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Partial Government Shutdown Will Last Through Christmas; Trump Is Facing Another Potential Crisis Over His Pick For Acting Attorney General; Fiance Of A Colorado Mother Who Went Missing Thanksgiving Day, Is Now Behind Bars Facing Charges In Her Murder; Yemeni Mother Has Finally Arrived In California To Be Reunited With Her Dying Son; The Stock Market Suffering Its Worst Week Since The 2008 Financial Crisis; Service Members Surprising Their Families Just In Time For The Holiday Season. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired December 22, 2018 - 16:00   ET

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


[16:00:00] BETSY WEST, RBG DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER: She is very determined as you see and this to keep herself in shape. You know, she started working out again when she fell down and broke those ribs which was the initial reason why they did the scan and discovered this way, this cancer.

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: It's amazing. She is a remarkable woman. No doubt about it.

Betsy West, thank you for coming on and speaking with us.

WEST: Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: We wish justice Ginsburg the very best, a quick recovery.

WEST: Yes.

CABRERA: The top of the hour. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Thank you for staying with me this holiday weekend. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.

We have so much to talk about. We now know that the partial government shutdown will last through Christmas. Check the clock right there on your screen. It has been 16 hours now. Hundreds of thousands of vital government workers on the job right now, but without being paid. Thousands more are being told to stay home. They are on furlough with no pay three days before Christmas. This is why President Trump wants $5 billion to build a border wall. A bill to approve that money had no chance to pass the Senate so the President refused to approve other money to keep the government fully running past midnight.

Senate Democrats blame the President. The President blames Democrats and Congress. And while everybody is blaming everybody else, the people who work for nine cabinet departments are either sent home or on the job with no guarantee they will get paid.

More about who in the government is working this weekend, including who is working without pay, I'm talking hundreds of thousands of people here. I'll have that in a moment, including how it may impact your weekend plans.

But first, let's go to the White House, and CNN's Sarah Westwood. Also with us is CNN's Phil Mattingly stayed on Capitol Hill right now.

Phil, I will start with you. The Senate was in session earlier. They are adjourned. We are told there is no chance this shutdown will end before Christmas. How do we know that?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Ana. If you look behind the scenes, it's at an impasse. That's what I have been told from people that are involved. The Senator Richard Shelby, the chairman of the Senate appropriations committee, a key person in these talks said earlier when he came back from a meeting from the White House that a deal at this point was not imminent. Both sides is very dug in on their bottom line. President Trump $5 billion to fund a border wall. Democrats making clear they will not give a dime towards that until that cap is bridged. Obviously, there is no clear end game in town.

But if you want to read tea leaves as well, just a short while ago, United States Senate adjourned. They will not be back in full session, at least under the current schedule until at least the Thursday after Christmas. So almost a week from now at this point.

Senators who I have talked, those that were actually today and there weren't a lot of them, are heading home for the holidays. They plan on spending Christmas with their families. I am told the House will soon also tell their members something similar. Go home for Christmas. Come back when this is over.

Now, all of this with the caveat. And this is something Senate majority leader McConnell told reporters after he adjourned the Senate that if something comes together, if a deal certainly happens, they will be willing to come back and pass it. But at this point, given the state of the negotiations and given the fact that everybody is flying home for the holidays, there is no expectation of a deal any time soon, after Christmas, looks like right now it will be the earliest, if even then, Ana.

CABRERA: Let me go to Sarah Westwood. Phil, stand by.

Sarah, what are you hearing from the White House? Any possible whisper of a compromise?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well Ana, President Trump is still not signaling what he would be willing to consider in terms of a compromise or a deal that could get at least ten Senate Democrats on board and reopen the 25 percent of government that's closed.

Now, White House officials say that the President is not budging from his demand for $5 billion in funding for his border wall. And they say that money must go to the construction of a wall or some other kind of steel barrier along the border. That money can't be used for general border security, which is one of several ideas that have been floating around Capitol Hill as a potential compromise. The President not opened to that at the moment. But make no mistake, he has been all over the map when it comes to the

shutdown, shifting from just last week saying that he would be proud to take responsibility for shutdown if it was over the border to his aide's signaling that he might actually be willing to sign a temporary spending bill that would have kept the government opened until February 8th. And then signaling on Thursday that actually, he was going to reject that compromise, a bipartisan compromise that passed the Senate and hold firm on his $5 billion number, shutting the government down. Sources say that the President has become increasingly sensitive to criticism from his conservative allies. And he was surrendering on his demand for a border wall by signing that continuing resolution that would have averted this shutdown.

