tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC March 17, 2016 2:07am-2:37am EDT
"nightly news" begins right now. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening. president obama has made his move and is tonight locked into had a high-stakes stare-down contest with senate republicans over the future of the supreme court. the president has nominated federal appeals court judge merrick garland regard as a moderate to replace the late conservative justice the late antonin scalia, but even as the president warned against braintree split sizing the processes, the senate majority leader said there would be no action taken on the nomination. republicans demanding the choice be left to the next president. our justice correspondent pete williams has late details. >> reporter: the president introduced merrick garland as a judge who is decent, modest and even-handed. >> his long commitment to public service have earned him the respect and admiration of leaders from both sides of the aisle. >> reporter: with his wife lynn watching in
garland was emotional. >> this is the greatest honor of my life other than leanne agreeing to marry me 28 years ago. >> reporter: one of his two daughters missed the moment, hiking in the mountains. >> out of cell service range when the president called. >> reporter: grandson of russian immigrants garland grew up in chicago. >> my name is merrick garland. >> reporter: as a federal prosecutor he led the team that brought oklahoma city bomber timothy mcveigh to trial. on the bench he's been a moderate voting to uphold environmental laws but often tough on criminals. >> ideologically merrick garland is in the center, maybe a little bit to the left. he seems mostly to be a judicial craftsman. figure out what the law is, not what he might want the law to be. >> reporter: at 63, garland is the oldest supreme court nominee in nearly 50 years, but when nominated for the federal appeals court in 1997, he was confirmed 76-23 with 32 republican votes, i point the administration now
>> i simply ask republicans in the senate to give him a fair hearing. >> reporter: but continue to insist they won't even consider garland's nomination because the next president should make that choice. >> the decision the senate announced weeks ago remains about a principle and not a person. >> reporter: so far only a few republicans have said they will even meet with garland. >> i would not feel comfortable refusing to meet with the president's nominee to the highest court of the land. >> reporter: the administration has some hope that if a democrat is elected president, the senate would consider garland's nomination in the closing days. obama administration, and tonight one influential republican, utah's orrin hatch said he's probably be open to that. lester? >> all right, pete. so much being framed by this election. on that note let's turn to who the next president might be after very big nights for both donald trump and hillary clinton. trump won four out of five states up for grabs, except for the big prize of ohio
governor john kasich scored his first victory. the republican establishment is left with limited options to stop trump, including pushing this race all the way to a contested convention. but if that happens, trump is warning of riots. we've got more on all that beginning with nbc's hallie jackson. hi, hallie. >> reporter: hi, lester, good evening. we've learned that in the last 24 to 48 hours the cruz campaign held three meetings across the country about how to get the most delegate support. john kasich brought on a top operative to convention and trump staffers met to game out how to pick up marco rubio's supporters. all of them looking ahead at what could happen next in this wild race. three candidates left. donald trump's lead almost three times bigger than it was, now three scenarios for the gop establishment. finally surrender to the front-runner. fight furiously against him or find somebody else to take him on. surrendering to a trump ticket could happen.
evening. >> reporter: before new york's primary next month. the billionaire or "morning joe." >> you have people on the show all the time talking about stopping donald trump who with calling me to work out a deal where they want to become involved. >> reporter: more influence for trump, the party cancelling monday's debate after he said he wouldn't show. he still needs 55% of the remaining delegates but that's better math than ted cruz. for john kasich it's mathematically impossible, unless he and the stop trump movement take the fight to a contested convention. >> for those that worry about a convention, it will be right in the open. there's no closed rooms. >> reporter: even before cleveland, campaigns will security delegates state by state. >> they are going to find out pretty soon that they signed up for a party and ended up in a bar fight. >> reporter: talk cruz and kasich could team up. >> there would absolutely be a place for john kasich, absolutely a place for marco rubio, for many people in the republican field in a future administration. >> reporter: but if that's not palatable or plausible a third option.
