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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
U.K. Lawmakers Vote for June Election; Dueling Protests in Venezuela; Bill O'Reilly Out at Fox New; French Candidates Hold Rallies Ahead of Sunday Vote; Gulf Airlines Feels Impact of Electronics Ban
Aired April 19, 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] RICHARD QUEST, CNN ANCHOR: OK, we are off the lows of the day but still a pretty unpleasant day for the Dow Jones, off over 116 points.
A short while ago it was down 135. Closing bell is ringing. Lots of red. One, two, three. They are determined to try and break the gravel. But it
was a robust gavel for Wednesday, April the 19th.
And another one bites the dust. Fox News host and massive money maker Bill O'Reilly is out amid sexual harassment allegations. Fired by the Murdochs.
The vote is on. Theresa May gets Parliament support for her snap election on June 8th. And chaos in Venezuela as pro and antigovernment protesters
fill the streets under the military's close watch.
I'm Richard Quest, live in the world's financial capital, where I mean business.
In the last hour, Bill O'Reilly, the number one rated cable news anchor on the Fox News channel has been fired, a stunning development that's taken
the American media world by storm. The ousting follows years of sexual harassment allegations, and it comes two weeks after it was revealed that
he and Fox settled complaints brought by several women who were reportedly paid a total of $13 million.
To Wendy Walsh now, who joins me on the line. She was one of the women, Dr. Wendy Walsh, a psychologist, one of those who complained about the
harassment. Wendy Walsh, thank you. I know you have to leave us shortly, but briefly, your reaction to the fact that Fox has said goodbye to
WENDY WALSH, BILL O'REILLY ACCUSER, LOS ANGELES: Well, for me personally, you know, I never had a dog in this race. I always said it was up to Fox
News. It wasn't a vendetta against Mr. Bill O'Reilly. However, as a mother and as a woman, to see this seismic shift in corporate culture, for
a company to put women's rights ahead of the bottom line, this is enormous. And I must tell you, I've gotten emails from women and employment lawyers
today saying, you know, I've got a deposition later, this is great, they'll listen to my client finally. Women's voices are finally being heard and
QUEST: Right, but this only -- I mean, a lot of the allegations were old. He's only been fired because it's all come out. So, I wonder, you know, of
course there's never the wrong time to do the right thing, but Fox has known they've had an O'Reilly problem for a long time.
WALSH: Exactly. $13 million were paid out to five women who were ostensibly silenced and gagged and bound with confidentiality agreements.
This was a corporate thing that Fox was paying and he was paying personally. Eventually it comes back. The truth will always prevail. I'm
sure they never suspected that sweet guest me would ever come and even tell my story. And I would not have had "The New York times" not called me and
I chose to tell the truth.
QUEST: Right. Now, Wendy, I've got 20 seconds left with you. Is that the moral that you would now take from this, speak, don't wait?
WALSH: Absolutely. Speak. If human resources does not help you, go above human resources. Or call a good employment lawyer. Do not wait. Speak
up. Be honest. Don't embellish. Be truthful. Be authentic and be brave.
QUEST: Wendy, it's an honor to have you on the program. Thank you, ma'am, for joining us. Dr. Wendy Walsh --
WALSH: Thank you.
QUEST: -- joining us there. Brian Stelter is with me. Come on Brian, your reporting on this has been leading the way. But even so, give me feel
-- you heard Wendy just then -- give me a feel for just what a seismic shock this is in American media tonight.
BRIAN STELTER, CNNMONEY SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Bill O'Reilly is Fox. And Fox is Bill O'Reilly. That's how it's been for 20 years. O'Reilly
built this network into what it is today. He was the prime-time star, first at six, then at eight p.m. Always the highest rated program on the
network. It was really O'Reilly and Roger Ailes, the founding CEO of Fox, that built this network together. Well last summer, Ailes resigned under a
cloud of harassment allegations. Then "The New York Times" started looking into some of the settlements involving O'Reilly, that he had paid out
millions of dollars secretly. Wendy Walsh did not seek a settlement. She spoke to "The Times." As she was just saying, "The Times" called her up,
she was reluctant but then she decided to come forward. It was women like Wendy Walsh speaking up, sharing their stories, that caused advertisers to
withdraw and caused Fox to pull the plug.
QUEST: OK, I want to split this into two areas of discussion. First of all, the issue of Fox, what they knew, when they knew it, how long they
have remained complicit.
STELTER: The Murdochs have known for a long time that O'Reilly had a reputation inside the network.
