Return to Transcripts main page
QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
White House Celebrates Jobs Report; Trump Now Believes Job Data Is Real This Time; Trump Wants to Create 25 Million Jobs In 10 Years; Court Ousts South Korean President; Wilbur Ross Has Onstage Disagreement with Mexican Counterpart; French Voters Explain Le Pen's Rise. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired March 10, 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: You saw that fifth conk there. They're very excited to be ringing the closing bell. That is IT company Evertec
making the end of a trading week on Wall Street. It was sort of an interesting day for stocks, because we saw the Dow shoot up right out of
the gate, because you got that solid jobs reports. And then it sort of bounced around, because of lower oil prices, lower energy stocks and
financials as well.
It is Friday, March the 10th. Tonight, Donald Trump said the U.S. jobs numbers are now the real deal.
South Korea lurches into political crisis with the economy on the ropes.
And things get a little bit awkward for the U.S. and Mexico as they start to renegotiate NAFTA.
Hello, everyone I'm Zain Asher, and this is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.
Welcome everyone, so, do you remember back in September last year, Donald Trump actually made this really huge grandiose promise to create 25 million
jobs over the next 10 years. And it raised a lot of eyebrows because it was a huge promise to make. Well tonight, the very first report card is
in, because obviously, Donald Trump got inaugurated in January, so February was the first full month of his presidency.
So, let's take a closer look at the economy in order to reach the 25 million goal of jobs over the next 10 years. They economy does actually
needs to create an average of 208,000 jobs a month over the next 10 years. And it looks as though we are on track. Because in February the economy
did a little bit better than that. It came in at 235,000 jobs. Many of those jobs were in sectors that Donald Trump had promised to revitalize.
I'm talking about construction, it was up 58,000. Donald Trump has also promised to invest about $1 trillion in that sector, in infrastructure.
So, we should see that number continue to rise. Manufacturing was about 28,000. And mining was up ever so slightly, at 8,000.
Let's look at the unemployment rate, because that actually ended ticking down ever so slightly, from 4.8 percent -- from 4.8 percent to 4.7 percent.
That's below the 5 percent that is considered by economists to be full employment. Wages also a bright spot in that grew 2.8 percent. So, the
big question everybody's asking, is will the Fed raise rates next week? Will they raise interest rates next week and a lot of people are thinking
that they will?
Anthony Chan, is chief economist at Chase. He joins me live now from California. So, Anthony, can you envisage any scenario where the Fed
doesn't end up raising rates next week? What are your thoughts?
ANTHONY CHAN, CHIEF ECONOMIST, CHASE: I think it's highly unlikely. I would almost go so far to say, highly, almost impossible that they will not
raise short-term interest rates. Janet Yellen basically, almost pronounce that she wanted to raise short-term interest rates. And so, this was the
last piece of evidence, or economic information that could have dissuaded the Federal Reserve and it did not. In fact, believe it or not, the number
came in even higher than expectations on almost all fronts.
You basically got more jobs being created. You basically got a healthy pace wages. And even that hard-core unemployment, that so-called under
unemployment rate going down to 9.2 percent from 9.4 percent, because of those number of part-time workers for economic reasons really plunging.
And by the way, the gains were very broad-based. When you look at an index, it's called the diffusion index, it looks at how broad-based the
gains are, very, very broad-based. Almost all cylinders this report says. The Federal Reserve is set to go.
ASHER: See Anthony, it's interesting, because you said it was broad-based. When you look at specifically construction, we saw 58,000 added in February
and construction. A lot of people are saying that's because of warmer weather. But Donald Trump, the administration has of course promised to
spend about $1 trillion in infrastructure. So, where do you see construction going under this administration when it comes to hiring?
CHAN: Well, I think you hit the nail on the head. The warm weather certainly boosted the numbers for construction spending this month. It's
been a warm two months and that's certainly been reflected in the construction numbers. But certainly, with an improving economy and strong
labor markets, you would think construction. In fact, you see the Mortgage Bankers Association purchasing managers index very, very strong. Because
when the Federal Reserve is about to raise short-term interest rates, believe it or not, a lot of pent-up demand comes in because people want to
avoid the rising interest rates. And Janet Yellen basically has said, she wants to raise rates three times. And now there's even some speculation
out there that they can even raise rates four times this year.
[16:05:00] I think, at this point four times is a little bit too aggressive, but certainly that shows the excitement that you might see over
the near-term in housing and in construction employment reflecting that excitement to get in before interest rates rise.
ASHER: So, Anthony, just help me understand something, especially when it comes to jobs numbers going forward, because Janet Yellen, they raise rates
next week. Obviously, that increases borrowing costs for companies. How does that impact hiring going forward you think?
