tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC February 24, 2016 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
spawned a famous meme, mckayla maroney is not impressed. >> we remember that photo well. breaking news tonight. a new outbreak of deadly tornadoes. a rising toll with nearly a dozen states now on high alert. here's the biggest threat yet to come. exploding air bags bombshell. news tonight, half of all cars being driven right now in america might need to be recalled. the air bag maker continued to deceive customers even after deadly crashes. trump's landslide after crushing the competition in nevada. tonight he's aiming for a super tuesday knockout. also a rare one-on-one interview. does she ever think he's gone too far? and shocking blast caught on camera. a man's pocket suddenly bursts into flames. tonight a warning for everyone who uses e-cigarettes.
"nightly news" begins right now. . >> announcer: from nbc world news headquarters in new york, this is n"nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening. the death toll has risen even higher today from the violent storm system that tore through the south and it's on the move tonight. as we start here, cities from eastern nng, up in philadelphia, including the d.c. area, are under the threat of tornadoes. at least four more people were killed this afternoon. some in waverly, virginia, where there has been significant damage from an apparent tornado. at least seven people have died since this time yesterday. right now, at least ten states are at risk from the severe weather with the highest tornado risk this evening. nbc's miguel almaguer reports from the storm zone. >> reporter: tonight this is what they feared. funnel clouds, possible tornadoes, a weather system still packing pounding rain and whipping wind with at least four dead today. there's another night of dangerous weather
still ahead. >> oh, my god! >> reporter: the forecast calls for 70-mile-an-hour winds. tens of millions in the danger zone. the wicked winter weather, a powerful linear system fueled by the strongest el nino on record, raking across ten states. the storm mangling the landscape, ripping apart homes and taking lives. >> the glass was breaking. you can hear things flipping around outside. total carnage. >> reporter: with three killed on tuesday, and dozens injured, louisiana was in the bull's-eye. 160 homes demolished. >> from the floor to the ceiling. from the wall to the floor. >> reporter: braxton, his wife and three small children rode out the storm in this trailer. they were pulled into the air and rolled over several times across the street. savannah clinging to her daughter, as she was being sucked out of a window. >> she was like flying out the window, literally. i had her by her ankles. >> reporter: with up to 30 tornadoes
reported, in pensacola, florida, a twister smashed apart an apartment complex. it's described as a war zone. homes shredded, rvs, flipped over, cars tangled in trees. with the same weather system triggering up to 18 inches of snow in the midwest, at least 67,000 have lost power, and now more could, too. state of emergency as the threat across the east isn't over yet. as the rain continues to hammer down here in raleigh, we remain under a tornado warning, until a bit later on tonight. lester, this storm is moving towards washington, d.c., and your area in new york. it's expected to hit that region around 11:00 tonight. if there is some good news, it should be packing a bit of a lighter punch. lester? >> miguel almaguer tonight, thank you. tonight the scandal involving dangerous air bags and millions of cars appears to be growing larger with u.s. senate investigators saying they've uncovered evidence that the takata corporation was
deceiving automakers for years about its defective air bags. and there is a growing possibility that the recall could now grow to cover half of the cars on american roads right now. nbc's tom costello has details. >> reporter: it was just before christmas when 52-year-old joel knight was killed in south carolina. his 2006 ford ranger hit a cow on a country road. the takata air bag inflater exploded on impact. >> when it made contact, this could have been prevented. his death could have been prevented. >> reporter: the coroner found metal shrapnel that cut through the air bag also severed his spine. federal investigators report hundreds of people have been injured, at least nine killed from exploding air bags. senate investigators say internal e-mails shows takata was aware, if inflaters were defective, it deceived the automakers for years. a 2006 takata e-mail said reports were cherry-picked and
