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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  November 16, 2018 7:00pm-7:30pm EST

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tonight, chaos and confusion and cities tonight, chaos and confusion and cities caught off guard. how several inches of travel nightmare.ssive >> tempers flaring as thousands of flights are delayed and cancelled. ogridlock for hou the road and the blame game is just getting started. the staggering 600 people missing or unaccounted for in california and many who barelyed the fire living in the adow of paradise lost. new details in the bombshell revelation, wikileaks founder julian assange charged by the u.s. an incredible survivor story you have to see. the young congressional aid shot ef five times andto die near jonestown. >> i was lying on the airstrip with my head down, pretending i was dead. a th of a sudden,
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the right side of my body was blown up. >> 40 years after the massacre that killed 900 americans including beloved members of our nbc news family, jackie spear tells andrea mitchell how she made it out alive. ly>> as millions get set toan effort to crackdown on sexual assault happening on planes. >> this is a crime. it's a felony and it shouldn't be treated as if it's lost luggage. >> what the fe are doing to protect passengers. a week befe ack friday, what most plan to buy and it's not what you might think. >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening, everyone. blame it on the weather. an angry backlash leaving officials in the northeast to explain why they were caught unprepared for a snowstorm last evening that turned streets and highways t nto parking lots.
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it lefndreds of thousands stuck in a nightmare commute for the ages. cars spinning off roads, bdges closed, mass transit snarled after officials failed to adjust in time to a changing forecast leaving key travel routes virtually impassible. all of this despite the snow amounts were below what would be considered paralyzing in this part of the country. kristen dahlgren has details. >> reporter: winter's first storm catching millions off guard. >> the worst. the worst i've ever seen. >> i don't think anybody was ready for how fast it came. >> reporter: snow and before plows could get on the roads. s causing chaoduring the evening commute. >> literally walking, look at all this traffic. r orter: new york's george washington bridge at a standstill. >> multiple cars, oh my god. >> reporter: leaving truck driver tony white stuck. >> it took me ten hours to get from the airport to where i'm at now. >> reporter: samantha's special
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needs daughter was on the bus for nine hours. >> i was really scared. >> reporter: airports seeing hundreds of delays and cancellations with gates over run. >> i can you into a spot that's ftlocked by an aircsir. so you have to wait. >> reporter: while some students in new jersey never made it home forced to sleep over at their schools, state police responding to more >> i don't know if it was the weather predictions or weren't prepared for the storm. >> reporter: forecasters say the storm was under estimated because the cold aired more snow than sleet or rain. now politicians are scrambling to aner at they could have done differently. this was new york sanitation commissioner on wednesday. >> we do not anticipate needing plows. >> reporter: and it's mayor tonight. >> se really unfortunate things happen that we don't want to see happen again. >> reporter: as you can see, it is still a busy night here at laguardia airport.
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the board full of delays. there were more th 4600 delays nationwide so it will take time to get things back to normal. n, kristen dahlg thanks. let's turn to the snow and sleet to fires raging in the west. a stagge people unaccounted for in northern california doubling to 600 as the death toll climbs to 66 statewide. nbc's miguel almaguer f is there aga us tonight with a desperate search. >> reporter: not far from where paradise once stood, many come to post names and photos of the missing, a list growing every day, 100, 298, soaring to more than 600 unaccounted for. >> completely destroyed. >> reporter: many on the list could be alive. that's why tammy drove from ohio to california, already finding three la ves but still looking for her mother sheila. >> we need news. we need something. whether it's good or bad. >> reporter: every day
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in the ruins of radise, more bodies are discovered, 63 so far. the coroner will need more hearses. >> to see this is devastating. >> reporter: for those who out ran the flames, a flood of donation pouring in but shelters are full, thousands, many retirees are sleeping in parking lots. across california, more than 12,000 struures, mostly homes look just like this. it's going to take rescue teams days, even weeks to go through all of the rubble to look for the missing. hundreds like tammy are clinging to hope. >> for me, i just need closure. we'll keep looking until we find out. >> reporter: just re behe holidays, the grim search while tens of thousands are living lost in paradise. miguel almuer, nbc news. ou>> time could be runninfor julian assange whose group wikileaks is at the center of the russia investigation.
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th there is woru.s. indicted assange but as richard engel reports, that was supposed to be a secret. >> reporter: we now know tonight the justice departmentfias d undisclosed criminal charges against wikileaks founder julian assange, a fact accidently revealed in an embarrassing slipup when a prosecutor in virginia in an unrelated filing asked for documents to remain under seal quote until assange is arrested. assange has been hold up in the ecuador embassy. they are ordering him to improve hygiene and pay for meals. washington has been battling assange for nearly a decade over wikileaks release of classified documents and in 2016 walk ki -- wikileaks s published e-mail embarrassing to hillary clinton. i asked where he got the e-mails. ur three cybersy experts said the dnc e-mails were hacked by igence.n inte what do you say?
