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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
Trump: "I Have Responsibility" to Tackle Syria; EU Parliament Backs "Red Lines" for Brexit; Fed Looks to Trim $4.5 Trillion Balance Sheet; Pepsi Ad Featuring Street Protest Draws Outrage. Suffering of Syrian Attack Victims; Trump Blames Assad for Attack. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired April 5, 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: That bell you hear there marks the end of another trading day on Wall Street. It was a bit of a wild day on the
street. As you can see, we started off solidly in the green, as investors digested those solid ADP jobs numbers. Then take a look here, just as we
geared toward the closing bell, markets suddenly began to dip as investors began to digest the Fed minutes that just came out two hours ago. It is
Wednesday, April 5th.
President Trump says that chemical attacks in Syria cross many, many lines.
Crisis in two different parts of the world put the President's foreign policy to the test.
The European Parliament lays out red lines for Brexit negotiations. Polls show the British public isn't exactly on board.
And the Fed built up a $4 trillion balance sheet during the financial crisis. Now it says it is time to start emptying the vault.
I'm Zain Asher and this is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.
Hello, everyone. I want to start with the devastating news that came out of Syria yesterday. Tonight, Donald Trump says that his attitude toward
Syria is changing. He's calling Tuesday's chemical attack horrific and says that it is his responsibility to fix what is happening in Syria. It
caps a day of dramatic shifts in the U.S. president's foreign policy positions. In a news conference with King Abdullah of Jordan, Mr. Trump
called the attack in Syria unacceptable and said the attack, which of course left dozens of people dead, dozens of innocent children dead, he
said that this attack crossed a lot of lines beyond just red lines, to use a term used by President Obama a few years ago.
A few hours earlier, Mr. Trump ordered a major shake-up of his national security team. Steve Bannon, the president's chief strategic, was removed
from his permanent seat on the National Security Council. In a news conference Mr. Trump said he was ready to evolve, ready to change his
foreign policy positions including on Syria.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: Well, I do change. And I am flexible. And I'm proud of that flexibility. And I will tell you that attack on children
yesterday had a big impact on me. Big impact. That was a horrible, horrible thing. And I've been watching it and seeing it, and it doesn't
get any worse than that. And I have that flexibility. And it's very, very possible, and I will tell you, it's already happened, that my attitude
toward Syria and Assad has changed very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: So, President Trump there saying that his attitude towards Syria and Assad has changed very much. I want to go straight now to Dan Merica,
people who's at the White House live for us. So, Dan, you know, this first sort of major foreign policy test for President Trump. He gave a lot of
tough rhetoric, calling what's happened in Syria unacceptable. Did we get any clarity as to what the President's actions, actions, will actually be?
DAN MERICA, CNN POLITICAL PRODUCER: He was pushed on exactly what he was going to do in response, and there was no kind of meat put on those bones.
But I think it's important to note that today was clearly a sobering day for the President is. This is somebody who ran on a very domestic policy-
heavy platform. He was going to bring jobs back. He was going to bring coal jobs back. He went across the country talking about the economy and
jobs and really arguing that the United States does too much internationally.
Now that is President he really doesn't have -- he can't decide what international crisis a tackle in which not to tackle. And that must be
sobering for a president who ran on the kind of policy and platform he did. What you saw today was Donald Trump repeatedly reference the fact that he
was moved by the photos he was seeing, repeatedly saying babies and children were killed and wounded. This is something that seems to have
been internalized with him.
I but no, as you know, we never heard exactly what his response is going to be. He noted that the United States will do more to help Jordan with
refugees, fund more of their refugee programs. Jordan has taken a number of refugees from Syria. But at no point did Donald Trump kind of lay out
what his policy towards Syria will be after the chemical attack.
ASHER: So, I just want to ask about Steve Bannon, because we got word that his post is going to be changing on the National Security Council. Just
walk us through what exactly happened on that front.
MERICA: So, it's symbolically important, because it's the rising of someone, H.R. McMaster, the National Security Adviser, who was named in
February after Mike Flynn, Donald Trump's first pick for National Security Adviser, resigned because of undisclosed contacts with the Russian
ambassador. It's also important because it means Steve Bannon is somewhat losing responsibility.
[16:05:00] This is somebody who was a political adviser who came in, and when he was named to the, you know, some eyes were raised. Why is this
political adviser working on national security issues?
This is somewhat reverting back to a more standard kind of traditional structure at the National Security Council as it's meant to be and has been
since 1989, when it was created. It's also significant because you see the White House trying to spin this as, this is -- I think Vice President Mike
Pence told Fox News that it wasn't a demotion for Steve Bannon because in the words of some aides, Bannon was there to keep an eye on Mike Flynn.
