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Partial Government Shutdown over Border Wall Battle; 420K Federal Employees Expected to Work without Pay; Supreme Court Upholds Block on Trump's Asylum Policy; Trump Vented At Whitaker After Explosive Cohen Revelations; The stock Market Just Had its Worst Week in a Decade; Trump's Border Wall Standoff Plunges Government in Partial Shutdown; Justice Ginsburg has Cancerous Nodules Removed; Major Storm Hits Holiday Travelers; This is a Season to be Money Conscious; Have Yourself a Merry Gift-Free Christmas; Trump: "I Know Tech Better Than Anyone". Aired 8-9a ET

Aired December 22, 2018 - 08:00   ET



LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN HOST: There are human beings who are going to be asked to work without pay or going to be told to stay at home.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck. I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I'm not going to blame you for it.

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: If I were Chuck Schumer, I would turn my phone off and go sit by the pool somewhere and wait till January 3rd.

TRUMP: Let's get out, let's work together, let's be bipartisan, and let's get it done.

BAKARI SELLERS, ATTORNEY, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR AND FORMER POLITICIAN: We had a deal made, but he was listening to the Ann Coulters, the Bill O'Reillys of the world.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the consequences of a President who walked away from the deals that the republicans and democrats together had agreed upon.


BLACKWELL: Good Saturday morning to you. I'm Victor Blackwell.

SANTIAGO: I'm Leyla Santiago in for Christi Paul this morning.

BLACKWELL: OK. Hour 8, the third partial government shutdown of this year. It started at midnight when lawmakers tried and failed to get the votes to pass a spending bill with border funding for the wall.

SANTIAGO: So here is the big question, how long will this shutdown - partial shutdown, last? Thousands of federal workers may now have to wait. A lot of them still planning to report to work when all they want on that Christmas list is a paycheck and on time. And now, the week after he told democratic leaders that he would be proud - you just heard him - to take the blame for a border wall shutdown, President Trump says it is the Democrats' fault.

BLACKWELL: And the shutdown comes at the end of a really rough week for the White House. There was this dramatic court appearance from a Former National Security Adviser. That was only this week.

SANTIAGO: I know. I can't believe that.

BLACKWELL: I mean, it seems like it was weeks ago. Then you had the resignation letter from the Defense Secretary and the President who likes to take credit for how Wall Street is performing, now is seeing the worst week on Wall Street in a decade. We're covering all the angles this morning with CNN Whitehouse Correspondent Abby Phillip, CNN National Correspondent Suzanne Malveaux.

Let's start with you Suzanne. You just spoke with Senator Lankford. Lawmakers are arriving. We saw what happened and didn't happen in the last hours of negotiation. What's happening now? What happens next?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sure, Victor. Well, one of the things that he said is that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, of course, is going to make a statement around noon or so when the senate reconvenes, and the hope is that they would have some sort of agreement, a deal by that time that he could announce and then call lawmakers back in and say you've got 24 hours to come up here and actually vote on this piece of legislation.

If that doesn't happen by noon, then the expectation is that this shutdown could last a lot longer. So the hope is that the private deal making, negotiating that is taking place this morning will produce something. It is far from certain whether or not that is true.

What happened yesterday was that you had the Vice President, Mike Pence, as well as Jared Kushner, and OMB Director, Mick Mulvaney here. They were meeting with democrats - the democratic leadership, as well as the republican leadership to try to figure out what are these numbers that are acceptable for both sides and for the President, more importantly.

The President asking for $5 billion for this border wall, the democrats very steadfast, very insistent that it's $1.3 billion and rejecting what was on the table before and what had been accepted by everyone, including the President, on Wednesday, $1.6 billion, the President then blew that up and they were looking for what figure would actually be acceptable.

So I asked Senator Lankford, what are you working with, what are you dealing with here? And here's how he explained the process.


JAMES LANKFORD, SENATOR, OKLAHOMA: Right now we're trying to finalize all the final text and to be able to make sure everyone's looked at it, everyone's agreed off on that text, everyone's signed off on it and then that text will go public to all members to be able to go through it and be able to take a look at and then we'll actually move to a vote 24 hours from there. So at any point right now, we're at least 24 hours more of a shutdown from where we are right now.


