Return to Transcripts main page
QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
Trump Slams Judges Deciding Fate of Travel Ban; Senate Set to Vote on AG Nominee; Kremlin Critic Believed to Be Poisoned by Government; Seattle to Cut Ties with Wells Fargo Over Pipeline
Aired February 8, 2017 - 16:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:00:00] ZAIN ASHER, CNN ANCHOR: And that's the bell that marks yet another end to the trading day on Wall Street. It's been a bit of a lack
luster few days. The Dow is ending down about 39-odd points. Markets still uncertain about President Trump's economic policy.
It is Wednesday, the 8th of February. Tonight, Donald Trump says judges against his travel ban to go back to school. The president put the
department store on the rack over its deals with Ivanka Trump. And a White House intel briefing with a difference. The chief exec strikes a deal
inside the oval office.
Hello everyone, I'm Zain Asher, and this is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.
Want to get you caught up to speed. Because it has been a busy day in terms of world affairs. Tonight, we are monitoring three critical
decisions with major implications on both sides of the Atlantic. First of all, Donald Trump is lashing out at judges as he waits to hear if his
travel ban will stay suspended. We have just had word that the verdict will not come today, will not come Wednesday. But possibly later on this
week. Whatever the court decides it will cause shockwaves across the world.
Back on Capitol Hill we are waiting for the confirmation vote on President Trump's pick for Attorney General which has turned quite toxic, quite
In the past hour lawmakers in London have passed a bill that would give Britain's Prime Minister the power to kick off Brexit.
We want to begin here where I am in the United States. The president launched the fiercest attack yet on arguments against his temporary travel
ban. Donald Trump spoke to police officers and sheriffs as federal judges decide how they will rule on this case. We are waiting for word on that
ruling. But Donald Trump actually blasted the courts for being, "So political." Take a listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: Bad high school student would understand this. Anybody would understand this. It's as plain as you can have it. I
didn't -- and I was a good student. I understand things. I comprehend very well, OK? Better than I think almost anybody. And I want to tell
you, I listened to a bunch of stuff last night on television that was disgraceful. It was disgraceful. I think it's sad. I think it is a sad
day. I think our security is at risk today and it will be at risk until such time as we are entitled and get what we are entitled to as citizens of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: Let's talk about Donald Trump's comments. I want to bring in senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta. We best heard President
Trump speaking there, talking about, what he heard in the oral arguments last night quoting some of it as being disgraceful. I want to ask you,
Jim, is he more angry about protecting the country with his immigration ban or angry about watching one of his key policies possibly unravel right
before his eyes?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I definitely think it is the second thing, Zain. I mean, this president has been expressing
frustration for several days now about this temporary restraining order that was slapped on his executive order that would ban travel from those
seven predominantly Muslin countries. But it really seem to come to a head today. You played some of that sound there where he was referring to those
legal arguments that were playing out from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals out in San Francisco.
At one point the president said in these remarks to law enforcement officials gathered here in Washington that those arguments going back and
forth and the hearings are disgraceful. That is the comment from the president. He basically suggested, Zain, during his remarks that this
legal delay for his executive order could become a permanent delay. But this temporary delay that they're dealing with now, he suggested very
strongly not only in the remarks but on Twitter that something bad could happen. That essentially the country is being left vulnerable.
He tweeted at one point a big increase in traffic into our country from certain areas while our people are far more vulnerable as we wait for what
should be, what he calls, an easy d -- or easy decision, is what we think he means -- when he tweeted that earlier today. But clearly, Zain, this is
a president who as a businessman coming into the White House is not accustomed to two other branches of government providing checks and
balances. But that's what's happening here.
ASHER: Yes, and is important to note the way the country works is with checks and balances, as you mentioned. But, you know, it had gotten quite
personal with the judges and what he said about some of the judges on Twitter. This is not the first time he's scolded judges, as I'm sure you
will remember from the campaign. But what does he hope to achieve by calling out judges in this way, do you think?
ACOSTA: What we have heard over the last 72 hours, ever since that temporary restraining order went in out in Washington State in in that
[16:05:06] You've heard the president. You've heard his top officials sort of raise the rhetoric, ramp up the rhetoric when it comes to terrorism.
You heard the president earlier today saying that because of the intelligence he receives he's much more worried about this country's
national security than he was before, before he was sworn into office.
