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CNN NEWSROOM

GOP in the Dark on Trump's Plan to Avert a Government Shutdown; Yemeni Mother Granted U.S. Visa to See Dying Son; Lawmakers to Tour Border Station and Investigate Girl's Death; CBS Board Denies Moonves His $120 Million Severance; Greenspan: Bull Market "Beginning to Fumble". Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired December 18, 2018 - 10:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:30:04] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: We are now four, count them, four days s away from a partial government shutdown, and still apparently no plan to stop it.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's right. That's coming from GOP senators. They say they're getting frustrated at the radio silence they are hearing from the White House. Each day that passes makes two options more likely, either a partial shutdown or a short-term punt into the New Year.

This on the fight at center of all, money for the border wall. CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju joins us now live from the Hill. Is that what's looking most likely now, Manu, a two, three- week punt to get past the holidays on this?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's the belief on Capitol Hill, that perhaps it's the only way to get through this, but of course, doing that would give the new Democratic House majority more power to have a say, and of course, Nancy Pelosi said no to that Trump border wall.

But at the moment, Republican senators and Republican House members are at a loss. They don't know what the president is willing to sign. That was evident in a closed-door meeting in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office last night. The leadership emerged to the meeting saying we don't know what the president will sign or if he will sign a short-term deal.

Now, I just had a chance to talk to one Republican senator, Mike Rounds who said the big question is what will the president do.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU: You know the $5 billion is not going to pass Congress, so then what -- the president said that he would be willing to get behind to avoid a shutdown?

SEN. MIKE ROUNDS (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: That's the multi-billion dollar question. (END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU: So he went on to say he believes that both sides need to get off their positions, come to consensus, get a deal around between the president's $5 billion demand and what the Senate on a bipartisan basis agreed to, $1.6 billion. We'll see if they're able to do that, but time is running short.

Guys?

HARLOW: And reality check for us this morning, Manu. What it is -- what is a partial government shutdown at the end of this week, if it happens on Friday? What does that actually mean for the American citizens who rely on their paycheck right around the holidays from these jobs that would, you know, be furloughed?

RAJU: It could affect more than 400,000 employees. About 380,000 of whom could be furloughed. There are essential employees who could (INAUDIBLE) to show up to work, but they would not get paid right away. They would probably be paid retroactively, that's what Congress tends to do in shutdown situations. But, they would not see that immediate paycheck.

Now, several agencies -- now this is not the full government, it is about a quarter of the government. A number of agencies would be impacted. Housing and urban development, one of them, NASA, another one of them, the National Park Service. So a lot of services themselves could also be impacted right around the holiday season.

But again, that's one reason why there's so much incentive to cut a deal on Capitol Hill. The question is will the president agree with that?

Guys?

HARLOW: All right, Manu, I hope they do so you can get a little break for the holidays. Thank you --

SCIUTTO: Four hundred thousand workers.

HARLOW: -- for being with us.

SCIUTTO: Forty thousand law enforcement --

HARLOW: Absolutely.

SCIUTTO: -- officials.

HARLOW: Absolutely.

SCIUTTO: Those are real numbers.

Lawmakers are touring a point of entry at the U.S.-Mexico border looking into the death of this seven-year-old migrant girl. Will border officials cooperate? That's a key question.

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[10:37:49] HARLOW: All right. We do have an important update to a story we've been following closely. This morning, a Yemeni mother who had been blocked from seeing her dying son in California because of the Trump administration's travel ban has just been granted a visa to come to the United States.

SCIUTTO: Yes, it appears to be in response to pressure from coverage of the story by CNN and other media outlets.

CNN Correspondent Dan Simon, he is at the boy's hospital in Oakland, California with more details. I imagine the family, they're facing so much here, the loss of their son is relieved to have this visa.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I think it's a bittersweet moment, Jim and Poppy. And quite simply, this appears to be a wrong that has now been righted. And, you know, for the family, obviously, they really wanted the wife, the mother, to be able to come to Oakland, California, essentially so she could say good-bye to their two-year-old son who is on life support at this hospital. And I can tell you that she's going to try to get on the earliest flight available.

I just spoke to Basim Elkarra, he is the executive director for the Council on American and Islamic Relations. They have been assisting this family, and he says the news is even better than they anticipated because she is now getting the spousal waiver, essentially meaning that she can now stay in the United States indefinitely. She can now immigrate here. They had been seeking essentially an emergency humanitarian visa, but the State Department went even further and has now granted this spousal visa so she can stay in the United States indefinitely.

So we anticipate that she'll be in the United States tomorrow and can come to this hospital in Oakland and say goodbye to her son who has this very rare brain disease. He's been on life support for a few months, and all she wanted to do was just come and kiss her little son on the forehead and say goodbye.

HARLOW: Of course. That is a great update.