[16:05:00] How do we know that? Because in 2004 O'Reilly was sued by a former producer who charge sexual harassment. Who had tapes. That was a
very public, ugly dispute. It was settled. The woman received about $9 million. But then there were other secret settlements we didn't know
about, the Murdochs did know about, we didn't know until now.
QUEST: They now have an issue of how to replace O'Reilly, the tent pole of the evening. His viewing numbers are much higher than everyone else
STELTER: That's right. Normally about a million extra viewers come in at 8:00 just for Bill O'Reilly. Some of the fill-ins in the past few days
when he's been on vacation, they've done OK, but no one can draw O'Reilly's audience. Starting Monday, Tucker Carlson will try. He's a lot like
O'Reilly, a younger generation, unpredictable, provocative, but pretty consistently pro-Trump. He'll take over on Monday.
QUEST: And one thought, we're a business show. Does this send a message, do you think, to the corporate world of all complexions?
STELTER: Oh, I think it does. It says even Fox News is not going to ignore these kinds of charges. James Murdoch and Laughlin Murdoch, who are
taking over for their father's company, they want to break with the past. They don't want these kinds of stains. They don't want to be 20th Century
Fox. They want to be 21st Century Fox.
QUEST: We think you, sir. Good reporting, thank you, as always.
STELTER: Thanks, good to see you.
QUEST: And so, from one big story to the other today. The election is on. Campaigning is Britain is officially under way. The general election in
the U.K. will take place June 8th after members of Parliament voted overwhelmingly to give Prime Minister Theresa May an election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BERCOW, SPEAKER, BRITISH HOUSE OF COMMONS: The ayes to the right, 522. The noes to the left, 13. So the ayes have it. The ayes have it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: She only needed to just have 440 votes for the election, the two- thirds majority. Now, two-thirds of the number of seats, I should say. Over the next seven weeks the party leaders will set out their policies in
the campaign that will be dominated by Brexit. Theresa May and the leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, they traded vicious barbs at the Prime
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Every vote for the Conservatives will mean we can stick to our plan for a stronger Britain and take the right
long-term decisions for a more secure future four this country.
JEREMY CORBYN, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY LEADER: We welcome the general election. But this is a Prime Minister who promised there wouldn't be one.
A Prime Minister who cannot be trusted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Nic Robertson is in Downing Street tonight. Nic, as this election moves forward, since all parties -- with the exception of maybe the Lib
Dems -- sort of all saying that the U.K. will leave the EU. How then does Brexit transmit itself within the campaign?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It becomes a central issue. The Liberal Democrats are going to say vote for us and get a softer
Brexit, but we won't be chasing leaving the single market and the customs union. Labor seems to be going down the path of the Tories have failed to
deliver on the economy, which isn't a Brexit message, but this is part of Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party's undoing at the moment, an unsuccessful
message which is leading them down in the polls, which has triggered may to have the confidence to call this election right now.
But it really is going to be the Brexit election. We've spoken to people today who say, quite frankly, we voted to stay in the European Union, but
subsequently we've heard what the European Union has had to say. We want Theresa may to get on with this and get out of the European Union. And
that's her message. You know, the people behind getting out, now Westminster needs to get behind it as well.
QUEST: As they go to the polls, there is talk, bearing in mind her majority at the moment, or rather, she's got 17 at the moment, she's got
20-odd points ahead in the polls. She could get over 100-seat majority. She could end up with a landslide.
ROBERTSON: Yes, people say this could go into triple digits. What would be the advantage for her having a majority of that size? Well, the
dissenters in her party, those per se, who want to go for a really, really hard Brexit, the hard euro skeptic's. She wouldn't have to listen to them
as much. Maybe that's in her instincts. Certainly, she was a "remainer" until last summer.
At the same time, there will be those in her party that may want her to go soft. She will be able to go with the mainstream of the party, she says
this will strengthen her hand at those final negotiations. And for the European Union to know that the British public have now spoken twice, if
you will, on this issue, Brexit elections.
Her idea is that, well, they're going to have to listen to her and what she wants because there's no equivocating about what the British people want,
that's part of her message here as well.
QUEST: I hope you packed your bags, Nic, something tells me you'll be spending the next several weeks, probably along with myself, traveling to
remote parts of the United Kingdom. I'll see you over.
ROBERTSON: Looking Forward to It.
QUEST: I'll see you over a full English breakfast somewhere on the road. Nic Robertson joining us Westminster.
The markets. Investors remaining cautious. The FTSE tumbled for the second consecutive day. Down just half a percent. The index has now lost
all the gains that it has made this year. The pound, well, remember, it did rally quite strongly yesterday, it went over 1.28. It has dropped half
a percent. It's now 1.27 -- I mean, 1.27 and change after the rally.
