tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC November 22, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
at tracking bears. keeping a close eye on them. they say the bears are just trying to fatten up. >> of course there was a taco bell right there as well. thanks for joining us here at 5:00. tonight, guilty plea. a former team doctor for usa gymnastics admits in court to sexually abusing several children as another olympic star comes forward to accuse him. the urgent search off japan. three american service members still missing after a u.s. navy plane plunges into the sea. the holiday rush is on. one of the busiest travel days of the year. but will severe weather impact your thanksgiving? al roker is here. daring dash. a north korean soldier makes a break for freedom under fire from his own comrades. his dramatic escape caught on camera. nbc news exclusive. the pastor, who lost 26 parishioners including his own daughter in that texas church massacre, speaking out. >> where she is, she'll never have to hurt or have pain.
she is frolicking with the angels at this point. >> his first tv interview. and behind the scenes on the eve of the most anticipated thanksgiving celebration of them all. this is nbc "nightly news" with lester holt. >> good evening. i'm kate snow in for lesser tonight. as a judge in michigan put it today, larry nassar used a position of trust in the most vile way. the former doctor for the usa gymnastics team pleaded guilty to first degree criminal sexual conduct involving seven girls in michigan. three of them were under the age of 13. the legal proceedings moving forward as another high-profile olympian joined the long list of accusers. here's nbc's stephanie gosk. >> and it's a gabby gold! >> reporter: three-time gold medal winner gabby douglas now adds her name to a list almost a hundred long accusing larry nassar, the former doctor for usa gymnastics, of
molesting her. >> how do you plead? >> guilty. >> reporter: today shackled and looking weary, nassar admitted sexually abusing seven children in michigan, part of a plea deal that means he will go straight to prison. >> i pray the rosary every day for forgiveness for their -- i want them to heal. >> reporter: the judge told nassar he can expect to spend the rest of his life behind bars. >> you used that position of trust that you had in the most vile way, to abuse children. >> reporter: one of his most high-profile patients, douglas writes in part, i didn't publicly share my experiences as well as many other things because for years we were conditioned to stay silent and honestly some things were extremely painful. she's the latest decorated olympic gymnast to accuse nassar, joining mckayla maroney and aly raisman. >> i think he's a monster. and i think it is so disturbing to me what he did to me and so many other people. this is so much bigger than just me. >> reporter: douglas weighed in on nassar for the first time last week. in response to
raisman, she posted online about the subject of abuse. however, it is our responsibility as women to dress modestly and be classy. the comment drew quick criticism, even from her own teammate, simone biles. on tuesday douglas said she, too, was abused and that, quote, i know that no matter what you wear it never gives anyone the right to harass or abuse you. nassar has not been charged with assaulting any olympians, but among the accusers in michigan there's relief. >> today i am grateful for the army of women that have stopped a pedophile. >> reporter: kate, the alleged victims in michigan -- and there are more than 125 of them -- are all invited back to court to share their stories about nassar when he's sentenced in january. as part of the plea agreement, the minimum sentence is 25 years, the maximum 40. >> could take some time to hear their stories as well. stephanie, thank you. an urgent search is under way tonight for three u.s. service members missing after a navy transport plane crashed into the ocean off japan. 11 people were on
board, 8 were quickly rescued. it's just the latest incident for the seventh fleet still reeling from a series of deadly accidents. nbc's tom costello has the latest. >> reporter: the plane involved is a navy workhorse, a twin engine turboprop c-2 greyhound like this one, used mostly to fly mail and cargo to ships at sea. the navy says the plane was flying from a marine base in japan to the "uss ronald reagan" when it went down in the philippine sea. the eight people who were rescued were airlifted to the ship reported to be in good condition. three others still missing. while the pentagon isn't commenting on the cause of the crash, the japanese defense minister says engine failure may have played a role. but the plane, known as a cod, has a remarkable safety record. in service for more than 50 years it hasn't been involved in a fatal crash since 1973. >> i think it's done a stellar job. i can't think of any other turboprop that has had this kind of a safety record let alone a military
aircraft. >> reporter: still, this has been a deadly year for the u.s. seventh fleet, with 17 sailors dying and two collisions involving other ships. the pentagon removing eight top naval officers from their posts. >> seventh fleet has been running at a high operational tempo for some time. we've only seen that exacerbated from the threat from north korea this year and the increase in exercises with both the south koreans and the japanese. >> reporter: it's not clear whether the age of the aircraft, mechanical failure or human error played a role in the crash, but tonight there's concern the seventh fleet's deadly year may have claimed three more lives. tom costello, nbc news, washington. tonight, the holiday rush is officially on. nearly 51 million americans expected to travel for this thanksgiving, the most in 12 years. in a moment, al roker will have your forecast, but first we turn to nbc's blake mccoy with an eye on the roadways. blake, how is it looking? >> reporter: kate, good evening. you can see it is slow going here in chicago, like it is across much of the country. a good economy means more people are making