This doesn't really gibe with the facts. Mike Flynn was not only Donald Trump's first pick for National Security Advisor, and someone who was very
close with him throughout the campaign. But he was also somebody that Donald Trump spoke highly of even after the fact that he asked for his
resignation because of those contacts with Russia. So, you see the White House trying to kind of spin this as not a demotion for one their top
senior aids. But significantly it is and it's the rising of H.R. McMaster as the National Security Adviser.
ASHER: All right Dan Merica, live for us there. Thank you very much, appreciate that.
MERICA: Thank you.
ASHER: President Trump once again said he inherited a mess in terms of the situation and what's going on across the world, especially in Syria, but
today he acknowledged it was up to him to fix it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I now have responsibility. And I will have that responsibility and carry it very proudly. I will tell you that it is now my responsibility.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: 75 days into his administration, Mr. Trump is being tested like never before, especially when it comes to foreign policy. The war in Syria
dominated today's talks and the press conference with King Abdullah of Jordan. Russia has a key role in the crisis in Syria. And the U.S.
ambassador to the United Nations clashed with her Russian counterparts at the U.N. today.
Then of course, there's North Korea, which Mr. Trump has described certainly as a big problem. Earlier on Wednesday it carried out the latest
in a series of missile tests. And all of this comes a day before a crucial visit to the United States by Chinese President Xi Jinping. CNN's
international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson joins me now from London. Nic, you were watching the press conference with King Abdullah very
closely. President Trump actually talked about his policy and his position towards Syria changing. I'm curious, what exactly we could glean from that
about what will end up happening to President Assad.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It's not clear what president Trump thought of Assad prior to this horrific chemical attack.
However, what we do know, this time last week, perhaps President Trump's sort of most significant international diplomatic is the moment, Defense
Secretary, James Mattis, when asked a question, precisely what is America's policy on Assad, he said, well, on Assad we're taking it one day at a time,
the emphasis is keeping ISIS on the back foot. And had that, as far as anyone could tell, was the policy. Indeed, his ambassador to the United
Nations, his Secretary of State, had essentially said as much, that ISIS was the focus.
So, we can only imagine what President Trump thought about Assad before. But now he says he's changed, now he says he's the man who is responsible,
that Assad has crossed a number of lines. I think for the United States allies, you know, who have become used to President Trump saying things and
then walking them back and his advisers walking them back, you now have a week where he has said in essence that if China doesn't help him on North
Korea, he'll go after -- he'll sort out North Korea by himself.
And today on the issue of Assad, saying that -- and also his ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, saying the same, there is the potential,
and he said unspecified actions to go it alone. That's a lot of putting yourself out there, if you will, and potentially putting himself in the
same position that President Obama found himself in with second a red line for Assad and then finding that he crosses it and you have to make a
decision, what are you going to do?
ASHER: And a lot of people are going to be watching very closely what President Trump ends up doing after all the tough talk we saw today. I'm
curious about King Abdullah of Jordan. Because Jordan has, of course, accepted hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees. When you were watching
that press conference, Nic, did you expect King Abdullah to come out more strongly, more aggressively in terms of condemning what happened in Syria
and asking the U.S. to do more?
ROBERTSON: I think that King Abdullah, from what I could see, was playing a very astute role. Jordan absolutely needs the support of the United
States. Jordan is a poor country in a difficult position, in a very tough region, at a very, very difficult time.
[16:10:01] Part of what King Abdullah appeared to want to achieve is to bring that message from the meeting of Arab leaders recently that they want
to send a message of peace to Israel and that part of his message for President Trump, he was very clear in this message, that, you know, the
core issue in the region is the Palestinian-Israeli issue. And unless you deal with that issue, then you're not going to deal with the underlying
core of ISIS. Because what King Abdullah understands is that president Trump has put ISIS and the United States' national security, all his
administration have been saying this, this is his number one issue at the moment. So, what he's saying to President Trump is unless you help find
peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, then your ISIS problem isn't going to go away. Of course, that issue, the Israeli-Palestinian
issue, is a huge issue for King Abdullah because that's on his doorstep. Assad, ISIS, may diminish. That will help King Abdullah. But the Israeli-
Palestinian issue is for him much more enduring.
ASHER: All right, Nic Robertson, live for us there. Thank you so much.
For our viewers at home, we'll have much more on the situation, on that tragic situation in terms of the chemical attack in Syria a little bit
later on. We'll actually going to be live with our Ben Wedeman at the border with Turkey and we're also going to be have Richard Roth at the U.N.
I want to turn to Wall Street. The Dow -- as I mentioned at the top of the show -- the Dow rose. You could see it rising all day. It was pretty much
triple digits for much of the day, and then it began to fall as we headed toward the closing bell. The fall came after the Fed revealed its plans to
start shrinking its massive balance sheet. The value of its assets ballooned to $4.5 trillion in the final years after the financial crisis.