someone was schmoozed to accept certain deviations. a customer writes, if someone makes an audit, we'll have a lot of failures, sometimes 38%. but takata disputes whether the writer had correct knowledge. >> they were manipulating data to make it look like the explosive device was in fact safe. >> reporter: takata said it's deeply sorry for all fatalities and injuries occurred. and the issues raised in the e-mails will not be tolerated or repeated. it's already been hit with a record $70 million fine. a stunning 24 million vehicles are under recall for a potentially defective air bags. they want to include every takata air bag in america. potentially 120 million vehicles. that would be nearly half the cars on the road. meanwhile, in south carolina, the knight family is suing both takata and ford. >> that someone could
be so inconsiderate of someone's life. >> reporter: over an air bag meant to save lives that instead took yet another. tom costello, nbc news, washington. donald trump is aiming for a knockout after three landslide victories. the gop front-runner could be headed for a super tuesday sweep if his opponents can't stop him. frustration is growing from some in the party as rubio and cruz continue to target each other, not the man who's charging towards the nomination. we have it all covered tonight starting with katy tur in houston. >> reporter: good evening, lester. donald trump is looking more and more like the favorite to win the nomination. and now the last nominee, mitt romney, is taking aim. donald trump with evangelical leader pat robertson in virginia today, trying to hit ted cruz where it hurts. targeting christian conservatives at re jant university. >> i've got to be a good person today. at least for the next hour. >> reporter: coming
off his big win in nevada. >> soon the country is going to start winning, winning, winning. >> reporter: the "new yorker" is looking for a lock on the nomination. sooner rather than later. >> we might not even need the two months, to be honest. >> reporter: if polling is any indication, he could be right. >> we won the evangelicals. we won with young. we won with old. we won with highly educated. we won with poorly educated. i love the poorly educated. >> reporter: nevada numbers like new hampshire and south carolina show trump won evangelicals, conservatives, moderates, those who worried about immigration, those who wanted an outsider, and those who are angry. trump's abrasive tone working. >> stay on course, stay on message. >> reporter: in fact, donald trump alone got more votes than total votes cast in nevada's 2012 gop caucus. tonight mitt romney speculated trump has something to hide.
>> the reason that i think there's a bombshell in there is because every time he's asked about his taxes, he dodges and delays. >> reporter: trump not responding to the allegation, instead calling romney a fool. the trump effect is in full effect. now he's looking for a knockout. >> his three chief opponents all have to run in their home states. trump could beat them all. had ecould beat kasich in ohio, he could beat rubio in florida and it could all begin next tuesday in texas where he beats ted cruz. >> reporter: the rival is up for a lone star state showdown. katy tur, nbc news, houston. >> i'm hallie jackson in texas, a state where they remember the alamo, but it's a different kind of battle. a new poll shows ted cruz is up double digits over donald trump. >> it is good to be home. >> reporter: nationally, though, he's neck and neck with marco rubio for second place. the two fighting to be the trump alternative.
trump picked up delegates and momentum. >> you're wasting your time attacking rubio instead? >> hallie, that's an interesting question given that i am the candidate who has consistently pointed out donald trump's liberal record. >> it hasn't worked yet? >> at this point, he's won two of the first three states. and i've won one. >> reporter: cruz looking now to super tuesday in texas, where today he won the endorsement of the governor. in his home state where he must win, his confident campaign pointing to 27,000 volunteers here. rubio's campaign equally confident in their strategy. waiting for cruz to lay off trump for now. >> i don't have any voters begging me to attack anyone. i'm more than happy to show differences. >> reporter: but the florida senator has his own alamo to fight in the sunshine state, which awards all its delegates to the winner.