like speaker of the house paul ryan. >> people say what about the -- the contested convention. i say, well, there are a lot of people running for president. we'll see. who knows. >> reporter: his spokeswoman insisting ryan will not accept a nomination, but ryan said something similar before running for vp and house speaker. three scenarios, no one obvious outcome still four months from the finish line. hallie jackson, nbc news, houston. >> reporter: this is peter alexander in cleveland. before republicans uncork the confetti here, what might have been donald trump's coronation could instead be a contested convention where no candidates won a majority of delegates. those delegates you keep hearing about -- >> unanimously. >> reporter: yeah, those guys. based on the primaries and caucuses the republican party will assign more than 2,400 of them. right now trump is trouncing the competition but still has a long way to go to secure a simple majority. >> he needs to win 55% of the delegates going forward. that's not undoable,
not a layup. trump warned bad things would happen if he doesn't get the nomination. >> if we're 20 votes short or if we're -- if we're, you know, 100 short and we're at 1,100 and somebody else ask at 500 or 400, i don't think you can say that we don't get automatically. i think you'd have riots >> reporter: last time a heated primary season ended without a clear nominee, 1976. ronald reagan challenging incumbent president gerald ford, but ford convinced enough delegates to lock up his bid on the first ballot. trump could try to do the same. that floor fight would happen here at cleveland's quicken loans arena, home of lebron james and the cavaliers where a contested convention this summer would be the political equivalent of overtime. here's how it works n.first round most delegates are bound to vote for the candidate they represent, but if there's no clear winner they keep voting and more and more delegates become free agents to pick whoever they want, and get this. the party's delegates get to create additional rules one week before the convention. there's nothing to
it easy for a new name mix. an astounding race now potentially on track for a chaotic conclusion. peter alexander, nbc news, cleveland. the democratic side now. hillary clinton scored a clean sweep of bernie sanders last night, winning five states, including ohio and florida and building her sizable delegate lead. clinton, now turning targeting trump and he's targeting her right back. nbc's andrea mitchell on a nasty fight already beginning. >> reporter: game on. hillary clinton and donald trump going after each other as though they were already their party's nominees. today trump firing off this instagram video. ridiculing clinton as a weak commander in chief against putin and isis, showing her barking like a dog as she told a joke on the campaign trail. the tag line. we don't need to be a punchline. after clinton ridiculed trump in her victory speech.
chief has to be able to defend our country, not embarrass it. >> reporter: clinton's strategy, don't get in the mud with trump as some of his republican rivals did, go after him on policy, on immigration, the ban on muslims, embracing torture, highlight how he dodges questions about foreign policy. today on "morning joe." >> who are you consulting with consistently so that you're ready on day one? >> i'm speaking with myself, number one, because i have a very good brain, and i've said a lot of things. my primary consultant is myself, and i have -- you know, i have a good instinct for this stuff. >> reporter: clinton's campaign spokesman telling me today -- >> with hillary clinton in a general election matchup, the contrast will be clear on issues of who supports a minimum wage increase, who supports pay equity for women, who supports defending the president's executive actions on immigration. >> reporter: the risk trump's ability to make his rivals play defense.
hitting hillary hard. >> frankly hillary is a disaster, you know that. you know she's guilty. we have numerous polls that show me beating here'sly and i haven't even started on her yet. >> reporter: but before clinton can fully engage trump, she has to win the nomination. today her campaign says bernie sanders won't be able to overtake her, a claim sanders' strategists strongly reject vowing to fight on. the open question. how much damage can before the bigger battle she expects lester? >> andrea mitchell in washington, thank you. an american student from the university of virginia has been sentenced to 15 years in hard labor in north korea after he was convicted of stealing a sign while at a hotel with his tour group. he was shown in a video presented by the north koreans as a confession and later seen breaking down as he learned his punishment. our chief foreign correspondent richard engel has details. >> reporter: 21-year-old otto warnbier looked disoriented at the top
student pleaded for a light sentence. >> please save my life. >> reporter: he didn't get one. 15 years hard labor. >> i beg that i'm only human. i have made the worst mistake of my life. >> reporter: but his crime, a human rights group, was more like a college prank. the ohio native allegedly stole a propaganda banner from his hotel. he said in his confession it was for a church group back home in exchange for a used car. north korea found him guilty of subversion. former governor build richardson who has negotiated with north korea in the mast is working to secure his release. >> i'm trying to get him released hon humanitarian grounds but keep the politics, the bad relationship between the u.s. and north korea out of the equation. >> reporter: the warmbier family has stressed that their
called for his release. the white house today accused north korea of holding him as a political pawn. lester. >> richard engel tonight, thank you. now to one of the wildest prison escapes we've ever seen, all caught on camera, the video under wraps for quite some time just released though showing inmates escaping not by hopping a fence or digging a tunnel. instead they hopped a ride aboard a helicopter that landed right on the roof. nbc's blake mccoy has the tape. >> reporter: watch closely as a hijacked helicopter hovers above a canadian prison yard. two inmates grab a rope below, but unlike the movies they are unable to physically pull themselves up. the helicopter forced to land on the prison roof. for more than six minutes plays out as unarmed guards watch helpless to stop them. the escape took place in 2013 at the st. jerome detention centre near montreal. the tape, newly released. eventually the prisoners were