MALVEAUX: And when he talks about the texts, he said its far closer to the $1 billion figure than the $5 billion figure that the President has been asking for. And so that language is going to be critical in terms of how it's described, does it meet the expectations of the President to sign onto this, and is his word good that he is actually going to go through with that? There is a blame game that is going on.

Clearly, you have Democrats putting out this statement, saying regrettably America has entered a Trump shutdown. Republicans choose to continue this Trump shutdown and the new house democratic majority will swiftly pass legislation to re-open the government in January. So there is a back and forth who's responsible for this, and we will see whether or not this is the kind of language that is acceptable to the President. They may offer this up, and the deal is if they're going to vote on it, this is going to be the final vote on the budget there. So that is what we are waiting for now, Victor.

SANTIAGO: All right, Suzanne Malveaux, thank you so much.

[08:05:00] BLACKWELL: President Trump says that he cancelled his trip to Florida so he could stay in Washington to wait for Democrats. The CNN White House Correspondent, Abby Phillip joins us now. Abby, so we know that the Vice President, the OMB Director, soon to be Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and Senior Adviser Jared Kushner went up to the Hill to try to chart the way forward, what role does the President have, if any, in the negotiations that will continue today?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the President plays such a critical role because his signature is the one thing that's standing in the way of negotiators coming to an agreement, but the problem is President Trump hasn't really been directly involved in the back and forth. He sent those emissaries to Capitol Hill on his behalf yesterday to work through these negotiations and it does appear that they've made some progress - enough to get over the first hurdle and to keep the doors of negotiation open between the Democrats and Republicans.

But there is still so much lack of clarity this morning about whether or not President Trump will sign off on an agreement made between Democrats and Republicans. The signals that we were getting from people close to the negotiations involving Vice President Mike Pence said that President Trump might not be particularly happy with $1.6 billion. If that's the case, as Suzanne just reported, then negotiators are probably going to have to go back to the drawing boards.

I think everybody here is waiting to see when President Trump will weigh in, will he send clear signals about his willingness to sign off on a bill. In the meantime, he has been here at the White House filming a video yesterday that the White House released that's all about reframing the conversation around the shutdown, reframing who is to blame for the shutdown and who takes credit for it. Listen to what he had to say.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Call it a Democrat shutdown, call it whatever you want. But we need their help to get this approved. So Democrats, we have a wonderful list of things that we need to keep our country safe. Let's get out, let's work together, let's be bipartisan, and let's get it done. The shutdown hopefully will not last long.


PHILLIP: That is a change of tune for President Trump who just yesterday said that if there was a shutdown, it would last for a long time. This is a President who decided earlier this week to dig in for his border security money and say that he was willing to shut down the government for it. Now the question is what is he willing to compromise in order to re-open the government?

In the meantime, the First Lady, Melania Trump and her son Barron Trump are already in Florida at Mar-a-Lago for their Christmas break, and President Trump, I'm sure, is eager to join them for what would have been a 16-day vacation down in Florida. He is now stuck here at the White House waiting to see what compromise comes out of the Hill. Victor and Leyla?

BLACKWELL: And President does love that resort. Abby Phillip, thanks so much.

SANTIAGO: All right. So let's break down exactly who will be affected by this. 75% of the government already has funding in place through this coming fall. But in several departments and agencies, 420,000 government employees are now working without pay. Homeland Security, 55,000 TSA workers will remain at their posts, 55,000 Custom and Border agents and officers as well. At transportation, 24,000 air traffic controllers remain on the job and so will railroad inspectors as well.

So at this state department, let's go there, because remember, that's where passports will be issued. You can expect for that, but not at every passport office and government facility are workers furloughed and the offices are closed. The Smithsonian Museums in D.C. are open through January, first on a regular schedule, but it's still unclear what happens beyond the 1st.

