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Federal Employees Prepare For Drawn-Out Shutdown; A Quarter Of Federal Workers Likely Will Behind New Year Out Of Work Or Without Pay; Trump Threatens To Close Southern Border If Wall Not Funded; Several Arrested In Death Of California Cop; 7546 False Or Misleading Trump Claims In 700 Days; 2018 Sets Record For Quiet Tornado Season; 8 In 2018: Top Stories In Sports. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired December 29, 2018 - 07:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:00:00] ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Happy new day to you at 7:00 here. We are in day eight of the government shutdown and the number of federal agencies closed for business is growing this morning.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Overnight, funding ran out for the Environmental Protection Agency and now, more than 14,000 people from that department will join the hundreds of thousands of government employees who have been furloughed. Meanwhile, President Trump and Congress are no closer to reaching a deal. Democrats are steadfast in the refusal to refund the president's border wall.

The president's response, a torrent of tweets all week and threats that he'll shut down the southern border if funding is not approved for the wall. Let's bring in CNN White House Correspondent Boris Sanchez. And Boris, good morning to you, the president says, he's busy negotiating an end to the shutdown but who is is he negotiating with?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's a good question, Victor and Christi. It's not clear that either side is really talking to each other right now. Just yesterday, you had the incoming acting Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, here on the north lawn of the White House telling reporters that talks had broken down, so it's not really clear that Republicans are actually speaking to Democrats about a deal right now.

We should point out the president last night actually left the White House to have dinner at the vice president's residence. He was joined by, obviously, Mike Pence, Jared Kushner and Mick Mulvaney as well. Likely, the shutdown, the topic of conversation there. But it's unclear exactly what may come of that meeting. Where things stand right now, it's simple. Republicans believe Mick Mulvaney, the president included, that all the cards are in Nancy Pelosi's hands.

They believe that Democrats are not willing to deal until she is sworn in as speaker of the house. CNN previously has reported that she had the votes to become speaker, this is well before the government was shutdown. But the belief expressed by Mick Mulvaney yesterday was that she wasn't confident she might have the votes, so it was in her advantage for the government to shut down to secure the speakership.

Democrats have promised that as soon as they take power, they're going to vote on one of three measures to reopen the government, none of them include funding for the president's border wall. So, there's that sticking point in the likelihood that any of those bills will not make it past the Senate. In the meantime, there are a lot of federal workers that are anxious, many of them furloughed, some of them not likely to be paid into the new year.

And of course, the longer that this shutdown goes on, the more federal agencies will shut down or suffer. Here's just a small glimpse of what we're learning is going to happen as the new year begins. All Smithsonian's museums and zoos are going to be shut down, January 2nd. The Federal Communications Commission, initially said that it would remain open through January 2md but after that, they'd have to stop taking any complaint.

And notably, the Federal Trade Commission is having to suspend its investigation into Facebook and the social media company's potentially inappropriate use of users' private data. So, the more that this goes on, the more we will feel the effects of it. And ultimately, we'll find out if both of these sides are willing to strike a deal. Victor and Christi.

PAUL: All right. Boris Sanchez, thank you so much for the update; we appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: So, what is now becoming a protracted shutdown is having real consequences for the hundreds of thousands of government employees who suddenly find themselves without steady, reliable income.

PAUL: Yes, overnight, as we said, the Environmental Protection Agency joined that list of government departments who shuttered due to lack of funds. And now, there's 14,000 EPA employees who are less than a week from having to pay mortgage, rent or utility bills with no money coming in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LOREEN TAGOS, SCIENTIST, EPA: I have two mortgages to pay. And so, I haven't even looked at how my checking account is going to balance out. I don't even have children. For people who have kids in school, you know, extracurricular activities, putting food on the plate for the kids -- those are all things that, you know, make it even more disgusting what's happening with the federal government right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: So, how do Republicans and Democrats get through this impasse? We're going to bring in CNN Political Commentator and Political Anchor of Spectrum News, Errol Louis; as well as Kelly Jane Torrance, Contributor for Spectator USA. Thank you both for being with us this morning. Let's listen together here to Representative Steny Hoyer. He was asked -- he said listen, Democrats are prepared to vote. They're prepared to vote on the bill -- on any bill, you know, that comes to them that has gone through and passed the Senate Committee. But then, he said this about President Trump refusing to accept any legislation that does not embrace funding the wall. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[07:05:22] REP. STENY HOYER (D), MARYLAND: That's not compromise. That's not working together to accomplish an objective. And very frankly, he made a promise that was ill-informed, ill-advised promise. And he said the Mexican people were going to pay for it. That was baloney. He should have known it was baloney.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Errol, is there a political price to pay the longer this goes on? Because it looks as though, there really is no negotiation going on.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, that's right. And look, there is a lot of baloney that was talked about, the notion that the Mexican government was going to pay for this was always a nonstarter. There is a political cost to be paid because there are lots of public employees who are not going to look kindly at, either, the Republicans or the Democrats, the president or congress, if they continue to experience some hardship. Now, we should be clear, there's some give here, there's a little bit of room.