That is a pretty alarming statement to make. Now during the press briefing earlier this afternoon the White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, was
asked about this and said is there an imminent threat the country should be worried about and Spicer conceded that, no, not at this moment. There is
no imminent national security threat. But what you're hearing from the president and from these top officials here at the White House, is that
they're trying to influence not the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals but the court of public opinion, to say, OK, we tried to do something that was for
the national security of this country but these judges are getting in our way. So whatever happens after that is not on us. It is on them. That's
been a consistent argument from this administration for the last week or so, Zain.
ASHER: All right. Jim Acosta, live for us there, thank you so much, appreciate that.
ACOSTA: You bet. Sure.
ASHER: And during the speech we were just referring to -- Jim was just referring to - President Trump actually told the crowd of sheriffs and law
enforcement officials that their jobs would actually become almost impossible if the travel ban was not put in place.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We need security in our country. We have to allow you folks to do your job. You are great people. Great peoples. Great men and women. We
have to allow you to do your jobs. We have to give you the weapons that you need. And this is a weapon that you need. And they are trying to take
it away from you, maybe because of politics or maybe because of political views. We can't let that happen. So, with that, let's get onto business,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: All right, I want to go straight to a law enforcement official who was actually at the event we showed you today. Mike Bouchard is the
Sheriff of Oakland County, in Michigan. So, Mike, you so much for being with us. Trump basically seems to suggest that law enforcement officials,
sheriffs like yourself back him up on this issue, back him up on the travel ban. What's your view?
SHERIFF MIKE BOUCHARD, OAKLAND COUNTY, MICHIGAN: Well, actually the major county sheriffs of America who I happen to be in charge of government
affairs took a formal position quite some time ago, to say that until we have a vetting process that's in place that we ought to not continue
allowing people to come into the country that haven't been properly and fully vetted. Going back a number of years that's not been the place. I
have had meetings myself with very senior officials in the prior administration. And they privately admit that the vetting process was not
sufficient to make them comfortable.
ASHER: So, Mike, why not just work on reforming the vetting process as opposed to a blanket ban on people from seven countries?
BOUCHARD: It's not a blanket ban. What it is, is a pause until they can put a vetting process in place as I understand it.
ASHER: It is a travel ban for 90 days for some people, 120 days for refugees.
BOUCHARD: It's a pause until you have a system in place. For example, if you had a stage and you were going to have a concert on it you don't want a
concert until the stage was safe to support the weight of whatever is going to be on the stage. So I think it's an effort to put a process in place to
raise the comfort level of law enforcement across the country. I think the American public that the vetting process is comprehensive, full and
ASHER: A lot of people -- listen, I'm an immigrant myself. I can vouch for the vetting process. I have been through it myself. I'm from London
and Nigeria. And so I have experienced it firsthand. You know, in terms of background checks, there is background checks, there's interviews,
there's interviews with homeland security for some of these refugees.
ASHER: There are fingerprint scans. What part of it do you think is not good enough?
BOUCHARD: Well, some of the very specific musings, if you will, from ISIS and other terrorist organizations have said they are going to embed their
operatives inside of these programs and many of those people are coming from countries that don't have a database to vet against.
If, for example, I run your name in a system but you have never been in that country, you've never had contact or you don't have a relationship
with a government that allows you access to a historical database, you're vetting against space. You're vetting against no known database. You're
not going to find any contact or detrimental or even positive information. You will find a void. And so, that's really the challenge that they have
to determine and fix is how do you vet in the absence of verifiable database and a relationship with the governor where those individuals are
ASHER: Some people might say, listen, you raise a fair point. The vetting process does need to be reformed, does need to be improved. But that in
terms of this ban, in terms of this immigration ban, this travel ban, there really isn't enough of an imminent threat to justify it. What's your
response to that?
[16:10:02] BOUCHARD: I think it's challenging to say that there is not an imminent threat. Because you don't know how many threats are pending and
how many have been interdicted. Some of those are clearly classified.
ASHER: But just looking at some of the terrorist attacks that we've had on U.S. soil, virtually none have actually been caused by a perpetrator from
those seven countries. That's what people mean by an imminent threat.
BOUCHARD: Again, you have to look at some of the specific comments and musings of ISIS and other organizations that have said very clearly, they
intend to embed individuals in these programs. So typically, you take your opponents' words at their measure. And that's been stated. Whether it's
imminent or planned if you put out a notice that you're going to change things in the future, there certainly will be a rush to try to preempt that
and deal with it before it happens. That's fairly common sense. If I say effective tomorrow you no longer can buy Cuban cigars like the embargo on
Cuba there was a rush to buy Cuban cigars for those who knew it was coming.