CHAN: I think that because interest rates are so low, Chair Yellen, has made it very clear that the neutral fed funds rate is basically the Fed
funds rate minus the inflation rate. The neutral rate somewhere around 1 percent. With inflation running the target at -- right now the
consumption, the inflate running at 1.9 percent. That would tell you that you can actually raise the nominal federal funds rate to 3 percent. We are
very far away from that, so, right now I don't think that raising short- term interest rates by a quarter percentage point is really going to influence in a negative way the economy. And that's the reason why the
Federal Reserve has three rate hikes plan to steer and some more next year because that interest rate is way too low for the level of the unemployment
One last thing. Remember that we have interest rates that are barely above where they were when the unemployment rate was 10 percent. With that as a
backdrop there's no question in my mind that the Federal Reserve is well justified in raising interest rates gradually.
ASHER: And speaking of backdrops, you have a lovely backdrop behind you. It looks beautiful there in California where you are. Anthony Chan, thank
you so much for being with us. I appreciate that.
CHAN: Thank you.
ASHER: Friday's White House press briefing, Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, touted the new jobs figures as proof that the Trump economic agenda is
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Obviously, were very pleased to see the jobs report that came out this morning. It's great news for
American workers. During the first full month of the Trump presidency the economy added 235,000 new jobs. And the unemployment rate kicked down to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: That is high praise from the administration when it comes to Labor Department data. Back on the campaign trail, I'm sure you remember that
the president actually slammed unemployment statistics as terrible, phony, a hoax. Sean Spicer said, that now that Trump is in office he believes the
unemployment figures are real.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPICER: I talked to the president prior to this and he said to quote him very clearly, they may have been phony in the past but it's very real now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: And as our Cristina Alesci explains the independence of jobs data and government statistics as part of what makes the U.S. a trusted place to
invest and do business. Take a listen.
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: I hear 5.3 percent unemployment, that is the biggest joke there is.
Don't believe those phony numbers.
STEVE MNUCHIN, U.S. SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY: The unemployment rate is not real.
TRUMP: the unemployment number as you know, is totally fiction.
CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Comments like those have data crunchers on edge.
ROBERT RUBIN, FORMER TREASURY SECRETARY: There's a real challenge in today's environment. And I think a real risk and maybe even danger that
there'll be efforts to influence data for political reasons, for tactical reasons, for ideological reasons.
ALESCI: And these headlines over the past few weeks have some people concerned.
RUBIN: We now have an environment in Washington in which there seem to be a reasonable number of people who would like to fit the facts to their
policies rather than starting with the facts and from the facts deriving their policies. And that is an immense threat to sound public policy in
the United States.
ALESCI: Protecting the integrity of government data has become a hot topic in the nation's capital. Like at a recent panel hosted by the conservative
American Enterprise Institute and the liberal Hamilton Project.
ARTHUR BROOKS, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: The Conference on government statistics are more popular than the Rolling Stones. Let's face
it, the phrase alternative facts has entered the American lexicon. Is anything more important than what we're going to talk about today?
TORSTEN SLOK, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIST, DEUTSCHE BANK: The U.S. has always been the gold standard and we've known for a long time that we have
ALESCI: And that tremendous data drives tremendous dollars. Unemployment stats trigger unemployment insurance. The consumer price index determined
Social Security checks. And the Census Bureau says it's ongoing American Community Survey guides more than $400 billion in federal funding every
REBECCA BLANK, FORMER ACTING COMMERCE SECRETARY: So, there's literally tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars that are driven by these data.
ALESCI: That survey is mandatory. A bill sponsored by some House Republicans would make it voluntary. They argue the data collection is a
privacy intrusion by the federal government. But making it optional could degrade the quality of the information.
BLANK: If we lose the ACS, I don't know how a lot of local governments make decisions?
ALESCI: The White House did not respond to our request for comment. But people who care about data integrity say the stakes couldn't be higher.
RUBIN: We've had tremendous advantage in this country, because of the credibility of our data.
[16:10:00] And the credibility of our policies because they were based on sound data. If we were to sacrifice that I think will pay a tremendous
ASHER: Let's talk about it here. Stephen Moore is an economist at the Heritage Foundation and was actually an advisor to the Trump campaign. So,
he's a perfect person to talk to. He's also now a senior economic analyst and he joins us now live from Washington. So, Stephen, thank you very much
for being with us.
So, just help us understand, help us bridge the gap here. Because obviously, we played it in the piece, obviously, a year ago, less than a
year ago, you had Donald Trump coming out and saying that the jobs numbers were phony. He thought there were a hoax. And now he's touting them. He
believes that their real. Just explain that to us.