I just recently heard from somebody, a federal worker, who said: look, until the end of January it's not going to get super critical for most people if they've any kind of resources just because they just got a paycheck. So, if you miss two paychecks then you're really in bad shape. For others it might be an inconvenience, but the politics of the situation are not going to get more favorable over the next few days as the 116th Congress sits and is sworn in. The Democrats are not going to make life any easier for the president. He's in a very difficult position.

PAUL: So, Kansas Republican Senator Pat Roberts said we are on the Republican -- we on the Republican side do not want to vote for a bill the president won't side. Essentially, Kelly, he's laying the onus on Democrats and their leadership to come up with a number that the president apparently can stomach? Is he trying to say here that Republicans' hands are tied?

KELLY JANE TORRANCE, CONTRIBUTOR, SPECTATOR USA: You know, I think everybody feels like their hands are tied but nobody comes out looking great here. I mean, you have Nancy Pelosi right now vacationing in Hawaii when we're hearing stories like those you reported about federal workers worrying about how to pay their bills. But let's face it, the Democrats, they have the upper hand here. Donald Trump said publicly in his meeting -- his famous meeting with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer: I would be proud to shut down the government for the border wall. So, it's very hard for President Trump now to paint this as a

Democrats' problem. And I have to say, with the small bit of negotiation we've had, the White House does actually keep coming down, originally, they demanded 5.7 billion for a border wall. I heard that Mike Pence in the latest negotiation, which I think was a few days ago, offered they would cut it down to --

PAUL: 2.5.

TORRANCE: -- 2.5 billion, exactly. Well, the Democrats are saying no, and really, they -- I think they think that they can do better. And let's face it, the Senate voted unanimously right before the shutdown for a bill that would fund the government through February 8th with no wall at all. Now, of course, once that happened, Donald Trump's conservative base was very upset and you had prominent conservatives like Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham saying this was disappointing, this was outrageous and Donald Trump immediately backtracked. But I think because of that, Democrats see -- what Republicans once voted for a bill just a week or so ago without a border wall, why won't they do it again?

PAUL: So, Errol, Kelly brought up the point that, you know, the president is staying in Washington -- he was supposed to be down in Mar-a-Lago, cancelled that trip because of what they're dealing with right now. Should other members of Congress perhaps have stayed in Washington as well to work this out?

LOUIS: Well, I don't know if they had the votes to do that, to tell you the truth. I mean, Paul Ryan, you know, he could have tried to round up members of his caucus and tried a couple of different bills but the 115th Congress is over. There was nowhere else for them to go. He wasn't necessarily going to be able to force his members, many of whom lost their races; it's one thing to ask a Lame Duck to go to the wall for you, you know, literally and politically. But once they've lost their job, there's no point in coming back.

So, he didn't have the votes, they weren't able to do very much, there was no negotiation worth having and the Democrats certainly didn't have to come back either. They had no reason to. So, no, this is a question for the 116th Congress. The Republicans had full control and it's going to make it much harder for the president because Democrats will turn around and say: you had full control of the government and you shut it down. And so, it's not -- again, it's not going to get easier; it's going to get a little bit harder.

PAUL: Kelly Jane, I want to read to you a little something from the Washington Post this morning talking about a major change that the Trump administration is planning to start requiring migrants stay in Mexico while their Asylum cases kind of crawl through the U.S. system, the American courts, and that that's something that obviously could take months and it's going to put the onus on Mexico to hold onto to those migrants until their case is solidified. It's been called a disaster. People there in Mexico saying there's no programming, there's no funding, there's no support.

Tijuana, essentially, is going to be a waiting room. With that said, do you expect any legal challenges to Kirstjen Nielsen, who said this policy -- she argued will eventually reduce the number of Central American migrants trying to game the system by making unfounded asylum claims. Is there a concern that situations like this, that are under the radar right now could go through? That there could be movement there because everybody is so distracted with what's happening right now with the shutdown?

[07:11:00] TORRANCE: That's a great question, Christi. And hopefully, you know, your reporting and mentioning it like this will keep it in people's minds. You know, I can't understand this administration. There are actually some arguments to be made for changing that policy. And, of course, Kirstjen Nielsen is not making them. Instead, she is making -- you know, frankly, in some cases, offensive argument; the idea that all asylum seekers are just playing the system.