Now the President, obviously, holding firm to that number, but not offering clarity on what else he might consider in terms of coming down for $5 billion in terms of trades for other immigration priorities.

That lack of clarity has caused a lot of headaches on Capitol Hill for negotiators trying to figure out what exactly he might put his signature on. Because, Ana, there is just no point in law makers lining up behind a compromised that wouldn't garner the President's signature.

[16:05:01] CABRERA: That's what they say. Although, I wonder if they would test it out.

Sarah Westwood and Phil Mattingly, appreciate both your reporting. Thank you.

What exactly are we talking about when we say the government is even partially shut down? It's the Christmas weekend. So a lot of government offices and functions are taking time off for the holiday, anyway, right? But what is still working and who is to working? Not every government office will hang up a close sign, but a very, very large number of people are impacted. Not just federal employees, but everybody in the country who depends on what they do.

Here's just a brief skim of the numbers. Until the government reopens more than 400,000 government workers are being told they will work without a paycheck. And that includes more than 41,000 federal police officers and correctional officers and roughly 42,000 employees of the U.S. coast guard no paycheck.

A furlough is a different story and that applies to about 380,000 people placed on furlough. That means they stay home without being paid essentially a leave of absence while their work is not being done.

And here is who that applies to, most NAFTA workers, most national park rangers and park safety officials. Most of the department of housing and urban development.

Remember, we have a space station in orbit, an American astronaut is on board. NASA says they will have staff watching the space station, satellites, a mission on Mars and America's other space interests. Now, that's a lot of numbers. What will that look like to you after

Christmas day if the government is not back in business?

First, the post office will be opened. Air and rail travel will still function as normal. Social security offices will still work. That includes timely delivery and benefit checks. What about national parks? Yes and no, some parks will leave the gates opened but with a skeleton staff on duty in case of emergencies. Any buildings will probably be locked, closed for the duration of the shutdown, small business loan offices, federal housing agencies also closed. U.S. court scheduled to handle civil cases, no, not opened. And field offices that help farmers closed as well.

Interesting to note here that one official U.S. government function, that will not stop working, even in this government shutdown, the Robert Mueller special counsel investigation of Russian collusion and President Trump's election. That team is funded and exempt from the shutdown. It's business as usual for them without interruption.

Meanwhile, Trump is facing another potential crisis over his pick for acting attorney general. You remember Matthew Whitaker. Trump passed over other top justice department officials to personally appoint him as acting AG. Well, Democrats immediately cried foul. They accused President Trump of installing Whitaker to derail the special counsel investigation.

Well, CNN has now learned that at least twice in the last month, President Trump has lashed out at his new appointee. The first time, after Trump's former attorney, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty. The second, after Trump was implicated in some of Cohen's crimes. We are told President Trump wanted to know why more wasn't being done to control prosecutors from bringing charges in the first place.

This revelation comes the very same week we learn that Whitaker is ignoring advice from an ethics official at the justice department who recommended Whitaker recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation. Instead, Whitaker is staying on.

I want to bring in a former prosecutor for the department of justice, Joseph Moreno.

Joe, when you hear all this, do you think President Trump views Whitaker as his personal fixer?

JOSEPH MORENO, FORMER DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE PROSECUTOR: Ana, if that is the case, it would be extremely troubling, right. As we know, attorney general's dedication is to the constitution and the laws, right, not to the President personally. And so, the attorney general, he or she is responsible for executing those laws without prejudice, which means that they do not put their personal views ahead of anything, including protecting the President personally. Now, he has his own lawyers, that's their job. The attorney general works for the people.

CABRERA: The attorney general, though, does, I guess, you know, fall in the chain of command underneath the President. But should President Trump even be discussing a potential case that he is implicated in with the attorney general or anyone in the justice department, for that Matter?