ASHER: Yes, some people think it is an extreme response for something you are not sure might happen. But for us something that is -- but
unfortunately we have to leave it there. Mike Bouchard, we have to leave it there. Thank you so much. Appreciate that.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has announced there will not be decision on the travel ban today. I want to bring in senior legal analyst, Jeffrey
Toobin. He joins me live here. So, just explain to us, how much authority, how much power does the president have? A president of the
United States actually have to determine who should and who should not enter this country?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, this is in part what the court will be deciding -- how great that power is. Certainly, in our
constitutional system where there is a legislative branch, the executive branch and the judicial branch of government. The executive, the president
is the person with primary responsibility for defining immigration policy and national security policy. The complication here is that we also have a
constitution which says there should be equal protection of the laws and there should be freedom of religion. That's the tension that this
executive order is saying.
ASHER: This executive order essentially offers some protection to Christians.
TOOBIN: It does. And seems targeted at Muslins.
TOOBIN: Now it is not clear that that's unconstitutional. They're drawing those sorts of distinctions. Because it's at the border, everyone has
fewer rights than they do once they are inside the country. When you are walking down the street in New York, no police officer can us walk up to
you, take your handbag and look into it. But when you cross the border and go through customs, of course they can look through your bag. The rules
are different. How different they are is what's at issue in this case.
ASHER: So, you presumably listened to the oral arguments yesterday.
TOOBIN: I did.
ASHER: I'm not asking you to look into a crystal ball here. But if you were going to predict the future, which way would you say this is going to
TOOBIN: It's a hard case.
TOOBIN: Because there are very serious competing interests on both sides. The lower court said that this ban violated the Constitution. At least
tentatively ruled that way and said, we're going to put a hold on it. Of the three judges, it seemed like at least two seemed somewhat sympathetic
to that view, so that the ban, the hold on the ban what we call a stay would be intact. But I really don't know for sure which way it's going.
ASHER: Here's the thing though. The Justice Department will have to at some point prove that there is an imminent threat to warrant a travel ban.
I was talking to my last guest about it.
TOOBIN: Not necessarily have to prove an imminent threat. They have to prove that the president's action is rational.
TOOBIN: They don't have to prove that there are these following threats and this ban is designed to address it. What they have to prove is that
there was a reasoned basis for imposing the ban in this way. And that it is not discriminatory in a way the constitution prohibits. That's what the
Trump administration is going to have to prove when this case actually has a trial.
ASHER: So, you don't know what the court is going to rule here, but it is likely that this might go to the Supreme Court we think.
TOOBIN: Probably sooner rather than later. And certainly, the Ninth Circuit will give us a decision this week, if not today.
ASHER: All right, Jeffrey Toobin, live for us there, thank you so much.
When the president isn't happy about something, he certainly lets it be known. Shares of Nordstrom took a brief tumble today after he grumbled
about the way his daughter was actually treated by the retailer.
[16:15:00] We'll have the latest on what the president said coming up.
ASHER: Welcome back, everybody. President Trump has spoken out against the department store Nordstrom for dropping his daughter's clothing label.
Nordstrom actually announced last week that it would stop carrying Ivanka Trump's products. The company is telling CNN that it didn't make good
business sense to continue with the brand as sales have been declining, particularly in the second half of last year.
Today Trump actually tweeted about this from his personal Twitter account. Take a look at this, he said, "My daughter Ivanka has been treated so
unfairly by Nordstrom. She's a great person, always pushing me to do the right thing. Terrible!" The tweet was retweeted by his official
presidential account at @POTUS. Ivanka Trump is currently on a leave of absence from her business, which is not part of her father's Trump
So, let's talk more about this, Norm Eisen going to live now from Washington. He was special counsel for ethics under President Obama. The
Norm, if you so much for being with us. In terms of the controversy, obviously, Donald Trump tweeting about Nordstrom, angry that Nordstrom is
dropping his daughter's clothing label. You have said and I looked at your tweets, you've actually said that Nordstrom should sue. Just explain why.
NORM EISEN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ETHICS CZAR: Thanks for having me. I can't believe that the president is behaving this way, bullying a business,
making assertions that the business says is wrong in order to defend his family financial interests. His daughter has stepped away from management,
but as far as we know she's hung onto ownership of these businesses. I believe that making these kinds of allegations, which the business says, is
not true. Making these kinds of allegations, is a violation among other things, of our U.S. unfair competition law in California, where Nordstrom
has a lot of properties. They have one of the strongest laws of that kind in the country. If you unfairly attack another business you're liable. I
think Trump opened himself up to that today.