No, I've heard, for example, that they might be able to get more asylum cases decided and through because if they keep the people in Mexico, they can go through the cases more quickly and they'll be able to not cap them. Like, right now, it's capped because they can only deal with so many a day with the people there. But again, this administration isn't making those sensible arguments. They seem to be wanting to focus instead on really heated rhetoric that might appeal to some people in this polarized country but not others. But yes, there are so much going on right now.

I mean, you have the president talking about shutting down the border -- well, why do we need a wall then? I thought that they were coming illegally. Shutting down the border, of course, is shutting down the legal crossing. So, you have so many confusing things coming out of this administration. And I do hope that, you know, despite the shutdown that some of the issues will be taken seriously and that, you know, lawmakers will soon return to Washington and if not open the government at least start opening their minds to solving some of these problems.

PAUL: Well, next week, they will be back at it with a Democratic House and we'll see what happens from that point on. Errol Louis and Kelly Jane Torrance, always appreciate both of your insights. Thank you.

TORRANCE: Thanks, Christi.

LOUIS: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Several people have now been arrested in the death of a California police officer. We'll tell you why police say more arrests could be coming.

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[07:15:48] PAUL: Two more arrests were made overnight in the case of an alleged cop killer in California. The man hunt for him is over, but Corporal Ronil Singh was killed the day after Christmas during a traffic stop in Newman, California. BLACKWELL: Police arrested the suspect, Friday, about 200 miles from

the crime scene. They say he came to the U.S. illegally and might have been trying to go back to Mexico. Now, this alleged killer and seven others have been arrested -- and in those seven, include the suspects girlfriend and two of his brothers. CNN Sara Sidner has more details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor and Christi, the man hunt is over for the suspect in a police officer's killing. Now, we're hearing from his devastated family. Less than 48 hours after losing his brother, his hero, his friend, Reggie Singh stepped to the mic. He just learned his brother's suspected killer had been caught.

REGGIE SINGH, BROTHER OF RONIL SINGH: He's not coming back, but there's a lot of people out there that misses him and a lot of law enforcement people that I don't know that worked days and nights to make this happen.

SIDNER: Ronil Singh came to this country as an immigrant from Fiji. He was living his version of the American dream. He wanted to become a police officer and he did just that. He dreamt of a family. Five months ago, he and his wife welcomed their son into the world. But at 1:00 in the morning the day after Christmas, Singh's dream abruptly ended.

RANDY RICHARDSON, NEWMAN, CALIFORNIA POLICE: I did not know Christmas morning at 4:00 in the morning when I said good-bye to him and sent him off to his family that it would be the last time that I saw him.

SIDNER: Police say Singh was killed by Gustavo Perez Arriaga, who unlike Singh, had come into the country illegally. Deputies caught up with Arriaga at a home near Bakersfield, California after a massive man hunt.

ADAM CHRISTIANSON, STANISLAUS COUNTRY, CALIFORNIA SHERIFF: This criminal, Mr. Arriaga, crossed our border illegally into Arizona some time ago. He is a criminal. He has two prior arrests for DUI.

SIDNER: Several people were arrested, including Arriaga's brother and a co-worker who were accused of lying to authorities impeding their ability to find him faster. While Singh's family wept around him, the Stanislaus County sheriff could not contain his outrage over California's so-called sanctuary law.

CHRISTIANSON: In under SB-54 in California, based on two arrests for DUI and some other active warrants that this criminal has out there, law enforcement would have been prevented, prohibited, from sharing any information with ICE about this criminal gang member.

SIDNER: Some law enforcement officials completely disagree saying the law actually encourages people to come forward who would otherwise avoid helping law enforcement because of their citizenship status. But the sheriff's sentiment has been embraced by others, including the man with the largest megaphone. President Trump tweeted about the case using it in his pitched battle to build a border wall to keep illegal immigrants out.

No matter who wins the political battle, there is little that can ease the pain of the Singh family. Their one small solace, Singh's K9 partner, Sam, will simply become the family pet. The police department is retiring the dog because as the chief put it, the Singh family shouldn't have to lose another family member. Police have arrested about six people in connection with this case and they say there may be more arrests to come. Victor and Christi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL: Sara Sidner, thank you so much. President Trump's trouble with the truth. The Washington Post has published its latest tally of his false or misleading claims now for the first 700 days and we'll show you what the latest bunk claims look like.

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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[07:23: 13] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Is anybody here willing to give up the big pay raise you just got? You haven't gotten one in more than ten years. More than ten years. And we got you a big one. I got you a big one. There are plenty of people that came up, they said, you know, we could make its smaller. We could make it three percent, we could make it two percent, we could make it four percent. I said, no, make it 10 percent. Make it more than a 10 percent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: That was President Trump having more trouble with the truth this week. Here are the facts: troops have been given a raise every year for more than three decades. The raises for 2018 and 2019 did not even come close to 10 percent; they're 2.4 and 2.6 percent respectively. Now, it's day eight of the partial government shutdown over the president's demand for $5 billion to pay for a portion of his border wall and roughly 800,000 federal workers have been furloughed or are expected to work without pay. And Mr. Trump made the baseless claim this week that most of the people not getting paid are Democrats.