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>> well, there is no proof of that whatsoever. e not disclosed our source. >> reporter: special counsel robert mueller says the material was stolen by russians and spread by aks. tonight, assange's lawyer says it's a dangerous president to charge someone for l publishing truth information. richard engel, nbc news, london. a judge ordered the white house to temporarily return a cnn's reporter press pass today. the white house had revoked jim acosta's cr entials after he angered the president with questioning and refused to give up the microphone as a news conference last week. a news conference last week. t a news conference last week. a news conference last week. t a news conference last week. there is a turn to the russia investigation, we coulbe days away from president trump
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answering some of robert mueller's questions for the first time. peter alexander is here with us in new york tonight. what's the president saying? >> this does mark a new milestone in t investigation. president trump saying he's finished writing s answers to robert mueller's questions after 18 months of complaining about the russia investigation, the president insted at mueller's questions weren't difficult but answered them in his words very easily without the help of his lawyers but says he has not et andtted them also said you have to be careful about answering questions lyith people who probabave bad intentions. just yesterday on twitter, the president slammed the mueller investigation as a total mess, that he says has gone absolutely nuts. today he claimed he's heard the investigation is ending but there is no evidence that's true. mueller, lester, has not announced any timeline. >> peter, thank you. the trump administration today p also unveilingn a year in the making to overhaul rules of how sexual misconduct is investigate in our nation's schools. o but in the eme too the proposal has sparked a backlash.
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here is nbc's ann thompson. >> reporter: tonight, educion secretary betsey devoss announcing the sweeping changes on campus, including sexual harassment to conduct so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive ceit denies equal to education. requires schools to investigate every formal complaint b only if the incident curs on campus or at a school program and giving both the victim and the accused the right of cross examination at school hearings. as a survivor, jess davin is outraged. >> this is an absolute attack our survivors rights. >> reporter: the trump administration feels it ensures fairness for both sides. here is the president after the brett kavanaugh hearings where the justice was accused of assault when both he and the . ccuser were in high scho >> it's a very scary time for young men in america. >> reporter: since 11, more than 350
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students claimed they were denied a fair process. >> i think by affording student as fair proce protects not only the due process rights of the accused by the integrity of the process as a while. >> reporter: trying to ensure justice is equally applied on campus. lester, there is another change. the obama administration standards were guidelines and now these changes are la reons and after a 60-day comment period, they will be finalized and will be law. there isec ations after a surprise and provocative move by kijong-un. the north koreans claiming they tested a mysterious new weapon. we get late details from nbc's bill neely. >> reporter: north korea didn't show the latest weapon, just the unsmiling leader
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at the test site. his first visit there laince this long-range missilch last year. ont described the new weap as tactical and ultra modern. u.s. officials s they don't see the test aprovocative, although it comes after these comments from president trump. >> the missiles have stopped. the rockets have stopped. >> reporte it is a message kim jong-un frustrated he's had no relief from u.s. sanctions. not since the singape summit where he pledged to denuclearize and north korea is building missiles at up to 20 hidden bases, a second trump kim summit is on dismantling nuclear odeapons. late, the state department said north korea has released a u.s. citizen it in de last month allegedly for entering the country illegally. north korea held other americans for years. this may be a goodwill gesture. >> thank you. elvis presley, babe ruth and justice scalia among those who received the medal of freedom today. n he others are hatch
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and alge and miriam. to a powerful survivor story and a woman that lived to tell the world wha she saw at the scene of an american ed tr for so many people, the word jonestown is enough to send a chill up your spine, but few know the horrors like jackie spear of california. at the time a congressional aid shot five times and left to die. andrea mitchell with how she made it out alive. >> reporter: it was a mass murder that transfixed the world. the victims, thousands of men, women and children that followed peace and love in the jungles of south america but california congressman leo ryan and his 28-year-std f attorney jackie spear were hearing something much darker. >> there were defectors coming out and talking about physical abuse, sexual onbuse, that there was mindtrol involved.
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>> reporter: at first they saw smiling faces and cheering crowds. but then a man passed don harris a note, some wanted out. >> my heart just sunk because i knew that everything we were ueafraid of was tr >> reporter: spear started taking statements from people who wanted to leave. >> what r wish today? >> to go back home. >> anybody wants to get out of here, can e et out of here. we h problem. >> reporter: when they tried to go taking people with them, tensions exploded. >> here were couples with children, one was pulling the child one way, the other way because one wanted to stay, one wanted to leave. >> reporter: suddenly jones' men tried to knife the congressman. they got as far as the landing strip and were ambushed. >> the congressman had been hit and i was running towards him, ot hit again and fall.ll.ell.
