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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  February 16, 2016 5:30pm-6:00pm MST

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breaking news tonight. slamming trump. president obama comes out swinging late today. a harsh attack on the gop front-runner and firing back in a blockbuster battle over the supreme court. buried and blown away by record snow and a ferocious tornado outbreak. a massive storm stretching over 1,000 miles. to catch a serial killer. the grim sleeper trial in los angeles after a decade-long cold case mystery. how a bite of pizza may have caught an infamous murderer. slashing the price of prescription drugs by as much as
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how people are going around their insurance companies and saving big money. and the fur is flying. the competition is fierce, and we're behind the scenes as the best on four legs compete for best in show. "nightly news" begins right now. >> announcer: from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening. as he laid out the ground today for a major battle with senate republicans over a supreme court nomination, president obama also waded deep into the race for president at a news conference late this afternoon taking on donald trump and other republican candidates saying being president is a serious job. it's not hosting a reality show. his remarks come just four days away from the next major test in the race for president with trump maintaining his national lead among republicans in our new nbc news survey monkey poll and jeb bush lagging behind,
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could be his last stand, and for democrats the focus remains on winning over african-american voters. we have all sides covered starting with nbc's peter alexander in columbia, south carolina. hello, peter. >> reporter: hey, good evening to you, lester. tonight the president is weighing in on the republican race to succeed him, dismissing the party front-runner. here in south carolina donald trump is favored to win and jeb bush is desperate for a comeback. so much for southern charm. the leading republicans today in another ferocious round of fighting. >> then bush, poor bush. >> reporter: even president obama piled on. >> being president is a serious job. it's not hosting a talk show or a reality show. it's not promotion. it's not marketing. it's hard. >> in any other year south carolina should be jeb bush's to lose, the state that's embraced
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before. heavy on moderate republicans and veterans, but today with donald trump again dominating, bush is polling a distant fourth, facing new urgency to jump start his stalled campaign. is south carolina jeb bush's last stand in this race? >> no, it isn't. the obituaries have been written about me like once a week, and we're in if for the long haul. >> reporter: helping carry that load, george w. bush. >> a man i am proud to call my big little brother. jeb bush. >> reporter: with trump relentless attacking w. over 9/11, jeb today recalled an iconic moment from just weeks after the attack. >> my vision of my brother is sitting on the mound in yankee stadium throwing high heat. i can't envision donald trump doing that. >> reporter: if karl rove was the strategist steering 43's success, jeb's team is split between his campaign and the right to rise superpac spending tens of millions of dollars on bush's behalf with little return. >> if the right to rise superpac
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spend $100 million on tv and it won't get you necessarily to the top. >> reporter: finishing sixth in iowa and fourth in new hampshire analysts agree bush needs to beat his establishment rivals here. how is third place in the state something you can celebrate as a victory? >> i will celebrate beating expectations. >> reporter: when do you win a state? when does jeb bush --? >> i can't tell you that. >> reporter: late today bush sent a separate message tweeting a picture of a handgun with his name engraved adding bitter ammunition to a bitter fight. peter alexander, nbc news, south carolina. >> reporter: i'm kasie hunt covering the democrats where focus today. hillary clinton courting black endorsement from reverend al sharpton. >> only you know and you're not >> my lips are sealed. >> reporter: and in ma major speech in harlem picking through the consequences of racism. >> these inequities are wrong, but they are also immoral, and it will be the mission of my
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end. >> reporter: clinton is relying on decades-old ties to stay ahead in south carolina where a new cnn poll shows her ahead of bernie sanders 56% to 38%. sanders met with faith leaders there today, and campaigned with erica garner whose father died after a new york city police officer put him in a chokehold. >> he marched with martin luther king. he stood with jesse jackson, so basically he's stood with black people when it wasn't popular. >> reporter: sajders is hoping to make up at least some ground with african-americans, even after success in early states has been powered by working class white voters. >> some of the group that she won in 2008 against barack obama she is now losing against bernie sanders. >> reporter: many in that group feeling left behind and angry, pushing their party to the left. last night bill clinton comparing that to the tea party on the right. >> that's going on now in our party. >> reporter: drawing a sharp rebuke from sanders today. >> we should not be making silly remarks.