To a much more perhaps critical and crisis-ridden country, in Venezuela. Where the opposition's holding what it's calling the mother of all
protests. Supporters of President Maduro are also taking to the streets. You see that. Both sides actually on the roads. We'll talk about the
latest from Caracas. We'll be in Caracas after the break.
QUEST: Opposing forces have spilled onto the streets of Venezuela today with deadly results. There have been anti- and pro-government marches that
have been held. Demonstrations of the opposition led to a number of clashes.
Security forces fired tear gas at what the organizers called the mother of all marches against President Nicholas Maduro. The Venezuelan authorities
report that a 17-year-old person was shot in Caracas. A local hospital has told CNN that the man later died. Steven Gibbs, is a journalist based in
Caracas, joins us via Skype. Steven, give me an assessment, please, on the size, if you like, and the support given to each of the marches. Who
actually brought out the most numbers?
STEVEN GIBBS, JOURNALIST: Oh, I think undoubtedly the opposition, Richard, brought out bigger numbers. We're talking hundreds of thousands, maybe
there was 100,000 at the pro-government march that was organized by the government. The opposition one organized by opposition leaders, much more
difficult in many ways to put together, but they've been doing it relentlessly, really, for the last fortnight. And very, very difficult to
put a precise number on it. Let's say 2 or 300,000 people were on the streets of central Caracas today. And that is significant, because for 18
years of leftist government here, the side that's really good at mobilizing people has been is the government. And the opposition is trying to give
the message to the government, look, we can get these people on the streets.
[16:15:10] QUEST: But does it do any good? We know that the courts have already ruled. We know that the Supreme Court has considered various
things. We know what Parliament has done. Yet the president continues and the economic situation gets worse. Where does this move forward, if you
GIBBS: It's a good point, and people don't believe in the opposition protest, which is sort of dying down now on the streets as I was coming
here actually, made that very point. There is a feeling of, what is the point, where does this go? Well, what the opposition leadership says is,
unlike in previous times in Venezuelan recently history, in 2014 there were big anti-government protests, the situation for the government is very,
very difficult. Because clearly the opposition is the popular majority now. Partly because of the protest vote against the government, and
clearly the economic situation is a disaster.
This is a country with the biggest, steepest recession in the world and the highest inflation in the world. So those two factors put an enormous
amount of pressure anyway, on the government. And then when you've got all these people on the street, maybe there will be ruptures within the
leadership of the government itself. But, you know, that's the optimistic from the opposition point of view perspective. But Yes, it's very, very
difficult to see what they can do apart from continue what they're doing, putting people on the streets.
QUEST: Stephen Gibbs, thank you, sir, for joining us on the program and for that assessment on the day so far.
What he was talking there -- when Stephen talks about the disastrous situation that's led to those protests against the majority government, if
we take a look at what's led to those protests, I can put it into some perspective. We're going to focus on four areas. Four aspects of the
crisis that has gripped the country.
We've got a question of unemployment. We've got a question of hunger. Inflation. And a question of oil.
Let's start with the unemployment. The unemployment rate in 2015 was 7.4 percent. Now, just two years later, unemployment is at 25 percent, only
one person in four actually has a job. Unemployment is at 25 percent, one in four is unemployed.
Weight loss. This is very interesting. Because of the big shortage in food, if you take a look at the national survey of living conditions, three
out of four people have lost weight over the past year. Now the average weight loss is 8.7 kilograms, according to Encovi. Which is quite an
extraordinary detail, but particularly when you bear in mind the reason why. It is because of the lack of food that is available in shops, forget
restaurants, we're talking about basic grocery stores and supermarkets.
The IMF has inflation in the country at 720 percent. By any definition that is of course hyperinflation. We know what that's done to the
currency, which has been withdrawn and being reissued.
As for oil, OPEC production -- just look at that -- all you need to see is that sharp graph. Remember, oil was very much the revenue raiser, gone
down from 2.4 million barrels to 2 million. Interestingly, Venezuela used to provide free oil or at least cheap oil to Cuba, which would sell it on
the international market. That of course has come to an end. That's the situation in Venezuela -- that's the economic situation.
Eric Farnsworth is vice president of the Americas Society, and the Council of the Americas, a business organization. I'm trying not to lapse into
hyperbole when describing the situation in Venezuela. But I don't think that's possible.
ERIC FARNSWORTH, VICE PRESIDENT, AMERICA'S SOCIETY/COUNCIL OF THE AMERICAS: I think you've got it exactly right, you're giving statistics which are
fair. I could add a couple of others too. The health care system is in a state of collapse and crime. Common crime is out of control. Caracas is
now, by some estimates, the most violent city in the world and that compares to cities like Baghdad. The situation is really perilous.