ASHER: Let me play devil's advocate for a second, because we actually heard from Donald Trump's Press Secretary, Sean Spicer. I want to play
what he had to say. He talked about the fact that this is not about Donald Trump necessarily attacking a business. This is purely about him having
the right to stick up for his family. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think this is less about his family business than an attack on his daughter. He ran for president, he
won, he's leadi[15:55:00] ng this country. And I think for people to take out their concern about his actions or executive orders on members of his
family, he has every right to stand up for his family and applaud their business activities, their success.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: Norm, what do you make of that? What's your thoughts?
[16:20:00] EISEN: Mr. Spicer's words have just poured fuel on the flames. The business said that this was a business decision. Businesses need to be
able to function in the market. Spicer has gone beyond his boss's words to say that what Nordstrom is doing is a political retaliation or has to do
somehow with the Muslin ban. And to invite that kind of opprobrium and retaliation and harm a business that way using the pulpit of the White
House, I think they are putting the bully back in bully pulpit and the law won't stand for it.
ASHER: Even though you have been active in terms of your tweets basically saying Nordstrom should sue it is highly unlikely that they are going to.
Because they are not the first business Trump has come out and tweeted about and attacked on Twitter, are they?
EISEN: Well, this is what's interesting about this unfair competition law. It doesn't have to be Nordstrom that sues. State attorney general. Take
the California example. The state attorney general can do it. Other elected officials in California can do it. Anybody who is injured in an
official position by this allegedly unfair attack on Nordstrom's has the ability to step up. Donald Trump is behaving in a way that's not
consistent with American law. This tweet, among other things, was a brushback, a warning. Anybody who threatens my business interests and
because we don't have his taxes we don't know. He may be invested in the Ivanka companies. Anybody who threatens my business interests or my
family's business interests, I'm going to come after you. That goes for the foreign governments giving him emoluments, illegal foreign payments
under our constitution. This is the behavior of a mafia don, not the president of the United States.
ASHER: I want to switch gears quickly from talking about the president, talking about the first lady. Melania Trump is involved in the lawsuit
against "The Daily Mail" because they apparently said she had once worked as an escort. Here is my question to you. When you look at the lawsuit
Melania Trump and her people described the position of first lady at a once in a lifetime opportunity. Essentially giving the impression that it is a
business opportunity. I want your thoughts on that.
EISEN: It's stunning what we have seen is the -- and I want to say that those allegations about her personal conduct as far as we know are totally
false and baseless and despicable.
ASHER: Right. OK.
EISEN: But that does not give her the right to say in a legally verified pleading, a signed pleading to say that she has a once in a lifetime
opportunity to make enormous sums of money. Very clearly the implication is as first lady of the United States. That's what's wrong with the whole
picture. Trump is making money. His sons are making money. His daughter is making money. His wife wants to make money. They are treating the
White House like the stage set for the Kardashians. This is not supposed to be a full enrichment plan for you and your entire family when you become
president. You are supposed to serve the public interest.
ASHER: And no doubt you will continue to be as outspoken about this as you have from the very beginning. Thank you so much for being with us.
EISEN: Thank you very much for having me. Always a pleasure.
ASHER: Thank you so much.
Well, shares in companies targeted by President Trump on Twitter have been known to dip slightly. That was not the case with Nordstrom. The stocks
in the department store closed more than 4 percent higher. Let's talk about this with Paul La Monica who joins me here live. What's interesting
about this is initially we saw Nordstrom shares dip slightly and they went back up. Why was that?
PAUL R. LA MONICA, CNN DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT: It's hard to say what exactly changed. You do have to wonder if we are now at a point where the
president is sort of like the boy who tweeted wolf. We see it time and time again.
ASHER: That's a good one.
LA MONICA: He attacks companies. Their stocks go down. Over the long haul the stocks of companies that Trump has attacked on the campaign trail,
did a story about how they have gone up over a period of time. So, I think maybe they just relish in the attention. That could be part of it.
Investors realize this is pretty baseless. Nordstrom made the decision.
ASHER: I want to talk to you about Intel. We got word from the company CEO that they are going to be investing $7 billion in a factory in the
United States creating thousands of jobs. What I find interesting about this is that normally you see tech companies rebelling against Donald Trump
but not so, not the case here with Intel. Explain what's going on here.
