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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  February 15, 2016 3:30am-4:00am EST

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on this sunday night, the high-stakes battle after the death of one. a major political over nominating a new supreme court justice in an election year. plus, the potential impact of sc of the biggest cases before the court. southern brawl. trump endures the last night's crucial and highly contentious south carolina debate. gation. the surprising number of people who confess to crimes they not commit. tonight, we look at the reasons why.
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schools without walls. the growing trend and why some say it's the best way for children "nightly news" begins now. good evening. the unexpected death of u.s. supreme court justice antonin scalia is reshaping the 2016ce for the white house. only three supreme court justices have died in office in more than 60 years. only one has beenconfirmed during an election year since 1940. at 79 years old, scalia's passing might already be living up to one of his previous statements about theappointment process to the nation's highest court. in 2007, while speaking to -- in ile speaking to a crowd at montana state university, he cautioned the audience saying americans should "get used to controversial and absurd political theater whe is nominated." some gop presidential hopefuls are
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obama's established executive authority to nominate a replacement election season. however, the president has already said it will happen, but this due time. and what about cases the supreme as heard or has agreed to hear this term? our pete williams will have more on that. first, to our kelly white house. kelly? >> reporter: good evening, thomas. white house advisories tell me that at least for the next week the president will not have a decision on asuccessor to justice scalia. while the senate is out of town. he took about a month to choose his other supreme court tonight, the urgency of the presidential campaign season is firing up passions over the future of the court even before anyfuneral plans for justice scalia are made public. today, the silent of respect across washington. but no pause before the clash of politics. >> there is no way the senate should confirmanyone that barack obama tries to appoint
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office appointment. [ applause ] >> reporter: an instant power struggle over a successor to justice scalia. >> let me just make one point -- barack obama is the united states until january 20th, 2017. >> good evening, everybody. >> reporter: from ia, president obama made clear he will nominate a new justice and expects the senate to consider his choice fairly. are responsibilities that i take seriously as should everyone. they're bigger than any one party. about our democracy. >> reporter: if the president gets to see his third justice, that change would make the court more beral. compounding the shock of scalia's sudden passing is the timing. a campaign year -- >> we ought to makethe 2016 election a referendum on the supreme court. >> reporter: republican candidate ted cruz had been a rk for chief justice rehnquist. now as a senator he intends to block any obama nominee. >> we are advising ame duck president in an
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going to be able to tip the balance of the supreme court. >> reporter: democrats are already calling z. >> ted cruz holds the constitution when he walks through the halls of congress. let him show me the hat says the president's only president for three >> reporter: with fewer senate votes, democrats may have to ir fight for an obama court pick to well. >> i just don't think it looks good that for very reasons that the republicans would deny this president the right to exercise his co responsibility which is to appoint members to the supreme court. >> reporter: for some gop candidates and an senators, their opposition goes beyond the idea of own anyone the president might choose. they say there should be no confirmation process. node vetting, no -- no vetting, no hearing, no vot thomas? >> kelly o'donnell at the white house. thank you. the death of justice scalia also raises questions about
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decide a number of key cases this term from rights to affirmative action. we get more on scalia's death and its impact from our justice correspondent pete williams. >> reporter: as in the rest of the nation, justice scalia's death is being mourned at n he was at this guest ranch popular with bird watchers when he a heart attack. >> he passed away with no difficulty during the night. that was our first message for the family. >> reporter: a catholic priest from a nearby church was summoned to administer last rights. justice scalia's former colleagues praised a towering inelect. ruth bader ginsburg said, "we were best buddies. he had a rare talent to make even the most sober judge laugh." clarence thomas said, "it is hard to imagine the court without my friend. ill miss him beyond all measure." the court often divided 5-4 along ideological lines on
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eight justices and the possibility of tie votes, 4-4. >> if there's a tie, there's no outcome at the supreme court. the lower court ruling stands. it's as if the supreme court never heard the case. >> reporter: a tie vote would lead rulings intact that block president obama's plan to let five million undocumented migrants stay here. a tie would mean the tough new texas restrictions on abortion would remain, possibly inspiring other states to enact similar laws. and a tie would be a boost to the financial strength of unions representing teachers and other public employees. if a democratic president appointed a successor to the conservative scalia, that would tilt the court the other way to a majority of liberal justices. >> if president obama were able to put another justice on the court, he would cement a leftist majority on the court for the next generation or so. >> reporter: among potential nominees mentioned in legal circles, sri sri srinivason on the court of appeals. patricia millett, d.c.