QUEST: What needs to happen? You've got the protests on the street. I mean, which government -- let's talk geopolitics. Which governments have
leverage over Maduro?
FARNSWORTH: There aren't many that's for sure. I think probably in the immediate term, China does, because China holds a lot of Venezuelan debt.
China hasn't at this point exercised much -- showing much interest in exercising leverage at a political level with Venezuela. Other countries
that would have some leverage, to the extent they wanted to exercise it, would be the United States, and it would also be countries like Brazil, and
perhaps Colombia, also in Latin America, some of the neighbors.
[16:20:03] But there's been a real reluctance for the right reasons for countries that haven't wanted to intervene, haven't wanted to cause
counterproductive interventions, but at some point, I think the situation is perilous enough that people have to reassess what their instincts.
QUEST: All right, but I assume of course, in the Maduro regime, not only his cabinet but also the army officers, they know if the whole thing comes
crashing down, they either will get arrested, killed, locked up, or some version thereof. There is no incentive for the regime in Caracas to give
FARNSWORTH: I think that's precisely the point. The incentives for not just leaving power but frankly sharing power, to give the opposition the
opportunity to launch investigations and show what the Chavez regime has really done in Venezuela is quite low. So, you do have people suggesting
that in fact the regime will hold on for as long as it possibly can. Look, what's happened in Zimbabwe is that Mugabe has been in power since the
1970s and so, you know --
QUEST: Right, but Zimbabwe -- but Mugabe stays in power because South Africa has not been willing to pull the plug in many ways. In the case of
Venezuela, obviously, they loathe the United States. If China were to say, if President Xi were to say, look, your time is up, going find some nice
ranch somewhere, leave, share power, would that be the solution?
FARNSWORTH: Well, it could be a solution. But Venezuela still maintains the world's largest proven reserves of oil and that's of great interest to
China and is a great interest frankly to the United States and the global community as well. The question is which country would do something like
that and would the government on the ground actually respond to that. I think that's an open question. Meanwhile, the situation becomes more
difficult. The people begin to protest and at some point, they believe they have nothing further to lose. So, I think the situation becomes even
more volatile and risky, frankly, for the people of Venezuela.
QUEST: Eric, I hate to finish an interview like this on a glum note, but I'm not sure I can see any silver lining to ask you about. Is there any
FARNSWORTH: Well, silver lining in the immediate term, probably not. But there are some escape valves here. The most obvious one is the elections
in 2018 which are scheduled. They may or may not happen. They should happen. But the most obvious escape valve was a recall referendum that
Venezuela's own constitution allows and that President Chavez when he was alive actually used that mechanism. But the regime was able to postpone
that into this year. And for technical reasons now that's an issue that isn't going to resolve the current impasse. So, you do really have a
situation of a rock and a hard place. And the people of Venezuela are between them.
QUEST: We need you to keep coming back and help us understand what's happening. Thank you, sir, for joining us.
Pressure is mounting on the U.S. tourism industry. The U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security is calling for a review of the U.S. visa waiver program.
The program, most of you will be familiar with this, it allows people from nearly 40 countries including most of the European Union, not all, most of
the European Union, to visit the United States for up to 90 days without getting a visa. The head of the DHS says it's being reviewed because ISIS
fighters might be trying to take advantage to it. At the same time as you've got this, Gulf airlines are feeling the effects of Donald Trump's
security policies. But we are going to pause for a moment to go to Rex Tillerson, the U.S. Secretary State. Breaking news just happening now.
REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: -- including a plot to kill, Adel al-Jubeir, who has been the Saudi ambassador to the United States. Whether
it be assassination attempts, support of weapons of mass destruction, deploying destabilizing militias, Iran spends its treasure and time
disrupting peace. Iran continues to have one of the world's worst human rights records. Political opponents are regularly jailed or executed.
Reaching the agonizing low point of executing juveniles and individual whose punishment is not proportionate to their crime.
Iran arbitrarily detains foreigners including U.S. citizens on false charges. Several U.S. citizens remain missing or unjustly imprisoned in
Iran. Apart from the abuses inside Iran's own borders, it is the threat it poses to the rest of the world. Iran's nuclear ambitions are a grave risk
to international peace and security. It is their habit and posture to use whatever resources they have available to unsettle people and nations.
[16:25:00] With its latest test of a medium range ballistic missile, Iran's continued development and proliferation of missile technology is in defines
of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231.
And it has previously stated it will conduct a second test flight of the Simorgh space-launch vehicle, which would put it closer to an operational
intercontinental ballistic missile.