a second-place finish won't matter. that primary three weeks away. hallie jackson, nbc news, houston. president obama hit back at republicans who say they will refuse to even meet with any potential nominee until the next president is elected. nbc news has learned the white house is betting a republican governor for the vacancy. a move that seems designed to put gop senators in an uncomfortable position. our justice correspondent, pete williams, has details. >> there's some two --- >> reporter: at a white house meeting with the king of jordan, the president tried to keep the heat on senate republicans, and their leader mitch mcconnell, for saying the choosing of a supreme court justice should be up to the next president. >> the american people can gauge whether the person i nominated is well within the mainstream. >> thank you. thank you. >> reporter: democrats let it be known that a long list is brian sandevol, the
republican governor of nevada, and first hispanic federal judge. >> this is a way for democrats in the white house to extract maximum pain on republicans, on their stance not to hear any nominee. >> reporter: but republicans say vice president biden saw things their way 24 years ago when he chaired the senate judiciary committee and said no confirmations during a presidential campaign. >> action on a supreme court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over. >> reporter: words that senate republicans are gleefully quoting. it's the ranking republican on senate judiciary 24 years ago who said confirmations should go on during a campaign. >> it is this process, a process which should not be changed for election for expediency, which has signified the majority of our system of governance. >> reporter: the president said he'll have a nominee, quote, in the weeks ahead. pete williams, nbc news, washington. a dramatic day in
the civil lawsuit brought by sports reporter erin andrews. in court andrews looked on in tears as her father testified about her trauma after a man secretly filmed her in a hotel. andrews is suing her stalker and the hotel's owner and former management company claiming they let it happen. morgan lanford has the details. >> reporter: an emotional day for erin andrews, wiping away tears as her father describes her as a shell of the person she once was. >> she's terrified. she's depressed. she is not the girl that we used to know. >> reporter: steve andrews, a veteran reporter, toefg on behalf of his daughter, and her $75 million suit against the man convicted of stalking and secretly filming her naked in her nashville hotel room in 2008. >> she kept screaming, i'm on the internet! i'm on the internet! i'm naked. everything i've worked for is done. >> reporter: michael barrett removed and
altered the peephole of andrews' hotel room, and then held up a cell phone and recorded her naked. >> he wanted a room right next to her. i remember thinking to myself, how does this happen? >> reporter: andrews' attorney called a hospitality expert to the stand. >> to give somebody's room number away or let them know they're staying there. >> reporter: the hotel's lawyer blames only the stalker. >> he deceived, connived, stalked. that's what mr. barrett did. >> reporter: mr. andrews believes someone needs to pay for what happened to her daughter. >> for the first time in my life, as her -- sorry -- as her father where i didn't know if she was safe or not. i feared for her life. >> reporter: morgan lanford, nbc news. melanie trump opening up about her marriage to donald trump. whether she ever thinks he's crossed the line. what happens on those occasions they disagree. also caught on camera, e-cigarette
trump is everywhere. but his wife melania has avoided the spotlight for months, speaking only briefly on the trail. >> he's working very hashed. he loves you. >> reporter: but now sitting down with nbc -- >> we have a thick skin. and we know that people will judge him. and people will call names. and they don't give him enough credit. >> reporter: the former supermodel is trump's third wife, born in slovenia. >> i'm my own person. he's his own person. i don't want to change him. he doesn't want to change me. >> what about many felt he insulted mexicans? >> i don't feel he insulted the mexicans. he said illegal immigrants. he didn't talk about everybody. >> but you're an immigrant. >> yes. >> do you ever think he's gone too far? >> i follow the law. i follow a law that is
supposed to be. i never thought to stay here without papers. >> when he talked about a ban on muslims, did you worry about it? >> what he said is it would be temporary. and it's not for all the muslims. it's the ones -- we need to screen who's coming to the country. had ewants to protect america. >> reporter: melania speaks several languages. but what about some of the language her husband uses? >> do i agree all the time with him? no, i don't. and i tell him that. i tell him my opinions. i tell him what i think. sometimes he listens, sometimes he don't. >> reporter: melania trump is clearly a key sounding board for the republican front-runner. andrea mitchell, nbc news. we're back in a moment with a warning about a potential risk in the water for children and pregnant women. and yet another american city.
