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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  February 28, 2016 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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we're seeing outside right now. low 60s outside now. mid to upper 70s. on this sunday night, trump slammed. the frontrunner drawing fire from fellow republicans and democrats tonight for refusing to condemn the former leader of the ku klux klan. and bernie sanders looks for a path forward after hillary clinton's south carolina landslide. fallen hero. an officer and former marine killed on the job just one day after she's sworn in. tonight, the small town police department in mourning. young guns. the intense debate in one state over a new law that would allow even the smallest hands to put their fingers on a trigger. and healthy options. the gourmet jerky snack craze that a lot of people are chewing
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on. "nightly news" begins now. >> announcer: decision 2016. this is nbc "nightly news" with kate snow reporting tonight from austin, texas. good evening from austin, texas. just over 36 hours until polls open here and across 11 other states. it is shaping up to be a pivotal night for so many campaigns. with the clock running down, the republican race took on a mean edge today. ted cruz and marco rubio attacking donald trump over everything from his taxes to his business connections to foreign policy. and trump was on defense, especially when it came to an interview this morning in which trump was asked about a supporter who used to be the grand wizard of the ku klux klan. >> reporter: today's firestorm was not over what donald trump did, but what he didn't do. >> just so you understand, i don't know anything about david duke. >> reporter: failing to disavow david duke in this interview. >> would you say
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unequivocally you condemn them and don't want their support? >> i have to look at the group. i don't know what group you're talking about. >> the ku klux klan. >> reporter: duke is not formally endorsed the gop frontrunner but has told his radio audience that voting against donald trump at this point is really treason to your heritage. trump tweeted he did disavow duke. >> i disavow, okay? >> reporter: less than two days before super tuesday, marco rubio pouncing. >> there is no place in the conservative movement for david duke, the ku klux klan or any sort of hatred or bigotry in america. >> so is john kasich. >> i don't understand it, but donald trump refused to disassociate himself and condemn white supremacists. >> reporter: trump also drawing fire this morning for retweeting a quote from mus lee -- mousilinni, a
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fascist italian dictator. >> do you want to be associated with a fascist? >> no. i want to be associated with interesting quotes. >> reporter: cruz also accusing trump of not wanting to release his tax returns because of possible mafia ties. >> maybe his taxes show those business dealings are a lot more extensive. >> let me stop you there. that's openly speculative. do you have any facts to support that donald trump has mob ties? >> s&a construction owned by fat tony, a mobster in jail. >> reporter: the bare knuckle insults flying. alabama senator jeff sessions. >> i am pleased to endorse donald trump for the presidency of the united states. >> reporter: that is trump's first senate endorsement. while a swath of the gop may be trying to stop the billionaire, another part is embracing him. kate? >> gabe gutierrez in richmond, virginia.
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with the exception of donald trump, the republicans vying for the nomination would face a make or break night on tuesday. a loss for example for ted cruz here in his home state of texas could be devastating. holly jackson is live in oklahoma city with a look at the importance of this big vote. >> reporter: super tuesday is when the story line should shift from all the attacks to the arithmetic. adding up the delegates each candidate takes home, 595 at stake. nearly half spread out across 11 states. including here in oklahoma. ted cruz campaigning in this state today is calling it a battleground for him. but his must win, well, that's texas, his home state which has the most super tuesday delegates, 155 in all. cruz most likely will pull it off. his campaign tells nbc to watch arkansas too. marco rubio meanwhile spending time and resources in virginia, one of his best shots to notch his first win. in georgia, he's looking to pluck off
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delegates in some of those you been you a suburban areas, like outside atlanta. john kasich is already looking passed super tuesday to march 16th when ohio votes for the governor, do or die from him. even he acknowledged that donald trump could steam roll on tuesday. for the frontrunner, it's not a matter of which state he will win but how many. trump look dominant in nearly all of them. dependent -- depending on how dominant, republicans could wake up wednesday morning to find trump with an overwhelming lead. >> thanks so much. here in texas, organizers say they expect a big increase in the number of latino voters this super tuesday. while most vote democrat, the last exit polls here show 1 in 10 republican primary voters were
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latino and they're not all voting for their home state senator ted cruz. trump is attracting some hispanic voters. just like juan gomez. he already cast his ballot in early voting here. you already voted right? >> right. i voted for donald trump. >> when you first told me that, you were a little reluctant to tell me. >> well, there's a lot of hispanics that are spiteful or whatever about donald trump. i like donald trump for several reasons. number one, you know, i think we need somebody to manage the country. and he's a businessman and very successful businessman. but the other thing is that he -- he tells it like it is. >> what about the wall? >> i think at one point, we need something that will stop the influx of people coming into the united states. i think it's -- you know, the way the economies are in our two different countries, i think we can manage the people that are here. >> but you want to stop the flow -- >> the flow needs to stop, yes. somebody that's coming to the united states in from mexico, they call it el norte. let's go to el norte.