Any discussion of Iran is incomplete without mentioning the JCPOA.
The JCPOA fails to achieve the objective of a non-nuclear Iran. It only delays their goal of becoming a nuclear state. This deal represents the
same failed approach of the past that brought us to the current imminent threat we face from North Korea. The Trump administration has no intention
of passing the buck to a future administration on Iran.
The evidence is clear. Iran's provocative actions threaten the United States, the region, and the world.
As I indicated at the beginning, the Trump administration is currently conducting a comprehensive review of our Iran policy.
MODERATOR: We'll take a few questions. Andrea Mitchell.
ANDREA MITCHELL: Mr. Secretary, by your own letter to the Speaker of the House, Iran is complying with the terms of the nuclear deal. If you break
out of that deal, won't that send a signal to North Korea and other rogue nations that the U.S. can't be trusted to keep its end of the bargain? And
Iran is already being sanctioned for its terrorism, for its missile test by the U.S. Is another option - one that many Republicans on the Hill have
suggested - to increase those sanctions to punish Iran for those behaviors?
TILLERSON: Well, Andrea, I think it's important in any conversation on the JCPOA - and I think this was one of the mistakes in how that agreement was
put together, is that it completely ignored all of the other serious threats that Iran poses, and I just went through a few of those with you.
And that's why our view is that we have to look at Iran in a very comprehensive way in terms of the threat it poses in all areas, of the
region and the world, and the JCPOA is just one element of that. And so, we are going to review completely the JCPOA itself. As I said, it really
does not achieve the objective. It is another example of buying off a power who has nuclear ambitions. We buy them off for a short period of
time and then someone has to deal with it later. We just don't --
MITCHELL: So, should we break out of it?
SECRETARY TILLERSON: We just don't see that that's a prudent way to be dealing with Iran, certainly not in the context of all of their other
MODERATOR: Matt Lee.
MATT LEE: Mr. Secretary, you mentioned that the JCPOA is another example of a failed approach, likening it to strategic patience with North Korea.
On North Korea, is there serious consideration being given to relisting it as a state sponsor of terrorism, something that was - a designation that
was removed, in fact, by the Bush administration?
SECRETARY TILLERSON: We're reviewing all of the status of North Korea, both in terms of state sponsorship of terrorism as well as all the other
ways in which we can bring pressure to bear on the regime in Pyongyang to reengage, but reengage with us on a different footing than the past talks
have been held. So yes, we are evaluating all of those options.
REPORTER: I mean, it's - it sounds like you're already calling --
MODERATOR: Connor, Connor, Connor --
REPORTER: Secretary, regarding Venezuela, the turmoil in Venezuela today - -
MODERATOR: Connor --
REPORTER: -- are you worried about the situation in the streets of Caracas and Venezuela?
SECRETARY TILLERSON: I'm sorry, I didn't catch all your --
REPORTER: The situation - the situation in Venezuela. Today there is a turmoil, a lot of people on the streets of Venezuela, protesting against
the government of Nicolas Maduro. Are you worried about the situation there?
TILLERSON: Well, we are concerned that the government of Maduro is violating its own constitution and is not allowing the opposition to have
their voices heard, nor allowing them to organize in a way that expresses the views of the Venezuelan people. Yes, we are concerned about that
situation. We're watching it closely and working with others, particularly through the OAS, to communicate those concerns to them.
MODERATOR: Thank you, everybody. Thank you very much.
QUEST: Today, Rex Tillerson talking about the nuclear deal with Iran and various other issues concerning Iran and how the administration both views
the joint agreement. We'll have more analysis and talk about that after the break.
[16:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[16:31:57] QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. There's a lot more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS over the next half hour as we continue. We'll be in
France's rust belt were the voters are showing discontent. You'll have that report. And Morgan Stanley has a bumper quarter thanks to its bond
traders. But for all of us, it's CNN, and on this network, the news always comes first.
The top U.S. TV host Bill O'Reilly has been fired by Fox News over sexual harassment scandals. The network said O'Reilly agreed to the departure.
The company said the decision came after careful review of sexual harassment allegations made by several women, including Wendy Walsh, who
spoke to me at the beginning of QUEST MEANS BUSINESS a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WENDY WALSH, ACCUSED BILL O'REILLY OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT: For me personally, you know, I never had a dog in this race. I always said it was
up to Fox News. This wasn't a vendetta against Mr. Bill O'Reilly. However, as a mother and as a woman, to see the seismic shift in corporate
culture, for a company to put weapons rights ahead of the bottom line, this is enormous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: British lawmakers have approved the prime minister's call for a general election. She wants a stronger mandate for her Brexit negotiation
Anti-government protesters are clashing with police in the capital of Venezuela, the oppositions staging what it calls the mother of all marches.