According to the Washington Post fact checker, the president has made thousands of false claims in the last several months, their count: 7,546 false or misleading claims in the first 700 days of his administration. Now, when we started reporting for that tally, I searched for a way to make something conceptual, like a false statement tangible, visual. And I decided to use a version of a party game that I really did not like as a kid but it works like this: guessing the number of gum balls in jars. Ever since then, we have used jars of gum balls to show you the president's thousands of false and misleading claims.

And here's a look at all of those bunk claims now: 7,546 gum balls. We're now filling our 14th jar in fewer than two years on the job. Now, for some context after the first count in January, the president was averaging roughly five false claims per day. By the post's counts, he's now doubled that.

Joining me now: Joseph Borelli, New York City Councilman and former Trump Campaign New York Co-Chair; and Richard Painter, former White House Ethics Lawyer for the Bush administration. Gentlemen, welcome back to NEW DAY. And Joseph, I want to start with you. I understand that you support the president's policies, you support his judicial appointments, you support his performance with the economy thus far. But are you not alarmed by just the sheer number and -- of provable false claims the president makes?

JOSEPH BORELLI, NEW YORK CITY COUNCILMAN AND FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN NEW YORK CO-CHAIR: No, I'm not alarmed. I mean, this is a guy who was speaking in hyperbole throughout the campaign, he was speaking braggadocious manner. You know, I don't seem to recall -- and I love your gum ball idea, I think it's creative, but I don't recall a similar gum ball game when President Obama was president. I think the media has reported him cannot be held to a holier than thou standard other than --

(CROSSTALK)

BLACKWELL: Holier than thou?

BORELLI: Yes -- no, because I did see --

BLACKWELL: Let me pause here for a second, because this week's -- specifically, with this example, he was standing in front of men and women who are putting their lives on the line to protect all of the privileges we had as Americans -- they're in Iraq, OK --

BORELLI: Sure, and perhaps you --

BLACKWELL: Let me finish because that was a comma. He also stood there and said that this was the first time that they'd gotten a raise, which was not true; he was not telling the truth about how much the raise was and we're now at 7,500 of these. Part of the reason you didn't see this type of display and the continuing tally is because there weren't so many per day.

BORELLI: Well, I'm glad that President Obama's misleading statements like manufacturing jobs aren't going to come back, didn't actually come through. But that's not the point. The point I'm trying to make is maybe the president screwed up his numbers, maybe he meant the first in ten years, maybe he meant that 2.6 multiplied by his four- year term might add up to 10 percent.

BLACKWELL: All of that would be wrong.

BORELLI: What I meant about "holier than thou" -- what I meant about "holier than thou" media coverage, was that we also saw from the same trip that the media, you know, speak in incredible terms that the troops were violating rules that Trump had given MAGA hats, all that wasn't true. And yet, newspaper outlets ran stories cover to cover saying it was.

BLACKWELL: Richard let me come to you. I hesitate to use the word "lie" because it's not clear -- first it's clear that what the president said was just false. But it's not clear whether he is intentionally telling these bold-faced provable lies or he has no idea what he's talking about.

RICHARD PAINTER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ETHICS LAWYER FOR THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION: Oh, he's been lying his entire life, everybody in New York knows that. Ever since he was a kid. And then he goes off and dodges the draft with a foot doctor who lies to get him out of the draft. And then, we have the casino boss in New Jersey, at Trump Taj Mahal, $900 million-worth. That's why nobody in New York will loan him money and he needs to go abroad to borrow his money.

Now, the bottom line here is he's been lying for decades but it's about to be over because Robert Mueller is closing in. We have the national security advisor, the campaign manager, the lawyer all headed off to prison. Felony convictions. And we're going to have a report from the special counsel coming in to Congress sometime probably in the next few months. He can try to shut down the government over a border wall that nobody wants. He can continue to throw as he fits, he could continue to lie, but he's not going to get away with it. And let's stop talking about President Obama all the time. I'll compare him to President Bush, my former boss who I think was a very good president --

BORELLI: Don't compare him to President Obama --

BLACKWELL: Let him finish, he didn't interrupt you.

BORELLI: -- Donald Trump was 17 years old.

BLACKWELL: He didn't interrupt you. Finish please. Go ahead, Richard.