MORENO: Ana, even giving the participants of that conversation the benefit of the doubt, right? It still looks awful, right? And as we know, in the law, there is two things that you want to avoid. There is the existence of an actual conflict and the existence of an appearance of a conflict of interest, right? Even just the appearance of a conflict of interest can be devastating because it puts everything into question. It puts a taint on the investigation. So, if, in fact, the reporting is correct, that the President is sort of lashing out to acting attorney general Whitaker, it looks awful. And it takes an already traumatic situation for the country, which is this Russia probe and makes it even worse.

CABRERA: And, of course the questions that we all have is how did Whitaker respond to the President as he is having these interactions, these conversations. We know Democratic congressman Jerry Democratic congressman Jerry Nadler is demanding Whitaker testify before the house Judiciary Committee. Could we get answers then or is this something Whitaker would be able to claim executive privilege on?

[16:10:17] CABRERA: What an unnecessary, I mean, debacle, right? I mean, this is all so avoidable. So whether or not Congress can get something out of acting attorney general Whitaker now as this is all unfolding, yet to be seen. I mean, it is good that House Democrats will take seriously their oversight function. And this is exactly the kind of thing they should be looking at. But really, this was such an unforced error, right. This was so avoidable.

Look at how this compares to how former attorney General Jeff Sessions took care of it, right. He probably did not have to recuse himself, but he did, saying, I don't want the appearance of a conflict of interest. Now he took a lot of abuse from the President for that. But at least, he let those of us who are watching this investigation have some peace of mind that it was being conducted by officials without any personal stake.

CABRERA: So what do you make of the fact that Whitaker ignored the advice of a DOJ ethics official to recuse himself from the Mueller investigation, you know? He says that there wasn't an absolutely must. There was no conflict of interest that was identified. It was the appearance, perhaps, of impartiality. He didn't want to be the person who then, you know, sets that line for future people who are in his position. What do you make of his stance?

MORENO: Ana, a lot of people are surprised that these ethics advisory opinions that are given are shoulds. They're not musts, right. We hope that the officials that, you know, being given to take them seriously and said, look, even if I think I can compartmentalize what I said before or what I know from my official actions, there still remains this appearance. And presumably President Trump expects and hopes that he will survive this whole thing. Wouldn't we want to survive it with the American people having some confidence the Mueller probe was unimpeded, that it was un-interfered with and that it was let run its course without any kind of undo-influence. And the presence of attorney general, acting attorney general Whitaker throws that into question. It's completely unnecessary and unfortunate.

CABRERA: Joseph Moreno, thanks for being with us, especially on a holiday weekend. Good to have you.

MORENO: Thanks, Ana. Good to be here.

CABRERA: Thanks.

Earlier in the week, President Trump appeared to be ready to sign a budget resolution and avoid a government shutdown. What happened? Rush Limbaugh, Anne Coulter for one thing. A look at their influence on the President ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:16:45] CABRERA: It looked like this will be a calm Christmas, calm by this administration standards anyway. President Trump was preparing to head to Mar-a-Lago for a 17-day break. The White House indicated he would sign a continuing resolution that would keep the government funded. And then Republican Senator Bob Corker believes Trump reportedly turned his ear to these people, conservative Anne Coulter and Rush Limbaugh, both warning Trump against caving in on his wall, essentially saying that backing down would ruin his presidency.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANN COULTER, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: They are about to have a country where no Republican will ever be elected President again. Trump will just have been a joke presidency that scammed the American people, engaged the, you know, amused the populous for a while, but he will have no legacy whatsoever.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Textbook example of what the drive by media calls compromise, Trump gets nothing and the Democrats get everything, including control of the House in a few short weeks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Senator Corker telling reporters after Trump's flip-flop quote "we have two talk radio hosts who influenced the President. That's tyranny, isn't it?"

Let's chat, maybe President Trump is listening with us to discuss. CNN chief media correspondent and anchor of "RELIABLE SOURCES" Brian Stelter and political commentator and columnist for "USA Today" and "Huffington Post" Kurt Bardella.