STEPHEN MOORE, CNN SENIOR ECONOMIC ANALYST: I think what is being referred to here by a hoax is not that the numbers are made up, it's that the
headline unemployment rate that we been using now in the United States for the last 10 years has become mostly a meaningless number. I mean, the
unemployment rate in the United States is not 4.7 percent. It simply isn't. It's probably about double that because were not including people
who are forced into part-time jobs because there aren't enough jobs in the economy.
ASHER: But now that he's president though, but Stephen, now that he's president he talks about these numbers with pride.
[16:11:11] MOORE: Because, look, here is the point, yes, of course, the unemployment rate is still way too high. Even though the headline number
is 4.7, I don't think Donald Trump would -- he will still say that looks the real unemployment rate is not 4.7, is closer to nine or 10 percent.
The point is that we have got to do something about getting more Americans in the workforce and so on, but the good news is today is that the number
of reported jobs was up very significantly, that is a very good news story. We had wage increases, we have more construction and manufacturing jobs,
there is nothing in this report that virtually anybody could criticize. So, I think it is a turning of the tide let's hope. We are going to start
to see real job growth.
ASHER: Stephen, let me just pick your brain for second, whether it is President Obama or whether it is President Trump, how much credit do you
think the president should actually get for the month-to-month movements of the job numbers?
MOORE: Not month-to-month because these numbers gyrate up and down. So, my point is that not only do have a Trump balance right now, we have a
Trump moon balance, the American economy is really firing on all cylinders now. And a big, big boom really started unequivocally on November 7, 2016
when the stock market shot up like a cannon after the election because I think businesses are anticipating tax reductions, less government spending
and less debt, Obamacare repeal. And they also believe that a lot of the antigovernment policies of the last 10 years are coming to an end. I think
we're going to look back in history and November 2016 as an inflection point. It is a really too early to tell because it has only been three or
ASHER: So, of course just back in September promised to create 25 million jobs over the next 10 years. I am just curious because obviously,
economists consider 5% unemployment has full employment. It is now down to 4.7 percent. How much room is there to actually boost job growth that much
by an average of 200,000 per month over the next 8 to 10 years?
MOORE: Yes, we can do that easily, we had months under Ronald Reagan where we created 1 million jobs in one month, so it is very feasible. You're not
listening to what I was saying, the unemployment rate is not 4.7 percent, the unemployment rate in the United States is 9 to 10 percent. There are
millions if not tens of millions of Americans who could be in the workforce if we created more jobs. I don't buy that are all, we have a record number
of Americans who are of working age in America were not working. With higher wages and better jobs, we can get them into the workforce. I am a
big believer that we can get 4 to 5 percent growth over the next four or five years, that would be a gigantic improvement. Now that is going to
require more people entering the workforce, but that can happen, and we are going to need more immigrants too to fill some of these jobs.
ASHER: But Trump still talked about that 4.7 with pride today. Certainly, different from how he spoke about it -- Stephen, we have to leave it Sarah
thank you so much.
CNN Money is tracking all the numbers and that CNN.com/Trumpjobs, just check that every month so you can see how the Trump administration is doing
with its promise as I just mention to create 25 million jobs over the next 10 years.
On Wall Street, it was a battle between the jobs report which boosted stocks and a fall in oil prices as well, let me go straight now to my
friend Paul La Monica. Paul, you know, I thought it was so interesting because right out of the gate at 9:30 our time, we saw the stock market
jump up about 80 points. And then sort of bounce around and it was flat all day and then it went down, and then it came back up again. How much
were investors looking at jobs report versus energy versus falling oil prices is that kind of thing?
[16:15:00] PAUL LA MONICA, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: I think saying that falling oil prices is certainly having a drag on a part of the market,
namely the energy companies that are going to be her potentially if oil keeps falling, the jobs report, let's be honest here, this was a very good
number. But it was expected for the most part, even though we got a little bit higher than anticipated with the jobs gain, was such a blowout number
that had people on Wall Street all of a sudden speculating well, maybe the Fed has to be more aggressive, maybe economy actually risks overheating.
This is like the perfect jobs report and I think that's why the market did what it did. Which is kind of have a nice little rally didn't get ahead of
itself too much.
ASHER: Just want to switch gears quickly, because of Volkswagen pleading guilty, just walk us through that.
LA MONICA: This is stunning that they have now pled guilty and agreed to pay a nearly $5 billion fine here in the U.S. to the Department of Justice.
This is the first time that they have actually pled guilty for the whole diesel-gate emissions scandal. But this doesn't end the story for
Volkswagen, there are still settlements that need to be made with the SEC, with the IRS, various state governments, other nations as well, so good
news for Volkswagen but they are not out of the woods yet by any stretch.
ASHER: Those costs continue to pile up, Pau La Monica life for us, have a great weekend.
South Korea has removed its top elected official as it tries to stem the most rampant corruption crisis in its history, we will be live in Seoul the
latest on former President Park's remarkable fall from grace, that story next.