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>> reporter: the congressman and four others were killed including nbc correspondent don harris a brown, camera man. when did you realize you were shot? >> i was lying on the airstrip with myead wn, pretending i was dead then all of a sudden, the right side of my body was blown up. i mean, it was -- i had a bone coming out of my arm right. there was a hole in my thigh the size of a football. >> reporter: back in jonestown, jim jones haave a faithful order. >> ier when people say it was a suicide. they weren't willingly taking their at was a mass murder. orter: they died from kool-aid laced with cyanide including 300 children. those who refused were forced or injected with poison. >> we failed 900 americans. >> reporter: did they die in vein? >> of course they did. their lives were shattered in pbet use they had been attracted to this charismatic maniac. they shod have been able to get out of there.
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our country owed that to them. >> reporter: they saved her arm and leg but she was forever changed and ten years ago she won congressman ryan's old seat inspired in part by jonestown. andrea mitchell, nbc news. still hard to imagine after all these years. a hollywood legend died. william goldman won a pair of oscars for his screen play for butch cassidy in the sun dance "kid" and "all the president's men." he went on to convert hit novels into hit movies like the marathon man and princess bride and wrote the screenlays r "the stepford wives" and "mystery." he was 84 years old. >> still ahead, the warning about sexual assault soaring on planes and why you won't find the hottest gift this holiday at a store. and ben stiller talks us inside hiks us inside star-studded true crime thriller. we'll be right back. i never kns
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so you can move more. dr. scholl's. born to move. just as the thanksgiving travel rush is about to get underway, the feds are launching a crackdown
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to investigate the oubling increase in thnumber of sexual assaults on airplanes. nbc's tom costello has details. >> reporter: it happened in a dark cabin on a flight to so amsterdam, a suddenly awakened by a fellow passenger groping and assaulting her. two years later, she's demanding accountability from the airlines and attackers. >> this is a crime. it's a felony. and it shouldn't be treated as if it's lost luggage. >> reporter: the department of transportation is la ching an investigative task force after the fbi reported in flight sexual assault investigations had jumped 66% over three years. the task force to focus on how to better protect passengers and crew membe with one in five flight attendants reporting being physically harassed in the past 12 months. >> they are talking about people groping them over their uniform or even under coming up and giving em a back rub, whispering or pulling them on their laps.
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>> reporter: the attackers very often mewho have been drinking but investigators say many cases gonreported because victims are reluctant to speak up while on board. >> the airline industry needs to step up, recognize this a a problem and train their crew how to respond and give them the backing to handle it effectively. >> reporter: police urge victims to make a scene it happens, push the call button, get up and get help so the crew can have police arre attacker once on the grnd. tom costello, nbc news, washington. why the hottest holiday gifts are all about the experience. only half the story?
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well, brace ll, brace yourselves. we're a week until black friday, which mes the holiday shopping rush is on the horizon but this year some of the most desired gifts won't be or wrap. you can hold nbc's jo ling kent has that story. >> reporter: next week, you won't need to storm the stores to find that perfect gift. instead of traditional presents like toys, electronics or ugly pair of socks, about 1
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in 3 consumers plan to give experienc instead. in fact, spending on activities has grown four times fasr than spending on objects. the top trending gift ideas, travel experiences like a zi plane ticket, p lining, or wine taing. air b and b offering experiences like aerial photography from a helicopter d a dance class ask for , hose looking for an escapea manicure and pedicure, massage or cooking lesson and the ultra luxury adventures like a safari in kenya or a stay in an irish castle. >> with generation z, it's more mu interesting. >> reporter: people love sharing photos and videos of those experiences on social media and research says in the long run, these moments also make us happier than ftgis u yocan wrap. lester? >> all right.
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in our spotlight, the in our spotlight, the shocking real life prison break that made t eadlines and the subj a mini series from director ben stiller starring two oscar winners. our stephanie gosk takes us inside. >> reporter: in 2015, a brazen escape, two convicted killers, richard matt and david sweat broke free from a maximum-security prison in upstate new
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york. >> the daring and sophisticated breakout. >> reporter: their accomplice, prison employee joyce mitchell that had an affair with both while behind bars. a true story a dramatic series on show time. >> i'm down there every night. >> reporter: beler is the director. >> i was just fascinated by it, the geographical setting of the prison, this prison dominates the town. >> reporter: the wall of the prison looms right over the main street. >> yeah. r orter: it's right there. >> yeah. >> reporter: stiller spent a year researching including multiple visits. >> i learned how stressful and scary it was when the manhunt was happening, especially for the families and the people in law enforcement out there looking for them. >> reporter: he also poured over the news reports, including ours. >> told me there were reports your mother
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was somehow involved in the escape of these two fugitives. how did you get ready emotionally and physically to play joyc>> ell, i had to gain weight. >> reporter: patricia arquette transforms into joyce mitchell. >> s doesn't feel alive. she doesn't feel desirable. >> she was thinking she was manipulating for peop for what she wanted but she w as
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