tv NBC Nightly News NBC June 6, 2014 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
you can see that widespread temperature extreme. thank the fog at the coastline for that. >> thanks, see you at 6:00. on our broadcast tonight, the salute to the warriors who stormed the beaches here in normandy. the men who liberated the nation and changed the course of history. tonight, the emotional return for many one more time. our nbc news exclusive, our conversation with president obama on the prisoner swap, his reaction to edward snowden and what he told us shortly bere a surprise meeting with vladimir putin. moment of crisis. on another college campus and the student who went into action to take down the gunman. and run for history. excitement building at belmont in new york after all these years, are we about to see a triple crown? "nightly news" from normandy tonight begins now. >> this is "nbc nightly news"
with brian williams. reporting tonight from normandy. good evening. when they were young on a terrible day 70 years ago today, they dropped into the woods in parachutes, flew overhead in war planes and wave after wave on the beach with machine gun and artillery fire raining down on them from above. it was an enormous gamble. they paid under 10,000 souls rest in eternal peace behind us, some of them, right where they died. yet their efforts turned the tide in the war and helped to save the world. it was a beautiful day here today. made more beautiful by how many of them made it back one more trip to normandy for the men who already took it once. years ago, tom brokaw gave a bunch of them the perfect title, the greatest generation. here today tom was back as well to witness this 70th reunion.
♪ >> reporter: this is why we're here. here above the beaches of normandy just beyond the water that brought liberty at a great sacrifice. for those who survived that day and for so many others, this is a journey of honor and remembrance to honor their fallen friends and remember 70 years later, but it is not just veterans who honor the sacrifices here. a new generation of leaders takes up the call. >> we tell the story for the soldiers that pulled themselves a little straighter today to salute brothers who never made
it home. we tell the story for the daughter who clutches a faded photo10 of her father forever young. gentlemen, i want each of you to know your legacy is in good hands. >> reporter: and the president reminded us their legacy goes beyond the fighting to the costly time in their young lives. >> they left home barely more than boys and returned home heroes, but to their great credit, that is not how this generation carried itself. after the war, some put away their medals, were quiet about their service, moved on. >> reporter: but before they could go home, there was normandy. there had never been anything like it before, and there never would be again. >> what more powerful manifestation of america's commitment to human freedom than the sight of wave after wave after wave for the young men to board the boats to meet people they never met. >> reporter: and the command from the commander in chief. >> whenever the world makes you
cynical, stop and think of these men. whenever you lose hope, stop and think of these men. ♪ >> reporter: now in their late 80s and 90s, so many veterans will not be around for the 75th anniversary. their lives are coming to a close, but their legacy can never be dimmed. ♪ >> an incredible day here at normandy and tom, whether you accept it or not, you get their thanks for naming their entire generation, and i know it's personal for you to be back here with them. >> it is. the original intention was to write a book for them, about them. and what's so gratifying is a generation of americans has picked it up.
what is striking, as well, brian, so many people are more interested in world war ii now than they would have been 40 years ago and it's the magnitude of the event and magnitude of the event and the unity of the country as opposed to where we are in the world now. >> great to have you back here. what a day here on the coast above omaha beach. the events here today brought together leaders from around the world, presidents, prime ministers, kings and queens. a big question today, would presidents obama and putin take the opportunity to speak face to face since it's been such a rocky time over ukraine. turns out they did meet and we get our report from andrea mitchell. >> vladimir putin and president obama spent most of the day avoiding each other. at lunch, separated by a long table, two queens and the french president but in a hallway, their first face-to-face meeting since russia seized crimea. just 15 minutes. it looked like an awkward
encounter after a bad breakup. only this short snippet of video released. president obama urged putin to ease tensions with ukraine by recognizing the newly elected president, with whom putin also met today. actually, putin was uncha uncharacteristically diplomatically saying, of course, i also spoke twice with the president of the united states. quite substantively in my opinion. most of the day was a celebration of heroes with bands, dances, a patriotic flyover and royalty, queen elizabeth who herself was in uniform in world war ii as a driver and mechanic made one of maybe her last overseas appearances as she slows down, passing the torch to a new generation. prince william and kate having d-day veterans for tea. kate moving from table to table smiling and listening to stories. on gold beach, the young royals