ASHER: South Korea is facing unprecedented political turmoil as the corruption scandal forces the president out of office. Protesters took to
the streets and clashed violently with the police after a court upheld the parliament's decision to impeach President Park. Two people died amid
chaotic scenes in Seoul, are Paula Hancocks is covering the latest.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The moment they heard Park Geun-hye was out, sheer joy from protesters who are been on the
streets of Seoul for months calling for her to go, after Park became embroiled in a massive corruption scandal. Just one street away,
heartbreak and frustration. Passion which turned to anger on occasion, emotions running high as pro-Park supporters believe the allegations
against the former president are politically motivated and justice was not served.
Why are you so angry that she has been impeached?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They cannot, OK, processing step-by-step in the law.
[16:20:00] HANCOCKS: Injuries, arrests and two people dead. This is a really emotional situation here, you can see the passion of these
A flurry of diplomatic activity, acting president Hwang Gyo-an put the military on high alert, and held a cabinet and national security meeting
before addressing the nation pleading for calm.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ACTING PRESIDENT HWANG GYO-AN, SOUTH KOREA: There will be people who cannot accept this and find it hard to submit to this but now is the time
to accept and end the conflict and opposition.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANCOCKS: South Korea's first female president is now the country's first impeached president, nothing was seen or heard from Park on Friday. Park
is now lost presidential immunity just days after special prosecutors recommended she be indicted as a bribery suspect alleging she elected to
help a confidant extort money from big business. Park is denied any wrongdoing.
But for these protesters today was a day to celebrate, a day they believe they saw people power topple a president.
ASHER: Paula Hancocks joins us live now from Seoul, there was so much emotion from both sides, it wasn't that long ago in South Korea that it had
a dictatorship. Is this sort of being celebrated then as a big win for democracy?
HANCOCKS: It is on one side of the equation, it is incredibly divided at the moment here in South Korea, the pro-Park and the anti-Park camps are
juxtaposed, they are completely against each other in what they believe happened yesterday. As I said those pro-Park supporters believe that
justice was not served, they think it is a travesty of justice and they also say this is not the end, this is just the beginning. They are still
going to come out in protest and try and put their president back in power. But for the majority of people, and there are from looking at on the
streets in recent months, there were more people calling for her impeachment than were not. Bear in mind that her approval rating is five
percent before she was impeached by lawmakers.
ASHER: Paula, she has lost diplomatic immunity, so what happens next in terms of criminal proceedings?
HANCOCKS: What special prosecutors have said, they have had a three-month long investigation, and they said at the end of that investigation, as soon
as she loses presidential immunity we recommend that she is tried as a bribery suspect. That doesn't mean that will happen because the past this
case now back to the state prosecutors, it is up to them to decide. But you would imagine that they would at least investigate it or request to
question her considering that there are many others related to this case who are already on trial.
Choi Soon Sil, the woman at the center of this case and others related to this case who are already on trial, Choi Soon Sil is currently facing
charges of abuse of power and perjury, and prosecutors want to talk to Park in relation to her case as well. It is very difficult to know whether or
not it will be immediate. We have 60 days now until election has to be held and you heard the acting president saying let's move forward, let's
now focus on other things, so whether there will be a political witch hunt of Park at the same time as his parties and candidates are going to be
campaigning, it is difficult to say.
ASHER: Big question as you mentioned, the big question is who will take her place?
South Korea's next leader must be decided in just two months, as I just mentioned a liberal candidate Moon Jae-in from the Democratic United party
is currently leading in opinion polls, whoever wins must be able to unite a country whose economy has been battered by this political scandal. China
is also squeezing South Korea's economy, it is angry after Seoul received a U.S. missile defense system. Some of the country's biggest companies are
also engulfed in the corruption crisis as well, namely, we have been talking about a lot on the show, the de facto chief of Samsung which is
estimated to account for a whopping 15% of the country's entire economy. The country is also facing an industrial shipping crisis. An economy that
some say is in desperate need of reform. Christopher Hill is a former US ambassador to South Korea, he joins us live now.
So. let's start with the politics, before we get to the economy, Park, she comes from a political dynasty, she is the first female leader of South
Korea and also now the first to be impeached and ousted. Just want to get your thoughts.
[16:25:00] CHRISTOPHER HILL, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO SOUTH KOREA: First of all, it is a very divisive moment, I mean she has a lot of supporters,
often supporters of her father, so she has kind of old guard supporters. At the same time, she was the first woman president in Korea so she has a
lot of other supporters there. And for many Koreans, he is seen as absolutely having done the wrong thing, and so there will be some real
pressure to see if they can bring criminal charges. At the same time, it is such a divisive issue I suspect that it's hard to tell, but I suspect
Koreans will get on with the task of finding a new president and will probably not go to the next step and try to put her in jail.
