tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC July 11, 2017 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
developing news tonight. bombshell russia e-mails, released by donald trump jr., explicitly offering him dirt on hillary clinton from the russian government to help his father's campaign before his controversial meeting with a russian attorney. responds tonight in an nbc exclusive. the different story she tells. and what this all means legally for president trump, his son, and the white house. deadly military crash. 16 service members killed when their plane goes down in flames in mississippi. what went wrong? close call. how a runway mistake nearly ended in disaster when a passenger plane came in for a landing in san francisco. and sharing the jackpot. how one lucky family is spreading the wealth, and inspiring america.
>> announcer: from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening. it's nice to have you with us tonight. we start with a bombshell chain of e-mails breathing new life into the question of whether the trump campaign colluded with russian operatives to boost his chances. the potentially damaging messages were revealed today by president trump's eldest son, in a startling admission donald trump jr. releasing e-mails today to confirm he met last year with someone described as a russian attorney. the e-mails making it clear that the russian government was supporting trump. you'll hear our exclusive interview with that official in a few moments. but first, national correspondent peter alexander with today's surprising revelations. >> reporter: tonight what donald trump jr.
it in black and white. on june 3rd, 2016, a trusted associate e-mails trump jr. that one of donald trump's former business partners had been contacted by a senior russian government official, and was offering the trump campaign information that would incriminate hillary clinton and her dealings with russia, and would be very useful to your father. adding, this is obviously very high level and sensitive information. but is part of russia and its government support for mr. trump. minutes later, trump jr.'s reply, if it's what you say, i love it. june 7th, after trading several e-mails, the associate suggests a meeting at trump tower with the russian government attorney who's flying over from moscow for this. trump jr. agrees, adding it's likely he'll bring paul manafort and my brother-in-law, jared kushner. that night after clinching the nomination, mr. trump promises more dirt on clinton. >> i think you're going to find it very informative and very, very interesting. >> reporter: the next
[000:02:59;00] the e-mail chain. june 9th, meeting at trump tower with natalia veselnitskaya. where are your 33,000 e-mails that you deleted? within a week, the first in a flood of leaks believed to be the result of russian hackers. there's no evidence the information trump jr. was promised was connected to that. the next month, trump jr. attacks the clinton campaign for suggesting a russian plot to help his father. >> it's disgusting. it's so phony, they will lie and do anything to win. >> reporter: trump jr. who's offered shifting explanations about the meeting today posting the e-mail exchange on twitter, earning praise from the president. my son is a high-quality person, and i applaud his transparency. but the younger trump only shared the e-mails after "the new york times" says it informed him it was about to publish them. on capitol hill, fierce criticism. >> this is moving into perjury, false
statements, and even into potentially treason. >> reporter: tonight trump jr. who said the russian lawyer had no information to provide is breaking his silence on fox news. explaining his motivation for taking the meeting. >> things are going a million miles an hour again, and i talked about all these things, but maybe this is something, i should hear them out. >> aides close to the president said he's frustrated with the focus on russia, notably he hasn't held a single public event since this story broke over the weekend. meantime, the special counsel, robert mueller, keeps staffing up and is up to 16 lawyers and counting. lester? >> peter alexander at the white house. now to our nbc news exclusive interview with that russian attorney at the center of the firestorm involving donald trump jr. tonight she's disputing some of the claims made in the e-mails he released and gives her side of the story about what happened when they came face to face at trump tower. she sat down with nbc's kier simmons
today in moscow. >> reporter: tonight natalia veselnitskaya, where she's described as a russian government attorney and part of russia, and its government support for mr. trump. here, donald trump jr. is told that they want to schedule a meeting with him, and the russian government attorney who is flying over from moscow. the russian government attorney. that means you. >> translator: no, i'm certainly flattered by being marked and called as a government attorney. but i've never worked for the government in the first place. >> reporter: she said that meeting with donald trump jr., jared kushner and campaign chairman paul manafort was arranged by russian pop star and publicist. but that she never met either of them beforehand. once inside, she says, only one person talked to her. trrt he was the only one i was speaking to.