welcome veterans and honored their service. >> it's vital the sacrifice and reasons for that sacrifice are never forgotten by our generation and generations to come. >> reporter: on omaha beach younger generations stood on the sand where so many sacrificed so they could live free. today's d-day ceremony under scores the terrible price paid by so many when diplomacy failed. underscores the terribl paid by so many when diplomacy failed. by so many when diploma failed. >> andrea, thanks, as always. >> after speaking to the crowd of thousands here on this hallowed ground, president obama sat down with us for an exclusive interview at a time when things military happened to dominate the news. chiefly, bowe bergdahl coming home to the u.s. after years behind enemy lines in exchange for those five prisoners from guantanamo bay. on the subject of bowe bergdahl, there is real confusion and we
hope you can clear up this one point that arose last night and today. what was the reason for not informing the eight members of congress who would customarily be informed by this? >> brian, i have to tell you the same thing that i've been saying for the last several days, which is we have a rule, a principle that when somebody wears our country's uniform and they are in a war theater and they are captured, we're going to do everything we can to bring them home, and we saw an opportunity, and we took it, and i make no apologies for it. it was a unanimous decision among my principals in my government and a view shared by the members of the joint chief of staff and this is somethins of staff and this is something that i would do again and i will continue to do wherever i have of an opportunity. if we have a member of the
military who's in captivity, we're going to try to get them out. >> the reason for the lack of congressional communication? >> as i said before, the main concern was we had to act fast in a delicate situation that required no publicity. >> the five prisoners part of the exchange by their resumes, they are professionals, former high-value assets. the question asked on the cover of "time" magazine this week, was it worth it? >> the fact is that we are ending a war in afghanistan. we have released both under my administration and previous administrations, a large number of former taliban fighters, some of whom returned to the battlefield, but by definition, you don't do prisoner exchanges with your friends, you do them with your enemies. >> in our interview recently with edward snowden in russia, i raised the allegation that he has badly damaged his country. how has the united states been harmed by what he did? >> well, i'm not going to
comment on the particulars of the case but i'll say the disclosures that we've seen had a very significant impact on our intelligence operations around the world, had a grave impact on a number of diplomatic relationships, compromised our ability to gain insight into some of the work our adversaries do. i said before and i'll say again, there is no doubt this is an area of legitimate debate and i think there are patriots on both sides who recognize on the one hand we've got to make sure that our eyes and ears are open for potential threats. what is also true, we got to make sure not only that our privacy is protected but the manner in which intelligence services operate internationally comports with our values and our ideasls.
>> your personal connection, it's quite a distinction to be able to say that a family member fought in patton's third army. >> my grandfather was the first to be very humble about his service. he came in after the initial charge of these men who were so young when they came here. and they showed such extraordinary courage and capacity and changed the world, and then go back home and settle back down and didn't really make a fuss about it. my grandfather passed away over 20 years ago. this is one of those days where i thought to myself, it would have been nice to have him here. i think he would have been -- he would have been proud to see that what he was a part of so long ago was now being celebrated by a grandson who is the commander in chief of the
greatest military on earth. i think he would have been pretty proud and probably a little more than surprised. >> part of our conversation with the president here today and as he left us and boarded his helicopter marine one, we noticed someone with him. turns out he offered a d-day veteran a better than average view of the french coastline from above, 90-year-old retired command sergeant major first came to these shores with the army's 508 infantry 70 years ago today, and we sincerely hope you can join us tonight for our hour-long special, profiling d-day veterans who came back here, two of them for the first time since 1944. it area at 8:00, 7:00 central. president obama thanked the french for the beauty and dignity and remembrance of this resting place and back home in the u.s., france gave its thanks
in another way for america's help in world war ii. in new york harbor today, three helicopters dropped one million rose pedals on the statute of liberty was a gift of friendship from france to the united states. world war ii veterans and active duty military members were on hand for the event. we'll take a break, more of the day's other news still ahead when we continue, including a another episode of violence on. >> college campus and the student credited with saving lives. college campus and the stt credited with saving lives. coll credited with saving lives. coll credited with saving lives. on.c student credited with saving lives. college campus and the stt credited with saving lives. on college campus and the student credited with saving lives. acol credited with saving lives. a college campus and the student credited with saving lives.
>> of special interest to our viewers on the west coast. in washington state, a college shootling on a km pus, in which one person was killed, three others were wounded. police said it might have been much worse if it were not for a brave student who stepped in to help. we get our story from nbc's miguel almaguer.