ASHER: OK, so in terms of finding a new president, deleting candidate as we just mentioned, let us pull up his picture, Moon Jae-in he is sort of
the Liberal leader. How do you think his policies, the sunshine policies with North Korea, just sort of softening its approach to North Korea if he
is elected, if he does become South Korea's next president, how will it affect South Korea's relationship with the United States?
HILL: He is from this very kind of left of center politics, he was the chief of staff to Roh Moo-hyun, the last left of center president, who
actually threw himself over a cliff and killed himself a few years ago. So, people do not look with great nostalgia to the Roh Moo-hyun era, so
Moon will have to show that he is his own guy and has a way forward for the country. But that said tradition of these left of center candidates are
little more restrained in their support for the U.S.
ASHER: Because his whole thing is that sanctions have not worked.
HILL: Yes, but his idea with the idea of that party would be to have more engagement with North Korea, and I think a lot of Koreans are very
skeptical of it, especially as the North Koreans have been firing rockets lately and saying really bloodcurdling things. And also, the murder of Kim
Jong Nam in Kuala Lumpur airport is a reason for pause. So, I think you're going to see a lot of pro-North Korean perspective but you will get people
looking again at this U.S. deployment of this anti-ballistic missile system. Is this something we want? Do we really want to have a problem
with China? A lot of Koreans are worried about the problem with China causing economic problems within Korea. So, tensions are very high and in
the middle of this will come U.S. Secretary of State who was essentially home alone at the State Department, doesn't have much of a staff yet, and
yet he is --
ASHER: What is going to be his priority then when he visits Seoul next week?
HILL: He has got to reassure the South Koreans that we are with them, he's got to kind of give them a little pep talk on working with Japan. He's got
to show that we have a strategy for dealing with China and not just to wag our finger at China and tell them that we want a trade war with China,
which is not something that South Koreans want to see. They basically they want to see that this new administration has if not hit the ground running,
at least has begun to walk after hitting the ground. And that they have a strategy for working with this with respect to the South Korean
perspective, and to some extent calming this situation down. Koreans like most people don't like to see people out on the streets, and they don't
like to see this kind of chaotic political scene, and yet 60 days is not a very long time, so they're going to have a very tough election and probably
like a lot of elections in the world these days rather polarized.
ASHER: Rex Tillerson's plate will be full. He's only been Secretary of State for a couple of months, and then he is dealing with this. All right
ambassador Christopher Hill, thank you very much.
Coming up, exclusive reporting by CNN into the possible links between computer servers owned by a Russian bank and the Trump organization, that
[16:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ASHER: I am Zain Asher, coming up in the next half hour of QUEST MEANS BUSINESS Wilbur Ross has an onstage disagreement with the Mexican economy
minister in Washington, and we will travel to one French town where voters are seeing a groundswell of support for Marine Le Pen. Before that the CNN
and on this network the news always comes first.
Reports saying former South Korean President Park will be leaving the presidential residence for now even though she was removed Friday over a
corruption scandal. A spokesperson says that she can't go back to her own house because of security reasons.
Malaysian authorities confirmed a man killed last month at Kuala Lumpur airport was Kim Jong Nam, half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un,
the country's police chief says Kim's family knows of his death, but no one has claimed the body. Kim was poisoned last month with a nerve agent. Two
women have been charged with his murder.
Pope Francis says that he is open to allowing married men to become priests, he says the global shortage of clergy is an enormous problem.
Currently Protestant priests who are already married when they convert can stay married as priests in the Roman Catholic church.
Sources tell CNN that U.S. officials are continuing to examine the possible links between a computer service owned by a Russian bank and the Trump
organization. Alfa bank insists that it has no connections to Trump. Questions about the possible relationship were widely dismissed months ago,
but we have learned that the FBI's counterintelligence team is still investigating this link, that is the same unit looking into Russia's
alleged interference in the U.S. presidential election. Earlier I asked our cyber security reporter Jose Pagliery what these servers are doing?
JOSE PAGLIERY, CNN CYBERSECURITY REPORTER: What these servers are doing is that a Russian bank was repeatedly looking up the unique Internet address
of a particular computer server in the United States being used by the Trump organization. In the computer world is nothing more than looking up
someone's phone number over and over again. While there isn't necessarily a phone call and usually indicates an intention to communicate according to
several computer scientists we spoke to.
Now a group of computer scientists who obtain these leaked Internet records, records and frankly they were never supposed to make public. Why
Alfa bank in Russia was doing this? Was he trying to send email to the Trump organization. They just could not tell.