The president of Venezuela remains defiant, his supporters were on the street as well with their own show of strength.
44 people are dead after a bus plunged off a cliff in India. Local officials say two people survived by jumping from the vehicle as it fell
150 meters. The cause of the accident is not yet known.
Former NFL player and convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez was found dead in his Massachusetts jail cell on Wednesday. Prison officials say Hernandez
was found hanging by a bed sheet. The news comes only days after he was acquitted of a double murder. He was already serving a life sentence for a
[16:35:00] Presidential candidates in France have been rallying their supporters with a push ahead of Sunday's election. Centrist Emmanuel
Macron and the far-right leader, Marine Le Pen are the frontrunners. Who makes it to the second round is still in question. If no candidate gets
over 50 percent of the first-round votes, then a runoff of the top two will take place on May 7th. Our CNN correspondent Jim Bittermann is in Paris.
Jim, you've covered many French election. This is a corker.
JIM BITTERMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Richard. I've covered every French election, as a matter of fact, back to
the one in France with Mitterrand in 1981. There's never been anything like this one, we have four candidates who quite possibly might squeeze by
on Sunday might and become the top two in the runoff election.
One of the things that's interesting, that just came out in a poll a few hours ago, and that is that 30 percent, nearly 30 percent of the French
have not yet made up their mind. This is only four days ahead of the voting, not yet made up their mind who they're going to vote for. Fully 11
percent say they're not going to decide until they get in the polling booth. Earlier, a few days ago, I visited a part of the country where
people have made up their minds, a part called the French rust belt. It is the French rust belt. The area of played-out coal mines and abandoned
steel plants in a northeast corner of the country, a few miles from Germany and Luxembourg.
They used to work in mills that made this part of the country rich and desirable. Now they stand silent, symbols of the globalization that sent
jobs elsewhere. Perhaps it's not surprising that those left behind to scrape out a living are not easy on their political leaders. Around here,
French presidents from both sides of the political spectrum are regarded as an and sometimes even called traitors. And that's because for decades in
this part of France, people have been promised that they would be protected from the kind of globalized trade that would eliminate their jobs and send
them overseas. It didn't happen. After decades of voting communist after world war ii, this town began vote to go the right in the mid-1960s as the
local mills began to decline.
And gradually the vote has become more extreme. In the past four presidential elections, the extreme right National Front came in first in
the first voting round. It's not hard to find locals who just like the National Front, blame their economic problems and job losses on politics,
the European Union, and immigrants.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHANTALE STAERK, AMNEVILLE VOTER (translation): I want Le Pen because she'll kick out all the Arabs. They give so much to immigrants that we
don't get anything.
MICHEL PUDWELL, UNEMPLOYED (translation): They promised money for the steel works. In the end it never came through, never did anything.
MELANIE KNEIPP, UNEMPLOYED (translation): I vote Le Pen. I have no interest in other candidates.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translation): We are going to change just like the Americans.
BITTERMAN: At the Chevalier Hall where civilians gather for a snack and a concert, the conversation is dominated by the upcoming elections. This
group, many of whom used to work in the steel mills, is fertile for the extreme right. Something even those working for one of the mainstream
parties have to acknowledge.
MARIE-LOUISE KUNTZ, CENTER RIGHT ACTIVIST (translation): Indeed, I hear people say, I am going to vote National Front. But I think that taking
shelter behind political radicals is a catastrophe and is not a solution.
BITTERMAN: It's not like mainstream politicians haven't tried to find solution to the economic problems. One mayor here insulated the town from
the region's job losses by building a sports and entertainment complex that includes the world's longest indoor ski run. But the mayor understands why
his fellow citizens might still follow the lead of the United States.
ERIC MUNIER, AMNEVILLE MAYOR (translation): Everywhere it's the same. When people are in extreme difficulties and have the impression that
politics aren't responding to their needs, they're tempted by extreme solutions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BITTERMAN: The similarity between this part of France and the rust belt of the United States are undeniable. Unemployment is high. People feel
abandoned and betrayed by mainstream politicians and are tempted to register a protest vote. In a few days, we'll know whether French voters
will follow a similar path when they elect their next president. Richard, it's not just a matter days, it's hours now, 96 hours, and we'll know who
the two candidates out of those 11 presidential candidates will go on to the second round on May 7th.
QUEST: Something tells me you're not going to get much sleep over the next 96 hours or so. Jim Bittermann, good to see you, my friend, thank you.