Brian, just how much influence does do to media have over the President?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: I certainly think some of these most popular pro-Trump hosts have an enormous amount of influence. I would differentiate between all of conservative media whether there are some principled responsible reporters and the entertainment wing of conservative media. That's the Sean Hannitys of the world who do have an enormous amount of influence. And we can see that just to the President's tweet, you know, when he live tweets certain talk shows on FOX, he is picking the talk shows that give him support.

A new story in the "New York Times" today says Trump is spending quote "more time than ever before in front of the television, often retreating to his residence out of concern that he is being watched too closely." A new report in the "New York times" today.

So, I think there is the sense that the cable news, FOX, in particular, shapes the President's world view. And I think to some degree it's understandable. Every President wants to keep in touch with their base, with their voters, and know that their voters care about. But leadership means knowing when to break from that or when you lead your base in the right direction, when to lead your base away from a dangerous idea? Instead, what the President does is too often follows the script laid out by his supporters in talk radio and on TV.

CABRERA: Kurt, I wonder, does FOX News, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter have more influence over President than his own advisers in his administration as cabinets, top intelligence officials, do you think?

KURT BARDELLA, POLITICAL/COLUMNIST, HUFFINGTON POST & USA TODAY: I think clearly. I mean, you look at where we were just a couple of days ago, there was a deal. The Senate passed a deal unanimously, this was going to happen the shutdown was going to be averted. And then we saw what happened in that conservative media on FOX News with Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh. And all of a sudden without any warning from congressional leaders for his advisers, Trump does a complete 180 and decides he is going to fight and bring on this shutdown because that's what they told him to do.

And it is really -- it's one of those cases where who is really advising who? Trump is really being controlled by these personalities rather than him actually driving the message and having them follow him.

And this is what happened. It's symptomatic of when your base is so narrow and so small that you can't afford to lose any of them because if you lose that small group, you will have nothing left.

[16:20:12] CABRERA: And when we talk about who he is listening to, we have been reporting about how he broke with Mattis, because Mattis just couldn't get through to him. He wasn't listening to his national security advisers, the defense secretary, for example. But as you point out, he is listening to the people who helped elect him to the presidency.

And Brian, there is now a go fund me page, in fact, of collecting money to help build Trump's border wall. Here it is. People have already donated $15 million.

Brian, what do you make of the fact that very same people who are there chanting with the President, Mexico is going to pay for the wall? When he say who is going to pay for it? Mexico will, are now putting their own hard earned money, donating it to the wall that Mexico was supposed to pay for. STELTER: I assume these are not Mexicans that are really making these

donations on go fund me. Clearly, these are Americans trying to make a statement, trying to make a point that they want to see this wall done some way, somehow.

But so much of this debate is untethered from the facts, right. There are already fences and bollards and other forms of wall all across the border. I understand Trump wants to add more of those. But let's start from a place of fact. There already are quite a few of them. With regard to go fund me, the size of this is totally legal. It can stay up. It is not going to reach a billion-dollars so it is not really going to happen. But it does raise a strange question of what happens if it reaches a billion dollars, won't. But if it does, does the money get transferred to the government? Who builds is wall?

CABRERA: Right.

OK, I heard that question because you worked on Capitol Hill, Kurt. Can the government actually accept this money? And if so, what are the chances it will be spent on the border?

BARDELLA: Zero to none. Because here is what happens. You donate money to the government, but it goes to a general fund that can be used for anything. You can you not write a check to the department of homeland security for a border wall. In fact, the department of homeland security couldn't even accept that money without an act of Congress authorizing it. There is a reason for that. You don't want anyone, any rich person bill to control what government is spending without any accountability from the legislator's branch. There is the reason why framers gave Congress the power of the purse string. And this would completely circumvent that. So no, this is completely unrealistic and unviable.

STELTER: But this is why I love the internet, right. In addition to this go fund me, others have created go fund me pages for -- to build an escalator over the wall that will be build.

BARDELLA: The ladders.

STELTER: Ladders over the wall. I mean, you got to give them points for creativity.

CABRERA: Yes. Thank you, guys.

BARDELLA: They are certainly being creative.

CABRERA: I like ending our discussion on that now. Thank you both.