Now last summer during the presidential campaign, the Russian bank looked up the address to this Trump server some 2800 times. That is a whole lot
and put it into context, that is more look ups this Trump server received from any other source. The only other entity we know that was doing this
many Internet lookups for this Trump server was Spectrum Health, this is a medical facility chain that by Dick DeVos the husband of Betsy DeVos, and
if that name sounds familiar, that's because Betsy DeVos was later appointed by the president as education secretary.
Those two entities alone made up 99% of the lookups. And it is that the computer scientists found very strange. Now all of the corporations
involved say they have never communicated by email with the Trump organization, and they have different sometimes competing explanations for
that server activity. But they haven't provided any proof to CNN and they don't always agree about what is going on.
For example, the Russian bank thinks it was receiving Trump Hotel email marketing last summer, which would make sense, because a lot of its
executive stay at Trump Hotels but they were not able to provide CNN with a single email to back up that theory. Meanwhile the American marketing
company that was indeed sending Trump emails wasn't doing so at the time in the summer. Alfa bank for its Park did stress that none of its top
executives have any affiliation at all with President Trump or the Trump organization. And they put out a very firm statement that he said, neither
Alfa bank nor its principles including Mikhail Fridman and Petr Aven have or have had any contact with Trump or his organizations.
[16:35:00] So in essence what we have here is an unanswered mystery.
ASHER: From this point onwards just explain to us what our investigators are actually looking for.
PAGLIERY: Investigators at the FBI especially counterintelligence team which is the one that has this, are going to try to figure out if there was
actual communication between these servers. If there was an email that went from the Alfa bank server to the Trump organization, or if there was
email the other way around. If the Trump organization tried to communicate with Alfa bank, not that there's anything wrong by way even if they did
communicate, these are legitimate businesses, they could've been communicating.
But the counterintelligence team of the FBI wants to figure out if they emailed, if they communicated and if those communications had anything
nefarious about them at all.
ASHER: Has the Trump servers been monitored then by the FBI?
PAGLIERY: That is a great question, Trump hinted at this last week when he tweeted that his wires had been tapped. A lot of us have been wondering
did he mean his phones, you mean the server we have been talking about? We have asked and apparently no FISA warrant on the server in question. That
sort of seems to be ruled out.
ASHER: Just explain to us how the story originated because I'm wondering how investigators were actually tipped off.
PAGLIERY: What happens then is someone who was monitoring the Internet records, you have to think about how the Internet works, there are a bunch
of computers that talk to each other between me and you. Someone along this path was privy to private traffic, private information, they went by
the name tea leaves and this person who could be a cyber security specialist, could be a computer scientist shared it with a community of
scientists and said what is going on here. We need the media to look at this, we need the FBI to investigate. And that is why the records were
eventually leaked. They were never supposed to see the light of day, in fact, this is private information.
ASHER: I want to get you up to speed on other stories that we are following, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and his Mexican counterpart
appear to be all smiles when they emerge from a joint press conference in Washington, but things kind of turned awkward when the apparently disagreed
over how to go about renegotiating NAFTA. So, secretary Ross said that he would be open to bilateral talks were Mexico and the U.S. meet one-on-one
to rework the deal. Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal jumped in to say that NAFTA is a trilateral agreement and that all three
should meet together.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILBUR ROSS, COMMERCE SECRETARY: It will either be to parallel bilaterals with symmetrical provisions, or one new trilateral with less concern at
this stage with the exact form then we are with trying to get to a substance.
ILDEFONSO GUAJARDO VILLARREAL, MEXICAN ECONOMY MINISTER: I think that we visit our Canadian friends a couple weeks ago, in a conference, and we
basically made the conversation on the character of NAFTA, NAFTA is a trilateral agreement. And it would make a lot of sense to have trilateral
discussion in order to be very mindful of the strength that the North American continent can have in this process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: It was a little bit awkward but Mexico might be right to fear one- on-one talks because Canada could go on strike its own deal with the Americans and leave Mexico standing in the cold. CNN's diplomatic
correspondent Michelle Kosinski is live for us, just explain to us how serious is a divide between the U.S. and Mexico over how to go about
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: There has been no shortage of awkwardness in interactions between the U.S. and Mexico lately
for a number of reasons, and this one today was interesting. It is a disagreement but from the Mexican side, one official felt that Wilbur Ross,
they went back and clarified later, that we are willing to do this trilaterally, that we are willing to do it soon. But Mexico is clearly
very serious about this, if you like for technical reasons and other reasons this should be a trilateral negotiation for things like rules of
origin which determines how much of a product should come from one of the countries within the agreement. They think that really has to be done
trilaterally. The U.S. though has made it clear that it could work in other ways, Mexico does not want that to happen. And you can see them
pushing and eager to get this started. They have already sent their notice in fact to their Congress that they are ready to go as soon as possible.
ASHER: Michelle, let's just sort of broaden this out a bit, I am curious just in terms of specifics, what is Trump and what does Wilbur Ross
actually want when it comes to a better or fairer NAFTA deal?
