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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  August 16, 2017 6:30pm-7:01pm EDT

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thank you for watching. up next is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. we'll see you back here tonight at 11:00. tonight, the growing backlash. new fallout after president trump equally blamed both white nationalists and anti-racist protesters for the violence in charlottesville. his business councils disbanding as ceos flee in a mass exodus. more republicans renouncing his message. more confederate statues pulled down. plus new reaction across the country, and our tom brokaw weighs in on it all. also paying tribute to the victim killed in that virginia violation. her mother's powerful call to action. military crash. an army chopper goes down off hawaii. the urgent search for survivors. toxic plane danger. raising concerns about what you're breathing when you fly. and honoring the king 40 years since we lost a legend. "nightly news" begins
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right now. this is nbc "nightly news" with lester holt. >> good evening. it's nice to be with you tonight. there has been no mad rush to the microphones today by surrogates to try to defend president trump as we've seen after past eyebrow-raising moments. the shock and surprise over his strident characterizations of the violence in charlottesville reach across the political spectrum tonight. but perhaps the most remarkable rebuke comes from major business leaders walking away from the president's economic advisory groups in protest forcing mr. trump to pull the plug on the councils which were centerpieces in his signature effort to create jobs in this country. our kristen welker begins our coverage with the fallout. >> reporter: facing a full scale rebellion by the very ceos he once called colleagues, president trump announced on twitter today he's disbanding two of his advisory business
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councils rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the manufacturing council and strategy and policy forum, i am ending both. thank you all. the president trying to get ahead of a mass exodus from both councils, eight of the business leaders previously announced they were out because of the president's reaction to charlottesville after mr. trump again equated white supremacists with counterprotesters yesterday. >> not all of those people were neo-nazis, believe me. >> reporter: the latest upheaval this morning after a conference call with members of the strategy and policy forum which resulted in a decision to disband. they then called the white house with the news. the president dumping those business leaders publicly before they had the chance to announce the decision. the ceos releasing their own statement today. intolerance, racism and violence have absolutely no place in this country. jpmorgan ceo jamie dimon writing it's a leader's role in business or government to bring people together, not tear them apart. the nation's top labor
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leader, richard trumka, also lashing out. >> we believed that the symbolism of being associated with that spirited defense of racism and bigotry was just unacceptable. >> reporter: it's a punch in the gut to mr. trump, a billionaire former ceo who rans a the jobs president. >> he needed corporate america to back his claims that he was a businessman president who could get things done with their help. now they've turned their backs on him. >> reporter: the president's surrogates largely silent. the vice president rushing to his defense. >> what happened in charlottesville was a tragedy, and the president has been clear on this tragedy and so have i. >> reporter: both former bush presidents saying in a rare joint statement, america must always reject racial bigotry, anti-semitism and hatred in all forms. >> pathetic, isn't it? just pathetic. the president of the united states needs to condemn these kind of hate groups. >> reporter: a cascade of criticism that
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could further stall the president's agenda. >> i think the entire legislative agenda is imperiled by calamities that are all of donald trump's making. >> reporter: some senior administration officials are still fuming after the president's comments yesterday, and in a sign his inner circle may be getting smaller, the white house says his longtime adviser hope hicks will serve as his interim communications director until a permanent replacement can be found. lester? >> kristen welker with the president in new jersey. thank you. now to charlottesville with the violence claimed the life of 32-year-old heather heyer saturday. today a moving memorial service was held for her. the overwhelming message throughout the service, a call for racial harmony and justice, causing that heather herself was so passionate about. nbc's tom costello was there. >> reporter: wearing purple, heather heyer's favorite color, they came from across virginia. >> no father should have to do this. >> reporter: heather's father, grandfather,
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family and friends spoke of her fierce dedication to justice and then heather's mother spoke of her daughter who police say was killed saturday, mowed down by a car driven by a white nationalist. >> they tried to kill my child to shut her up. well guess what? you just magnified her. this is just the beginning of heather a legacy. >> reporter: tributes to an unlikely victim of saturday's violence. at the spot where she was killed, senator tim kaine and charlottesville's mayor insisted hate will not define the city. >> this is the cool, easy going, sweet, wonderful, loving, tolerant, dynamic place that people fall in love with. >> reporter: our nation is a nation of immigrants. it is that great mosaic tile that has made us the great united states of america. >> reporter: but a heavy police presence underscored that tensions remain high here. >> heather's life was
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not lost in vain. she represented something important and vital the world needed to hear. ♪ amazing grace >> reporter: susan bro also issued a call to turn anger over her daughter's death into nonviolent action. >> i'd rather have my child, but by golly, if i got to give her up, we're going to make it count. >> reporter: on friday, there will be another memorial for the two state troopers who died on saturday. and we have this late breaking news just coming in now. the governor of virginia is calling on every town and city in the state and the state legislature to remove all confederate monuments. he says they're a barrier to inclusion and equality. >> tom costello with that tonight, thank you. americans responded to president trump's comments about charlottesville in actions and words today, both criticizing and defending what he said about the violence.