>> reporter: a frightening scene on seattle pacific university. 19-year-old paul lee is killed. three other students wounded, one critically. witnesses say the gunman was reloading when an engineering student pepper sprayed the shooter. today aybara was in could you tell and will face murder and assault charges next week. >> he suffers from long standing medical issues. >> reporter: but sources close to the investigation tell nbc news he researched mass shootings, specifically columbine, was described as a loner who purchased a shotgun two years ago from a private
owner, requiring no background check. at a vigil today, there were prayers for the victim and praise for a young man credited with saving so many lives. miguel almaguer, nbc news, seattle. and there was a sense situation today at a courthouse in georgia where officials say a wounded sheriff's deputy prevented others from being hurt. the deputy encountered a man armed with weapons and explosives who droe his suv to the steps of the county courthouse. authorities say the suspect shot the deputy in the leg before police arrived moments later and killed the suspect in a barrage of gun fire. and police in canada arrested a 24-year-old man early today after the shooting death of three royal canada i can't be mounted police in the province of new brunswick just north of the state of maine. the suspect was found in someone's backyard and has been charged with three counts of first degree murder. we are back in just a moment
there was more positive economic news today. the u.s. economy apd added 217, jobs last month. it's the fourth month in a row now of solid hiring. the unemployment rate was unchanged unchanged. at 6.3%. it's been 36 years since we seen a champion claim one of the biggest crowns in sports but that could change tomorrow at belmont park where a cinderella story is on the verge of changing. katy tur with more.
>> reporter: good evening, brian. he comes from a place winning horses don't. his dad was a race loser, his mom people said you would be crazy to buy but somehow they had california chrome and in may, the colt took the kentucky derby, two weeks later, the preakness and tomorrow he'll race for what could be the first triple crown since 1978. and though the odds are on his side, it's not going to be easy because belmont is big, a mile and a half, longer than the preakness and derby and the last 12 years, four horses had seen their crown hopes crushed here. in short, it's a place legends are made and brian, all too often, dreams are dashed. >> katy tur at track side at belmont park. we all get to find out tomorrow. katy, thanks. when we come back from here. one of the great stories among the great men who gathered here today.
survived his worst day to live a long life and prosper back home. tommy mcdonnell stormed omaha beach when he was 21, not thinking how the day would live in history but now at 91, he does not want his experience to be forgotten. >> i want my boys to see where it happened. >> reporter: he returned this week with two generations at his side, his grandson matt alexander is an iraq war veteran. >> i felt like i needed to see it to put it in perspective and changed my perspective of what my grand dad went through. >> reporter: he was a sharp shooter, the big red one. their mission to take omaha beach, where the famous scene in "saving private ryan" captured the epic bloodshed and violence of that morning. few of mcdonald's friends
survived and on his way up the beach, a piece of sharp neil pierced him. what was it like to get hit? >> it was red hot. it was like someone hit me with a hot poker. but it didn't hurt. >> oh, come on. >> it might have hurt a little bit, but i could still move. >> reporter: the army wanted him to stay on but he had had enough. >> i had said i've done all the killing i'm going to do. i'm going to go to medical school, become a doctor and start saving lives instead of taking them. >> reporter: back home, tommy mcdonald became known as d tommy, an obgny. they gave all. >> reporter: this journey back to normandy was closing a chapter and with the help of his family, ensuring what happened on this coastline will be remembered for generations to come. >> it's a great honor to be able to see the people respect what was done. >> reporter: isn't that the most important thing to pass along the effort of the lesson?
what your effort made? >> they understand. it's a wonderful thing for them to understand. >> he's one of the reasons we ask that you join us for tonight's special hour. we urge you to watch as a family. it's a generational lesson in bravery and modesty. return to d-day with us and with these four men who helped save the world when they were young. that is our broadcast on a friday night and for this week, thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams reporting tonight from the u.s. military cemetery here at omaha beach. we hope to see you back home in
new york on monday night. in the meantime, have a good weekend. good night from normandy. nbc bay area news starts now. right now at 6:00, it's a fight to shorten the long arm of the nsa. tonight, how that fight against government surveillance is playing out right here in the bay area. good friday evening. i'm
janelle wang. >> and i'm jessica aguirre. the nsa won a skirmish today. a bid was lost to prevent the government from destroying e-mails gathered from millions
of americans. mark matthews is live with why the nsa is claiming victory tonight. >> reporter: at least for the short term. this case dates back eight years, back to a time when a technician at an at&t building in san francisco reported what he said was massive government spying on americans' internet and e-mail communications. mark sclien said it was happening inside this at&t building. he said it was happening in room 641 a, reporting that the phone company had installed
a splitter on their internet cables routing everything into a nsa bank of computers. the electronic frontier foundation or eff is suing claiming the mass surveillance of americans is unconstitutional. they asked judge jeffrey white to prevent them from destroying that evidence of collection. lawyers argued the nsa material needs to be deleted bec