Paul La Monica joins me now. Paul, what I don't necessarily get about Wall Street today is that the Fed minutes came out at 2:00, 2 o'clock local
time, New York time, and the markets were still relatively high. It was still triple digits. It was only as we crept toward the closing bell, sort
of 3;45, 3:40, that we saw stocks dip into the red. Explain that.
PAUL R. LA MONICA, CNNMONEY CORRESPONDENT: A couple of things play into that. One, the Fed minutes are more dense than the statements that come
out when they, you know, announce what they're doing with interest rates. So, it takes a little bit more time to weed through all of it.
ASHER: So, they had to digest it first.
LA MONICA: To digest it. Oil prices started to slip as well and energy stocks were among the bigger leaders earlier in the trading day as oil
started to stabilize, got back near 50, 52 even, people were encouraged by that. So, the slip in oil and the Fed minutes, which again, the Fed also,
in addition to unwinding that balance sheet, selling bonds now, to maybe raise the long-term interest rates in addition to raising short term rates,
they also said that the market is starting to look quite high or at least some Fed members suggested that.
ASHER: So, you think that's what caused people to suddenly start selling?
LA MONICA: I think that in some respects is reminiscent of the Greenspan "irrational exuberance" comments about the stock market, more than 20 years
ago, during the tech bubble of the late `90s. I think maybe now investors are starting to worry, oh, the Fed might be looking at the stock market in
a less favorable light, and if they start raising rates more dramatically, that's ironically what president Trump called for when he was candidate
Trump. I don't think he's going to likely it now that he's in the oval office.
ASHER: All right, Paul La Monica, live for us. Good to have you on the show as always.
LA MONICA: Thank you.
ASHER: The United Kingdom's divorce from the EU is a ready getting messy, as we knew it would be. As the European Parliament defines its demands for
a Brexit deal. New polling says the British people want what the EU will not give them.
[16:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ASHER: Welcome back, everybody. The European Parliament has overwhelmingly passed a motion laying down a tough starting position for
negotiating Brexit. Here are some of the key red lines that have been drawn. First of all, it actually wants a hard border, to avoid rather, a
hard border being created between the U.K. and Ireland. The Republic of Ireland is in the EU, Northern Ireland is inside the U.K. They want to
avoid a hard border along this point right here.
They also want to resolve the uncertain status of EU citizens living in the U.K. and Britain living in EU countries as well. There are 3 million EU
nationals actually living in the U.K. right now. It also says that any transitional deal to bridge the period between pre- and post-Brexit such as
temporary access to the single market cannot last more than three years. It has to be a three-year transition period and in a massive blow to
Theresa May, it demands phased negotiations. Phase negotiations that means that before talks for a new trade agreement can begin, there needs to be
progress on discussions in terms of the divorce.
And as the EU marks out its red lines, new polling right now shows they are directly at odds with what the British people actually want out of Brexit.
It found 68 percent of Britons believe that people from the EU should have to apply to come into the country. That would violate the EU's principle
of freedom of movement. But they also want freedom of trade and the EU negotiations have been clear, the U.K. won't get one without the other.
John Curtice, he joins us live now. So, John, just explain to us this. Because this sort of indicates that the British people think they can have
their cake and eat it. Is this a fundamental failure to educate the British people about how Brexit negotiations will end up working?
JOHN CURTICE, POLITICS PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF STRATHCLYDE: Well, that's one analogy you can use. I think the other way of looking at the analogy
is to say that actually the British public fundamentally disagree with the recipe of the cake that the EU wants to bake. The dispute here essentially
is that inside the European Union, most European Union people see that actually feel that the freedom to trade, the freedom of capital, should
also be associated with freedom of movement, so therefore employers can employ anyone from across the European Union.
The British public simply says, hang on, we just don't buy this. We don't accept the idea that firms should be able to trade goods and services
across the European Union, European Union firms can trade in Britain. British firms trade inside the European Union, but they don't accept that
at the same time people should also be able to move freely. That they basically are saying, look, in the last ten or 15 years we as a country
have been experiencing pretty high levels of immigration, by our own historical standards very high levels. And that because of the freedom of
movement provisions we have a sense that we are no longer in control of the people who are coming to this country. That in a sense was the heart of
the argument of the leave campaign in the referendum. And we shouldn't be surprised that people now think that actually in the deal that the U.K.
could pass with the EU, we should not be signing up for freedom of movement.
ASHER: Which one is more important to Brits? If they had their choice, is it free trade or immigration controls?
