This Morning’s Prime Headlines – Feb. 16 | Morning Files NOW


We do begin this morning with the latest on President Biden's handling of classified materials during his time as vice president of the Obama wife according to two senior law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation the FBI has conducted two searches in recent weeks at the University of Delaware it is part of the.

Ongoing probe into classified documents that have been found in other locations documents that have been tied to President Biden for the latest let's bring in NBC News White House correspondent Ali Rafa Ali good morning to you so first of all what do we know about this latest search and where do things stand when it comes to the.

Special counsel's investigation yeah guys good morning well we know that recently the FBI on behalf of the special counsel investigating these uh classified documents has researched uh several locations where they have uh already found classified documents these are places like President Biden's Wilmington home his private office in.

Washington DC we know that they've researched his reho uh his Rehoboth Beach home as well so this was a search uh really a part of a check off of the to-do list of special counsel Robert Herr checking to see if there were any classified documents in these nearly 2 000 boxes that President Biden donated to his alma mater the University of.

Delaware back in 2012 to make sure that any classified documents that could be there during his over 30 years in the Senate uh whether they are there when they shouldn't be there it's still unclear whether there were any classified documents uh seized from this search as a result of this search but we do know that those documents that were.

Donated were not visible to the public during the time that they were at the University of Delaware so if there was anything classified in those boxes it wasn't made publicly available during that time so definitely a significant layer in all of this adding more questions that we already have for this White House in this special Council.

Probe guys Ali let's talk about another issue that's on the president's mind and that's those unidentified objects that were shot down by the U.S military President Biden is planning to address that as early as today according to our sources what more can you tell us yeah this is coming after major pressure from lawmakers really from both parties.

On Capitol Hill some of whom have received classified things about these unidentified objects that have been shot out of the sky and they say that the American people and they deserve more answers and more information from President Biden directly after we saw just last weekend three unidentified objects shot down in as many days out of.

The sky as a result of this so this is uh happening as I said out of after major pressure we expect President Biden to talk about how his administration plans to handle these unidentified objects possibly being discovered in the future remember on Monday we heard the White House announce the creation of this interagency task force to better.

Communicate and coordinate between military uh government departments as well as the leaders of Allied countries who we now know since all of this news broke have also experienced surveillance balloons flying over the their country so right now we don't know exactly when this will happen if it does happen but this would definitely definitely Mark a.

Significant shift in how the White House has been responding uh to these uh these different discoveries and takedowns of these unidentified objects and Ally very quickly one more note on the presidential beat and that's his annual physical exam today what should we know about it so this is something we've consistently.

Been asking the White House about after this was uh supposed to get done by the end of last month the White House officials saying that this was delayed because of some travel that was added to the president's schedule it's significant because uh you know they're with President Biden currently the oldest sitting president in our.

Country's history at 80 years old you know there are consistently questions being raised of his mental and physical fitness whether he is fit for a possible next presidential term if he decides to run again in 2024 we expect this to take several hours today the results will be released publicly worth noting his last physical was back in November and his.

Doctor gave him a clean bill of health to continue his presidential duties so we are looking forward to seeing the results of this next physical all right Ali Rafa thank you but we're learning new details this morning about those unidentified objects the U.S military has been shooting out of North American Skies NBC News.

Pentagon correspondent Courtney Kuby sat down with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin during his trip to Brussels on Wednesday to discuss many of these ongoing questions secretary Austin saying there's still been no claim of ownership for any of those three unidentified objects he's here in Brussels to meet with the Ukraine.

Defense contact group and his of his fellow defense ministers from NATO they're here to discuss more Aid in the in the form of equipment and weapons for Ukraine what they desperately need for the coming counter-offensive against Russia in the spring secretary Austin said that even though the U.S will continue to provide more equipment in.

The future the U.S is not getting more directly involved in the conflict in Ukraine here's what he had to say defense secretary Lloyd Austin sitting down for his first interview since the U.S shot down a Chinese spy balloon and then three other flying objects over North America has anyone claimed ownership of the last three no they.

Haven't the intelligence Community now believes those three objects were not hostile but Austin defended the recommendation to take them out Safety and Security of the American people is always foremost in our minds the decision he says Made because the objects threatened commercial Aviation and may have been collecting.

Intelligence objects like these likely over U.S skies for years but going undetected is this something that the American people have been potentially in danger from for years and just not known it we don't know if you know how frequently these uh these things may or may not have have uh appeared in our airspace we're learning.

A lot more about that the fact that the U.S military didn't know about these until recently is that an intelligence failure was it a military failure no I it's it's how you use your Radars they recently made some adjustments on their on their Radars and opened up the aperture and they're analyzing the data a bit differently we typically are.

Focused on things that are moving fast and uh and so it's a bit more difficult to collect on slow moving objects like a balloon China today again insisting that its balloon Flew Over the U.S accidentally and that in response to new U.S sanctions it will quote take counter measures against relevant U.S entities Austin acknowledged recent tensions with.

China have halted Communications with his military counterpart when something happens they somehow tend to shut down their military channels of communication I think that's dangerous but it won't stop me from continuing to encourage them to open up the lines of communication I think that's the right thing to do.