>> reporter: she sai against a law she said was affecting her client, a well-connected russian, a law that also imposed sanctions on russia. but she says he was interested in information about possible illegal donations to democrats. trrt i can trtd i can tell you right now i have never referred to any compromising information about miss clinton. >> reporter: she says kushner left after 7 to 10 minutes of the 20 to 30-minute meeting, and that manafort was not paying attention. >> the man was constantly looking at his phone. >> reporter: they had the impression, it appears, that they were going to be told some information that you had about the dnc. how did they get that impression? >> it might be their desire to see that in my story. from the story i was telling them about. and they saw only something they were interested in. >> reporter: she wanted the trump team to help her testify
before congress, about changing u.s. law. she says, donald trump [000:06:59;00] they won. lester? >> kier simmons in moscow tonight. let's turn to savannah guthrie, the resident attorney and washington veteran. savannah, folks following around the edges of this russia story, what just happened here today? did it cross into a new legal territory? >> i think we've seen a piece of evidence that would be quite compelling to the mueller investigator, the special counsel looking into this. now has an incredibly compelling piece of evidence. it comes from donald trump jr. himself and signals a willingness not just to get information that's damaging to hillary clinton, but that he knows it's from the russian government, or it's purported to be from the russian government, and he greets it enthusiastically. even thinking about when would it be best to deploy that information, saying late summer would be great. so yes, potentially there's legal exposure, but people should take a deep breath. i can assure you this
is just one piece of the puzzle that bob mueller is looking into. he will place it in context with regard to he'll be looking to interviews these witnesses. a lot of these election laws, statutes that we're talking about can be pretty technical and complicated. but when you're talking to federal investigators, then you start the risk of false statement, a perjury charge. the legal exposure is all over this place. >> what about the political exposure? the president's called this a witch hunt in the past. blamed democrats and the press. again, this comes from his own son. >> that's the biggest issue here, it's hard to call it a witch hunt when this evidence is not fake news, it's coming from your own son. as i just outlined, it acknowledges a lot of things that have been denied at the highest level by the president himself. so this is a political problem right now. it might be a legal problem down the road. political problem right now. the ones to watch are republicans in congress, how much stomach do they have to carry the water for this president when they don't know what the next shoe is to drop. >> savannah, always good to have you here with us.
thank you very much. now to a deadly tragedy for the u.s. military. in mississippi, a ri during a training mission, killing all 16 service members aboard. tonight the cause is still a mystery. nbc news pentagon correspondent hans nichols has details. >> reporter: tonight the pentagon says 15 marines and one navy corpsman were on the cargo plane flattened in a soybean field killing everyone onboard. first responders finding debris strewn across several miles, and witnesses heard a midair explosion. the kc-130 took off from cherry point, north carolina, heading for california. while over mississippi, at 20,000 feet, the plane lost contact with air traffic control, and began to lose altitude. an eyewitness reported seeing smoke from the plane as it twirled down. >> at first i thought
it was like a stunt plane, acrobatic deal, the way it was nosediviow before impact, it turned over, hitting the ground upside down, with almost no skid marks. the air crew attached to the reserve squadron 452 based in newberg, new york. some of the marines from camp lejeune, north carolina. the mill tear calling the kc-130 one of the safest planes in the fleet. >> if there wasn't a may day call or any kind of communication, that would suggest whatever occurred in flight at 20,000 feet was instantaneous. >> reporter: the deadliest marine corps crash since 1995 when a helicopter went down in a sandstorm. the families of those killed are being notified. but officials have confirmed that among the dead are six marines and one sailor who were members of an elite special operations unit. the marine raiders. lester? >> hans nichols at the pentagon tonight, thank you. the battle over a bill to repeal and replace obamacare has become so heated, senators will now have
to work through part of their vacation later this summer in an effort to approve a new plan. nbc's kasie hts idea aimed at a compromise. >> reporter: the republican path to repealing obamacare uncertain tonight. majority leader mitch mcconnell announcing he's forcing senators to stay in washington an extra two weeks to get a deal. >> we intend to utilize the two weeks in august. >> reporter: still at a fever pitch. now on a conservative proposal from ted cruz to let people buy cheaper insurance. if they're willing to trade away the essential health benefits like maternity care or mental health services. >> expanding consumer freedom, letting you the consumer choose which insurance you want to purchase. that's the key to lowering premiums. >> reporter: they can only lose two votes. the cruz amendment is quickly splintering the party, alienating moderates who worry it could drive up prices for sicker americans. lindsey graham is already talking about cracking a deal with democrats. >> there's an emerging new approach that i will talk to you in the next 24 to 48
hours. >> reporter: he's already approached joe manchin from west in medicaid. >> we're not going to go down that path. sitting down and repairing what's wrong. we can do that. >> reporter: in virginia, kim crowley is concerned about medicaid, too. her son has a rare birth defect born before obamacare was law. >> when he was 15 months old he hit his lifetime maximum for his insurance policy. that was $2 million. >> reporter: now she relies on medicaid. >> we didn't need medicaid before isaac. this could happen to anybody. anybody could have a child with a need. anybody could suffer a catastrophic accident tomorrow. >> the negotiations are continuing. republicans now planning to keep some of the taxes on the wealthy that were part of obamacare, and they insist they're on track to release a new version of the bill on thursday. lester? >> kasie hunt at the capitol. thank you. thousands of police officers converge in a church here in new york to remember an officer
assassinated by a gunman last week. the 48-year-old mother of three was only the third woman in the new york city police [000:12:58;00] duty. nbc's ron allen tonight with the emotional tribute. >> i love you, mom. >> reporter: officer familia's three children, who she raised herself, mourning their mom. >> words can't explain how i feel right now. >> reporter: hailed as a hero. thousands of officers from across the country and as far away as australia, paying their respects to a girl from the neighborhood, the youngest of ten. first to graduate college. always determined to serve. first, nursing, and later in her 30s realizing her dream of becoming a cop. murdered the night of the fourth of july, in a police command vehicle by an ex-con on parole who police say was mentally ill and angry at cops. >> i want her legacy to be full of love.