Kurt Bardella and Brian Stelter, happy holidays. Merry Christmas. I appreciate you taking the time this weekend.

BARDELLA: Thank you.

CABRERA: After nearly a month, a breakthrough in the case of a missing Colorado mom, sadly, her fiance is now behind bars.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:27:17] CABRERA: A sad ending as to a story that has touched the hearts of people across the country. The fiance of a Colorado mother who went missing Thanksgiving Day, is now behind bars facing charges in her murder. Kelsey Berreth vanished late last month. Her body has not been found. But police do not believe she is alive. Patrick Frazee was booked yesterday and charged in connection with Barrett's death. In addition to being engaged, the couple have a one-year-old daughter together.

Kaylee Hartung is joining us from Castle Rock, Colorado with more.

Kaylee, I understand Frazee is facing two charges. What can you tell us about them?

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Ana. He has been booked in the Teller County jail without bond facing two charges, one of first degree murder, and another of solicitation for first degree murder.

The district attorney helped us understand what that means. That they believe not only did he have a discussion with another individual about committing this crime but that steps were taken between the two of them to commit this crime. And while he is the only one who has been arrested in connection to Kelsey Barreth's death, the district attorney wasn't ready to speculate that anyone else would also be arrested. But he said it's absolutely possible that someone could so.

And so, without a body, authorities believe that they have enough evidence to support these charges against him, which they say evidence was primarily collected from Kelsey Berreth's home. They say that's where they believe she was murdered. We next expect to see Patrick Frazee in court on December 31st. Sometime between now and then the district attorney will formally charge Patrick Frazee.

CABRERA: What about the couple's one-year-old daughter, who is taking care of her, now that her father has been arrested for her mother's death?

HARTUNG: Ana, it's hard to believe that just a week ago, authorities say they believed that one-year-old Kaylee was safe in Patrick Frazee's care. And yet, after his arrest yesterday morning, the little girl was taken into protective custody. She is now in the process of being taken to the care of Kelsey Berreth's family. The Berreth family is in Idaho, also in Washington, but now in charge of the life of that one-year-old girl.

CABRERA: Kaylee Hartung, thank you.

A woman from Yemen wanted to come to America to hold her dying son. The United States government initially said no. What ended up happening, just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [16:34:14] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. After months of legal wrangling with restrictions imposed by President Trump's travel ban, a Yemeni mother arrived in California to be re-united with her dying son. The mother has spent more than a year trying to get a State Department waiver to allow her to join her husband and their 2- year-old son in America.

Dan Simon has the latest on this Muslim's family's plight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN SIMON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dozens of Yemeni- Americans came to the international terminal to welcome Shaima Swileh to the United States and also to draw attention to what they say are the inequities of the Trump administration travel ban. You can you tell the mother, Shaima, was completely overwhelmed by the situation? Who wouldn't be? She had a long plane ride. First time to the United States. And you could see that she was just overwhelmed by the situation with all those cameras in her face.

[16:35:09] She has been through one heck of an ordeal. First, experiencing the pain of a mother whose son has this terrible condition. And, second, the ordeal of trying to gain access to the country. She reached out to the embassy in Cairo, Egypt, some 28 times. She had been living in Cairo. She worked hard to come to the United States. It was ultimately the media attention that really forced the State Department to grant this waiver.

This is what her husband said just a short time ago.

ALI HASSAN, HUSBAND OF SHAIMA SWILEH: This is the most difficult time for our family. But we are blessed to be together. I ask you to respect our privacy as we go through this with our son. The Muslim ban passed hurts Yemeni-American families and needs to end.

SIMON (on camera): Well the waiver may have been granted. She is in the country. But it certainly doesn't erase the pain. From here, we are told, she went to the hospital to be with her son, to touch him, to kiss him. He has very little time left.

Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: Is the president fed up with the Fed? Just as the markets experience the worst week in a decade, a frustrated Trump floats the idea of firing his Fed chief.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:40:51] CABRERA: The government has partially shut down. We now know it will stay that way at least until Thursday. So what now?