LA MONICA: Intel is touting its U.S. plants which I think is something they probably realize is in their best interests given how vocal president
Trump has been about people and companies and keeping their jobs in America. But I wouldn't go so far to say they are deviating from the rest
of tech necessarily.
ASHER: They are on the letter.
LA MONICA: They are. They are clearly not happy with the immigration policies of the president.
ASHER: Thank you, Paul, so much. Appreciate that.
LA MONICA: Thank you.
ASHER: Donald Trump is still waiting for his pick for U.S. attorney general to be confirmed. He may not have to wait long. A vote is expected
in the coming hours. The debate in the senate took a dramatic turn.
[16:25:00] I want to go to Phil Mattingly on Capitol Hill with the details. Jeff Sessions and his nomination for attorney general have been extremely
contentious, extremely controversial. In large part because of his relationship with minorities.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's exactly right. What we have seen is a pushback to another time. 1986 is when Jeff Sessions had a
failed nomination to be a federal judge. That nomination failed in large part because of allegations of racism. Very strong allegations. These are
the things you have heard Democrats bring up repeatedly over the course of his confirmation process including last night on the senate floor. That's
where Senator Elizabeth Warren, the liberal icon, if you will, came to the floor attempting to read a letter sent in 1986 by Coretta Scott King, widow
of Martin Luther King, Jr., a strong letter of opposition to Jeff Sessions.
She was told to stop and here's why. There is a rule on the senate floor called rule 19 that you are not allowed to impugn the motives of a fellow
senator. Cabinet nominee, yes, future attorney general, almost certainly but also a sitting U.S. senator. Warren didn't have grounds to appeal that
and was told not only could she not continue but she wasn't allowed to participate in the rest of the debate over the nomination. The Republicans
made clear they warned her this would happen. Warren said it was something that needed to be out there. This was a fight she was willing to have. It
is absolutely energizing the Democratic base now.
BALDWIN: It couldn't have happened at a better time for Elizabeth Warren. It casts her in the role of a fighter. She's up for re-election next year.
MATTINGLY: And obviously, there is talk about whether there is broader national politics in her future as well. It's an interesting moment. You
know for the Democratic party they are searching, almost casting about for a central figure to lead them in the wake of what happened in November.
What we see not just with the Sessions nomination but you have covered this. The nominations we have seen over the course of the last couple of
Nominee after nominee energizing the Democratic base though the Democrats can't stop these nominees outside the capitol building we have seen
rallies, thousands of phone calls and emails begging for opposition to a lot of nominees. Democrats have been energized about this. You saw what
senator warren brought to the table almost reflecting the energy. There is hope that it may help focus the party for future electoral contests. 2018
and also 20 as well. The party has big issues now. Serious issues. They are hoping in some way perhaps this is helping bring together some idea of
a path forward. There is a long way to go. No question about it. Republicans dominate both chambers in the White House. That's not going to
change soon. They are trying to harness the energy to figure out a way forward for a party that's been distraught over the last couple of months.
ASHER: Thank you so much.
In the next half hour of the show we'll focus squarely on Europe. Grexit is challenging Brexit as the European Union's main headache. First to
London where lawmakers voted in favor of the government starting the process. That story next.
[16:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ASHER: Hello, I am Zain Asher coming up in the next half hour of Quest Means Business we will take a tour of hip hop legend's neighborhood as
Russell Simmons tell us about living the American Dream. And the city of Seattle is ditching Wells Fargo over and oil pipeline being built hundreds
of miles away. First these are the top headlines we are following for you at this hour.
The U.S. President Donald Trump is criticizing arguments against his travel ban saying even if quote "bad high school students would rule in his
favor." A U.S. federal appeals court said it will not issuing a decision today on whether to reinstate Mr. Trump's executive order on immigration.
A hearing on this matter was held Tuesday night.
And officials in Yemen tell CNN the government wants the U.S. to get approval before conducting any more ground operations there. The request
comes after a U.S. anti-terror raid authorized by President Trump left civilians dead. A Pentagon official said nothing changed in terms of
restrictions on counter terrorism efforts.
A Russian court has found the country's most prominent opposition leader guilty of embezzlement. Alexi Navalny was given a five-year suspended
sentence that disqualifies him from running for president in 2018 as planned. He vowing to get the verdict from this retrial overturned.