CURTICE: Well, on balance, just perhaps slightly keener on free trade than immigration control. And that's certainly the point at which those who
voted to remain take a different view from those who voted to leave. Most of those who voted to leave would not do that deal. They would prioritize
immigration control. Those who voted to remain would be inclined to prioritize free trade. That of course simply means we are replicating the
division and the narrow vote that occurred on June 23rd.
I think one needs to appreciate that even though remain voters might be willing to do that deal, many would be doing so with a degree of
reluctance, because they actually feel at this point, even though they voted for remain, they would like to see greater immigration control and
are not happy with the freedom of movement that we've had in recent years.
[16:20:14] So, it would be with a degree of reluctance that remain votes accept it. Maybe even just a majority. But in truth, for Theresa May,
doing such a deal will be difficult because conservative voters, above all, those who actually support the Prime Minister's party, are the ones above
all who are the keenest on keeping free trade but also having immigration control.
ASHER: John, live for us there, thank you so much. We appreciate you being with us.
From Brexit to populism and trade, it all comes together in one place. Later on, in the program I'm going to be speaking to Poland's deputy prime
minister, who will be joining me live here in the studio on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.
China is putting its financial muscle to work in the corporate world. Its leading chemical company just got approval for the biggest ever foreign
takeover by a Chinese firm. ChemChina now has the green light from the U.S. and Europe to complete the $43 billion purchase of the Swiss group
Syngenta, one of the world's largest makers of pesticides and seeds. Joining me now is Jamie Metzl, live for us. Jamie, thank you so much for
being with us. Walk us through. What are some of the major regulatory burdens that Chinese companies have to go through when it comes to
acquiring American and European companies?
JAMIE METZL, SENIOR FELLOW, ATLANTIC COUNCIL: There are big burdens, and they're changing. And that's why these kinds of deals are so significant.
Last year was the biggest year ever for Chinese outbound FDA. The mergers, the Syngenta deal that you just mentioned, was the biggest, but there were
other big ones last year. But China also has capital controls. And over the last three years there's been very significant capital flights, about a
ASHER: Is that a huge problem for their economy?
METZL: It's not a huge problem yet. But if they continue at this pace it will be a very, very big problem. In part because they're doing a lot of
things with those reserves, including back stopping their real estate market, back stopping trade, back stopping the creation of the one belt,
one road. If they didn't have that, they would be in a much more vulnerable place. And their currency would go up and down like everybody
They're trying to maintain their position. At the same time, there's a lot of nervousness inside of China, which is why many choice companies are
either trying to get their money out one way or another or make acquisitions of foreign companies. And so, last year those numbers were
very high. But in November, a notice went out to banks from the regulatory authorities saying, hold on a second, we're worried about speculation.
We're worried about companies investing outside their core area of business. The approval process for these acquisitions has become much
tougher. That's why we've seen a pullback from $225 billion last year to just $24 billion, a third as much over the first three months of this year.
ASHER: And the U.S. lawmakers are citing concerns over national security with Chinese companies buying American companies.
ASHER: I want to touch on President Trump's meeting with Xi Jinping, obviously, a lot of eyes are focused on this meeting. Walk us through what
you think Donald Trump's negotiating style is going to be when he meets Xi Jinping at the White House tomorrow.
METZL: I can tell you what he thinks it is. But the reality is actually very, very different. What President Trump seems to believe is that he can
present himself as a wild card to say, we're going to negotiate this or bluff on this, or one China is up for grabs. But the Chinese are very,
very skilled negotiators. These guys have gamed all of this out. They know they're coming in, China in the United States is more popular among
Americans than president Trump, by recent polls by 10 percentage points.
And so, President Trump believes, and I hope he's successful, that we're going to be able to put pressure on China particularly on issues of trade
where there hasn't been reciprocal access of U.S. companies investing in China and Chinese company investing in the United States. We've taken away
very significant leverage by killing TPP, by undermining the credibility of the word of the president of the United States by walking back on one China
policy. So, I think that he's going to try to put pressure on the Chinese. But it's going to be difficult on issues of trade, on North Korea, and
South China Seas.
ASHER: Yes, I'm curious what's going to come of that meeting. Because he talks a lot about the fact that we have a massive trade deficit with China.
I'm curious what exactly he's going to say to Xi Jinping, what exactly is going to come from this meeting. All right Jamie, we'll have to leave it
there, thank you so much, appreciate that.
The U.S. president has promised to transform trade between the U.S. and China, as I was just saying with my good friend Jamie right here. He isn't
ruling out tariffs on Chinese products. But his daughter Ivanka has a fashion company that gets its shoes made in China. CNN's Matt Rivers
visited the factory.
[16:25:00] MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This worker in southern China earns only about $400 a month, making shoes for
American brands like Ivanka Trump. And yet the first daughter's shoes usually sell in the U.S. for at least $100 a pair. It's a common story in
China's manufacturing heartland. Make them cheap, sell them for a lot more.