to the freedom of a nearby getaway car, so what went wrong? >> well, i think everything went wrong and you'd almost have to ask what went right? >> reporter: critics have scald for increased security at canadian prisons. >> the prison guards have to have the capability to respond to armed intruders, and in this case either they didn't have the capability or they lacked the desire to do so. >> reporter: because while the great escape plot may have played out more like "gump & dumper" it the did work in the two were captured several hours later. both men remain behind bars. blake mccoy, nbc news, chicago. this will's late word that the world's busiest subway system will reopen at 5:00 a.m. in an unprecedented move the d.c. metro was shut down for emergency inspections and repairs. as nbc's tom costello plains is it's just a symptom of our nation's much larger crumbling infrastructure. >> reporter: a stressful commute in the nation's capital today. >> a drastically different day for
>> reporter: has hundreds of thousands of subway riders turned to car pools or buses or teleworked from home. the entire system shut down. safety crews today found two dozen frayed and charred power lines after an underground fire on monday and a smoke event last year killed one. nine dead in a 2009 crash. >> none of us have in good conscience could send the trains out even with full knowledge of the participants of what the situation was knowing the risks that we had. >> reporter: public transportation experts say d.c. is symptomatic of detained mass transit systems nationwide with backlogged maintenance now totaling $86 billion. >> the 40-year-old system is a worn out system unless you invest in it continuously. >> reporter: not just subways, a quarter of the nation's roads are in disrepair. 70,000 bridges structural deficient. among the most iconic washington's duquesne memorial bridge connecting arlington national cemetery with the lincoln memorial. meanwhile, is
secretary today said the d.c. subway system has a call tour of failing to take safety seriously. >> the culture down there has to change and we can't enable the continuation of the safety failures any longer. >> reporter: subway managers say the system should reopen for the morning rush with federal regulators and congress demanding a renewed emphasis on safety. tom costello, nbc news, washington. there's a lot more to tell you about tonight, including a shocking waste of costly cancer drugs. why medicines worth billions of dollars are literally being thrown away, and we're all getting stuck with the tab. also, after sharing the screen with the likes of ryan
schwarzenegger a there is growing outrage over not just the sky-high cost of cancer drugs but also over the huge amount of those drugs that are being wasted. we're talking billions of dollars of expensive medicines literally being thrown away, and it's all because of a one-size-fits-all approach to packaging. nbc's anne thompson has details. >> reporter: breakthrough cancer drugs, precious, expensive and wasted, up to $3 billion a year says a shocking new study from memorial sloan-kettering hospital. >> we're talking about hundreds of millions of dollars for nearly every drug we looked at going in the trash. >> reporter: why? doses of these cancer drugs are determined by a patient's weight, but manufacturers sell
or two vial sizes so it's harder to tailor the dose. >> they can get paid for the dose, and if they can put in a big vial they get paid for the trash part, too. >> reporter: doctors peter bach and len saltz ked the top selling cancer drugs, in medicine that's helping minot live with breast cancer. >> it's the drug that saved my life basically. >> reporter: each drug every three weeks cost $9,500 but she only uses 81% meaning her insurance is arguably being charged $1,800 extra for medication she doesn't need. >> it's outrageous. it's like kicking somebody who is already down. >> reporter: genentech the maker of the drug says it's available in two sizes and it's packaged to meet fda regulations so that leftover medication is minimized. bach says manufacturers need to offer more sizes as many already do overseas. but in changing the packaging, won't you drive up the cost?
the clock is ticking to fill out your bracket for the march madness tournament, and just like in years past president obama is getting in on the action. he tells espn he's got two number one seeds in the final with kansas ultimately beating north carolina for the title. take it with a grain of salt though. the president has only picked the right winner once, in his first year in office. and the future is now for something movie fans have been looking forward to for years. remember those self-lacing sneakers that michael j. fox wore in "back to the future part 2" flying on a hoverboard in the year 2015. they are now reality
"greece" and much finally tonight a hollywood great is retiring after a long legendary career that spanned decades. an icon of sorts featured in countless films, tv shows and commercials. but now the time has come to say it's a wrap. nbc's miguel almaguer has farewell. >> reporter: l.a.'s legendary sixth street bridge could be tinsel town's best supporting actor. >> code 6 at the bridge. >> reporter: there's samuel l. jackson and ryan gosling in "drive" and arnold schwarzenegger's "last action hero" just to name a few. the bridge in the
saying a word. >> it's very nostalgic to be back here. >> reporter: director randal kaiser put the sixth street bridge center stage. >> reporter: in the 1978 smash "grease." >> i was blown away by just how big the scale is. grease is the word, is the word >> everywhere i go in the world people have seen this and seen the sequence and remember it. >> reporter: built in 1932, the bridge served its time. it's crumbling now. the old concrete falling apart, no longer able to support the gridlock of 15,000 cars every day. the curtain call on this 85-year-old bridge is already under way. it's going to take four years and $450 million to build a new one. as if goes in hollywood a newer younger model will take its place. traffic may move because i'm happy >> reporter: but progress won't erase the memories of the