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comparison? >> no, there's no comparison. >> reporter: sanders doesn't need to win a majority of black voters to have a path to the nomination, so their campaign's focus is on young african-americans. he'll campaign tonight at a historically black college in atlanta. lester? >> all right, kasie, thank you. funeral arrangements have been announced for late supreme court justice antonin scalia. on friday scalia will lie in repose in the court's great hall. on saturday a funeral will be held at the national shrine in washington, d.c. meanwhile, the battle continued over replacing scalia which the president also addressed late today as our andrea mitchell reports. >> i expect them to hold hearings. i expect there to be a vote. >> reporter: in california the president responding for the first time to the republican roadblock against his filling the vacancy on the high court. >> i'm amused when i hear people who claim to be strict interpreters of the constitution suddenly reading into it a whole series of provisions that are
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>> reporter: but will his nominee even get a hearing? a small crack today in the republican hard line from the powerful judiciary chairman chuck grassley in charge of any confirmation hearing telling iowa radio -- >> i would wait until the nominee is made before i would make any decisions. >> reporter: but grassley tonight telling nbc he's not open to a confirmation. tonight the president also revealing what he wants in scalia's successor. >> we're going to find somebody who is an outstanding legal mind, somebody who cares deeply about our democracy and cares about rule of law and any fair-minded person, even somebody who disagreed with my politics would say would serve with honor and integrity on the court. >> reporter: the president has a list said to include sri srinivasan of washington, d.c., and jane kelly of iowa, confirmed as federal judges three years ago unanimously.
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judges merrick garland, long on the president's list though older at 63 and patricia millett, an experienced litigator and former clerk to justice ginsburg. who would scalia choose to replace himself? there were clues in a dissent he wrote last june when he called for more religious and geographic diversity on the court noting all studied at harvard or yale law school, five catholics and three jews, not a single evangelical christian, four including scalia from new york city. meanwhile tonight, law enforcement officials and the owner of the ranch where scalia died are completely discount ing ing speculation about foul play saying a pillow found in his bed was above his head, not over his face and the reason replacing scalia is so politically fraught his death represents a seismic shift in a court that has had a conservative 5-4 majority for half a century. lester? >> andrea mitchell, thank you. another big story we're following is a monster storm dumping record snow to the north
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in the south, a massive system stretching well over 1,000 miles. nbc's blake mccoy with all the weather whiplash details now. >> reporter: this is one of 15 possible tornadoes reported as a powerful storm moved across south florida. surveillance video captured from a condo complex shows heavy rain and whipping winds. >> just sounded like a big freight train coming through. >> it was going through like crazy. >> reporter: the storm damaging homes, capsizing boats and sending beach chairs flying into the ocean. fueled by el nino, it's part of a massive system spanning 1,600 miles up the east coast where further north it brought snow and ice. freezing rain made for a treacherous commute in washington, d.c. in eastern pennsylvania a jackknifed semi caused this chain reaction crash. >> folks just start running into the back of each other, five to six trucks behind us right now. >> in parts of new york the
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it. across western new york the snow really piled up on tuesday morning. here in buffalo how about six inches in five hours. y. >> both cities smashed daily snowfall records. >> and they said we're right in the bull's eye here so this is no surprise. >> reporter: on the west coast they are breaking records, too, heat records. southern california flirting with 90 degrees today. weather whiplash from coast to both of. blake mccoy, nbc news, new york. in southern california today, an accused serial murderer is facing justice after a decades long mystery that has terrified areas of los angeles. the so-called grim sleeper trial is attracting attention from across the country not only for the nature of the crimes but also the way this infamous cold case was finally cracked. nbc's steve patterson has details. >> reporter: accused serial killer lonnie franklin walked into court today nicknamed the grim sleeper because of a
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killing spree. >> the evidence in this case will tell a story, a story of a serial killer who stalked the streets of south los angeles. >> reporter: starting in the summer of 1985, prosecutors say franklin murdered nine women and one teenaged girl. >> almost all of them were hidden under debris, behind bushes, in dumpsters or covered with dirty mattresses left in >> reporter: an 11th victim survived and now expected to testify as a star witness. authorities say an advance in dna technology that seems straight from a crime scene drama broke open the case. >> this case is one of those precedent-setting cases in that they are using what we call familial dna to get to the defendant. >> reporter: police had taken am dna sample from franklin's son in an unrelated case. that dna closely resembled the dna found at the grim sleeper crime scene so police trailed
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eventually lifting it from a pizza crust and other items in his trash. they say it matched leading to an arrest in 2010. franklin has pled not guilty, and his lawyer is expected to challenge the reliability of the dna evidence. the sister of victim mary lowe is hoping for justice. >> i want her to see her killer and recognize what he did to her for no reason. >> reporter: police believe there could be other victims because these photos were found in franklin's home. this trial is expected to last up to four months. steve patterson, nbc news, los angeles. if you're one of the estimated 40 million americans with student loan debt, listen up. a houston man says he was arrested by a team of u.s. marshals without notice for had a nearly 30-year-old student loan.a nearly 30-year-old student loan. nbc's janet shamlian looks into the story. >> reporter: like millions of americans, paul akers has debt from college loans. last week u.s. marshals showed up at his houston-area home to help collect it. >> i went to my garage, opened the garage door and walked out with my hands up.