Britain's lower house of parliament voted to allow the prime minister to formally trigger Brexit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LINDSAY HOYLE, DEPUTY SPEAKER, BRITISH PARLIAMENT: The ayes to the right 494. The no's to the left 122. The ayes have it!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: Lawmakers spent seven hours debating whether to amend the bill that will take Britain out of the European Union. I want to go straight now to
Nick Robertson who is live for in London. Nick, it is technically not over yet. Because now the bill has to go to the House of Lords now.
NICK ROBERTSON, CNN, INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: If you count from the beginning of the process here when it came to the House of Commons it's
been about 13 days. It goes to the House of Lords next, but not immediately because it is in recession and comes back on the 20th of
February. It's another week and a half wait. It seems the government is on track to reach the self-imposed deadline for getting into negotiations
with the European Union. They might do it before then.
A couple of caveats. No amendments in the House of Commons. When it goes to the House of Lords they can do the same thing. Three readings, a vote.
They can make amendments. If they do make amendments, it would come back to the house of commons. They would take a vote and again go back to house
of lords. No one really is expecting that. What we have seen on all the votes proposed it's been fairly close. Maybe 50 votes for the most part
all the way through. But the clear indication is the British prime minister is getting what she wants. Is getting the bill through without
ASHER: Aside from the possibility of amendments in the House of Lords this was expected to come in. Is there a reason the government should be
ROBERTSON: No. There is more reason for the opposition to be nervous. It caused the resignation of a member of the opposition because of the
divisions within the labor party, the main opposition party about which way they should vote and some of the contentious issues.
[16:35:00] There is a general sense one of the things labor wanted to do and this was one of the amendments they put forward was to have stronger
oversight during the process. Also, to have the ability to vote down before there is a final handshake between Britain and the European Union.
What the government proposed was that a vote would come back to parliament before the final handshake on the deal. The choice the government has
given everyone here is that, you know, if you reject it then you get nothing. No one will want to go for it. That left a bad taste in the
mouth for some people. For some of the members of parliament. This was what was expected and I don't think Theresa May sees at the moment
something to trip her up and her timetable at the moment. The question is does she have her ducks in a row on the issues she wants to negotiate on
with the E.U. and then you get into the whole complexities of what the E.U.'s position on all the details of the British government is going to
put forward. That's the huge unknown quantity. That's the precipice upon which edge we are standing at the moment.
ASHER: Thank you so much. Appreciate it.
Let's take a look at European markets now. The FTSE 100 closed flat ahead of parliament's Brexit vote. Investors are worried about Grexit, Greece's
debt crisis is back on the horizon, on the agenda. Stocks in Athens closed 2 percent lower with banking shares the hardest hit. As the market jitters
returned to Greece protesters are returning to the streets of Athens as well. Earlier around 1,000 firefighters demonstrated against the austerity
measures. Vicky Pryce is the author of "Greekonomics" and joins us from London. Look at what's happening. The fears of the Grexit back on the
horizon. How confident are you that there will be a deal in time?
VICKY PRYCE, CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER, CENTRE FOR ECONOMIC AND BUSINESS RESEARCH: We are in a very difficult position. There is a climate in
Europe which is an uncertain one. Not only do we have Brexit but we also got a number of elections this year including the Netherlands, France,
Germany. We may have another election in Italy. Now of course everyone is talking about a possible election in Athens in Greece as well.
What's going on in Greece is there is no doubt. We have known it for a long time. The International Monetary Fund made it clear that it believes
that the Greek debt is unsustainable and they will only really be involved in the third bailout and beyond in terms of putting money into what's going
on in Greece now. If there is either greater austerity or in other words many more measures of the type the demonstrators don't really want to see
in Athens now. Or there is proper debt relief because the debt is unsustainable. That of course has once again raised the possibility of
Greece being in crisis if the money coming through doesn't later on this year, then we may well be considering the possibility of Greece once again
defaulting on its debt or at least threatening to default on its debt because it hasn't actually quite done that yet.
ASHER: When you think about the short-term future for Greece, how does Greece achieve its fiscal goals when there is much more austerity on the
PRYCE: It's very difficult. The IMF itself frankly has imposed and perhaps has a lot to answer for but imposed with the help of the Europeans
who were keen on too so many strict conditions on Greece. The result has been as we know that the GDP has fallen significantly it's massive and has
done nothing to improve competitiveness in Greece. Although there have been many tax increases and the population suffered considerably we are
seeing growth return, but very mildly. There is no solution without proper debt relief. Given that we have the elections coming through and basically
the Germans don't want to share any of the risks.