Back to the story we were talking about earlier and how the reaction to various changes in the U.S. travel policies, visas, the various rules
relating to taking computers and digital devices on board aircraft. Gulf airlines are already feeling the effects of Donald Trump's security
policies. The chief executive of Qatar Airways told CNN's John Defterios, banning passengers from taking laptops in cabins isn't necessary.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[16:40:00] AKBAR AL BAKER, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF QATAR AIRWAYS: Frankly speaking, I didn't think this ban was necessary at all. What you have
done, people who want to disrupt aviation will do it from other places where there is no ban. It was not necessary to frighten passengers and to
put strain on airlines. Yes, we have had drop-in passengers. But it is a manageable drop and people have started to realize that there are other
ways to use laptops. For example, Qatar Airlines, we supply laptops for premium passengers so they can use it on the airplane.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN MONEY EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: What's the motivation behind it? Candidly, the U.K. took a different position than the United
States when it comes to the ban, and they share intelligence. So many don't believe it makes sense.
AL BAKER: I think it is ill-thought decision. It was done in a hurry. There was no proper discussions or give and take with agencies in the
countries which, you know, are under threat. I think if really there was a threat, Britain would be the first one to introduce, like they did with the
DEFTERIOS: Is it the unpredictability, whether it's a travel ban, electronics ban, or the complete shift of policy by president Trump when it
comes to Syria that you find very hard to manage business and manage security in the region?
AL BAKER: Look, if it continues this way, at the end of the day, you will have people sitting in the airplane with underwear and nothing else on
them. I don't think this is the way to solve security problems. In today's day and age, we have so much advancement in detection systems that
we should utilize them and not just shoot from the hip.
DEFTERIOS: Indeed, you were a supporter of Donald Trump.
AL BAKER: I'm always a supporter of Donald Trump. You know, a president will act upon the advice of people that are around him. And I think in
this matter, he was ill-advised.
DEFTERIOS: Does your back-order log provide protection from protectionism, it would be very difficult at the end of the day to take action against any
of the gulf carriers?
AL BAKER: I think it's all about jobs. We are not taking jobs away as is claimed by the three American carriers and of course the famous alliance
between Lufthansa and air France.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Akbar there says that it's having only a small effect, the electronics ban. Emirates Airlines has come out with other news, it says
it is hurting the airline. The Emirates says there's been a marked drop in demand for their flights to the United States, blaming it on the tighter
U.S. security and restrictions on electronics. Emirates out of Dubai is reducing flights to five U.S. cities as a result which includes for example
reducing flights from Los Angeles, Seattle, and Boston from double daily to single flights.
The White House says Donald Trump wants to broker a conflict-ending deal between Palestinians and Israelis. We'll discuss the prospects for a
solution, good to see you, sir, you'll be with us to talk more about this after the break. Thank you.
[16:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
QUEST: President Trump has said he wants to find a way to end the conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis. He's publicly warned Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against building of new settlements.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: I would like to see you hold back on settlements for a little bit. We'll work something out. I think a deal
will be made. I think we'll make a deal. It might be a bigger and better deal than people in this room even understand. That's a possibility. So,
let's see what we do.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: It's a start.
TRUMP: That doesn't sound too optimistic. He's a good negotiator.
NETANYAHU: That's the art of the deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: I think Mr. Trump has met his match, well and truly, with Benjamin Netanyahu. Chemi Peres, chairman of the Paris Center for Peace. Do you
believe that it is possible -- of course it's possible, but is it likely with the Trump administration to find a peaceful solution which has evaded
everyone for so long?
CHEMI PERES, CHAIRMAN OF THE PARIS CENTER FOR PEACE: First of all, we hope so.
QUEST: Everybody hopes so.
PERES: More than anything, we hope so. It not only can be done, it must be done. At the end of the day, this is the only solution. That solution
needs to be worked out between us and the Palestinians. Of course, we would love the U.S. to facilitate the process. But at the end of the day,
it needs to be done between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
QUEST: President Trump said, look, we can't make peace, these two have to make peace.
PERES: Exactly. Yesterday I had an opportunity to see a play here in New York about Oslo. And the Oslo Accord was actually the beginning of this
process. So, we hope that at some point in time, both Israelis and Palestinians will reach an agreement.
QUEST: One quick question. Jared Kushner, the president's senior adviser, his son-in-law, he's supposed to be leading the way on this. A man with no
diplomatic experience. Do you have much hope that he'll make any progress?
PERES: As you said, hope is everything. My father was optimistic, always believed in the future and the possibilities that can be done. So, I do
hope that they will take the process forward.