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they're looking for a better way of life. obviously mexico is not providing that life for them. it's fine, but unfortunately there's a lot of bad habit that we have in our society. we supply needs for those people. >> the government? >> yes. >> you told me you're a compassionate man, you're a christian man. you're a man of faith. >> i'm very compassionate. i walk with the lord. but there's certain things that, you know, are important for our country. you know, it's like when you run a business. a business has to be healthy. our nation is not healthy right now. >> juan gomez speaking to me there. trump making some inroads here in texas. the democratic candidates also turned their attention to super tuesday states. after last night's south caroli south carolina primary. with hillary clinton's decisive win in south carolina, especially among african-american voters, bernie sanders faces an arduous path forward. >> reporter: secretary clinton storming through the south
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after her resounding victory in south carolina, flexing her muscles in nashville today. >> i will stand up and work and fight for you! through this campaign and into the white house. >> reporter: her win smashing expectations. she toppled sanders by nearly 50 points and netted close to 90% of the african-american vote, even more than barack obama won over in 2008. all that signaling a potential strong showing come super tuesday. on "meet the press" today, sanders acknowledged the magnitude of the defeat. >> well, we got decimated. that's what happened. among older african-americans it was pathetic. >> reporter: but he also vowed to fight on. >> we're looking to the future, not looking back. >> reporter: that persistence on display at a rally in oklahoma. >> there would be nothing that would give me more pleasure than to defeat donald trump. >> reporter: sanders faces a steep climb. our three new nbc news "wall street journal" polls show clinton topping sanders by nearly 2 to 1 margins
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in georgia. tennessee and texas. >> i just don't see a path for bernie sanders. assuming nothing legal happens out of the justice department, hillary clinton is going to be the nominee. >> reporter: and clinton is already pivoting to the general election, again taking a broad swipe at donald trump. >> america remains great. but what america needs to do now is become whole. >> reporter: in a rare moment of solidarity, hillary clinton's campaign retweeted senator sanders who condemned donald trump's refusal to disavow former kkk leader david duke. america's first black president cannot and will not be succeeded by a hate monger who refuses to condemn the kkk. and the man who plays the fictional president on "scandal" campaigned with clinton today and mentioned trump's latest controversy. meanwhile, clinton's e-mails continue to
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cast a cloud over her campaign this weekend. the state department working to release the final batch by monday's court ordered deadline. late tonight donald trump vowing to raise the issue of her e-mails every day if the two should face off in a general election. kate? >> kristen, thank you. a suburban virginia police department is mourning the death of a young officer killed in the line of duty just one day after she was sworn in. steve patterson has the story. >> we have three confirmed hits. >> reporter: the call, so unthinkable here, it was called into question. >> i just want to be clear, do we have officers involved in a shooting? >> we have three officers that have been shot. >> reporter: words that confirm the worst. three officers from prince william county police responding to a domestic shooting in woodbridge, virginia, a sleepy suburb of washington, d.c. as they approached the
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front door, gunfight. the officers wounded. 28-year-old officer ashley guindon killed. it was her first day on the job. >> prince william county police department is in very deep mourning over the loss. >> reporter: the suspect 32-year-old ronald hamilton, an army staff sergeant captured. >> the accused and his wife were involved in a domestic altercation for some period of time that day. she was shot and killed allegedly by the accused. >> officer guindon was just sworn in on friday. the reminder etched into social media, welcoming words, be safe, at the end of a now tragic tweet. the rookie first serving her country six years in the marine corps reserve. >> she clearly had a passion to serve others. >> reporter: now white flowers and black bunting, shock to a department that in nearly four decades had only suffered three line of duty