ASHER: Here is the thing with debt relief. Will debt relief take pressure off Greece to implement reforms, do you think?
[16:40:00] PRYCE: You can't really have reforms if your economy is collapsing. Yes, it is stabilizing now but you do need to be growing. I
think to get people to really change dramatically, there's been very little reform in many other countries in Europe, frankly who have not been able to
do the things that perhaps they would have liked to have done. We have seen that whether it's the case in Italy, Spain, France. Where there are
still issues there in terms of how the economies are growing and improving productivity.
To expect Greece to really radically change when there is no welfare system, when there is a humanitarian crisis, when there is serious poverty
now in the country and the middle classes have basically been losing an awful lot of their wealth themselves is a big issue and very difficult.
What you need is growth. You need growth, hope, no extra measures in my view in terms of tightening the budget yet again. Because without that you
won't see change. The question is can Greece then stay in the euro and the population is beginning to change. It was very pro-Europe, very pro-youth,
the latest opinion poll suggests they are changing their minds and who know what the election might bring.
ASHER: Greece is due to make debt repayments in July. We'll see what happens. Thank you so much. Appreciate that.
Well, Seattle is fed up with Wells Fargo and it is all to do with a pipeline hundreds of miles away. We'll bring you the story after the
break. Don't go away.
ASHER: The city of Seattle seems to have enough of Wells Fargo. What you are looking at here is a noisy protest and it came ahead of council voting
n favor of cutting ties with the bank with Wells Fargo. The reason being Wells Fargo is one of a dozen lenders helping to finance the controversial
Dakota Access pipeline. That's why Seattle wants to cut ties with the bank. It is opposed by native Americans and environmentalists.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEBORA JUAREZ, SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL MEMBER: As a Native woman, a mother, a tribal member and attorney who lived and fought for all the principles in
my personal and professional life I'm proud of my city today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: Mike O'Brien joins me now from Seattle. He's a council member. What does Seattle hope to achieve by this? Is this just about sending a
strong message that you support those negatively impacted by the pipeline?
MIKE O'BRIEN, CITY COUNCIL MEMBER, SEATTLE: Yes. We are trying to make it clear to the financial institutions in the country and the rest of the
country that banks like Wells Fargo can no longer act with impunity on how they make investments and how they treat Native tribes.
ASHER: They are basically saying they had already committed to helping finance the project. They couldn't suddenly pull out. Plus, they are only
financing a small amount plus they are just one of 17 banks providing credit.
[16:45:00] What do you make of the arguments?
O'BRIEN: We need all of the banks to do better. I need banks like Wells Fargo to step up and figure out how to get out of the deals. Here is the
thing. We in our country treated Native Americans deplorably over centuries. As a white European, I am an immigrant on their land. We don't
treat them with respect. We have a history of getting in on deals and getting out of them. This pipeline should have had an environmental impact
statement done on it from the beginning. The government didn't do it. It figured out it made the mistake and committed to doing the environmental
impact statement. Mr. Trump decided he was going back on the federal agreement. I believe it is illegal. Certainly, immoral and inhumane on
how we treat the sovereign people who were here first.
ASHER: Your concern is about the treatment of Native Americans. Why do you think pulling out of Wells Fargo, pulling out of the bank, why was that
the best way to voice your concerns?
O'BRIEN: So, we are trying to voice our concern in all the ways we can. Seattle deposits about $3 billion a year with our bank. In this case Wells
Fargo. That business matters to banks like Wells Fargo. We are hearing from activists and elected officials from around the country who have been
watching this closely and want to act similarly whether they act with Wells Fargo or another bank doing business with the pipeline. Money drives so
many decisions in the country. When folks in charge of the banks see that their business will be directly impacted and significantly impacted if they
don't change the way they act, I believe they will change the ways they act.
ASHER: All right. Mike O'Brien, live for us. Thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing your perspective. We appreciate it.
On Thursday, the CEOs of America's biggest airlines will meet with President Trump. Summoning chief executives to the White House has become
a common occurrence. This meeting has one major difference. These CEOs are looking forward to it. For two years on "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS,"
American, United and Delta have been crying foul saying Emirates Airways and Qatar Airways get illegal subsidies from their governments.