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and paul watford, african-american, ninth circuit court of appeals in california. the jusztices are now in their mid winter break. they'll be back on the bench in about a week. they'll face the task of finishing out this term without a full court for the first time in more than 50 years. thomas? >> pete williams at the supreme court. pete, thank you. beyond the death of scalia and the emerging battle over choosing and confirming the next justice, the republican presidential candidates were question good a number of other key -- questioned about a number of other key and divisive issues in their debate in south carolina. as gabe gutierrez reports, it was their most combative debate so far. >> reporter: after a moment of silence for justice scalia came the most contentious gop debate so far. >> they lied. >> just been telling lies. >> why do you lie? >> liar, liar, liar. >> reporter: the words "liar" or some variation were used at least 22 times. 13 of those by front-runner donald trump. and yet -- >> i didn't call anybody a liar. >> you called trez a d ed ted cruz a liar.
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by jeb bush or how to fight isis in syria. >> it is ludicrous to suggest that russia could be a positive partner in this. >> jeb is so wrong. >> while donald trump was building a reality tv show, my brother was building a security apparatus to keep us safe. >> the world trade center came down during your brother's reign. [ boos ] >> remember that. >> hold on -- >> reporter: marco rubio trying to rebound from his last debate came to bush's defense today blaming 9/11 on bill clinton's decision ton take out osama bin laden. >> that's what allowed jim al qaeda to grow and prosper and be able to strike america. >> reporter: the strike over immigration, at one point taking issue with something rubio said in a spanish language interview. >> i don't know how he knows what i said on univision because he doesn't speak spanish. second of all -- [ laughter ] >> it other point -- [ speaking spanish ] >> reporter: cruz also pounced on trump for what he called the billionaire's past liberal positions.
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biggest liar. you probably are worse than jeb bush. you are the single biggest liar -- >> donald has this weird pattern. when you point to his own record, he screams "liar, liar, liar." >> reporter: striking a different tone, john kasich. >> i got to tell you, there is just crazy, huh? this is just nuts, okay. [ applause ] >> geez, oh man. i think we're fixing to lose the election to hillary clinton if we don't stop this. >> reporter: tonight, there seems to be no stopping trump. >> i think it was probably my best performance. >> reporter: in a state where politics is a contact sport. the gop primary here is just six days away. and hoping to capitalize on his family's popularity in south carolina, jeb bush will be joined by his brother, president george w. bush, and the former first lady on the campaign trail tomorrow. thomas? >> gabe gutierrez reporting in south carolina. thank you. back here in the northeast, parts of the country waking up to record-breaking cold temperatures this morning. the good news -- a warming trend is
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our meteorologist, dylan dreyer, looks at what's in store. dylan? >> good evening, thomas. it is the coldest weather we've seen so far this season. in fact, the coldest valentine's day on record. it's all thanks to the polar vortex dropping down this cold arctic air from canada. and we are going to see things turn the corner as we go into tomorrow. this morning, we broke records in new york city with a temperature of minus 1. the old record in boston, minus 3. he bottomed out at minus 9 this morning. albany, 13 below. watertown, new york, started off at 37 degrees below 0. monday, we'll start to turn the corner. temperatures above freezing in new york, 37 degrees for the high. boston, about 30 degrees. buffalo should make it to 35. then watch what happens on tuesday. temperatures will soar back up to the mid 50s. that's about 15 degrees above average for the northeast. pittsburgh should even hit 41 degrees. so with this next storm system moving in, while it will start a snow, it will turn over to rain. here we go 5:00 in the morning on monday. lighter snow showers
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virginia. we will see a brief period of heavier snow through virginia and washington, d.c. inches possible in washington monday then we'll see it turn over to rain as we go into monday night. new york city will also see some light accumulations, about one to two inches. then we'll see things turn over to rain through the afternoon and evening on tuesday here in new york city. thomas? >> thank you very much. we turn our attention now overseas to the civil war in syria. president obama and russian president vladimir putin spoke by telephone this weekend. the white house said that mr. obama stressed the importance of implementing a temporary cease-fire plan this coming friday. russia, however, says the plan does not apply to its air strikes. we have more from inside syria and report from damascus. >> reporter: bloodshed days before a deadline to end syria's hostility. opposition fighters apparently hit by russian air strikes in aleppo province. the russians say they are targeting terrorists like isis