SCIUTTO: Yes. And no evidence provided that there was a security reason denying the visa. But this is a broad policy, it affects all people from that country.

Dan Simon, thank you.

Some Democrats members of the congressional Hispanic caucus are touring a border station in New Mexico today to investigate the death of this seven-year-old Guatemalan girl who collapsed and died two days after she and her father were taken into U.S. custody.

[10:40:08] HARLOW: Lawmakers want to talk to border agents, especially the ones who are present at the time that the girl fell ill and subsequently died. As of last night, border patrol officials had not granted that request. That's according to Democratic Lawmaker Joaquin Castro.

Leyla Santiago, our correspondent is at the Point of Entry in Lordsburg, New Mexico. What do we know about the delegation down there, the questions they want answered, and whether CBP is willing to talk to them?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we expect them to arrive really in the next 10 minutes, any minute now. We expect them to come here to the port of entry and sort of retrace the path of this young girl. What questions we expect them to ask? I suspect they're going to want to get to the bottom of what led up to her death. Try to understand exactly the sequence of events.

And I also believe that they will be asking about capacity at these ports. Something that DHS claims is a factor and why they're not allowing more asylum seekers to come into the U.S. at this time. Hundreds found on the other side, in Mexico, across the border, waiting for their turn to seek asylum. And DHS claims it's because facilities are at capacity.

I suspect these Congress members will be asking to see if that is the case, as part of this tour that they will be taking today. They will begin here at the port where Jakelin came in, and then they'll be heading about two hours north of where we are right now, to see the detention facility where she was headed with her father.

Now, her father taking issue with some of the accounts out there that the DHS said that the child had not had anything to eat, was possibly dehydrated, hadn't had something to drink. The father says that is not the case. While he does not take issue with the treatment of border patrol, he does say that they have that part of the story wrong, and she had something to eat. She was taken care of before she arrived at the border here in the United States.

The family asking for a full investigation. We have Congress members coming in, asking more questions as well. DHS says it has its investigation now we'll be waiting to find out what will come of all of this.

HARLOW: OK. Leyla, please keep us posted. Thank you for being there. Leyla Santiago reporting.

SCIUTTO: Still a lot of unanswered questions, no question.

A $120 million in severance now denied. CBS says that former CEO Les Moonves, the giant of the television industry, will not get one more dime from the company. It's a remarkable fall.

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[10:47:13] SCIUTTO: Recently ousted CBS Chief Executive Les Moonves will not get his $120 million remarkable severance package following two independent investigations. CBS' board of directors said it had, quote, ample reason to fire Moonves. And that means by contract they can deny him that severance.

HARLOW: Moonves was forced out in September amid multiple sexual harassment and assault allegations.

Bill Carter is with us, our media analyst. Unbelievable what has been found and alleged against Moonves. And I'll get you the statement from his attorney in a moment, but just walk us through this, and CBS, the board saying no, not a dime of severance do you deserve.

BILL CARTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: They really didn't have a choice. They -- the allegations were so severe, and frankly, credible. I mean, there are so many women who came forward. An appalling stuff. Really appalling stuff that, you know, how could you then justify giving him any severance.

But $120 million would have been, I think, attacked everywhere, not just in the media, but even the shareholders of CBS I think would say what are we doing? How can we pay this out to a guy who has all these accusations against him? And so, I don't think it's surprising they did this, they made this move. And I can't for the life of me think of a reason why Moonves would challenge it at this point.

SCIUTTO: And this has sparked, going further, has it not, into a culture of behavior at the company?

CARTER: Yes.

SCIUTTO: Is that right?

CARTER: Well, that's another thing because they had so many others. They had, you know -- Don Hewitt even came up with, you know, and Charlie Rose and Jeff Fager, the head of "60 Minutes." And so the board really looked like it wasn't particularly doing a very good job of oversight in general. And now you have the boss accused of these things so.

HARLOW: Let me read you a statement, which is why I'm not so sure Les Moonves isn't going to fight back, OK? We know he's a fighter, but here's what his attorney says. Let me read it in full quote, the conclusions of the CBS Board were foreordained and without merit, consistent with the pattern of leaks that have permeated this, in quotes, process. The press was informed of these baseless conclusions before Mr. Moonves further damaging his name, reputation, career, and legacy. Mr. Moonves vehemently denies any non-consensual sexual relationships and cooperated extensively and fully with investigators.

Legacy. Might he will not fight for the money, fight for his legacy?

CARTER: Well, I -- that seems gone to me. I mean, with these accusations -- first of all, he didn't really deny the activity. He's saying they were consensual.

I mean, the activity was really appalling. And secondly, he did try to cover this up. He submitted his son's iPad instead of his own iPad.

HARLOW: Right, he said it was a mistake.

CARTER: He said it was a mistake. SCIUTTO: And he also offers of jobs to women, right, presumably --

CARTER: Offer some jobs --

SCIUTTO: -- as a way (INAUDIBLE).