ZHANG HUARONG, CHAIRMAN, HUAJIAN GROUP (through translator): Ivanka is a very good client. Of course, I never imagined her father would become
RIVERS: Zhang's workers are busy, churning out high-end brands at several locations. Polishing, screwing, hammering, pair after pair, hour after
hour, six days a week. They get meals here and many live here too. A whole life inside one compound. The company, Zhang says, makes Ivanka's
shoes at a similar factory a few hours away.
(on camera): Although they're not made here, Ivanka Trump brand shoes do come through this facility before being exported. They're among some of
the 12 million pairs each year that get loaded onto trucks like this one that are bound for ships, most of which are headed to the United States.
(voice-over): CNN asked to see the factory where Ivanka's shoes are made. But our request was declined. Zhang said that's in part because the brand
doesn't want to publicize its China operations. The brand didn't respond to requests for comment.
Now an official member of her father's White House, Ivanka has stepped down from managing her clothing line, retaining an ownership stake. But the
potential for conflicts of interest remain. Her lawyer told CNN, "If there were a trade agreement that was specific enough to focus on a tariff in a
country where her clothing is being made, she should not participate in that." Given what the president campaigned on, though, that could be more
than a hypothetical.
TRUMP: China's taken our jobs, our money.
China, which has been ripping us off.
We have a trade deficit with China, $500 billion a year.
RIVERS: The President regularly threatened slapping tariffs on Chinese imports throughout the 2016 campaign. He has not done so since taking
office. But they could be high on the agenda when he meets with China's president for the first time in Florida on Thursday. Trump argues tariffs
could send factory jobs like these back to the U.S.
BEN SCHWALL, U.S. BUSINESSMAN: It's not a binary choice. It's not China or America. There's a lot in between.
RIVERS: Ben Schwall helps American businesses produce goods in China. He agrees a tariff on Chinese imports could force these jobs elsewhere, not to
the U.S., but to countries like Bangladesh or Vietnam instead where production costs are even lower than China. As for tariffs, Schwall says
they're an easy campaign talking point but in the end, they make imports more expensive.
SCHWALL: You're going to pay more. There's no free lunch. There's a reason why goods are made here.
RIVERS: For now, that includes Ivanka Trump's shoes. But if her father makes good on the tariff threat, the man who makes her shoes knows where
his factory is headed.
(on camera): Would you consider moving manufacturing jobs that are based in China to the United States?
HUARONG (through translator): That's unlikely. I would move my production to Africa.
RIVERS (voice-over): Potential tariffs, a looming trade war, and heels made in Ethiopia instead. Matt Rivers, CNN, Dongguan, China.
ASHER: When we come back here on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, in Syria victims of an apparent chemical attack by their own government. By their own
government, now look overseas for a response. But despite strong words, still no action at all just yet.
[16:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ASHER: Hello, everyone. I'm Zain Asher. There's more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in a minute. We'll go live for you to the Syrian border. And the
effects of Brexit, populism, Russian aggression, and U.S. trade all come together in one place. You'll hear from the Polish deputy prime minister
in just a few minutes. First, the headlines this hour.
Jordanian King Abdullah and the U.S. president are showing a united face in the fight against terrorism. Mr. Trump vowed to contribute more aid to
Jordan for Syrian refugees.
The United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting just one day after a suspected chemical attack in Syria killed dozens of people.
Western nations blasted Russia for standing by the Syrian regime. The U.S. ambassador to the U.N. urged for a, quote, end to these horrific acts. She
even hinted the U.S. was open to taking action if the U.N. failed to do so.
U.S. President Donald Trump said the nuclear threat from North Korea is a big problem that is now his responsibility. The issue is expected to be
high on the agenda when he meets Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a- Lago resort on Thursday. North Korea early Wednesday fired off a missile that a U.S. official says exploded and crashed.
The U.S. president's inflammatory chief strategist no longer has a permanent seat on the national security council. Steve Bannon has
technically been demoted. However, we're told he's still allowed to attend at any meeting where his expertise is need.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary says the threat to aircraft which led to the electronics ban is real. John Kelly said he
thinks the threat is, quote, getting realer. He went on to say the U.S. may take measures to expand the number of airports included in the ban in
the not too distant future.
Let's return now to the suspected chemical attack in Syria. As leaders of many countries speak out, the victims, all the talk is certainly little
consolation. Our senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman is at the Syrian border. Ben, in the United States, all day today we've been talking
about politics and policy. But it's so important not to forget that at the heart of all of this are real people. And it's hard not to be haunted by
those awful images of children struggling to breathe and foaming at the mouth.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Zain, you think about it, these are real people who have been listening to words and seeing red
lines being drawn, and very little actually being done to help the people of Syria. Hundreds of thousands of whom have died since the beginning of
the civil war there. Now, we just learned after speaking with some activists where this incident took place at 6:30 in the morning Tuesday,
that they found a house with seven more bodies of people who were killed by this chemical agent. Now, Turkey has taken in around 30 Syrians from that
area. Several of them have died.