QUEST: Let's talk about what's happening in Israel with the economy at the moment, the tech center. I mean, it thrives, but I wonder whether it will
continue to thrive, as other places like berlin -- can -- and I hesitate, I always hate the phrase "start-up nation" but everybody throws it in there,
do you see that mentality continuing in Israel or do you think it's starting to wane?
PERES: I think not only is that it is continuing, it's actually accelerating, because I think that the world becomes bigger, the markets
are becoming bigger. And science and technology are becoming more and more important. Actually, we live in a time where science and technology are
becoming more important than natural resources and cheap labor. So, nations must be great based on science and technology.
QUEST: Something your father believed in very strongly every time I interviewed him. He always used to say about when you were young, remind
me what it was.
PERES: He used to say, count the number of dreams in your head, compare them to the number of achievements that you had. If the number of dreams
exceed the number of achievements, then you are still young.
QUEST: Good to see you. Thank you very much indeed. We will continue. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS after the break.
[16:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
QUEST: On Wall Street, Wednesday's session was all about earnings and oil. The market was down at the open with a few little moments when it went
positive. By and large it continued. It was down 135 points at one stage but it came back a bit. The factors that moved the market, IBM fell after
revenue was missing. Energy stocks were under pressure as oil prices slipped. The beige book also came out with wages climbing overall. Morgan
Stanley, we'll see how the share price was up some 2 percent. Morgan Stanley's better performance, revenue from fixed income nearly doubled. A
chief executive described it as one of the strongest quarters in 18 erasers. Paul La Monica, our guru, is back. Why should Morgan Stanley and
all the other bangs do so well and Goldman do so badly?
PAUL R. LA MONICA, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: It is curious that Goldman didn't have a good quarter. They blamed the volatility but Morgan Stanley
had a banner quarter, particularly from bond trading. Interest rates remain low but a lot of people think rates will climb higher because of
what the fed and what president Trump wants to do, get stimulus through congress. Even though there are some worrisome signs, Morgan Stanley
proving that clearly there are a lot of banks still going well. Chase also had a good quarter.
QUEST: What's gone wrong at Goldman, I guess will be the question. I'm not suggesting Goldman is about to disappear off the face of the earth.
LA MONICA: They're all going to the Trump administration.
QUEST: Right. All right. Let's put Goldman to one side. Oil. The price fell. Supply is up. And the stocks didn't fall as much.
LA MONICA: No, they did not fall as much. But still, oil was a problem for the broader market today. If you look, to bring it back to Goldman,
the three worst stocks in the Dow this year, Goldman Sachs and the other two are chevron and Exxon-Mobil. The slowdown in oil prices has really
hurt these big refining giants.
QUEST: Let's go to the story that everybody is talking about tonight. Bill O'Reilly, out at Fox. And what does it tell us about -- look, the
advertisers left fairly quickly.
LA MONICA: Yes, in droves.
QUEST: In droves. Is that what really drove this decision, do you think?
LA MONICA: I think that the financials were a part of it. I think it's important to note, though, that even with the O'Reilly saga that's been
going on, Fox's stock held up reasonably well. And it's up about 9 or 10 percent this year. I think this is a sign that the Murdoch sons are going
to be far less tolerant and dare I say even far less loyal to some of the veterans at Fox, because they are not going to take any of these stains on
the company's reputation.
QUEST: I guess what I'm saying is, do they believe in it, or are they doing it because it's good business sense? I can hear some people saying,
they're one and the same thing, if you have good corporate policies it becomes the same thing.
[16:55:00] LA MONICA: Yes, I think at the end of the day, both James and Lachlan realize that having all of these high-profile advertisers leave is
not good for the company. So, it is more of a business situation. Business decision, I think, that some sort of high moral ground ethical
right thing to do.
QUEST: Morals. Morals and business. There's a novel thought. Good to see you, sir. Good to have the guru back on the program. We'll have a
Profitable Moment after the break.
QUEST: Tonight's Profitable Moment. Maybe we'll never find out why Bill O'Reilly was sacked, why the Murdoch's decided to cut him. Was it perhaps
because of a moral issue? Was it simply on the grounds of business that the advertisers had already left in droves and were not coming back? Was
it simply it was the right thing to do in the right circumstances? I'm guessing it really doesn't matter what the reason was. As we say, it's
never too late to do the right thing, as Oscar Munoz said. It's what Wendy Walsh called the seismic shift in American corporate culture, that such
behavior is not acceptable, will not be tolerated, there will be consequences.
And even if the event happened a decade ago, it comes back to haunt you in this new corporate environment. Now, that's worth celebrating, surely,
whatever the reason that the Murdochs have perhaps done the right thing. That's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight. I'm Richard Quest in New York.
Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope it's profitable. We'll do it all again tomorrow.