CNN's Tom Foreman has more on how different government agencies will be impacted.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Let's take a look at where big travel season. Homeland Security, 55,000 TSA workers will remain in their post, 55,000 Customs and Border agents, too, along with a good many of others. And transportation, 24,000 air traffic controllers will be on the job, so will railroad inspectors. At the State Department, passports will be issued, but maybe not at any given passport office. If it's in a government facility, for example, where a lot of people are furloughed and the office is closed, the passport office could be closed there, too. If you come to see the Smithsonian Museums, good luck. They're still open through January 1, regular schedule, but then it's unclear what will happen if this shutdown goes through. The Justice Department will mostly remain opened and operating. The Russian investigation will certainly continue. Beyond that, the Agriculture Department would continue food safety inspections but would be shutting down other services like research. The majority of the folks at NASA will be put on a leave of absence. The Interior Department, the national parks, some services at some parks would close like restrooms and visitors' centers. Others would probably remain opened for at least the time being.

Related to that, there are a couple holiday treats out there. No matter what happens, Santa and his llamas will still visit Olympic National Forest in Washington State on Christmas eve, come what may. The Polar Express will continue to run near the Grand Canyon. It is operated by a third party, not the government.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: Thank goodness.

Tom Foreman, thank you.

Wall Street investors are beyond jittery this weekend. The stock market suffering its worst week since the 2008 financial crisis. Now we hear President Trump, who wants to say, "you're fired," to his own chairman, Jerome Powell.

Take a look at Wall Street's dismal numbers. The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Friday dropping another 400-plus points to enshrine its worst weekly plunge since the financial crisis of 2008. The NASDAQ retreating into a bear market in what is shaping up to be the worst December for stocks since the Great Depression.

With us right now, we have Trump economic adviser, Stephen Moore, now CNN senior economic analyst, and "Financial Times" associate editor, Rana Foroohar, also a CNN global economic analyst.

So, Stephen, remember when we were talking last weekend, you told me Trump would own an economic downturn. There we go, worst week on Wall Street since 2008. December on track to be the worst month since the Great Depression. The president's fault?

STEPHEN MOORE, CNN SENIOR ECONOMIC ANALYST: Well, look, you know, the Grinch --

(CROSSTALK)

MOORE: -- has certainly taken over. It was a blood bath. There was no way to put any lipstick on that pig. I mean, it was a horrible week.

The good news is the real economy, Ana, is doing still very well. In fact, we will close 2018 with the strongest economy in terms of economic growth that we've had in something like 20 years. It was a great blockbuster year for workers and wages and manufacturers and construction. It wasn't a very good year for the stock market. So they went in the opposite direction.

I do think the Fed had a lot to do with this. It wasn't just this last economic malpractice practiced by the Fed this past week, but just a few months ago, they raised rates, too. We have such a strong economy right now. There's a lot of demand for dollars around the world. We need more dollar liquidity in the economy. They're taking it out.

But one last thing I'll say --

(CROSSTALK)

CABRERA: What I don't understand what you are saying is that it's the Trump, oh, the Fed is awful. But you are saying how strong the economy is?

MOORE: Yes. The economy did great the first three quarters of the year. When the Fed started raising rates, you can track the decline in the stock market. Look, I'm bullish right now on the stock market. The stock prices in terms of earnings are probably as low as they have been in 20 years. So if you are an investor, you never want to sell low. You want to buy low. This is a good time to be buying stocks.

CABRERA: Rana?

[16:45:15] RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: I think you are hitting something important here, which is that the Fed was responsible raising interest rates, of course. But they were also responsible for the recovery. I mean, one of the reasons that we're having this conversation, President Trump was trying to take credit for the recovery. It was never his to take credit for. The Fed actually came in for the last 10 years have done an amazing job. One of the things I have been most reassured, in the last couple days, is the Fed saying, we are apolitical. We will not bow to political pressure. Right now, the markets want to know there's some institution that is not schizophrenic, that will not go through ups and downs, that it will be managed in a neutral way. They Fed has to play that role. I think they're are doing a great job with this.

CABRERA: In fact, let's listen to Alan Greenspan, the former Fed chair, who was talking about that earlier this week. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED REPORTR: Criticism, complaints, coming from the president toward Jerome Powell. As a central banker, how do you handle that?