PAINTER: I am telling you that President Trump is a liar. Compare him to President Bush, and yes, there are things that Presidents Bush and Obama, Clinton said that turned out not to be true, but Donald Trump has lied every day repeatedly, he's lied for his entire life since he dodged the draft in Vietnam. Robert Mueller went off to fight for his country. He had a foot injury -- a knee injury from playing hockey at St. Paul's School, he went and got that fixed. And then, that's what doctors did for Robert Mueller and we have a president who's a draft dodger and a liar.

BLACKWELL: Joseph, let me come to you in this assertion from the president that most of the 800,000 or so federal workers who are either furloughed or working without pay right now -- a guaranteed reliable pay -- are Democrats, what backs that claim?

BORELLI: Yes.

BLACKWLEL: Even if -- go ahead, finish that, and then I'll have a follow up.

[07:30:08] BORELLI: No, no, frankly, I don't know. I don't know where he got the information from. I don't -- I don't know if that's true or not. I imagine just given the demographic and registration data of Washington, D.C. and the areas in the immediate surrounding counties that it's probably true. But I couldn't confirm that for you.

BLACKWELL: But the vast majority of federal workers do not live in the D.C. metropolitan area.

BORELLI: That's fair enough. Like I said, I'm not going to come out here with the fact that I just can't prove myself.

BLACKWELL: But you just tried to support it. Let me ask you the follow-up then. Why would it be relevant even if that were true? Not provably true, but why would it matter the political affiliation of the people who are not being paid?

BORELLI: Well, you know, I hope that Democrats would call their leadership, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. He was now on vacation in Hawaii. And come -- and have them come back, and come to the negotiation table. And perhaps, accept some of the compromises that President Trump has offered on the border wall.

BLACKWELL: All right. There is this new government finding on coal power plants. It could lead to more toxins in the air. The Environmental Protection Agency proposed new rules on regulating hazardous air pollutants. The new rules would -- it would change the way the EPA determines the benefits of limiting some emissions that could make it more difficult to create new regulations. Essentially, EPA now says, the current formula from the Obama administration is just too costly.

Richard, environmental activists, say the dramatic change -- it was first reported by the New York Times could do irreparable harm to public safety. And many point out that the Acting EPA director Andrew Wheeler is a former coal industry lobbyist. Is it as simple as that? Or is that -- is that -- let me just answer that a relevant element here in the criticism of this new change.

PAINTER: Of course, it is. We have people coming from industry and the government, lobbyists, running agencies. Now, this is a problem we've had at previous administrations. We had at the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations.

People coming in from Wall Street to regulate or rather deregulate Wall Street. And people from industry going in environmental regulators. But, it is accelerated in the Trump ministration.

Plus, you have a white house that has zero interest in enforcing the environmental laws. And I wouldn't refer to conservationists as activists, I think there are many people who are quite conservative, politically, who actually believe in conserving our environment and protecting what God created for us.

And what this EPA is doing? Rolling back all the regulations is pathetic. And, of course, it's a big part, a large part because we got a coal lobbyist running the EPA.

BLACKWELL: Joseph, this element of Wheeler, being a former coal lobbyist, how does that correspond with the spirit and the letter of the ethics commitment that this President signed by executive order in his first 10 days in office?

BORELLI: Well, I just want to point out, Richard made another falsehood that we're repealing all of Obama's environmental regulations we kept in place the smog act. And I think we can't really talk about this issue without acknowledging that in 2015, the Obama administration was sued by 29 states on the mercury and air toxins acts. Specifically what we're talking about, and they lost the case. They lost the case because they didn't consider the cost of that bill as required by section 112 the Clean -- the Clean Air Act.

I mean, so, this is why we are even in this place -- in the first place --

(CROSSTALK)

BLACKWELL: Joseph, let me get one more time to hear the question, I asked was how does the appointment of a former coal lobbyist as the acting EPA director or administrator rather live up to the letter and spirit of the executive order for ethics commitments that this President signed on January 28, 2017?

BORELLI: Look, I don't like to see lobbyists that coming in and out of the revolving door as much as Richard who pointed out this is something that was done by the Obama administration, the Bush administration. And probably, every administration going back to the time lobbying started. I'd rather it be someone new and fresh.

But regardless again, you know, I just don't want this to stand that we're saying that President Trump is repealing every single thing the Obama administration did vis-a-vis the environment. Especially, when this particular act was the costliest act in the history of the EPA in terms of compliance.

BLACKWELL: All right, Joseph Borelli, Richard Painter, we'll talk more about this suggested or recommended EPA change a little later in the morning. Thank you both for being with us.

BORELLI: Thank you.

PAUL: Listen, it is a massive storm hitting the Midwest with blizzard conditions. The South with heavy rain and at least six people have died because of it. CNN's Allison Chinchar, following the very latest in the Weather Center. Good morning, Allison.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: And good morning to you. We've had over a foot of rainfall across parts of the southeast and more is on the way. We'll detail that timeline coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:37:53] BLACKWELL: Indonesia is keeping an eye on the Anak Krakatau volcano that -- that's because it's still erupting. Yes, almost a week after it triggered the tsunami that killed more than 400 people. In the past few days, officials have evacuated thousands of people from nearby islands.