We did get an opportunity to speak to some of them. One of them a 13-year- old boy who heard some explosions at 6:30 in the morning. He ran up to the roof of his house to see what had happened and he saw that one of the
explosions happened very close to his grandparents' house. So, he ran there, barefoot and there he found his grandfather slumped over
asphyxiated, seemingly lifeless.
[16:35:00] He ran into the street to call for help. He was overcome by fumes. The next thing he knew, he woke up in a hospital in Turkey where he
found out that 19 of his relatives had been killed. There are many more stories like his that are coming out of Syria today, Zain.
ASHER: Ben, you touched on this at the top of your ad about the fact that these people, these victims in Syria, all they're hearing from the
international community is words, no action at this point. What can the international community do to at least limit the number of chemical weapons
that President Assad has?
WEDEMAN: It's important to keep in mind also that it's this fact that the people of Syria have heard words and words and seen little else from, for
instance, the west, that many of them actually went and joined ISIS out of absolute desperation. What would they like to see done, it's hard to say?
They're sort of beyond that, in a sense. But this is a problem that has bedeviled the Obama administration, and I think the Trump administration is
getting a taste of just how complicated the situation is in Syria. Keep in mind that the regime of Bashar al Assad is backed to the hilt by Russia, by
Iran, by Hezbollah. If the United States is going to embark on some sort of project to change the situation in Syria, keep in mind that they will be
coming up against Russia, where in Syria, you could have the makings of the third world war. I think that might explain why president Obama, despite
having drawn that red line in 2012, in the end was able to do very little, Zain.
ASHER: The situation there, as you mentioned, is extremely complex. There's not a lot of answers. Obviously, president Trump doesn't have that
much in the way of foreign policy knowledge and experience. Ben Wedeman live for us on the border between turkey and Syria, thank you so much, we
The U.S. ambassador to the U.N. brought the horrors of Syria to the U.N. Security Council, showing pictures of the victims. Nikki Haley called on
Russia and the security council to make the violence stop.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: When the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the
life of states that we are compelled to take our own action.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: And with no sign of a resolution tonight, our senior U.N. correspondent Richard Roth joins me live from the United Nations. Richard,
Nikki Haley was there condemning Assad in no uncertain terms, which I think struck a lot of people as a little bit strange given that the Trump
administration and Nikki Haley herself have been more lenient about Assad in the past.
RICHARD ROTH, CNN U.N. CORRESPONDENT: Look, it's still early. They're using Haley or she's using herself as the blunt forceful front of this
verbal assault that comes out of the Trump administration. But it's unknown yet, as Nick Robertson was telling you earlier, whether there's
anything to back it up yet. A lot of tough rhetoric for an administration barely in office. So, we shall see, from Syria to North Korea. Haley,
what you may be pointing out, two weeks ago she told wire service reporters that the focus should really not be on Assad that much, that it should be
on terrorism and is. And then after that got a lot of coverage, the next day it seemed she was calling Assad a war criminal.
Here at the United Nations, there's no resolution on the Syria mess and no security council resolution, which almost was going to be voted on but the
divide was so great at the security council table that there are still negotiations on a new text. Even if they come up with a compromise
agreement, I can't even see it really having much diplomatic teeth. Besides Haley's comments there, Russia and China on the other end, Russia
blaming terrorists and opponents of Assad for possibly causing the gas attack. Russia used some angles that President Trump has used, in effect
blaming President Obama and his red lines.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N. (translator): Let's look at the origin of this problem. The turning point in the use of toxic chemicals in Syria and
then following that weaponized chemical agents, that turning point was the establishment by the previous U.S. administration of the so-called red
lines. Crossing those red lines was supposed to lead to military- intervention in the Syrian conflict. That decision served as the starting point for future provocations by terrorists and extremist structures for
the use of chemical weapons.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[16:40:00] ROTH: Russia and China have vetoed six other resolutions on Syria. We'll have to see in the coming hours and days if they can reach
any impact, which really will have no impact, as Ben Wedeman reported.
ASHER: Here is what I found strange, Nikki Haley was talking at the security council about Russia, pointing fingers, trying to hold Russia's
feet to the fire, and then we had president Trump speaking alongside King Abdullah of Jordan, not mentioning Russia at all. How can we have the
president and his U.N. ambassador diverge so much?