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was handcuffed and shackled for non-payment of a $1,500 loan from 1987, 29 years ago. >> surreal. i think it's so unrealistic that you can treat a citizen as if he's a drug dealer. >> reporter: court documents show notices were sent to akers starting ten years ago and he acknowledges he does owe the money, and he's not alone. student debt is skyrocketing. there's more than $1.2 trillion of it out there, and more than 70% of bachelor degree grads will leave school with a student loan. akers says he was briefly put in a cell before brought before a judge and collection lawyer, ordered to pay over time $5,700 for the loan which includes interest and another $1,300 for the u.s. marshal service. tonight the u.s. marshal service says akers refused multiple requests to appear in court dating back to 2012. >> the people in debt out there shouldn't be afraid that the
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and kick their door down. this was an extreme case. escalated by mr. akers himself. >> reporter: while not offering a specific number, u.s. marshals confirm their services are used for others who have defaulted on very old student loans. student loans can feel like a prison cell. for one man his unpaid debt landing him in chains. janet shamlian, nbc news, houston. still ahead tonight, battling the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs. some people are saving hundreds a month on their medication, and we're going to show you how they are doing it. also, the grammys were one the music. grammys were one to remember for more than just the music. i accept i'm not 22. i accept i do a shorter i even accept i have a higher risk of stroke due to afib, tnot caused by a but i won't play so if there's something better than warfarin, i'm going for it. eliquis. reliquis reduced the risk
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we're back now with the cost of prescription drugs which keep of prescription drugs which keep rights. a third of americans say they are paying more than they did just a year ago, even for generic drugs according to "consumer reports." tonight we look at a new company, a startup, that wants to shake up the drug industry and bring down the cost of generic drugs. some are already saving big. nbc's olivia sterns has details. >> reporter: tammy powell, a nurse outside chicago struggled to pay for her own $400 prescription drug bill. every month even with insurance, taking cymbalta for neck pain and medications for high cholesterol and blood pressure. she was searching for coupons. >> when i got to the pharmacy actually with the coupon, it they would run the code and it
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upon blink health, a new website that offers drugs marked down by as much as 95%. >> almost everyone takes medications at some point in their life and most people are overpaying. >> reporter: blink was founded by brothers matthew and jeffrey chaiken to basically bypass insurance companies. >>the whether you have good insurance, bad insurance or no insurance at all you should check the blink price before going to the pharmacy. >> reporter: here's how blink works. normally your doctor writes a prescription. go to your insurance company and the insurance company goes to the drug-maker. prices are based on what kind of insurance you have. blink goes straight to the drug-makers so you click on your drug, pay online and print out the receipt to take to your pharmacy. blink features over 15,000 medications at 60,000 pharmacies nationwide. mostly generics, and not the super expensive cutting-edge drugs, but consumer advocates say this approach could be the future. >> a lot of people have high deductible plans. you may not realize kind of what's going on until you
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>> reporter: back in chicago, tammy says her $422 bill has been cut to just $77 a month. what did you think when you saw that at first? >> i wanted to cheer. nobody wants to spend their money on medicines if you don't have to. >> hi. >> reporter: saving money and time to enjoy life's precious moments. olivia sterns, nbc news, chicago. >> we're back in a moment with a huge discovery. one of the biggest of its kind, and it's worth millions. rthree spreadsheets later, r you finally bring home the one... then smash it into a tree. p your insurance company is all too happy to raise your rates... p maybe you should've done a little more research on them. for drivers with accident forgiveness, liberty mutual won't raise your rates due to your first accident. see car insurance in a whole new light.