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deaths until now. a trail of blue lights in a police procession celebrating a life lost too soon. steve patterson, nbc news. as a fragile cease-fire enters a second day in syria, the international war against isis rages on. one woman has been battling them on her own for over a year. she's a yazidi and isis is threatening to wipe out her people. earlier this week, she was presented with a major international award for her work. >> reporter: she's one of iraq's most adored politicians and the islamic state's most wanted woman. when she's not rallying her people to fight isis, she's helping women and girls escape them. families turn to her for help. >> 11 members of his family are messing. >> women. >> children. >> yes. >> reporter: when isis fighters attacked iraq's yazidis 18
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months ago, trapping them on a mountain, capturing thousands, she cried out for help in parliament. [ crying ] her people are in crisis. nearly half a million are in refugee camps, hundreds of men disappeared and are feared dead. more than 2,000 yazidi women and girls are still missing, held captive by isis. >> those terrorists buying and selling yazidi girls. >> reporter: she and a secret network of activists smuggle the women and children to safety. jilan escaped five months ago with her sister, but had to leave another sister behind. >> translator: she's only 11 years old. isis are asking for $25,000 to $35,000 for her freedom. >> reporter: it's dangerous work. >> are you afraid at all? >> no. >> maybe a little bit. >> yeah.
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>> reporter: what's harder, she says, is seeing her people suffer while the world turns a blind eye. >> all of them support me, yes, you are right, you need support, but nothing happened. >> reporter: so far she's helped rescue more than 1,000 women and girls. >> all of them are looking for me to give hope for them. >> reporter: and nothing, she says, will stop her. nbc news, northern iraq. when "nightly news" continues on this sunday, allowing young children to fire a weapon. we'll take you to one state where lawmakers are debating whether kids as young as toddlers should have the right to bear arms.
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this week, iowa lawmakers sent a bill to the state senate that would allow children under the age of 14 to shoot handguns. while supporters say the measure brings iowa law up to date, opponents argue it's creating a, quote, militia of toddlers. >> reporter: for the hood family in central iowa, shooting is a way of life. >> it's just a fun sport to do. it's fun to relax and just go down and release some stress. >> reporter: dad brian is coach of the local scholastic shooters. but while 16-year-old grace competes using a handgun, the law says 13-year-old emma isn't allowed. >> when i learned i couldn't do it, it kind of got me a
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little irritated because i wanted to do it now. >> reporter: so the family now supports iowa lawmakers moving toward a new law that would allow children of all ages to handle handguns. >> this is not about giving our children the combo to the gun safe. this is about allowing them in a supervised scenario learn a great sport. >> reporter: last week the iowa house approved the measure, but debate was fierce. >> it turns the power back to where it fully belongs, back into the hands of parents. >> we pass laws for those parents who lack the parenting skilling needed to protect their own children. >> reporter: the bill now goes to the state senate. but opponents are quick to point to cases of kids getting their hands on a gun with tragic results. this idaho mom killed last year when her 2-year-old got ahold of their concealed handgun while they were shopping at walmart. most states don't specifically restrict handgun use by children. in iowa kids under 14 are allowed to use
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rifles or shotguns. and federal law still makes it illegal for minors to purchase guns. for the brady campaign to prevent gun violence this debate takes away from what they see as the more serious issues. >> it represents the gun lobby's vision, which is selling as many guns as they possibly can, that every mother, father, and child in america is armed to the teeth rather than focusing on the things we really can do through policy. >> reporter: the question for lawmakers in iowa now, are guns safe in these hands. nbc news, new york. up next, we go out to l.a. al roker joins us live from the red carpet on this oscar night.