Justice Department, let's go there, will remain mostly open and operate. The Russia investigation will certainly continue, you can count on that. In addition, the Agriculture Department will continue food safety inspections, but other services will stop like research. Folks at NASA, they are put on a leave of absence without pay, and at the Interior Department, the national parks, some services at parks are closed like rest rooms as well as visitors centers. BLACKWELL: So this morning we've been talking about and M2, the people who are being directly affected by this partial shutdown. Here's what the representatives of some of the major federal employees' groups and unions are telling us.


RANDY ERWIN, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL FEDERATION OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES: If you got to feed your family and get through the holidays, I mean, people kind of assume that, one, this shutdown isn't going to go on for very long. Well, the President is out there saying he wants this to be a long shutdown.

So that means - and even long - for people who are living paycheck to paycheck - and let me tell you, we got a lot of people in our organization, some are making as little as $26,000, $27,000 a year, they are - they cannot sustain a cutoff of their income for any period of time.

[08:10:00] So they have to plan as though they're not - it doesn't matter if they're going to get paid a month later. They have to plan as though it's not coming.

And the other thing is, in the past Congress, thankfully, when there's been a furlough, has paid workers who have been furloughed. There's no guarantee of that. And so for a worker who is being furloughed, you've got to plan as though your revenue is shut off and it's never coming. And for a family who's making in the $20,000, $30,000, low 40 kind of range, this is just pulling the carpet out from under them and you can't really plan for that.

I was talking to a lot of people in our organization. I talked to a lot of members and a lot of them had no idea when whether they were going to be furloughed, whether they were on the accepted list so they weren't going to be furloughed. So the preparation was very, very poor this time around. Everybody was caught with their pants down.

JACQUE SIMON, POLICY DIRECTOR, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES: These are real families. Everyone notes that it's the holiday season. Even if it weren't the holiday season where people we represent make very modest salaries. Transportation security officers, for example, the people who are making sure travel is safe this holiday season for anybody who's flying to visit their families. They take home less than $500 a week. They cannot afford. They have no cushion. They cannot afford to go without a paycheck, not for a day, not for a week, not for a long shutdown. This is a financial catastrophe for them.


BLACKWELL: And it may be important also to note that in the political criticisms of the President, his administration, both the National Federation of Federal Employees and the American Federation of Government Workers endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016 for President. So take that into context when we have those discussions with those labor groups. SANTIAGO: Some people are blaming the uncertainty over the shutdown

for a terrible finish on Wall Street. Friday capped the most brutal trading week in years. How long will that slide go on?

BLACKWELL: Plus, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's cancer scare, more on her surgery and her prognosis, still ahead.


SANTIAGO: Well, Trump administration's wild week got a little worse Friday, the Supreme Court dealing a blow to the administration's asylum plan.

BLACKWELL: So the High Court upheld the judge's order, blocking the policy and that policy would have temporarily blocked migrants from Mexico from seeking asylum outside of official ports of entry. Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the four liberal justices in the 5-4 ruling. The Justice Department plans to continue fighting the ban.

President Trump's Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker is already getting criticism from the President. Sources tell CNN, the President has ripped into Whitaker at least twice in the last few weeks.

SANTIAGO: They said the President is frustrated over charges filed by federal prosecutors which make him look bad. The Acting Ag oversees those prosecutors, but sources say Trump has not directed Whitaker to stop the investigators. CNN Justice Reporter, Laura Jarrett has more.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: New details are emerging about the President's anger over how his attorney and long-time fixer, Michael Cohen, has drawn him into investigations by federal prosecutors, and the person now bearing the brunt of those frustrations, well, his hand-picked Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker.

According to multiple sources familiar with the discussions, on at least two discussions in the past few weeks, the President has vented at Whitaker, in particular about how prosecutors implicated the President in a hush money scheme to buy the silence of women around the 2016 campaign, crimes that Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to in the Southern District of New York. Now, to be clear, none of the sources suggested that the President directed Whitaker to actually stop any investigations. But the President believes the situation is unfair because he and his attorneys suggest that these were not illegal payments.