KOSINSKI: That is a good question because this is so complicated, and there is even disagreement in research over the years, remember NAFTA has
been around since the mid-90s, over what the effects on the American economy were. The Trump administration likes to say that is a terrible
deal for America, that because jobs to move to Mexico.
[16:40:00] And that is true in some cases but other researchers have shown that it is not like an exodus of American jobs has some describe it. So,
the United States wants to see in the Trump administration wants to see more fairness, they want to see a deal that is beneficial to American jobs
that protects American jobs, possibly with higher tariffs on some Mexican imports. And Mexico is interested in free-trade, the flow of trade because
after NAFTA was signed the flow really increased between the U.S. and Mexico, in fact it quintupled since that agreement went into effect. So,
it has been a good deal for Mexico, they want to maintain those benefits while the Trump administration wants to see more within the United States.
ASHER: Michelle, what about time frame in terms of these renegotiations, what do we know about the timeframe?
KOSINSKI: And that is where this gets interesting too because today the American commerce secretary said this could be renegotiated starting at the
end of the year, and Mexico was saying we are ready to go within two months now. Three or four weeks ago, they sent their 90-day notice to their
Congress that after that consultation period, so it's 90 days of consultation and then negotiations can begin. But the U.S. has not sent
notice yet so the Mexican officials are saying that Wilbur Ross did clarify that and say, OK, they are going to send their notice to Congress likely
within a couple of weeks. So, we could see negotiations start I guess you could say roughly in about three months or so.
ASHER: Michelle Kosinski live us there, thank you so much.
While France is voting for a new president this year in an election campaign that is already highly unpredictable, one candidate is hoping to
upset the odds this year, that story next.
ASHER: I want to go to Europe now the latest polls in France show the far right's candidate Marine Le Pen with a strong chance of reaching the second
round of the presidential election where she is likely to face either former investment banker Emmanuel Macron or former Prime Minister Francois
Fillon. It is six weeks before the first stage of voting the outcome is far from certain, it is anyone's guess. CNN's Melissa Bell reports from
the town in northern France were voters could tip the election.
CHRISTOPHE SZCZUREK, HENIN BEAUMONT, DEPUTY MAYOR (translation): Henin Beaumont is all of France packed into one town. It is very rural, it used
to be industrial. There is an agricultural sector that has disintegrated, there is also a history of corruption and local politics, it is a place
that represents French public opinion.
[16:45:00] MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Our guide to Henin Beaumont is Christophe Szczurek, the town's deputy mayor since 2014
when the far right National Front took over after nearly a century of socialist rule. It's once prosperous streets are deserted, the coal mines
in which it was built closed. Unemployment is roughly twice the national average. Henin Beaumont was natural socialist territory, so what changed?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can explain to my people being fed up, in France and around the world, that is what is at the heart of this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think those who vote for the National Front don't admit to it. I'd today I think we are stigmatized because we vote for the
National Front, I don't like having someone dictate my vote to me.
BELL: And sure enough, many of the locals that we spoke to were not willing to share their thoughts on camera. Not far from the town hall this
charity helps some 600 families to survive, the food is so the 20% of its normal price. The man who created the supermarket said that to his
customers, many of who are trying to survive in less than _400 a month, a corruption scandal involving the last socialist mayor was just too much.
For many the National Front suddenly seemed the only party worth voting for.
PATRICK NANIN, FOUNDER, EPICURES SOLIDAIRES (translation): It didn't bring an answer but it brought a way out. Voters say to themselves I have had
enough, let's go to the other side. Many counts today there are families that can no longer afford to live. That is the system we are in were money
rules and kills families.
BELL: Farida used to shop here, now this daughter of Algerian immigrants works here but she says she still struggles to survive. And she explains
that she is not put off by the National Front's anti-immigrant rhetoric.
FARIDA, EMPLOYEE OF PATRICK NANIN (translation): We feel like we have been duped we have been lied to so much, she is credible though, why would her
words not credible? Why? Because it is Madame Le Pen, I don't agree with that.
BELL: Back at the town hall, Christophe Szczurek says where Henin Beaumont has led the rest of France is now likely to follow.
SZCZUREK (translation): It is the way the wind is blowing, Donald Trump's victory or Brexit, there is a real willingness for change in lot of
countries, globalization creates winners and losers and often it is the little towns, the rural ones, the ones we don't hear him because the media
doesn't cover them.
BELL: Everyone we have spoken to today has said for the first time in decades things have been done for their town and they also all said without
exception that they would be voting National Front in the presidential election. Very few of them though were willing to speak to us on camera, a
reminder that even here in National Front territory there is still a vote that dare not speak its name but that is determined to express itself in
the ballot box. Melissa Bell, CNN.