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take a look at this. it's a reenactment of jfk's funeral
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procession including flag-draped coffin and horse drawn carriage outside the white house today. it was part of the filming for a new movie starring natalie portman. speaking of movies, as hollywood gets ready for the 88th annual academy awards tonight, the controversy surrounding the lack of diversity among the actors nominated continues. chris rock already dubbing the ceremony the white b.e.t. awards. could that theme overshadow the glitz on the red carpet? that's where we find our al roker. >> reporter: the weather's not a problem, that's a good thing. everybody is really anticipating chris rock's performance tonight. i actually got to see him last night at the comedy store. he was still working on his monologue, trying out some jokes. if they're any indication what i saw last night, we are in for one heck of the night. of course, the
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diversity issue a big, big part of this. in fact, there were protests tonight being held just not too far from where this red carpet is. al sharpton leading those protests as they brought a lot of people out. in response to this, the academy has presented a slate of very diverse presenters, sofia vergara, morgan freeman, kerry washington, kevin hart, a lot of folks like that. and of course there are the awards. one of the ones that everybody is expecting, leonardo dicaprio, who has been denied an oscar for so long is an odds on favorite to win for "the revenant." a lot going on here. the red carpet is rocking. of course, we'll continue to watch it for you. kate, back to you. >> thanks so much. make sure you tune in tomorrow morning to the "today" show for all the winners and the oscar after party. when we come back, the latest snack craze with texas roots sweeping the nation.
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it seems to be all the rage in this nation of snackers. an alternative to chips and chocolate. it's low fat, high in protein, and portable. sales here in texas and across the country are exploding. we're talking about jerky, the vacuum sealed dried meat now perceived by many as a more healthy option. >> reporter: it's an interstate convenience
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store the size of a warehouse. 120 gas pumps, 34 types of taffy, 26 flavors of fudge. but at buc-ee's in new braunfe braunfels, texas, one of the biggest draws is the deli style jerky bar. >> me and my friend made a trip from san antonio. >> reporter: 35 kinds in the glass case. >> jerky sales are exploding. >> reporter: the dried meat is the snack of the moment. sales up 12% last year across the country. americans spending almost $3 billion. >> it's protein. definitely better than potato chips. >> reporter: and that's the allure. high protein, low fat, very portable. >> lean, good energy source, and what's not to like. >> reporter: so popular, one of the nation's hottest franchises, the beef jerky outlet, where they even sell
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crawfish and bloody mary flavored jerky. today's jerky has come a long way from those pressed slim jims. now boutique brands with innovative flavor. >> cherry maple. if you like it sweet, that's the one to get right there? >> reporter: there's also ghost pepper, teriyaki, sweet and spicy. no refrigerator required. but that doesn't mean it will last. >> how quickly will you go through this? >> it'll probably be gone by the time we get to dallas. >> reporter: hot and dry and flying off the shelves. >> my kids love it. that is nbc "nightly news" for this sunday night. lester holt will be in tomorrow. i'm kate snow. i'll see you tomorrow on msnbc from houston. for all of us here at nbc news, have a great night.
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>> nbc bay area news starts now. >> i don't feel like we all should be put in one category as drug addicts and everything else as people perceive us to be. >> time's up for a homless encampment to clear out. i area's become a health hazard. >> the homeless encampment near the best buy off of 101 and 13th street. the city gave notices saying the encampment had to be cleared out. some people, christie, are refusing to go. who's still there? >> reporter: yeah, kind of a mix. but what we've heard from a number of people is that,

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