But more importantly, these discussions between Trump and Whitaker really show how the President believes the Attorney General should serve as his personal protector. While not confirming any of these conversations, the President's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said in a statement, "The President and his lawyers are upset about the professional prosecutors in the Southern District of New York going after a non-crime and innuendo that the President was involved". The Justice Department declined to comment for this story. Laura Jarrett, CNN, Washington. SANTIAGO: And part of the government is shut down this morning, we've been talking about that the entire morning really. Lawmakers are hitting walls and can't seem to find any bridges when it comes to making a deal, so how long could this drag on?


SANTIAGO: It was a brutal end to an already awful week on Wall Street. The DOW dropped nearly 400 points Friday, making it the worst trading week in a decade. Some blamed the uncertainty over whether the government would shut down, but if you ask President Trump, it was yet another interest rate hike. Either way, it may not be a very Merry Christmas for those investors out there, so how long should we expect this to last?

Joining me now is CNN Global Economic Analyst, Rana Foroohar, she is also the Associate Editor for the Financial Times. What do you think, Rana, how long are we thinking this is going to last year?

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST, ASSOCIATE EDITOR FINANCIAL TIMES: I think that this is going to be days, weeks, possibly even months of volatility. I mean, if you step back, there were already a number of factors, even before the shutdown, even before the President decided to pull troops out of Syria and Afghanistan and the Secretary of Defense resigned, all those things were rattling markets. But even before that, you did have fed signaling that there is going to be interest rate hikes and it's true, markets don't like that.

We're at the end of a recovery cycle. I mean, we have to look back and say, look, recessions tend to happen every 10 years. It's been 10 years since the last one, so we're actually due for a correction. But what's happening now is going to make things very, very rocky for the next few days, in particular.

[08:25:00] SANTIAGO: President Trump is typically very quick to attach his name - to attach sort of a win for him if the markets do well. Let me show you tweets from the past that we've certainly seen. This one where he says, "Business is looking better than ever with business enthusiasm at record levels, stock market at an all-time high, that doesn't just happen". It seems like a bit of a risky strategy here to attach your success, your barometer, if you will, to the market, because the market, that's not necessarily the same as the economy all the time given how much it fluctuates.

FOROOHAR: Absolutely. I mean, Wall Street and Main Street are two very, very different places. I mean, what I find so ironic is the President is attacking Jerome Powell, attacking the feds saying it's their fault that the market is falling. Well, guess what, it was actually the fed that pushed the markets up for the last few years with all of their extreme measures following the financial crises. The fed is doing a great job. In fact, the fed is the only reason I think we haven't seen more declines right now in the sense that they have come out and said, "We're independent, we're data focused. We're going to be the safe pair of hands out here right now, at a time when Washington seems to be spiraling out of control", and the markets want to hear that. SANTIAGO: But the fed also not shying away from the fact that we will

likely see more interest rate hikes, so for the person at home who is looking at that 401(k), thinking about the future, how worried do you think they need to be?

FOROOHAR: Well, it's a really good question. For starters, we've known for some time that this year, 2019 coming up, 2020, are probably going to be slower growth years than what we've seen both on Main Street and in the market, so I don't think that you're going to see the kind of gains in your stock portfolios that you would have in the last few years. Now the question is what do you do if there is a dip? And the answer is, if you don't need the money anytime soon, you don't sell. This is not the time to be moving money around.

We're going to see a lot of volatility, particularly until we get news about the resolution of a shutdown. But certainly even into 2019 there's a lot of stuff going on right now. Tech stocks have actually gone into a bear market, because there are fears of regulation. We still have issues with U.S./China trade talks and possibly tensions there. So there's just going to be a lot of ups and downs and people really need to buckle in and not make any sudden moves.

SANTIAGO: I feel like that's the one consistent thing about the market, is that the experts will always advise don't make sudden moves, right?

FOROOHAR: Yes, especially not when it's falling, really. I mean, honestly, don't watch - as much as we do the short-term headlines, it's important to take a longer view here. If you don't need your money any time soon, don't sell now.

SANTIAGO: Rana Foroohar thanks so much.


BLACKWELL: So the U.S. government is in a partial shutdown right now, thousands of employees getting hit in the wallet. We'll take a look at who's affected and how long this could last.