ASHER: This coming Tuesday, March 14 is My Freedom Day, CNN is partnering with young people all around the world for a student led day of action
against modern day slavery. Driving My Freedom Day is a simple question. A simple question that we are asking everyone. What does freedom mean to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For us freedom is to act on your own will. In choosing your own career
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Freedom to me means the opportunity to live without oppression. Freedom means the ability to live.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: That is so inspiring hearing those young people speak out. We want to hear what freedom means to all of you at home. You can tell us by
posting a photo or video on the Internet using #myfreedomday on twitter.
Still a come here on quest means business, love comes in all shapes and all sizes, one woman is the shape of the size of actual robot. CNN's Laurie
Segall was at the engagement party, she will join us after the break, that story next.
[16:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ASHER: Here's a question for you, what is your relationship with technology because some people take it many, many steps further than
others. CNN's Mostly Human series introduces us to a woman who actually fell in love with the robot, and covers how a hack broke apart families and
destroyed lives. And examines why some of the most powerful people in Silicon Valley are now stepping away from the technology that they created.
Mostly Human is a six-part investigative series and it premieres this weekend on CNN Go. I want to show you an early look.
We officially entered this era were technology is humanity. With all of promise and all the power technology holds, do you think that people will
fall in love with robots. I feel like it is inevitable. There is also the other side, there is the dark side, the gray area.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's crazy like you basically said, that hacking can lead to death if we're not careful.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hacking will lead to death. This is where bits and bytes need flesh and blood.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is there a fine line between the technology if you go so far it makes you better, if you go farther it can make you worse
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Internet has changed, it has changed the way in which we communicate, and now it's starting to change the way in which we
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So even though you are dead, technically you could still tweet messages.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Usually, when you celebrate engagements it is a person to another person, not a person and a robot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is just insane to me that something that somebody does online would result in execution.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think it's safe for us to go out there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tech is now love, war, it is life, death, ultimately, tech is mostly human.
ASHER: Laurie Segall joins us live now from the SXSW festival in Austin, Laurie, can I just say as your piece was playing, crew in New York was
glued to the screen, everybody was fascinated, everybody was blown away. We can't wait to watch it. Just explain to us what questions are you
trying to answer with this piece. Because we all have I guess a very complicated relationship with technology, what is the premise?
LAURIE SEGALL, CNN SENIOR TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: I think you said it right there, right, I have been covering tech for seven years. I got my
start by interviewing folks like who founded Uber, and Instagram and twitter, and it has been so fascinating, fast for all lease years later to
look at the larger picture. What are the questions that we should be asking now because it does seem like our relationship with technology has
gotten a little bit complicated?
You are actually in a relationship with your smart phone and you don't even realize it. So really kind of taking a step back and asking philosophical
questions. And I will say it did lead to some interesting places. I did attend a robot engagement party. I went to a sex robot factory where they
are actually building what is almost like the real-life her.
[16:55:00] So this app will live in will get to know you, he called the intimate artificial intelligence. He said it will get to know you better,
plug it into a robot head that looks like a human, it has a body and then the rest is history. But you know that kind of thing, it is fascinating,
it is a weird and I guess what I want to show with the series is maybe it is not as far off as you think. Because it was just eight years ago, I was
saying to the founder of Uber no one is going to get into a random car and use an app, like who is going to do that. And technology moves at
lightning speed, and some idea with the show let's bring you the friends stories, let's talk about the ethical issues. How much is too much? What
are the issues that we should be putting out there and make conversation about? So, it has been an interesting ride, I hope people will tune in and
see all the different places we go that shows a real intersection between tech and humanity.
ASHER: Also, you mentioned it is not that far off but I would say that just in terms of my reaction, the falling in love with the robot, it did
remind me of the movie "Her", but it did seem a little bit extreme. You have covered tech for a long time just in terms of putting together this
series, what surprise you, what shocked you the most?
SEGALL: If I could say anything, would be humanity and all of it, even when I'm interviewing this woman in love with a robot which is so crazy in
so many of us, how can we even wrap our heads around this. You know what she said to me? She was like well, you know, he is never going to hurt me,
and is never going to lie and he's never going to cheat. You can script code. Robots are rational and humans are irrational, there is this
vulnerability in humanity, and I interviewed a woman whose best friend passed away and she actually use all of his Facebook and twitter data and
created basically that she still talks to. Ethically that is a little bit strange and we have to start talking about those things because the
technology there that is why the idea is to put this out there and have a conversation.
ASHER: Laurie Segall, thank you. And before I leave you guys at home, I have to plug Laurie's series, is excellent, "Mostly Human" premieres on CNN
Go this weekend, and all next week on this very program, you will see highlights from the series. And that is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, I am Zain
Asher in New York, have a great weekend.