the trek to see family this thanksgiving, and it's now crunch time. >> we are on the road again. we're taking our annual thanksgiving trip from -- >> rhode island to d.c. >> reporter: with six kids in tow, jessica everett begins the journey from rhode island to washington, d.c. >> and while traffic is heavy, we're still moving, which is the best thing you can hope for. >> reporter: road trips by far the most popular form of thanksgiving travel. just look at the gridlock last night in los angeles. from road to rail to air, all types of holiday travel are up this year. air travel seeing the biggest jump, up 5%. >> it's definitely nice to just be home with family and actually get to have a meal cooked for yourself. >> reporter: at denver's airport today, a tram malfunction backed up lines. besides that, few problems. train stations also crowded but moving. nine hours and counting, jessica and the kids are now stuck in traffic. >> it is dark now. >> reporter: but still smiling.
blake mccoy, nbc news, chicago. >> at least they're still smiling. let's turn to al roker who is tracking holiday weather for us. al, what are you seeing out there? >> kate, right now, it used to be a lot of folks didn't travel on thanksgiving but thanksgiving our big travel trouble spot even though record highs in the southwest, as we move to the northwest, that's where the big problems will be. difficult travel from seattle to medford. we're looking at seattle and portland both with traffic delays and also looking at rough travel on the roads as you get into the northeast -- or the northwest, i should say. we move on into friday, black friday, a lot of shopping going on. the big problem will be florida. heavy rain, the airport delays from jacksonville down to miami with road problems along i-95, and then for the trip back home on sunday we're looking for lake effect snow to cause some problems in the northeast and on into northern new england. again from buffalo, pittsburgh, jfk, boston some problems, i-90 looking at some problems as well. kate, and the good news is for the thanksgiving day parade, very light
winds, but it will be chilly, sunny, temperatures in the 30s. >> we'll take it, thank you. president trump is at his florida estate for the thanksgiving holiday. it was billed as a working vacation with the president active on social media. nbc's peter alexander is traveling with president. peter, good evening. >> kate, good evening to you. president trump on vacation but certainly not off twitter. today the president unleashing a predawn tirade of insults against a pair of familiar foils, the nfl and lavar ball, the brash father of one of those ucla basketball players who was recently arrested in china for shoplifting. president trump mocking ball as a poor man's version of don king, blasting him as an ungrateful fool for not thanking the president for helping secure the players' release and going on to say, in effect, he deserves credit for getting them out, writing in all caps, it was me. notably this thanksgiving, president trump will be at mar-a-lago, his estate, alongside his family but without many of his senior aides. among them chief of
staff john kelly, one of those advisers who might try to steer the president clear of those old twitter feuds. the president insists even though he's at mar-a-lago, what he calls his winter white house, he will be working hard with meetings and phone calls. but today, just as soon as aides reported that the president would not be having a low key day, he headed off to his private golf club for the next several hours. kate? >> peter alexander traveling with the president, thank you. in the netherlands today, a guilty verdict against a military commander whose forces committed some of the worst atrocities during the war in bosnia more than two decades ago. a u.n. court convicted ratko mladic of genocide and crimes against humanity including the deadly siege of sarajevo and the massacre of 8,000 muslim men and boys in srebrenica. mladic was sentenced to life in prison. in southeast asia, a wave of government-backed violence against the muslim minority in myanmar drew new condemnation today from the united states. secretary of state rex tillerson calling
it ethnic cleansing, but not going as far as calling it genocide, which critics say would carry more force and real penalties. the violence has forced hundreds of thousands of people known as rohingya to seek refuge in neighboring bangladesh. now to the daring escape from north korea that was caught on camera. a soldier making a run for the border while under fire from his own comrades. nbc's keir simmons with that dramatic story. >> reporter: like a scene from a spy thriller, a military jeep hurtles into view. inside the vehicle, a 24-year-old north korean soldier desperate to defect. as he nears the border, north korean soldiers scramble after him. he leaps from his crashed jeep narrowly escaping his pursuers. seconds later more soldiers appear and start shooting even as the defector is running across one of the world's most dangerous borders. >> i do not recall another incident of hot pursuit across the border, which potentially could have led to an escalation.