SANTIAGO: For the third time this year, the government is partially shutting down this morning after the White House and Congress failed to research a deal to keep it funded. At issue here, a highly charged fight over money for President Trump's border wall.

BLACKWELL: Our lawmakers tried to make a deal, but it's still unclear how close they are to striking an agreement, thus sparking concerns that this may last well into the New Year. The President said that this could go for a very long time. We'll see if that's true.

Joining me now to discuss, Senior Political Correspondent for The Hill, Amie Parnes.

AMIE PARNES, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, THE HILL: Thank you, Victor. BLACKWELL: So the Vice President was on the Hill with Kushner and Mulvaney yesterday. Our sources tell us that he made it clear to minority leader Chuck Schumer that 1.6 - now $1.3 billion will not be enough for border security, that the discussion is somewhere in the 2 to $3 billion range. Is there potential deal around 2 to $3 billion? Do the Democrats have any incentive to deal before they get control of the House?

PARNES: I don't think they do, and that's why they're perfectly willing to kind of sit on their hands and see what happens here, because the clock is ticking. January 3rd is coming up very quickly. They know that they have leverage here. They know that they can kind of control the game, and so I think that they're going to kind of keep this going and put it on Trump.

I mean, you're seeing that happen in statements put out last night as the government went into shutdown mode. They're calling it the Trump shutdown and they can do that right now because they feel like the ball is in the Republicans' court.

BLACKWELL: Rhetorically, the President, obviously, has shifted. Some would say it's more of a 180 here from 11 days ago when he said, "I will be proud to shut down the government for border security. That I will be proud to take up that mantle. Now he is saying the democrats own the shutdown". Do we know who got into his ear, who convinced him that that's not such a good idea?

PARNES: Well, I think he got into his ear. I think on some level he was thinking this was a major promise that I made to my supporters and, he is the one he listens to as we've learned. But I think also Republican pundits, Ann Coulter, I think a lot of people were kind of saying why is he - has no legacy if he gives this up. Why are you doing this when Republicans are still in control? So I think that is sort of what is in his mind right now. He knows that he needs to act right now and that Republicans need to kind of get on board and help him kind of push this through because, as I mentioned earlier, the clock is ticking.

[08:35:00] BLACKWELL: So, I listened to an interview with historian Douglas Brinkley last night and he offered an interesting suggestion, and give me your take on this. That the President will potentially see this shutdown in the context of the 1990s - the '94 shutdown, in which it lasted for almost four weeks - excuse me. And historically Newt Gingrich and the Republicans were blamed for it. And President Clinton went on to win re-election and it kind of bolstered his support. Would that be a mistake for the President to see this in that context?

PARNES: I think the way he sees it is, there was a recent poll put out by mirrors that 65% of Republicans, kind of, are - they are in support of the shutdown as long as it means that the wall is sort of the sticking bone at stake. So I think this is where he's coming from. He feels like Republicans will still continue to support him.

Another reason why he felt the need to kind of stand his ground was because of this vocal core of - this group of Republicans in the House who felt like he was giving up too much. I think he feels like this is something that he needs to kind of stand his ground on and that Republicans will back him up more later on in future elections and will remember what he did.

BLACKWELL: So in this conversation about how long this will last. Does this last as long as Jim Jordan, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh decide, or is this something that the President is leaning on? Because we know that the Vice President went to the Hill and said that he's going to sign this continuing resolution to get everyone to February and then we'll talk about the wall then, and then we heard the response from the conservatives and he changed his mind.

PARNES: I have a feeling that there's going to be something very close to that continuing resolution coming up very quickly because they know that this doesn't look good. Even though the Republicans sort of want this to continue, they know that they have - they would have a little more leverage if they acted right now rather than January 3rd.

BLACKWELL: All right, Amie Parnes, thanks so much.

PARNES: Thanks, victor.

SANTIAGO: New details emerging about the health of justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, CNN learning that she's now recovering from cancer-related surgery, more on that next.