CARTER: There as a whole lot of other aspects of this than just the behavior. And it was a guy trying to save his job. And he had a lot of support in that company because he did a fantastic job at CBS, no doubt about it.

[10:50:05] Probably the most successful media executive of his era, if you consider where CBS was and where it ended. But -- and he made a lot of money, by the way, so he doesn't really need the $120 million. So, does he want this to be public, all these women to be questioned? I mean, I wouldn't think it's wise.

SCIUTTO: He noted $60 million a year prior to this.

CARTER: Yes.

HARLOW: All right.

SCIUTTO: Bill Carter.

HARLOW: Thank you very much.

After one of the worse Decembers, at least the starts of December, for the stock market in a very long time, former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan sees a tough road ahead for investors. A fascinating interview coming to you next with his warning about Wall Street.

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[10:56:08] HARLOW: All right. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan warning investors this morning of a possible market tumble. The Dow trying to recover some of the losses we have seen over the last few weeks.

SCIUTTO: President Trump at the same time is tweeting out yet another warning to the current Federal Reserve about a rate hike, telling them, quote, feel the market. Don't just go by meaningless numbers.

Our Julia Chatterley asked Greenspan how he dealt with outside influences like this. Here's what he told her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: How do you handle that?

ALAN GREENSPAN, FORMER FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: I wore earmuffs myself.

CHATTERLEY: Big ones.

GREENSPAN: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO: He wore earmuffs. Joining us, Julia Chatterley, CNN business anchor and correspondent.

So -- I mean, this is undue pressure. I mean, the Federal Reserve is by design independent, should be independent of the president, of political pressure. I mean, is it possible that this backfires on the president, right, that the Federal Reserve chairman feels more pressure to tune it out and show that by going forward?

CHATTERLEY: I mean, that's a risk, isn't it? I mean, you'll always see them bring it back to the data and say, look at the data is suffering and it is, perhaps we have to about turn here. But this is a very transparent central bank governor, more transparent than Alan Greenspan. And the risk is, if you need to U-turn, you create a problem here. And if he does decide not to hike interest rates tomorrow, a lot of people will look at this and say --

HARLOW: Oh, that the president influenced him.

CHATTERLEY: -- it was influenced. Yes. I mean, that wasn't the only thing we talked about of course. The market volatility, whether or not we remain in a bull market despite all the pressure that we've seen. I asked Alan Greenspan if we remain in a bull market. Listen in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHATTERLEY: Do you think we're still in a bull market, an equity bull market?

GREENSPAN: Not really. No. It's beginning to fumble. You can see it by reaction in the recent days. It would be very surprising to see it sort of stabilize rather than take off again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHATTERLEY: I mean, this is the challenge. We've seen the worst December for stock markets since 1931. He's saying, even if we go higher from here, run for cover, I mean, it doesn't get clearer than that I don't think

HARLOW: It doesn't. So if you're the average American sitting at home watching and saying, oh my gosh, what do I do, what do I do with my 401(k), what do I do with my savings that are in the market right now?

Did you talk to Alan Greenspan about the impact on average Americans? Because it's usually a mistake to jump in and just sell, you know, when you're freaked.

CHATTERLEY: Yes. And we talked about the economy in particular. And he said, look, the economy is slowing here as well. So I don't think we want to be so alarmist in the sense. I did talk to him about what further adjustment downwards he thinks that the equity market will have here. And he said, I don't know, he was completely honest.

And he said, that is the real challenge and that's the challenge for everybody here that's, you know, got a pension, got money in a pension fund here and is watching this. It's a challenging time.

HARLOW: You can see a lot more of Julia's interview. It's fascinating. Thank you for bringing it to us. Just go to cnnbusiness.com. It's all right there.

And this just in, the Trump administration has officially acted on one gun control measure that is officially banning bump stocks. Under a new federal rule, those with -- who have bump stocks will get 90 days to turn them in from the date that the final rule is published into the federal registrar. Of course this ties back to Las Vegas.

SCIUTTO: And that's key because it's not just banning future sales. But it's requiring people who bought them, and many thousands have been bought since talk of this ban came. That's important.

Bump stocks, you may remember gained national attention last year after that gunman in Las Vegas, the deadliest shooting, more than 50 people, hundreds injured, rigged his weapons with this device. It essentially turns what's a semiautomatic weapon, makes it like a machine gun.

HARLOW: Yes.

SCIUTTO: President Trump following through on a promise to ban them.

HARLOW: Yes, but this is short of a legislative change to -- which a lot of lawmakers were pushing for. This is not that.

We'll stay on it. Thanks for being with us today. I'm Poppy Harlow. We'll see you back here tomorrow morning.

SCIUTTO: And I'm Jim Sciutto. At This Hour starts right now.