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a passing to note tonight. former u.n. secretary-general boutros boutros-ghali has died. he was a veteran egyptian politician and diplomat serving as head of the u.n. for a single term from 1992 to 1996. he was 93 years old. for the first time in more than 50 years, daily commercial flights will resume between the u.s. and cuba.
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lead to as many as 110 flights per day beginning in the fall. right now there are only charter flights. americans must still qualify to visit cuba under rules allowed by the u.s. government which bars tourism to cuba. last night's grammys had plenty of moments and still have people talking. adele had to power through technical difficulties and later explained away the bad sound by saying microphones fell on to the piano strings. taylor swift won album of the year. the pop star noted she is the only woman to have won that award twice and a thinly veiled attack against kanye west who recently claimed in a new song lyric that he was responsible for her fame. best rap album winner kendrick lamar earned rave reviews for his powerfully politically charged performance and lady gaga gave a tribute to the late david bowie. recently uncovered one of the largest diamonds on record. it's 404 carats, nearly 3 inches wide and said to be virtually flawless. it was found in the mines of
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rock at over $14 million. when we come back, they are facing some rough competition. who will be westminster's top
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finally tonight, we're going to the dogs. behind the scenes as coats are brushed and tails are fluffed and nails are clipped and nerves are frayed. that's because best in show will be awarded tonight at westminster and nbc's morgan radford is there. >> reporter: the doggie glam squad is hard at work, trimming, blow-drying, primping because looking this good takes time. >> heat dry the hair. >> took about six hours worth of work. >> hours and hour every week. >> reporter: but when best in show is on the line, you go all out. >> i think that's going to be a great lineup. >> reporter: nobody knows that better than david frye, the show's host. after 27 years he's hanging up his tuxedo, but even on his good-bye lap he's upstaged by 2008 winner uno, a westminster legend.
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competitor? >> uno's got a vote there. there you go. >> reporter: spotting the next uno gets easier with experience. joan huber has spent the last 66 years on the dog show circuit. can you tell who is a winner and who is not? you can? you have the secret sauce. seven new breeds are showing for the first time this year so it's more competitive than ever. odds are on rumor, a 4-year-old german shepherd from wisconsin weighing in at 65 pounds, celebrated for her quickness and agility. charlie, a 4 1/2-year-old skye terrier hailing from florida known for his beautiful coat and happy personality or beckett, a brittany spaniel from colorado standing 19 3/4. full name, rainbow splashes ruggedly handsome beckett. of course, there can only be one top dog.
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dog is the one sitting next to you on your couch at home anyway. >> reporter: if only our dogs at home were this well-trained. morgan radford, nbc news, new york. >> that's going to do it for us on a tuesday night. i'm lester hold. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. possibly exposing federal agents caught up with the former swedish hospital surgical tech accused of swapping syringes. 28-year-old rocky allen will be in federal custody through at least friday where he could enter pleas of -- he worked at swedish medical center at a
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was fired from a previous hospital job in arizona. swedish notified 2900 patients they need to get tested for hiv, hepatitis b and hepatitis c. as of this afternoon 9news discovered one of those patients tested positive for hepatitis b. that doesn't mean she got it at swedish. that will be investigated. allen is facing at least 10 years in prison if convicted. three suspects accused of robbing a bank, carjacking a driver and shooting two people was in jefferson county escort today -- court today. the district attorney laid out several key pieces of evidence that pointed to the three as the scream robbers, the suspects who first robbed the first bank in lakewood last november. the bank's surveillance video was shown in court today. the suspects' attorney argued you can't tell who the robbers are because of the masks. an investigator who took the stand said clothing and masks later found in an abandoned car had dna that matched the suspects.


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