PAUL: Take a look at the satellite images here, showing how busy that volcano has been. The volcano at the top center there, of each of those images. It's erupted so much over the past week. It's dramatically decreased in size. You notice that?

Experts say it's lost more than 200 meters of height and up to 180 meters in volume.

Six people have been killed after a massive winter storm here. The Dakotas, Minnesota, got about a foot of snow yesterday parts of the southeast, about a foot of rain.

BLACKWELL: CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar, joins us now from the CNN Weather Center. Allison, I mean, the rain has been going on for so long now, how much longer is this going to last?

CHINCHAR: At least, until the end of the year, unfortunately, Victor. So we take a look at where it's been. The one good news is, for areas of the Northeast and the Midwest, you're finally going to start to see a temporary end to your rain. It won't last long, but at least, you will get some dry hours over the next 48 hours.

The Southeast, however, that's an entirely different story. You still have more rain expected, today, tomorrow, and even into Monday. The main concern across the southeast is you've had areas that have picked up over a foot of rain. Even adding an additional one to two inches is enough to exacerbate, Victor and Christi, even more, flooding across this area the next few days.

PAUL: So, as we inch toward 2019, I mean, we're only a couple of days away at this point. It seems like 2018 was pretty quiet when it comes to tornadoes.

CHINCHAR: Yes, I mean, we talk --

(CROSSTALK)

PAUL: Because we don't have a lot of reports on that, did we?

CHINCHAR: Yes, I mean we talked about deadly wildfires. The deadly hurricanes.

PAUL: Yes.

CHINCHAR: Things like that, but really for tornadoes. This was actually a very quiet year. And the news is we are likely going to stay that way for the rest of the year.

Here's a look at the forecast for today. Yes, we expect rain. We expect thunderstorms across the southeast today, as well as tomorrow. But really in terms of the rest of the year, Monday is it.

This red area you see here, this is the only area we expect severe weather on Monday. And even with that said, it's likely going to be damaging winds. We are not expecting a tornado outbreak. So, because of that, we actually expect to keep our tornado numbers. Where they are? Now, when you look at this map, this is all of the tornado reports so far this year.

The number may seem high in some of these states, but actually overall for the year were below average. And most importantly, the number of EF4 or EF5 tornadoes, what we deem violent tornadoes, we've had zero of those this year. We average about seven every year.

So, this is fantastic news, even more importantly because we haven't had any of the violent tornadoes, we also have had only 10 deaths. Now, the one thing I want you to note, yes, those 10 deaths were horrific for the events that actually took place. But this is actually a record low number. We have never had a year in the history of record-keeping where we've had this few of tornado fatalities.

Official records go all the way back to 1950, Victor and Christi. But unofficial records go all the way back to 1870. And since then, we have not had a year with this few of tornado fatalities, which is quite possibly the best news I have been able to give you all year long.

[07:41:16] PAUL: And well, we will take whatever that might be. So, thank you, Allison. Appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: Well, it was from good news to pretty bad news.

PAUL: And it is --

BLACKWELL: A nightmare month for people who have a 401k. The markets record-breaking bad December. And if the stock market slide will stop in 2019? We'll talk about that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: 44 minutes past the hour and this. Wall Street closed the week on course for its worst December since the Great Depression. Despite a record day after Christmas, it's been really bleak U.S. stocks.

[07:45:01] BLACKWELL: Yes. And there's only one more trading day in the session or a trading session in this year to turn everything around. Alison Kosik has more from the New York Stock Exchange. Alison, good morning.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Victor and Christi. The Dow's attempt on Friday to close higher for the third day in a row lost steam. It comes after a week of huge swings in both directions that sent investors heads spinning.

The Dow had its worst ever Christmas Eve on Monday with a drop of 650 points only to post its best-ever one-day point gain of 1,086 when trading resumed after Christmas. Stocks were sharply lowermost of Thursday before making a big comeback at the close to finish the day in positive territory.

But the stock market will likely end the year lower and is on track for the worst December since 1931. Stocks often rally in December. But, this isn't a typical December. Wall Street wants certainty, and there are still a ton of questions about slowing global growth, trade tensions, and rising interest rates, and political uncertainty. Still, the fundamentals of the economy are strong.

Now, there is one more trading day left in 2018 and as investors get ready to close the books on 2018, volatility is expected to continue in the new year as investors stay on edge about economic and political uncertainty. Christi and Victor, back to you.

PAUL: Alison, thank you so much. Now, joining us, congressional reporter for Bloomberg, Erik Wasson. Erik, good morning to you.