ROTH: Haley said, "they just allow me to do what I want." it seems odd, but she was early on criticizing Russia regarding Ukraine, at the same time
that Trump was saying, we've got killers here in the United States. This divergence will come on. Samantha Powers had tough words over the years
but she never stood up and held photos. Certainly, she and President Obama were in lockstep regarding what they wanted to say that day.
ASHER: Thank you so much, Richard, we appreciate that.
Poland's deputy prime minister is wrapping up a whirlwind tour of the United States. He's already had a seat at the table with the secretaries
of commerce, energy as well. And he will be taking a seat here with me on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in the studio, next.
ASHER: Welcome back, everybody. Poland's deputy prime minister is wrapping up a visit to the U.S., a tour that's designed to forge closer
ties with the Trump administration. The minister has already met members of Donald Trump's cabinet as well as Fed Chair Janet Yellen. He joins me
live here in the "C" suite. Thank you so much for being with us.
MATEUSZ MORAWIECKI, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER, POLAND: Thanks for having me.
ASHER: Of course. You've met Janet Yellen, obviously chair of the federal reserve, in charge of raising interest rates, the federal reserve is. How
much do higher interest rates and a stronger dollar affect Poland?
MORAWIECKI: It does affect Poland and countries in eastern Europe. There is a high level of correlation between interest rate hikes in the U.S. and
in Poland. And in particular, the correlation between the ten-year bonds and our ten-year bonds. So, we obvious this with utmost interest. And my
conversation with Chairman Yellen was very important to understand the future of monetary policy here in the United States and hence what impact
it may have on Poland.
ASHER: You also met with Wilbur Ross as well. Did you speak to him specifically about the plan, the proposal about border adjustment tax?
[16:45:00] MORAWIECKI: Yes, we spoke about this. We spoke about other aspects of trade and commerce. I have much more clarity right now. I
think that the administration of president Trump is working now the details of the approach to WTO, to the bilateral agreements with the European Union
in particular, for us it's very important what the relationship between the U.S. and the EU are. But in particular, what's important to emphasize,
that Secretary Ross is emphasizing there should be free trade and fair trade.
ASHER: Did he give you clarity about that?
MORAWIECKI: He gave me some clarity. If there is a permanent deficit, unsustainable deficit in trade with China, for instance, $350 billion, or
with Japan, $65 billion on annual basis, this is clearly an unsustainable or difficult to swallow. Polish-American relationships are very good. And
we are balanced in terms of exports-imports. We spoke like old friends and there is a mutual understanding.
ASHER: I'm glad it's gone well so far. I do want to talk to you about Brexit. There are 1 million polish citizens living in the U.K. Poland
receives a substantial amount of aid from the EU. How concerned are you about Brexit, especially how it will affect polish people living in the
MORAWIECKI: I don't think it's going to affect polish people hugely, because there are 2.5 million Brits living in the European Union. It's
difficult to imagine that both parties won't have some reciprocity with regard to treatment of our citizens in the U.K. and their citizens in the
EU. I'm positive we'll find a compromise. The other aspects of Brexit, it will look much softer and nicer than we think today, because it's in our
mutual interests to keep some form of the single European market. Of course, the U.K. will no longer be part of the EU and no longer be part of
the single European market. But trade is so important, trade and services is so important for the U.K., that there will be huge incentive for both
parties, both sides to find a compromise, find a solution for this.
ASHER: So, you're not necessarily too worried.
MORAWIECKI: I'm not too worried.
ASHER: But the fact remains that you still have 1 million polish people who have decided to live in the U.K. because of higher wages. I understand
that you have a whole economic plan that you're working towards in order to make sure that people in Poland have higher wages so they don't have to
leave. Walk us through that.
MORAWIECKI: Yes, our responsible development plan is all about increasing the strength of the polish economy. For this, the talent pool in Poland
should be utilized in Poland, so people don't have to leave for higher salaries. This is happening right now. We have the lowest unemployment
level in history. And we have actually stopped the immigration, because you're right, there is 1 million polish population who left to the U.K.
over the last ten years. But now, I wouldn't be happy as a finance minister and minister responsible for the economy for another 1 million
people to leave to the U.K.
ASHER: Of course not.
MORAWIECKI: Of course not.
ASHER: You want to make sure they have jobs in Poland that pay well.
MORAWIECKI: Exactly. And I would like many people to come back to Poland. And therefore, it's not a major issue. Having said that, of course we do
take care of people who are polish people who are in the U.K. But I believe that their rights, social rights and others, will have to be observed.
ASHER: Thank you very much, we appreciate that.
Still to come on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, more and more companies are abandoning Fox News' "O'Reilly Factor" after it reported literally a string
of women accusing him of inappropriate behavior.