>> reporter: hit five times, having lost half his blood, the defector's body slumped against a wall. next, a daring rescue. south korean soldiers crawling to him, dragging him to safety. just last month inside north korea, we visited the dmz and walked through the very same area. that is the border between north and south. the desperate escape an embarrassment to north korea. >> i would guess looking at past practice, that anybody associated closely with him will be tried and either executed or incarcerated. >> reporter: tonight, he is recovering after two operations. lucky to be alive, running for freedom, escaping with just seconds to spare. keir simmons, nbc news. 2 1/2 weeks after a gunman opened fire at a church in south texas, the pastor of that church spoke at length about the massacre today in an exclusive tv interview with nbc news. national correspondent miguel almaguer has
more. >> reporter: the message came in six terrible words. shooting at church. a lot dead. >> i texted back, is that a joke? and a few minutes later i got, no. >> reporter: pastor frank pomeroy was away from his first baptist church of sutherland springs on that tragic sunday. returning home to help authorities identify the 26 dead. church members, friends, his 14-year-old daughter annabelle. >> it hurts to have lost annabelle. but i also know that he has a plan that i need to continue to carry out. and that's what i do. >> reporter: in a town of just 600, everyone feels the loss. >> we knew those people. >> reporter: pomeroy leans on pastor paul buford for support. >> families that are in our church had family members over there. >> reporter: the sanctuary is now a
memorial. chairs for each of the victims where they fell. >> it's surreal in the aspect that it's not the church it was to me before. however, it's still god's house. >> reporter: in his faith, pomeroy has also found forgiveness for the gunman and a reason to celebrate thanksgiving. >> it is hard to cope right now, but -- sorry, but i know annabelle would want the holidays to proceed. >> reporter: in overwhelming grief, a community grateful for their faith. miguel almaguer, nbc news, sutherland springs, texas. and there is late word tonight that in the aftermath of that church mass shooting attorney general jeff sessions has ordered the fbi and the atf to conduct a review of the national gun background check system, this after the air force admitted it had failed to enter the texas gunman's court-martial into the federal database that could have stopped him
from buying firearms. lots of tributes tonight for david cassidy, who died of organ failure yesterday. the actor and singer from tv's "partridge family" was a teen heartthrob for a pre-internet age. his poster all over the bedroom walls of young girls including my own. ♪ i think i love you >> for so many starry-eyed girls, he was the original heartthrob. >> girls are following me around. >> reporter: david cassidy, best known for his role as keith, the oldest brother on "the partridge family." ♪ we smile for a little while ♪ >> reporter: he was a favorite cover for "tiger beat" magazine back in the '70s. but that early success gave way to later struggles. >> i'll always be an addict. there will always be that in me. >> reporter: but legions of women still flocked to see the original heartthrob. then, earlier this year, cassidy revealed he had dementia. >> when friends of yours or family members begin to say to you, remember, i
just told you this two days ago, and there's no memory of it. >> reporter: today shaun cassidy, also a teen icon, said he'd always tried to catch up to his big brother. now i will carry him, along with all the funny, sad, extraordinary days we shared. ♪ do you think you love me ♪ ♪ oh i think i love you ♪ ♪ oh i think i love you ♪ ♪ i think i love you >> david cassidy was 67 years old. still ahead tonight, getting you a deal. how stores are trying to fight back this holiday season as online retailers swallow up more and more of our shopping dollars. also, marvels in the making. we're behind the scenes as they create and put together the cast of characters for the world's most famous thanksgiving parade.