ALAN GREENSPAN, FORMER FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: I wear ear muffs myself.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Big ones.

GREENSPAN: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: We have a president that makes comments to a central bank governor saying you shouldn't be raising rates.

GREENSPAN: How do you know they're listening?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You don't?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Rana, assuming Jerome Powell has his earmuffs on --

FOROOHAR: I hope he does.

CABRERA: -- he is talking to a team of economists, right --

FOROOHAR: Yes.

CABRERA: -- he is looking at the data --

FOROOHAR: Right.

CABRERA: -- that is how he is making his decision?

FOROOHAR: Absolutely. It has to be said, before any of this happened, before the shutdown, before the trade war with China, before there anything had to do with this president, there was a robust debate within the Fed about where we will be at this moment. There are strong arguments to make you should go forward and raise rates and get some of the froth out of the market. Yes, stocks will fall. They have been at highs arguably too long. There are some that say we need to hold. We may be headed towards a recession. Every 10 years, you get a recession. We are at that point in history. So this is a serious debate. They're having it in a serious way. They should pay no attention to what the president is saying or doing right now.

CABRERA: In fact, Stephen

(CROSSTALK)

CABRERA: -- with this president, do you feel, by calling out the Feds so publicly, the president almost forced this rate hike as a display of institutional independence?

MOORE: Yes. How irresponsible is that, that the Fed did something against the interests of hundreds of millions of Americans and, you know, caused one of the biggest stock sell-offs, as you just said, in 50 years, because somehow they want to establish their independence and not do the right thing.

Here's the issue. If you look at what's happened since the rate hikes that started back in September, we've seen a dramatic decline in the prices of commodities, everything. I was still looking at the numbers. Lead, copper, soy beans, silver, oil is all declining. That's an indication that we have deflation in the economy. Now why in the world, Rana, in an environment of declining prices, would the Fed be raising interesting rates?

FOROOHAR: You know why? You know why, Stephen?

MOORE: It's really the most irresponsible things I've ever seen, why?

FOROOHAR: Oh, first of all, I can't believe -- you and I both knew we were going to be exactly in this place. There are record amounts of corporate debt out there. There has been a huge divide between Wall Street and Main Street for a very long time. And the Fed would be remiss if they didn't think about the fact that there's so much good out there in the market. A decade of easing money, which was needed just to get the weak recovery we have. They are doing the best they can. They have to deflate this market at some point. The fact that the president is trying to turn this into a political thing is absolutely irresponsible. If he were to fire Jerome Powell, that would be a disaster for the global markets.

(CROSSTALK)

CABRERA: What do you see in the fallout of the fire --

(CROSSTALK)

CABRERA: -- Stephen?

MOORE: I don't know if he has the authority to do it. Because you can only fire the Fed chairman for cause, but if there ever was a reason to cause, right, it would be now with what the Fed has done.

(CROSSTALK)

MOORE: Look, how can you justify an action that's caused a 1,500- point decline in the stock market? I mean --

(CROSSTALK)

FOROOHAR: That was going to happen anyway. We have record amounts of debt out there.

MOORE: No, it wasn't.

FOROOHAR: Oh, we've had markets that have been running away from Main Street. We have a recovery that most American have not felt. But the 12 percent population --

(CROSSTALK) FOROOHAR: -- is holding 96 percent of the stock is doing great. Everybody else hasn't had a raise in about 20 years or 40, depending on --

(CROSSTALK)

MOORE: That's exactly my point. You just said how great the Fed has done. We just had the worst recovery from a recession since the Great Depression and--

(CROSSTALK)

FOROOHAR: We would have had a depression if the Fed hadn't done a great job.

(CROSSTALK)

MOORE: No. We would have had a real recovery.

[16:50:03] FOROOHAR: The central bankers of the world came in and saved the markets and were a stabilizing force in the last decade. You and I know that's true.

CABRERA: We've got to leave it there.

(CROSSTALK)

MOORE: One thing on the positive, though, if Trump can get the trade deal done with China in the next 60 days, the stock market is going through the roof.

CABRERA: Well, we will see. I hope you are right.