[16:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ASHER: President Trump, a regular Fox News watcher, has defended the channel's star presenter, Bill O'Reilly, as a torrent of advertisers turn
their backs on "The O'Reilly Factor." More than 30 companies have pulled their ads. These are some of them, they range from farmer giants to a pet
food maker. It's in response to reports that Fox settled lawsuits with women who accused O'Reilly of inappropriate behavior. An interview with
"The New York Times," Donald Trump said of O'Reilly, "he's a person I know well, he's certainly a good person, in fact he said I don't think Bill did
anything wrong." He also said O'Reilly shouldn't have settled the complaints out of court. My next guest says this has escalated from
controversy to crisis. The chairman and founder of 15 Minutes Public Relations joins us live from Los Angeles. Howard, thank you so much for
being with us.
HOWARD BRAGMAN, FOUNDER, 15 MINUTES PUBLIC RELATIONS: Glad to be here.
ASHER: I get that Bill O'Reilly is a huge star at fox news. I understand that he makes the company a ton of money. But from a PR perspective, at
what point do you as fox news have to say enough is enough, this man has to go?
BRAGMAN: I think it's a mathematical question. You're looking at a guy who brings in somewhere between 10 and $20 million a month for this
network. And is kind of the face of the network in many ways. And the real question is, are these advertisers gone from the network, or are they
gone from his show?
ASHER: They're just gone from his show.
BRAGMAN: Right, exactly. So, the dollars are being absorbed in another show. And unless there's a mad rush and nobody wants to deal with Bill
O'Reilly, the network is going to do the math, and they're still coming out ahead. So, they're probably going to stand by his side. It was
interesting that the president came out today and supported him, looking, number one, at his own history.
ASHER: With "Access Hollywood" tapes. You wonder how seriously people will take what Donald Trump had to say about Bill O'Reilly.
BRAGMAN: People who like President Trump probably like Bill O'Reilly. For those people, it probably has meaning. I think for the rest of the people
it probably just infuriates them. But I think we live in this, particularly in the U.S., we live in this very polarized world where if you
like somebody, you give them a lot of leeway. The people who like Bill O'Reilly and doesn't will not believe it and look beyond their
transgressions. People who don't like them are going to use this as a war chant.
ASHER: So, Bill O'Reilly, do you think -- I mean, he hasn't said anything on this program about this at all. He's sort of ignoring it completely.
Do you think he should?
BRAGMAN: No, I don't. I think -- I
BRAGMAN: In the old days under Roger Ailes, you had fighting Fox, every charge they would fight back and pile on and they would go back. More
classic PR strategy is to circle the wagons and do what they're doing.
ASHER: Why not come out on TV at the end of his program and defend himself?
BRAGMAN: Because maybe, number one, it's not defensible.
ASHER: That's true.
BRAGMAN: A lot of these acts he's accused of are not defensible. Number two, the argument always being in the PR world, are we going to make this a
bigger story. The minute Bill O'Reilly says something about this, it will get picked up by every single network, every single news outlet. It's
going to accelerate the story. They're trying to do the opposite.
ASHER: They're hoping this story goes away.
BRAGMAN: Of course, they can.
[16:55:00] ASHER: A string of women coming out and saying he's done reprehensible things, verbally abuse them, they can't just hope it
BRAGMAN: Of course, they hope that it disappears. And what we don't know is, I can assure you that there are a lot of talks going on between the
sales force at fox news and between these major advertisers. And the advertisers are saying one of a couple of things. They're saying it's too
volatile right now, it's nuclear, we can't be associated with Bill O'Reilly right now, give us a couple of months until this blows over and then we'll
be back. Or they're saying, we can't be with Bill O'Reilly forever. And I doubt that they're saying that. I think they're saying, for right now,
we're going to step aside and let's wait and see. Fox doesn't want him out of there. They have no succession plan in place.
ASHER: And they've lost Megyn Kelly. I have to ask you about Pepsi. Pepsi has been in a lot of hot water about this brand-new ad with Kendall
Jenner. Essentially, she's giving a police officer, sort of a Black Lives Matter movement ad, and she's giving a police officer a Pepsi, some people
think this ad trivializes the Black Lives Matter movement.
BRAGMAN: I don't think Pepsi is naive enough to think they would put this ad out and
people wouldn't talk about it, but I don't think they're talking about in quite the way Pepsi hoped they would. And I don't know if you saw in the
last hour or so, Pepsi has pulled the ad and apologized.
ASHER: And they apologized to Kendall Jenner as well.
BRAGMAN: They apologized to Kendall. There's a lot of reasons under the surface why it doesn't work. A lot of people feel it trivializes Black
ASHER: Howard, we have to leave it there. Thank you so much for being on the show with us.
BRAGMAN: Thank you, Zain.
ASHER: That, my friends, is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for this evening. I'm Zain Asher in New York. The news continues right now on CNN.