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peter alexander has more on the reaction around the country. >> reporter: before dawn in baltimore, crews taking down four confederate monuments. to avoid violent protests like those in charlottesville. >> i said with the climate of this nation, that i think it's very important that we move quickly and quietly. >> reporter: workers in birmingham on the mayor's orders overnight boarding up a confederate tower. here in leesburg, this statue still fuels deep divisions. but in the wake of president trump's comments. >> you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. >> reporter: zach richman defends the president's words. >> when you have violence, you need to call it on both sides. you can't just, you know, close one eye and cherry pick from the other side. >> reporter: is the president getting a bad rap? >> i believe so, yeah. >> reporter: that outrage blaring from newspaper headlines. in new york sympathy for the devils. in chicago, fake
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president. >> makes him less credible as a president to not speak as a leader and bring the country together. >> reporter: superstar lebron james today chiming in. >> it's not about the guy that's the so-called president of the united states. it's about all of us looking in the mirror and saying what can we do better to help change? >> reporter: religious leaders equally emphatic. >> this is a time to stand up and scream loud and clear, that is not who we are. >> reporter: pastor robert jeffress speaking out on the broadcasting network. >> if we're going to denounce some racism, we sought to denounce all race achl. i think that's the point the president was making. >> reporter: tonight a fierce debate sparking anger and action. peter alexander, nbc news, leesburg, virginia. there are a number of terrifying stories still emerging from charlottesville, one of them from a synagogue that rabbis say was under siege. dozens of people inside and afraid to
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leave while outside armed men and marching neo-nazis invoked painful echoes of the past. gabe gutierrez has that story for us. >> reporter: this was the view saturday from one of the oldest synagogues in the south. >> it was indescribable. i never for a minute ever thought in my life that i would see that on the streets of america. this is our sanctuary. >> reporter: alan zimmerman is the president of charlottesville's congregation beth israel. >> if i'd taken a camera and filmed that in black and white, it would look to people like newsreels from 1933 in germany. even now just unbelievable. >> reporter: they had hired a private security guard to watch over services that morning. >> it's really something else when that hate really emerging in front of you. when you realize that people came from so far away, from all over, really, to express that hatred.
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>> reporter: zimmerman told us he saw parades of nazis walking by, some heckling the temple. for half an hour three men dressed in fatigues armed with semiautomatic rifles stood in front. he told congregants it would be safer to leave from the back instead of the front and to go in groups. did you feel that your sanctuary was under siege? >> yes. >> reporter: john aguilar, a navy veteran, was not part of the congregation, but he took it upon himself to keep watch. >> i just wanted to let the jewish community know they're not alone in this. sometimes you just have to stand up for what's right. >> reporter: we does ed zimmerman what he thought of the president's remarks. >> i'm heartsick. >> reporter: he never expected to see this in 2017. gabe gutierrez, nbc news, charlottesville, virginia. after the president's remarks white supremacists have come out of the shadows to cheer his
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message viewing it a z a validation of their own racist beliefs including some here in california, a part of america that you might least suspect. jacob soboroff has more. >> reporter: the southern poverty law center says california has more hate groups than any other state, even in los angeles, where william johnson was elated with president trump's press conference. >> i think there's blame on both sides. i have no doubt about it. and you don't have any doubt about it either. >> he is the most honest president since george washington and the cherry tree. >> reporter: just watching all this, and hearing trump say all that, you got visibly engs sited. >> yes. that's an honest man saying what he believes in his heart. >> reporter: and do you believe that donald trump saying things like that will ultimately bring america closer to your goal of a white ethno-state? >> well, i think that america needs to take a different direction, whether it needs to come into my direction, i don't
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know. we have a festering racial problem that's only going to get worse. i think the only solution is separation, but there may be another solution and donald trump is going to, i think, bring us -- help us overcome the racial divide. i think that he will encourage fair-minded deep-thinking people to realize that separation is the only way we can achieve racial goals. >> reporter: would you all be here today and as emboldened as you are today without donald trump? >> i've been emboldened for 25 years but the rank and file american is becoming more emboldened. >> reporter: to join your cause? >> to be proud of their heritage. whether it's white, confederacy. to be proud that you're white and to group together and want to support white issues. >> reporter: president trump claims he has disavowed people like johnson, but johnson says that's exactly the group trump has energized. what's next? the white nationalist says the murder in
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charlottesville will temporarily set back his movement until it emerges stronger than ever before and he credits the president for that. lester? >> fascinating conversation, jacob, thank you. for more perspective, we want to turn to someone who has seen his share of violent and nonviolent resistance in this country. he's our senior correspondent tom brokaw who covered the civil rights movement of the 1960s. i'm curious from your perspective what lessons can we learn from that experience? >> lester, from the beginning of me reor the orrial career, race has been a dominant issue for me. i was just thinking tonight for five centuries in this country, race has been a complicating factor in defining who we are. now, as we just heard, we heard the white groups, the white hate groups claiming viktly for what they went through. how do you counter all of that? i thought the most dramatic example that still resonates with me was in the 1960s when dr. martin luther
