunes himself. nbc's kasie hunt explains from capitol hi hi hill. >> reporter: devin nunes dodging questions, slipping out of the capitol of his dramatic announcement. he's stepping back from russian medaling in the u.s. election. his decision coming as the bipartisan ethics committee announced it would investigate whether he illegally revealed classified information in this bombshell press conference last month. >> the intelligence community collected information about u.s. citizens involved in the trump transition. >> reporter: in a statement today, nunes called the ethics complaint entirely false and politically motivated. >> did he mishandle information? >> reporter: paul ryan met with him saying he supports the chairman's decision.
clearly chairman nunes made some mistakes here? >> i don't think that's the case but chairman nunes wants to make sure this isn't a distraction to a very important investigation. >> reporter: nunes came under fire after he told the press and president about the incidental collection before informing his committee, then came reports white house officials helped give him the information. democrats and republicans crying foul. >> chairman nunes is deeply compromised and he cannot possibly lead an honest investigati investigation. >> it has to be done in a bipartisan fashion and as far as i can tell, congressman nunes killed that. >> reporter: for weeks nunes resisted demands to stop aside including from adam schiff but the ethics probe is the last straw and now he says they can have a fresh start. >> the work always continued but the cloud that settled over the committee's work has been lifted. >> reporter: adam schiff is optimistic working with the president taking over the probe.
congressman mike conaway saying he will follow every lead in this investigation no matter how long it takes. lester? >> thank you. tonight president trump's nominee for the supreme court appears all but certain for confirmation tomorrow after high drama on the senate floor and a historic change by republicans to overcome a democratic block aid. our justice correspondent pete williams has details. >> reporter: as the senate prepared for the historic showdown, emotions were raw over president trump's nominee neal gorsuch. >> the opposition to this particular nominee is more about the man that nominated him and the party he represents than the nominee himself. >> reporter: democrats were still fuming that president obama's nominee garland never got a hearing. >> they kept that position vacant so it could be filled by a republican president. that's exactly why we are here today. >> reporter: then after republicans
failed to muster the 60 votes needed to end the filibuster on gorsuch, they moved to change the rules and eliminate filibusters for supreme court nominees. >> raise the point of order. >> reporter: the so-called nuclear option was invoked on a party line vote with republicans acting out of partisan duty than principle. >> i think it's a bad, very sad day for the senate because we have now destroyed 200 years of tradition of requiring 60 votes. >> reporter: many legal experts say from now on when the white house and senate are controlled by the same party, presidents will be less likely to appoint moderates. >> the confirmation process is -- will become much more partisan and presidents will not be able to nominate people who are more extreme. they won't have cater to the other party. >> reporter: it's a safe bet that neal gorsuch will be confirmed tomorrow in time to take his seat and hear the final 13 cases of the term. pete williams, nbc news at the supreme cou
court. lots of severe weather tonight in the eastern part of the country with millions facing the possibility of dangerous storms and a week that has already seen wide-spread destruction from devastating tornados. we get the latest from nbc's jacob rascon. >> reporter: tonight, strong winds, heavy rain and possible tornados reeking havoc across several states. significant damage reported in parts of virginia, brutal winds tossing large trees into homes, knocking out power to thousands. >> she was screaming, i could not console her so we huddled in the living room. >> reporter: portions of the d.c. metro under a tornado warning as the storm pushed through ripping the roof off this high school building. in florida, at least a dozen homes destroyed by a possible tornado and this massive house fire sparked by lightning and the midwest hit with gusts so powerful they shattered high-rise windows in chicago. over 15 million americans face some severe weather threat today, the same system
that's ravaged the south all week forcing more than 1,000 flight cancellations in atlanta alone and producing more than ten reported tornados so far including in elizabeth town, kentucky. >> i felt my trailer shake. >> reporter: another outbreak ripping through clark county, ohio, leveling a large barn and in walton county, georgia, an outbreak as the severe weather threat now moves east. thankfully while today's storms caused significant damage, no injuries were reported. the severe weather threat moves on tonight into tomorrow morning including flood watches in parts of the northeast. lester? >> jacob rascon, thank you. still ahead tonight, finding out your risks for certain diseases the fda approves at home (burke) at farmers, we've seen almost everything, so we know how to cover almost anything. even a coupe soup. [woman] so beautiful.