SANTIAGO: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has had two cancerous nodules removed from her left lung yesterday morning. The 85 year old has a history of cancer, and apparently has been very proactive about screening.

Joining us now is Irin Carmon. She wrote "Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg." She's also a CNN Contributor, so good to have you here this morning. I've been somewhat surprised how this all came about, that? Yes, she's vigilant with those screenings. But really this came because of the incident with her ribs, correct?

IRIN CARMON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK MAGAZINE, CO-AUTHOR, NOTORIOUS RBG: Correct. Good morning, Leyla. It's great to be with you. Justice Ginsburg, actually, as you mentioned, she's had two brushes with cancer in the past. In 1999 she had a fairly serious bout of colorectal cancer. In 2009 she was in the same kind of situation, she was being screened and they found pancreatic cancer extremely early. Pancreatic cancer is usually a pretty fatal diagnosis, but because they found it so early they were able to obviously extend her life and her contributions to the court to this day.

But, yes, because she broke her ribs in a fall in her chambers, they actually were able to, in X-rays and in screenings, locate these nodules on her lungs, remove them. And they were also able to determine that as far as they can tell currently, they have not found cancer elsewhere in her body.

SANTIAGO: That is certainly good news. One of the incredible things about this - the timing of this, is not only that she's been able to begin her recovery, but also this was a pretty big day for the Supreme Court, for the ruling when it comes to asylum. She made - or she gave her thoughts from the hospital bed, is that correct? And if so, how does that happen? How does she vote on a major case from the hospital bed?

CARMON: My understanding is that her vote actually came around the time that she was traveling to the hospital. I'm not sure that it was from the hospital bed. I will say this, even when Justice Ginsburg was being treated for cancer in the past, she remained incredibly committed to the work of the court.

In fact, she used to schedule her chemotherapy sessions on Fridays so that she would have the weekend to recover, and during that time she did not miss a single day on the bench. She didn't even miss a day on the bench the day after the passing of her beloved husband, Marty Ginsburg.

So I think that this week her vote in the asylum case and the fact that she, in fact, did three public events in the last week, including one on Sunday where I saw her, the new movie, On the Basis of Sex's premiere. I think it shows that while she is taking care of herself and seeking early intervention, she also isn't withdrawing from public life and she isn't withdrawing from the work of the court to which she is incredibly committed.

SANTIAGO: And we've seen how dedicated she is to her health, even in the documentary we had here at CNN. She trains every day and she's a pretty strong woman.

[08:45:00] But with this recovery, what should we expect from her in terms how long it will take and when she will be back on the bench.

CARMON: Well, my understanding from what the medical professionals have said about this is that it will probably take a couple of weeks for her to recover. She is due to be in the hospital for a couple of days now, and then I think they're going to wait and see what the forthcoming tests show. They haven't yet said whether this is primary lung cancer or something that has spread from the previous cancers that she's had to her lungs.

And so I think we don't yet know how long her recovery will be but I think based on the fact of her last hospitalization in the last couple of weeks, I interviewed her personal trainer and he basically said he has to hold her back when she gets out of the hospital from working out more. She works out with him a couple times a week and maintains her fighting shape despite the significant health challenges that she's faced.

SANTIAGO: All right, and if her history is an indication of how quick she will get back on that bench, I agree, I think, it will be sooner than we think. Irin Carmon, thank you so much.

CARMON: Thank you, Leyla.

BLACKWELL: Up next, if you still haven't bought presents for your family for Christmas, it's the 22nd, what are you waiting for?


BLACKWELL: Or, here's the alternative. Skip them.


BLACKWELL: Our next guest says to go gift-free for the holidays. Michelle Singletary is back with us. She's got her tips. I don't know if it's going to work for me, but we'll talk about it.


SANTIAGO: After a major storm on Friday brought grueling travel conditions, another storm this weekend could bring more travel headaches.

BLACKWELL: CNN Meteorologist, Allison Chinchar joins us now. All right. So who's getting the worst of it today?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Right. So for today the focus is really going to be in the Northeast. That big system that was there yesterday, still having some lingering impacts. You had numerous delays and cancellations across airports in big hubs, cities like Boston, New York, Philadelphia. But you can see there's still some lingering moisture. It's still snowing around Pittsburgh right now. You still have rain for states like Connecticut, Massachusetts, even portions of New Hampshire and Maine.