love is what we have to do. >> reporter: familia is the seventh nypd officer killed in five years. across the nation, officer deaths spiking today new york's police commissioner urged the public to look out for officers like familia. >> she was targeted and ambushed and assassinated. she wasn't given a chance to defend herself. that should matter to every single person who can hear my voice in new york city and beyond. >> reporter: familia today promoted to detective was laid to rest exactly 12 years to the day she joined the nypd. an officer and a mom named for a flower that means, forget me not. ron allen, nbc news, new york. we'll take a short break. when we come back, runway mistake. a very close call when a passenger plane almost lands on a taxiway crowded with four other planes. we'll look at how this disaster almost unfolded. human chain rescue.
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get zero percent for seventy-two months plus an additional thousand on top of your trade-in. offer ends soon. we're back now with a close call involving an air canada jet that almost landed on a san francisco taxiway crowded with four other jets. had the plane touched down, it could have caused one of the worst disasters in
aviation history. we get details from nbc's tom costello. >> reporter: at the last minute, disaster averted in san francisco. an airbus a-320 nearly landing on a taxiway where four other planes were preparing to depart. it was just before midnight friday when the air canada pilots arriving from toronto seemed confused about landing on runway 28 right. suddenly other pilots issued a warning and controllers ordered air canada to go around. there's that taxiway. at flight deck anaheim, retired pilot ross aimer
demonstrated how a crew might confuse taxiway charlie for runway 28 right. >> if this accident were not averted, we're talking perhaps a thousand l four, five aircraft involved. >> reporter: there have been close calls before, earlier this year harrison ford flew right over the top of an american airlines plane landing on a taxiway instead of the runway in orange county. >> bottom line is, these pilots are going to be interviewed by a lot of investigators. they've got a lot of questions to answer. they're not going anywhere for a while. >> tonight both the faa and air canada say they're investigating what could have been a
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approved a plan to break tradition and award two cities with the summer games, los angeles and paris. one would get them in 2024 the other in '28. they're still hashing t with paris the rumored front-runner. a remarkable rescue effort at a beach in florida after word spread that a family was trapped in the water. about 80 beachgoers formed a human chain to rescue them. there was no lifeguard on duty so they all joined hands to reach nine members of the family who were swept out by a rip current. after nearly an hour, all of the stranded family members were brought safely to shore. one of the world's most famous frogs is getting a new voice. we're talking about kermit the frog whose voice has been played for the last 27 years by steve whitmeyer who is moving on. he'll be replaced by another veteran actor next week matt vogel who will only be the third voice of kermit since the muppet character was created in 1955. when we come back, they won a huge powerball jackpot, and what they're doing with some of their millions might
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one of those massive powerball jackpots? one new jersey family is getting to live out that fantasy with hundreds of millions they won a year ago. but rather than just splurging on the usual things, this family is spending the money where they hope it will do some good. kristen dahlgren tonight on how they're inspiring america. >> reporter: a moment we all dream of. >> i guess all of you are thinking you wish you was me right now, right? >> reporter: last year when the smith family from trenton, new jersey, split a lump sum of $284 million after taxes, they knew exactly what they would spend it on. >> the foundation went into play before we even cashed in the lottery ticket. >> reporter: their first focus, starting a foundation to give millions away. >> we've all been involved in work to help the community, and all we say is, god just now financed us. >> reporter: mom was a pastor who always taught her children the value of hard work. they still visit the house where they grew up.
you guys still own it? >> my mother is having it rehabbed. her plan is to let someone who's homeless, or in need of a place to stay live here for free. >> rep where they are now giving back. $16 million so far. school supplies for trenton kids, a business training program for area youth, and grants to organizations like the special parent advocacy group, helping special needs children. >> for them to give back and invest their money into the community and the city of trenton, it's wonderful. >> reporter: now, they did spend some on themselves. >> i bought a bigger house and a new subaru. >> the only thing different about me is i put shrimp in my ramen noodles. >> reporter: the smiths know it's about what money can't buy. >> we're here because we love the city and we want to see it grow and prosper and develop. >> reporter: home where their hearts and now their millions are. kristen dahlgren, nbc news. trenton, new jersey. good folks paying
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