tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC October 14, 2020 2:06am-2:36am PDT
tonight, the trial for a leading coronavirus antibody treatment abruptly halted eli lilly pausing a late-stage trial over safety concerns. the treatment similar to the one president trump received from regeneron that he has touted as a cure just hours after the setback for johnson & johnson's vaccine. also, 36 states see a fall surge, and two superstar athletes test positive. the president's supreme court pick, amy coney barrett, facing her first day of questions senators come out swinging her answers on hot-button issues from the fate of obamacare to abortion to potential election disputes the new twist in the alleged militia plot to kidnap
michigan's governor. the suspects in court today. the second governor they're now accused of targeting. the election just 21 days away long lines as early voting gets under way in texas in virginia the major outage impacting the final day to register. the battle over misleading ballot drop boxes placed in california all as president trump and joe biden hold dueling events in battleground states. apple joining the 5g revolution, unveiling its fastest iphone yet but wait till you hear what's going away. and your first look at the future of firefighting rolling into action. >> announcer: this is nbc "nightly news" with lester holt good evening, everyone a pair of potential setbacks in efforts to treat and vaccinate against covid-19 reminding us tonight just how challenging the search for a silver bullet can be a day after johnson & johnson was forced to pause stage 3 trials for its vaccine
candidate after a volunteer became ill, the maker of an experimental covid antibody treatment has pushed the pause button on its own efforts because of safety concerns. while experts say such pauses are not out of the ordinary, they come as waves of new covid cases sweep much of the country miguel almaguer has details. >> reporter: tonight eli lilly, the drugmaker working on a covid antibody treatment for those already infected with the virus, confirmed they are pausing a clinical trial out of an abundance of caution after new potential safety concerns ken beyers took part in one of eli lilly's trials this summer >> i'm just looking at this as a setback. >> reporter: with eli lilly citing few details, the move comes just hours after johnson & johnson announced it's also pausing their stage 3 vaccine trial because a participant suffered an unexplained illness. johnson & johnson joining astrazeneca, becoming the second vaccine candidate to
hit a hurdle out of the four in final stretch of development. >> we're just letting the science dictate here what it should do also is reassure the public that every scientific, medical, and ethical standard is being applied here >> reporter: the vaccine trial setbacks, which are not uncommon, come as a wave of new covid cases spread across the nation 24 states are now seeing at least a 25% rise in cases. some doctors say this is no surge but instead a tidal wave of new infections. >> seeing some of these people just not progress, seeing multiple deaths, multiple days in a row, it's really hard. >> reporter: with more than a dozen states also reporting a record number of hospitalizations, new cases and now fatalities are also resurfacing at nursing homes. in rhode island officials are identifying a new cluster of covid infections connected to carpools.
in some of the hardest-hit regions like l.a. county hospitals have open icu beds the question, how long will it last despite the new surge in infections and now setbacks for covid treatments and a vaccine, beyers says there's still reason for hope >> it would make me ecstatic to know i was part of something that became a treatment >> reporter: tonight the enduring battle against a global pandemic as it continues to wage war here at home miguel almaguer, nbc news let's bring in our medical correspondent dr. john torres. john, we now have two vaccine trials and a promising treatment trial all on hold. should people be concerned? >> lester, pausing or putting a clinical trial on hold is actually quite common. but usually these pauses happen behind the scenes now, though, with the urgency of the pandemic, there's much more public attention on every single step of the process these pauses are a good indicator that companies are looking
seriously at not just the effectiveness but also the safety of these medicines. now researchers will investigate what caused the adverse reaction and determine if and when it's safe to resume the trials lester >> yeah. some really important perspective there. john, thanks tough questions today for supreme court nominee judge amy coney barrett on day two of her senate confirmation hearings. democrats trying to pin down how she'd rule on major issues like abortion and obamacare. peter alexander now with late details. >> reporter: supreme court nominee judge amy coney barrett tonight facing senators' questions for the first time pressed whether she would overrule landmark decisions >> judges can't just wake up one day and say i have an agenda, i like guns, i hate guns, i like abortion, i hate abortion, and walk in like a royal queen and impose, you know, their will on the world. >> reporter: barrett repeatedly challenged by democrats on roe v. wade >> it's distressing not to get a straight answer >> reporter: having signed a 2006 newspaper ad calling for the barbaric legacy of roe to be ended.
>> do you agree with justice scalia's view that roe was wrongly decided? >> i can't precommit or say yes i'm going in with some agenda because i'm not. i don't have any agenda >> reporter: and on the affordable care act with a hearing on the trump administration's latest effort to have it struck down set for a week after the election >> i'm not here on a mission to destroy the affordable care act. i'm just here to apply the law. >> reporter: saying no one, including president trump, ever spoke to her about overturning it >> absolutely not. i was never asked. and if i had have been that would have been a short conversation >> reporter: barrett more than once citing the words of the late liberal justice she would succeed, ruth bader ginsburg, who in her confirmation hearing would not discuss how she might rule on future cases >> no hints, no previews, no forecasts. that had been the practice of nominees before her but everybody calls it the ginsburg rule because she stated it so concisely >> reporter: the 48-year-old notre dame law professor sitting
for hours before the committee with no notes. >> can you hold up what you've been referring to in answering our questions? is there anything on it >> the letterhead that says "united states senate." >> that's impressive >> reporter: referencing her family seated behind her when asked about watching the video of george floyd's death. >> given that i have two black children, that was very, very personal for my family my 17-year-old daughter vivian, who's adopted from haiti, all of this was erupting it was very difficult for her. we wept together in my room >> reporter: barrett also weighing in whether it would be accurate to describe her as a female scalia after her mentor, the late conservative justice antonin scalia >> if i'm confirmed, you would not be getting justice scalia you would be getting justice barrett. >> reporter: she would not commit to recusing herself in any case that could decide the outcome of next month's election >> i certainly hope that all members of the committee have more confidence in my integrity than to
think that i would allow myself to be used as a pawn to decide this election for the american people >> reporter: and despite the constitution clearly stating a president cannot unilaterally delay an election, an idea president trump floated, the judge declined to voice an opinion on that. >> if that question ever came before me, i would need to hear arguments from the litigants and read briefs so you know, if i give off-the-cuff answers then i would be basically a legal pundit, and i don't think we want judges to be legal pundits. >> reporter: tonight the president praising barrett's performance. democrats calling today's hearing a sham but nothing today is expected to change what's supposed to happen later this week an expected party line vote on thursday that would send her nomination to the full senate lester >> all right, peter alexander at the white house. thanks as we just heard, judge barrett pressed repeatedly on obamacare. democrats suggesting she would cast a deciding vote to kill the law. but what are the actual chances of that
let's bring in nbc's pete williams. pete, any hints so far? >> reporter: lester, judge barrett has criticized the supreme court's ruling that upheld obamacare's individual mandate so she might agree with the red states asking the court to declare the mandate unconstitutional but the key issue in the case the court hears in november is whether the rest of the health care law can remain in effect some of the court's conservatives say judges should be reluctant to strike a law if only part of it is invalid even if she believes the entire health care law must fall, it's not at all clear there are four other justices who would agree with her so obamacare may be at greater risk with her on the court but it's by no means certain that her confirmation would doom it. lester >> all right, pete williams, thank you. the supreme court just handed the trump administration a big victory, ruling that it can end the census count effective immediately before a deadline that had been extended to the end of this month civil rights groups had argued the extra time was needed to complete the count in
some communities in michigan today a startling new accusation against the men charged with trying to kidnap michigan's governor that another governor may also have been a target stephanie gosk reports. >> reporter: the men accused of plotting to kidnap michigan governor gretchen whitmer discussed kidnapping someone else as well the governor of virginia according to an fbi agent who testified in michigan federal court today. >> i will not work under a cloud of intimidation that's not who i am. i was elected to serve the commonwealth of virginia, and that's what i plan to do. >> reporter: according to investigators, the so-called wolverine watchmen were furious over coronavirus shutdowns. they first plotted to storm the michigan capitol, then settled on kidnapping governor whitmer at her lakeside vacation home the group at one point discussed sending a shooter disguised as a pizza deliveryman according to today's testimony from an fbi agent. >> it wasn't simply the kidnap it was to put me on a trial of some sort and
then possibly execute me that's the kind of thing that you would expect to hear from a group like isis. >> reporter: infiltrated by fbi undercover agents, prosecutors say they have recorded evidence of the plan taking shape. today an attorney for one of the men dismissed the plot as big talk between crackpots. another suggested the fbi entrapped his client, asking the agent, "one of the most active leaders was your informant, who was pushing them to do things criminal?" the agent responding, "he wasn't pushing them but they were having discussions." 13 men are charged in connection with the plot if found guilty the six facing the most serious federal charges could be sentenced to life behind bars. stephanie gosk, nbc news just three weeks before election day president trump and joe biden hit the trail today. biden appealing to older voters in florida and announcing that former president obama will be on the trail soon president trump is in pennsylvania tonight in texas, where democrats are trying
to test a republican stronghold, early voting began today with an unprecedented turnout. while in california a republican effort to collect ballots is causing concerns nbc's morgan chesky has more >> reporter: tonight voters proving pandemic or not everything's bigger in texas. >> this is my first day out in about two weeks. >> reporter: day one of early voting, and hundreds flooded texas polling sites before dawn in houston cars backed up as early as 5:00 a.m. at a drive-thru ballot drop box. citing fraud concerns, governor greg abbott ordered one location per county, forcing more than 2 million registered voters to share. >> you have to let your voice be heard for sure especially this time around we've seen enough chaos. >> i want trump to come in but i'm worried it's going to be very close. >> reporter: the socially distanced line stretching for blocks not unique to just here in dallas. potentially record-breaking numbers are being reported in nearly every corner of the lone star state.
in city after city the vote-casting crowds showcasing a snapshot of incredible growth of the nearly 17 million voters in texas, more than a quarter million registered since september. in travis county, home of the state capital, voter registration hitting an all-time high 97%. >> this is our time to get it right >> reporter: doing her part, dr. jill biden on a whirlwind texas tour today joining other big names to get out the vote >> i just want to confirm this is oprah? >> this is oprah winfrey. >> holy smokes >> reporter: voters taking the message to heart. >> it's always bigger than just me i think that it's for me, my wife, my family, my kids, my grandkids. >> reporter: 21 days and counting morgan chesky, nbc news, dallas >> reporter: i'm jacob soboroff in california where 21 million mail-in ballots are on their way to voters. and tonight there's controversy over drop-off locations set up by the republican party.
the state gop in the process of installing unofficial ballot boxes in at least three counties they're labeled "official ballot drop-off box" or "ballot drop-off box." like the one in this photo posted by a republican campaign worker which was later deleted. >> we have security concerns about these fake drop boxes. >> reporter: california secretary of state alex padilla, a democrat, says they're not only unauthorized but also illegal. >> these boxes were mislabeled as official if voters are misled to surrendering their ballots to this drop box, no security guarantee, no guarantee that their ballot will actually end up at the county and be counted >> reporter: the democratic attorney general now demanding the state gop remove them immediately the party says it will continue collecting votes, writing in a statement, "state law allows organizations, volunteers, or campaign workers to collect completed ballots and drop them a voter's ballot in california and 25 other states >> in general in this election it's been the republicans accusing the democrats of
fraud. here in california the allegation is the republicans are deceiving voters and the democrats are alleging fraud >> reporter: tonight california officials are urging voters to stick to official ballot drop boxes like this one i voted at, put out by their county elections offices. lester >> all right, jacob, thanks and on this last day of voter registration in virginia a fiberoptic cable was accidentally severed, shutting down online registration for hours. the problem was fixed, but civil rights groups threatened legal action to extend the deadline in 60 seconds, apple unveils its new generation of iphones. what's new and what's going away that may cost you more.
iphone >> introducing iphone 12 >> reporter: debuting four models, touting them as the fastest iphones yet. the mini is the least expensive of the four. a somewhat cheaper option for tighter budgets. while the 12 pro features tougher glass making it less likely to crack if it's dropped. plus new magnetic charging and for the first time all four iphones will have 5g high-speed capabilities, whic rival samsung already offers the need for speed comes as more of us rely on a fast connection for remote learning and working from home. >> it could unlock a lot more things you could do on your phone. faster downloads, better gaming. >> reporter: the problem? even if you have a 5g device, the three biggest carriers, verizon, at&t, and t-mobile, have not fully rolled out their network nationwide >> in the next couple of months if you buy this phone will you definitely get fast 5g speed? i don't think so >> reporter: the other big news from apple is what they're leaving behind after getting rid of the headphone jack in 2016 and losing the
home button in 2017, apple will no longer include earbuds or chargers when you buy a phone. they say it's an effort to help reduce their impact on the environment. >> as per usual with apple, there's probably good intentions but there's also some business intentions >> jo ling kent joins us now jo ling, let's just ge >> reporter: you'll either have to use what you've got if you already have an iphone or go out and make that purchase. separately that could cost you upwards of $40 in addition to the price of that new phone, lester >> all right jo ling kent, thanks up next, two superstars testing positive for covid
two top athletes have tested positive for covid-19 soccer megastar cristiano ronaldo will sit out portugal's game against sweden tomorrow and dustin johnson, the world's number 1 golfer, forced to withdraw from the c.j. cup. it looks right out of a movie, but it's for real gadi schwartz now on the nation's first robot firefighter. >> reporter: in fire-prone california there are fire trucks, fire retardant-dropping planes, and now a mini robotic firefighting tank this is the thermite rs3, welcomed today into the ranks of the los angeles fire department >> instead of putting our people at risk, let's put technology to work. >> reporter: a remote-operated droid
capable of drenching car fires in a matter of moments and bulldozing up to 8,000 pounds it's also decked out with infrared imaging and a powerful water cannon that has as much spraying power as 16 firefighters on hoses. los angeles fire chief ralph terrazas first saw the rs3's french cousin in action at the notre dame cathedral. the future of firefighting technology battling to save the precious past and in l.a. with at least a dozen fires and well over 1,000 911 calls every single day the chief expects their robot to stay busy >> is this going to be used to fight wildfires? >> i know that we oftentimes have to use a lot of firefighters to pull hose uphill. and this can do that for us >> reporter: the new technology coming in a year that has already seen three firefighter deaths across the state. now robotic reinforcement for those risking their lives amid california's smoke and flames gadi schwartz, nbc news, los angeles. up next, students inspiring america, helping other kids stay connected
for these two it's a hobby. what do you do for fun? computers? >> mostly. >> reporter: high school seniors khoi nguyen and ghedion beyen spend spare time finding spare parts, patches for broken computers. their real mission is to fix a larger operating system. >> we are able to help out our community, especially the needs of families that don't have access to internet or other technology means >> reporter: their solution, the free and accessible technology initiative, a non-profit they run from this warehouse in virginia where old donated computers are stored and refurbished. the working technology goes to a family in need all they have to do is ask. over 100 have been helped so far. what has the reaction been like from parents? >> they're very thankful but it's just all in a day's work for us because we know that in a very small difference that could be us that are receiving the computers. >> reporter: both boys have eyes set on harvard university next year. a friendship
hard-wired to a good cause. katie beck, nbc news, bowling green, virginia >> making a big difference in a lot of folks' lives that's great that's "nightly news" for this tuesday thank you for watching, everyone i'm lester holt. please take care of yourself and each other. ♪ ♪ come up to meet you, ♪ tell you i'm sorry