correspondent jo ling kent reports, retailers struggling to compete with online merchants have a new strategy to get you in the door. >> reporter: the thanksgiving rush is about to begin. 164 million americans expected to head out or get online to find deep discounts this holiday weekend. for the first time this year shoppers say they'd rather spend online than go to a store. to lure you back, retailers are rolling out dramatic deals, but only if you show up in person. jcpenney is giving away $500 coupons for purchases of 500 bucks or more in the store, $100 coupons if you spend 100 bucks or more. macy's is offering shoppers in their stores a rebate to get ten items for free. and target granting early access to black friday deals to those who come in. >> having foot traffic in stores is easier to sell additional items. but i think they also understand that
they have to be where the consumers are. and consumers is are going more and more to online shopping. >> reporter: and if you want to start shopping tomorrow, walmart will keep 24 hour stores open, but thanksgiving deals won't kick in until 6:00 p.m. target and sears also open after dinnertime. macy's 5:00 p.m. along with toys "r" us and best buy. but if you want a three-hour headstart, jcpenney opens at 2:00. retailers pulling out all the stops to win customers back. all these big holiday discounts come after a rough year for retailers. more than 6,000 store closures, but some malls are reporting strong turnouts so far. this one, willowbrook expects a million shoppers to come through this holiday season. kate? >> all right, jo, thank you. coming up, a good reason to have that extra cup of coffee or two in the morning.
says they hadn't spoken to him in ten years before the, quote, deliberate blind side attack that left the senator with broken ribs. the pauls' neighbor has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor assault. as the investigation moves forward into russian meddling in the 2016 election, facebook announced plans today to offer you a tool through a portal in its help center to find out whether you liked or followed fake content from russian bots. and another big endorsement today for the benefits of drinking coffee. a british study found that drinking three or four cups of coffee a day was associated with lower risk of death and heart disease compared to drinking no coffee. the study found coffee is tied to a lower risk of some cancers as well as diabetes, depression, liver disease and dementia. when we come back, the giants of thanksgiving. we'll show you what it takes to make them soar. misconduct 20 years ago and
the school is now responding to claims made by current students holiday on hold. how a flock of birds held up passengers at a bay area airport. that )s next there's perhaps no bigger sign that the holiday season is about to begin than the filling of the balloons for the macy's thanksgiving day parade. the annual ritual took place today culminating a process that actually takes most of the year. and tonight, kevin tibbles takes us behind the scenes. >> reporter: since 1924, the macy's parade has ushered in the holidays with those magnificent balloons. john piper calls himself chief balloon-atic. >> we start with sketches and renderings and computer drawings, but ultimately we go to a 3-d clay model. >> reporter: his staff at this top secret factory has spent a year creating the meanest, greenest balloon this side of whoville.
except it's going to be huge. >> huge! humongous. he's a mean one. >> reporter: he is. to become the grinch each panel is precisely cut and glued so it will hold the helium. gloria simmons has been doing it for 30 years. a work of art and the heart? >> yes, definitely. >> reporter: then, all the bright green paint you can muster is brushed on with care. slowly but surely mr. grinch is ready for his test flight. with trusty dog max perched on his back. and as the big day approaches, john piper marshals the troops. ropes at the ready, handlers hang on, one for dear life. am i going to blow away? >> of course not! you're going to have fun. >> reporter: he may be green and he may be mean, but this grinch isn't going to steal anything except children's hearts. kevin tibbles, nbc news, meadowlands, new
jersey. and that's nbc "nightly news" for this wednesday. be sure to watch coverage of that macy's thanksgiving day parade tomorrow morning right here on nbc. i'm kate snow. for all of us here at nbc news, have a great night. right now at 6: we exposed allegationof the administration knew this man was a problem. and they did not do anything about it. >> right now at 6:00, we expose allegations of sexual misconduct at a prestigious south bay high school. tonight we go one on one with the former student who says she couldn't stay quiet anymore. the news at 6:00 starts right now. good evening and thanks for being with us, i'm raj mathai. >> and i'm jessica aguiraguirre. two former students of the all
girls catholic high school in san jose say they reported sexual misconduct and abuse to school leaders more than 20 years ago and that nothing happened. senior investigative reporter vicky nguyen first broke the story earlier this month about the scandal at presentation high school. >> reporter: two men who graduated in 1981 say administrators swept their reports under the rug and allowed a teacher to supervise overnight field trips after several students reported sexual misconduct. also tonight we've obtained an e-mail warning of some disturbing behavior between a current male teacher and a student. what did the principal know and when? did she use the information to protect students or to shield the school? an emotional hug today between presentation high graduates kathryn leehane and cheryl marshall saying they separately reported