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the u.s. accuses them of bombing fighters backed by america. >> their air strikes are putting them in a position of strength as they approach any negotiation position. >> reporter: the southeastern government is allowing -- the syrian government is allowing aid to? some cut-off communities like here in duma, a suburb of damascus. this video shot by an opposition activist group showed bombs dropped on an opposition-held area of the capital. [ explosion ] >> reporter: and the president has so howed ed -- has vowed to take back all of syria. there are slogans, let's rebuild, restore national unity. president assad that will not happen through peace now. people in areas like this 18-year-old law student are with him. >> we are the generation of the future. we will build syria to be the best. >> reporter: you believe your generation will rebuild the country? >> yes. >> reporter: the saudis and their allies opposed to president assad are
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tells me. others from aleppo are fleeing a looming siege of the city by syrian forces. while this weekend, the saudis and turkey are threatening to enter the ground war after turkey shelled parts of northern syria for a second day. syria broken and divided seems as far as ever from peace. nbc news, damascus. pope francis ventured into a crime-ridden suburb of mexico city today leading a huge outdoor mass with a message of hope for those trapped by the country's drug violence. anne thompson was there for today's highly symbolic visit. >> reporter: today pope francis went to the city notorious for poverty and crime. francis drove through the graffiti-covered streets given a makeover by reformed criminals. more appropriate for the occasion, the pope portrayed in all kinds of ways, even as a
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home to 1.6 million people, the area has one of the highest murder and disappearance rates of women in mexico. police have solved few of the cases. "it's such a dangerous place," she tells me, "today's mass is one of the rare times i bring my children to a public event." more than 300,000 people filled a dusty field to hear the pope warn of temptations of wealth, vanity, and pride, emphatically telling them there can be no dialogue with the devil. here evil can feel like a daily reality. for this nation which polls show has little confidence in its government, francis is asking these people, many of them poor and powerless, to join the front lines of making mexico a land of opportunity. urging them to create a country where no one has to leave to find a better life. a challenge this college student is ready to accept. >> mow sew mexico
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be a better country. >> reporter: today for a moment, one of its most dangerous cities of a better place. nbc news, mexico. when "nbc nightly news" continues on this sunday, we'll
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we're back with a problem in our criminal justice system that is getting increasing tension. interrogation techniques that police
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but are often not true. keith morrison looks at the case of one young man who confessed. you stabbed her, didn't you? >> uh-huh. one or two times. >> reporter: a phenomenon as strange and counterintuitive as anything in law enforcement. >> everything you've told subcommittee true, correct? >> true. [ siren ] >> reporter: the apparent decision, especially by the young, to confess to crimes they did not commit. even murder. >> i hit her two times. >> reporter: and yet, 18-year-old robert davis of virginia did. he admit to taking part in a brutal took a plea that resulted in a 23-year prison sentence. even though, as laura nyrider, of the -- intelligence interrogations i've >> you were there! >> reporter: the thing is, robert davis is far from alone. research produced by nyrider and others revealed that something like 25% of the thousands of
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convictions were later overturned by dna evidence actually confessed falsely. why? according to nyrider, interrogation techniques used in the u.s. but now banned in many other countries are clearly to blame. >> when these kids go into that interrogation room and they come out, all they heard was "if i do what this authority figure wants me to do, i get to go home. good night to go to my own bed. i get to see my mom." >> reporter: instead, they go to prison. a confession being perhaps the most many american courtrooms. >> what confessions tend to do is they shape this confirmation bias. >> reporter: britain among other countries has put in place rules that have virtually eliminated false confessions while increasing the percentage of crimes solved. >> we would not prosecute somebody solely on a confession. >> reporter: but though american interrogation techniques are slowly changing, there are no standardized rules. practices vary from county to county. and thus, in the