ERIK WASSON, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, BLOOMBERG NEWS: Good morning.

PAUL: Before we get to the money aspect of this particularly and specifically on Wall Street. I want to ask you about the human element of this because that's what it's about. It's about people. You wrote a great piece in Bloomberg, and you mentioned how there were actually members of the Treasury Department I believe who've said they're giving Christmas gifts back to make sure they can pay their rent. Do we know how widespread that is at the moment?

WASSON: Well, you know, most federal workers received their December 28th paycheck, the one that came on Friday. We learned late Friday night that the Coast Guard, which was talking about missing a paycheck on Monday, will -- was able to find some money to pay the service members.

However, the next big paycheck, January 11th that looks like, you know, workers in nine departments and dozens of federal agencies will miss that. That could create some kind of deadline for Congress to act.

But you know, a lot of people think that federal workers are well off on average they do make more than private-sector workers. You know, $80,000 on average. But that includes a lot of doctors. There are a lot of people who are low wage service workers, especially, contractors.

And while these federal agencies are living paycheck to paycheck, and what we're seeing is them facing a lot of uncertainty going into this New Year.

PAUL: And speaking of uncertainty, do you foresee instability on Wall Street because of what we're seeing in the shutdown?

WASSON: Yes. It's definitely having an effect and adding to the uncertainty. You know, the big drop on Christmas Eve had a lot to do with President Trump talking about privately firing Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell, and that being confirmed in a tweet -- angry tweets that the President issued.

You know, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, went out and talked to the banks. Tried to reassure them, talked about a potential liquidity crisis being avoided. That's spooked markets as well. There's a lot of uncertainty going on.

The fact that Congress cannot seem to keep the federal government open despite only disagreeing about $1 billion on a border wall. It's really all that separates them out of a $1.2 trillion budget has people really worried that they won't be able to come to agreements on trade. Will be able to -- you know, pass the new NAFTA.

Won't be able to settle the disagreements with China that's swirling the markets. So, that's really adding to the uncertainty for investors.

PAUL: So draw a map for me of a remedy here. And how long can this go on before we really see some serious effects of it as a whole collectively?

WASSON: Well, the remedy in Congress probably involves something in which Democrats agree to pay for some sort of fence and Trump calls it a wall.

You know, that Trump has tweeted out a picture of a spike to steel slat structure that could be something that very well could resemble a fence. You know, the administration has come down and cut from $5.7 billion to 2.5. The amount that they're talking about. Perhaps once the Democratic Congress comes on board, Nancy Pelosi will be willing to make that deal.

The other way that could be solved is a much bigger deal, an immigration deal that protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation for a much bigger price of the wall.

Those things could all come together. But the pressure will really ratchet up as weeks and months go on. You know, a lot of people say, they can miss one paycheck, they have a small reserve fund, but two paychecks, we're getting into being able to unable to pay rent. And you know, this is 800,000 federal workers we're talking about.

PAUL: Yes, and when you hear people saying I'm given my Christmas gifts back to make sure I can pay my rent. It's a very tough place to be in. Thank you so much, Erik Wasson, for walking us through it.

WASSON: Thank you for having me.

PAUL: Absolutely. Victor?

BLACKWELL: Tiger back on top. Serena, back on the court. There were some major sports headlines of 2018. A look at the top eight moments of the year.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:53:27] BLACKWELL: The Winter Olympic Games this year, spectacular, also a huge year for Serena Williams. Here are the top eight sports stories of 2018 from CNN's Andy Scholes.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: 2018 was another memorable year in the sports world. Serena returned with controversy, Tiger was back on top, and hundreds of women bravely came forward to confront their abusers.

March madness had its usual drama with buzzer beaters and upsets. But it was a 98-year-old nun that captured the heart of the country. Sister Jean, the team chaplain for Chicago Loyola became the star of the NCAA tournament at the 11th seeded Ramblers shocked everyone by making it to the Final Four.

SISTER JEAN DOLORES SCHMIDT, TEAM CHAPLAIN, LOYOLA UNIVERSITY CHICAGO: Oh, don't be nervous with me.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: You're a celebrity.

SCHMIDT: I know. That's what they -- that's what they tell me.

SCHOLES: The Ramblers would fall short as Villanova won it all claiming their second title in three years.

At number 7, two first time champions in a historic inaugural season. The Las Vegas Golden Knights becoming the first expansion team in any of the major four sports leagues to win their division in their first year.

Golden Knights, making the finals before losing to the Washington Capitals in five games.

ALEXANDER OVECHKIN, CAPTAIN, WASHINGTON CAPITALS: We still got champions! Yes!

[07:54:55] SCHOLES: This was the first title for the Capitals after years of disappointing seasons. And for the superstar Alex Ovechkin, he finally got to hoist the Stanley Cup after being considered the best player to never win a title.