(CROSSTALK)

CABRERA: Exactly. Let's set that date. Mark it in on the calendar and have this discussion again soon.

Merry Christmas. Happy holidays. Thanks again.

MOORE: You, too.

(CROSSTALK)

MOORE: Thanks for having us.

CABRERA: Now for something a little more uplifting. Holiday surprises that will warm your heart.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is that? What is it?

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Oh, my god! UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Aw.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Military families getting special gifts just in time for Christmas. That's next.

But first, it's been called the e-mail killer. Slack is a chat application that is becoming critical in many offices. But the company started out making video games.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was an accident we found the Slack product. It was borne out of the way we collaborated working to make a video game. After four years, it was apparent the game was never going to work out, it was never going to be a success. We went back to our investors and said, would you like your money back? And they decided to take a gamble on us and said, instead, keep that money, let's see what you can do with it next.

Slack is a collaboration of the workplace. It's a tool that ties together all the other tools you use to get to work done. Most organizations are still using e-mail. This is designed for the way the teams work together and collaborate. We saw that collaboration gap. So we went to our friends in the other companies in the bay area and basically begged them to use this product, give it a try. People would see the team next to them using this new thing, being more productive, being more engaged, getting more done, and it grew like wildfire.

It's been important that we've supported things like emojis and gifs. People are using those when they talk informally to friends and family. The idea you should switch to a whole different way of thinking and communication just because you're in the workplace seems wrong. If we can make people productive while enjoying themselves, then that's a huge win.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:56:58] CABRERA: There are the videos we can't get enough of. Servicemembers surprising their families just in time for the holiday season.

CNN's Polo Sandoval has more on these heartwarming reunions. They've taken the Internet by storm.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A visit to Santa Claus --

SANTA CLAUSE: So what would you like for Christmas?

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: For my dad to come home.

SANTA CLAUSE: Oh.

SANDOVAL: -- turned into a special delivery for these two Minnesota sisters.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Daddy!

SANDOVAL: Their father, a soldier stationed in Kuwait, surprised his daughters just in time for Christmas.

(CROSSTALK)

SANDOVAL: It's among the many emotional moments caught on camera between the military and their families this holiday season.

The Wisconsin boy's older brother serving in the Army.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's your brother.

UNIDENTIFIED SERVICEMEMBER: What's up, buddy?

SANDOVAL: Surprised him at school with a big hug after five months apart.

The soldier then marched down the hall to his other sister and brother.

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: It made me feel warm inside.

SANDOVAL: In this viral video, a little boy presented with a large Christmas gift.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you think it is?

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: I don't know. I don't even have an idea yet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think you will like it.

SANDOVAL: Inside the box, a loved one.

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Oh my god!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Aw.

SANDOVAL: The person that posted this wrote, "He got to unwrap the only Christmas gift he asked for, a few days early."

(SHOUTING)

SANDOVAL: A small army of family members kept this airman from getting through the door in Sacramento.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What the hell!

UNIDENTIFIED SERVICEMEMBER: Surprise! SANDOVAL: And finally, a Christmas choir concert in Indianapolis, an

unexpected interruption.

Miss April Hinton (ph), you have a present under the tree.

SANDOVAL: It led to a mother, serving in the Navy, embracing her daughter just in time for Christmas.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: It's been a long year, and so many things happened. And I just missed her so much. It just makes this Christmas extra special, her surprising me.

SANDOVAL: For some of these servicemembers, another deployment could be next. For now, the current marching orders include being home for the holidays.

Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: Loving one another is really what this holiday season is all about. Right? An elderly man in Wales made sure his 2-year-old neighbor knew just how much he cared about her before he passed away. He bought 14-years-worth of presents for this little girl before he died in October. The girl's father said he opened the door one afternoon to find his neighbor's daughter clutching a large plastic bag he initially thought was trash. But inside were gifts her dad had bought for their 2-year-old. It was like a Mary Poppins bag, he says. They plan to open one gift each year. Although, he admits, it could get tricky since it's not quite clear which present is for which year. What a gesture.

[17:00:03] You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks for being with me on this Saturday.

The government shutdown that began at midnight will not end at least until after Christmas. That's guaranteed now.