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murderer" documentary, the disturbing interview with brendan dasey. >> all right. i'm going to ask you who shot her in the head? >> he did. >> reporter: and in the case of robert davis. >> i know what took place. >> reporter: a long night with a man he thought was his police officer friend. >> i was young, i didn't know. i was naive, you know. i was scared. >> reporter: which has led to a remarkable saga and a conclusion now being noticed that just might make a difference. keith morrison, nbc news. >> an amazing report. you can watch the entire story coming up tonight on "dateline." coming up, a tribute to those who made a perilous
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new zealand today as a strong earthquake struck near kriefchurch on the -- christchurch on the south island. the quake had a magnitude of 5.8. the plight of migrants. in berlin, jackets as well as a raft on display. the work of a chinese dissident artist. more than 3,700 migrants died last year trying to cross the mediterranean to europe. and on this valentine's day, it's a love story for the ages. he's 104. she's his younger wife at just 100. john and ann batar of fairfield, connecticut, are said to be the longest married couple in the united states -- 83 years. today, through the twitter account of a company that has embraced their story,
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advice to questions like how do they keep thing fresh and new. said ann, "we hang on to one another, just a few little hugs, and we're fine." when we come back, a new generation and a new approach to
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finally, it's no secret that young children love to be outdoors. with that in mind, more and more schools in this country are embracing learning outside the traditional classroom. they're called nature schools or forest schools. as we hear from kristen dahlgren, they give new meaning to the basics. i caught a fish! >> reporter: at wildflowers nature preschool in northern california, this is math class.
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>> reporter: and the abcs, it's not a field trip -- >> look for worms. >> reporter: -- this is every day, start to finish, spent outside from the forest to the garden to the barnyard. >> how many babies do you think she has? >> a lot. >> reporter: for founder bev buswell, it's about taking the learning beyond the building. >> you look at the average school, the idea is that you work inside and go out for a break. we need the reverse. >> they get to run around, explore, and i think really learn some foundational life concepts. >> reporter: children connecting to the environment instead of electronics. >> when he and i go hiking, he'll stop for four or five minutes and just listen and point at birds. >> reporter: angela, can you cover it with dirt? >> reporter: so-called nature schools are spreading across the country. it's not just private schools embracing the outdoors. >> this in the summertime, the third graders are growing corn, beans, and squash -- >> reporter: at this public school in
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be a parking lot has been transformed into a garden complete with a hen house. >> we're getting kids who might not have a chance to be outside and get their hands in the dirt on get to do that. >> reporter: in the dead of winter, classes meet in the greenhouse for a lesson that can even make kids cheer for broccoli. >> broccoli! >> reporter: it seems learning where their food comes from -- >> what about carrots, where do they grow? >> in the ground. >> reporter: can make >> tasty. take on the traditional classroom that has these kids begging for more. kristen dahlgren, nbc news, brooklyn. >> don't hear much about begging for broccoli. there we have it. that's "nbc nightly news" for this sunday. lester holt will be here tomorrow. i'm thomas roberts reporting from new york. thank you for watching, and good
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it's monday, february 15th. coming up on "early today," in the quiet dark of night, the body of supreme court justice antonin scalia returns to virginia but the political reaction has been anything but quiet. as the candidates weigh in on the next justice, they're also tearing one another apart. >> they lied. >> been telling lies. >> why do you lie. >> liar, liar, liar. millions endured record cold temperatures over the valentine weekend but more cold is in store for the week ahead. plus, is kanye west millions in debt. a monster week at the box office.


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