So what does this mean for travelers? Well, the concern is going to be you're still going to have some delays. Now the big delays for today, we have that system in the Pacific Northwest, so cities like Seattle and Portland looking at some potential. Even some long delays at times because it's not just the rain, but also the wind. But the real focus today is the Northeast, again, all your big hubs, you're talking New York, Boston, Philadelphia, D.C..

But tomorrow we start to see more and more airports start to be impacted, because the next system which will start in the Southeast, states Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, that begins to slide into the Mid- Atlantic and eventually into the Northeast. So now you have cities like Cincinnati, Atlanta, Charlotte all of those starting to become impacted as well. The key thing to note is all that extra rain from this next system may actually be the final straw to push the cities over the threshold. What are we talking about? To the rainiest year on record, all these red dots you see here

All these red dots you see here, they've already hit that record. All the green dots, over 70 of them, are likely to hit their wettest year on record by the time we finish out this year. And that next system, that's approaching for tomorrow, is likely going to be the one to push people over that threshold.

Here's the thing, look at some of these cities already. Wilmington has had over 100 inches of rain. Baltimore, D.C., both of their airports have also had their wettest year on record. So here's the thing, Victor and Leyla, even though most of these cities likely are going to get maybe an inch at best of rain from this next system, it's going to be just enough to trigger them having their wettest year on record.

SANTIAGO: Allison Chinchar, thanks so much.


BLACKWELL: So we like receiving gifts, especially during the holiday season, right? Giving gifts, trying to figure out how to pay for it can be a problem, especially if your finances are a little funny. Our next guest says we should consider going gift-free for Christmas.

SANTIAGO: A gift-free zone. OK all right. Well, she says start 2019 with a commitment to get off the gift-giving train, at least until you've taken care of some important things like saving for your retirement or building an emergency fund, all very, very important things. Personal Finance Columnist, Michelle Singletary joining us now to help us start planning for next Christmas.

Listen, Michelle, I'm just going to put it out there, I'm not on board yet. I'm still on that train, but I'm going to hear you out. Are you with me?

BLACKWELL: I'm going to listen, yes.

SANTIAGO: I want to hear you out. So make your best pitch here.

MICHELLE SINGLETARY, PERSONAL FINANCE COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: OK. So I'll ask you a couple questions. Are you ready to tell people your business? So are you track for your--

BLACKWELL: OK. All right.

SINGLETARY: So I'm going to make you get on this train.

BLACKWELL: All right. OK. Go ahead.

SINGLETARY: Here's how you know whether you need to be on this train. If you're not on track for your retirement savings, if you don't have at least three to six months living expenses saved up, if you've got children, if you don't have a college fund on track to pay so they don't have any debt, you need to be on that train and I'm going to stamp your ticket.

BLACKWELL: That's a whole lot of people that you say need to be on the train. So let me ask you this. You have some rules here and I know from reading "The Color of Money" over the years that you know how to hold onto a dime and a dollar, right?

SINGLETARY: That's right.

BLACKWELL: You're quite frugal.

SINGLETARY: That's right. So Lincoln screams.

BLACKWELL: Yes. So here's the question. What are the rules here? Because I understand that you can't just spring this on people now.

SINGLETARY: Well, you can if you're a government worker and you're about to be shut down out of your job.

BLACKWELL: OK. All right.

SINGLETARY: So you've got a great excuse--

SANTIAGO: that's fair.

SINGLETARY: --to say, listen, I can't - the President shut the government down, so I can't buy you anything.

[08:55:00] But here's the thing. Start now. If you know that you don't have an emergency fund, even just one month's worth of living expenses or $1500 or $500, if you're not on check to saving. So now you're going to tell people after Christmas, not while you're opening gifts, "Hey, I need to get my finances together, so next year I'm going to go to a next-gift Christmas, if that's okay with you?" If it's not, don't matter because you're going to do it anyway.