On the eve of the anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine the U.S is still providing weapons including ones they once considered escalatory and we now know the U.S is also helping Ukraine with their targeting for some of these longer Range Systems back to you according cubey thanks so much today for the first time the public will get a.

Look at some of the results of a Georgia grand jury's criminal investigation into former president Donald Trump a judge is allowing three parts of the Fulton County Special grand jury report to be made public you might remember the District Attorney's office convened this special purpose grand jury to investigate whether or not Trump and his.

Allies interfered with the results of the 2020 election in Georgia for more we're joined by NBC News correspondent Von Hilliard so Von thanks for being here this morning what do we know about Those portions that are set to be released right there's a lot of anticipation for when the partial special grand jury report comes out.

Because it could provide some indication about whether charges will be brought in Fulton County Georgia against Donald Trump but also potential other targets funny Willis the district attorney has already said that there are 18 individuals who are targets of this investigation so this goes well beyond Donald Trump but we are going to find.

Out three parts from this the introduction the conclusion in a part in which the special grand jury outlines according to the judge that there are witnesses who the special grand jury believed lied as part of their testimony here what we will not find out are specific names of individuals who are included in this report and we will also.

Not find out the recommended charges from the special grand jury but when you go through a report despite the Black Ink that we anticipate seeing there's probably going to be a lot of tea leaves that we're going to be able to extract to see just what sort of case a district attorney is going to be presenting so soon why is it three sections and not.

The entire report right it was actually the defense and the prosecution that were both arguing that that the report should be private and it should be secret and that was because there was geared on the part of the prosecution there was fear that it would taint the due process rights of the potential defendants here and they.

Did not want anything to get in the way of the case that they plan to make here in the months ahead against any of these indicted potentially indicted defendants here but ultimately a judge who heard arguments from multiple news organizations saying that it was in the public interest to have this report be made public and over the last three.

Weeks they have evaluated that report and then today is where we're going to get out of that result so you mentioned district attorney Fanny Willis the decision on indictments is going to be up to her do we know what she's saying about this funny Willis has said that every step of the way you know she talked about a year ago with our Blaine.

Alexander down in Georgia and an exclusive energy and she outlined that as part of this investigation she was going to use the full extent of the law to hold everybody to account and That Celebrity Status with the fact that they work in politics that was not going to keep anybody from facing uh the justice system in Fulton County that she came in.

To oversee and so that is the question these are State charges here that we are talking about as well and all of the stems from efforts to overturn the 2020 election uh there were more than 75 Witnesses over the course of these this two years of the investigation and so all of this is mounting to potential State charges which if we're looking.

Down the road a president you can't pardon State charges here so there is a lot on the line in this case indeed we should find out more later today Von Hillier thank you speaking of politics let's talk about the 2024 presidential race former U.N Ambassador Nikki Haley held her first rally yesterday she kicked off her campaign in her home.

State of South Carolina just a day after announcing she was running Haley is now the first GOP Challenger to go against former president Trump she says she wants to provide a new direction for the Republican party and says that starts with trust and I have a particular message for my fellow Republicans.

We've lost a popular vote in seven of the last eight presidential elections our cause is right but we have failed to win the confidence of a majority of Americans well that ends today Haley is set to appear in another key primary State she'll be speaking to New.

Hampshire voters during a town hall later today NBC News Capitol Hill correspondent Ali Vitale joins us now from Charleston South Carolina Ali good morning first let's talk about you know any big takeaways from Haley's campaign announcement yesterday where you are we heard just a little bit from her what was her overall message and what can we.

Expect at that town hall in New Hampshire now later today yeah Joe it's clear that she's Shadow Boxing with the only other person who's technically and officially in this race which is her former boss Donald Trump she didn't mention him by name yesterday but you watched the way that she tried to go one-on-one against President Biden.

Going after him on things like him being a leader of the past and stale leadership of the past as well and look if you were to substitute in many of those cases as she was talking about the need for generational change and new faces of leadership you could almost substitute Trump's name for bidens at various points in that so it's clear.

That while she's not yet willing to go directly at her former boss this is the way that she's going to do it going at him on things that he absolutely can't change which is the fact that he is in his 70s and she is a new face to this National Republican party in her 50s it allows her to sort of do this delicate dance that frankly everyone is going to.

Have to do in this field but especially the people who served in the Trump Administration like the former vice president Mike Pence like the former Secretary of State my Pompeo but also Florida Governor Ron descentes came up through Florida and National politics because in large part of Trump's endorsement so all of these people are.

Going to have to find the right way to maneuver around Trump not alienating him so much that his voters don't want them but also making it so that they can potentially pick up those voters as well I would know in this case it's not helping Haley immensely Trump came out immediately his campaign marking the ways that she had.

Said previously that she wouldn't run in 2024 if he were running that is clearly where we are now so things have changed she has to offer explanations for why she's made that decision but this is really going to be tough as a lot of these candidates thread the needle Joe so we know Haley is the first woman of color to run for the GOP Presidential.