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with big health news tonight for anyone whose ever worried that they may carry a gene that puts them at risk for life-threatening diseases or conditions. for the first time the fda is giving a genetics testing company to give testing kits to the public for testing for issues in your own home. the question is, would you want to know? is nbc's tom costello. >> reporter: at a lab in california, a
saliva sample from someone who wants to know more about their dna, are there signs of a disease or disorder in their genes? for the first time the fda allowed a company called 23 and me to market kits to consumers to test for conditions. in minnesota she and her mom is is hoping a dna test will give her peace of mind after her father died of alzheimer's disease. >> i don't want my children to end up with it. i don't want them to see me with the disease. >> reporter: here is how it works, customers order the $200 kit online and send back a saliva sample. that sample is tested for more than half a million markers that could be associated with one of ten diseases and conditions including late onset alzheimer's, parkinsons disease, celiac disease and various blood and organ disorders, not cancer. the fda warns the tests cannot diagnose and genetic risk is one piece of puzzle.
it does not mean they will or won't develop a disease. we talked to dr. robert green by skype. >> we're moving as a society toward empowering people with health-related information and this is i think a welcome step along that journey. >> reporter: still, some doctors worry about giving people confusing and life-changing test results without having a professional help them interpret what they really mean. in minnesota christi marks has decided. >> if i have the gene, it doesn't necessarily mean i'll get alzheimer's but at least i can be proactive. >> reporter: it's better to know. we're back in a moment with a stunning turn of events for the moment with a stunning turn of events for the number one player i use what's already inside me to reach my goals. so i liked when my doctor told me that i may reach my blood sugar and a1c goals by activating what's within me with once-weekly trulicity. trulicity is not insulin.
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wedding anniversary. the former marine pilot, astronaut and senator from ohio died in december at age 95. heartbreak tonight in one of the biggest stages in all of sports. the top-ranked golfer in the world and tournament favorite dustin johnson suddenly has withdrawn after slipping and falling down stairs injuring his back on his way to the first tee johnson realized that despite his intention to play, his back simply wouldn't let him. from nas a tonight, a spectacular view from jupiter. it shows in vivid detail the famous red spot and bans of swirling clouds. jupiter is at its closest distance from earth this year 415 miles. when we come back, remembering when a truly funny man with his unique and truly funny man with his unique and stay with me, mr. parker. truly funny man with his unique and when a critical patient is far from the hospital, the hospital must come to the patient.
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laughs. >> it was quite a night. would you welcome mr. warmth, don rickles. >> the only thing truly warm about don rickles, sizzling insummits, a master at the put down. >> what is your ancest ancestry? >> honduran. >> i've been in the business 25 years and don't have a joke for a jerk that's h honduras. >> standing next to you it is. >> don rickles didn't really tell jokes. >> i started making fun of the guy that yelled at me making fun of the room, making fun of the people around me and then it became a little bit of put down thing. >> he credited his rise to another master of humor, johnny carson and more than 100 appearances on his show. >> when i hit johnny's show, the whole world knew me. >> give me a break. i'm so lonely. >> even before our
president, he didn't 408d back. >> it's a big treat for me to fly all the way from california to be here for this money. >> rickles appeared on the silver screen and later the animated screen on toy story. rickles perfected the secret sauce of making people laugh not just at his humor but at themselves. >> he is what we all aspire to be. >> no matter what he said, you always knew it came with a wink because he knew that we knew it was all in good fun. >> i'd like my family to know that i was a good father and a good husband and i'd like the public to know that i was laughing along with them. >> don rick rickles leaves behind his wife barbara. that will do it on this thursday night. i'm lester hold. from all of us at nbc news, good night and thanks for watching.
mel b today hit with questions about her husband's alleged affair with a nangy. >> the new video as we uncover mel's vacation with the other woman, just weeks before it all blew up. now, on "extra." mel b faces the cameras as she faces explosive new headlines about her divorce. >> they broke up. >> just uncovered, mel b and t e nanny in bikinis with the man
they were sharing. reports it was the vacation from hell. did steffan belafonte secretly hijack her bank account without her knowledge? and our favorite moments with don rickles. >> how long have you known john? >> about an hour. brad pitt's red carpet surprise. >> good to see you all. >> the produce with the heartthrobs for this new movie. arnold versus donald. it's on again. >> we can talk about him ratings which are the lowest of any president in modern history. >> our new interview with schwarzenegger ripping into trump, roasting mario. >> thank you to mario lopez. he did many, many sit-ups before he got here today. and a neck job, a breast job, the breakdown of the new mama june. plus, wwe's nikki bella breaking news about her upcoming