In the NFL the 2018 playoffs were dominated by an underdog and their backup Q.B. Nick Foles leading the Eagles to the Super Bowl against Tom Brady and the Mighty Patriots. The Eagles would win their first Super Bowl, 41 to 33, Foles, named the game's MVP.

In 2018, Tiger Woods finally climbed back on top of the golf world. After nearly winning the PGA Championship, Tiger was triumphant at the Tour Championship in September. And an incredible scene, thousands of fans chasing Tiger up the final hole of the tournament. And for the first time in five years, Tiger had won a PGA event.

TIGER WOODS, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER, 14-TIME MAJOR WINNER: This is my 80th win. And -- you know, all I've gone through to get to this point, that's pretty special.

WIRE: Welcome to South Korea.

SCHOLES: The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, saw North and South Korea march in the opening ceremony together under a unified flag for the first time since 2006. The two countries deal with a joint women's hockey team, is in that sport. For team USA, saw one of their biggest victories.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Coy, what a night it was.

WIRE: An epic dramatic finishes. American women capture Olympic gold for the first time in 20 years.

MEGHAN DUGGAN, CAPTAIN, WOMEN'S HOCKEY TEAM, USA: It brings tears to my eyes, it's been an incredible last 24 hours.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The World Cup is officially up and running in Moscow.

SCHOLES: A sports biggest spectacle more than lived up to the hype with thrilling high scoring close games from start to finish.

DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: It is absolute pandemonium in Paris.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been an amazing World Cup. It's been a very rainy end to it. But France with fitting champions in an exciting finale.

SCHOLES: And number three, athletes using their voice. In August, the NFL season once again started with President Trump attacking players who kneeled during the national anthem. And a player who started the movement, Colin Kaepernick remained out of football, but he did pick up a new sponsorship deal with Nike.

COLIN KAEPERNICK, QUARTERBACK, PROFESSIONAL AMERICAN FOOTBALL: So don't ask if your dreams are crazy, ask if for crazy enough.

SCHOLES: LeBron James has always been one to speak up on social issues. But in February, he was told to just "shut up and dribble" by a Fox News host.

LEBRON JAMES, THREE-TIMES NBA FINALS MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: We will definitely not shut up and dribble. I mean, too much to the -- to so many kids that feel like they don't have -- they don't have a way out.

SCHOLES: After losing in the Finals again to the Warriors, LeBron announced he was taking his talents to Hollywood to play for the Lakers. But it was what LeBron did off the court this year that he calls the most important thing he's ever done.

JAMES: When I was younger, and when I got off myself, I ever had the means or if I ever became a success for anything, you know, I want to be able to give back.

SCHOLES: LeBron opening an elementary school for at-risk youth in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.

But just nine months after giving birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia, Serena Williams made her return to Grand Slam tennis at the French Open, controversially unseated after her maternity leave. Later after finishing as the runner-up at Wimbledon, Serena again made the finals at the U.S. Open. Her match against 20-year-old Naomi Osaka turned into one of the most controversial in tennis history.

SERENA WILLIAMS, PROFESSIONAL TENNIS PLAYER: And you stole a point from me. You're a thief too.

SCHOLES: Chair umpire Carlos Ramos penalizing Serina for receiving signals from her coach, breaking her racket, and for verbal abuse. The last penalty cost Serena a full game, which resulted in her arguing with officials that she was being treated more harshly than male players.

The number one sports moment of 2018 is the courage and bravery of the hundreds of women who confronted their sexual abuser. Former U.S. and Michigan State gymnastics Dr. Larry Nassar.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Larry Nassar is in another Michigan courtroom for another sentencing.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Michigan State University is being investigated by the Attorney General's Office.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Larry Nassar will likely be spending the rest of his life behind bars.

SCHOLES: More than 150 women gave impact statements at a marathon sentencing hearing for Nassar. And in June, many of those women took the stage at the ESPYs as they were honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. And gold medal gymnast Aly Raisman was among them and gave an inspiring speech.

ALY RAISMAN, AMERICAN GYMNAST AND TWO-TIME OLYMPIAN: If just one adult had listened, believed, and acted, the people standing before you on this stage would have never met him.

SCHOLES: Sports in 2018 will be remembered for empowerment and perseverance. From Serena to gymnasts, inspiring women are making their voices heard, building a foundation for years to come.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: And don't miss CNN special coverage on New Year's Eve. Anderson Cooper, Andy Cohen co-host CNN's "NEW YEAR'S EVE NIGHT LIVE" from Times Square, starting at 8:00 p.m. Oh, heavens, you never know what's going to happen. Brooke Baldwin, Don Lemon, also joining the celebrations.