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king launched the nonviolent movement. and it was a strong moral cause that advanced his cause and alerted the country to the kinds of absolutely unacceptable things that we should not be tolerating anymore. >> tom brokaw with lessons of history. tom, thank you. turning now to another story we're following, the urgent search under way for survivors from the crash of an army black hawk helicopter off the coast of hawaii. the chopper with five crew members aboard disappeared last night during a training mission. this follows two other u.s. military air crashes earlier this summer which killed a total of 19 service members. still ahead, as we continue here tonight, new concern about the quality of the air we all breathe on airplanes. after several incidents in which passengers and crew members reported feeling sick. also the dramatic scenes today on a also the dramatic scenes today on a major highway and the ♪ your body was made for better things than
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. we're back now with a growing safety concern over the air we breathe when we fly. a number of airline passengers and crew members suddenly falling ill in midair this summer due to what experts believe are toxic fume events. nbc's stephanie gosk explaining what they are and the danger they pose. >> reporter: a jetblue flight makes an emergency landing in buffalo, new york, this month. >> you might have more than one patient there. they're not sure what this smell is. >> reporter: this video from a passenger
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shows firefighters on board while he starts to feel sick. >> like sharp pain headache. >> reporter: three crew members went to the hospital. jetblue says no mechanical issues were found. the incident sounds eerily similar to something american airlines pilot dennis taser says he experienced in june. >> we all immediately noticed the smell. >> reporter: he says the fumes came from the engine and smelled like dirty socks. >> that can incapacitate a pilot, which takes us out of the game, which is a horrific ending. >> reporter: most planes use a combination of air in flight, a mix of recycled and outside air which is siphoned through the engine. if a seal breaks, the burning oil can mix with the cabin air causing a so-called toxic fume event. >> flight attendants are experiencing headaches, flu-like symptoms, fatigue or short-term and long-term memory loss. >> reporter: a new state proposal would mandate training for crews, change faa reporting rules and require air quality detectors on flights.
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the bills sponsors say these toxic fume events happen up to five times a day. the faa's numbers are much lower. in a statement the agency writes, the cabin environment in the vast majority of commercial flights is safe. however, we are concerned that if certain mechanical failures occur, the cabin environment may contain contaminants. >> you are stuck in that metal tube until it gets on the ground. you cannot go somewhere and get a breath of fresh air. >> reporter: with new regulations flight crews and passengers alike hope everyone will breathe a little easier. stephanie gosk, nbc news, new york. in a moment, a young man's tribute to his father, there for him on the first day
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all shook up as thousands descended on graceland to prove that elvis lives at least in their hearts. here's nbc's catie beck. >> reporter: the king of rock 'n' roll gone 40 years. his legacy unforgettable. ♪ return to sender >> reporter: his music unmatched. ♪ viva las vegas ♪ you saw me crying >> reporter: elvis presley's country gospel voice, the signature swivel of his hips. ♪ the world couldn't help falling in love. >> i did. i grew up loving elvis. >> reporter: a burning love for nancy craft, president of an elvis fan club in houston, texas. >> when i get to heaven, there will be two people that i'll be seeing, first my husband, and then elvis. >> reporter: she's one of an estimated 80,000 fans in tennessee this week for the 40th anniversary of presley's death. the annual event lets
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fans relish artifacts of the past. nancy travels there twice a year with her friend delores. since 2001 planning every outfit and hour of elvis week. >> that's one thing we have a lot of, and that's t-shirts. >> reporter: at graceland, members reunite. at the mansion, the museum, beside jumpsuits. there's singing. ♪ i can't help ♪ >> reporter: the pilgrimage culminates with a candlelight vigil at the gravesite. >> it just touching your soul. we'd love for him to still be around and still be sharing. ♪ falling in love >> reporter: catie beck, nbc news, memphis, tennessee. ♪ with you >> we appreciate you spending part of your evening with us. that is "nightly news" for this wednesday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good
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night from los angeles. david letterman breaks news about his big tv return. >> now on "extra." >> get ready. dave is back. >> netflix. >> coming back to tv. >> bearded, back from a long vacation and breaking news about his new netflix show. kris brown talking for the first time about beating up rihanna. >> i felt like [ bleep ]. >> in his words what triggered
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the fight inside the lamborghini. the backlash against president trump. the new york protests. >> plus the 28-year-old former pmel b's new fashion shocker, h. hitting agt in a totally see-through cat suit. >> you could wear this. >> no. trust me. >> what triggered this crazy screaming match? "game of thrones" jaime lannister counting his days. >> if you were to die, how would you like to go? the star is here and teasing karissa with his ripped-up movie role. plus j-lo getting ready to get rowdy. >> drink wine. maybe we'll call your ex, my ex, who knows.


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