RICHARD ANDERSON, CEO, DELTA AIR LINES: That's really what this is about - - fair competition. When governments dump subsidies that's a huge violation of U.S. trade policy. It is no different than Chinese companies
dumping steel in the U.S. market or agricultural industries in Europe or south America trying to dump agricultural products in the market. It is
against fair trade policies. In the end the U.S. is a big loser because it's all about jobs.
TIM CLARK, PRESIDENT, EMIRATES: Quite frankly, I think Mr. Anderson should be doing his job improving and competing with us instead of just crying
wolf for his shortcomings in the way the airline is run and blaming us as gulf carrier while not saying anything to other countries which have
DOUG PARKER, CEO, AMERICAN AIRLINES: This is an issue we believe has the potential to have a profound impact on our airlines, on U.S. commercial
aviation business and on the people we employ. We are obligated to fight for those things.
CLARK: What's being said by the U.S. big three carriers is fundamentally wrong. We do not adversely affect their business because frankly they
don't fly to our region. American Airlines doesn't operate to the Middle East, Africa, West Asia, India subcontinent at all. How can we be doing
OSCAR MUNOZ, CEO, UNITED AIRLINES: The facts of the matter and what we as an industry domestically have to protect is American jobs. There are a lot
of folks involved in the process. That's something I take seriously as do my CEO peers. I think the facts are supportive of an unbalanced playing
field. Again, welcome the competition. Let's just make it even.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST: This issue isn't going away?
MUNOZ: Not any time soon.
ASHER: You just heard airline CEOs voicing concerns there. The Obama administration didn't take action on the issue. With Trump in their corner
are the airlines ready to get back into the ring? Richard Quest will be live in Abu Dhabi for Thursday night's program speaking to the President of
Emirates, Tim Clark, and bring you all the reaction from what could be a pivotal day for the airline industries.
Still to come on Quest Means Business from humble beginnings to the highest levels of success. This is a hugely inspirational story. Russell Simmons
is living the American dream and is taking us back to where it all began. That story next.
[16:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ASHER: To Russell Simmons, hip-hop is more than just an art form and it is certainly more than just a business as well, it is a way of life. When he
helped found Def Jam Records he never could have imagined that artists like Jay-Z, Kanye West or the Beastie Boys would be global mega stars across the
world. Now he's starting a hip-hop musical that will premier right here in New York City later on this year. Life wasn't always so glamorous. He met
for part of our series on the American dream. He met our Cristina Alesci as part of our series.
RUSSEL SIMMONS, HIP HOP EMPRESARIO: Hollis Queens was the lower middle class neighborhood where there was opportunity.
CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: How did you get clean? How didn't you get wrapped up?
SIMMONS: I did get wrapped up but I was lucky enough to pull myself together and get out. A big part of it was my parents. What up, man?
What's going on? All right.
This was a heroin block. Sold weed on the corner. A sweet church going community. The kids got into mischief and the neighborhood went down
because of the drugs pushing to the community.
I think that was my house. 10422. This is it right here. 10416. That's my crib. I grew up in there. These kids all went to jail. My brother
went to jail for a bit but became a great artist. He went to jail same as everybody else, for drugs.
CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Who influenced you negatively?
SIMMONS: The gang members that I was in. They weren't bad kids, no worse than me. We were just kids. That was what we did. We wanted junk, new
Adidas. We wanted to be part of what they sold us, the American dream we are talking about today. I went to college. That's what I discovered hip-
hop in 1977 with Curtis Blow and D.J. Hollywood and Grandmaster Flash and these artists.
ALESCI: When in your professional career did you know you made it? I have arrived?
SIMMONS: I made it when "Christmas Rapping" was on the radio and I felt that excitement that my work was being played --
ALESCI: Christmas rapping?
SIMMONS: My first record in 1979. Success was a little bit of validation that you and your hard work and your love and appreciation of the music and
your thing is paying off.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got some music for you, bro! I'm a young r & b singer.
[16:55:00] SIMMONS: See my man right there.
I have evolved from somebody who thought this stuff was important to a person who knows that the stuff is important. There are places in this
country where the American dream is lost. The lack of neediness is happiness. Neediness or make it, you've got to make more [ bleep ], making
it. Making the American dream just continues.
ASHER: I had no idea about Russell Simmons's back story. What an inspirational story given where he came from and going on to change hip-hop
forever. If you want a daily digest of the top business stories delivered to your inbox subscribe to QUEST MEANS BUSINESS and Richard's newsletter.
Go to CNN money.com/quest to subscribe. That does it for us. Thank you so much for watching. Richard will be live in Abu Dhabi tomorrow.