Nomination she mentioned gender during her campaign campaign speech let's take a listen to what she had to say this is not about identity politics I don't believe in that and I don't believe in glass ceilings either I believe in creating a country where anyone can do anything and achieve their.

Own American Dream this is your area of expertise you wrote the book on this topic I mean how does this compare to how Democrats deal with gender on the campaign Trail yeah you know that this was the thing that I was looking for knowing that Nikki Haley is only the fifth woman to run on the Republican side of the ticket.

And coming off of 2020 where we had more than six women run on the Democratic side on its face the fact that Haley is running just sort of helps to expand the Paradigm of what female executive leadership can look like that's really important when you put it in the larger Canon of getting to this goal of having a female president at some point just a.

More reflective democracy but the ways the Republicans and Democrats deal with gender are completely different of course candidates show up to the podium as they show up it's clear that she is a woman of color she spoke to that and has made certain nods to that over the course of the video that she used to announce but then also in that campaign.

Speech yesterday noting the fact that she has been someone who has broken the glass ceilings that she doesn't believe in for example here in South Carolina when she was elected governor she's using this argument though to say that while she is those things that's not what she wants to base and steep her candidacy in that it's in large part.

Because if you look at the polling this is not something that conservative and Republican voters are really looking towards they're not picking their candidates based on race and gender that's true on the Democratic side as well though voters there tend to be a little bit more vocal about hey I want to look to the women candidates I want.

To look to the candidates of color for leadership on the Republican side that is not the metric they're looking more at policy and ideology and clearly Haley was bringing that in Spades yesterday as well kind of a return to the Past Republican politics arguing over lower taxes immigration reform actual policy proposals all right Ali.

Vitale on the campaign Trail in February 2023. thanks Ali so this this morning millions of Americans are at risk for tornadoes and damaging winds meteorologist Angie lastman joins us now with more on this developing storm system hey Angie hey there guys yeah we've got a couple of things that could be impactful through the day today and.

It's for a large swath of the country you can see snow falling in parts of uh Nebraska Iowa and stretching into parts of the Midwest here through the early morning hours today we're going to continue to see the these storms ramping up and the potential for some of these strong and even severe storms throughout the day here's those watches and.

Warnings that have been in effect we've seen tornado warnings severe thunderstorm warnings and watches and this is likely what sets the stage for us to continue seeing these through the rest of your day we also have 31 million people that are impacted by these winter alerts so winter weather advisories and winter storm warnings those are going to.

Be on the table because we are expecting snow and a wintry mix some of which I just showed you on satellite and radar but this is what I really want you to focus in on we have that again a potential for some strong to even severe storms we dealt with this yesterday from the same system and it went into the overnight hours today we're likely going.

To see that again more people impacted 26 million basically from from Cleveland to New Orleans will have the potential to see strong uh winds up to 70 miles per hour some tornadoes a couple of those could be intense and damaging winds up to an inch here's where we have the best chance to see some of those stronger tornadoes that means ef2 or.

Higher you see it includes places like Tuscaloosa Huntsville Hattiesburg all on the table for you and this goes into the evening hours remember nocturnal tornadoes are much more dangerous than uh when they're during the daytime we also have plenty of rain on the way with this system up to three inches possible stretched across places really the whole.

Eastern half of the country and then we deal with the snow two to four inches up to eight inches in parts of northern Maine so that will be something that will cause a little bit of difficulty on the roadways how about those temperatures though is it February guys or is it may yesterday I had to check and make sure I wasn't dreaming it was.

67 degrees in New York and it was delightful I've got a day 66 today 69 in Washington D.C we'll take a run at some records for places like Boston that were set back in the early 1900s with all that we were talking about yesterday was like oh gosh do we have to prepare to go back to colder weather again because it's still winter kind of on Saturday.

Low 40s in some spots but that's normal right and then it goes right back up so don't put the codes away just yet exactly exactly well not to some dramatic and emotional moments in a buffalo courtroom yesterday as the gunman who killed 10 people at a grocery store in a predominantly black neighborhood was sentenced to life in.

Prison NBC News correspondent rahema Ellis has those details my brother was one of the victims of this senseless massacre in the courtroom victims families facing down a convicted racist gunman showing Grace do I hate you no do I want you to die no but also pain you have shattered a lot.

Of lives here so thank you there was anger I will hurt you and rage too overwhelming to bear this was the moment the sister of 72 year old Catherine Massey got up to speak no damn thing about black people we're human we like our kids to go to good schools we're going no neighborhoods and take people out.

Her brother charged at the gunman guards quickly subdued him while Peyton General was ushered out of the courtroom for a few minutes Massey was a woman devoted to family and Community she wrote about the need for gun safety one year before her own life was stolen by gun violence Gendron the white supremacist gunman was convicted of killing 10 people in a hate.

Crime targeting African Americans in a buffalo Supermarket I did a terrible thing that day I shot and killed people because they were black the judge was not moved there is no place for you or you're ignorant hateful and evil ideologies in a civilized society the gunman was given 10 life sentences.

One for each of his victims now if convicted of federal hate crimes he could get the death penalty back to you thanks for watching our YouTube channel follow today's top stories and breaking news by downloading the NBC News app

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