several homes in jackson, mississippi. while the city claims its water has not been declared unsafe, pregnant women and young children are being urged to drink bottled or filtered water. they believe the lead is from home plumbing corrosion, not the water source. in kentucky, a sudden and shocking explosion caught on tape. a man taken by complete surprise when his pants pockets burst into flames. an e-cigarette battery is blamed for the blast. as nbc's joe fryer tells us, it's hardly the first time something like this has happened. watch. >> reporter: a customer was simply stopping for snacks at a kentucky gas station when the security camera captured this startling moment. >> there was a blast in his pocket and there was a big fire. >> reporter: josh hamilton suffered second-degree burns. he said the spare battery for his e-cigarette device exploded. it's the latest injury tied to electronic veiler products. reports popping up from oklahoma to california.
>> it exploded. >> reporter: doctors at harborview medical center in seattle have seen five different patients in the past five months. >> the way the battery is in the device, it becomes a high-powered rocket. that can cause significant force and injury to the patient. >> reporter: the problems center around lithium ion batteries which can overheat, especially if the wrong charger is used. the american vaping association said when charged and used under proper conditions, it poses no other fire risk than other products that use lithium ion batteries. they tell customers, don't carry the batteries in your pockets. >> sometimes it might touch the loose change in your pocket, or a key. what i recommend, a case like this, right here. and pretty much protected. >> reporter: advice to make sure people don't have the fireworks.
finally tonight, it's been an around the world journey many times over for astronaut scott kelly. though he's never lost sight of home. it's been right outside the window on the international space station. after a year in orbit, his ride back to earth departs next week. we decided to check in with him one more time before the big homecoming. astronaut scott kelly is in the home stretch. >> i started counting down when we got to ten days left, which was a few days ago. >> kelly is one of two participants in nasa's mission, the first american to spend a year in orbit. as of today, kelly has orbited the orbit 5,344 times. talk to me about the mental and psychological impact of being up there. you see familiar sights. what does that do to you to watch that? >> you know, you definitely have a different perspective on the earth, and things that happen down there. i'm actually looking at it right now.
the window's open. i follow the news very closely, have it on during the work day, and in the evenings. so i keep probably more in touch with what's going on on earth when i'm in space than when i'm actually on earth. >> kelly has been posting photos on social media throughout his mission. his awe-inspiring pictures of his home planet have become a huge hit. are you a bit nostalgic as your time in space is nearing an end? >> the ability to press our limits with regards to exploration and discovery, i think it's been a privilege of being a part of that. and it's something that i'm going to miss. but i've been up here for a long time and i also look forward to going home. >> the astronaut is expected to make his homecoming next tuesday. when kelly wraps up his mission, he will have traveled more than 143 million miles in space. and the one thing he's looking forward to the most when he gets back home -- >> human contact. the people you love on earth, your family, your friends, people
you miss. >> we wish kelly safe travels back home. that will do it for us on this wednesday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching, and good night. that breaking news, the f a woman's torsoear tdumbarton b that breaking news is new information into the discovery of a woman's torso within the dumbbarton bridge. police have been looking into whether that torso is linked to a man's suicide. good evening and thanks for joining us. i'm jessicaing a girl ray. >> and i'm raj ma thiechthai. a new crime scene in brisbane where a woman disappeared on valentine's day. her husband jumped off the
bridge. nbc bay area's ian cull joins us from the fremont police department. what are police saying this evening? >> reporter: well, raj, fremont police are working jointly with the brisbane police department on this case. it gets very complicated. this all started on sunday when fishermen called police because they found the foreso of a woman in marsh land near the dumb barton bridge. police say it appeared the head, arms and legs had been severed from the rest of the body. today fremont and brisbane investigators served a search warrant at the home of 57-year-old shelley pitch they're ner reporting missing on february 15th. her husband said she left the home late at night on february 13th to spend time with friend and had a history of bi-polar disorder. investigators are now collecting evidence at this home which is still wrapped in crime tape tonight.