I will just say, I need to get my finances together. And then you don't have to have everybody on board, because people are like - if, no, everybody doesn't do it, I can't do it. You can say I don't do it and you don't have to give me any gifts. But if someone wants to give you a gift, don't spend their money. If grandma is financially OK, don't take the joy of giving away from her.

SANTIAGO: You call this - I love - I read this in your article - you called this the no-gift resistance - the resistance.

BLACKWELL: That's right.

SANTIAGO: But here's the thing, I was looking over the national retail federation and people will still be shopping today, tomorrow. 4% of people will actually shop after Christmas for gifts. What do you think about the last-minute shoppers who are trying to still be responsible with their debt or their savings, et cetera?

SINGLETARY: Here's the thing and I'm really serious about this. If you have a credit card that has a balance on it that you have not paid off or you don't pay off every month, you should not be at the mall. You should be sitting home watching CNN about all this crazy stuff going on in Washington. You can't do that. You can't do it all.

And I want people to start 2019 off on a better foot. What does any of us really need for Christmas? And I know that retailers are like shut that woman up. Here's the thing, none of those folks are going to be paying your bills in January when they come due. All those folks that you're buying for, when it comes time and you're shut down from your job and you haven't gotten a paycheck from the government, you call them up, I don't got no money for you. So that means you got to take care of your personal finance.

If you have credit card debt, if you have no money saved for your kid's college funds, if you have not been really saving like you should for retirement, you should not be buying anything. Listen, here's the thing, if you got little teeny people, like children from like - babies who are like five or six, you know they got a toy bin, right? The top toys layer is the toys that they play with. Take that top off, dig underneath, get the toys they don't play with, wrap them up, put them under the tree, they don't know.

BLACKWELL: Re-gift the toys we gave them before, Michelle?

SINGLETARY: Yes, they don't know. They don't know. They don't know.

BLACKWELL: I think you have people sitting on the edge of their chair until that and then everybody steps back.

SINGLETARY: Well, let me tell you, I did it for my children - I'm telling you, I did this with my children and now all three of them are going to graduate from college debt-free. And that's --

BLACKWELL: Well, then maybe we are. Michelle Singletary, "The Color of Money", always good to have you.

SANTIAGO: Merry Christmas, thank you.

SINGLETARY: Merry Christmas, don't go shopping.


BLACKWELL: Oh, we will. All right.

SANTIAGO: All right. Nobody knows anything better than Trump, according to trump.


SANTIAGO: Check campaign finance, even joys, here's Jeanne Moos.

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Remember how Muhammad Ali always used to call himself the greatest of all time? Well, now it's President Trump calling himself the greatest at all times.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think nobody knows more about campaign finance than I do.

Nobody knows more about trade than me.

Nobody knows more about construction than I do.

MOOS: What field doesn't he excel in?

TRUMP: I know more about ISIS than the generals do, believe me.

Nobody knows more about environmental impact statements than me.

There's nobody that understands the horror of nuclear better than me.

MOOS: It's enough to make your head explode.

TRUMP: Nobody knows the politicians better than I do, believe me.

MOOS: Even political opponents like Cory Booker. I know more about Cory than he knows about himself.

TRUMP: And nobody builds walls better than me, believe me.

MOOS: President Trump sure knows how to spew superlatives.

TRUMP: I know words, I have the best words. I think I have the best temperament.

Look, nobody has better toys than I do.

MOOS: And from a guy who doesn't like to read, this.

TRUMP: And nobody loves the Bible more than I do.

MOOS: Thou shall not exaggerate Mr. President.

For years journalist have been chronicling Donald Trump's breathtaking self-admiration delivered in a third person no less.

TRUMP: --because nobody has ever had crowds like Trump has had.

MOOS: Occasionally President Trump has demonstrated a flash of humility a moment of modesty.

TRUMP: I understand the tax laws better than almost anyone.

MOOS: Almost anyone. You mean someone understands tax laws better than he does?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anything you can do--

MOOS: He can do better.

TRUMP: They are more elite than me, I have better everything than they have, including this.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN.